Migrants' streetsmart means of livelihood

Struggle for existence

Migrants' streetsmart means of livelihood

Migrants from the border districts such as Anantapur come to Chikkaballpur in search of odd jobs to earn their livelihood.

Some of the illiterate migrants sell dolls, soft toys, helmets and trinkets to make a living. These migrants do not restrict themselves to Chikkaballapur town and taluk but also go to various other taluks. The migrants come from places including Anantapur, Penukonda, Hindupur and Hyderabad on Andhra Pradesh. They converse in Telugu and attempt to learn Kannada.

They rent out either a room or a house in urban of rural area and live with their families. Their is a day-to-day hand-to-mouth existence. Some migrants, who are economically better off also run restaurants. While some run ‘military hotel’ (restaurants which serve non-vegetarian meals), others run restaurants service North and South Indian snacks.

Since these migrants are from the Andhra Pradesh-Karnataka border with similar topography and climate, they have adjusted themselves to their new environment. A family from Hyderabad sell soft toys and helmets on B B Road in Chikkaballapur.

In the evening they go back to their homes taking their merchandise in a vehicle. This routine continues day after day. If the business is good they continue their trade or otherwise go to the next town.

“We couldn’t earn enough in Hyderabad and we found no work. We therefore came here. We live in a rented house in a nearby village. We sell soft toy animals like tiger, lion, dog and bear besides sun glasses, helmet, carrom board and tables.

We manage even though we sometimes find difficulties”, says Padma. “When the sales are low, we go to another town. We go from place to place in search of livelihood. It is a little difficult for the children. However, it is inevitable for us to keep on moving. This makes it difficult to educate them.”, she adds.

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