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Monday, 20 April 2020 - Imphal Times

State cabinet decided to lift agricultural sector in rural area, to extend lockdown in urban area

IT News

Imphal, April 20

State Cabinet today decided to lift the lockdown in Agricultural sector of rural areas in the state among others however advised to follow the advisory of social and physical distancing to the farmers to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The cabinet meeting began at 10:30 am today and lasted for around 3 hours while discussing whether to continue the lockdown in all sector or lift it at some sector as advised by the Prime Minister of the Country. Cabinet Ministers who attended the meeting deliberated on the issue of whether there is a need to continue the total lockdown or not. After the 2 COVID-19 positive patients in the state have been recovered the state at present is free from COVID -19 case and non who were reported to be close to the two patients have been tested positive proving that there is no community transmission in the state. However, as the situation across the country could not be contained and as the virus spread far wide across the globe, the Cabinet meeting chaired by the Chief Minister N. Biren Singh resolved for partial lifting of the lockdown at some sector but resolved to continue at urban areas including Imphal East and Imphal West.

The meeting also resolved to open grocery shops for at least 2 hours in all areas.

It may be mentioned that the Union government has issued additional guidelines permitting a few activities for non-containment zones from Monday onwards, while extending the 21-day till 3 May, to curb the spread of Covid-19, however Domestic and international air travel, Passenger trains, buses, metro, taxis, Interstate transport except for security and medical purposes, Industrial and commercial activities, Hospitality services, Educational, training and coaching institutions, Cinema halls, malls, gyms, bards, pools, entertainment parks, assembly halls, etc., All social, political, sports, complexes, religious places and other gatherings will continue to shut down.

The Union Government has also directed the State, UT and district administrations to decide the hotspots across the country. Hotspots are areas of large COVlD-19 outbreaks or clusters with a significant spread of the diseases, which will be determined as per the guidelines of the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Besides, containment zones in hotspots will be demarcated by states/ UT district administration.

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Chief Minister handed over new vehicles to state Police

IT News

Imphal, April 20

In connection with the Police modernisation Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh today handed over 9 new Toyota Innova vehicles to Imphal West and East District Police. Earlier, 3 Toyota Innova were already handed over to the Manipur Police Patrol unit.

Speaking to media persons at the side line of the programme CM N Biren said that similar vehicle will also be provided to other Districts police of Manipur. He said that the police patrol unit in the new vehicle will be made available 24x7 to ensure the safety of the public.

Many MLAs , Ministers and DGP L.M Khaute along Senior Police officer were attended in the function.

On the other hand the Manipur Police department today donated as sum of  Rs 2,92,44,259/- (Two crore ninety two lakh forty four thousand two hundred and fifty nine to the CM Covid-19 Relief fund.

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Borobekra Police intercepted 16 people who entered Jiribam District

IT Correspondent
Jiribam, April 19

The Borobekra Police of Jiribam District intercepted16 persons including 6 women and one minor child who stealthily entered crossing Barak River.
As per a police statement all the 16 people were found at Kaishem punjee village, Borobekra sub division and they came from Saifai of Mizoram State on foot.
As they entered Jiribam through waterway stealthily in the advantage of darkness without any permission amidst the lockdown and curfew hours, all the 16 people were arrested and a regular FIR has been initiated against them under FIR No 1(4)2020 under sec 188/269/34 IPC in addition with sec 51( b) of Disaster Management Act.
They were produced before the Judicial Magistrate, Jiribam and remanded in judicial custody. However, the court released them on bail but order to Home Quarantine for 14 days.
The Jiribam District police also informed them to maintain the protocols during Home quarantine period and also appealed to all the general public in the district to stay home and safe so that no such legal consequences will be faced.

Distribution of PMGKAY rice within Imphal East district continues

IT News
Imphal, April 20

The distribution of rice in the Assembly Constituencies of Khundrakpam, Heingang, Khurai, Keirao, Lamlai, Yaiskul and Wangkhei are taking place smoothly. The distribution of rice, under PMGKAY scheme for the month of April, 2020, for Thongju Assembly constituency also starts today, informed a notice issued by Deputy Commissioner, Imphal East District
The notice also stated that the lifting for OMSS rice for Yaiskul A/C and the balance OMSS rice of Heingang, Khurai and Wangkhei A/Cs also starts today from FCI Godown, Koirengei
The distribution will take place at the Fair Price Shops of the concerned agents while Social distancing norms are to be strictly maintained. Revenue, CAF & PD officials and District Police will assist and co-ordinate for smooth distribution of the rice. Further, the FPS agents are directed to take the signatures of all the beneficiaries along with the quantity of the rice distributed and submit to the DSO Imphal East after the distribution is done with.
The District Administration, Imphal East District has appealed to the representatives of MLA’s, Local Clubs, Meira Paibis, NGO’s to support the rice distribution.

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110 persons arrested in connection with mob lynching

IT News
Mumbai, April 20

110 local residents (including 9 juveniles) were arrested on Monday, in connection with lynching three persons to death at Gadchinchale village, in Palghar last week. The residents, armed with sticks and stones, attacked a car in which two Sadhus were travelling towards neighbouring Surat in Gujarat . In the attack two Sadhus and their driver was killed. When the police team reached the spot tried to rescue them, the locals also attacked police party. The dead include a 70-year-old Sadhu.

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NGOs join hand with government in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic in Manipur

IT News
Imphal, April.19

United NGO Mission Manipur (UNMM) has started distributing essential items to the widows in Keisthamthong area yesterday. Around sixty widows were benefitted during the distribution held at Elangbam Leikai yesterday. The UNMM had also started  awareness campaign to the people to make sure that the people of the state remain safe from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Wangjing Tentha Farmers’ Development Association which is Properly Known as “WATEFADEAS” a National Awardees NGO of the Government of India Actively has joined hand with the government of Manipur in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic in Manipur.
The WATEFADEAS in collaboration with the Khongjom War Memorial Trust along with Local Youth Clubs, Mahila Mandala, Social Workers and Elected Members of Gram Panchayat has started distribution of essential commodities containing Potato, Onion and Salt for distribution for getting 11500 household of Twelve Villages which they targeted using 2 vehicles permitted by district administration.
The Chairman of Diamond Radio and Former Minister, Moirangthem Hemanta flagged off the Vehicles carrying essential commodities.

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24 quarantined persons run away from hospital in Palghar

IT News
Mumbai, April 20

The police have launched a hunt for 24 quarantined persons who ran away from Kasa sub district hospital at Dahanu in Palghar district in Maharashtra on Saturday night escalating tension  since Palghar district has been declared as hot spot for COVID 19.
Palghar is about 110 kms away from Mumbai and Dahanu is the last station on the Western Railway’s suburban rail service.
The swabs of the above persons were sent for test on 16 April and the reports were awaited. But even before the reports were received, they escaped in the night. In all 187 persons, including 22 infants have been isolated in Palghar so far. Some of the doctors and nurses of the same hospital, who have tested positive, are already receiving treatment.
Besides above 24 persons, 9 construction workers and their 10 relatives, suspected to be infected, escaped from the quarantine centres few days ago. They are yet to be traced out. Till now 17 persons have tested positive with one death in Palghar district.
In the meanwhile the number of active COVID 19 cases has climbed up to 4200 with 223 deaths, while 507 patients have been recovered in Maharashtra. These figures include 2724 active cases in Mumbai with 132 deaths.

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Post-COVID-19 Challenges

The SARS-Cov 2019 attacks human biological systems causing fatal disease called COVID-19. There are right now effective and unharmful medicines, vaccines to fight with on the part of human beings, the most intelligent animal on the earth.
Because of the virus attack, the world is witnessing several troubles in conducting various human activities, right from aviation, tourism, sports, industries, education and what not. It is a worldwide problem. Many scholars start thinking about the problems that would come up in the post-COVID-19. How to cope with the problems that arise out of slow down of production, sudden rise of unemployment because of various variants of lockdown, the repeated swing of COVID-19 test results and many more?  A big question is of wage earners who lost their precious time and labor in this war against the virus.
As the biological system of an individual collapsed if one does not have strong immune system or is having several other diseases earlier, the Post-COVID-19 will show different health statuses of the nations, states, territories in the world. Considering this fact, if re-examine Manipur state system it is better prepare the challenges that would come up in Post-COVID-19. Needless to mention again of the political status of Manipur in India, one may name anything but it is known to everyone that Manipur is one of the Centre-dependent states in India. No backbone of their own. And within this spineless state, corruption and greedy high power individuals rule the state. There are many instances that would show how corruption and greed infect the entire system. The most recent ones, if one has to recall, the loss of portfolio of Dy. CM over the issues of quantity of rice to be distributed per household and how high power persons hijacked essential commodities meant for needy persons. Again the public behavior in front of oil pumps, public distributors, and the mindset of business class should also be considered. Above and all, the corrupt mindset of suppliers who supplied unfit masks meant for health workers who are fighting the SARS Cov 2019. Are not these instances enough to show the health condition of this state? We can discuss how there is change of mindset from ancient kingdom to present Centre-dependent state. But, right now, the question is how to cope with the Post-COVID-19 problems with existing systems, infected with corruption and greediness.
This state having multiple diseases needs real treatment. Do we still need few more diagnostic tests? If we have social engineers, thinkers and long rooted pride of being a civilized people, our response to the Post-COVID-19 should also not be a barbaric one. Of course, the treatment would not be simple but complex with surgery operations, if necessary. The need of the hour is mobilization of different resources to fight and fight back. Locking down our own aspirations, visions and hopes will not bring a new Manipur. Get ready and strike all the odds in history once again.

Water Scarcity at Imphal; which may darken our future to Water Crisis

Yet again, amidst the global pandemic of Covid-19, the water problem in Imphal became the talk of the hour. The state was declared drought hit during August-September last year and it has hardly been 200 days after, the recurring problem of water scarcity resurfaced again in Imphal. Although drought was declared in 2009 and 2019 only during the last decade, the acute water shortage problem has been an annual phenomenon for our state.
Much came into limelight when people during the long lockdown are forced to buy water at Rs. 60 to 70 per jar. Even news of buying them at Rs. 100 was seen in social media. When both people and government are busy framing lockdown rules, monitoring Covid-19 by tracing, tracking and testing, quarantining, isolating and then treating; water scarcity problem has been sidelined. What need to be done at this juncture is to find an immediate solution. It is not easy but certainly can be done. The unsung humanity is providing the solution either as individuals -politician, philanthropists or groups-NGOs, clubs, institutions are distributing water to the needy masses.
As per research paper on the Journal of Rural Development (SS Hanjabam, 2018) the state government is able to provide only 70 million litres per day (MLD) against the required 101.9 MLD. This clearly suggests that another 30 MLD is to be provided via private agencies. The harse reality is that, these private agencies in most cases, receive their water from the government based reservoirs where they compromise public responsibility. Even worse case scenario happens during the momentous winter-dry months of March-April annually in which the water levels of Imphal, Iril, Nambul, Thoubal are far below useable level.
In the lights of these acute water scarcity issues during the dry seasons, a personal experience needs to be shared to all the readers. In one of the social media, a very concerned citizen came up “Why not our super scientist, engineers, etc from our state to fix this water problems once for all.... Its happening regularly for the last 10 yrs... Please don’t say we don’t receive enough rain water every year.” The guy rightly points out who should come forward to solve the problem. A systematic scientific remedy needs to formulate to cope up the issue. However, the water issue is still in the initial phase were a little seriousness by the state authority and effective implementation by the governmental mercenaries can nullify the problem almost by ~ 95% and the rest ~5% requires an out of the box work.
The author feels that this grim water issue can be solved at ease. Let us again feel few more instances. Where from the package water come from? Where does water jar get fill up? Are the water tankers not available at all? The answers clearly depict the solution. It means that enough water is still available. Only matters are money and a good distribution policy.  
In the long run, however an ever lasting solution is a must. To find the long term solution, lets go through some of the facts and figures. As per 2011 Census, 268,243 is the population of Imphal city while its urban / metropolitan population is 418,739. Following the www.macrotrends.net the estimated population of Imphal in 2020 would be 576,000 assuming at a growth rate of 3.23% from 2019. This increase will certainly pose a grim future which at some point of time may even create an irreversible water crisis. Here few scientific interventions are necessary to procrastinate the water crisis.
The first and foremost step is to digest all the possible causes of water depletion and adopt all possible measures to minimize. To list a few - Over exploitation or excessive pumping to meet increasing water demand, excessive consumption, Urbanization and expansion of paved surface areas, minimizing traditional water conservation structures like ponds and tanks, non availability of other source of water for domestic uses, lack of awareness and insanitary disposal of waste to river and streams.
The second part is to identify possible study areas where to harvest and artificially recharge the water. The upstream basinal locations along the course of the major rivers will be the ideal locations to take up the projects. Awang Sekmai for Imphal River, Sawmbung-Lamlai for Iril River, Lamsang for Nambul River, Yairipok for Thoubal River, Pallel for Sekmai River, Saikot for Khuga River will be suitable locations where either proper harvest and artificial recharge can be initiated.
The actual scientific intervention norms are clearly outlined in Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) guidelines. These methods can broadly be classed into Direct & Indirect methods. Direct methods to be applied for surface include flooding, ditch and furrows, recharge basin, bench terracing, contour bunds and contour trenches, check dams, gully plugging, stream modifications, irrigation methods, etc. Amongst Sub-surface techniques, recharge wells, shafts and pits, etc may prove fruitful. Induced recharged and Aquifer modification can be done through Indirect methods. These methods need a proper survey of the water table, lithology, geological structures to adopt the most apt with least economic expense and minimum social issues. Fulfilling these steps will take around another five year.
So the need of the hour is to adopt rain water harvesting techniques at different levels i,e, from individual homes to government. Public awareness for the use of recycle water for different categorical uses, minimise water loss through distribution will be immensely helpful. Stringent implementation of water supply system of government machineries for PHED can also effectively rule out the present problem. Otherwise, the gloom day of “DAY ZERO” for the Cape Town and Johannesburg cities during 2018 may arise in the near future. Though the front line crusaders -doctors, nurses and police may prove combating the Covid-19, it is the people who should stay home and maintain social and physical distancing norms to defeat the global pandemic. Let the government do its policy and planning for minimising the crisis while all of us should contribute its own bit by changing the habit of bizarre water uses. Same applies for combating the water crisis. Like the saying “Make Hay while the Sun Shines”, act aptly.

A new normal

By- Jr Amo

Since the beginning of the 21 days nationwide lockdown on 24th March 2020 and the continuation of Lockdown 2.0 was enforced, due to fear of the virus and observing the government’s guidelines, millions of Indians are still locked up inside their homes. It is hard to tell when this humanitarian crisis will come to an end; no doubt, this too shall pass sooner or later.
As we are facing this unprecedented global crisis, we all know it is a very difficult fight. Despite the rising cases and death rates the WHO and nations are trying their best to flatten the curve. Right now the whole world is fighting a common enemy COVID-19, countries taking every possible measure to curb the spread of the contagious virus.
Scientists and experts all around the globe working day and night, making full use of resources to find vaccination for this dreadful virus. But, an anti-Covid19 or a vaccine for the said virus is far from discovery.
Preparations and precautions taken at every stage, half of the world’s population is on Lockdown for the first time in history. Making it more stringent, curfew is also imposed in some countries and President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte have ordered “shoot at sight” of lockdown violators in his country.
Most of these measures taken are distressing but are essential, to save lives, to avoid further spread of Covid-19 and particularly to stop the chain of transmission until a vaccine is found and medicines made to treat infected patients.
While all the rest of the world and people of all walks of life lock themselves up, except those working in the frontlines and essential service providers, I myself have also been working day and night at the heart of the town for the past few weeks.
Passing through the main road, I had been witnessing many new developments along CCPur Tiddim road, including Security personnel enforcing the lockdowns, guarding the roads and open spaces. I see people who aren’t abiding by the guidelines of the lockdown, and I think to myself, ‘Why they are risking their lives at this time?’ I wondered, ‘What are they coming out for? It might cost them their life?’ But, all I could do was just put more thought on to it.
Then, just opposite from where I was walking was an SBI ATM Booth which most of the time is usually out of cash. I witnessed something, the one thing that really caught my eye during these events - people queuing up for their turn to withdraw some cash out of the ATM without maintaining any social distancing at all.
Likewise, if one among the many who are queuing up for withdrawal of money at the ATM was infected with the contagious Covid-19, it could have spread to others and this whole thing would have been a lot different by now. I can’t ignore that it was important, but, can we at least practice the priceless social distancing at public places for the time being and for the days to come?
Moreover, I would just like to add that in the past, even before this pandemic was looming ATMs in the state have always been crowded, in a sense that people are defying the norms and more than one person used to enter the booth, compromising the privacy of others at large. This is a very bad and ignorant practice that everyone should stay away from and adapt to the formal ways of the guidelines.
So, I would end it here and echo Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong words - “I wish everyone strength & wisdom as we deliberate and forge a way forward to good health and a new normal”.

*** The writer is the Assistant Editor of ‘Hmasawnna Thar’ based in Churachandpur district, Manipur.

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