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Jeet Akoijam

Jeet Akoijam

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]

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Economic Blockade called off

IT News
Imphal, May 20:
In view of the proposed Economic Blockade and the 24 hours ultimatum served, a joint meeting of Senapati District CSOs, Tribe Hohos and Government of Manipur represented by PHED Minister Losii Dikho, Member of Parliament (MP) Dr. Lorho S Pfoze and MLA K Leishiyo was held today atNPO Conference Hall DHQ.  The meeting deliberated on the conduct and violation of Covid-19 SOP and Quarantine protocols by former DC Somorjit Salam on the 13th May 2020 incident, and based on the positive and detailed discussion, the members agreed that the proposed Economic Blockade which will come into effect today the 20th Ma at 6pm has been called off and an inquiry committee will be set up by the state Government against the former DC to find out the truth behind the said incident for further course of action.

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Foresight and vision- need of the hour

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.    

Preparing for the long haul

The state government is handling the incoming natives who were stranded at different places around the country quite remarkably despite the initial apprehensions and uncertainties. For the last few days, thousands of natives are being received by the state with respect and care, and inspite of the few reported issues of hygiene in a few designated quarantine centres, the overall performance is still laudable. The number of Covid-19 positive cases in the state, contrary to initial estimates, remains at a very manageable level as of now and hopefully does not spike out of control. This is where the most precaution needs to be taken, for if recent turn of events is any indications, the initial positive response and developments as a result of the nationwide lockdown imposed in an effort to curb the spread of the pandemic has been laid to waste due to a lack of coordinated and prudent follow-up plan. With more state natives coming back in the next few days, the question of the level of preparedness and proactive action laid down by the state government- if any, has gained momentum. There are times when being good is just not good enough and nothing but perfection matters, as in the case of sporting competitions of the highest order like the Olympics. This present fight against Covid-19 virus is one such instance. The state government should take the good and the bad and build an impenetrable defense without delay as stopping the inflow of state natives can never be the final solution nor a permanent plan. There were reports of people returning from other states flaunting SOPs and endangering the local populace along the way home. There had been instances when the state authority failing to receive the returnees and directing them to quarantine centres as per protocol resulting in confusion and much consternation. Such incidents must not be allowed to repeat ever again.
All it takes is a single slip of concentration or oversight for all the efforts and good works done so far to go down the drain. And in this present situation, such a lapse would mean the threat to the lives of uncountable people as the virus has proven to be adaptive, elusive and asymptomatic in the majority of cases. For a state with limited resources and challenging geo-political settings, this would mean a threat to the very existence of the state as a whole. Another cause for concern is the increasing sense of frustration and bureaucratic intervention being increasingly felt by the doctors and other frontline healthcare workers in the state, especially in rural and hilly areas. In a bid to politicize and gain personal mileage, the elected representatives often forcibly tag around the frontline medical workers along their ‘inspection tours’ overstretching the schedule of the already overstretched staffs and thereby increasing the chance of burn-out of these health workers as well as taking them away from their schedule. The issue of limited PPEs and other equipment and instruments is another sore point pointed out by a number of healthcare workers posted especially in the interior parts of the state. the storm is just beginning in the state, and the state authorities should coordinate and make preparations so that everybody can feel safe and we can all weather the storm for as long as it takes.

Turning threat into opportunity- perfect time to overhaul the education system

While the whole world is grappling with the still rampaging pandemic, a very serious and alarming concern is starting to creep into the minds of the collective public. The prolonged lockdown enforced by the government in an effort to contain the present crisis has thrown the academic calendar off the window, and there is nothing much anyone can do anything about right now. There is also the unfortunate fact that the situation might not improve enough to warrant the risk of opening educational institutions in the next few months. Our children are the most precious treasure for the whole of humankind. They are the future, the torch bearers of our species who will ensure the survival and progression as a distinct race that has come to rule the world and almost everything in it. And like everything, they also need to be prepped and prepared for the future, to carry forward and improve upon the advancements made in every aspect of our lives. It goes without saying that we should spare no expenses or efforts in nurturing and protecting them.
The bitter irony here, however, is that in our society there is an increasing evidence of apathy, reluctance and even willful misleading of the young children to serve some vested interests. The most glaring example of this is presently being witnessed in the way the state is providing education, or rather pretending to, to be more precise, to the children. Despite the verbiage and self-praise on the efforts being put into improving and modernising the education system in the state by the government, the utter failure of the whole exercise cannot be stressed enough. What is more disturbing is the fact that the state machinery vested with the power and the resources to bring about positive changes in the education system are still not ready to admit to their shortcomings, and therefore effectively curtailing the opportunity to review and redraw the system. The concern here has shifted from bringing up educated and qualified children to securing the biggest cut for oneself from the resources allocated for education. The end result- derelict schools, empty classrooms, absent teachers, negligent officials and depraved authorities who have totally lost the plot.
The danger, however does not stop here. Numerous social forces out to make a point regardless of the relevancy to the development and progress of the children are using these young and impressionable minds to echo their demands and diktats. Students too young to comprehend any social issues are often seen being used to shore up the numbers by various social and student bodies in the demand for various issues. There is also the dark and discomforting fact of child trafficking that has been largely ignored till now but one which is becoming a big cause for concern for everybody in the state in view of the rise in the occurrence of the crime. Yet another issue which will have far reaching consequences is the way incessant violence, crimes and social disruptions are starting to make impressions on the young minds. When such undesirable social aberrations are being taken as a way of life and understood as such, we have a big and unavoidable challenge before us, one which has the potential to bring the whole state into oblivion.
Nurturing and shaping our children is a collective responsibility of the society and we must learn to accept the challenge and take pride in chipping in with our efforts in trying to dispel the doubts and negative influences that are being experienced by the children. We need to look beyond narrow communal, religious or cultural boundaries and bring up our children to be eligible and qualified citizens of the world. The state authorities need to lead from the front. The current uncertain situation however presents an opportunity to plan for a radical change – one which can adapt and improve with the changing times without the hurdles of bureaucracy and corruption. This is a trial by fire for the children across the world and we must give them the best of opportunities and support to ensure a better future.