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.
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]