Prem Kant Tiwari
Cases of Novel Coronavirus are increasing rapidly worldwide. India is not an exception. Infection cases are rising and the death toll is also mounting. Albeit, we can heave a sigh of relief that, in India the number of those who have recovered is much higher than those who died of the pandemic.
The deadly but invisible virus has dealt a big blow to the life and economy of India. The virus has badly affected almost all the nations – big or small, weak or mighty, developed or under-developed. If the situation does not improve, the 21-day-long lockdown period may be extended further.
People in India were not prepared for this lockdown. That was the reason that thousands of migrant workers and daily-wage labourers started rushing to their homes soon after the declaration of this unprecedented measure.
Exodus of several thousand people from Delhi and National Capital Region threw the norms of social distancing to the wind as they gathered roadside in huge numbers. Many of them even started walking towards their hometowns. They walked for hundreds of kilometres carrying their luggage and kids on their shoulders. One of such labourers, who was returning to Madhya Pradesh, died of cardiac arrest in Agra.
One can easily understand that neither the Central Government nor the State governments made preparations in advance to tackle such situations. Though, it may be argued that even the advanced and rich countries like the US, Italy and Spain have suffered badly owing to spread of Covid-19, they didn’t face the problem of exodus in such large numbers.
Although the respective governments advised industrial units and private businessmen not to retrench their employees during the lockdown period, many of the traders and employers turned deaf ears to the government advice. Subsequently, a large number of labourers were rendered jobless. Faced with problems of hunger and survival, they were left with no option but to leave for home even if they had to walk for hundreds of miles.
Moreover, the government couldn’t take measures to curb hoarding of essential commodities and profiteering. Just after declaration of 21-day lockdown, a number of people were seen purchasing commodities under panic. This panic buying led to skyrocketing of prices of various goods, including vegetables and fruits, However, the situation could improve only after raids were conducted at many shops and establishments.
Besides, if singer and actress Kanika Kapoor is being accused of spreading virus, it is surprising as to how she skipped screening at Lucknow airport after returning from the UK. Similarly, if the congregation of Tablighis at Nizamuddin in Delhi led to spread of virus, wasn’t it a failure of the intelligence department that they continued to assemble for such a long period, said a senior citizen. However, Kanika Kapoor and Tablighis can never be excused for their gravely irresponsible behaviour.
Medicines, masks, protective gears and sanitizers must be made available in adequate quantity and people must be made aware of the measures to overcome the crisis. It goes without saying, that people should be educated to take precautions to defeat Coronavirus and not panic even if someone is affected by the disease.