Mailaraiganj village in Barabanki district is eerily quiet with individuals peeping by way of their home windows — emblematic of the nationwide lockdown.
The curbs had been additional tightened after a person examined constructive for coronavirus on April 4. At the doorway of the village sit two law enforcement officials with a brown rope tied to bamboo sticks to test the entry of outsiders. Six such test factors have been set-up within the village of 5,000-odd individuals.
Although farmers concede that the restrictions are for his or her welfare, they’re watching an unsure future, and doable losses, throughout essential harvest season as a result of scarcity of labourers, diesel and fertilisers.
Sitting in his courtyard with another males in chairs, spaced at appreciable distance, is village head consultant Shibli Mian (38), whose aunt Ramzana Khatoon is the village head. “Every farmer in the village will face losses. First, it was untimely rain that gave a blow to the farmer. Now, it is the lockdown and curfew. But what can anyone do about it? It is all in God’s hands,” Mian declares resignedly.
Acknowledging the work completed by the native administration, he says that the curfew is a should for the village. “The village has been under complete curfew since April 2. We have all the help from the administration, but the village population is suffering financial losses due to the curfew. Initially, the curfew was for three-four days, but it has been extended more than once,” says
Mian who’s getting calls from individuals for necessities akin to groceries, milk, medicines, and so on. Next to Mian’s home, Santosh Kumar (35) is standing in his courtyard with a buffalo. He owns a 20-bigha land. “I had planted pepper mint on 12 bighas, wheat on the rest. Pepper mint requires water every 7-8 days. The crop may be damaged because of the shortage of diesel for the irrigation pump. The wheat crop may also face the same fate as there is an acute shortage of farm labourers. Now, what can we do? We are following orders from the officials,” says Santosh, who lives together with his brothers, mother and father, spouse and three kids.
Among the distressed farmers can be Raj Kishore Maurya (30), who has 2.5 bigahs of land. He has been unable to go to the market to purchase fertilisers. “I have not been able to remove the weeds from the pepper mint crop and that is a major concern for me. We have not been able to get fertiliser from the district headquarters. I have heard even the shops are shut. But these issues make me feel this will be a bad year for farming, the only source of my income,” says Maurya, who lives in a semi pucca home together with his spouse and two kids.
In addition, farmers concern that the village could also be stigmatised as the only coronavirus case of the district has been reported from right here. This might discourage labourers from working within the filed even after curbs are lifted.
Another farmer, Mohammad Zubair (38), shares this fear. “Everyone knows there is fear of this disease among common people, and just because the labourers are poor doesn’t mean they want to risk their life for money. This time, farm labourers who usually come from neighbouring villages will not come, I feel and it will be hard for us to harvest the crop without them,” says Zubair, who has a household of eight. It shouldn’t be solely farmers who’re in a bind.
Mohammad Irfan (34), who owns a grocery retailer on the periphery of the village, says his store has remained closed this month. “After the lockdown was announced, I have not been able to go my shop. And now, with the curfew, I don’t think there is a chance of me reopening the shop any time soon. I am suffering losses, but everyone is helpless due to the disease,” says Irfan, who lives in a joint household with 13 members, together with his two kids.
Sirauli Ghouspur’s Sub-divisonal Magistrate Pratipal S Chauhan says the curfew within the village shall be in pressure until April 14.
“We are doing everything to ensure essential supplies reach the village. We have a designated truck which is delivering milk to the village daily. We have also allowed vegetable carts to cater to the village,” Chauhan tells The Indian Express, including that the administration will observe the state authorities’s order on rest in curfew.