Guwahati: "If there is a lockdown, I will surely die. I haven't thought beyond it, I have not tried to put the pieces together. Earlier, I used to earn between Rs 400-500 on a daily basis, but my daily income has shrunk to less than Rs 100, what will happen if there is lockdown again?", Samanta Biswas, a cycle rickshaw puller who operates on the Guwahati streets told The Sentinel Digital, expressing concern about the impending lockdown.
"Nobody gets up on a rickshaw nowadays as everybody if scared of the corona. I have four mouths to feed, so I have no idea how to do it. The lockdown surely signals at tougher times for us, although it could be easier for servicemen and women", he further adds.
When Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma announced another lockdown in Guwahati during a presser, apprehensions ran high in the capital city. The lockdown story has been a long and arduous one for the people, and while many support it as an absolute necessity, some like Biswas lament that it is in fact a bane for the poorer classes.
Arup Barman, an accountant, however, brightened up at the news of the lockdown. Talking to us, he said that a lockdown is absolutely welcome at this point as city inmates have flagrantly defied the Government-prescribed rules and regulations that have been put in place by the Government to contain the contagion. "This is a piece of absolutely good news as no social distancing has been observed by the people of the city. You can see countless people not donning masks. Doubling on bikes is also commonplace now. You can still witness mega crowds in places like Fancy Bazar. Many people are not using sanitizers either. If community transmission is to be averted, this is the only way and I feel the Government has taken the right decision."
After Assam Health Minister announced in a press briefing that Guwahati, Assam's largest city, would once again be placed under lockdown for a period of 14 days, a sense of panic pervaded the city. Soon afterward, the streets were choc-a-bloc full of people and vehicles, out for panic buying excursions. By all accounts, the lockdown will be more stringent than ever, and people are looking to stock up for the coming week, which will see shutters drawn over every business and establishment except the health-related ones.
"The sales have been poor ever since the first lockdown hit, and there is nothing that can be done to undo this. Some people have money which will tide them over the crisis period. Others, I believe will not be so lucky. All of us will need to stock up on ration, which is where the poor will suffer because some people need to work on a daily basis to earn their keep", said Basu Haloi, who owns a grocery store in Six-Mile, one of the buzziest locales in the city.
Hitesh Nath, the housekeeper at a city hotel says that the hotels are operating with a skeletal staff, but there is no way around it as certain adjustments are bing made. "Lockdown is a must, at this point and I truly believe that they (the Government) have done the right thing. The hotel and hospitality sector has suffered crippling for where once we ere operating with 30-35 employees, we barely have 10 to keep pace as we have been re-set as quarantine centers. However, the Government has taken the right decision by enforcing lockdown", he said.