23:44 GMT26 February 2020
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): With insufficient employment opportunities for the Indian capital’s population of 20 million, skilled or unskilled people often end up taking on small jobs or opening a roadside food stall to make ends meet in the metropolitan city.

    Among all sorts of jobs and businesses in the Indian national capital, Mohammad Sheikh Hamid's occupation is somewhat unique.

    He works around drains in narrow lanes at congested markets, but he is not a street sweeper: he is not putting his hand in the runny sewage water to unclog the drains, but to collect gold.

    Sitting beside a drain near a jewellery shop, with tools that make up for his work kit, Hamid moved his hand in the muddy water passing through a drain and collected whatever dirt came into his hands. Seeing him do this, many might mistake him for a sweeper manually cleaning the drain.

    But taking a closer look, one will observe that he is looking through the dirt, separating the stones, setting them aside and then sifting through it again. After spending some time with one slot of dirt, he kept the small gold pieces aside in a small box in his work kit.

    When asked about his job, Hamid said it has been running in his family, and this is the only way he knows to earn a livelihood.

    “Ghar toh paalna hai na (Have to look after the family)", he said.

    When asked how he finds gold in drains, he said: “The small gold pieces often fall from the jewellery shops and by selling them, I make about Rs 500 ($7) to Rs 1,000 ($14) a day".

    • Mohammad Sheikh Hamid Makes a Living by Collecting Yellow Metal from Drains in New Delhi
      Mohammad Sheikh Hamid Makes a Living by Collecting Yellow Metal from Drains in New Delhi
      © Sputnik /
    • Mohammad Sheikh Hamid Makes a Living by Collecting Yellow Metal from Drains in New Delhi
      Mohammad Sheikh Hamid Makes a Living by Collecting Yellow Metal from Drains in New Delhi
      © Sputnik /
    • Mohammad Sheikh Hamid Makes a Living by Collecting Yellow Metal from Drains in New Delhi
      Mohammad Sheikh Hamid Makes a Living by Collecting Yellow Metal from Drains in New Delhi
      © Sputnik /
    • Mohammad Sheikh Hamid Makes a Living by Collecting Yellow Metal from Drains in New Delhi
      Mohammad Sheikh Hamid Makes a Living by Collecting Yellow Metal from Drains in New Delhi
      © Sputnik /
    • Mohammad Sheikh Hamid Makes a Living by Collecting Yellow Metal from Drains in New Delhi
      Mohammad Sheikh Hamid Makes a Living by Collecting Yellow Metal from Drains in New Delhi
      © Sputnik /
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    © Sputnik /
    Mohammad Sheikh Hamid Makes a Living by Collecting Yellow Metal from Drains in New Delhi

    After spending an hour or so, he moves to the other side of the street, towards the next drain, and repeats the process.

    Hamid, who lives in the Paharganj area of Delhi, says his parents didn’t have enough money to provide him with education, but all his three kids – two daughters and a son – go to school.

    Related:

    All That Glitters Is Not Gold: India’s Yellow Metal Rationing Plan to Have Heavy Tax Component
    Gold Jewellery Hallmarking to Become Compulsory in India from 15 January
    Tags:
    jewellery, unemployment, business, Delhi, India
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