Manipur women vendors express differing views on reopening of Khwairamband market

Some women vendors have demanded for reopening of Khwairamband Ima Market while some have urged to provide financial support instead of opening the market.

Hit hard by the closing down of markets due to lockdown, women vendors of Khwairamband Ima Market have expressed different demands and opinions to the state government to ease their struggle for survival amid the pandemic.

Some women vendors have demanded for reopening of Khwairamband Ima Market while some have urged to provide financial support instead of opening the market.

On Monday, five leaders of Mayanglang Phijoi-Yonbi Ima Lup (MPIL), an association of women vendors of Khwairamband Ima Market, were reportedly arrested by police on the charges of attempting to open the market.

The action was taken as MPIL had earlier demanded to reopen the market through strict regulation within five days. They even warned of opening the market by framing a set of rules of their own from the sixth day, if the state government fails to meet their demand.

Condemning the arrest, MPIL further warned to launch various agitations if the five vendors were not released without any condition within 24 hours.

Meanwhile, Khwairamband Nupi Keithel, Sinpham amadi Saktam Kanba Lup, another association of Khwairamband Ima Market, demanded the state government to extend financial support instead of reopening the market.

A release issued on Tuesday said that since March 20, four markets of Khwairamband Ima Keithel have been kept shut as a precautionary measure to contain the spread of COVID-19. The government of India also imposed a national lockdown from the last week of March and announced to continue it till July 15, it said.

Despite taking up various preventive measures, the virus is spreading continuously, it said. Many people in different parts of India have lost their lives by the disease, it stated. Although the state has not reached such a level of severity, local transmission has started in Jiribam, it added.

The release continued that the present COVID-19 status in the state is worrying as many frontliners have started getting infected. It is the need of hour for every section of society to become responsible in preventing a community level of transmission. As such, the opening of the market in this hour would not be a wise decision, it added.

It stated that the space of Khwairamband Ima Market is congested and it would not be possible to maintain physical distance. On the other hand, opening the market on a rotation basis would be a difficult task and not feasible, it said.

“Everyone is facing the impact of COVID-19 pandemic. Let us bear the difficulties and challenges until the pandemic is contained,” it added.

While appealing to the state government to provide support, the release stated that the state government should also understand the difficulties faced by women vendors.

The state government should at least provide some financial support at earliest instead of pondering over the reopening the market, it added.

First Published: July 7, 2020, 10:18 p.m.