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Covid-19 and Government role

By The Assam Tribune
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Arunav Talukdar

The people of India and the entire world are well aware of the coronavirus pandemic. So, rather than going into the minute details about the disease and its spread, for now let us just know the fact that it took uncountable lives since the end of 2019 up till now. The coronavirus was all over the electronic media, newspapers, social media, etc. The people are well versed about its effects and consequences which in many cases have turned out to be fatal. More than 40,000 new Covid-19 cases and about 188 fatalities were reported in India in the last 24 hours. The destruction caused by the pandemic leading to millions of deaths, economic downfall and unprecedented curbs on social interaction has already had a great effect on the mental health of the people. Covid-19 has severely affected the education of the children and youth throughout India. According to the joint report by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), as many as 41 lakh youth have lost jobs in India due to the coronavirus pandemic. The young people’s employment prospects in the country are severely challenged due to the pandemic. The sudden lockdown in India was devastating, especially for the poorer section of the society who survived on daily wages and had to walk through distances to reach their home without any help from the Government.

On March 19, 2021, a new notification was issued by the Government of Assam on the Covid-19 situation. The notification starts with a sentence that the Government has taken several measures from time to time to appropriately deal with the Covid-19 situation. The fun fact is that it is the same people in the Government which is out on the streets without any physical distancing and urging the people of Assam to join them on their nomination rallies for the Assembly election thereby creating a situation conducive for the mass spread of Covid-19. All the Opposition parties are also responsible for the same. This is just one of the examples of how the Government has taken several measures to appropriately deal with the Covid-19 situation!

Let us now move on to another point wherein the wearing of face masks has been made compulsory by the Government of India and it is noted that some persons are not complying with the use of face cover. Do that ‘some persons’ include our Prime Minister, Chief Minister, Health Minister, Opposition leaders, etc.? Because we have not seen them doing so. The enthusiasm shown by the Health Minister of Assam last year to create awareness about Covid-19 is not being witnessed during the ongoing election campaigning. So, should we think that his enthusiasm a year ago was just another political stunt? And if it was for real, then where is the enthusiasm gone now? Is risking the lives of the general public for nomination rallies and campaigning absolutely alright? Calling out people on to the streets, that too without any form of physical distancing and face covers, shows how much cautious our Government is.

The notification puts forward another point, where every person or official is being restricted from attending meetings or gatherings without wearing masks. How does that work for the MPs, MLAs and so-called star campaigners? Are they the privileged ones who are not required to maintain physical distancing or wear face covers? The Government of Assam has issued this notification for the people of Assam and is intended to keep an eye to check whether these rules and regulations are duly complied with by the public. But who will keep an eye over the blatant violation of the said rules by the Government functionaries themselves? It is a million-dollar question. This attitude of the Government simply sets an example on how this system works and how they break the rules set by themselves.

On the one hand, they create awareness and on the other, they act like a fool or make fools out of the public. The Covid-19 situation should not be taken so lightly, there has been an increase in the number of Covid-19 cases again. Asking the people to light up diyas or to take out their vessels and make sound out of it won’t help to reduce the pandemic. Only the people who suffered know how hard it is. The virus is so severe that it breaks the patient from within and eventually pushes them to serious consequences. The people should be made aware of the situation and the Government should urge them not to roam around if not necessary. But in reality, the opposite is happening.

It is unfortunately true that priority is given to elections over human lives. The world is going through a massive crisis for more than a year now. There has been a downfall of the economy, millions of people lost their near and dear ones. After such a horrific situation, we hope to see the Government act in a more cautious way. One hopes this notification doesn’t become just another piece of paper issued by the Government and the Government of Assam should start taking it seriously. There is a lot that needs to be learnt by the people in power from this pandemic. Hope we don’t suffer any more losses before we repair the loss already caused by the pandemic. Every life on this planet matters.

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