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Saturday, 25 April 2020 - Imphal Times

Stranded Manipur workers at Kakkanad in Kochi gets relief material following State Govt. intervention

IT News
Imphal, April 25

Around 100 workers who have been stranded at their work site at Kokkanad in Kochi, Kerala today received essential items as relief material from the Kerala Government authority. Imphal Times had reported the matter following which the state government authority had immediately responded and contacted the Kerala counterpart to make sure that the Manipuri workers don’t remain hungry during the lockdown. A Manipur worker while talking to Imphal Times thanks the Manipur Government and the Kerala govt. authority for helping them.

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India to return faulty antibody testing kits to respective countries

IT News
Mumbai, April 25

India will be returning faulty antibody testing kits to respective countries, whether it is China or any other nation, Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan said while addressing health ministers of states, along with Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, Ashwini Choubey, via video conferencing on Friday.
“Faulty antibody testing kits will be returned if they don’t work properly.  We have not paid for these kits yet. Wherever there is a need, we have also sent our senior officers to support you. They are sent for hand-holding and cooperation so that we could feedback on how to extend help further,” Dr Vardhan said and added that  ”Almost three and a half months have passed while fighting against Covid-19. All states are doing well. India is the only country in the world that has reported fewer cases among all other countries”.
He said that India has around three per cent mortality rate of Covid-19. “We are on the right track to deal with Covid-19. All Health Ministers should monitor themselves. We have not entered the third stage of transmission because it has been controlled by the help of all the states”.
On Tuesday, Indian Council of Medical Research(ICMR) had advised states to stop using the rapid antibody test kits till it examines their quality in the wake of complaints that they are not fully effective.  Last week, India procured five lakh rapid antibody test kits from two Chinese firms and they were distributed to several states. However Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat had complained that the kits were giving out inaccurate results.
Earlier Dr Raman R Gangakhedkar, Head of Epidemiology and Communicable Diseases at Indian the ICMR, had said that the companies which supplied the kits will be asked to replace them if the kits were found faulty. High variations ranging from 6 to 71 per cent have been reported between the results of the rapid tests and RT-PCR tests. These kits will be tested and validated in the field by teams from our eight institutes after which we will issue a clear-cut advisory for the states. Official sources here clearly indicated that the kits over which questions have been raised are from China.

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Smuggled ‘Win’ cigarette seized

IT News 

Thoubal, April 25

Amidst lockdown called to contain the spread of novel Coronavirus, a team of Kakching district police under the supervision of Superintendent of Police Victoria Yengkhom today seized large quantity of Foreign made cigarette ‘Win’ at Pallel area that was smuggled from Myanmar side along Imphal Moreh road at around 3 am today.

Report said that the police team on duty seized 91 carton Box containing 45,500 packets of Win cigarette – 500 packets in each box from a four wheeler vehicle (Tata Xenon)  bearing  Registration Number MN01G-32709

The seized items along with the driver of the vehicle were today displayed in front of media persons today at Pallel Police Station.

Briefing the media SP Victoria told media persons that the driver identified as   Md. Jangish Khan (32) son of Md. Manor Ali of  Hayellabuk in Thoubal district had confessed that owner of the huge consignment of illegal cigarette is Hmangte Khup Kom, son of Hmangte Ayang Kom of Checkon. 

She said that the seized items had been handed over to Custom Office at Pallel. A case has been registered with the Pallel police against the driver for violation of the lockdown and also for smuggling of illicit items.

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Clarification on MHA order allowing Opening of Shops

IT New
New Delhi, April 25
Ministry of Home Affairs issued an order yesterday on amendments in the consolidated revised guidelines on lockdown measures to allow opening of shops.
A PIB report said that in rural areas, all shops, except those in shopping malls are allowed to open.
In urban areas, all standalone shops, neighborhood shops & shops in residential complexes are allowed to open.  Shops in markets/market complexes and shopping malls are not allowed to open. It is clarified that sale by e-commerce companies will continue to be permitted for essential goods only.
It is further clarified that sale of liquor and other items continues to be prohibited as specified in the National Directives for COVID-19 management.
As specified in the consolidated revised guidelines, these shops will Not Be Permitted To Open in areas, whether rural or urban, which are declared as CONTAINMENT ZONES by respective States/ UTs.

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87th BN. CRPF distributes essential needs to Kaimai Kuki Villagers

IT News

Kaimai, April 25

Amidst the extension of Lockdown in Manipur due to Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic diseases, 87th Battalion, Central Reserved Police Force(CRPF) Uchathol distributes daily essential needs to Kaimai Kuki Villagers of around 135 households on April 25th, Saturday 2020. 

 Under the supervision of 87th Battalion, CRPF Commandant HB Meeitei, Daily Essential needs like Alu, Dal, Soap, Chapati, Rice, Oil, Onion, Tea etc’s were distributed as this items are mainly import from Plain areas. 

To mentioned, Waiting Shed near Kaimai Community Hall was also constructed by the 87th CRPF on the early year of 2020. 

The Villagers of Kaimai Kuki were much delighted to expressed their heartfelt gratitude to the 87th CRPF for their kind efforts. Kaimai Village Chief Lenboi Singson and his colleagues also expressed their profound appreciation and hope that more events to help the Villagers of Kaimai be seen in future as well. 

Kaimai is a Kuki Village, situated under Tousem Sub-Division, Tamenglong District, Manipur.

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RD&PR schemes to resume implementation abiding strict govt. directives

IT News
Imphal, April 25

Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Minister Thongam Biswajit Singh has instructed officials of the RD and PR department to resume implementation of all schemes implemented in rural areas including the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.
Addressing a meeting with Panchayat elected members and officials of the department at his office today, the Minister also instructed that proper guidelines and protocols as instructed by the government are maintained while resuming work under MGNREGS.
He also instructed the Adhyakshas to ensure that adequate masks and hand sanitizers are distributed to the job-card holders to be utilised during implementation of the scheme. He also said that any implementation of the schemes should follow all guidelines and protocols including social distancing and use of face mask.
 Biswajit also said that the department has already opened a toll –free number (1800-345-3872) for anyone who has a complaint or grievances regarding implementation of the scheme in the State. He urged all concerned to use this toll free number to highlight or apprise the officials of any grievances or complaints.
The meeting was attended by Adhyakshas, Additional Chief Secretary  MH Khan and other officials of the department.

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Maharashtra gets permission for pool testing and plasma therapy trials

IT News
Mumbai, April 25

The Central Government has given permission to Maharashtra Government for pool testing of patients for Covid-19 to expedite the tests process so that the death rate could be brought down.
The above permission was given by Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan during a meeting via video conferencing, with Health Ministers of different states, including Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Thursday. The centre also agreed to state’s request to conduct clinical trials of plasma therapy. Besides, it has also concurred with state’s proposal to sanitize personal protective equipment (PPE) kits so that they could be reused.
Pool testing algorithm involves Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) screening of a specimen pool, comprising multiple samples. In case a pool tests positive, then each sample will has to be tested individually. Under pool testing 30 samples can be tested in a single test. So far, one sample is being tested at a time. The test can be conducted using portable pulse oxi meter and also X ray.
The state had sought permission from the Centre for starting clinical trials of plasma therapy and BCG (Bacillus Calmette-Guérin) vaccine — given to newborns and children to prevent childhood tuberculosis — for treatment of Covid-19 patients. Once clinical trials are successful, the state can start using these to treat Covid-19 patients.
The health minister also said the state is getting less medical equipment supplies than required from the Centre. “We are getting supplies of medical essentials from the Centre but it is not enough. For instance, we had demanded 3.5 lakh PPE (personal protective equipment) but received only 30,000. Similarly, we received 1 lakh N95 masks from the Centre against the demand of 8 lakh masks,” Tope pointed out.
 In the meanwhile, Maharashtra is also planning to allow private medical colleges to conduct COVID 19 tests, along with Government hospitals and the hospitals run by local bodies.

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Radio-tagged falcon Chiulon returns to India after winter sojourn

By a Correspondent
Imphal, April 25

Amid the Covid-19 pandemic across the globe, the radio tagged Amur falcons, which flew non-stop for five days covering thousands of kilometers to reach African countries in November last year, are on their way back to India for further destination to their breeding grounds in northern China, a scientist of Wildlife Institute of India Dehradun said.
However Chiulon, a male Amur falcon, which departed from the Somalia coast on April 21, has arrived in India, says WII scientist R Suresh Kumar, who is currently monitoring the route of the migratory birds said when contacted on Saturday. The bird is in Madhya Pradesh close to a place near Satpura tiger reserve, he said.
On Friday afternoon, Chiulon was reportedly in the middle of its Arabian crossing covering a distance of 3150km and gliding in the jet stream.
In first week of November 2019, Chiulon and four other falcons namely Puching, Phalong-both names of villages in Tamenglong district, Irang and Barak-both names of rivers of the district,all in Manipur were radio tagged with a satellite transmitters by the forest department in collaboration with WII scientists to study the flight route of these long-distance migratory birds and environmental patterns along the route.
Though all the falcons are sharing their datas during this radio tagging programme, Puching and Phalong failed to transmit any data few days after they’re tagged.
Meanwhile Barak and Irang are said to be still in Somalia and waiting for their turn to fly back to India.
The birds are expected to pass the northeast soon,the scientist felt.
On the other hand Longleng, a female Amur falcon named after Nagaland’s district had already arrived in India ahead of Chiulon on Thursday and flying down non-stop towards the southern India for 94 hours covering nearly 3800 km, according to the scientist. The bird started her five day return passage from Somalia to India on April 20 flying at a speed of 45 km per hour.
In fact Longleng which was radio-tagged in Nagaland in October 2016 as part of projects to study the flight route of these long-distance migratory birds and environmental patterns along the route, arrived in India a week ahead of his previous year’s schedule arrival time.

Cooperation rather than confusion- need for new approach of enforcement

The nation, as is in most places of the world, is under lockdown as part of the effort to combat the spread and transmission of Covid-19 which have hitherto managed to infect more than 23,000 people in the country , and still counting. Public curfew has been imposed and restrictions on travel and public gatherings are in place. State police and security forces are working overtime to enforce the government directives, while doctors and other healthcare professionals as well as volunteers are at the frontline against this insidious threat, performing beyond their call of duty and even risking their lives in the effort to contain and control the deathly march.
All these are measures and efforts to try and mitigate the damage inflicted by the deadly virus on the public. And while the state has been declared Covid-19 free after the two infected patients were tested negative following treatment, the public has yet to realize the potential threat of an outbreak in this tiny state. A sense of desperation and inability to grasp the importance and the implications of the present situation is still very pronounced. What has added to the confusion is the contrasting message of the state government in allowing retailers of ‘essential’ commodities to open shop for a limited period while imposing fine on the public for disobeying the lockdown. Evidently, the present crisis will persist for a few more months, if not years, and there is a pressing need to formulate and implement a systematic and pragmatic protocol for social behavior and interaction.
The exasperated expressions of the chief minister and the security personnel are understandable, and until the public comes to its collective sense, no amount of punitive action will bring in the desired result. Perhaps a change in the approach of community policing can be experimented, such as creating community immersion through a variety of ideas including reintroducing or elevating earlier community policing models. Forming community partnerships and coalitions with community leaders can assist in building relationships where tension might be forming.  Involvement in community programs and neighborhood projects can bring the citizens together with police to create a conversation to build unity. Security personnel can become more cognizant of background differences and cultural sensitivity. Persons may become culturally encapsulated with no intention of bias, but it comes from being so ingrained in one’s own norms and erudition.  It is important for peace officers to be sensitive to the factors in environment and cultural differences when communicating and interacting.  Using more transactional model communication and active listening can improve cordiality. Police officers often engage in linear communication due to the nature of their work by giving orders or commands. This model of interpersonal communication is effective in dynamic situations or circumstances where officers need to gain compliance immediately.
Communication from an officer is frequently used to steer someone in a certain direction which makes it very linear, often eliminating other factors which make interactions more transactional or two-way. Citizens want to be heard and they want to trust the message. Therefore, when officers use active listening and allow feedback to go back and forth in open channels, their perception and contact experience leans more positive than negative. Rapport building is part of this process as well and comes with opening up communication into a more transactional model.
The present source of the threat is one which does not recognize or regard politics, caste, creed, religion or faith. Cooperation and not conflict is our only hope of surviving this pandemic, and trust, respect and discipline are our greatest weapons.

Laymen view on nationwide lockdown and airlifting betel leaves

By -Mamta Lukram
Airlifting huge amount of betel leaves (kwa mana), for the state of Manipur during a period of nationwide lockdown due to global crisis of COVID 19, has a tale to tell. The inherent lifting up of betel leaf’s importance above essential commodities is in common parlance, a trade monopoly, which could be termed as imperialistic in nature. The coherent explanation behind the trade is systematic exploitation through slow self-gratifying means like intoxication and addiction.  These have been proven disastrous and effective, which are strategies as employed for invasion and expansion of imperialism. The story of opium war in history of China could be cited as an instance. Apprehension of parallel similar threat could be smelt out from the very act of airlifting betel leaf in special flight during the fight against pandemic COVID 19.  
In a small state of Northeast India like Manipur, which is frequented as socio-economically backward in the policy framework of the country, panic stricken was the whole community when the first case of COVID 19 was confirmed. Panicky response made the situation more chaotic where communities did even barricade themselves by fencing at the entrance of the localities. They didn’t stress much on how such acts could jeopardize essential/emergency services. Several civic bodies sets honest request to the people, the need for opening the locality gates and fencing and clearing up ways for speedy movement of the emergency service. As a follow up causal effect, sense of dejection and distrust filled the atmosphere. Some predicted about side effects of social distrust that would be left behind even after war against corona. Structural changes is expected in a state like Manipur, which is marked by strong community life,
Precautionary measures of 21 days nationwide lock down started from 25th April 2020 is strictly followed in the state too, later extended upto 3rd May 2020. The sudden lock down have left many unprepared and striving for the access to essential basic commodities. The psychological insecurity in moving out to seek for livelihood, worsen by the legal implementation of restricted public movements, transformed the lives of many thousands into nightmare. Artificial scarcity highlights as the social trend during the difficult times. Panic buying by rich with higher purchasing power incapacitated the mass poor. The rich and the poor become more streamlined in the society based on purchasing power parity (PPP).
Social distancing got approved as the most effective preventive measure to safeguard the collective welfare. People are to stay back at home for each one’s safety in the community. Violators of the restrictions are imposed of penalties. Inaccessibility of essential commodities due to systemic failure hit hard everywhere. Distress due to possible running out of stock many essential items including pharmaceuticals lately become common concerns. Critiques of loopholes in the emergency lockdown for lack of some appropriate regulatory or preparatory mechanisms were also pointed out as major threshold. Nevertheless, everyone appreciate the move as the immediate response to the pandemic. Following and supporting lockdown guidelines evolved as gestures of responsible citizen.    
Prohibiting vehicular movements along the two National Highways which is better termed as ‘lifeline’ bear correlations with public grievances. These are routes through which major movements of goods and tariffs for supply chain takes place. The dependent economy of the state sustained through the support system of import activities. Closure of these routes heightened the sense of assured shortage which will eventually lead to scarcity of basic commodities. The global pandemic on one hand, and the question of state’s preparedness to combat it on the other hand poised as the challenge in the public ethos. Government authorities took up alternative arrangement of airlifting cargo to tackle the urgency situation. Special flights are arranged for procuring items of basic needs. Flights later become the only reliable source for sustenance.  
Despite the authorities appeal to stay calm and refrain from panic buying, hoarding by rich people persisted. Assurances from government to provide essential items were paid no heed.  Contestation over scarce resources continues, where well-off families enjoying all privileges. Karl Marx’s prism of economic analysis stating poverty not due to scarcity of resources but due to unequal distribution of wealth was doubtless proven during the lockdown in the state. Social setting crumbled and people strived to sustain in as simplified ways as they can. If socio-economic theories could ever be contextualizing in contemporary situations, days of social emergency like today will be suitable example.
Meanwhile, when the whole world is fighting against the spread of dreadful disease, a bizarre incident happened in Manipur. On 4th April 2020, it is reported that Imphal Airport received huge consignment of betel leaf weighing around 6500 kg, through special flight service amidst lockdown. The import was criticize of being senselessness in response to the situation. Profit seeking is business ethics and looking for venture that could maximize profits sometimes overruled all odds. Whatever may be the legal bindings behind the business to support it as an act of personal business liberty, however the underpinning logic is the level of demand that instigate a business  to muster courage of hiring private flights to ferry betel leaf during catastrophic stand. The socio-economic or legal explanations being added for this act may provide multi-layered meaning, however hardly satisfactory could be the people with this way of business. Nevertheless, before pointing fingers on others we do need to self-introspect our real stand. How deep has the imperialistic trade monopoly of tobacco pan-eating culture rooted in our society? Isn’t consideration of betel leaf as one most profitable item of trade, an indication of social intoxication? When price of rice shoots up Rs 50 p/kg, the whole society raises voice, when Zarda (tobacco) pan being sold Rs 40 p/piece is considered normalcy as part of the struggle.     

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