By Sundeep Pouranik
Bhopal, March 19 (IANS) Though not a single case of coronavirus has been reported in Madhya Pradesh but fear has engulfed the state. Consequently, normal life has come to a halt and markets remain deserted while the labour class is struggling to meet daily needs.
The state government has made elaborate arrangements to tackle the coronavirus. Schools, colleges, cinema halls, marriage banquets, public libraries, water parks, gyms, swimming pools, anganwadis, etc. have been closed till further orders. The system of biometric attendance of employees in offices has been discontinued.
Cultural celebrations, public ceremonies, official visits and training programmes have been postponed. Along with this, steps are also being taken to stop gatherings of more than 20 people. Similarly, arrangements have been made to stop the gathering of crowds at religious places while the entry of devotees in many temples has been banned.
The fear of COVID-19 is clearly visible in the markets which are deserted while many private institutes have asked employees to work from home. Government offices also do not have the hustle and bustle of previous days.
Suresh Kumar, who is engaged in construction work, said that he does not know what is coronavirus and what will happen to it, but it is affecting his livelihood because the contractor has stopped engaging labourers. Only a few labourers are getting work. As a result, the workers who get work one day have to wait for three days for the next job. This is making it difficult for them to run their family. Kumar and his wife are the only earning members in their family.
Ramachandra, who is involved in the hotel business, said that in the last few days the number of customers has come down significantly. All this has happened due to the fear of coronavirus, because people have started feeling that if they go out of the house to eat and meet people then they can become the victims of this disease.
Sudhir Nayak, chief of the Ministry Employees Union, said that the fear of coronavirus is also there among the government employees. This fear has increased even more in the ministries due to the absence of sanitizers etc. Senior officials have asked for screening machines as people from across the state and sometimes from abroad come here, but no action has been taken on it so far.
At the same time, the number of domestic and international tourists has also come down significantly. This is affecting the tourism industry badly. Ajay Kashyap, who is involved in the tours and travel business, said that the coronavirus has had a major impact on the tourism business. The number of foreign tourists is negligible and the tourists who had planned to come have also cancelled their trip.
The number of domestic tourists is also declining steadily. The weather was favourable for the tourism business, but the coronavirus has affected it badly.
(Sundeep Pouranik can be contacted at [email protected])