2021: The year that will be

IFP Editorial: In 2021 also, we would certainly wish for a bandh-blockade free Manipur in which issues and grievances are settled amicably over the table.

A new year brings hope for a new beginning and for wishes to come true. Yet, one must be clear about what we wishes for. The advent of the new strain of the deadly Covid-19 in India aside, we must certainly make a wish for a beginning of activity in the market-places including Imphal with safety precautions and Covid appropriate behaviour. How do we begin the exercise of opening up the main women markets? Before closing down the main women markets in Khwairamband Keithel in mid-March, the Chief Minister N Biren Singh himself went to the market and appealed to the leaders of the market women and they responded positively by voluntary ceasing from coming to the market. It was a sacrifice for them and they should be saluted.

Even though, their social life and activity were rudely disrupted by the lockdown they tolerated it for the sake of the people of the state. Now, the time is again ripe for the chief minister to go to these market leaders and chart a practical and safe strategy for opening up the market. The shops and establishment in the core Khwairamband area are doing business now, of course, by observing Covid appropriate behaviour like using masks and physical distancing. Besides personal hand sanitizers, there is a need for Municipal authorities to install hand-washing units at the vantage points of the market area as an additional precaution. Our logic is, if opening of shops and establishments in the core Bazar area is safe, it will be the same with the women markets.

In the New Year 2021, our wish is that a safe vaccine comes into the picture in the fight against the pandemic. Questions have been raised about the reliability of the Pfizer vaccine and others in various quarters, while the nation is going through with a trial run of doling out a vaccine when it is considered safe. With reduced numbers of positive cases, the state government have started winding up the Covid Care Centres while opening OPDs in the main hospitals and the compulsory testing at the airport has been discontinued.

With a decision on approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine likely to come by the end of this week, the Centre on Thursday directed all states and UTs to conduct a dry run for vaccination on January 2. The dry run will be conducted in a bid to test and rehearse the linkages between planning and implementation and to identify the challenges. The activity is proposed to be conducted in all state capitals in at least 3 session sites. The states and UTs have been asked to ensure physical verification of all proposed sites for adequacy of space, logistical arrangements, internet connectivity, electricity, safety, etc. and prepare at least three model session sites in each state (at state capital) for demonstration. The question is, are we prepared for the vaccine roll-out?

In 2021 also, we would certainly wish for a bandh-blockade free Manipur in which issues and grievances are settled amicably over the table. As regards politics, the Chief Minister has now a sizeable number and full backing from the top leadership of BJP. While internal dissension has simmered down in the past months, the bargaining capacity of its allies like NPP and NPF has been reduced. All that remains is the fate of the 12 MLAs who were once appointed Parliamentary Secretaries. Now what remains to be seen is how the state government tries to extricate itself out of this mess. The N Biren Singh led coalition ministry was sworn in on 15 March 2017 and assembly elections are due in March 2022. Given the fact that the Governor and Election Commission of India are statutory entities, how long can these entities dither on the disqualification of the 12 BJP MLAs who were once appointed Parliamentary Secretaries, it is a question worth pondering upon.



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First Published:Jan. 1, 2021, 1:11 a.m.

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