Team from Delhi speaks sense ! Imphal has to listen

Delhi speaks, Imphal listens. Good this is, for listening to sane advice and suggestion is always welcome and much better than to strike a ‘know it all’ posture and bungle in everything possible. And so it is that after the suggestion of the Central team from New Delhi, which arrived here some days back, that the existing beds for Covid patients at RIMS and JNIMS be increased to 200 or 250 each, the top officials of the State Health Department, whose sage advice and opinion matter a lot, decided to increase the number of beds at RIMS from the existing 116 to 200 and from 140 at JNIMS to 200. The increase in the bed capacity came after the suggestions from the team from Delhi and it is here that people of Manipur need to be thankful to New Delhi. A dedicated hospital for Covid patients was another suggestion from the Delhi team and it is nice to see that the State Government has started taking up necessary measures along the line of the suggestions from the Central team. The need to increase the number of beds at the two principal hospitals of the State should not have needed any prodding from the Centre, and the interesting question is why was no necessary step towards this end taken up before the team from Delhi suggested this ? Or is it a question of the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing ? A case of the State Health officials not really knowing what is happening at RIMS since the institute is under the Central Government ? Or is it more a case of officials blinded by self importance and a self imagined state of egoism ? This brings one to the question of how well coordinated are the different arms of the Government machinery.
The Delhi team will come, inspect, suggest and leave and the important question is whether one can expect better co-ordination between the different arms of the Government once they leave. Set  aside a separate hospital for symptomatic  COVID-19 patients while RIMS and JNIMS should be dedicated to treatment of critical illnesses was another idea and suggestion mooted by the Central team. Now that this has come from Delhi, one can expect this point to be taken seriously by the State Government, but the important question is whether any such line of thought was propounded by any officials here before or not ? As stated many times in this column, the virus is something new and its behaviour is yet to be fully understood, but this should not mean that the Government should throw up its hands and give up the fight. This is the reason why some out of the box thinking is urgently called for to tackle the many challenges thrown up by coronavirus. The suggestion or rather demand from some student organisations that a policy specific to the State of Manipur should be worked out is very much like calling for the State Government to be more sensitive to the local issues and the local reality and it is in recognition of this that the Centre had earlier announced that the decision on that the modalities of easing the lockdowns would be left to the State Governments. There is a lesson to be learnt from the visit of the Delhi team and that is to acknowledge that information sharing is critical and much more needs to be done to give more teeth to the preparations being made to take the fight to the virus.