Garment workers eke out living amid coronavirus

COVID-19: Garment workers eke out living amid coronavirus

"Who will provide for rent and food if I take leave? Also, what happens if I lose the job. So, we are working despite the fear," said Hemakshi, a worker in a garment factory in Peenya. (Credit: Reuters Photo)

The entire world may be shutting down to check the spread of the coronavirus but the double-edged sword of survival is forcing workers in garment factories to continue making the export-quality clothes from crammed places.

However, hundreds continue to work in closed environments under one roof amid fear that they may catch the dread Covid-19.

Factories spread across the city, from Peenya Industrial area to Nelamangala, Hosur Road to Bommanahalli and Chamarajpet to Bidadi, the readymade cloth manufacturing companies have continued to work.

About 2.5 lakh workers are employed in more than 850 companies in the city. In addition, Kolar, Chikkaballapur, Mysuru, Hassan, Mandya, Ballari and Ramangar have garment factories, each employing 500 to 4,000 people.

As is common in garment factories, workers stand close to each other as they pass on cloth and other materials. Some factories are scanning the employees through thermal scanners and allow them only after they apply sanitiser and wear mask provided by the company. Others have no time to follow such rules.

A piece of cloth exchanges more than 10 hands in a typical garment factory, making it easy for the coronavirus to travel from one person to another. Many workers are aware of this and are afraid of catching the dreaded disease.

"Who will provide for rent and food if I take leave? Also, what happens if I lose the job. So, we are working despite the fear," said Hemakshi, a worker in a garment factory in Peenya.

She said her family migrated to the city to meet their basic needs. "The virus is threatening our very livelihood," she said, adding the concerns about the lack of persons at home to take care of children after the state government declared a holiday. 

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