We will die of starvation before coronavirus gets to us, says daily wage earner
Government assures to look into daily wage earners’ woes soon
Dimapur, March 25 (EMN): As India goes into complete lockdown and public being directed to stay indoors to break the chain of novel coronavirus (Covid-19) transmission through social distancing, life has come to a standstill; but for daily wage earners across the country, staying indoors without work “indefinitely” is not an option.
The cancellation of passenger train operations by the Indian Railways, a preventive measure to contain the spread of coronavirus, has left many daily wage earners stranded in Nagaland’s commercial hub, Dimapur, without any means to go home or provide for their families.
One man, who did not wish to be named, arrived at Khatkathi in Assam for work on March 21 from New Delhi, where he resides with his family, and was scheduled to go back on Tuesday but has been left stranded.
“What will happen to the poorer section like us? I have no means to earn and provide for my family with me stuck here,” he told Eastern Mirror, adding that starvation would be the cause of death for many before the Covid-19 gets to them.
With no prospect of earning for the next three weeks, Wapangla Jamir, a 62-year-old woman from Dimapur who sells vegetables in New Market, expressed anguish over the grim situation.
“I earn INR 500-600 a day and need to feed six people at home; I am very sure we will run out of food soon,” she said.
Some Indian states have reportedly promised to help daily wage earners by directly transferring cash into their accounts, but even such mode of help might not benefit many, especially those from remote areas.
“I buy vegetables at wholesale and sell it in the market; I don’t have any bank accounts and I rely on cash only,” said Jamir.
In a telephonic conversation with Eastern Mirror, Chief Secretary of Nagaland Temjen Toy assured that the government would “actively” concentrate on finding a solution to tackle the issue faced by daily wage earners in the state.
“Since the pandemic (started), a number of priorities have come up for the government starting from being prepared and this is one of them; we are not a rich state but this is one of our priorities,” he said.
“We are working on it and something will come into place very soon regarding this issue,” he assured.
Further, the chief secretary has appealed to health centres and NGOs to come forward and help the poorer section of the society by donating food and other basic items.