We are currently in the first week of the 3 week long lock down. Since the lockdown was announced suddenly, and that was understandable because the spread of virus could not have been delayed by any means. But beyond that urgency and emergency there are questions that later surfaced up. For example, the question of the migrant labourers who were left in the middle of nowhere. They had no place to work at, no place to stay, and no means of transport to travel back to their native places. Similarly a crisis in the offing can be the shortage of eatables and other day to day items for the people now restricted to homes. At a place like Kashmir that is known for storing good amounts of rice and other dry eatables the administration might find a reason in being complacent, but the case is not so. There is a huge number of families who can’t afford to buy things for so long a period. Two, there are certain things that disappeared from the markets very soon as the more well off people stored more than required quantities of these goods. Three, the pattern of living has changed here too, and the older ways of having huge quantities of food items in an average household no longer permits. Given these factors administration must start making these goods available in ways that don’t defeat the over all purpose of lockdown.
There can be many ways of doing that, some of which have already been announced. One can only ask the administration to start distributing these items efficiently, so that no one remains unattended. Besides, such goods can be stocked at multiple points, and those turned into sale desks. People can call the concerned desk and book the order that can later be home delivered. The usual distribution points in terms of PDS depo may not be sufficient. More places should be identified and publicised. This should be taken on a war footing because if there are crisis of food shortage it would create a chaotic situation compounding our problems.