By Express News Service
KALABURAGI: The Covid-19 outbreak and the subsequent lockdown is making most people to ‘stay home and stay safe’, which is a far cry just a few months ago in this busy world. And while at home on a hot summer day, imagine even a moment away from the blast of chilled air from an air-conditioner, or a spell of cool breeze wafting through a fan.
It’s an irritable predicament especially when you have access to these creature comforts, but you find that they don’t work. Come in the electrician, but from where and how amidst this lockdown?
In Kalaburagi – where many people have tested positive for Covid in the recent past – the summer heat is now over 40 degrees Celsius. With the lockdown in force, families are finding it very hard to seek out electricians to come home and fix their broken-down air-conditioners, air coolers, fans and geysers, among others.
Experienced electrician Zakir Patel, who is popular as Patel Saab (52), says: “I receive three-four calls from my regular customers, who request me to come over and repair their electrical appliances, or to fix faults in their electricity connections.”But being unable to just simply land on someone’s doorstep, Patel Saab has found feasible ways to serve his clientele.
“If the repairs are simple, sans any risks, and can be managed by customers themselves, we guide them over the phone. If not, we request them to go on for a few days without appliances. Even if power connections have to be fixed, we try to do so by giving out instructions over the phone,” he says. Electricians in Kalaburagi city are avoiding attending any service calls at customers’ homes, keeping the overall public well-being in mind.
“There are over 1.5 lakh houses in Kalaburagi, which means that visiting any of them for repair work is risky for us and the residents too,” he says. During the ‘pre-Covid’ days, Patel Saab would visit customers’ houses and earn at least Rs 800 a day. The earnings would go up during summers when, he claims, 25,000-30,000 houses face various electrical problems that need fixing.
“We adjusted for almost a month from our savings. We also avoided expensive non-vegetarian food. However, the real trouble starts now, as our savings have almost exhausted, and we don’t know how to feed our families,” he says. Echoing a similar sentiment, another electrician, Gurulingayya Swamy, says that it is for the first time that electricians are sitting idle, though there is a lot of work to be done. “But, right now, we wouldn’t dare to step out, either due to fear of police or Covid-19. Besides, the supply of all kinds of electrical items and appliances has stopped for many days,” he adds.
Both Patel and Swamy expressed their willingness to attend to their work if the government provides them with safety kits and security, considering the people’s plight in the scorching summer heat. With the unavailability of electricians, residents are forced to face the heat. Jagadish, a resident of Godutai Nagar, says that the AC in his house has not been working since a few days. “As the mercury levels are increasing by the day, we don’t know how to live in the house,” he says. Meanwhile, official sources have said that it will not be possible to permit electricians to visit houses for repair work as of now.