When the focus is frayed
IFP Editorial: Certain elements in the government and the ruling party seem to be busy more in countering criticism from the opposition front rather than concentrating its energies on efforts to pull us out of the pandemic nightmare.
When one should be giving its undivided attention towards dealing with the latest challenges of the Covid-19 second wave, certain elements in the government and the ruling party seem to be busy more in countering criticism from the opposition front rather than concentrating its energies on efforts to pull us out of the pandemic nightmare. While we agree with the opinion that the opposition should be more constructive in its criticism, we also earnestly feel that such criticism should not make the government to lose its focus on meeting the new challenges thrown up by the pandemic. Everyone knows, the Centre is putting all its efforts now to make up for lost ground in the fight against the pandemic and of course many are appreciative of the new found energy and expect the government not to be easily distracted by criticism as such. Also, the general public wants the government to own up past mistakes or laxity and should not be in a denial mode. As the RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat said, there was complacency on the part of the government also. The erstwhile BJP General Secretary Ram Madhav also said, the government needs to be more transparent and open.
Back home, the Manipur government is still in a fire-fighting mode with decisions changing overnight as in the case of hospital admissions or in trying to explain away the reasons for increasing Covid-19 deaths. During the first wave also, the government tried explaining the cause of deaths as mostly because of co-morbidity problems and of Covid-19 virus as the immediate cause. What does it matter? Before the advent of the pandemic, there were facilities for managing patients with serious ailments or co-morbidity problems. Since the pandemic, complications have developed in persons with serious ailments and they are dying because of it. Add to that, the scarcity of oxygen and lack of adequate ICU facilities in our hospitals to meet the new challenges. In this changed scenario, it is for the government to facilitate timely admission and treatment for Covid-19 infected persons in the hospitals, public or private. Just as we breathed a sigh of relief on Monday because of the sudden fall in single day Covid-19 positive numbers, we are again confronted by 624 positive cases and 20 deaths on Tuesday. What does it signify? From a dip at 330 on Tuesday after a range of 400-700 in the last fortnight a sudden surge to 624 on Monday, it is indeed confounding to the public. Surely, there must be some explanation to this phenomenon and it is such things which needs explaining to the public and not on the cause of deaths.
What we should be focusing now is on charting a new roadmap to ensure smooth flow of oxygen supply to the hospitals, increasing critical care facilities with ventilators in Imphal city as well as the district hospitals, expanding the reach and pace of vaccination, increased ambulance services with an eye on the poor who cannot afford private ambulance services. Strengthening the district health infrastructure during the pandemic is very important, as the major hospitals in the capital would be over-burdened or swamped with Covid-19 cases, thereby stunting its response. At such a critical time, the state is having a financial difficulty and its coffers are empty. So much so that, it had to reactivate the Chief Minister’s Covid-19 Relief Fund and seek donations from the public. So few are coming up with generous donations. The other day, Congress MLA Kh Joykishan had suggested donating 20 lakhs each by the MLAs from the Local Area Development Fund for the Covid response.
But so far, no one seems to be interested in it. Most of the MLAs are grappling with the expenses of running Community Home Isolation Centres and providing essentials to the general public to compete with the wannabe political aspirants in the guise of social workers.