Coping with 21 days lockdown Ensuring food for all

Lockdown for 21 days from March 25. Giving it more sense of urgency was obviously the report that one young girl, coming back from the United Kingdom, had tested positive for coronavirus on March 24. Despite the call of the Government and people in positions of information and knowledge of the case, a sense of panic did grip certain sections of people and in no time a number of ‘socially conscious’ folks rose to the limelight and imposed what they thought was how society should respond to the situation. And so came the locally imposed sort of curfew when leiraks  and even main roads were fenced and all including those on essential duty such as doctors, nurses and health workers were told in no uncertain terms to stay out of the fenced leiraks.  To give more teeth to the lockdown, came the curfew, which was imposed by the Government, to discourage people from moving out of their homes. So medical professionals, read doctors, nurses and health workers have to produce the passes issued by the Government and defeating the very essence of maintaining social distance and the core meaning of the lockdown, the passes are verified by the cops who are deployed on duty to enforce the curfew call. No doubt the cops are doing their duty, but there is the need to ensure that social distancing or physical distancing is maintained while discharging their duties and this is a point which the Government cannot afford to overlook under any circumstances and physically verifying the permit passes issued to those on essential services is not exactly maintaining social distance. This is a line of concern which has been voiced by doctors and health workers and the Government need to wake up on this point.
Stay indoors for 21 days to break the chain of the virus and defeat coronavirus, which has already taken a heavy tool across the world. This is the call of the Government and there is no reason why the public should not heed this. However to make sure that this call is adhered to strictly, the Government cannot rest content with just issuing a directive to the people to stay indoors. To many, especially the daily wage earners and to many more who make a living by plying their goods and skills to make a living daily, the Government need to do more. It is in line with this that the Government has announced that free rice will be distributed to the people. Some Assembly Constituencies have already started distributing the rice quota while others will follow suit in the coming days. The effort of the Government is taken note of, but already there are voices of concern being raised by different sections of the people. What is the quantity of rice to be distributed to each family ? Has the Government been able to work this out ? Will it be the same in all the ACs or will it be left to the agents to work this out ? Are the local clubs engaged in working out the quota of each family ?How about those who do not have their ration card ? How about the non-locals who are staying on rent in many of the localities in Imphal ? Aren’t they also entitled to get food ? Answers to these questions are needed. Only when these questions are answered satisfactorily will the assurance of Chief Minister N Biren that no one would go to bed hungry gain credence.