Farooq Abdullah calls for collective response to support underprivileged

National Conference President and MP Srinagar, Farooq Abdullah on Wednesday said the lockdown has hit underprivileged the most, while urging the affluent class of the society to come forward to help those in need.

In a statement Abdullah said the situation following the outbreak of pandemic has pushed unprivileged to hunger.

“We are unquestionably facing a big health emergency; the measures taken to curb the spread are inescapable. However, it is not the well-offs who are facing the brunt, it is the poor, who unfortunately have been thrown to wolves,” Said Abdullah. “Ours is a society of deep inequalities, for the poorest of poor, the daily wagers, the hawkers, the cabbies, artisans and other socially downtrodden sections of society, it is no less than a nightmare.”

Abdullah said a good chunk of the society lives by hand to mouth and they do not have necessary income to stock ration in their homes.

“They work to eat. The panicky buying and hoarding has also aggravated the situation exponentially. There are people who are skipping meals to bank the ration for their children. How will such families be able to spend on sanitation with their hands tight-fisted,” Abdullah said.

He said the prevailing situation was no less than a financial emergency. “The poor have been left to fend for themselves. Not just the contractual working in government, including scores of lecturers, daily wagers working in public sector have also been left high and dry. It is not an issue of a single person, it is the scores of families which are facing an existential crisis,” said Abdullah.

He said the local administration and the government haven been caught off-guard by the lockdown. “What is the much touted disaster management department up to: Aren’t we caught in an eye of a storm? Why isn’t the supply chain being adequately managed by the administration? Why are essential including mutton, chicken, grains, vegetables off the shelves in stores and shops? People living in Sher-e-Khas areas of Srinagar are facing scarcity of various basic commodities. They don’t have the land and livestock to bank on,” Adbullah said.

He said the plight of people living in suburbs of Srinagar and other rural areas was no less than depressing and the situation was as worrying in other parts of J&K.

Abdullah while expressing concern over the plight of people said, “It is up to the affluent classes, the community, mohalla and masjid committees to ensure underprivileged and those who live by hand-to-mouth are taken care of. I’m sure this too will pass, but we as a society will have to give it a collective and empathetic response,” said the National Conference President.

He said the government should ramp-up its efforts to ensure direct money transfers to the under privileged. In addition, he said, the pending wages of all daily wagers should be released immediately.

“The supply chain should also be ensured adequately. If it requires the government should ensure home-delivery of good and essentials,” Abdullah said.