Guwahati, 11th May:
Talking about the recent economic scenario amid the coronavirus pandemic, former CM of Assam Tarun Gogoi held a press conference.
Here are the statements:
Though one and half month has passed since the lock-down imposed on 25th March 2020, the number of Coronavirus cases has gone up along with the number of deaths. The only silver lining is the recovery rate which is 30.07% while the fatality is 3.3 % as compared to the advanced countries like US, Europe, Canada, etc. At the same time because of the lock-down, Millions of people have lost their jobs, livelihoods and became poor. It has become extremely difficult to meet their two square of meals.
According to CMIE -- 110 million jobs losers are there in the month of April 2020. It is really pathetic to see the lakhs of migrant labourers from different parts of the country are walking hundreds of miles with luggage on their back and head along with the children in their arms.
A few days back, a goods train ran over 17 tired labourers who were sleeping on railway track at Aurangabad and all died. It is really shameful for the country which is going to be one of the economic super power as Modiji used to say.
P.M. of India Sri Modiji who promised Achhe Din with two crores job creation in every year and to deposit an amount of Rs. 15 lakh on each Bank account is to a great extent responsible for his whimsical decision of demonetisation, wrong implementation of GST and abrupt declaration of lock-down without proper planning and policy.
Even after one and half month, we don’t have a clear picture of roadmap of Modiji’s Govt. to solve the problem particularly the loss of jobs and livelihoods of poor and vulnerable section of the people of the country. Now questions have been arising whether lock-down is going to do more harm than good. While Modi Govt. could wave of loan of defaulters like Vijay Malya, Nirov Modi,Mehul Choksi, Ram Dev etc .to the tune of Rs. 68000/- crores. Can’t the Govt. of India spend at least Rs. 500/- to each labourer along with bearing free railway journey to their respective states. At the initial stage, Modiji did not want the migrant labourers to proceed to their states which was a wrong decision.
According to me, livelihoods are more important than lives. Without livelihood one can’t bear the expenses of preventing him from Corona Virus ( Covid 19) to save his live. We have to live with Corona virus as we have been living with floods, T.B. and other dangerous diseases. The role of the state Govt. has led to economic bankruptcy whereby millions of people are losing jobs, livelihoods and particularly daily wage earners, Rickshaw pullers, Thelawala, Milk-fish producers, Animal husbandry , weavers, small businessmen, etc . State Govt. is blindly following the directions of Govt. of India though the situation is quite different in Assam. That is why our demand has been that the states should be taken into confidence by Govt. of India.
I do agree with Sri Rahul Gandhi that not only P.M., C.M., D.M.s to be equally strong but Panchayats also should be empowered. The lock-down in Tea and Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, small cottage Industries, Weaving etc. were not necessary. It could have been carried with strict compliance of social distance wearing masks and frequent hand wash. Reluctance of the Govt. of Assam to bring back the stranded people of Assam from other parts of India exposes how the Sonowal Govt. could be so inhumane and cruel which is contrary to the culture of the people of Assam. Dr. Himanta Biswa Sharma’s statement that it would lead more and more Covid 19 positive virus cases while he welcomed the students from Kota of Rajashthan and now why he is against those who are keen to come to their states. It is very strange that Health Minister in his tweet said that there is no Covid 19 testing facility at the border of Assam Bengal entry point at Srirampur. Screening and testing facility at the border is most important to check the spread of epidemic from the people coming from other states to Assam.
Every state is keen to bring back the stranded people from different parts of the country by train and buses. Till today Govt. of Assam has not taken steps for bringing back them by railway. We have not seen any concrete plan to extend financial help to the vulnerable sections who have lost their livelihoods, jobs and now finding it difficult to meet their two square of meals. Govt. has not yet started the survey of the loss of every individual or group which is very necessary to provide financial help for the survival of those people. Though the Govt. has been engaging in discussion with various groups but we don’t know which of the suggestions have been accepted and how those will be implemented. Mere discussion is meaningless unless follow up action is not taken up. We want action oriented Govt. not publicity and photo oriented.
Dr. Himanta Biswa Sharma, Finance Minister promised to create two lakh Jobs every year. Instead of creating jobs lakhs of people have lost jobs and livelihood. Not to speak of creating new jobs, they have not even been able to fill up 50000 vacancies which are lying vacant in different departments of the State Govt. On 8th May 2020 in its cabinet meeting, Govt. of Assam took certain decisions like extending working hours from 8 hours to 12 hours daily, Contract laborers and Factory Act etc and thereby doing great injustice to the labour community. The laborers who are the worst affected victims in Covid 19 Pandemic , the Govt of Assam has miserably failed in providing justice even minimum wage for the Tea Garden labourers. The decision of anti labour should be withdrawn.
I am in favour of withdrawing lock-down after completion of third phase on 17th May 2020 except hot spot areas with strict compliance of prescribed guidelines. Most of the countries are lifting lock-down in the world. For example Taiwan, the country which has more people to people, business contact and is near to Wuhan city of China has been able to contain Corona without total lock-down. There were only 440 corona cases out of which 6 died in their country.
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