Other States

Coronavirus | Lockdown woes trouble Manipuris at home and away

Passengers wear face masks as a precaution against COVID-19 in Imphal.

Passengers wear face masks as a precaution against COVID-19 in Imphal.   | Photo Credit: AP

Among the stranded people from the State is a group of 35 persons, mostly women, who had gone on a pilgrimage to West Bengal, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh, and were caught in U.P. when the lockdown was imposed.

A large number Manipuri students, pilgrims, workers and other travellers are stranded in different parts of the country due to the nationwide lockdown, official reports said on March 30. Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren said that a website had been launched on March 29 to establish contact with them.

Meanwhile, thousands of bags of rice meant for all 16 districts of Manipur could not be unloaded from goods trains at Jiribam in bordering Assam as labourers, stuck in different locations, could not reach Jiribam for unloading the urgently needed supply of rice.

Supply issues

The government has started providing 4 kg of rice through the public distribution system free of cost to every voter. But the scheme has drawn flack as citizens below the age of 18 years are denied access to it. Besides, the government has remained silent over edible oil, vegetables and other kitchen essentials. Some organisations said that the Bharatiya Janata Party was “playing politics” over rice.

Indefinite curfew was relaxed from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Monday though most people were unaware of it. People thronged the three women’s markets in the Imphal city to buy vegetables and other essential items. However, the police soon dispersed them as the crowd became unmanageable.

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Police said that some petrol pumps and grocery shops were open in the city. Reports suggested said that a shortage of LPG cylinders was forcing consumers to pay up to ₹2,000 in the black market for them.

In and around Imphal, police are rounding up joyriders violating the curfew and imposing fines.

Quarantine centre

On Monday, Mr. Biren, along with some MLAs and high officials, inspected the under-construction 200-bedded quarantine centre at Imphal west district. The CM said that the centre would be ready in 15 days.

Officials said that apart from launching the website, the government had appointed one nodal officer in Manipur House, Delhi, to look after stranded people from the State. Manipur Houses in Delhi, Kolkata and Guwahati were providing lodging to Manipuri people, including students. Stranded students said they were grateful to the government as they were facing shortage of money. One girl student said, “The government should take up urgent steps to help us reach our homes.”

Among the stranded people from the State is a group of 35 persons, mostly women, who had gone on a pilgrimage to West Bengal, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh, and were caught in U.P. when the lockdown was imposed. One of the women was widowed while they were at Radhakunda. The group said they were facing problems since they had no money for food. One woman said, “Officials in U.P. had promised us assistance, but we are yet to get any help.”

Testing needed

T. Bhimo, Director, J.N. Institute of Medical Sciences, Imphal, said, “We have tested samples of 65 persons, including 11 from Nagaland and some family members of a COVID-19 affected girl. Except for a 23-year-old girl student from London, all others tested negative. The girl’s condition is also improving and, hopefully, we may send her home shortly.”

Meanwhile, the tribal community of Motha village located along the Manipur-Myanmar border are in the grip of fear of contracting COVID-19. Village elders said that one girl from the village is studying in Yangon, Myanmar. She returned to the village on March 10 despite instructions not to do so. Village elders said that they had informed the medical officers at Moreh, the border town. “However, till date, no medical officer has come to test her,” one worried villager said.

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Printable version | May 31, 2020 7:46:48 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/coronavirus-lockdown-woes-trouble-manipuris-at-home-and-away/article31207809.ece

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