“Diarrhea, Dehydration, Hunger, Exhaustion”: India’s Rural Poor Suffer Most Under Lockdown – P. Sainath with Amy Goodman
You saw that long march of the migrants, right? The government of India passed an order for a nationwide curfew between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.… It means that they can only now march hundreds, thousands, I mean, anywhere – they’re marching anywhere between 300 and 1,000 miles, Amy. And these people now can only march between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. in temperatures ranging – you know, in temperatures ranging from 103 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit.
Look at how it’s thinking on hunger. We have not, in living memory, seen this kind of immediate, urgent hunger on the streets as has been happening here. This country… has 77 million tons of buffer stock. You know what it’s doing with that stock? It’s given permission – the government has issued permission last month to convert large portions of rice – I don’t know how many million tons – into ethanol, so that you can create large quantities of hand sanitizer. OK? You’re destroying food grain to create hand sanitizer, which also involves large-scale use of water.
The other thing they’ve done – oh, what’s the great thing that the states have done in response to this hunger and chaos and marches? We have reopened. You know what’s one of the first things to reopen, even before the so-called relaxation of the lockdown? Thousands and thousands of liquor shops. Maybe, you know, we’re being advised that you go on a liquid diet. I don’t know. But you have opened thousands of liquor shops. And the queues for those can be up to two kilometers, making a mockery of all the physical distancing stuff. But this is the way we are thinking. This is the way we are behaving.