The extension of the lockdown period brings  in more misery for the poor in Uttarakhand 

BD Kasniyal/Ajay Ramola,

GG News Bureau,
Pithoragarh/ Dehradun, 20th May. The extension of the second phase of lockdown has aggravated the suffering of the daily bread earners, migrant workers and destitute in villages and town of the border who are feeling the pinch due to the dwindling income and other essentials in the border district of Pithoragarh in Uttarakhand.

“The numbers of small shopkeepers, street Venders, labourers people working in shops and contract workers in towns are entering the vicious poverty cycle and finding it extremely difficult to meet their daily needs due to the absence of jobs during the lockdown period.

“We have demanded from the government to provide a monthly sum of Rs 10000 to each such family till the lockdown situation remains. “said Mathura Dutt Joshi, state spokesperson from the Congress party.

In villages, daily wage labourers, widows, destitute and craftsmen are facing shortages of essential goods as presently no means of livelihood exist for them due to the closure of economic activities following lockdown.

“I used to work as a daily wage labourer in the market and fended for my family with the meagre income b but due to no work situation in my village am left with no work and finding it difficult to feed my family,” said Janki Devi, a widow in Bisun village of Bungachina area of Pithoragarh district.

“We have some relief due to free or cheap ration being provided by the government through fair price shops, otherwise it would have been tough to overcome such situation. “said Hari Nandan Pandey , another daily wage earner from the same village.

Several villagers who used to earn their livelihood in industrial towns of the country have returned home after lockdown and were earning their livelihood through road construction works being run under MNREGA.

“I used to work with some industry in Mumbai but after the second phase of Corona, our factory shut, we had to return home to work as a labourer in my village. Presently, I am getting work but there is no guarantee till when it will last, “said Shamsher Singh, a villager from Rawatgara village who is working as a daily wager in some road work in his village.

As the destitute face shortages of essentials gods, No one without uttarakhand police seems coming to help, police personnel are helping poor people with essential goods needed for the family. “To provide essential goods to poor people under our Mission Hausla campaign, we have opened control rooms in our police stations and helping families as per the information of shortages. “said Shukhbir Singh Superintendent of police (SP) Pithoragarh. The similar condition prevails in other adjacent districts.

According to Champawat district SP Likeswar Singh besides the food, the police is also providing medicines to needy poor persons. “Our Jawan are ready to fetch essential needs to poor persons any time on getting information. “said the Champawat SP.

Some street venders from outside the district, who used to earn on daily basis said that they are facing dire conditions in second lockdown.” I was already repaying loans taken during unemployment in first phase of Covid 19 virus wave, the second phase has returned with dramatic strength. If the surge continues then I will not be able to support, my family which I am doing presently through loan and some financial help from friends.  provide my family till I gets loans from my friends and relatives, said Sikander, an auto technician from Pilibhit, (UP) working in Pithoragarh.

The taxi operators are also feeling the heat due to the Lockdown as with no tourists they are finding it difficult to repay the loans they had taken prior to Lockdown for their vehicles.

Sunder Singh Panwar, president of Uttarakhand taxi operators association a resident of Dehradun, said that the inflow of tourists has stopped in Uttarakhand due to the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic for the second year which has resulted in no income for the taxi operators who are solely dependent on tourists.  He also said that taxi jeep owners are finding it difficult to repay their vehicle loans and are being harassed by the bankers. He also demanded that the taxi drivers working for various government and health departments should be declared as Corona warriors as they too are risking their lives while ferrying the Covid 19 positive dead bodies from hospital to crematoriums.

For the labourers from Nepal the difficulties have multiplied as they have no one to fend for themselves and as they do not have any social security Identification, they are not eligible for government scheme.

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