GUWAHATI, May 11 - The struggle for earning their daily bread has forced street vendors of the city to change their trade and opt for something else in order to survive and support their families.
The ones who had owned tea stalls and fast food shops near Cotton University have now started selling vegetables, fruits and coconut water in the area.
There are altogether 22 shops in that area.
Naren Rajbongshi, who used to sell tea near the university, is now selling fruits in partnership with one of his friends.
�The street vendors are the worst effected due to the nationwide lockdown. As the sole earning member of my family, I have arranged this to keep my family going. I have borrowed Rs 7,000 to start this business,� Rajbongshi said.
Rajbongshi is the president of Street Vendors� Association of Assam.
�I used to earn around Rs 800 daily by selling tea and snacks; but today, I earned only Rs 300,� he lamented.
Rajbongshi, however, is happy that he is earning at least something even during the lockdown, which has pushed many others to the brink of survival.
Another vendor, Munindra Barman, who used to sell fast food before the lockdown has now been selling vegetables.
�There are very few people on the road. Earning hasn�t been good enough at all. But, there�s no other option as well. Our shops were shut down on March 20. All our savings were gone during the subsequent period,� Barman said.
The street vendors are not the only ones who have been compelled to change their livelihood means. Many others have opted for different occupations, especially vending activities, during these unprecedented testing times.