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Maha Kumbh Mela also a chance to make quick money

Last Updated: Sunday, January 31, 2010 - 09:57

Haridwar: The ongoing Maha Kumbh Mela is providing ample opportunities to unemployed youth here to make quick bucks.

While some unemployed youth have devised ingenious ways to earn money themselves during what is perhaps the largest religious gathering in the world, others have been hired by "established shopkeepers" to cater to the rush of customers from around the globe.

Youth collecting coins offered to the Ganga, the holiest river of the Hindus, is the most visible way in which they are making money. For collection of coins that devotees offer ritually to the river as a part of their prayers, young people here have come up with a simple device.

Popular as Paisa Pakad, the hand-held device comprises ropes or sticks with magnets tied to one end. Keeping a hawk`s eye on the devotees who offer coins, armed with the Paisa Pakad, these youth get into action the moment a coin is thrown into the river.

"It`s a very profitable business. You virtually do not need any investment for the business that could be started with a few metres of string and a magnet," Rinku, a man in his mid 20s, told a news agency.

Rinku and many of his unemployed friends converge along the banks of the river in large numbers with Paisa Pakad.

Rinku and many of his unemployed friends converge along the banks of the river in large numbers with Paisa Pakad.

"We come here at around 7 am and start our work of searching for coins. Though you can find us in various stretches along the river, our favourite is the Har-Ki-Pauri ghat," said Akku, 19, who had to leave his studies because his family could not afford the fees.

Har-Ki-Pauri is one of the most revered and visited ghats of the Ganga. "Har-ki-Pauri is our favourite spot, but we have to do our business cautiously, evading the eyes of the policemen. On several occasions, policemen deployed at the ghats, who object to our business, take our devices in their possession and even beat us," added Akku.

Those involved in collection of coins say they manage to earn Rs.200-300 a day.

"At times, when we are lucky we manage to catch old coins that we sell to shopkeepers at a good price. Yesterday, I got a Nepalese coin and sold it to a shopkeeper, who after negotiations took the coin, paying me Rs.30," said Akku.

Other young people have got temporary jobs as shop assistants, especially in shops selling Rudraksha beads, utensils, and items used in religious rituals.

"Earlier, before the Maha Kumbh I made several efforts to get employment in shops selling religious items. But every time I was told there was no opening. But now it has changed completely. Shopkeepers themselves come to us to hire us," Mukesh Prakash, who recently got employed at the Shiv Poojan Bhandar, near the Har-ki-Pauri ghat, told a news agency.


First Published: Sunday, January 31, 2010 - 09:57

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