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Saturday, May 08, 2010
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HYDERABAD: The nauseating smell makes it difficult to stay even for a few seconds near Jawaharnagar dumping yard. But, the stinking yard filled with garbage is everything for nearly 100-odd families living in near-by huts.
They work, eat, sleep and spend every moment of their lives in its vicinity. From five-year-old child to elders, all members of the families move in the yard from morning to evening. They collect waste plastic, iron scrap and glass bottles, sifting the mountains of litter dumped there and sell to commission agents.
A first time visitor to the dump yard would not even like to go any closer, let alone move in the garbage, as the stomach-churning odour hits the nostrils.
“Instead of dying in our village, where there is no water and work, we came here though it meant living in filth,” says Narayana Swamy, who migrated from Kurnool district.
Driven by years of famine and lack of work, Swamy's family came here a decade ago. Many others are from interior villages of the same district. Earlier, they lived near the dumping yard at Autonagar of Vanasthalipuram and later shifted to Jawaharnagar. Children of Swamy and others don't go to school. He is neither worried nor feels sad about future of his children. “When I manage to live by depending on garbage they too can do so”, he believes.
The recent deaths of Nagamma, 42, Raheem, 22, Khaja, 15, and Vaasu, 15, who got buried alive after mounds of garbage fell on them while they were searching for plastic, did not affect these families much. “For past 10 years, we eke out a living by sifting garbage. We're used to it now and cannot do any other work,” says Sabera Begum, mother of Khaja.
Begum, her husband, their three sons and two daughters, all put together earn Rs. 200 a day on an average. The family from Kaladera in old city don't own a house or site. With no official attempting to offer an alternative means of living, these families continue to depend on the yard risking their health and spoiling their children's future.
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