A Bengali migrant couple, running a small roadside tea stall ‘Bengali Chayvala’ in Kasargode district’s Trikaripur, is struggling for survival after the organised sector involved in food business, warned it against opening the kiosk in the morning.
“They (the organised sector) say we cannot open our tea shop in the morning, but we can do business in the evening. We are unable to meet both ends. We do not have anyone to support us and we are scared of them,” said Vijay. They are unable to live as a family as expenses have mounted the couple Vijay and Lekshmi said.
However, defending the move, the Hotel and Restaurant Association (HRA) points out that their members eke out a living by paying hefty rents and other fees. For them to break even, they have to get business, while the small tea shops incur no additional expenses. Also, there has been an understanding to this effect with the local village council.
Incidentally, in Kerala, there are around 2.5 million migrant labourers and irrespective of the place they hail from, they are known as ‘Bengalis’. Officially, they are known as “guest workers” and in some districts, even the private buses which operate carry the route names in Hindi.