During shutdown, spare a thought for daily earners


A rickshaw pedals along the City Clock Tower, Dimapur. Daily wage earners are one of the most affected cohort by the current lockdown. (Morung File Photo)


Morung Express News
Dimapur/Kohima | March 24

While the lockdown on all non-essential service has been deemed a necessary measure to slow down the spread of COVID-19, daily wage earners, auto drivers and vegetable vendors need attention as the quarantine period hits them the hardest. 

One auto driver in Dimapur, while acknowledging the seriousness of the outbreak, stated that he feeds his family out of the daily earnings.

“I do not know how to feed family when the whole city gets locked down,” he said apprehensively.

There were also many who, before the shutdown on public transport, took precautionary measures and started wearing masks and carried small bottles of hand sanitizer. Some also made their own sanitizers.

A woman vendor in Dimapur said that the only way she could transport her vegetables to the market was by hiring autorickshaws. 

But now, with the closure of daily bazaars and other markets, street vendors, especially women vendors selling vegetables, are out of jobs as well. Many of them have families who depend on their earnings. 

In Kohima, many vegetable vendors packed up their makeshifts on Monday morning. Sarah, a vegetable vendor around BOC area said “these people came and told us that our vegetables would be taken away in case found for the second time.” 

In the same area, a woman who was also packing up vegetables was determined to sell the rest of her perishable stock before the authorities come checking. “We thought we were excluded from closure, so all of us came to attend to our shop,” she said.

Amidst the sudden necessary shutdown, it is apparent that awareness has not been meted to those daily wage earners and breadwinners who consider themselves victims of the lockdown. "The government give orders without alternative and expects the citizens to act responsibly," a frustrated citizen noted. 

“The fear psychosis is already there, and the frequent government orders do not offer any reassurance to the public,” another person stated adding that the families who cannot buy in bulk will be most affected.