Agra: A man and a pack of stray dogs are seen in a scramble for milk spilled on a road in Agra in stomach-churning visuals that lay bare the misery unleashed by the abrupt nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the dreaded coronavirus pandemic.
The incident took place this morning on Agra's Ram Bagh Chauraha when a large milk container overturned, sending a stream of milk down the road, just 6 km from the Taj Mahal.
A pack of dogs was joined by a man who is seen desperately trying to scoop up as much of it as he could in a small earthen pot.
The 21-day lockdown announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last month, that is widely expected to be extended once it expires on Tuesday, has pushed lakhs of people across the country into poverty and hunger.
Declared without warning at 8 pm on March 24, the lockdown came nearly two months after India reported its first COVID-19 case and almost three months after the virus emerged in China's Wuhan.
The fear of going hungry sparked an exodus by hundreds of thousands of migrant workers and their families back to their villages last month, many on foot.
The International Labour Organization (ILO) said last week that 40 crore Indians working in the informal economy risk falling deeper into poverty during the crisis. The central government has announced direct cash transfers and food subsidies to help some 80 crore people.
But, according to a report posted by NDTV, most people interviewed over the past few weeks by it have said they have received nothing or too little so far. Several people have been beaten up in while trying to collect the benefits or had to line up for hours in the blazing sun.
Even though the lockdown has shown signs of success in containing a rapid rise in coronavirus cases, opposition parties have accused the government of implementing the harsh measures without adequate planning and preparation.
More than 9,000 people have been affected by coronavirus in India and over 325 have died since the highly-contagious disease broke out in late January.
India's economy, which was already growing at its slowest pace in six years before the onset of the coronavirus, is set to take a severe hit amid the lockdown, say economists, who warn that unemployment could rise to record levels.
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