Daily bread earners hit in lockdown for lack of food support

2021-07-31, 2:33pm Editorials

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Lockdown in Dhaka. Creative Commons.

The present spell of a fortnight-long lockdown, the harshest so far, aimed at bringing down the Covid-19 death and infection rates against the onslaught of the Delta variant of the coronavirus coming from across the border, has made people, especially the daily bread earners, pass through a difficult time.

As the death as well as infection rates have broken previous records and law enforcement activities of agencies including the Army, the BGB, RAB and police have also become tougher , people needing to go out to meet urgent requirements have no option but to stay indoors. Poor people who venture to go out face arrest or fine.

In capital Dhaka alone, more than 4000 people have been arrested for the last eight days. Hundreds have been fined for violating lockdown restrictions. The arrests obviously create further pressure on the jails which are packed with prisoners.

Despite the compulsion of the lockdown people need to go out. The poorer section of the people have to go unfed or half-fed if they cannot earn their bread, because the lockdown has not been accompanied by a systematic arrangement for distribution of food to those who need it. The effort of the administration to give food support to the poor is not backed by a reliable database on the poor in both urban and rural areas. On the other hand the new poor created by the pandemic by costing people their jobs or day-to-day earnings suffer silently in shyness.

Of course the government has strengthened its efforts to collect corona vaccines from a diversity of sources and with it the vaccination drive. About 26 million doses of vaccines have so far been collected in July. A plan has been announced to start inoculation of vaccines from August 7 at the Union level on production of National Identity Cards (NIDs). The drive however appears to have lost prioritisation of vaccine recipients, age or profession wise.

Against this backdrop the people are not only unable to move but also face harassment. Not a word of protest is being raised as there is neither politics nor active political parties in the country now.