SRINAGAR: With curfew ending after three days from old city, laborers started to trickle back to their favorite “job mandi” of Mirza Kamil Sahib, Hawal to find a good deal for the day to go.
The hiring activity at this square is back, but laborers say the place falls victim to the government imposed restrictions and curfews when police seals the area and don’t allow laborers to assemble.
Ghulam Qadir, a day laborer, on Sunday prepared his day meals in hurry to make it to the square before 7.30 in the morning to find a customer who would hire him for a day or more for a work. Qadir says that if lucky to find a customer, this would be his first day to work in the month of May as curfew has stalled the whole hiring activity.
Qadir, who hails from far flung area of frontier district of Kupwara’s Khumriyal village, says due to these curfews are only snatch lively hood of poor.
“It is easy to find a good customer here and no one returns disappointed, but with curfews everyone gets disheartened,” he said.
The square has been famous for hiring laborers mostly expert in construction works as customers who are in need of skilled or unskilled laborers do get them at this spot.
Rashid, who gave his second name only, says it was his ninth year in Srinagar when he started his career as a manual labor and now a carpenter.
“Police and troops seal the whole area in the morning and lay razor wires all around the roads that lead to this spot asking laborers not to venture close to this area,” says Rashid, who has come from south Kashmiri’s Shopian district.
Apart from locals the non local laborers, who mostly live in the vicinity are not special ones to assemble here.
Nazim-din-Din, a mason by profession hailing from Bihar said that they have to change the venue for meeting with their counterparts to some other place.
The jobs arena does not remain confined to this hiring activity, by evenings it turns in a place where non local laborers buy their daily ration and vegetables that also is scuttled due to curfews.
Many non locals do reach the venue to recharge their mobile phones so they call to their home about their well being or get a “nice” hair cut from their native barbers.