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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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Tending to the trivialities in time

The entire world is getting preoccupied with the battle against the raging Covid-19 pandemic which has been eluding a definite cure to this day despite the best efforts of the best minds and unlimited resources combined with cutting edge technology at the disposal of the experts.
With the battlefield expanding with each passing day, our little state has joined the fray and today, the rising sense of insecurity and concern amongst the public is getting more intense and vocal. On the other hand, there are reports of increasing pressure on the health workers due to the lack of manpower and equipments to handle the increasingly worsening situation in the state.
Till date more than 11,000 Manipuris who were stranded in various parts of the country have returned and are being quarantined at various designated centres for a mandatory 14 day period. About 40,000 more are estimated to be on the wait for their turn to return to the state. These are certainly trying times, both for the common public as well as the administration. And though certain oversights and loopholes are expected to emerge, there are more serious and deliberate sounding blunders committed which has come to light that reeks of opportunism and self-serving motives.
The state government, with all the pressing tasks at hand might be tempted to brush these ‘petty instances’ as insignificant and does not warrant immediate attention, but the fact of the matter remains that such ‘petty’ irregularities and opportunistic behavior by those in positions of power and influence or are close to one is seen as an act of disdain and disrespect for the common public, especially in these difficult times when the common people are looking up to the leaders for succour and reassurance. And when such petty mattes are left unattended, it can culminate into an issue which could spiral out of control sooner than anyone can expect.
There also remains the unfortunate practice of elected representatives to portray themselves as the provider of favours to the people when in actuality, it is their sworn duty, a position they begged for with folded hands and pleadings from the very people they are ruling over rather than serving. The need of the hour which should be considered as important if not more, as keeping the people safe from the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic is to provide a sense of fairness and empathy of the uncertainties and psychological challenges of the common public. Addressing any grievance, however trivial it might seem at the very onset should help in preventing issues from blowing up and adding to the crisis. Drawing up and implementing a uniform procedures and system across the state will ensure greater transparency and speedy operations and will also go a long way in assuaging the concerns of the public especially in rural and remote areas where the feeling of inequality in providing the basic requirements and other assistances by the state authorities still runs strong.
The mark of a true leader is to display the ability to rise over petty politics and individual concerns and commit to the good of the people. This is the perfect opportunity to shine, and the people are expectant.

Counting on our collective responsibilities

The count is increasing from a trickle to a steady flow and the trend is more than likely to increase in the coming days with thousands more coming back from various places across the country most of which are already the most affected zones of Covid-19 pandemic.  Many in the state are getting vocal of their growing concern for the efficiency and stringency of the quarantine centres being set up in different places to accommodate the thousands who are returning home.
The concern seem legitimate given the reports of mismanagements and lack of coordination in a number of these designated quarantine centres ranging from wining and dining by outsiders inside these centres to reports of quarantined persons roaming outside the designated centres. There are also repeated reports of returnees who are made to wait for hours and shuffling between centres before assigning one to them. Reports of inadequate facilities are also getting to a frequent event. These unfolding unfortunate events points to a flaw in the overall system of managing and running the centres and also an evident lack of coordination by the authorities.
The state government and those entrusted with the administration of these centres must immediately draw up and implement a standard procedure and practice for all the centres across the state including diet and hygiene. While the task is admittedly challenging and humans make mistakes even with the best laid plans, this is one time anything less than perfection will mean the difference between life and death. It would, however, be irresponsible on our part to dump everything on the state government and wash our hands off. Everybody in the state is in this fight as much as any government official or frontline health workers and any lack of cooperation or disregard of social protocol will certainly put everybody’s efforts to waste. We should not hesitate to remind anyone who does not follow protocol of the dangers and risks to their lives and others. And for those who are quarantined at the designated centres across the state, it would prove more productive if their stay is considered a social responsibility rather than a favour to the society and bear the insignificant hiccups in management or facilities which are bound to happen from time to time. One other dilemma the public is facing during the present lockdown is that of the state security forces imposing penalty or ‘fine’ on ‘curfew violators’ while shops are allowed to remain open for specific period. The habit of bunching up even during waiting in queues is another issue we need to address ourselves.
These social norms are implemented for the benefit of the public in that these social obligations may become  habit over time and will definitely help save lives- our own and that of others. We need to have this concept clear. Meanwhile, shops, petrol pumps and other public utility places should enforce social norms on the customers without which their service should be denied. Cooperation, coordination and a mindful approach can certainly save us from the scourge of Covid-19 pandemic.

Economic Blockade called off

IT News
Imphal, May 20:
In view of the proposed Economic Blockade and the 24 hours ultimatum served, a joint meeting of Senapati District CSOs, Tribe Hohos and Government of Manipur represented by PHED Minister Losii Dikho, Member of Parliament (MP) Dr. Lorho S Pfoze and MLA K Leishiyo was held today atNPO Conference Hall DHQ.  The meeting deliberated on the conduct and violation of Covid-19 SOP and Quarantine protocols by former DC Somorjit Salam on the 13th May 2020 incident, and based on the positive and detailed discussion, the members agreed that the proposed Economic Blockade which will come into effect today the 20th Ma at 6pm has been called off and an inquiry committee will be set up by the state Government against the former DC to find out the truth behind the said incident for further course of action.

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Foresight and vision- need of the hour

With the increase in the number of state natives returning to their homes, the number of positive cases of Covid-19 infection is increasing on a daily basis, and the trend is expected to continue as long as there are people coming into the state. Even though the infections happened either outside the state or on their way to Manipur and no case of transmission within the state as of now, what with the care and seriousness with which the state government and the concern medical and administrative personnel of the state putting in their best efforts to contain the disease following the protocols laid down to the letter, there is a palpable increase of apprehension in the minds of the collective public. Reports of inadequate PPEs, infrastructures and equipments in a number of designated quarantine centres in the state, especially in remote and hilly areas of the state are also increasing, adding to the uncertainty. Meanwhile, there remains the issue of bringing in the remaining state natives still stranded in various places around the country facing possible harassment, social discrimination and dwindling resources to fend for themselves. The estimated number of such stranded natives yet to come home remain at more than 40,000, with almost 11,000 of them from Ukhrul and kamjong districts only. While the state government have announced the discontinuation of all surface transportation activities with total shutdown of vehicular movements either private or public from 22nd of this month, those whose family members are still stranded in various parts of the country are still hoping for a respite. Many are also of the opinion that the state government should continue with the special transport arrangements until all the stranded natives are brought back home while many others suggest bringing in the stranded in batches. The issue is bound to become a headache for the state government, and a clear and pragmatic plan of action needs to be drawn up without further dithering. While the state government has repeatedly declared that the concern authorities have been adequately briefed and prepared to meet any eventuality as a way of assuring the public, the turn of events suggests otherwise, and the need for the state authorities to come clean on the state of preparedness remains a vital issue, as even with the best of efforts and intentions, there has been reports of misconduct and miscreants trying to jeopardize the whole exercise. These incorrigible elements of the society needs to be given exemplary legal remedy for everyone to be assured that the state government is in no mood to entertain any miscreants or mischief and that the efforts of containing and preventing the spread of the pandemic in the state should not be tampered with or jeopardize by absolutely anyone. The present crisis is one of those very rare instances where one single oversight will certainly wreak havoc to the whole population of the state and beyond, and that perfection in execution of the task is the only sure way of ensuring our safety. The onus of assuring the public about the state of preparedness and contingency plans for any eventuality needs to be made public so that the uncertainties and concerns occupying the minds of the public can be laid to rest. After all, mental health is as important as physical health and removing the psychological and mental disturbances is a very important aspect of public health.