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COVID-19: Tales of two poor families hit by lockdown

By Correspondent

DOOMDOOMA, April 10 - Tears roll down the cheeks of Sonali Gohain Haloi as she talks about the misery faced by her family during the ongoing lockdown.

Sonali (38) is a resident of Selenguri under Kakopathar block in Tinsukia district. She has been living with her three children in a cottage located on the National Highway 52 just opposite the Kakopathar Block Development Office for the last 10 years.

�My husband, Jun Haloi, works in a shop in Tinsukia town and at present, he is staying at the owner�s house. His health is fragile due to an earlier accident in which he received severe injuries to his feet and hands. Most of his earnings is spent on medicines and treatment,� said Sonali.

�I don�t have any ration card or bank account. I did not get any food relief from the government, nor any financial help, as the officials seek papers and I only have my voter identity card and PAN card. We have been going hungry for the last three days,� she said on Thursday.

�A kind-hearted neighbour gave a small amount of rice and dal this morning, which we cooked and ate in the afternoon. We are worried about the days ahead. God knows how long this lockdown will continue,� a weeping Sonali said.

Sonali used to gather vegetables from the rural belts of the district and neighbouring Namsai district of Arunachal Pradesh and sell them in the local markets to earn some money. But the lockdown in wake of the COVID-19 outbreak has badly hit her work.

Meanwhile, deeply moved by the plight of a family in Dirakmukh Thapabari village under Hahkhati Gaon Panchayat in Tinsukia district, Deputy Commissioner Bhaskar Pegu instantly provided some relief.

Rebo Saikia, the only earner of the family, is paralysed and his only daughter, aged 25, is differently-abled.

Saikia�s wife Kanduri Neog said that neither any public representative nor any government official has helped them out, and their condition has become worse following the lockdown.

�I have a ration card in my name, but we have not got any rice or any other thing with the card,� said Neog.

A local news portal posted the story on social media, and the news about the family�s misery came to the notice of the Deputy Commissioner, who immediately sent Election Officer Saroj Sonowal with some relief materials and Rs 5,000 in cash for the family.

The relief materials were delivered to the family on Thursday. The Election Officer assured the family that the administration would take steps so that the family gets ration in future.

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