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Mohammed Komrulhoda, 57, works as a rickshaw puller in the streets around Kolkata’s New Market
area, starting before dawn and usually carrying on until nine o’clock at night.
From Purvi Champaran, a small village in northern India’s Bihar state, he averages around six or seven
customers a day, each paying between 10 rupees and 30 rupees for a journey – US$0.15 to US$0.50. His
total daily earnings range between 50 rupees and 100 rupees, from which he has to pay 30 rupees for
the rental of his rickshaw. At night he sleeps in a room shared with a dozen or so other men, paying 90
rupees a month for his bed.
Two or three times a year he travels by train to visit his family in Bihar, journeys which each cost him
around 5,000 rupees. Any money he has left after paying for food and his other living costs he sends to
relatives in Bihar. He has five children, two of whom – his youngest daughters – remain unmarried
because he cannot save enough money to give them dowries big enough to attract suitable husbands.