Making sense of lockdown
People central to it all
The Government is serious and perhaps this is best demonstrated in the manner in which the current phase of lockdown has been enforced, especially in Imphal. Just how serious is the Government about effectively enforcing the lockdown may be surmised from the list of penalties it has spelt out for anyone who is seen violating the dos and don’ts laid down by the Government. And this is the first time that the Government has gone ahead and clearly spelt out the different penalties that will be imposed on anyone who is found violating the restrictions. For those violating the guidelines inside quarantine centres the fine is a hefty Rs 1000. This is apart from the earlier stand that those found flouting the guidelines of quarantine centres will be quarantined inside Sajiwa Jail. Other penalties spelt out by the Government include a fine of Rs 200 for anyone moving around without a face mask, Rs 200 on anyone who do not follow the social distancing norms in public places, Rs 500 fine on those found spitting in public places, Rs 200 fine for consuming pan, gutka and tobacco items in public, Rs 1000 for those found gathering in excess of the authorised number of people in ceremonies and another Rs 1000 for any other violation of the laid down guidelines. The heavy penalties are fine and should go some way in curbing the errant conduct of the people and Manipur certainly has a large number of such people who get a sense of thrill in violating rules and regulations. The important and more critical question however is whether the Government cannot think of ways other than lockdowns to curb the spread of the virus.
With no plausible answer to the poser just raised here, it is important to question whether there are ways to make the lockdown more effective. As noted here earlier, the Government seems more serious now, with even shops located in the leiraks and leikais told to shut shop in no uncertain terms, followed by fines in some cases. Apart from this, how seriously has the Government taken the understanding of tagging a place or a leikai or leirak as a containment zone ? Keeping others out from a containment zone will not be that such a hard proposition, for in the first place no one would want to step into a place or a leikai or a leirak which has been declared a containment zone. The question is, what extra steps are taken to ensure that people from a containment zone do not step out ? Are arrangements made to ensure that essential items are available to the people who may live in an area which has been declared a containment zone ? What steps have been taken to ensure that people living in a containment zone do not move around through the leiraks connecting different leikais ? This is a question which has already been raised in an earlier edition of The Sangai Express and it is not yet clear whether this point has been taken with the seriousness it deserves. Central to all the restrictions taken up by the Government, is the people and this is a point which should be acknowledged. When people are told to stay indoors, stay indoors, don’t move out !