THE PROBLEM WE SOLVE
After the long period of lockdown, Balasore and Bhadrak district come under Red Zone and Mayurbhanj in the green zone. There is widespread stigma, blockade, problems in vehicular movement, movement of drivers of combined harvesters. This situation is further aggravated by the issues of unemployment, malnutrition, health hazards, loss of livelihood opportunities, and so on. The most affected are the landless, agricultural laborers, migrant youths, village-based micro-entrepreneurs, sharecroppers, small and marginal farmers, etc.
Though the Govt. has taken many steps to fight COVID-19 to ensure health & food security, the daily wage earners are left with no or minimum savings to purchase the daily consumable (Dal/vegetables/Spices, etc.) except rice & wheat. Our interaction with the extremely vulnerable families reveals that they had mostly spent in 1st and 2nd weeks of lockdown.
Now in the 3rd phase lockdown where 47 days crossed away with no work, the situation is really pathetic for the families who are completely dependent on physical labour. The identified families belong to mostly SC & ST communities with few (around 30% from general caste communities). To overcome this situation there will be an urgent need for humanitarian support in the form of daily consumable grocery items for a minimum of 2 months against the employment opportunities created for at least 1 adult member in the family.
OUR PROPOSED INTERVENTION
With the dry ration support, we aim to create an appropriate working culture as opposed to freebies by the government without the creation of scope for work except for MGNREGS which is not able to create employment opportunities immediately as the entire bureaucracy is busy with quarantine and law and order matters.
Though most of such vulnerable families are in distress both physically and mentally, we have to have a beginning in their vicinity based on the dignified wage employment. They should approach manual harvesting as a solution to the problem created by the non-availability of combined harvesters during this rabi Season.
We have selected 15 villages in Jaleswar, Balasore Sadar, Remuna Blocks of Balasore and with 50 acres on an average in each village as follows: On an average, we intend to create 22 person-days in every acre with a total of 16500 person-days. If we support 15 days of wage employment for a family, we aim to support 1100 families whose food and nutrition security can be ensured.