Thousands stranded outside Manipur
Of quarantine centres
Two positive cases so far. Both discharged from hospital with one having tested negative for the fourth time and completing her home quarantine period. No further instance of positive cases and things do not look as bad as in other parts of the country, where the number of positive cases are climbing with many others having reported cases of deaths. This however does not mean that Manipur can rest easy and how determined the State Government and the people are at keeping the virus away can be seen in the two immediate tests that lie ahead. One obviously is the number of people of Manipur stranded outside the State with the State Government already mulling over the idea of transporting about 90 such people who are reportedly taking shelter at Manipur Bhawan, Guwahati. The plight of the people stranded in a place far away from home, the pressure that must have been mounted on the State Government and the political leaders to do whatever it can within its power to have the stranded people back home are all reasons that may have goaded the State Government to study the possibility and modalities of transporting the 90 people stranded at Manipur Bhawan in Guwahati. Once this starts, then the State Government cannot just rest easy with the folks stranded at Guwahati but will also have to deal with many more who could not take the flight back home or start the train/road journey for home before the Nationwide lockdown came into force on March 25. Arranging the transportation for the 90 people stuck at Manipur Bhawan, Guwahati will be relatively easier, but remember the number will be much more than 90 for there are hundreds of others who are not staying at the Manipur Bhawan but may have put up with their friends and relatives at different parts of Guwahati.
Look beyond Guwahati and the number of stranded people will increase manifold and it will run into thousands. Delhi, Chandigarh, Mumbai, Pune, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru-these are some places where there would be thousands of stranded students from Manipur. Moreover there must be many more young boys and girls who are at these cities working as sales girls and sales boys, as well as in the hotel and IT sectors. The State Government will surely have a huge task at hand once the doors to those stranded at Guwahati are opened and here is hoping that enough thoughts have already been given to the likely scenario that may emerge once special arrangements are made to bring back the stranded people. It is also understood that all those coming back from outside would be quarantined for a certain period of time and this is where questions may well be raised whether the present quarantine centres can house all those coming back. How about those coming back by road ? Will they be made to travel all the way to Imphal to be quarantined ? This is where thoughts ought to be given to the possibility of opening adequate number of quarantine centres at Mao and Jiribam before the door is opened for those who come back by road. There must be a reason why Chief Minister of Bihar, Nitish Kumar has made a pitch for the line, ‘stay where you are’ at this moment. It was not without reason why Nitish Kumar had urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to dwell on this point and urge people to stay put where they are instead of making a beeline to return to their home State. Another point of concern is obviously the Indo-Myanmar border where cross border movement seems to be easy. Is the beefed up security at the border enough ?