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Confusing Press Statement

by Rinku Khumukcham
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Confusion creates among the people of the state soon after a press release in connection with the discontinuation of the ongoing curfew issued by the Health Department of the state government suddenly circulated through social media. The statement however was later circulated to media houses through DIPR, which means that it was official.
But then the press stamen has no signature of any competent authority. It stated about the decision for discontinuation of the curfew that was taken in the State Cabinet after carefully review about the curfew imposed for 21 days to control transmission.
A local reporter from a specific electronic media while contacting Chief Minister N. Biren Singh stated that the Chief Minister decided to discontinue the curfew as it fails to curb the spread of the pandemic.
With the reply from the Chief Minister it is loud and clear the matter for discontinuation of the curfew has been seriously discussed in the State Cabinet meeting held yesterday.
The Press release further stated that the State Cabinet carefully reviewed the curfew imposed for 21 days to control the Covid transmission. It added that – to maintain balance with livelihood and economic activities, it was decided to discontinue curfew and adopt micro containment zone approach, in line with Central Government advisories. Well and good, we cannot imprison ourselves for the rest of our life simply because the coronavirus has been invading us. The state needs to run as people need to survive.
The statement issued by the Health Department dated August 7, 2021 further said that Gram Panchayat village authorities, local clubs etc. will be fully involved by Deputy Commissioners in ensuing strict micro containment zones and isolation of fresh positive cases. The press statement also appealed to the people to adopt Covid Appropriate Behaviour.
As the Chief Minister of Manipur N. Biren had upheld the press statement issued by the State Health Department, it is likely that the ongoing prolonged curfew may be lifted soon. However, imposition of curfew or lifting of curfew can be only ordered by the district administration. Even as the Cabinet meeting or a decision of the State Disaster Management Committee decided to either lift or impose curfew it is the District Administration that has been empowered to implement the decision by issuing orders at its own capacity.
The question that arises to many people is that can the Health Department issue orders for lifting or imposition of curfew or lockdown by skipping the district administration.
Late yesterday evening, when the press statement by Health Department was widely circulated which mention about the discontinuation of the prolonged curfew, each and every learned people were skeptical of the statement.
The statement, however, turns out to be authentic with Chief Minister N. Biren Singh telling a reporter about the decision of lifting the curfew today morning. But the question still remains is, has the curfew been lifted. An announcement by the Chief Minister not associated with the order from District Administration can be taken as legitimate for lifting of the curfew. Or, whether the State Health Department can lift the curfew skipping the District Administration. Unless and until the District Administration orders for lifting of the curfew and circulated the same to all media houses so as to reach out to all people of the state, it is no wrong to consider the curfew is still on.
On the other way if the curfew is lifted with the press statement of the Health Department accompanied by the verbal announcement of the Chief Minister then we can simply be armed that the issuing of the state has fallen in the hand of one man. And this is a complete failure on the part of the governance.

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Imphal Times is a daily English newspaper published in Imphal and is registered with Registrar of the Newspapers for India with Regd. No MANENG/2013/51092


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