Visakhapatnam

COVID-19: lockdown deprives workers of livelihood, wages

Daily wage workers at Seethammadhara in Visakhapatnam.

Daily wage workers at Seethammadhara in Visakhapatnam.   | Photo Credit: C.V.Subrahmanyam

Free ration and financial assistance sought

The lockdown, announced by the Union and State governments till March 31 to break the chain of COVID-19 and thereby prevent the spread of the virus in Visakhapatnam district, caused inconvenience to daily wage labourers, some employees going on essential duties and petty vendors and workers, on Monday.

Deputy Transport Commissioner G. C. Raja Ratnam appealed to all auto drivers, taxi drivers, taxi and aggregators not to use their vehicles except to shift those going to hospitals for emergency medical aid or other emergencies in view of the lockdown. The permits of vehicles, violating the lockdown, would be seized and permits may be cancelled.

Emergency services

Other commercial vehicles should only be used to provide emergency services. He appealed to everyone to stay at home and prevent spread of the virus.

Though everyone agreed that it was important to enforce the lockdown to break the chain of the virus and thereby save the city and district from a major catastrophe, they felt that limited movement with precautions should be allowed. Non-essential commuting could be curbed but the police should allow those with ID cards to go for work and back home without any hindrance.

A petty pushcart vendor was selling local made masks, for ₹40 a piece, beside the Marripalem National Highway.

He was asked by the police to wind up. He had good demand as masks were out of stock at the medical stores.

Daily wage labourers, who gather at designated spots like Isukathota, NAD Kotha Road and other areas in the city and wait for those people to hire their services for the day, had to leave early in view of the lockdown.

Officials and employees of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant (VSP), who go by carpool or on motorcycles, had a tough time as they were stopped at every junction and had to plead with the police. While appreciating the efforts of the police for their role in curbing the spread of the virus, an official said

“Ours is a process unit, and production cannot be stopped. We hoped some arrangement will be made to save us the trouble of stopping every time.”

The Visakha Auto Rickshaw Karmika Sangham (CITU) said the lockdown has deprived 40,000 auto drivers of their livelihood. Sangham general secretary D. Appalaraju appealed to the government to provide free ration and ₹10,000 as assistance to each driver.

Pushcart vendors Sangham president A. Simhachalam and D. Ravi also sought assistance to the vendors due to loss of livelihood.

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Printable version | Jun 2, 2020 1:47:31 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Visakhapatnam/covid-19-lockdown-deprives-workers-of-livelihood-wages/article31146575.ece

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