GUWAHATI, March 23 - If such closure continues after March 31, then the street vendors and their family members will die of starvation not of the COVID-19, stated Naren Rajbongshi, an office-bearer of Guwahati Street Vendor Association on Monday during a conversation with The Assam Tribune.
Rajbongshi said that the coronavirus-induced closure has direct impact on each of the over 35,000 families in the city whose sole bread earner is a street vendor of Guwahati.
�The main problem is that most of the city-based street vendors usually have no savings. So in such situation, it becomes a challenge to manage daily bread and butter. On the other hand, it is an unavoidable situation and we could not compromise with our health. So in such a situation, the State government should ensure free supply of ration to us,� Rajbongshi said.
In Guwahati, most of the street vendors keep their establishments close since Monday and it will continue till March 31, as the State government declared lockdown from Tuesday evening.
�The situation is so worst that I could not explain it in words. If such situation continues then a bleak future is waiting for us. Hope the situation will come under control soon,� he added.
The Association has already moved the Deputy Commissioner of Kamrup (Metro) to provide Rs 500 as daily compensation in such crisis situation.
Meanwhile, the same situation has also surfaced in the fish and meat markets in the city. According to a source, more than 2,000 fish and more than 3,000 meat sellers have been affecting in such crisis situation.
According to Pankaj Deka, a fish seller of the city, both retail and wholesale fish markets got affected in such situation.
�Already most of the fish sellers refrain themselves from selling fish. The import of fish from outside the State also discontinue since last week. So in such a situation, if the State government starts supplying free rice, then it will be a great relief for us,� he said.
Bhaskar Das of Uzanbazar fish market said that the recent medical emergency situation posed a great challenge in front of them.
�Around 300 families will be affected due to the closure of Uzanbazar market. It is a season for local fish variety so we will face a great loss,� he added.