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Rickshawallahs at your service.

Dubai: Cycle rickshaws may be a rare sight in India today, but some skilled potters from India's capital New Delhi are coming to pull these three-wheelers at the Global Village - just for the brisk business it brings along.

Meet Kamal Kumar (30) who earned Rs100,000 (around Dh5,882) last year by just pulling rickshaws at the Global Village. The kind of money he made last year in just five months takes him more than a year to earn in India. "I made a small fortune and hope to be as lucky this year too. Back home I barely earn Dh350 a month and pulling rickshaws at Global Village is a great opportunity for me to make good money," Kumar told XPRESS.

Since 2006, Kamal has been coming to Dubai just to work in Global Village. Being the youngest of seven siblings and a father of two - he has several financial responsibilities towards his family. "All that I earn goes to helping my family. Last year my son was born on the last day of Global Village. When I returned home - I threw a big party for all my relatives. I also used some money to refurbish my house. This time I want to help my ageing parents," the 30-year old said.

This year there are 40 rickshaw pullers at the Global Village - all belonging to poor families in Delhi and its neighbouring states. Some of them belong to one of India's biggest clan of potters living in the famous 'Prajapati Colony' in New Delhi's Uttam Nagar. "We all go by the surname 'Kumar'. More than 400 potters from this colony alone supply pottery items to various shops in Delhi. This is my first time in Dubai and I have come here because people told me how good it was to work in Global Village," said Ashok Kumar, 37.

"Its hard work pulling rickshaws but I am up to it. We are doing a public service and in return poor people like us earn a living from it," he said.

A South Korean family-of-three asks Ashok for a ride. He calls his friend Mahesh Kumar to help him out as a rickshaw can only seat two people in it.

A rickshaw ride costs Dh5 for a trip taken from any of the parking lots to the closest gate entrance. For rides taken from the over-flow parking area to the entrance gate, it costs Dh10 per trip. There are no rickshaw rides inside Global Village.

"It has been a long time since I sat in a cycle rickshaw. This is fun. I don't mind paying for the ride as I know it is going to some needy people," said Yoon Hee Choi Kallouche who was riding with her parents Chong hack and Sung Jin hong.

Ashok said all the rickshaw pullers have been sponsored by Global Village and their expenses have been borne by Indian pavilion owner Sunil Bhatia. "He has funded our visa and ticket costs, given us free food and accommodation in International City and Al Quoz. We are also provided free transportation to and from Global Village. Sunil 'sir' is very kind and knows how to take care of his people. He has given us a great opportunity and I cannot dream of having a life like this in India," said Mahesh Kumar (37).

He said the Global Village has a due process in place while selecting people for the job. "A month before Global Village begins we are given a detailed brief about the rules and regulations in Dubai and how we must conduct ourselves in a new city. The organisers pick people who they feel will not make any problem in Dubai. They also choose experienced workers who have been at the Global Village so they know their way around," said Kamal.

He added they don't get any off days. "We only get a break when Global Village ends. But we are not complaining. We are here to make money and not enjoy week-end offs," he said.

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Publication:XPRESS (United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Jan 29, 2015
Words:688
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