MLA Mirabai questions rationale behind relaxation of lockdown
IMPHAL: Thousands swarmed Khwairamband market in the state capital to procure essential commodities as state Government relaxed lockdown and curfew for a few hours on Saturday to facilitate shopping for Easter and Cheiraoba festivals. Expectedly, without the conspicuous absence of official or any sort of supervision, most shops in the city and other districts saw panic buying with the buyers disregarding social distancing norms while procuring the items in their shopping lists.
Although the state home department issued an order making it mandatory for people venturing outside their homes to wear masks covering their mouth and nose, most people were observed ignoring the official directive aimed at stopping infection. The streets of state capital city witnessed multiple traffic jams as hundreds of vehicles weaved through one another to take advantage small window provided to but normal articles as well as specific needs for the festivals. Nagampal road and BT road in particular saw aggravated traffic snarls.
The state administration had earlier appealed the people to maintain social distancing by maintaining at least one meter gap in between. However, most people defied the guidelines of the government while buying their essential items from shops. Except for a few pharmacies and shops, social distancing was not properly maintained in front of many shops in Imphal city. The same phenomenon could be seen in Thoubal market, Lamlong Keithel, Yairipok, Churachandpur and others. However, people of Ukhrul district HQ could be observed obeying the social distancing norms while procuring their essential items from the shops.
To ease out public suffering, Government had relaxed lockdown and curfew from 6 am till 11 am on Saturday. However, the decision of the state government to open shops and petrol pumps by relaxing curfew and lockdown for a few hours to ensure that the aggrieved people can procure their essential commodities have drawn flaks from various sections including Patsoi MLA Ak Mirabai Devi.
MLA AK Mirabai Devi said that sudden relaxation of curfew by the Government has undermined the efforts for containment of the COVID-19 in the state. Following global spread of COVID-19, state Government imposed lockdown and curfew since March 24 as a precautionary measure to protect from the virus. People have been confined at their homes, movements were restricted, leading to all round hardship for the common people, she said.
After prolonged curfew, the state government suddenly relaxed curfew today, allowing the people to buy their essential items, but what is the rationale behind the relaxation in the curfew, she questioned.
The unplanned opening of lockdown in the state violates the guidelines of WHO, particularly social distancing. Is the policy of the Government either to get all people infected by the Virus or their protection? What message is the Government willing to convey? It is very unfortunate, said the MLA.
Relaxation of curfew to allow mass gathering in such critical hour in the fight against COVID-19 is unjustified. If the Government feels the state is now completely safe from COVID-19, please declare it officially and lift the restriction from now on, said the MLA.