Lockdown: Jobless but fearless, Andheri woman takes up newspaper distribution

Updated: Jul 14, 2020, 07:22 IST | Anurag Kamble | Mumbai

After lay-off, 25-year-old post grad takes up dad's dwindling newspaper delivery business, educates citizens about how physical copies are safe

Lina Salgaonkar with her father Mahadeo. Pic/Rajesh Gupta
Lina Salgaonkar with her father Mahadeo. Pic/Rajesh Gupta

The lockdown brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic has left many jobless, one of whom is Lina Salgaonkar, a 25-year-old accountant from Andheri. But, Lina could not sit idle at home and took up the job of newspaper distribution at a time when others were scared to continue, fearing they would contract the deadly virus.

Lina, who lives with her parents near Tolani Naka, Andheri, had been working with a ship company for the past six years, but was asked to go on a break in June as the lockdown started affecting many businesses.

Lina Salgaonkar. Pic/Rajesh Gupta
Lina Salgaonkar. Pic/Rajesh Gupta

For the first four years, she worked part-time as she was studying as well. "My daughter completed her M.Com two years back, and immediately secured a full-time job in the accounting department of the company," said Mahadeo, who worked hard in the newspaper distribution sector to ensure her daughter receives a good education.

However, after the lockdown was imposed in March, his earnings stopped as the newspaper distribution took a hit. "For three months, I had no work," he said. Mahadeo resumed newspaper distribution in June when the state government announced 'Mission Begin Again', but then her daughter was out of work.

"When we were asked to go on a break, the company told us that they would call us back when it was required. I was sitting idle at home. So when newspaper distribution was allowed, I decided to help my father," said Lina.

Initially, she started helping him with the accounts, then she started visiting the newspaper depot for collection and eventually began delivering the newspapers to the readers in her area.

"Initially, six men used to work for my father, but two stopped coming due to the COVID-19 scare. I then decided I can't sit at home and watch my father face the challenges at his work, and started in delivery as well," she said. Lina also collects the bill payment every month.

"I visit the depot at 4 every morning, sort the papers with my father, and then deliver them. There are still several residents who fear the novel Coronavirus can spread with the use of newspapers. The customers have reduced to 30 per cent. But I must tell them that every person in the distribution chain takes utmost care and follows personal hygiene," she added.

She pointed out that the newspaper distribution sector is male-dominated. "When I go door-to-door for delivery, many people ask me whether it's safe to read the newspaper, will it bring the infection to their home, etc. So, along with distribution, I am also educating the people," Lina said.

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