Soaring unemployment due to the Covid-19 pandemic has pushed a group of college graduates to become "nullah" (drain) cleaners.
Around 20 young men have joined a private contractor to work as cleaners in the Mumbra area near Thane.
Some of the youngsters had white-collar jobs which were lost during the crisis of the pandemic. Among them are an IT engineer and a double graduate.
However, these young men are not ashamed. They said that no work is inferior and they need work to support their families. One of them said that their degrees are not going to help them at the moment. They also walk from Diva to Mumbra (over 10 km) to save transport expenses.
The work they do is part of an annual routine cleaning process to prevent flooding during the monsoon. The group knows that this job will last only for a couple of weeks and they have to look for another source of income soon.
The group was on the search for jobs after losing their desk jobs, and one of them approached an agent of the civic contractor. The corporator of the ward said that she felt sympathy for the men who had lost their regular jobs. "I salute them for their work," she added.
One of the men, Sameer, said that he has been working with the private contractor for the past three months, and is a double graduate. "There are no jobs outside. Companies have closed due to the pandemic. One needs a job for earning a livelihood and to take care of the family," he added.