Post lockdown, many migrants left Mumbai scrapping out all that they had. The problem of abandoned waste, old furniture, and utensils has defied scrap dealers of space crunch. Many of these scrap leaders dumping the scrap in nearby empty spaces and footpaths.
Bablu Yadav, a scrap dealer from Dahisar told Afternoon Voice, “We thought we are making business, but it was a big mistake. All those who left Mumbai sold all that they could not carry with them, including extra clothes, utensils, furniture, bicycle, washing machines, and fans. During and post lockdown somehow there was much empty space around as the markets were shut and people were less on the roads. Now we are facing a different challenge, we have no buyers for scrap and no space for storage.”
Another scrap dealer from Andheri said, “Those migrants who come to Mumbai on a work contract or for a short duration, they mostly stay in Chawls. Those who come here for permanent work also prefer staying in slums because their purpose of working here is to earn and send money home. They don’t invest much in their temporary requirements; they buy all second-hand stuff from roadside scrap dealers. Such as chairs, fans, and cupboards. Reselling such stuff is a real challenge. Meanwhile, there are no buyers for furniture or other stuff. There is no money, labour crises, and above all individual insecurities. We have to pay a bribe to cops; BMC personal’s to place our scrap at various places.”
Amar Tiwari, a migrant worker who recently shifted to Uttar Pradesh and returned back after the lockdown was lifted told AV, “We were in need of money so sold all that we had, fans, utensils, and stove. Whatever money we managed to get we spent it on traveling back, as there was no other source of income. Now we are returning but having a place to stay, paying rent, and deposit is a huge task.”
All the scrap dealers having limited to the periphery of the allotted area, are now aggravating, with the scrap dealers encroaching on the larger portions of the road. Since the lockdown, the scrap dealers have kept their stuff in the middle of the road where the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) is constructing a flyover. The area houses a market where parts of old vehicles or those involved in accidents are sold. Many old cars are kept in the middle of the road.
A senior officer of MMRDA said, “I have noticed this, and waited to take pictures of scrap vehicles in the middle of the road. I put these pictures on our MMRDA WhatsApp group, and our seniors have taken cognisance. The work was allotted to a contractor and the tender was cancelled. Taking advantage of lockdown and stoppages of work, the scrap dealers have kept their wares in the middle of the road. It is definitely blocking the traffic.”
After the easing of the lockdown, there is tremendous stress on the road network.