Jeet Akoijam

Jeet Akoijam

Jeet Akoijam, Resident Editor of Imphal Times hails from Singjamei Liwa Road. Has been with Imphal Times since its start. A National level Rugby player and  a regular Trekker and Nature Lover, loves spending time in lap of Mother Nature. Jeet is the father of two lovely kids. Jeet can be contacted at [email protected]

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According to a press report a few days back, the Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) Range, Pravin Gurung of Sikkim Police removed barricades put up by villagers and localities to prevent people from entering their respective areas fearing the spread of the virus due to the surge in Covid 19 cases in the state, terming the act of putting up barricades by citizens in different localities as illegal while appreciating the high level of awareness of the locals and the precautions they have taken. While the above instance is not a one off incident, the police officer acted responsibly and prevented further inconvenience and possible misfortune due to restricted movements in case of emergencies in the state. In fact the practice of putting up unauthorized barricades in localities and colonies by the local residents have seen a sharp rise with the surge in Covid 19 cases throughout the country, and with the added apprehension of community spread of the contagion, the sense of uncertainty and suspicion of ‘outsiders’ has taken on a more accusatory overtone.
What exactly is the logic behind putting up such unauthorized barricades in localities? Are they really helping in slowing down or preventing the spread of Covid 19? Exactly who are the people the residents are trying to prevent from entering their respective localities? Does the ‘ban’ include persons engaging in ‘essential services’ or are there some local mechanism to monitor the movement of these persons? What about the residents going out of their barricaded localities? Or, has arrangements been made by the locals so that the needs of the less affluent residents are also looked after while imposing a blanket ban on movements in these localities? Considering the mandate and influence the local Clubs enjoy, are these barricades erected with their support or supervision? Has there been even the slightest hint of suspicion that only ‘outsiders’ are at risk of spreading the contagion? What is the view or stand of the state government in this regard? Is this just another example of relegating greater power to the people or yet another instance of failure to implement proper protocols and legal guidelines?
When a locality or residential area is declared containment zone, the local police will put up barricades, often yellow painted metallic ones on wheels, two-layers deep and overlapping if possible, completely restricting the entry and exit of all vehicles. No vendors, milk suppliers, household help, drivers or nannies will be allowed to enter, and residents will not be allowed to exit the building or locality. There will be constant police vehicles on patrol on the main roads, in addition to police personnel permanently stationed at the barricade itself. In case of an emergency, people are expected to alert the police and help will be sent. If needed, ambulances will be sent to take the patient to a nearby hospital. All essential goods vendors will have to leave the deliveries at the barricade gates and residents will be called to come and collect the packages one by one. All other unessential, civilian movement has been banned. Everyone has to wear a mask when they step out of their front doors now. This is compulsory by government order as well. Any non compliance will be dealt with strictly and according applicable laws.
Barricades are and should be the last resort of the state authorities to contain and fight the contagion. The dreaded virus does not differentiate between an ‘insider’ and an ‘outsider’. What we should understand as responsible individuals and citizens is that instead of creating more inconveniences and even potential danger in case of emergencies, we should follow the safety guidelines strictly and avoid exposing ourselves to the risks of contracting the virus. If each one of us does our bit, there will not be any necessity for barricades and bans. We are the ones who will determine the next course of action against the dreaded contagion and thereby decide its fate.

IT News
Kangpokpi, Aug. 1:

In a time when people are all hearts and hands to felicitate the successful candidates of the recently declared board and council examinations, “With Love”, a small group of youths from Saitu Gamphazol Area, devoted to humanitarian services had organized career guidance and counselling, and a prayer for the unsuccessful candidates. 
 According to Lalcha Haokip, a member of the group, every year various individuals and groups, and CSOs and government are engaged in felicitating the successful candidates and organizing career guidance and counselling. However, the plight of the unsuccessful candidates remains unaddressed. Consequently, we as individuals and society fail to uphold the very essence of our humanity that is to love and have concern for all. 
He added that we as a society tend to ignore the mental and emotional stress that these students must be going through. We, as parents and teachers, and as the society fail to be kind and considerate but instead we become pressure sources rather than understanding and encouraging them. This grows to be detrimental as it can affect their lifelong mental and emotional health. 
The career guidance and counselling cum blessing prayer was organised under the theme “Towards inspiriting the youth”. The programme seeks to educate and guide the students towards exploring well beyond academic opportunities. It aims to impart the fact that not everybody will be good in academics, but that there is something else for each of us to explore for our own. 
Pastor Khuptinlal Hangshing, Pastor KBC no.4, and Letginlen Doungel, a research scholar from Delhi University attended as resource persons. 
In his speech, the pastor reminded the students that their failure is only a stepping stone to greater heights. He also encouraged the students to refrain from unfair means especially inside the examination hall. On the other hand, Letginlen Doungel enlightened the students with the possibilities of different career choices beyond academic opportunities, while also inspiring the youth with his own story of hard-work and persistence. 
According to a member of the organising committee, they had decided to organise the small programme with a goal to set a trend and shift ourselves towards inspiriting despairing students and giving hopes to the hopeless. In addition, they opined that it is the duty and obligation of every concerned individual and group to encourage and help students to discover their dreams. The committee stated that it is their hope and prayer that more programmes and initiatives as this will be taken up all over the state, with Love. 
The programme ends with a blessing prayer.

IT News

Imphal, July 28:

Eastern Himalayan Youth Coordinating Committee on Climate Change (EHYCCCC) has appealed all concerns to immediately stop Mining of Limestone, Chromite, Nickel, Copper, Malachite, Azurite and Magnetite and various platinum group of elements (PGE) which are deposited along the hill range of Ukhrul District, Kamjong District, Tengnoupal, Chandel District and various parts of Manipur.

A statement of the committee showing its serious concerns said that the extraction of the minerals from various part of the state will destroy large scale forest covered area that will bring disaster to climate change.

“ Various scientists have already warned that the Eastern Himalayan will be the most vulnerable due global climate crisis, therefore, it is high time for the Government of Manipur, India and the extractive industries to rethink, revisit and stop the mining across the hill ranges of Manipur”, the statement said.

The Committee said that to Recover the lost economy of India due to the Covid19 pandemic by sacrificing the Indigenous peoples land which are rich in natural resource by initiating the extraction of Natural Resources is a threat to right to lives of the indigenous peoples inhabited across the hill ranges of Manipur bordering to Myanmar as the indigenous peoples are dependent on the forest, river and mountains. Extracting the natural resources deposited in the land of the indigenous people without the proper knowledge and concern of the people is considered as one of the strategic step of Government of India, Manipur and other extractive MNC to suppress the right of the indigenous people. Further it will adversely impact to the indigenous peoples inhabited in the border area of Myanmar due to dumping of toxic waste from the Mining sites to the small streams and rivers which flows down to Myanmar. 

“The initiative to initiate mining of the minerals  by the government of Manipur, India and extractive industries have failed to obtain Free Prior and Informed consent of the indigenous peoples and also have failed to follow and respect certain guidelines laid down under the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Further it failed to conduct ground survey to assess the Human Rights Impact Assessment, Cumulative Impact Assessment, etc.”, the Committee said.

The committee also recalled the incident of Baghjan, Assam on the May 27, 2020 where the Oil India Ltd drilled crude oil and caught fire which displaced more than 1600 house hold, polluting the river, lake and a wild life sanctuary. Also in Jaintia Hill of Meghalaya where 8 cement factories are located and also the coal mining which pollutes the rivers flowing down to Bangladesh due to dumping of toxic waste. 

The Committee appealed the Government of Manipur, GOI and the Extractive Industries to stop immediately the Mining of Chromite and Limestone across the hill ranges of Ukhrul, Kamjong, Tengnoupal and Chandel, Districts of Manipur. Further it demanded to conduct Human Rights Impact Assessment and Cumulative Impact Assessment.

It also appealed to respect the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and UN Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples and to respect the rights of the Indigenous Peoples. 

Saturday, 25 July 2020 16:50

Bracing for the worst

In the growing list of casualties of Covid-19 among the frontline health workers in the state, a doctor posted at District Hospital, Senapati has reportedly been tested positive yesterday for the raging contagion that has brought the world to a standstill. As a precautionary measure, contact tracing of both primary and secondary contacts are actively taken up by the Rapid Response Team, Senapati as well as all primary contacts – both the hospital staff on duty and patients who attended Medicine OPD on the 20th and 21st of July are directed to report to the office of the District Surveillance Officer Senapati for mmediate testing and the secondary contacts are advice to follow strict home Quarantine to contain the possible spread of Covid-19. While the unfortunate report is but another number in the continuously increasing total, the confusion over the possibility of community transmission in the state has been heightened with the media reports indicating a more than likely possibility while the state authority and experts have so far denied or rather refrained from confirming the same.
According to state officials, the spread of COVID-19 is divided into stages of no case, sporadic cases, clustering of cases and community transmission, the release said, “There is evidence of local clustering of cases at Jiribam police station. There is no community transmission.” Meanwhile Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh on Wednesday announced 7 days total lockdown in the entire state starting Thursday afternoon which may be extended upto 14 days. The lockdown will come into force from 2 PM. Briefing the media, the Chief Minister said that the decision was taken by the state cabinet in an emergency meeting held on Thursday evening in view of the rising cases of COVID-19 particularly cases without travel history. What should the general public make of the two confusingly contrasting statements? Are we to feel reassured because the State Health Department official declared that there is no community transmission in Manipur, or take precautions and observe heightened procedures which will obviously hamper our already restricted lives even further? Notwithstanding the official stand on the prevailing situation, it has become imperative for everyone to have a clear understanding of what these forms or stages of transmissions mean and why they matter. The World Health Organisation (WHO) categorises the spread of a pathogen into stages as a way of indicating the level or severity of its permeation among the population. Stage 1 refers to imported cases where individuals pick up the virus from travelling to infected countries. Stage 2 is local transmission that occurs when infected persons can trace the persons they were infected by. Community transmission or stage 3, on the other hand happens when an individual with no travel history or no known contacts with confirmed cases thereby making the source of infection untraceable.
While there has been promising reports of various agencies and pharma companies already carrying out trials of vaccines for the present pandemic, there is no confirmed cure for the same, and while we can take solace from the assertion of the state health department’s claim of absence of community transmission in Manipur, it would be prudent to assume the worst and follow more stringent preventive measures accordingly. It doesn’t hurt to be a little bit more cautious, especially during this present time when nothing is for sure and mistakes can happen even with experts.

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