Everyone is well aware of the fact that India, at the moment, is under complete lockdown to check the spread of coronavirus pandemic. The nationwide lockdown has created a panic situation in the country, especially for the daily wage workers who are not able to survive in urban areas without work. They can not even go back to their villages as they are stranded in cities.
People have been told to stay at home but what about those who are daily wagers and homeless? Now, as many as 300 people have thronged the Basirhat-Malancha road in Kaharpara, West Bengal earlier this week defying Covid19 lockdown directives. They alleged that the local panchayat is not providing them the ration as per the promises made by the state during the 5-week-long shutdown.
Daily wage workers are struggling for ration in the state of CM Mamata Banerjee during the lockdown. TMC MP Nusrat Jahan, on the other hand, is busy on TikTok, while hungry people are protesting outside her home. The Trinamool government in the state failed to supply ration and other essential commodities to poor people amid shutdown. People of West Bengal, especially poor, middle class, daily wagers, and other weaker sections are living in an extremely bad condition with no food to eat and no access to other facilities.
These people are said to hail from about 250 under-privileged families of Pifa village, that come in Basirhat-1 block in the 24 Paraganas (North) district of West Bengal. One of the women “Saraswati Kahar” from the crowd said that her family had been fighting against hunger since the government announced lockdown across India. The state government made a promise that it would supply ration through panchayats, but the commodities had not reached the poor commoners like Saraswati. “Most of us are day wage earners and have no money. We are finding it tough to make ends meet.” said Saraswati.
The condition across the country is critical due to the coronavirus pandemic. Homeless people and daily wage workers, who migrate to big cities from their home towns in search of jobs, are now fighting against hunger.
People came on the street to protest against panchayats and the protest started at 8 AM on Monday morning and continued for three hours; the crowd seemed to be in no mood to listen to anyone. However, a police team led by Abhijit Sinha Mahapatra arrived at the site and tried to convince the protestors to call off the demonstration. Mahapatra, who is Basirhat’s sub divisional police officer also assured that he would look into their grievance.
The demonstrators demanded an on-the-spot commitment from the development officer and asked local panchayat authorities to release the essentials and ration at the earliest. Alamgir Mondal, Deputy chief of Pifa’s gram panchayat somehow managed to talk to them and promised to supply them with rice within three days.
“There was a delay on the part of the local block administration. We will now prepare the list of the beneficiaries and distribute rations to them. It will take a few more days,” said Alamgir. However, in the face of the villager’s questions about how would they survive without rice for three days, the panchayat chief had no answers.