After the spread of Covid-19 in China, our business associates warned about this taking a pandemic form. I cautioned all the prawn farmers associated with us well in time about the disruption the pandemic would cause to farming and alerted them about the dangers it could bring to their lives. Taking all precautions and maintaining safety protocols, I continued managing the affairs of our business. Courage overtook fear as several lives and livelihoods had to be protected. I tried to do my best to lessen the pain and sufferings of the people involved and associated with us in different businesses during the pandemic.

Thanks to the foresight of the Chief Minister of Odisha, the state was ahead of the country in clamping lockdown. The state also tackled the issue arising out of the pandemic successfully. This was only possible with the dynamic management of our Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik along with his team. Though relaxation was given to our industry for operation during the lockdown, yet these instructions could not percolate down to the grass-root level fully. Businesses faced huge losses due to the displacement of manpower and logistics. Personal mobility remained a major concern during the lockdown. Restoration of the supply chain took a longer time than expected. Certain losses were inevitable but some are irreparable.

The situation is gradually normalising now though the injury caused by the pandemic has left a deep scar behind. Loss of several lives, hundreds of jobs and sight of migrant workers, moving from one place to another, barefooted, still remains a nightmare. Death caused by the virus was so cruel that we could not bid a decent farewell to the deceased. Hope none see it again in their lifetime.

This pandemic has left behind a few questions like overcrowding and high pollution level in big cities, lack of employment opportunities in rural areas and bare minimum health infrastructure across the country. As we move forward, we need to address these issues. I am sure we can and together we will.

Tara Ranjan Patnaik is the Chairman of Falcon Marine Exports Ltd.

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