Seniors, domestic helps irked as lockdown brings in new set of challenges
Activists working for the welfare of domestic helps and senior citizens said that the citizenry and public representatives have become apathetic to the needs of the poor and the needy and described both the categories as most vulnerable sections who will be badly affected due to reimposition of the lockdown.
Vaishali Patkar, president of Aundh Vikas Mandal, which looks after senior citizens, said, “Senior citizens are fearful of the spread of Covid-19. With househelps are not coming in, it has again created a challenge for them. We are extending our full cooperation by allocating volunteers who bring medicines and provide medical help to them.”
Manibhai Gujarati (70), a resident of Hadapsar, said, “Our main problem is food supplies as the tiffin owner has stopped his service due to the lockdown. The entire market is shut and there is not other option, but to cook. It is a very challenging task at this age. I live here alone and depend on my maid for all household chores. The lockdown was not needed. In most societies, neighbours are self-centred and do not care about the welfare of others.”
Amol Kirtikar, a city resident who currently is in New Mexico, sought Patkar’s help for his mother. “My 72-year-old mother is in Pune, living alone with her caretaker. Our tiffin provider told us they were unable to obtain a police permit to deliver during the lockdown. So from tomorrow, we have no arrangements for food. Will you be able to help us find an arrangement that will work during the lockdown? I will be grateful ,” he said. Patkar ensured that the food arrangement was done.
Mangalabai Kadam, a maid from Kasewadi said that she has been asked to stay at home during the lockdown period till further orders. “The economic situation is bad and we have no money left. If the lockdown continues, it might lead to penury. We need financial assistance from the government like monthly grocery and medicine allowance to survive,” she said.
Pune District House Maids’ Association president Kiran Moghe, said, “The maids lack social protection and have been reduced to living in poverty amidst rising malnutrition and illness. This is a very scary scenario and minimum wages must be paid to the domestic workers and their health needs need to be taken care of by the government and the society as a whole.”