Sahidul Islam Nirab (Editor of The Daily New Sun)
During the ongoing strict lockdown, the mostly poor people are being arrested daily from the different streets who have to come out for their daily bread defying the restrictions and health guidelines during this pandemic situation.
The government has imposed strict lockdown restrictions on people to curb the spreading COVID-19 infection but he did not think over how to survive the poor without food, especially the people who live on hand to mouth. It’s a really ridiculous decision by the government and pathetic for the poor.
Two week-long of the ongoing strict lockdown is about to come to the end but the government is yet to start food distribution for the poor. How would they live? They are in double troubles for such lockdown, if they come out of home, police arrest them. On the other hand if they don’t come out of home, they will have to starve and finally die.
Moreover, we can’t deny the necessity of strict lockdown implementation. It’s high time to enforce strict lockdown but before going to strict lockdown, the government should think over the poor people’s food necessity and where would they get their food?
On the other hand the number of cases and deaths reaching record highs every day now, the poor cannot be expected to just stay at home and starve to death. The people who have to live on hand-to-mouth are the worst sufferers. They should be given immediate cash assistance so that they can buy their daily necessary bread. If cash assistance is not given, their essential food items should be ensured.
Moreover, the poor arrestees are having to pay fines that making their lives even more difficult and their family members having to come outside and gathering outside of court premises, increasing the risk of the virus spreading.
The people living on hand-to-mouth have desperately come out of the house in search of food and work in streets and alleys in most areas of the capital.
They are mostly day laborers, part-time workers, hawkers, construction workers, street vendors, rickshaw van pullers, and such other people seeking work and food as they have no food at home.
On the other hand, a good number of private school teachers have been passing very crucial time as they have no any job to do now. Some of them became rickshaw pullers, vegetable sellers and so others but the government didn’t take any initiative to help them.
Reading a newspaper, we came to know that the Ministry of Management and Relief had allotted Tk 23,6,75000 a week before strict lockdown started on July 1 to distribute among the poor during this restriction.
Sources said Tk 50 lakh and 1000 tone rice have been allotted for each city corporation of Dhaka but they have not started distribution yet.
In this situation, all the rich people should come forward to helping the people who have been remaining unfed.
Government employees should also take a half salary as they are not going to office regularly and half salary should be distributed among the poor unfed people.
Finally, the government must find out a way to help the poor people with hand cash or food. Otherwise, it will be too tough to keep the unfed people indoors as they are hunger and their families remain hunger. To curb the covid-19 infraction, strict lockdown is as an emergency as ensuring food for the poor to survive.