Assam opposition leader demands financial help for lockdown-affected families

Expressing concern over cases of poverty-driven suicides in the state, leader of the opposition in the Assam Legislative Assembly, Debabrata Saikia, on November 3 demanded special financial package to help families adversely affected by the COVID-19-induced lockdown.

Citing the recent instances of suicide by five members of a family in Kokrajhar and by a ‘bhaona’ (play) attire supplier in Jorhat town due to financial burden, Saikia called for a high-level enquiry into the whole issue.

He demanded that the chief minister should immediately announce a special financial package to assist the families which have been adversely affected by the series of Corona-related lockdowns and, pending passing of a full-fledged law, promulgate an ordinance to rein in certain micro finance institutions (MFIs) which are luring simple folk into a debt trap by giving loans on simple criteria and then charging compound interest from the debtors.

The Congress leader further demanded that details of the funds collected from the public by the state government in the name of combating the Corona pandemic should be made public and that the funds should be used for providing financial aid to needy families.

Saikia alleged that first the Narendra Modi government crippled the unorganized economy of the country through demonetization and the current government virtually devastated small businesses and daily wage earners via unplanned lockdowns.

Stating that he had written to the chief minister and the chief secretary several times since March about the economic hardship faced by common people and suggested several remedial measures, including grant of Rs 7,500 per month to needy families, Saikia claimed that the government has failed to take any step to alleviate the misery of common people.

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