Lost the plot?

Saturday, 06 March 2021



Lost the plot?

Swapnil Bharali | June 27, 2020 19:06 hrs

“Unlock, unlock, unlock,” said PM Modi hardly two weeks ago. This mantra echoed in the words of HBS as well; Guwahati had 'unlocked' much ahead of the rest of the nation, thanks to his gumption. And so you ponder: why another 14-day lockdown for Kamrup(M)? 

Whether this decision actually results in controlling the spread of Covid-19 in Guwahati only time will tell. The tale of the statistics post the earlier prolonged lockdown was all about influx of passengers leading to exponential growth in positive cases.

But what this lockdown would surely do is further cripple the already limping economy. Massive losses on all fronts is a given. Take the case of the essential goods stocks in transit. With no labour force to unload and no trucks to relay the distribution chain, the fate of these perishables is sealed. The ripple effect will be scarcity and price rise in the city’s markets as and when this latest lockdown is unlocked. Not to forget those wholesalers and traders who would be extremely apprehensive of ordering new supplies for fear of wastage.

Beyond all these potential losses are of course the lives of the daily wage earners for whom this latest announcement is akin to sounding the death knell. Already reeling under transit and travel hardships and looking to revive their sagging lives through daily earnings, a 14-day lockdown which does not guarantee the death of Covid-19 would surely be the cause of economic death of this huge workforce. 

What spurred this decision of the government is difficult to fathom especially in the backdrop of the central government’s announcement that Indians have to learn to live with Covid. With a low fatality rate, the recovery rate so promising and the total number of positive cases being more than modest, wouldn't it have been more prudent that Covid-19 protocols were more proactively enforced by the authorities rather than imposing another prolonged lockdown that comes with no guarantee of flattening the curve, leave alone eradicating the disease altogether?

Cities that have been affected far worse – Mumbai for example – have far more lenient protocols simply because the nation has to get on with life and the clarion call now is for the economy to revive. That livelihood is as important as life itself has been made loud and clear by no less that the PM himself. This lockdown makes one wonder if the state government has somehow actually lost the plot.

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