DailyPost 1683

India is not the first or the last country to have the second and very serious wave of COVID-19 and would not be the last one. When such waves come in future, having faced the present predicament, what mental strength one will have to face it is anybody’s guess. Unpreparedness part of the story we are all familiar with, extremely tragic for sure, given the wild west scenes of human congregations across the country, what is really wild is the response, when we realized we are neck deep into it. The  humanitarian crisis is being handled by meetings, social media, electronic media and quite often the virtual court halls, while life slides down to its existential lowest.

The first response of the political class is always to reach the site of an incident, accident, crime, natural disaster etc in no time. Empathy, sympathy, good gesture or photo-op whatever you call. Some ex-gratia amount is announced. This time the normal rigmarole is conspicuously missing. Very difficult to find any visuals of any body of worth and value visiting hospitals, testing centers, vaccination centers or the cremation grounds. The oxygen shortage generated deaths are also being treated as natural deaths and leadership and the administration is even shy of condolence messages. These are avoidable deaths for sure, even if somebody has any other opinion about other COVID-19 deaths.

The Essential Commodities Act was enacted with the purpose to regulate products in war and famine, in riots and blockades. We have not crossed the food items yet. From movie tickets to onions both black marketeering and hoarding has been our second skin. It is unbelievable that novices would move in and make business in these scary times and that too in  products like oxygen, remdesivir, beds etc. Ambulance pricing is another story. The Bangalore hospital bed racket, if it is true, as appearing in the media, puts the nation to shame. We had the kidney racket way back in the early nineties. These are the people who have been doing this for all their life, cheating, fraud and black marketeering has been their profession. They seize the opportunity as no one even imagines. They also know how to deal with the system and the law. One odd gets caught and we keep celebrating.

Unashamedly, it goes on in killing times in killing fields because of the indifference of the enforcers. From right to life to every single law has failed the test of life. Black marketeers are able to maintain their supply chain, when we are not even able to make out where our missing link is,  in the supply chain.  Can rule of law or law would take its own course be of any use for the ones who gasped to death, and also to the living who are orphaned and devastated, who don’t see their governments standing by them, whatever might be its hue and colour. Life has come to a standstill, besieged by fate and destiny, *having banked on governments, we have nowhere to go. Community is coming forth. Now we should go out of the way to create  robust community led health and social security mechanisms. Private sector will also join and support this safety net. Do we have a choice?


Sanjay Sahay

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