Friday, February 5, 2010
Uttarakhand Kumbh Mela provides lucrative opportunity for youth of U’khand
By AJAY RAMOLA
HARIDWAR, 13 Jan: Kumbh Mela 2010 has opened the doors of self-employment for the unemployed youth of Uttarakhand, as they have found a new source of income in the crowd converging at the ghats, here, for the first ‘snan’ of Makar Sakranti on 14 January.
Shalendar Kumar, an unemployed youth from Deoprayag is selling ‘Rudraksh’ beads and guide books to the devotees coming from all over the country.
Kumar is of the view that, as there are no employment opportunities in the hills and new jobs are hard to come by, some temporary reprieve can be had by selling Rudraksh beads this Kumbh. To support his family back home, he has tied up with a local wholesaler to procure various items.
He gets up at around 8 a.m. and by evening he is able to earn around Rs 300, every day. If things go well this Kumbh, he will be able to save for his family for leaner seasons, making them able to fend for themselves in the process.
Another such person is Shiva, a young boy who earns his daily bread by looking for coins offered to the Ganga by devotees with a self-prepared device (basically magnets tied to a rope). Showing his collection of rare coins, including a Nepalese coin issued by Raja Gyanendra Vir Vikram Shah during his reign. He says gleefully that this is one Rupiah of Nepal.
When asked how much he earns from this activity, he asserts proudly that these coins fetch him up to Rs 200 daily, from which he gives half to his mother and the rest is kept for his meals and other small needs. The illiterate Shiva does not have a father and never got the opportunity to read or write, as he had to work at a young age. He says this is the first Kumbh Mela for him and hopes that it will change his luck and bring in more income to the family.
This Kumbh, many such unemployed youths are converging on the banks of the Ganga in search of various avenues of employment, feeding their families in the process. Some might even put together seed money for future entrepreneurial ventures, if the going is good.