Hawkers at Charminar in dire straits

Closure of historic monument, Mecca Masjid due to Covid rob scores of their livelihood

By Author  |  Published: 9th Jul 2020  12:39 am
Closure of the historic monument and Mecca Masjid due to the Covid pandemic has it their livelihood. — Photo: Surya Sridhar

Hyderabad: The closure of the historic Charminar and the Mecca Masjid for the last three months due to the Covid-19 pandemic has robbed scores of hawkers of their livelihood.

These roadside hawkers, who depended on tourists coming to see the Charminar and the devotees to the mosque, are now struggling to make ends meet.

The hawkers around the monument sell a variety of articles including imitation jewellery, bangles, footwear, flower vases, watches and much more to tourists who visit the monument.

“A month has passed since the lockdown was eased and we came into the market. But there are still no visitors or tourists since the Charminar is closed for the public and we are not getting any sales,” says Shaik Jameel, who sells imitation jewelry near Charminar.

“Occasionally, a few local women drop in for purchasing one or two items and that’s it. We don’t get to take home even Rs 100 a day,” complains Lateef, another hawker.

There are close to 200 hawkers selling different items on the stretch between Mecca Masjid and Gulzar Houz every day. The relaxation of the lockdown has barely made any difference to them.

“Some of the hawkers, anticipating that the situation might not improve for the next few months, have switched over to vegetable and fruit business. They arranged money from private money lenders or mortgaged some articles with pawn brokers,” says Sultan Khan, who sells footwear.

Most of the business of the hawkers depends on the tourists who visit the Charminar and surroundings including Mecca Masjid.

“Even after the lockdown was relaxed and shops opened up, only a few people came to the market. We survive mainly on the tourists and with no earning, we are now in a crisis,” says Shaik Mahmood, who sells fancy items for women and children near Charminar.

 


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