Coronavirus | Lack of income causing anxiety in rural Kerala

A tribal hut made of bamboo at Pantapra Colony in Kuttampuzha.   | Photo Credit: John L Paul

Shanthi M., a 53-year-old from a family dependent on dairy farming in the Rayamangalam panchayat along the eastern suburbs of Ernakulam district, has dumped down the drain nearly 17 litres of milk daily ever since two members of her family tested positive for COVID-19. There are no takers for milk from an infected household. Nor is the family at liberty to cut grass from the neighbourhood to feed the cattle.

Sindhu Jolly, from the predominantly tribal Kuttampuzha panchayat near Kothamangalam who works as part of Kudumbashree’s tourism initiative assisting trekkers on a day-long jungle safari, also rues the raging second wave and loss of livelihood, but is confident about keeping the pot boiling. “The last lockdown did not affect out kitchen and we hope it will be the same now too,” she says.

O.T. Johnson, 56, a resident of the Varapuzha panchayat in Ernakulam which has been a containment zone for sometime now, also remains confident about essential supplies. His wife had recovered from COVID-19 in January. But the family’s only concern is that despite registering for vaccination, they have not got it yet.

While the second wave forces through rural Kerala, it is loss of livelihood that are worrying many. Baburaj Kothamuttath of Chenoli near Perambra in Kozhikode, who earns a living by renting out utensils and generators for public and private events, has been in dire straits ever since the pandemic hit in March 2020. His hopes of a recovery has now been dashed by the second wave-induced cancellation or postponement of events.

P.C. Sathyan, who runs a printing press in Nochad, says the pandemic put a stop to arrival of paper from China, which led to price rise and a fall in quality. There is loss of business too, he said.

Shibu, 40, an auto-rickshaw driver who used to take tourists around Kovalam and Vizhinjam in Thiruvananthapuram, is among the many casual workers whose livelihoods have been derailed. He has been working in plantations lately. Free ration has helped his family.

(With inputs from M.P. Praveen, A.S. Jayanth and Sarath Babu George)

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Printable version | Jun 18, 2021 2:16:48 AM |

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