SAHILCA appeals to maintain COVID-19 guidelines at Mt Koubru

Our Correspondent
KANGPOKPI , Apr 28: Even when infection and fatalities of COVID-19 in the State are on the rise, hundreds of pilgrims continued to climb Mt Koubru everyday against the SOPs and guidelines of the State Government.
The State Government had already regulated certain guidelines in connection with the sudden surge of COVID-19 infection and fatalities in the State including ban on all gathering, sports, closing of schools, etc.
Earlier, Chief Minister, N Biren Singh had also made a sincere appeal to not climb the mountain at this juncture on April 20 considering the sudden surge of COVID-19 infection.
The Government advisories clearly stated that all social gatherings except unavoidable gathering for funeral, marriage, time bound ritual/ceremonies are banned. The unavoidable gathering was also limited to a maximum of 20 persons.
A village chief, whose village is located along the road leading to Mt Koubru stated that 60/70 at the minimum including female pilgrims used to climb Mt Koubru daily while some would stay at rest points to serve the pilgrims.
He continued that since we are aware of the recent issue of Mt Koubru which is on the verge of communal flare up, we just remained a mute spectators despite knowing that the crowding of such huge pilgrims would be risky during the pandemic.
Another villagers remarked that the sudden surge of Covid infection in the State along with the increasing number of pilgrims have made everyone restless, adding that they are helpless as even a polite gesture could be twisted and would like to avoid any misunderstanding to happen at this apprehensive situation.
He continued that no incidents of ill manner or behaviour were seen on the part of the pilgrims, they were very nice and polite as well to the people  but our apprehensiveness is that they come from the city where more cases and fatalities of COVID-19 have been witnessed so anything could happen at this juncture.
Had it not been during a pandemic, the villagers would warmly welcome the pilgrims taking it as an opportunity to make them feel the hospitality so that it would serve at least a little in bridging the gap of misunderstanding, he asserted.
Paolal Haokip, president of Sadar Hills Chiefs' Association (SAHILCA) mentioned that to comment on the pilgrims at this juncture is very difficult as the situation can be easily twisted, but as a responsible person, for the well-being of the villagers, he is compelled to make a sincere and polite appeal to all pilgrims and the State Government to avoid climbing Mt Koubru for a time being purely on humanitarian ground as COVID-19 knows no faith, tribe or colour.
He said that the local populace are apprehensive and everyone, young and old are restless now in fear of the second wave of the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic and the increasing number of pilgrims add to their fear.
Paolal Haokip appealed to all the pilgrims to avoid trekking the mountain purely in the larger interest of humanity while following the strict advisories of the State Government in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic.
If it is unavoidable and is a time bound ritual/ceremony, do according to the SOPs by climbing the mountain with not more than 20 persons once at a time on rotation basis so that the SOPs and guidelines are not flouted,  he added.
SAHILCA president also appealed to the State Government to look into the possibilities of spreading the dreaded virus owing to huge crowding on humanitarian ground before unwanted COVID-19 cases surfaced.
The District Administration Kangpokpi despite issuing orders in connection with the second wave of COVID-19 on April 17 and 19 is also surprisingly late in enforcing the SOPs and guidelines in the district when more than new twenty cases of COVID-19 have been detected in the district while its neighbouring district such as Senapati had already enforced the SOPs and guidelines of COVID-19 in full swing.