Upamanyu Hazarika, Senior Advocate, Convenor Prabajan Virodhi Manch said "We are now entering the fifth month of lockdown and while the lockdown has not been able to stem community spread, the primary casualty will now be not from Corona but from economic hardship which people are facing due to lockdowns. Barring those employed in the Government sectors and pensioners, all those who are self-employed, be it small businessmen, traders, restaurateurs, advocates etc, are all in the throes of severe economic hardship. For any self-employed person particularly in the small sector, not working for two weeks pushes them to the edge of poverty and to not work for 5 months is unthinkable".
Hazarika further stated that "There are now increasing reports of suicides owing to economic hardships, coming in from different places. Yesterday, the announcement of un-lockdown rules by the Chief Secretary shows that in terms of the effect it will be no different from a complete lockdown. Offices and establishments can open but private vehicles are banned (save and except for "official duty"). This "official duty" has not been elaborated, does it apply only to Government offices or even those who are self-employed? This "official duty" leaves a lot of room for misuse by the police, because it leaves to their discretion to determine whether a person is proceeding on official work or otherwise. For instance establishments like automobile dealers are open, if one were to buy a vehicle and drive it home, how will that be viewed? The traffic police will determine whether any travel is “official duty “, increasing harassment and corruption".
If shops are to open on either side of the street for 2-3 days in a week, it is impossible for any shop owner to sustain his business as the expenses and his salaries will far outweight the income which in any event has taken a hit during Corona times.
The primary problem is that those who have framed and are implementing the rules are in no way affected by the lockdown. Bureaucrats and Government personnel will get their salaries regardless of their working. The political class in any case are immune from any economic crisis. Most of the present day leaders in Assam, particularly in the Government have built their careers through the donation culture while establishing themselves as leaders and after coming into Government, all avenue of income through syndicates, dealings etc., are open. How many ministers and MLAs in the present Government have actually made an honest living and survive on the proceeds of their own earlier hardwork ? Will the bureaucrats, ministers and MLAs forego their salaries to empathise with the common man?
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