Dr Mukul Pai Raiturkar, an eminent specialist in internal medicine, had a thought-provoking response when asked to react to the shutting down of shops inside the Kadamba Transport Corporation (KTC) bus stand and other areas in the broad radius of the Fatorda stadium for the PM’s visit to Goa on October 26 to inaugurate the National Games.
He quoted the famous lines of writer George Orwell, where he said: “Our politics should be where our heart is, slightly left of center. Either we all live in a decent world, or nobody does.”
The Prime Minister’s security cannot be compromised in any situation and all security measures are not only justified but have to be left to the experts who are designated to protect him. These security measures lead to stoppage of traffic and blocked roads. However, when the security drill leads to shops and establishments shut for 72 hours for the security teams to sanitise the area, it leads to a massive fallout in the lives of those who eat what they earn on a daily basis.
When livelihoods are hurt and there is pain, people always remember and take note
These are Atma Nirbhar people. They don’t look for government jobs, most of them are not beneficiaries of government schemes. They feed their families on the small businesses they set up, even employing others in the process and contributing to the financial ecosystem of the state by paying their taxes. Some of them as gadda owners or small tea shops and restaurant owners keep alive a crucial livelihood channel for the suppliers of raw materials, fruits, vegetables, fish and meats.
What has surprised many is the decision to close down all shops in the KTC bus stand, which is not quite in the vicinity of the PJN stadium, where the Prime Minister will inaugurate the National Games, but on the main road much further back. Three days is indeed a long time. Sensitivity can easily be shown by working out a compensation formula based on the size of the establishment and its daily earnings. This should be notified and the Collectors authorised to disburse these amounts in the wake of any such closures. These can be expensed under the crores rightfully spent on guarding India’s Prime Minister. A compensation component will infuse humanity and sensitivity in an exercise where the poor and the marginalised are more than inconvenienced, their livelihoods are hurt.
If the pain of the poor needs to be dealt with, a notified compensation plan for business losses during shut shutdown of their businesses, on occasions like this, will help restore trust and faith in the system.