As the ‘rail roko’ protest of farmers entered its fifth day on Sunday, not only the passengers and the Railways are the sufferers, but even vendors at railway stations are feeling the brunt of the protest.
Be it tea vendors, coolies or refreshment points, their businesses have been at a standstill for the past five days as they have not earned a single penny.
Railway stations across the region are giving a deserted look, severely denting the earnings of the people dependent upon the running of trains.
Anil Gupta, owner of a refreshment stall at Bathinda railway station, lamented that he used to earn Rs 1,750 daily, but for the past five days, he had not earned even a single penny.
“I owned two stalls here, and have to pay rent of Rs 1,100 per stall every day. For the past five days, I have been borrowing money to sustain my business by paying the rent without any earning,” said Anil.
Anil is not alone, as 200 others like him are in a similar situation at Bathinda, Ferozepur and Faridkot railway stations. The sale of vendors has come down by 95%.
Moreover, it has become difficult for coolies to make both ends meet in such a situation.
“For the last three days, I have no work since there were hardly any passengers. I don’t even have enough money to purchase ration to feed my family of five,” said Ram Lal.
Auto-rickshawalas and owners of dhabas, restaurant and motels, situated in the periphery of the railway stations, have also been hit adversely.
An auto driver Kundan said, “Many of us have started operating from the bus stand since there were hardly any commuters. The government must act fast to end the protest at the earliest.”
Meanwhile, farmers continued to squat on the Bathinda-Ambala railway track at Rampura town, the Bathinda-Bikaner track at Pathrala village and Bathinda-Mansa-Delhi railway track at Shergarh village.