The Corona answer is blowing in the wind



 By BM Lanong

It’s almost over five months that the whole world has been fiercely engaged in a battle against corona virus, resulting in so far, about 49 lakhs people infected globally and over 3 lakhs dead. Yet the fight continues unabated, albeit with some glimmer of hope, that apart from being able to cope with the rampaging virus, most of the countries are now able to position themselves better to counter the invisible enemy. Simultaneously, pleasing information that provide succour from the pervading climate of depredation is that, out of the many countries which are vying to find a cure against Covid19, our close neighbour Bangladesh, had openly claimed to have found a vaccine to counter the virus. Many countries are working to find a vaccine and they may discovered it at some point of time, but the test of the effectiveness of the vaccine is in not having side effects. This is what matters most and we must keep our fingers crossed and wish that the vaccine hits the  global market soon so that the dreaded virus is eliminated.

The term ‘kill’ is allergic to many, as it is commonly associated with legal and judicial prohibitions. But eliminating the invisible enemy, by any sense of the term, will not invite cognizance of the law and instead of penalty, all those who collaborate and abet for a good cause, will become heroes overnight.

 In Shillong Hindi, ‘Korona’ and ‘marona’ are common terminologies used, but in normal times, to loosely apply the term is definitely risky.

No killing for Economy

The global economy has come under severe constraint in the midst of the pandemic. People from poorer sections who are hard hit during such situations, resort to unsavoury methods to keep body and soul together. In Africa and other countries people are going to the wilds, hunting animals of all kinds, including the endangered animal species. In Assam, even in the government protected animal park of Kaziranga in Assam, lawless ruffians risk their lives to hunt for the one-horned rhinoceros and protected buffalo species both for food and money. In a catch -22 situation of survival, who will think of whom to protect whose life?

Coming closer home, recently some people in Khasi Hills mercilessly killed a bear, a hare, a deer and many other unreported cases, some of which however, have gone viral on social media. In many other terraneous areas, there are reports of people being hard-hit with nothing to do and nowhere to go and who therefore plunder in the wild for survival. There are other instances of violation of the law, involving crimes against animal life and forestry. What next?

Austerity for Economic Resurgence

 The above synopsis provides a grim perspective about governance and life under the given circumstances. The print and electronic media, including television channels update their reports, so that anyone can have a glimpse of what goes on around the world, especially in our own state. The ongoing calamity may be compared with the other three successive centennial calamities in the preceding centuries like the Marseilles plague 1720, the Cholera of 1820 in Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines and other South East Asian neighbours, the Spanish H1N1 flu 1920 that killed over 50 million people, all accounting their causes to vengeance by nature for mindless destruction of mother earth, which has gone on with impunity and for which the earth is now avenging.

Other countries, including India have sufficient expertise to handle themselves. Our state government which has ably performed its duties during this onslaught has to be back on its feet to repair the loss that has devastated the economy within this brief encounter with Covid19 which struck the state like a nightmare.

Heavy investment had gone on the health front, on uniforms, medicines and food provisions to homeless people, people in Government Quarantine Centres and other private accommodations, transportation, publicity and on countless others. Every move related to Covid19 costs money. All this comes mostly from the non- budgetary expenditure.

The people in general, particularly small traders and shop keepers, daily wage earners,  private workshops of all kinds, the tenant community and all and sundry, have been badly hit. The long closure of markets, has paralysed the backbone of the farmers whose produce have gone to the drain. Apart from the economic front, education had come to a standstill, sports and other entertainments have been seriously affected. Above all, the normal religious programmes and activities have all been paralysed, including places of worship which are under similar closure.

For all of us, of this millennium, the coronavirus has brought together the diverse world on its feet. It will also leave another indelible leaf in the annals of history.  Experts will have to advise every bit of details to the government on how to go about and strategize in effectively dealing with the situation.

It may not however be wrong to propose some suggestions that in situations like the present one, utmost sacrifice by all is of utmost importance. This should be the top agenda of the government. More importantly, Government has to introduce austerity measures for at least a year initially, by strictly pulling all the stops for collection of maximum revenue and spending the least, strictly on time-bound projects. Visits outside the state should be minimized except for specific government duties and there should not be lavish entertainment programmes.

The coronavirus is still on the plunder and no one has an answer as to how long it will stay.  It all depends on every citizen and the leaders in particular, to show the way, to be able to pulverize this virus for eternity. As for now, the only succour we have is to recall what the country king, Bob Dylan offers, ‘The answer is blowing in the wind.’

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