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COVID-19 And The Lockdown Has Severely Affected The Tribal Communities In Tripura

Translated from Kokborok by Manisha Debbarma

As of October 1, India has witnessed more than 63 lakh positive COVID-19 cases leading to a death toll of 98 thousand. The bigger states of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh have been found to be the worst-hit. But, smaller states such as Tripura have also come under the scanner as it has recorded the second-highest Covid cases in North-East India.

From the time of the outbreak, Tripura has registered more than 26,000+ positive cases. The spread of the disease has led to a scarcity of health facilities as hundreds of sick people have lined up to be admitted in hospitals.

During the first phase of lockdown, too, the tribals of Tripura suffered acute financial losses. In a predominantly poor state, the lockdown created economic hardship for labourers and farmers alike as their livelihood depends on their daily earnings.

Many tribal youth had to return back from their jobs in other states and cities and have lost their jobs and are unable to find jobs in their villages/Representational image.

Many villagers complained that they did not have any savings or food stock to last the lockdown. Tribals in remote villages struggled as they were unable to travel and sell their products and could not earn a living to support themselves and their families. Many tribals earned their living by working in the village in other people’s houses, but due to the lockdown and pandemic, they were also forced to stay at home. Many tribal youth had to return back from their jobs in other states and cities and have lost their jobs and are unable to find jobs in their villages.

Seeing the plight of the people, the CM of Tripura provided some ration facilities to be distributed among the needy. In addition, many NGOs and tribal youth groups also distributed ration and essential items to people in remote villages.

The government has devised various ways in which to restrict the spread of the virus. In many parts of the country and in Tripura, too, the local police have been instructed to implement a strict mask policy. They visit markets and other populated areas to check if the people are wearing masks or not. They ensure that people obey the rules and regulations.

The challenge now is to prevent the spread of infection and also ensure that doing so does not hamper the economic condition of the people. Markets and public transport have opened up as many people are dependent on them for their livelihood. It is therefore important that everyone take the threat of Coronavirus seriously and follow the guidelines to ensure a balance between battling the pandemic and earning a living.

We hope the government helps resolve the problems that have arisen due to this pandemic and ensure the well-being of the people of Tripura.

This article is created as a part of the Adivasi Awaaz project, with the support of Misereor and Prayog Samaj Sevi Sanstha.

This article was first published in Youth Ki Awaaz


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