Deepak Kumar Uprariya, a technician in HEC (Heavy Engineering Corporation Limited) who worked for building ISRO’s Chandrayaan-3 launchpad, has been selling idlis at a roadside stall in Ranchi to make ends meet. According to the BBC, Mr Uprariya has a shop opposite the Old Legislative Assembly in the Dhurwa area of Ranchi. He opened his roadside stall after HEC – a Government of India Company (CPSU) that made the folding platform and sliding door for Chandrayaan-3 – did not pay his salary for 18 months.
Chandrayaan-3 made a soft landing on the surface of the Moon’s South Pole in August, and with this, India became the first country to achieve this feat. At the time, Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated the ISRO scientists and even addressed the launchpad workers of the Chandryaan mission. However, in the backdrop, employees of the HEC in Ranchi were protesting their 18-month salary arrears.
According to the BBC, around 2,800 employees of the HEC claim that have not received their salaries for the past 18 months. Among them is Mr Uprariya.
Meet Deepak Kumar Uprariya who sells Tea & Idli in Ranchi. He is a Technician, who worked for building ISRO’s Chandrayaan-3 launchpad. For the last 18 months, he has not received any salary.
“When I thought I would die of hunger, I opened an Idli shop” (BBC Reports) pic.twitter.com/cHqytJvtfj
— Cow Momma (@Cow__Momma) September 17, 2023
Speaking to the outlet, Mr Uprariya said that he has been selling idlis for the past few days to make ends meet. He has been managing his shop and office work together. The technician sells idlis in the morning and goes to the office in the afternoon. In the evening, he sells idlis again before heading back home.
Explaining his situation, Mr Uprariya said, “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 added.
Further, the technician said that he decided to sell idlis when he felt that the “time of starvation” had come upon him. “My wife makes good idlis. I get 300 to 400 rupees every day by selling them. I make a profit of 50-100 rupees. I am running my house on this money,” he told the outlet.
As per the BBC, Mr Upraria hails from the Harda district of Madhya Pradesh. In 2012, he quit his job in a private company and joined HEC on a salary of Rs 8,000. Being a government company, he had hoped that his future would be bright but things did not turn out to be in his favour.
“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.
“My children are humiliated after this. My daughters come home crying. It breaks my heart to see them cry. But I don’t cry in front of them,” Mr Upraria added.
Meanwhile, according to the BBC, this situation is not only for Deepak Upararia. Like him, some other people associated with HEC are also earning their livelihood by doing similar work.