Manipur: Returnees show the way to fight COVID-19 spread

Returnees of Tamenglong district on Thursday collected and disposed of wastes littered at the Boys Hostel, Khuman Lampak Complex in Imphal.

Expressing disappointment at the unhygienic condition of a hostel in Imphal where some of the returnees to Manipur from other parts of the country were made to stay on transit, 19 returnees who were lodged in the hostel on reaching Imphal from Delhi by flight took up the cleaning work themselves and showed how to manage proper waste disposal before they left for their home destination, Tamenglong HQ, on Thursday.

The returnees were accommodated at the Boys Hostel, Khuman Lampak Complex in Imphal before they were picked up for their onward journey to Tamenglong district. On seing the dirty condition of the hostel rooms, the returnees volunteered to collect and dispose of the littered wastes in and around the hostel before they left for their hometown.

One of the returnees, Adi Newme, told the Imphal Free Press that the rooms allotted to them were in a mess when they arrived, and the washrooms were dirty. But maintaining hygiene is the most essential preventive measures to fight off the Coronavirus threat.

“The rooms were very dirty when we came. Since hygiene and proper waste disposal are of utmost importance in times as this, we cleaned the rooms before we settled down,” Newme said, adding that though they were leaving the same day, they collected and disposed of the wastes because they do not want the other returnees to feel disgusted the way they did.

Another returnee who came from Delhi, Wiriangsuiliu, said, “The wastes we disposed today included those littered by the previous occupants who did not care to maintain hygiene or disposing the wastes properly”.

Yijewangle, another returnee also told IFP that the returnees volunteered to collect and disposed of the wastes though, like others, they faced the risk of getting infected.

“If cleanliness is maintained by us, next returnees coming here after we leave are likely to follow suit. Cleanliness and hygiene are must for the safety of all,” she added.

Esaplungle, also a Delhi returnee said, no proper dustbin or wastes disposal is maintained here, posing threats to the health of the people staying in the hostel. Water logging in the next room also provides breeding place for mosquitoes and other harful germs.

Officials of the District Rural Development Agency (DRDA), told Imphal Free Press that the littering by returnees is one of the main health concerns and it is difficult to keep the hostel clean.

"We have been requesting everyone to maintain hygiene and proper waste disposal however, returnees continue to litter wastes during their stay, making it difficult to maintain cleanliness at the hostel," DRDA official K Acham Rongmei said. 

"We are trying our best to help people returning from different states. If everyone is responsible and understanding, things will be much easier to manage," Rongmei said while appealing to the quarantine-bound returnees to maintain and follow hygiene protocols to combat the coronavirus pandemic effectively.

The DRDA provided hand gloves to returnees who volunteered to dispose of the wastes.

Another DRDA official also told IFP that it has become difficult to manage wastes littered by the returnees as nobody wants to enter the area where returnees are staying for fear of infection of COVID-19.

“No one is willing to enter the premises where the returnees are staying. Although, some returnees are responsible enough to dispose their wastes, some carelessly litter here and there,” the official said.

Altogether, 19 returnees, nine males and 10 females, were lodged at the hostel on Tuesday-Wednesday. They were ferried to Tamenglong in a traveller bus on Thursday afternoon.

First Published:July 16, 2020, 11:15 p.m.

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