"If we make roti, it's an additional burden for us as we have to make extra rice for the children for school. So usually I make rice or idly. Then it's easy," says Ramiah Sita, an estate worker in Spring Valley.
"Often, it costs over Rs. 10,000 for a month for groceries. That's Rs. 1,000 a week, for rice and vegetables. For meat and fish, it costs even more. Before, we could manage from our salary. Now, because we need to have savings, we often partially pay the bill, and promise to pay the balance next month. The shop gives us groceries on trust." In 2011, UNICEF noted as much as 70% of an estate worker's wages went to food alone.