Poverty drives unemployed Jammu youth away to other states, work as ‘Palledar’

Success, however, eluded him. His last application was for a central government job. Ironically, its result is yet to be declared.
"The financial constraints compelled us to move out of Billawar to find some work."
"The financial constraints compelled us to move out of Billawar to find some work."Special arrangement

Jammu: Mohit Kumar, brother of two and son of a widow, who lost her husband in a tragic road mishap in Kathua serves as a loading and unloading worker, popularly known as “Palledar” in Delhi’s Kamla Market with four other youth of his area i.e., Mahanpur, for the survival of his family.

Kumar belongs to a very poor family and is the only earning member. As a young man, he too had aspired for a government job to feed his family.

However, it did not happen and the family faced starvation-like situations with no scope for earning for him or others in their native village.

He passed Class 12 with the Commerce subject and started applying for government jobs in Jammu and Kashmir.

Success, however, eluded him. His last application was for a central government job. Ironically, its result is yet to be declared.

“I wanted to study further to take my family out of the financial crunch. However, the situation was not favourable. I did work in Jammu for four to five months with a newly opened firm but due to losses, that firm was closed. Hence, I once again became unemployed,” he narrates his tale of woes to Greater Kashmir over the phone from Delhi where he works as a “Palledar.”

He is accompanied by four other youth from his area there in Delhi. “We load and unload goods here. The situation has not changed for us. This was a traditionally recommended work for many youth in our native villages in Kathua, Samba, Udhampur, and other places in the Jammu plains.

If you cannot find any work, then move to Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, old Jammu city, Mumbai, and other states of the country to work there as Palledars,” he says, while recalling his plight due to work conditions where they get tired yet they cannot forget that they have a family back home to feed.

He says that he encourages his young brother and sister to continue their studies. “My mother is confident that I will be able to support my family. I am their last hope. We want to come out of poverty. It is an unfortunate situation,” Kumar says.

He says, “I saved a good amount and sent it back home for facilitating the studies of my brother and sister and to fulfill the financial needs of the entire family.”

“However, it is not always an easy job to work here and return home safely. Once a youth from Basohli, who used to work in Delhi, when returning home with the money he saved, was given some poisonous substance due to which he fell unconscious and the looters escaped with all his savings,” he recalls.

Another unemployed youth, Surjeet Singh (34) from Patti Wala Mohalla in Deval village of Billawar too narrates almost a similar story to Greater Kashmir. “I have also been working as a Palledar in Bombay (Mumbai) for the last five months. I load and unload cattle feed in a company,” he shares.

“We have poor financial conditions at home."

The financial constraints compelled us to move out of Billawar to find some work. Most of the people here work as Palledars. I am 34 and am still unemployed. Before marriage, I want to save enough money to construct a house as well as to meet expenses for marriage,” Singh says.

He says that his second brother namely Pawan Singh works in Pune as Palledar and his third brother also works as a labourer. “My old parents are at home and the families of my brothers are taking care of them. We have a mud-house there and it has also become unsafe to live there after a pond has been constructed nearby. It has created a leakage problem in our house following which our cattle shed caved in and the house is also on the verge of collapse,” he says while sharing details of a call from his family back in Billawar.

“We have no one to approach. We are poor people. We work outside far away from family and they are worried about the safety of the house. If it is possible for you, please appeal to the district administration in Kathua to take some corrective measures so that our house can be saved. We have no money to reconstruct even a mud-house,” he requests to this correspondent.

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