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Wednesday, 27 May 2020 - Imphal Times

CM holds discussion with hill leaders on COVID-19

IT News

Imphal, May 27:

Chief Minister N. Biren Singh hosted a discussion session with the leaders of different tribal communities of the State at the Chief Minister’s Secretariat today. The discussion mainly revolved around effective tackling of the pandemic COVID-19 and other issues faced by hill people due to the nation-wide lockdown. Around 60 leaders representing the apex bodies of different tribal communities took part in the discussion, which was conducted with strict adherence to social distancing and other safety norms.

Speaking at the discussion, the Chief Minister announced that a museum each of all the tribal communities of Manipur would be constructed in their originating villages at the cost of Rs. 10 lakh each. Ancient tools, articles, costumes and other articles of the respective communities would be kept in these museums, he said. N. Biren Singh also said that a WhatsApp Group of community leaders wherein the Chief Minister and other high ranking officials would also be the members would be made to communicate between the Government and community leaders. 

The Chief Minister observed that the COVID-19 pandemic can be dealt with through proper awareness only. He said that the key intent behind holding the discussion is to hear the grievances of our hill brethren in the aftermath of spread of COVID-19 and formulate a strategy to impart the right awareness at the grassroots level. Highlighting the small population of Manipur as compared to other States of India, N. Biren Singh said that the State may face different difficulties due to the pandemic if we are not careful and take up effective steps on time.

The Chief Minister urged the public to ignore rumours and trust only the advisories and guidelines issued by credible agencies like WHO, ICMR, Health Ministry, Home Ministry etc. He also said that as per the advisories of these organisations, persons who have completed 14 days of institutional quarantine or the persons whose test result come out negative may return home. As such, people should never hesitate to allow them to enter their localities, he said.

The Chief Minister further said, he is confident that all the infected persons would be cured because the doctors, nurses and paramedical manpower of the State are capable, and they have been working day and night with full dedication to accomplish it. He also said that the State would overcome the crisis with the support and cooperation from the people.

Regarding unity and integrity of the State, the Chief Minister said that the present Government has been putting in its dedicated efforts to retain the age-old unity among different communities residing in the state. He said that a heritage park would be developed at Keibul Lamjao, where the main venue for the annual Manipur Sangai Festival would be shifted gradually. Informing that traditional house models of all the communities of the State would be kept at the park, the Chief Minister urged the hill leaders to submit the sketch of their traditional houses to the Tribal Affairs and Hills Department.

The leaders expressed their profound gratitude to the Chief Minister for hosting such a fruitful discussion session and hear the grievances of the people residing in different hill districts at the time of hardship given by COVID- 19 pandemic and nation-wide lockdown. They opined that it was a rare occasion which had never happened in the past.

COVID-19 awareness leaflets published by National Health Mission, Manipur in Meitei Mayek, English and different tribal dialects like Aimol, Anal, Chothe, Lamkang, Monsang, Moyon, Tarao, Chiru, Kabui, Inpui, Rongmei, Zemei, Liangmei, Gangte, Hmar, Kom, Mate, Paite, Simte, Vaiphei, Zou, Thadou, Kharam, Koireng, Mao, Maram, Poumai, Thangal, Maring, Tangkhul etc. were handed over to the leaders present at the discussion. The Chief Minister also presented gifts and hosted a lunch in their honour at the CM’s Secretariat. Manipur Legislative Assembly Deputy Speaker K. Robindro, Yaiskul AC MLA Th. Satyabrata and high ranking officials of the State Government were also present at the discussion.

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We oppose delimitation base on wrong data – O. Ibobi

IT News

Imphal, May 27:

Congress Legislature Party leader Okram Ibobi Singh today said that the Congress party will oppose tooth and nail to any delimitation of parliamentary or Assembly constituency that is based on the wrong data of census report.

Talking to reporters at Congress Bhavan today afternoon, Okram Ibobi said that there has been abnormal growth of population at some areas of the state in 2001 census. And any delimitation conducted base on the 2001 census without increasing the number of assembly constituency will be opposed tooth and nail by the Congress party, he said.

“We have been opposing the delimitation base on the 2001 census and have even went to the court in 2015 to oppose any delimitation base on 2001 census”,  Ibobi , who is also the 3 times Chief Minister of Manipur said.

The CLP leader however said that if the number of constituency is increase from 60. As for the parliamentary seat, Ibobi opine that the number of LS seat be increased to 3 as there are 7 assembly constituency which are included in Outer Manipur Parliamentary Constituency but voters of the constituency cannot contest the election.

“A the number of voters have increase it is okay if two Parliamentary constituencies are delimitated from the 40 Assembly constituencies of valley area”, Ibobi opined.

On the other hand President of the MPCC M. Okendro said that the congress party will launch a nationwide campaign on social networking site demanding transfer of Rs. 10,000/- each to the bank account of migrant workers who have lost their jobs due to the nationwide lockdown that has been taken up across the nation to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Rs. 50 lakh Life Insurance Scheme for COVID-19 frontline warriors announced under PMGKP

IT News

Imphal, May 27:

Union Government of India has announced Rs. 50 lakh Life Insurance Scheme for Health workers fighting COVID-19 under the prime Minister Garib Kalyan Package.

An office memorandum issued by the Deputy Secretary (Health & Family Welfare) of the Government of Manipur said that the insurance scheme will be available for health workers who have lost their life due to COVID-19 and to those who died accidentally while performing duty related with COVID-19.

The insurance scheme covers public healthcare providers including community health workers, who are directly contacting while taking care of the COVID-19 patients and who may be at risk of being impacted by it. The insurance also covers private hospital staffs and retired / volunteers/ local urban bodies/ contracted / daily wage/ ad-hoc/ outsourced staffs requisitioned by the state/central hospitals/ autonomous hospitals of centers, states or Union territories, AIIMS and INIs / hospital   of Central Ministries.

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Delayed in picking of COVID-19 positive persons irked MLA

IT News
Imphal, May 27:
Delayed in picking up of the Coronavirus positive case from Community Quarantine center being open at Universal College, Yairipok in Thoubal district has irked MLA K. Meghachandra prompting him to lambast the government over mismanagement in dealing the COID-19 pandemic.
Talking to media persons Meghachandra said that a person who have returned from outside the state and have been on quarantine at Universal College, Yairipok quarantine center was tested Coronavirus positive at around 1 am today. However no government authority or any persons from the state health department had come to pick up the person till 1 pm today afternoon.
“Despite request to the authorities concerned, there has been no availability of an ambulance to pick up the positive case patient from the said quarantine centre”, Meghachandra said and question the health department the reason for the delay.

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During lockdown each family in Thanlon AC gets 75 kg of rice plus dal

IT News
Imphal, May 27:
When there are complaints about people not getting their allocated share of rice at various assembly constituency of the state, each family in Thanlon Assembly constituency gets 75 kg of rice plus Dal.
MLA Vungzagin Valte, who is also the Chairman of Manipur Tribal Development Corporation of the Government of Manipur, in a statement said that during the lockdown due to the COVID-19 Pandemic rice and other essential items have been distributed to the people of Thanlon Assembly constituency through district administration of Churachandpur in coordination with Zomi Youth Association, Hmar Youth Association, Gen. HQ and Young Vaiphei Association Gen HQ.
The statement said that Rise and other essential commodities like dal have been distributed at free of cost at Thanlon Assembly Constituency 3 (three) times to every household (one bag of rice each of 50 Kg in addition to tha minimum of 25 Kg of Rice in the first and second instances.
On the other hand Institutional  Quarantine Centre is also running at En Gedi Retreat Centre, Gelzang and as many as 160 persons ( 32 from Thanlon AC and 128 from Tipaimukh Ac) who have return from outside the state have been accommodated at the centre.
Valte said that he had provided 30 bags of rice and 150 kg of dal , utensils, sanitizers, Masks and transportation cost to the people of his area who remained stranded outside the state due to the lockdown.

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Reduce price of COVID-19 test, ICMR to states

Our Correspondent
Mumbai, May 27:
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has advised state governments and UT administrations to negotiate with private laboratories and fix up mutually agreeable prices for samples being sent by the government and also for private individuals desirous of testing by these labs.
“Testing supplies are stabilising and due to the availability of a variety of testing materials and kits, including indigenous ones, the prices are becoming competitive and are undergoing reduction.  Considering these developments and the evolving prices of the testing kits, the earlier suggested upper ceiling of Rs 4,500 may not be applicable now, ICMR Director-General Dr Balram Bhargava, wrote in a letter addressed to states.
“At the beginning of COVID-19 pandemic, there was a paucity of testing kits as India was heavily reliant on imported products for the detection of the novel coronavirus. Considering the cost of imported kits, the ICMR had suggested Rs 4,500 as the upper limit of a single test,” Bhargava wrote. In a letter dated 17 March 2020, the ICMR had suggested Rs 4,500 price cap for private labs testing the novel coronavirus.
However private laboratories claim that Rs 4,500 price cap for COVID -19 test is one of the reasons behind low testing. According to an analysis, on 16 April, private labs did a little over 15 percent of the total 28,340 tests done that day. And on 23 May, that figure was 19 percent of the total 1,10,397 tests done.
According to ICMR, unlike March, today there’s ample of alternative testing kits and supplies which can be used. Hence, the price should be revised accordingly. In the meanwhile centre is studying whether two lakh tests could be conducted per day.
In January 2020, India had only one laboratory testing for COVID-19, at the ICMR’ National Institute of Virology, Pune. Today there are 555 laboratories across the country, performing molecular tests for diagnosis of COVID-19 -an unparalleled achievement in the history of the Indian health system. The remarkable story of how India became fully self-reliant in its testing capabilities, despite starting from scratch just a few months ago, is one about the steely resolve of multiple agencies, working together round-the-clock to save lives, ICMR’s scientists said.

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Passenger on Delhi-Ludhiana AI flight tests positive, 40 others quarantined

Our Correspondent

Mumbai, May 27:

One passenger on Air India’s Delhi-Ludhiana flight tested positive for coronavirus and as such, the airline has quarantined a total of 36 passengers on the flight along with 4 crew members in Ludhiana, following the Punjab government rules, on Tuesday.

“The passenger who works in the security department of “Alliance Air”,  flew on AI 9I837 Delhi-Ludhiana domestic flight on the second day of flight operations in India in the lockdown, on a paid ticket. A 50-year-old man, is a permanent resident of Delhi. He came back from Delhi on 25 May on board a domestic flight.

Earlier a passenger on an “Indigo” flight from Chennai to Coimbatore, tested positive for coronavirus. The passenger himself has been quarantined at ESI state medical facility at Coimbatore. As such “Indigo” grounded the entire crew of the flight for 14 days. The airline  said they were trying to reach out to the passengers of the flight as per government norms.

“We received confirmation from the Coimbatore airport doctor that a passenger who travelled on 6E 381 from Chennai to Coimbatore on 25 May in the evening, tested positive for Covid-19,” said the airline in a statement. He is currently quarantined at an ESI state medical facility in Coimbatore.

While over 39,000 passengers flew on the first day of flight operations resuming across states, some 42,000 passengers flew on the second day. While many flights were cancelled over the two days, the airports across the country managed to fly over 1,000 flights in the first two days. Airlines also began operating from Andhra Pradesh on Tuesday while flights will resume in West Bengal from Thursday that is expected to increase the passenger traffic.

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A tension within MVA seemingly defused

Our Correspondent

Mumbai, May 27:

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray heading three party (Maha Vikas Aghadi) Maharashtra Government got a little relief after he had a telephonic conversation with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, about measures being taken to combat ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, on Wednesday.

Rahul Gandhi assured full support to the government and scotched rumors that the Congress may pull out of the government, since it had no “respectable” role in the state government, sources here said.

On Tuesday, in a media interaction Rahul Gandhi had tried to distance away from the spread of the virus in Maharashtra saying that Congress is not in a decision making role in the state.  He had said that there is a difference between running the government and supporting the government. The Congress can be considered to be in a decision making role in states like Punjab and Rajasthan, but not in Maharashtra. Earlier. another senior Congress leader from Maharashtra Prithviraj Chavan had also remarked that the Government in Maharashtra was a “Shiv Sena” Government and not the “Congress Government”.

Thackeray assured Gandhi that the suggestions by the Congress will be given due importance. The Congress has several important ministries in Maharashtra including Education, energy, public works, revenue etc.

The efforts by Opposition BJP to “expose” shortcomings of Maharashtra Government in handling “COVID-19” are already on by submitting petitions to the Governor, addressing media through video conferencing etc.

In the meanwhile Thackeray held a meeting of all the constituents of his government at his official residence “Varsha” in South Mumbai on Wednesday.  The meeting was on at the time of filing this report.

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SC seeks report on migrant workers

Our Correspondent

Mumbai, May 27:

The Supreme Court has asked the Union Government to furnish information by Thursday, about steps being taken to help migrant workers stranded due to the nationwide Covid-19 lockdown and has asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to assist it on the issue.

Taking a suo motu cognizance of plight of migrant labourers, stranded in different parts of the country, a bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and M R Shah issued notice to the Centre, states and Union Territories on Tuesday and sought their replies by Thursday, on the steps taken to redeem the situation.

The apex court said that there have been lapses on part of Centre and state governments and immediate measures are required to provide travel dacilities, shelter and food to migrant labourers. The SC said, “this section of the society needs succour and help” by the governments concerned. It was unfortunate that the plight of the migrant workers remains unchanged despite announcement of Rs.20 lakh crore economic relief package by PM to bring life into the Indian economy battered by COVID-19".

The bench said it was taking suo motu note of media reports and the many representations it  received about the plight of migrants. In its preliminary remarks recorded in the order, the bench said the central and state governments should immediately make necessary t arrangements, “free of cost”. The government and the states had taken measures “yet there have been inadequacies and certain lapses”, the bench observed.

“We are of the view that effective concentrated efforts are required to redeem the situation,” the bench said in its two-page order, the large part of which was devoted to outlining the reasons why the court had decided to take up the issue on its own.

Media reports, the order said, had been “continuously showing the unfortunate and miserable conditions of migrant labourers” walking on-foot and cycles from long distances. They have also been complaining of not being provided food and water by the administration at places where they were stranded in the way i.e. highways from which they proceeded on-foot, cycles or other modes of transport.

Tuesday’s EC notice came barely 10 days after another bench refused to intervene on a petition that wanted the government to identify stranded migrant workers, take care of their needs and provide free transport to them. After the nation wide lock down came into force,  the SC had declined to push the government to do more for the migrant workers. On 27 April, the court had closed another petition on the plight of migrant workers after the Centre insisted that all arrangements were made for the migrant workers at 26,000 plus relief camps.

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Kuki Students’ Organisation walks the talk!

By - T S Haokip
Imphal, May 27:
The initiatives, taken by CSOs in the cities outside North-east, to assist stranded individuals to return home and those of the region to assist the Government in the effective implementation of quarantine process are the standout stories that reaffirm the much-needed belief and resolution that ‘Coronavirus can take the lives of human but we should not let it take humanity out of our lives.’
One such is the initiative taken by Kuki Students’ Organisation through its units in the region and different cities outside the North East. According to Seiminthang Haokip, Info Secy. KSO Delhi, ‘We in collaboration with InSIDE - North East, sponsored by Centre for Advocacy and Research (CFAR) has distributed food items on the 23rd and again on the 25th of May, 2020 at the Railway Station, Delhi to all those heading home irrespective of the community they belong to. A total of 1200 individuals were provided with food items, masks, and water. We also acknowledge the help received from the volunteers of Manipur Naga Forum Delhi for COVID19 MNFDC, for making the initiative a grand success.’
While KSO Mumbai and KSO Chennai epitomized the Good Shepherd by assisting concerned authorities in finalizing the list of stranded individuals by personally contacting and guiding all the stranded individuals from a week before the journey of the Shramik Train till their arrival in Jiribam, Manipur, the KSO Bangalore in collaboration with InSIDE-North East has distributed food items like dry fruits, water, etc. to more than 2000 passengers heading home from Bangalore under a project called ‘Smile’ (Mercy Mission).
Mr. Khaiminlen Dougel, Info, and Publicity Secretary, KSO Ghqtr expressed his gratitude to all the units for their untiring efforts and sacrifices so much so that they have even sacrificed their personal obligations at home for the sake of the society. He added, ‘it is this exact effort, of helping people when they are in need, which defines the ethos we stood for since the inception of KSO. All KSO units both in and outside Manipur have done tremendous work from providing food grains to the weaker section of the society to collection and dissemination of Data and most importantly assisting Govt in the successful arrangement of bringing back stranded individuals outside the region. The KSO volunteers e.g in Churachandpur have volunteered to stay in Quarantine centers for the 14 days displaying true characteristics of the organisation’s motto; to learn, unite and serve.’
There are many other stories of the KSO and other CSOs contributing their selfless services in this fight against Coronavirus. While the State Governments with the co-operation of concerned authorities have taken painstaking efforts for the successful arrangement of the return of stranded brethren outside the region by arranging Special Shramik Trains, the role of the CSOs and individuals both in and outside the region have been tremendous. We can only hope and pray that this partnership of the Government, CSOs and individuals continue in the coming days as we are well-aware that this will be a long drawn battle. The fight is far from over, but together we can. And we shall overcome, someday. Together!

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