By Arré Bench Mar. 30, 2020
The stories emerging from rural India are truly heartbreaking. In Rajasthan, men and women looted a truck carrying flour, as the supply of essentials has stopped amid the lockdown. In Karnataka, a farmer had no choice but to throw away tonnes of grapes, since there were no buyers.
As India’s 21-day nationwide lockdown over the coronavirus outbreak continues, there’s a growing divide in the country between those who have the means and privilege to weather the lockdown’s consequences, and those who have to resort to extreme measures just to survive. For the past few days, news has been emerging of migrant workers trekking hundreds of kilometres on foot to return to their villages, facing starvation, thirst, and exhaustion on top of the threat of contracting COVID-19. It’s a desperate situation, and has led some to take desperate measures.
This is just begining
An incident of a flour truck loot happened near Kota, Rajasthan as some bikers chased the transport truck carrying flour to the market and attacked it. pic.twitter.com/ku1dQojt2u
— remia (@remiadevan) March 29, 2020
This video of people in Rajasthan looting a supply truck of sacks of flour that is doing the rounds of social media is a graphic reminder of how hard this lockdown has hit some sections of society that they are resorting to crime. While Rajasthan Police have arrested 10 people in connection with this incident of looting, the owner of the truck was sympathetic toward the looters.
Truck owner says nothing wrong if starving people have looted atta from my van. Rajasthan police, reporting to Gehlot govt, wants to punish themhttps://t.co/yBvSFseTFa
— Aunindyo Chakravarty #DesiDemocracy (@AunindyoC) March 30, 2020
It’s not just consumers of commodities who are beginning to feel the pinch caused by this massive countrywide lockdown. Even the producers of our supplies, the farmers and agriculturists, are facing a difficult situation as the disrupted supply chains cause their produce to go bad, or become otherwise unusable.
Munishamappa a farmer in #Chikkaballapur decided to dump loads of #Grapes cultivated at his #VineYard into a compost pit as buyers failed to turn up citing lack of #transport due to #CoronaLockdown #COVID19 #agriculture #farmer @DeccanHerald @CMofKarnataka @PMOIndia @narendramodi pic.twitter.com/B78BpAdYtZ
— Niranjan Kaggere (@nkaggere) March 29, 2020
This video of a grape farmer in Karnataka dumping his harvest into a compost pit since buyers failed to reach him in time due to the lockdown speaks volumes about how bad things are getting for those who depend on an interconnected supply chain. While the well-off in cities are bemoaning their lack of socialising options, some workers are staring at the destruction of their livelihoods in the face.
This trend of goods and supplies going to waste began even before the lockdown was formally announced. Even more shocking than the video of the grapes being dumped was one of a poultry farmer burying a truckload of chickens, as the price of meat falling due to the COVID-19 outbreak made the birds less valuable than the feed he was giving them.
A dejected farmer Nazeer Makandar from Lolasoora village in #Gokak, #Belagavi decided to bury #chicken from his #poultry farm, following steep fall in price due to #CoronavirusOutbreak. @DeccanHerald @CMofKarnataka @mani1972ias #Coronavid19
Nazeer Makandar pic.twitter.com/OExEPM39ay
— Niranjan Kaggere (@nkaggere) March 10, 2020
The coronavirus outbreak is putting the squeeze on both ends of India’s supply chain, and even if a vaccine for COVID-19 is soon developed, the country’s economic recovery might take even longer.