Ganesh Das and Shivsankar Das sitting besides a railway track at Udalguri on March 28, 2020. Image: Northeast Now

Livelihoods of the daily wage earners of Assam have taken a hit with commercial transportation remaining suspended, railways at halt and hotels downing shutters amid the 21 days nation wide lockdown.

With the COVID-19 scare in the air,  for Saraswati Das, a mother of four, who resides in Oriyabasti locality near Tangla town of Udalguri worked as house maid in a couple of families is now jobless as the families have asked her to go on leave till the lockdown ends.

“We don’t have any television in the house, but people in the neighbourhood said people are dying of coronavirus and Modi has  asked citizens to remain indoors but how can families like us survive without work?” questioned Madhubala, another daily wage earner.

Shivsankar Das, 48, a cobbler who earned Rs 300-400 a day is facing trouble to feed his family of 10 members which include his wife, four daughters, one son and his grandmother and aunt.

“My meagre savings will take a hit in a couple of days, neither do I have any BPL card to obtain ration at subsidized rate.How will I feed them? ” questioned Das.

Ganesh Das, 45, who comes from the same locality, and works in a tea stall is now looking if anyone reaches them for any household chores.

Sitting beside a railway track, he said that I know ‘there won’t be anybody to hire us, but still I am taking a chance’.

“I used to earn Rs 300 every day and I have three people to feed. We will run out of food in a few days. I know the risk of coronavirus, but I can’t see my children hungry,” he said.

For Manoj Ram, 25, who works as a handyman in a commercial truck has a six member family and is out searching for leafy vegetables said managed to get vegetable fern and netted fish from the nearby Nonoi river.

“For poverty striken families life is that of struggle no government cares for our lives.” rued Manoj.

Shajid Khan

Shajid Khan is Northeast Now Correspondent in Udalguri. He can be reached at: itsshajidkhan@gmail.com