Time for kindness pandemic
Workers educated about cleanliness, given paid leave
We have a pre-press unit in Chandigarh’s Industrial Area and since cases have risen in the country we have distributed hand sanitisers to our helpers and other staff members. We are also educating them on the benefits of hand washing, how they need to cover their mouths while coughing and sneezing and how they should stay away from fake news. We have given our domestic help and other workers paid leave and plan to pay at least half of the monthly salary to our workers going forward. Let’s join hands and use our resources to help one another in the bleak times ahead.
Your helpers are your family members
India is still a developing country that has millions of financially backward families who need help. Homeowners should start treating domestic helpers like family members, give them time off with full salaries, something extra to tide over the crisis and material help. Private sector employers should also ensure their employees get all benefits. The administration should look after the safety and wellbeing of the vendors, garbage collectors, small shopkeepers and others whose livelihoods depend on their daily work. Necessary items such as milk, vegetables, fruits, grocery and medicine should be made available at their doorsteps.
Sumesh Kumar Badhwar, Mohali.
RWAs, admin should work together
Instead of making policies and programmes while sitting in air-conditioned rooms Chandigarh administration officials should work in close coordination with volunteers, philanthropic and social organisations (RWAs) to build a platform to work effectively. Right now, our MP whose job is to stand with the people at the time of crisis is missing. In her absence, the bureaucracy and municipal councillors should get in touch with all residents, through all RWAs. Instead of WhatsApp messages there is a greater need to give residents information through loudspeakers, telling them where essentials are available.
SK Khosla, Chandigarh
People, both poor and rich, need to be saved
One must ensure that all all Indians should follow safety instructions or precautions issued by the World Health Organisation, Central, state, local or medical authorities of the country. When we have been instructed to stay indoors the wise thing would adhere to rules and not venture out to pick up or spread the disease. This is not the time for showmanship. Preventing the disease from spreading and keeping the number of infected persons in control will be the most “humane” act of our countrymen. Otherwise it will be a disaster. Now is not the time to worry about the economy. The most important thing is to save everyone’s lives, the rich as well as poor.
Suresh Verma, Chandigarh
Provide shelter to those without money
Urge the government to set up relief funds where money can be donated with real time spending of funds reflected on the UT administration’s website. Use this for supplies to slums. The administration needs to look after the interests of daily wagers such as labourers. Identify genuine cases and make a list of their requirements and immediate monetary needs. Move those without absolutely any money to schools and colleges closed for temporary shelter so that they don’t have to pay rent. Get them to help sanitise the city, distribute essential need items to city sectors and do other work for set wages.
Implement relief plans immediately
The Government needs to urgently expand its interventions, and ensure the survival needs of the population are met and everyone gets medical cover. The economic plan announced needs to be implemented immediately with special focus on mitigating the economic hardships of the informal sector. The Delhi, Punjab and UP governments have come out with monthly money transfer plans, but its execution will be a problem. If the income squeeze is not rectified, the Central government will be setting the stage for its exit, just like the Chandrashekhar government saw its way out in 1991, after the Iran-Iraq war when India faced fuel rationing. Several states have unveiled plans to use public distribution systems to help the needy, particularly daily wagers, hawkers, street vendors and other vulnerable groups, but no official has explored the channel of distribution and execution of last mile delivery. A lot more needs to be done.
Rajiv Boolchand Jain, Zirakpur
Waste collectors at risk
Who are the people who face the biggest risks when it comes to getting coronavirus? Our waste collectors go from door to door to pick up trash and they are exposed to all kinds of infections. In emergencies such as this, people should donate as much of money as they can to them and the MC should increase their salaries, give them adequate safety gear, even vehicles (yes, train them to drive) and conduct regular health checks for them. People should segregate trash carefully and ensure the waste collectors do not have to muck about in the garbage to segregate it. Minimise waste so that they are not forced to cart a load of luggage. No just Covid-19, make sure their lives get easier to live.
Collection centre set up
Before Janta Curfew on March 22 we allowed all our domestic helpers to take leave, and that too with full pay till the situation improves. The waste collector has been instructed to pick up garbage only twice or thrice a week. As financial help we have paid him his monthly salary in advance in April. A collection centre at the Aggarwal Dharamshala has been set up where people can donate dry and uncooked pulses, grains and flour that will be distributed among daily wage earners and needy persons who are unable to earn money in this period.
Vinay Kumar Malhotra, Ambala Cantt
Increase ration quantity
In this critical situation residents need to co-operate their helpers by giving them a month’s full pay to ensure their survival. The government needs to increase the quantity of ration and give it to people living below the poverty line. All officials need to contribute a part of their salary for daily wagers. A fund can be started by the government where people can contribute money voluntarily. Other donations in the form of ration, clothes and medicines can be made . NGO’s can come forward to help.
Abhilasha Gupta, Mohali
Govt reserve funds should be used
The government should use reserve funds and corporate houses should pitch in to help the needy. Medical equipment should also be provided to hospitals. People should donate generously to special funds set up by the government to give a good fight to Covid-19. Government employees can contribute a day’s salary for the same. People collecting garbage should be given hand sanitisers and masks.
Show them what social distancing means
At this hour of crisis it is our duty to take care of all those are dependent on us. We need to educate people to follow social distancing rules. We are trying our best to provide our domestic helpers food items, medicines and other necessary commodities. They have limited resources to keep themselves equipped for months in a row so it is our moral duty to support them. They are our responsibility.
Opinder Kaur Sekhon, Chandigarh
Nutritious food a must
Let us contribute money for those who need help, such as garbage collectors, maids, newspaper distributors and milkmen. As Prime Minister Narendra Modi said we should not deduct their salaries. We can provide them with sanitisers, masks, handwash and handkerchiefs and ensure they do not get infected. All helpers should be asked to stay at home and take care of their children. If there are workers and labourers in your area donate clean clothes and tell them they should wash their hands every hour. Ensure they have enough money to buy healthy and nutritious food for boosting their immunity. If the garbage collectors don’t have gloves or masks, buy it for them or sound out your local councillor to ensure they get it. Write down safety measures for these people and hand it over to them to follow.
Help your helpers take care of their families
India has already entered the second stage of coronavirus and is likely to soon enter the third stage if not controlled on time. To prevent its spread people should be especially concerned for their domestic helpers and give them paid leave to enable them to take care of their families. The sick and ailing who need assistance (and don’t have contagious illness) should ask helpers to stay in their houses and make special living arrangements for them, take full care of their health and if needed take them to hospitals.
Priyam Aggarwal, Chandigarh
Free tests, treatment for poor
For our part we have resolved to pay full wages to all our domestic helpers without any deduction whatsoever. Besides, we will give them monetary hel if required. Epidemics such as coronavirus are Mother Nature’s ways of igniting ‘humane’ qualities latent in the human heart and urging us to extend our love and care to deprived fellow humans. In fulfilment of the fundamental Right to Life guaranteed by the Indian Constitution the Chandigarh administration should utilise the funds allotted to the local member of Parliament for paying wages to the poor and needy who depend for their livelihood on daily wages for the entire period of the lockdown. Any shortfall should be made good from the Central treasury. The second move would be to supply essential items for daily needs through the home delivery system. Arrangements should also be made for providing medical services such as free diagnosis of Covid-19, treatment, medicines, and quarantine facilities.
Lift up people
This is a time as good as any for the administration and municipal corporation to plan complete mechanisation of sanitation facilities in the city. Get funds from anywhere – the Centre or through corporate social responsibility (CSR) – to ensure people are not forced to manually clean up nullahs or manholes or collect trash. Train and skill them to operate the machines and help improve the quality of their lives. Look at what is happening to the world. One small virus has created havoc in this world. Now is the time to ensure we keep our cities clean, but through machines so that people don’t risk their lives working in an unhygienic environment
I’m asking my parents to help our helpers
The best way to help others is by staying at home to stop infecting others. My parents and I are also following the lockdown and following the government’s directions. I am also spreading awareness among my domestic helpers about this virus and its prevention through phone and urging my parents not to hoard things unnecessarily. I have also requested them to provide our domestic helpers with financial help or other essential items.
Saikrit Gulati, Chandigarh
Show them love, help them laugh
Next only to air and water, food is necessary for subsistence and this calls for distribution of ration/pocket allowance to the needy and compensation for those deprived of their daily wage/salary for any force majeure abstention. ‘Stay at home ‘ is the practical tip to contain the escalation of the deadly coronavirus, but the cost can be too high for many people. Our domestic helpers too deserve paid leave to look after their families and keep them safe, just like we are doing. Show them love and help them laugh a little. They must not be forced to stealthily violate curfew restrictions. And when they’re not in to help you, all your family members should share domestic chores. The golden rule: Do unto others as you wish to be done unto you must be followed in letter and spirit.
Lalit Bharadwaj, Panchkula
No panic buying or leaving homes
As responsible Indians we should follow rules set out by the government and doctors. One should be humane to oneself and others by first not going out of their homes, panic buying or stocking up items unnecessarily. The public should also make others aware of why social distancing is really important this time. The government should grant paid leave to every employee and ask the private sector to follow suit. Local residents should ask their helpers to stay at home and also ensure all strays in their locality are fed. These days everyone running after money and somewhere people have forgotten about their own interests. This curfew will help them spend quality time with their family.