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Mumbai’s handcart pullers struggle to make ends meet

Handcart pullers are among some of the poorest people in Mumbai. They weave their way through Mumbai's busy streets, hauling heavy goods, ranging from gas cylinders to boxes to vegetables.

MUMBAI: Millions of migrant workers head to India's financial capital Mumbai in search of better job opportunities.

However, those opportunities still involve physical labour and not much reward.

Handcart pullers are among some of the poorest people in Mumbai.

They weave their way through Mumbai's busy streets, hauling heavy goods, ranging from gas cylinders to boxes to vegetables.

It is a physically demanding task, with some pulling up to 600 kilogrammes worth of goods to and from various locations in the city daily -- all for only US$10 a day.

Ram, a handcart puller, said: “I pull a handcart and get a few dollars a day for it. I work mornings, afternoons and evenings. There is also no guarantee. Sometimes we get work and sometimes we don't."

This Labour Day, as people around the world mark the achievements of workers and demand for workers' rights to be respected, some handcart pullers' wishes are simple.

Sameer, a handcart puller, said: "There are difficulties. Sometimes our slippers, shoes and clothes wear out, and we have to replace them. And a man needs money to buy those clothes. We can only buy what we can afford with our salaries."

But with no one looking out for them, and with few alternatives open to these handcart pullers, their demands may not be heard anytime soon.

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