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Rinku Khumukcham

Rinku Khumukcham

Rinku Khumukcham, Editor of Imphal Times has more than 15+ years in the field of Journalism. A seasoned editor, was a former editor of ISTV News. He resides in Keishamthong Elangbam Leikai, with his wife and parents. Rinku can be contacted at [email protected] 

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COVID-19 – with another two more, number of active COVID-19 cases reaches four in Manipur

IT News

Imphal, May 16:

The graph of the COVID-19 cases in Manipur is rising with the arrival of the stranded Manipuris from outside the state in the last couple of days. With two more new positive cases of COVID -19 today, the number of active positive COVID -19 cases in Manipur reached 4 today.

Two more new cases have been detected at State Level Viral Research & Diagnostic Laboratory of RIMS, Imphal today. Both the patients hailed from Moreh town in Tengnoupal district and were returning from Mumbai.  The two patients reached Manipur on May 14 and have been lodged at IIIT Mantripukhri for quarantine.

Earlier, a patient from Kairang Khomidok in Imphal East who return from Mumbai was tested positive on May 14. Following him another 21 years old girl from Kamjong district, who returned from Kolkata and had undergone quarantine at NIT Takyel, was tested positive yesterday (May 15). Today among 8 persons who have been tested at RIMS’s State Level Viral Research & Diagnostic Laboratory, 2 persons from Moreh who had returned from Mumbai have been tested positive.

Both the positive cases detected today are mother and son, were returning from Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai.

The first COVID-19 positive case in Manipur was detected on March 24. And the 2nd was detected few days later. Both the positive cases were discharged after being tested negative. Following that Manipur has been declared COVID-19 Free State in the country. COVID-19 positive cases so far detected in the state reach 6, even as active cases stand at 4.

It is likely that the number of COVID-19 cases will climb up in the state with many more returning from the red zone area of the country.

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Despite CM’s directive, parking at Thangal and Paona Keithel road still on

IT News

Imphal, May 16:

Chief Minister N. Biren Singh’s words are not taken seriously by either the state government employees or the general public as his directives are not converted into action many times. The most recent being the directives he had given to the traffic police to make the roads in Paona keithel and Thangal Keithel clean and tidy.

On March 20, during a surprise visit to Thangal and Paona Keithel to sensitize the shopkeepers specially Ima vendors, Chief Minister N Biren had directed the concerned authority to cancel all the parking permits given to private agency by the Imphal Municipal Corporation to discontinue parking at the road side of Thangal and Paona road. Unfortunately, vehicle parking at the said areas are on till today owing to negligence on the part of the concerned officials and the public.

It may be noted that, on Dec. 8 2018 Imphal Times also published a report regarding the financial irregularity in revenue collection of parking fees by Imphal Municipal Corporation.

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The silver lining

The present pandemic is wreaking havoc the world over cutting through economies, cultures and geographies. People are losing their loved ones to the virus with no clear solution yet in sight despite reports of promising developments in the relentless search for a cure and the dreaded infection is still spreading despite the best efforts around the globe. Healthcare systems of even the most developed countries are overloaded and proving ineffective in containing it, schools are shut with children caught in the uncertainty and their academic schedule in complete disarray. Employees are losing their jobs and companies are staring at bankruptcies in the very near future with no possible solution in sight. Economies around the world are turning their undivided attention to containing the pandemic and pumping in considerable resources for the same while billions are being spent on bailouts and medical aids.
On an individual level, Covid-19 is proving to be a huge stressor tormenting the collective psyche and triggering fears and apprehensions the world over.
However, amidst the uncertainties and overarching fear, there are still a few things that should brighten up our lives and make it that much more bearable. Perhaps the biggest positive change and one which is the most visible would be the change in the environment. With the drastic decrease in industrial activities and almost zero traffic, be it road, rail or air, the atmosphere has improved and pollution is at its lowest level ever since the industrial revolution around the world. The present pandemic has proven to be a boon in disguise for the environment and nature has been given an opportunity to heal itself.
Another upside is the amount of time we get to spend with our families and near ones which, a few months ago would seem such a difficult task what with all the social and professional obligations and schedules. Right now, despite almost all these social activities being curtailed or completely forbidden, life goes on.
We have learnt to adapt and improvise for all the gyms, shopping, meetings, social engagements and even office which occupied almost all our waking hours. We also have the opportunity to sit back and reflect on our priorities, and make changes as the world after the current pandemic would need to adapt and evolve. The virus has also forced governments and organizations across the globe to break the bureaucratic and organizational hurdles and red-tapism and act swiftly, proving effectively that if there is a strong enough stimulus, things can change and old systems can be discarded instantly.
Challenging times such as the present pandemic also offer a great opportunity for social bonding and other ways of reconnecting and extending help. Despite the inability to physically travel and meet people, the feeling of being together against the fight has fostered a feeling of oneness, and as evident in the state and elsewhere, individuals and groups have been extending help and assistance to others by way of cash and kind thereby increasing social coherence. The biggest gain perhaps, from the psychological point of view is the fact that humans are put into our rightful place and are being taught that we cannot and do not control everything around us. All it takes is a virus to drive home the point. Like it or not, we need to accept the fact that things cannot always go the way we want, and no matter how much we live in the Anthropocene- the era characterized by significant human impact- we are not in control. This virus is also making us realize the people who make a difference to our lives and learn to appreciate their roles and efforts. It has made us more conscious of our surroundings and learnt to live with less. In a way we are at the juncture of an important point of evolution.     

Green Wave

By - Sanjenbam Sadananda Singh, IRS
Deputy Commissioner of Income Tax, Kolkata

Chaoba lost his job again. He used to work in a reputed restaurant in the Capital City. His landlord does no longer want him to stay in his rent.  He has some savings but his life is uncertain. Once a lovely place with lot of happenings, the city becomes a hotspot for the Pandemic. Like him, there are many others who are facing a never seen like crisis. It is a nightmare for many people who work in the unorganised sector or private sector. Stuck between a rock and a hard place, he sets out to the home state in the hope of finding solace. Is he to be blamed ?
Life as we all know will never be the same again. History taught us lessons and scientific predictions make us cautious. About a century ago, humankind faced natural and manmade disasters in the form of Spanish Flu and First World War. The pandemic claimed more lives than the war itself.  It infected more than 500 million people worldwide and millions succumbed to it.
The government has done the right thing to announce the nationwide lockdown early. Manipur was a step ahead. In fact, the Manipur government started the ground work quite early. It started the screening of arriving passengers at the Imphal International Airport since January. Its also quite commendable to the frontline warriors, local administration, clubs and various NGOs who have made it possible for the government to contain the virus in the first round of fight.
A battle is won but the “War” remains to be won now. Many fellow Manipuris are stranded in various parts of the country. They have gone there for various reasons - education, medical treatment, in a transit, business, and employment to name a few. With the third positive case in Manipur.  It becomes a very difficult situation to take a right decision. But to fight the virus with a humane face becomes more important.
In this line, the National Carrier has been the backbone of the Vande Bharat Mission. Similarly, various state governments have started special transport facilities to take home the stranded people. The advantage here is Manipur is not a big state nor has the issue of having huge population. Despite limited resources, it is within the reach of the government to take care of the stranded population. As per the official report, more than forty six thousand people have registered in the website launched by the government. The moot question is can we control a second wave?
With the view to prevent a second wave in mind, all the incoming citizens of the state should be tested irrespective of the symptoms. If tested negative, quarantine should still be made mandatory as per ICMR guidelines. However, they can be given the liberty to be home quarantined under strict guidelines and eligibility criteria or community quarantined. After completion of mandatory 14 days quarantine, another test should be conducted either at the expense of the returnee or at a subsidised rate. For these, the government constituted observers and local volunteers can be roped in. If somebody in a group of returnees is tested positive, then whole group should be immediately tested.
Since India is in the third stage of the transmission, community awareness is of the prime importance. Once one positive case is detected in the community, the whole area needs mass testing and contact tracing shall become harder. This is why many people are against the idea of taking in the stranded citizens. But since the decision has been taken and the plan has been already rolled out, then no stone should be left unturned to contain a second wave at any cost.
The best practices are out there to be copied from. Providing hygienic basic amenities during the quarantine period is key to calm the body. To calm the mind, some task or arrangement can be made while maintaining social distance like motivational speech or music. Even the return journeys can be staggered to optimize the available resources –quarantine centres, testing capacity and support staff. If one warrior is affected, everyone who has come into contact with him/her shall be quarantined. Before travel, the stranded people should, if possible test themselves. Positive people should get treated there itself instead of travelling back home. Else while taking the long journey, if social distancing and preventive steps are not taken, then there is chance of contracting the virus from one asymptomatic to even tested negative co-traveller. Preference shall be extended to those with medical conditions and people under certain age category.
This is the time to show the utmost discipline and compassion on the part of the people stranded outside and who are already inside the state. If self-discipline is not observed, the chances of spreading the virus one way or the other is inevitable. It is the responsibility of the returnees to be vigil and stay discipline at all times even after 14 days quarantine. For these every step has to be planned and no loose end should be there.
The green zone tag is no longer there and a big challenge lies ahead in front of everyone. The game is not over till there is a vaccine. Till then, our first target is to ensure that no new case arises and people should practice social distancing and hygienic lifestyle religiously.