Despite the lockdown in place, the Delhi Police got a few shops opened in a popular south Delhi market this past weekend for some non-essential shopping. It was not indulgence that made them resort to this “violation”. It so happened that family members of some patients being treated in local hospitals, and some migrant workers who were trying to flee Delhi, had been lodged in one of the shelter homes close to the market. The problem was, most of those people did not have spare clothes and other hygiene products because they could either not afford them or did not get the opportunity to buy them due to the sudden lockdown. Left with no choice, the cops urged some local shop owners to open up so clothes and some other non-essential products could be arranged for their ”guests“.
MP cabinet expansion
There is speculation that the much-awaited cabinet expansion in Madhya Pradesh will take place this week. Though the lockdown has been extended till May 17 and Bhopal is among the red-zone districts, there is every possibility that the Bharatiya Janata Party government will go ahead with the expansion. In the 230-member Assembly, there will be 35 ministers, including Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. Five of them had taken oath in April. Another 20-odd ministers are likely be included in the expansion. Though the final decision on the names will be taken by the central leadership, there are some leaders whose inclusion is considered a fait accompli. Former leader of the Opposition Gopal Bhargava and ex-ministers Bhupendra Singh, Rampal Singh, Sanjay Pathak, and Rajendra Shukla are among them. Among Jyotiraditya Scindia loyalists likely to get a berth are Imarti Devi, Mahendra Singh Sisodia, and Pradyumna Singh Tomar.
Exchange & survive
As most of the country reels under the Covid-induced lockdown and attendant challenges, a tribal belt in Gujarat has revived an age-old method to get around the shortage of food and other essentials. The lockdown has left people in the border areas of Narmada district with neither job nor money as the locals cannot even go out in search of work. The tribal people in the 200-odd villages in the region are mostly engaged in farming, and travel to nearby cities during the monsoon to take up other jobs. With movement restricted and government aid not sufficient, they have now started exchanging goods, a practice prevalent decades ago, for their survival. The “sata pata” system, the local name for barter, is fast gaining in popularity.