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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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Doctors: soft scapegoats of a faulty health system?

A protest staged jointly by doctors and students of Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences (JNIMS) inside the campus against the summary suspension of a senior resident doctor once again brings to the fore the deplorable and much contradicted public health care system in the state. While it is still too early and beyond the scope of this paper to delve into the legal aspects of the unfortunate incident, it would not be out of place to state that doctors has been the target of revenge and rebuttal for as long as one would care to recollect. And while a loss of life is always an unfortunate and saddening experience, it would be wrong to put the blame squarely on the doctor or doctors attending to the patients without proper enquiry and investigation even if any foul play or accusations of negligence comes up.
Consider the statistics- according to a World Health Organization (WHO) report of 2017, in India, there is one government allopathic doctor for every 10,189 people, one government hospital bed for every 2,046 people and one state-run hospital for every 90,343 people. You don’t need an epidemic, however predictable, for the public health system to collapse. It is a matter of routine that patients share beds and doctors are overworked. India has a little over one million modern medicine (allopathy) doctors to treat its population of 1.3 billion people. Of these, only around 10% work in the public health sector, shows data from the National Health Profile 2017. Simply put, India doesn’t have enough hospitals, doctors, nurses and health workers, and since health is a state subject, disparities and inequities in the quality of care and access to health varies widely not just between states but also between urban and rural areas. Under the circumstances, it is not only understandable but also expected that the overworked and overstressed doctors and other hospital staffs working with inadequate infrastructure and facilities simply cannot cater to the needs and satisfaction of each and every sick and infirm.
Another social aspect of growing concern is the mob culture that has increasingly played havoc to the functioning of law and order in the state. Incidentally, Manipur has become the first state to take a serious step against increasing incidents of mob violence. Manipur Assembly passed ‘The Manipur Protection from Mob Violence Bill, 2018’ on December 21, The bill moved by Chief Minister N Biren Singh recommends rigorous life imprisonment for those involved in mob violence if it results in the death of a victim. And in addition to life imprisonment, the law also recommends a fine of Rs 5 lakh for those involved in mob lynching. Perpetrators may also face public humiliation through exclusion from public services and might be forced to leave his/her home without consent. The bill was introduced in the Assembly to curb increasing incidents of mob violence in the state. The Supreme Court has also condemned incidents of mob violence and lynching across the country and urged parliament to enact a law to deal with such incidents which threaten rule of law and the country’s social fabric. The court also issued a slew of directions to state governments, including preventive, remedial and punitive steps to deal with the crime. One can only hope that with stringent and timely implementation of such preventive laws and regulations much of the wanton destructions and social disturbances will be curbed.

Doctors, being humans will make mistakes and there is no denying the simple fact, more so given the stress and constant duress faced in their line of duty. There are procedures to be followed to determine the allegations and investigations to be carried out to establish facts. A summary suspension without presenting the opportunity to explain the situation and ground reality from their perspectives reduces the morality and self respect of the doctors and projects them in a light of doubtful professional efficiency and integrity. A more comprehensive investigation into the working conditions, restraints and constraints under which the doctors and other health workers in the state are performing their duties will shed more light into the overall condition of healthcare in the state and will hopefully shed light into ways to draw up a comprehensive and systematic policies to prevent any unfortunate and unwanted incidents in the future and stop presenting doctors as scapegoat for any and every unfortunate incidents, whether alleged or real. Death is inevitable and doctors should not be held accountable for every death, however unfortunate it always is.
Another area that needs immediate focus to alleviate health care system in the state is the improvement in quality of services in sub-centers (SCs), primary health center (PHCs) and Community Health Centers CHCs) with assignment of more fully operational first referral units (FRUs) of existing facilities (district hospitals, sub-divisional hospitals, CHCs) etc. National rural health mission, if efficiently implemented, can significantly improve and make positive changes in the overall health care system of the country and the state.

Lapses of duty and knowledge- a recurring roadblock to effective administration.

The law is important because it acts as a guideline as to what is accepted in society. Without it there would be conflicts between social groups and communities. The law allows for easy adoption to changes that occur in the society. It also remains the most important tool for dispensing justice and compensate for injustices. But the most overlooked aspect of it is that it has not been utilized to its potential to deter and punish social disruptors and defaulters of socially accepted ethics and behavior who are in conflict with the law and are often termed criminals. And so it is expected and assumed that those working in the social sphere or are entrusted with responsibilities by the government - at least in their areas of duty or specialization- to have ample knowledge of the law and are well versed with its relevant applications.
Recent developments regarding the number of human traffickers being arrested from different areas of the state and their subsequent handling by the authorities, however, throws up a number of questions which would surely make a lot of individuals wriggle in their official seats with uneasiness. The most pertinent issue being that one out of the eight alleged human traffickers caught by the state security was released on bail due to the failure of the state machinery- read the police- to file a chargesheet even after 180 days of making the arrest/s as stipulated by law. It is also a matter of fact that the rescued individuals hailing from Nepal numbering 179 including 147 females and 32 males were handed over by the Chief Minister of Manipur to a delegation of Nepal embassy led by Counsellor Prakash Adhikari in an official event held at the indoor stadium, Khuman Lampak Imphal on Sunday the 17th February of the current year.
In these turn of events, a very vital procedure to initiate and complete the prosecution of the alleged traffickers was overlooked or neglected- that of recording the statements of the rescued victims before sending them away to their homeland. Section 164 in The Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973 dealing with Recording of confessions and statements states: Any Metropolitan Magistrate or Judicial Magistrate may, whether or not he has jurisdiction in the case, record any confession or statement made to him in the course of an investigation under this Chapter or under any other law for the time being in force, or at any time afterwards before the commencement of the inquiry or trial: Provided that no confession shall be recorded by a police officer on whom any power of a Magistrate has been conferred under any law for the time being in force. And in the absence of a recorded statement any attempt to bring the traffickers to book have fallen flat- a significant triumph for the traffickers and a smack in the ear for the authorities who are responsible for the blunder.

Evidently, somewhere along the long line of formalities and procedures, a huge lapse of knowledge or duty has occurred. Interestingly, there was ample time to remedy the shortcomings if the concern authorities have put their heart and mind to it but obviously chose not to. A blunder of this magnitude and significance cannot be passed off as an oversight or ignorance.
Was it that the urge to publicize and politicize the issue proved greater than the need to practice discretion and follow procedures to investigate into the matter? Was it pure and utter incompetency and collective ignorance of the state machinery to have led to the present situation? Was it the spineless individuals in authority who lacked the will and the gut to stand up to pressure which resulted in the failure to take up proper procedures into the investigation? Questions that need definitive answers if such lapses of knowledge or duty is to be prevented in the future. The most important concern is preventing hapless individuals from being exploited and proper focus should be made to generate awareness of the menace of human trafficking and the ground reality at present. Only a dedicated and appropriate effort can garner support and cooperation from every quarter which is vital in making any undertaking- whether legal or otherwise to reach its logical conclusion.

Lukanand Kshetrimayum and Langpoklakpam Melody bring laurels to Manipur with momentous victories

IT News
Imphal, Aug 19,

Mega Entertainment, north east’s largest fashion and pageant event organizer, conducted a press conference in Imphal with an aim to introduce Lukanand Kshetrimayum and Langpoklakpam Melody, two children of Manipur who recently made waves across the northeast by winning the titles of Garnier Men Mega Mister North East and Sunsilk Mega Miss North East respectively. Lukanand also won the national title of Mister International India 2019, thus qualifying to solely represent India in the Mister International pageant.
The press conference was addressed by Abhijit Singha, Founder of Mega Entertainment, who said, ”Mega Entertainment is the producer of two of the biggest regional beauty and fashion events in north east India - Mega Mister North East since 2009, and Mega Miss North East, since 2003. The two pageants have now grown in stature and repute with every passing year, and are now being labelled as the most coveted and the sought-after pageants in the whole region, showcasing the best of young talents.”
“The quality and awareness of the contestants have been constantly developing over the years, and it is truly encouraging to see them preparing for these pageants, months in advance. I am so glad to see the emergence of strong winners like Lukanand and Melody, who need just the basic amount of training, and are absolutely ready to become a part of the professional modelling industry”, added Singha. The other winners of Garnier Men Mega Mister North East are Jonathan Thangeo from Mizoram, who is the first youth from his state to win any pan-northeast pageant, and Sonam Paul Tenzing Bhutia from Sikkim. The other two winners of Sunsilk Mega Miss North East are Tanvi Raksam Marak from Meghalaya and Rajeswari Chakraborty from Sikkim.
Speaking to the media on the occasion, Lukanand and Melody shared their experiences from the pageant with the media and thanked the people of Manipur for giving them so much love and support.

Langpoklakpam Melody, who is pursuing bachelor’s degree in education, said, ”This is so heart-warming, I am truly overwhelmed! The people of Manipur have welcomed me with open arms and open hearts. I never experience such love and affection before. Most importantly, the spark of pride that I see in my parents’ eyes gives me the strength to work even harder. I strongly believe that destiny has something planned for everyone and winning this pageant has opened a beautiful chapter in my life.”
Speaking about her victory in Sunsilk Mega Miss North East, Melody said, ”Participating in Sunsilk Mega Miss North East and winning the pageant crown means a lot to me. I believe the pageant girl is all about honour - the honour of representing my community, my state, the honour of living every little girl’s dream, the honour to inspire many girls out there, of being a role model for the younger generation. I want to be a positive influence on everyone I cross paths with, and I strongly believe that Sunsilk Mega Miss North East will help me fulfil what I am passionate about.”
The 10th edition of Garnier Men Mega Mister North East, where Lukanand also won the title of Mister International India 2019, was supported by Title Sponsor Garnier Men- India’s no. 1 men’s face wash brand, Hospitality Partner Radisson Blu, Telecom Partner Vodafone SuperNet 4G, Photo Partner Sony Alpha andStyling Partner Sin Denim.
“I will treasure this moment in my heart forever. I feel proud of myself that I would win so many hearts and emerge as a winner. Thanks to Mega Entertainment team for adding me to their family and warm regards to Abhijit Singha, Kavita Keisham and the respected Jury members for offering me this stupendous opportunity. I thank God for giving me what I deserved,” said Lukanand who is currently a Class-XII student in Maria Montessori Senior Secondary School.
Speaking about the responsibility he holds towards his community as a youth icon, Lukanand Kshetrimayum said, ”I hope our victory will motivate my peers from Manipur to believe that if we can make it big in the world of fashion, even they can. I will be more than happy to guide them to go forward in the same journey that I went. There is a lot of potential among the youth here, and pageants like these will help them get the stage that they deserve. I want to see the youngsters of Manipur achieving everything they deserve, not just in the regional platform, but nationally and internationally as well.”
Abhijit Singha established Mega Entertainment when he was just a teenager, and he defied all odds to single-handedly shape it as northeast’s most celebrated fashion and pageant company. In 2003, the company gave the northeastern region one of its first beauty pageants Mega Miss North East which proudly stands at 17 years today as the leading pageant here. Soon after, Abhijit conceptualized northeast’s first ever man-hunt Mega Mister North East which officially took off in 2009 and there has been no looking back ever since.
Mega Entertainment has been providing a national platform to the young talents of the region, even providing the winners a direct entry into illustrious fashion events like Mister International India. The main aim of organizing the Mega Miss & Mister North East pageants is to prove that young talents in the north-east are no less competent than their counterparts rising from the top metros of the country, and also to exhibit that the north-east can also match the classic appeal of the top pageants of the country.Besides the pageants, Mega Entertainment has also delivered some radical fashion events in the region involving the crème-de-la-crème of the society.

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JNIMS Teacher’s Association calls suspension of Dr. Nimmi unjust; threatens agitation

IT News
Imphal, Aug 17,

Jawaharlal Institute of Medical Sciences-Teacher Association (JNIMS-TA) has condemned the suspension of Dr. T Nimmi calling it “arbitrary and unjust” and demanded the revocation of the suspension order, in a special emergency general body meeting of the teacher’s association on August 16. The TA demanded the inquiry which started on August 14 on the matter must be completed within ten days and revoke the suspension order. The TA threatens to intensify the agitation after August 24 if the suspension order of  Dr.Nimmi has not been revoked.
The association begin their protest wearing black badges today. It has decided to take mass casual leave on August 19 in solidarity with Dr. Nimmi, except those who in emergency, ICU, ICCU, SICU, NICU and Ward Patients service. The teacher’s body has stated that “members of TA, JNIMS feels insecure working in such an unfavorable environment and not ready to sacrifice a doctor every time a patient dies in the institution.”
TA Vice President, Dr. Th. Opendro said that the hasty suspension order was given under the “influence of a section of people with vested interest without any enquiry.”  The association also accepted the resignation of its president in the special meeting of the teachers.

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