Lockdown 3.0: Confused Homeowners, Uncertain Housekeeping Waiting for Relaxation Clarity

NEW DELHI: Babita Rai, a 35-year-old domestic help from Zamrudpur in south Delhi, has been out of work for more than 40 days. With her savings depleted and an additional loan of Rs 20,000 coming to an end, Babita and her husband are unsure of their future, even as the country prepares to relax from the ongoing blockade.

The Ministry (MHA) issued new guidelines on Friday to ease some of the restrictions on essential and non-essential services during the third phase of the closure, which begins on Monday.

While the ministry asked resident welfare associations (RWAs) to call for the movement of outsiders, several people were asked to help out at home not to come or not to come. They were aware of the decisions.

No one has asked me to go back to work. I am out of work for more than 40 days. I called them to see if we can resume our work, while most denied a family, which is paying rent, he said. Homeowners don't allow them, Rai told PTI.

Before the blockade went into effect on March 24, Babita was working on three houses, earning between Rs 6,000 and Rs 10,000 per month.

Another worker, Rekha from Vasundhara, Ghaziabad, is afraid to leave for fear of being reprimanded by the police and has not heard of any RWA decision in this regard.

“There is no job and the money I had saved is almost gone. I don't know if societies can allow us to work from tomorrow. I don't know how we will survive if we don't go back to work, ”he said.

Rekha had returned to Ghaziabad since her daughter's wedding in Bihar just in time before the closure restricted interstate movement.

Not only domestic help, but also housewives are in the dark waiting to hear from their RWA secretaries.

“We were told that there will be a RWA meeting today about allowing maids to enter, but so far we have not heard anything. While it would be helpful if they are allowed, we will still have to be careful, ”said Aniket Sharma, a resident of a closed society in Ghaziabad.

The movement restriction has hit low-income class groups hard, as another Pinky from Noida Sector 39 lamented that the blockade had left her jobless and her family hungry.

“All my employers had told me that they would call whenever they wanted me to go to work, but I still haven't heard from anyone. Running the home has become extremely difficult. We are eating one meal a day because I have not received my salary in the last two months, said Pinky.

Confusion over permission for domestic workers has also not avoided RWAs.

Nivedita Upadhyay, a housewife from Greater Noida, was told by the Resident Welfare Association in her area that they were awaiting instructions from the state government.

“The RWA has told us that they are awaiting the state's guidelines regarding relaxation. Our society had restricted the entry of maids, drivers, newspaper vendors, etc. since March 25. Also, allowing the maids to work here is risky, as most of the domestic help comes from the village of Aicher, which has reported many positive cases of COVID-19 lately, ”he said.

On the other hand, Anindyo Sengupta, who owns a house in Gurgaon, was relieved to learn that her domestic help can resume work, but only after informing her of all the precautionary measures.

“Actually, I'm pretty relieved that she comes back. My husband and I had shared the workload, but it was becoming very difficult to manage the house without it.

Since my mother lives with us, I have informed her of all precautionary measures, such as covering her nose and mouth and washing her hands and feet before starting, Sengupta said.