|Why summer means spring for these street children|
|Destitute children at Kalupur railway station find it best time to make money selling used water bottles|
Ahmedabad, April 8: When Amdavadis are sweltering in scorching summer, for 14-year-old Krishna Vishwatverma it’s a time to make more money. Rushing after every local train that pulls out from the Kalupur Railway Station, his day begins by picking up used plastic bottles in the morning and selling it in the market in the evening.
Krishna, a destitute who arrived at the Kalupur Railway Station four months back says that Summer is the time when he gets to make Rs 50 to 100 per day. He says,
“In other seasons, my earnings are relatively low as not many people buy water bottles during the same. However, Summer is the time when I can gather as many bottles as I can, supplementing my earnings.”
Krishna is one of the several children who run away from their homes and take refuge at the Kalupur Railway Station. Fourteen-year-old Sultan, who also collects bottles from various trains arriving at the railway station, says, “I make Rs 100 to 150 by selling used bottles in the market but this is only during summer. During the rest of the seasons, I do not make much money.” Arif Lalbhai, another destitute says that his favourite train is the Okha-Puri Express, which he travels in almost everyday, to get used bottles. He says, “I also sell water pouches to passengers apart from selling bottles in the market. However, Summer is the season in which the business becomes profitable for me as I can get more bottles and sell more number of water pouches.”
On an average, these children gather 50 to 100 bottles a day and sell it at a rate of 50 paise per bottle. Dinesh Macwana, a fourteen-year-old who frequently travels in trains going towards Ernakulam in Kerala to collect bottles says, “I usually eat from the pantry of the train itself while I am travelling or I get food from the passengers so there is no problem for getting food.” However, most of the earnings of these children are wasted in various kinds of addiction says Balwant Gadhavi working in the Childline project to help destitute children under Ahmedabad Study Action Group (ASAG). He says, “Ten per cent of the children living on the station deposit their money with us in order to save more. However, most of these children waste the money on various kinds of addictions. More and more children should come forward to save the money that they earn.”