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Lockdown: Untold & unnoticed urban miseries

Taxi driver
A taxi driver transporting pineapples in his vehicle in Dimapur.

DIMAPUR, AUGUST 21: The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic-induced lockdown has hit hard the unorganized sector in the State, particularly in urban areas, whose plight continues to be ignored by the Government.
Nagaland has a huge chunk of urban population consisting of daily-wage workers in construction, some driving taxis/auto rickshaws, and others employed in the informal sector like petty business, small retail shops, etc. The pandemic has effected a massive shock to their livelihoods and wage earnings.
Take for instance the private transport sector in Nagaland. Private transporters, especially taxi drivers ferrying passengers from one district to another earn their livelihood on a day-to-day basis but with the lockdown and no relaxation in inter-district travel, their source of earning has been severely limited.
After a struggle of nearly 5 months since the lockdown came into effect in March, many taxi drivers have been forced to take up other means to earn their daily meals.
A Naga taxi driver speaking to Nagaland Page lamented that he has not earned anything for the last 5 months due to the lockdown followed by restriction on inter-district travel. He is struggling with his finances but is bearing the brunt silently.
Many of us (taxi drivers) have converted our taxis into commodity transportation vehicle within the town areas ferrying goods to shopkeepers while others have started selling fruits and vegetables in different colonies, he revealed.
“We are going through untold hardship and are even unable to feed our families,” said Krishna Das, a taxi driver, residing in the outskirts of Dimapur.
Many taxi drivers have turned to selling vegetables and pineapples purchased from Ghaspani and other nearby villages in different colonies of the town, he also informed.
Talking to Nagaland Page, Abdul Hussain, another taxi driver in Dimapur, said he never thought that the transport sector will be affected due to corona virus outbreak. For 5 months with no work and no help from any sources, he has opened a small pan shop to support his family. He said many of his taxi driver friends are also undergoing the same hardships due to the lockdown.
There are innumerable such stories of urban youth who have suffered loss of income and continue to be jobless due to the ongoing lockdown. But the irony is that miseries of urban people in this crisis have remained out of the State Government’s focus.
(Page News Service)