As the Rehman Baba Express chugs into the station at round 8pm with now no longer too many passengers on Friday evening, the porters, or coolies, in vermilion and turbans, a few resting at the vacant timber benches are on attention. There is a grin on their faces as their legs select out up tempo alongside the arrival educate. But maximum of the passengers popping out convey their bags themselves.
“I might have requested for a coolie if the educate changed into approaching every other platform as then there are the steep stairs to be climbed however I suppose we are able to convey our very own burden from right here to the taxi ourselves,” smiles a passenger with a small own circle of relatives of 3 whilst requested why he wouldn’t use the offerings of the porter.
Outside with inside the parking lot, there may be an aged female supervising the unloading of her matters from a rickshaw. Three porters watch expectantly. When they method the female to provide their offerings, she waves them away. “We are lots of human beings ourselves. We’ll convey our very own bags to educate,” she tells them and that they returned off.
Some say they survived on charity for extra than a month because of suspension of educate operations
“There isn’t any any constant rate. We simplest rate Rs50, a hundred or one hundred fifty consistent with the weight we’re predicted to hold. It’s now no longer that a lot. We are demise to get a few paintings however the human beings don’t need to offer us any paintings,” stated by MR. Mukhtiar Shah, who informs Dawn that he has been running on the station for a few forty years now after he got here right here from his place of origin Abbottabad.
When requested how he controlled to get with the aid of using at some point of the 37 days whilst the trains have been now no longer running, Mukhtar says that he has been residing on charity. “Someone might hand me Rs500 someday, a person might supply 1,000Rs and I might be given shamelessly due to the fact I even have a own circle of relatives returned home,” he says.
Niaz Ali, every other porter, who hails from Shikarpur, says he arrived in Karachi a few 5 years in the past to make a sincere residing. “But I had been accepting something charity I get along with ration luggage from human beings at some point of this beyond month,” he says. “I am even thankful for that due to the fact I suppose its far God’s manner of supporting me now no longer die of hunger,” he adds.
Mohammed Hassan, sitting with numerous different porters close to the mosque on the station’s entrance, says he had come to Karachi hoping to discover paintings in a factory. “But after I didn’t discover any paintings there because of my very own loss of skill, I settled for a coolie’s activity. Well, it isn’t an actual activity with an ordinary earnings however it’s far nevertheless something despite the fact that for the reason that stop of August whilst the closing trains departed from right here I changed into starting to suppose that perhaps I becomes a beggar now,” he shares.
“We coolies aren’t a lot higher off than beggars anyway. We don’t have any home. Some people sleep at the platforms, and others with inside the rooms furnished to us with the aid of using the Railways. There are a few 450 people right here on the Cantt Station and simplest 30 every healthy with inside the rooms. No labor legal guidelines practice to us. We don’t have any benefits, no social security, no EOBI,” he informs.
“Recently a few politicians got here to assist us and gave 10,000/Rs every to the coolies. But they exceeded the cash to simplest the 30 coolies they met with inside the quarters. Some people who had long past returned to our towns and villages, as there has been not anything to do right here anyway, have been deprived,” Hassan says.
There are younger porters additionally sitting in line close to the mosque on the entrance. Both had been unwell. They had folded doctor’s prescriptions from the JPMC of their pockets, which they shared with Dawn. Both have been laid low with an disappointed belly alongside fever.
“We can’t digest the meals that human beings convey right here and distribute for free. It is so highly spiced and oily. Why supply folks that are ravenous such heavy meals? They also can convey us rice and lentils or something some distance less complicated that could be less expensive for them and less difficult on our empty stomachs, too,” stated one of the men.