GUWAHATI, March 22 - Leader of the Opposition in the Assam Legislative Assembly Debabrata Saikia has called upon the State government to provide financial assistance for vulnerable groups like small traders, self-employed persons and daily wage earners whose incomes have suffered due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
In a letter to Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, the senior Congress leader urged that the State government should take initiative for ensuring that the tea gardens in Assam are closed down till March 31 without any cut in the wages of the workers.
Saikia said the Kerala government has announced a Rs 20,000-crore financial package to tide over the present crisis being faced in that state due to the epidemic and added that the Assam government could learn from the southern state.
�The government has a responsibility towards its citizens, especially those who are from the lower socioeconomic segment. Such people should be provided financial assistance in this time of pandemic so that they can self-quarantine at home,� said the Leader of the Opposition.
He said small traders, self-employed persons and daily wage earners are among the worst affected due to fall in day-to-day economic activities on account of coronavirus.
�Labourers, rickshaw pullers, small vendors and owners of small businesses are facing a lot of adversity and they have witnessed a drastic fall in their income level. Many self-employed people, like cab and taxi drivers, who have taken loans from banks to start their businesses are also facing a lot of difficulties. The government should provide assistance to such people and the banks should relax rules regarding payment of monthly EMIs,� said Saikia.
He urged the government to direct the management of tea gardens to cease work at least till March 31 without any cut in wages of workers.