As more fridges make way to homes, local ice man feels the heat

‘Ice runner’ Brijesh Yadav. (Amit Mehra) ‘Ice runner’ Brijesh Yadav. (Amit Mehra)

For the last 15 years, ice has been a lifeline of sorts for Brijesh Yadav’s family. Every summer, Yadav, an “ice runner”, supplies ice to tea stalls, eateries, meat shops, homes and offices in Noida’s Sector 10.

But of late, Yadav has seen his business shrink as more and more fridges enter homes in the area, eliminating the need to procure ice from outside.

Yadav (26) works as a daily wage labourer at construction sites in Noida during pleasant weather, but switches to selling ice from March. On a wooden charpoy next to him lie two slabs of ice, wrapped in black tarpaulin and gunny bags to keep them insulated from the scorching sun. His 60-year-old father Ram Singh sells lassi as well as ice off a pushcart.

Yadav gets three 40-kg slabs of ice each day from factories in the area. Each slab costs Rs 120-150 and yields enough ice to make a profit of Rs 250-300 in the day.

Customers usually walk up to the father-son duo and leave with a brick-sized piece of ice in polythene bags, Rs 10 a piece. As soon as a customer arrives, he gets to work with his ice pick. Whenever he gets a call from a shop or an office, he loads some ice on the back of his cycle and sets off.

Yadav says the money he makes in the six months sees him through the rest of the year. “My father, elder brothers and I have been selling ice for the last 15 years. Our business should have grown with time, but demand is only falling. Most people have been buying fridges as they have become cheaper,” says Yadav, who lives with his family at a JJ cluster in Sector 10.

His father says, “We make about Rs 12,000, which feeds a family of five.”

The family does not have a fridge at home. “We don’t need one because we cook just about enough to feed us for the day,” says Yadav.

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