How Is The Coronavirus Outbreak Affecting Rural Life?

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The entire globe is suffering from the Covid-19 pandemic. It is taking over the world by leap and bounds, affecting millions of lives. Various countries are practicing social distancing to fight the coronavirus, but things are getting out of control. This pandemic is testing our patience, and hope is something we all have right now. For the past two months, this pandemic has changed how we work, learn, and play. Sports leagues got canceled, schools are closed, and many people are strictly working from home. Some people are still trying to adjust with limited supplies. Besides, everyone is discussing the impact of coronavirus on the internet. It has badly affected India’s economy, and living in urban areas is paused. However, nobody is talking about the severe impact of coronavirus on poor people and in rural parts of India. According to the sources, more than sixty-eight percent of Indians are living in rural regions.


Small communities in villages got severely impacted, and the main reason is due to the loss of jobs as well as daily or weekly wages. Moreover, they have no savings at hand to buy essential stuff. Their family is mostly dependent on their income, which they earn daily. But due to lockdown, they have lost the opportunity to earn money. Furthermore, low levels of nutrition, lack of awareness, fear of the pandemic, and various other factors are adding to this issue. Villagers aren’t aware of the virus, and this is why there is a risk of spreading in rural areas. Besides, they also have insufficient and ill-equipped health infrastructure. Another impact of the Covid-19 pandemic is on agriculture. Numerous farmers are facing issues to sell their products due to lack of transportation and the inability to access markets. Unfortunately, they have to sell their crops at cheaper rates and settle for lower profits. It is a total loss for them because they are the bread earner of the family. It’s been two months, and still, there is no solution. Even the government is stopping the trucks from entering the cities.


Coronavirus affecting the lives of poor people


On March 24, 2020, when Modi announced the first lockdown for three weeks, many migrant laborers such as shop assistants, road constructors, cooks, security guards, rickshaw drivers as well as, food stall runners were concerned about getting back to their native places. Moreover, they didn’t have enough resources and money to use that is why they were too desperate to leave cities. It was very heartbreaking to see about two hundred workers trekking on roads for two days just to return to their villages, which were 500 to 800 kilometers away from the city. Some didn’t even know where the next meal will come from. Some had to spend their nights on the roadside because they didn’t have any roof. In the first lockdown, all the transportation, such as buses, trains, and cabs, had been suspended for three weeks. Authorities had tightened the surveillance to stop people from entering other zones, fearing that they could carry coronavirus to the communities.


Some of the laborers may never return to such cities, which abandoned them during tough times. The government should have at least notified the people before the announcement. They had little time to evacuate cities. Nobody thought about what would happen to poor and needy people before imposing the lockdown. The rich people were returning from their travel abroad carrying the virus, and the government didn’t stop them. Later on, the government realized that they were not properly screening infected people from abroad. And it was too late to go back, and by then, the damage had already been done. Now, the government is also ordering planes for thousands of Indians who are stuck abroad. However, the administration is still unable to see millions of poor people affected by the novel coronavirus. Many of these don’t even know what Covid-19 pandemic, coronavirus, lockdown, or quarantine means. It pains me a lot to see thousands of migrant workers still yearning to return to their villages where they have food, shelter, and support from their communities.


Lockdown disrupting the life of villagers


From poor health care to poverty, from fake news to mass reverse migration, various villages are facing crises in India. There is one section in India that has enough money to survive the entire lockdown. But there is another section that doesn’t even have basic food like wheat and rice in their homes. Some workers have already gone to their villages, and are working on the farms to earn money. This pandemic has become a nightmare for laborers, small-time traders, and farmers in India. Before lockdown, in rural areas, people were busy working, be it manual labor or farming crops. When the first Janta Curfew got announced, the villagers did not know about it. Even the local authorities failed to visit every village to spread awareness about the pandemic.


Sadly, half of the population in villages doesn’t use cellphones or read a newspaper either. In the villages, mostly, farmers are affected by this pandemic. It was the time of the harvest for them, and they had no clue about the virus. In the current situation, they can’t use harvesters and tractors because they need petrol, diesel, and other commodities. And to buy this stuff they will have to go to the town. Unfortunately, they can’t due to the lockdown. They are scared to leave their houses to sell their produce. Consequently, their produce has started rotting, and on the other hand, people in towns are unable to get fresh fruits and vegetables. Moreover, there is a shortage of labor to assist farmers in harvesting and transporting crops. Even the trucks are unable to come because they are stuck in the cities.


Life in villages is getting tough these days. The villagers don’t have money to buy groceries or other essential commodities. Even the shops in the villages are running out of stock. The situation for old people and differently-abled ones is also getting worse. Luckily, a few small nonprofit groups are trying to help needy families in villages. I hope the villagers get some help from the government. This dark phase will pass soon.

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