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Farmers’ agitation gives many vendors chance to revive income

PRESS TRUST OF INDIA 

New Delhi, Jan 13: Before the coronavirus pandemic, Rakesh Arora used to be a vendor at the India Gate, but his business did not pick up after lockdown. Now, the farmers’ stir at the Singhu bor-der has given him a chance to im-prove livelihood, selling badges and stickers.

 With the protesting farmers stay-ing put at the border point of the national capital for over six weeks now, many small businesses have sprung up at the site, the newest being sale of pro-protest badges and stickers.

 Shopkeepers with basket Dill of badges and stickers, with ‘I love Kheti (farming)’, ‘I love Eisen’, and Xisan Ekta Zindabad’ printed on them, have seated themselves at every nook and corner of the high-way. Almost every protestor could be seen donning a badge, while the tractors and trolleys flaunt the stickers.

 Rakesh Arora and his nephew brought in inventory worth Rs 2,500 two days ago from Ambala and have managed to sell products worth Rs 700 so far

 “I used to be a vendor at India Gate. But after lockdown, business has been really poor So we decided to set shop at the protest once we saw an opportunity” Arora said.

 Amaan, an electrician from Delhi’s Okhla has also taken to selling these badges and stickers, owing to lack of work. Both badge and sticker are being sold at Rs 10.

 “It doesn’t yield much income, but something is better than nothing. Barely 15-20 people buy these each day,” he said. Brothers, Moin (17) and Nadeef (11), from Uttar Pradesh’s Loni, have also ventures in this busi-ness.

 “We bring in 500 of these badges everyday. We manage to sell some 300 of them,” said Moin, who set up shop in Singhu a week back. Many shopkeepers at Singhu border are hoping to make most of the agitation, by earning whatever little they can. Many of these badges are sourced from Delhi’s Sadar Baazar market Chandan Kumar

, who has been running a electrical equipment shop at the Singhu border for over five years now, has pushed bulbs, switches and wires to the back and lined his shop with ‘No Farmer, No Food’ stickers and badges.

 “The electrical business had completely taken a backseat I re-alised that the farmers liked stick-ers about their agitation So I started getting radium paper from Kashmere Gate market and started printing the stickers myself,”

 he said. Kumar added that while it was not at all a close substitute for his earlier business, but it did bring In some income. For over a month several farm-ers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, are camping at the bor-ders of Delhi to protest the three farms laws, which the NDA claims will reform the agriculture sector However, the protesting farm-ers have expressed apprehension that the new laws would pave the way for eliminating the safety cush-ion of Minimum Support Price and do away with the mandi system, leaving them at the mercy of big corporates. 

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