ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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A Case Study of Pavement Dwellers in Calcutta-Occupation, Mobility and Rural-Urban Linkages

This is a study of occupational patterns and mobility among pavement dwellers in Calcutta. It reveals the existence of several segmented markets in the city's informal sector The segments are not necessarily impermeable, but usually access is dependent on contacts, and acceptability by dominant groups controlling access routes. While the data reveals a steady inflow of the rural poor from eastern India, their destinations are well defined, and are usually based on information obtained from relations and kinsmen of the village. An average income of around Rs 80-100 per week can be earned by a physically strong village youth prepared to lift heavy loads in the congested wholesale commodities markets in the city, or tranship passengers across short distances in rickshaws. Contacts, kinship ties, caste and communal factors can ease access to these earning opportunities. For the physically weak and under-nourished the opportunities are relatively fewer, but even then, substantial.

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