(MENAFN- AsiaNet News) Deepak Kumar Uprariya, a technician employed by HEC (Heavy Engineering Corporation Limited), who played a role in building ISRO's Chandrayaan-3 launchpad, has resorted to selling idlis at a roadside stall in Ranchi to make ends meet. According to the BBC, Uprariya has a shop opposite the Old Legislative Assembly in the Dhurwa area of the city. Uprariya's plight stems from HEC, a Government of India company that contributed to Chandrayaan-3's construction, not paying his salary for a staggering 18 months.
Chandrayaan-3 marked a significant achievement for India, with a successful soft landing on the Moon's South Pole in August. Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated ISRO scientists and acknowledged the Chandrayaan mission's launchpad workers during this historic moment. However, the backdrop of celebration was marred by the protests of HEC employees in Ranchi, who were grappling with 18 months of salary arrears.
According to the BBC, approximately 2,800 HEC employees claim they have not received their salaries for the past year and a half, including Uprariya.
Uprariya has been selling idlis for several days now to support his family. He juggles running his shop and office work, selling idlis in the morning, attending office in the afternoon, and returning to sell idlis in the evening.
To manage his household expenses, Uprariya initially relied on a credit card and secured a Rs 2 lakh loan, which he later defaulted on. Desperate for financial support, he borrowed money from relatives, accumulating a total loan of Rs 4 lakh. With his financial situation deteriorating, he even had to pawn his wife's jewelry to make ends meet.
"First I managed my house with a credit card. I got a loan of Rs 2 lakh. I was declared a defaulter. After that, I started running the house by taking money from relatives. So far I have taken a loan of four lakh rupees. As I have not returned the money to anyone, now people have stopped lending. Then I mortgaged my wife's jewellery and ran the house for a few days," he told the outlet.
Explaining his decision to sell idlis when he felt the 'time of starvation' had come upon him, Uprariya told BBC, "My wife makes good idlis. I earn Rs 300 to Rs 400 every day by selling them, with a profit margin of Rs 50 to Rs 100. I am sustaining my household with this income."
Uprariya, originally from the Harda district of Madhya Pradesh, joined HEC in 2012, hoping for a promising future in the government sector. He began with a salary of Rs 8,000 but, unfortunately, his expectations did not materialize.
He shared the difficulties his family faces, with two daughters attending school. Due to financial constraints, he has been unable to pay their school fees, leading to notices from the school and humiliation for his children in the classroom.
"I have two daughters. Both go to school. This year I have not been able to pay their school fees yet. Daily notices are being sent by the school. Even in the classroom, teachers ask who are the children of parents working in HEC to stand up," he said.
Tragically, Uprariya's story is not unique, as several others associated with HEC find themselves in similar circumstances, struggling to make a living through alternative means.