The unsung migrant story
The migrant population has been prevailing in India over the years but never before was their plight manifested as it is today amidst the endless lockdowns imposed one after the other due to the coronavirus pandemic. Most of us had a feeling that the migrants are located mostly in Goa since it is a craze among the locals to migrate abroad for better prospects and indisputably the void created therein had to be filled in with the outsiders. However, only when there were such unimaginable scenes of mass exodus of the migrants from all over the country during that we came to realise that this acute problem prevails everywhere.
Importantly all people cannot be masters in all skills and that is one reason why people drift from one State to the other where their demand is felt. Most of these labourers are engaged in the unorganised sectors and accordingly when the businesses almost came to a grinding halt under the lockdowns this workforce was left without any job to maintain their livelihood. There was an ardent appeal from the government not to cut the pay of any employees but that is difficult to implement in most of the sectors when their income itself was nullified by the lockdowns.
Though some State governments assuring of help pleaded to these workers not to leave their places, there was lacuna everywhere, and the migrants left without any assistance but further burdened by the landlords to pay the rent for their premises had no option than to revert to their native land at least to be amidst their kinsmen.
It was a pitiful sight of a man pulling the bullock cart or a woman dragging the suitcase with a child sleeping on it. The accidents and loss of lives of these migrants is another pain difficult to digest. Steps have been initiated by the Centre with the Rs 20 lakh crore financial package under the ‘atmanirbhar’ movement to revive most of the sagging areas but with the dispersion of the labour force it will be a long way before normalcy is restored. We hope that this unique exodus will usher in a new era where the migrant labour will be respected and not treated scornfully.
Michael Vaz, Merces
"Cyclone Amphan" has weakened into a depression but it has caused much damage. Wind speeds, ranging from 30 km/hr to 160 km/hr, tested the nerves of the people and authorities in West Bengal and Odisha. Trees were uprooted, and electric supplies snapped even as the NDRF strived to restore power. Though the winds were, comparatively, 'weak', the Amphan was clubbed under 'supercyclone' category, and 'severe'. Some old timers say Amphan was the most deadly cyclone to have ever battered Kolkata. The anticipation quotient of the authorities definitely helped a lot. The evacuation of lakhs of people, susceptible to the cyclone, helped a great deal in mitigating the severity of destruction of Amphan. Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) was spot on in its prediction of the movement of Amphan. Emergency helpline numbers were intimated to the people. The governments of WB and Odisha made sure contingency infrastructural revival plans were available at their beck and call.
The marauding presence of 'COVID-19' hampered rescue and rehabilitation. Rescue and relief were slightly slowed down by the dual responsibility shouldered by the teams. The imperativeness of social distancing and sanitisation pushed the authorities and people to a catch-22 situation. Balancing cleanliness and clearance, the rescue teams swiftly came to terms with the ground realities. Many available spaces in towns and villages were used up for 'quarantine', so people battled piquant circumstances. But they kept intact their presence of mind, shunned rumours, and take recourse to available places to stay safe from the cyclone.
The seriousness and sensitivity, enthusiasm and preparedness shown by different units, especially in the midst of corona, in foiling the fury of Amphan is laudable. The Centre should extend a helping hand to WB and Odisha to put the pieces together.
Ganapathi Bhat, Akola
Reduction in chapters
As announced earlier the academic year is to begin from August 1, 2020.
As the period for teaching - learning is short from August 2020 to March 2021 before the final exams commence, there is need to reduce the number of chapters/units in each subject at the SSC level at least by 30 per cent so that the teachers and students are not under pressure to do the justice to the portion.
It is therefore suggested that the Board of Studies at the Education Department should meet to decide which chapters/units to be deleted in all the subjects for the academic year 2020-2021.
Aureo Cunha Gomes, Mapusa
Stop the blame game
One of the good things that happened to me during this lockdown phase is that I developed the habit of reading the newspaper daily.
My observation tells me 'A' happens, 'B' and 'C' start what one calls the blame game. Let us all be informed that being a politician is also one of the many professions one can choose. However, the moment we start pointing out and highlighting the other person's or party's weaknesses and lack we give birth to 'dirty politics'.
One of the things I have learnt while drafting formal letters in school and is a good practise to practice is that do not just put light on the problem but also come up with tentative or even better feasible solutions.
If each of us takes it upon ourselves to make a difference we will be busy working in that direction rather than getting busy in finding loopholes in others. Let us choose to be constructive and productive and eliminate the thought of being detrimental.
Luiza Fernandes, Merces