BY VISHANK SINGH
Vikas Kumar (32), a supervisor in Tegh Knitting Private Limited in Sonepat, migrated from Kanpur 15 years ago. Unable to afford higher education himself, he wanted to provide the best education possible for his daughter, Divyanshi. He earns around Rs. 15,000 a month from his 12-hour shift, but Vikas’ dream is now under threat. The factory recently issued a closure notice. It will shut down in two months because of a sharp decline in demand for its products.
Rakesh (48), has four children and a mentally challenged wife. An agrarian crisis made him move from his village in Sultanpur to Delhi in 1998. As a machine operator he earns Rs. 12,000 a month.
“Nothing much is left in the village and the cost of living here is high. Without a decent job our existence is at risk,” he said.
Devender Singh “Bullu” (29) is a machine operator. “I’ve been working here 11 years, and knitting is the only skill I possess. I miss my wife and son who are alone in the village in Bihar, all dependent on me. After the shutdown, I’ll be doing odd jobs.”
Joginder Singh Bagga (78), a retired army officer from Punjab, lost his only son 17 years ago in a road accident. Since then, he’s worked as a factory guard to deal with his grief. “I don’t need a job to support me and my wife. But I can’t see myself being away from this factory because the moment I’m jobless memories of my son will return.”
Tegh Knitting is one of the biggest Raschel knit producers. Once it closes, it’s possible that other businesses too will exit. Machine operators are skilled workers but closure will render their specialisation useless.
(Vishank Singh is a Delhi based photojournalist and writer.)
Published in the September 2016 issue of Fountain Ink.