Compulsion behind 5 days ultimatum ; Fate of small time businesses
It is the compulsion behind the 5 days ultimatum that should be understood. The question is whether any steps have been taken up to study, understand and emphatise with the condition of the women vegetable vendors and others who ply their trade at the three Ima Keithels to feed, clothe and educate the youngsters of their families. To say that they ply their trade at the three Ima Keithels to contribute to the family income would place them in a much better position for this observation comes with the understanding that there are others in the family who are earning as well and that they are not the sole bread winners of the family. This would be the ideal situation, but the reality is this could be far from the truth and many of the women vendors who ply their trade at the three Ima Keithels are the principal bread earners of the family. And their trade has been cut off since March 22, three days before the Nationwide lockdown was imposed. Waking up to the reality of the situation earlier than the rest of the country, but has there been a corresponding follow up after the three Ima Keithels were shut on March 22 ? This is a question which everyone should have raised a long time back. An ultimatum of five days and this is what some of the womenfolks believe is the best way to wake the Government to their plight and it is unfortunate to see that women traders who are associated with a unique landmark of Manipur have to take up such a stance. It also stands that the lockdown has greatly affected every section of society and not only the women traders at the Ima Keithels. This is a point which could not have blown over the head of the women traders.
Unlock 1. And now Unlock 2 and there is a reason why the Unlock series has started, despite the fact that the number of infection continues to rise sharply with each passing day. It will take time but a beginning has to be made and the Unlock series which has been started should be understood in the face of the grim reality staring everyone in the face. Here in Manipur as part of Unlock-2, inter-district bus service has resumed and this should be understood as slowly and gradually opening the door for the numerous small time traders to start moving from one district to the other to sell their wares, though taxi service including the all time favourite of many small time traders, the passenger autos are yet to resume service. Schools continue to remain shut and while a debate has been raging on whether teachers of private schools should be paid or not during the lockdown and whether fees should be charged on the students or not, no one has given any thought to the school vans, which pick up and drop young students. It is in the face of this reality that it is not uncommon to see some enterprising van drivers turning their school vans into mobile vegetable stores moving from one leikai to another to sell their wares. The global pandemic has surely taken a heavy toll and numerous small time businesses, such as the leikai tea stalls, have gone bust. It is against this ugly reality that the stand of the women vendors of the three Ima Keithels should be understood. The big question is, what are the steps the Government is mulling to revive the economic activities of the people. Lockdown is just a fraction of the fight against the coronavirus.