Studying the total shutdown in Manipur
Address the basics
Obvious that the State Government is serious but is it prepared ?Right after Manipur entered the list of States having positive coronavirus cases on March 24, the State Government went ahead and imposed curfew all over Manipur to discourage people from assembling and in its bid to further push the agenda of promoting the call to maintain social distance, for this is widely held as the first, big important step to stop the virus from spreading. The curfew came just a few hours before Prime Minister Narendra Modi imposed the Nationwide total shutdown to stop the virus from spreading further. The curfew coupled with the Nationwide shutdown caught many people unaware but given the reality this was in line with the efforts taken up by the Government to tackle the virus for which there is as yet no medication or universally accepted mode of treatment. Perhaps it is the overlapping of the curfew and the Nationwide shutdown here in Manipur but there are just too many glaring slips which just cannot be swept aside. To refer to a post put up by a veteran doctor, a man who has seen it all and experienced it all, the Prime Minister in his address to the Nation had assured a number of exemptions to ensure supply of essential goods including medicines, groceries, vegetables and uninterrupted essential services, obviously meaning the medical services, which in turn should mean giving free way to the doctors and health workers. The reality however is different here in Imphal, where the Governor and the Chief Minister stay !
Aiding the confusion is the presence of so many leikai heroes and heroines who have come out to impose their own version of curfew in the localities where they hold sway. So bamboo barricades have becomes a common sight at many leikai roads which serve as important connecting routes. Such obstacles put up all over the place mean that free movement, even for those on essential service such as doctors and medical staff and media persons, is severely curtailed. Important roads are blocked too, particularly at Lamlong side, where the Imphal-Ukhrul road runs, which has the potential to give a very wrong message. So many localities are today reeling under severe shortage of potable water and with piped water only making a guest appearance for a few hours, many do depend on the bottled water and water tankers supplied by private firms. Many pharmacies also do not open. The question is, has the Government taken up the needed preparations to ensure that the supply chain is not disturbed ? The lockdown is needed yet at the same time it is also important to ensure that things as basic as making things available to the people is addressed to satisfactorily. The essence of a lockdown should not be defeated due to an inefficient and lethargic Government machinery.