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I strongly condemn the brutal assault on non tribal youths at Lawsohtun on July 3, 2020 and demand immediate arrest of the culprits. The manner in which the youths were trapped and assaulted confirms that it was a pre-planned racial attack. It is now the responsibility of Police to investigate and identify the miscreants and bring them to book. It is also high time for all right thinking citizens, including intellectuals, social activists and NGOs to come out openly and raise their voices against this despicable act. Many members of our state’s civil society have over the past month supported the ongoing “Black Lives Matter” movement that began due to the racial killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, USA. I sincerely hope that they will also espouse the cause of non-tribals, who have been repeatedly subjected to racial attacks for many years to demonstrate that ‘Non tribals Lives Matter’ in our state.
Is Meghalaya really ready to face Covid19?
At this point when the number of Covid positive cases are increasing day by day, this is a serious and valid question to be asked by every right thinking person. Have we utilised the 3 months lockdown, a sacrifice by many especially the poorest of the poor, in a way to protect the people from this pandemic? Though each one of us has a part to play, the State Government has to ask itself this question seriously. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that the worst is yet to come, so how well prepared are we? Yes so far luck has been on our side and even with much confusion we are still the State with least active cases. However, in this last two to three days we have seen quite a few security forces personnel with inter-state travel history testing positive and adding to active cases in the state. It is of great concern that some of these people stay in rented accommodation and not in their campus which is a huge risk for community spread.
Recently a mix up due to a Covid positive case of a pregnant lady nearly led to lockdown of a hospital. Fortunately an alert administration identified the problem early. Swift contact tracing and decontamination was done with minimal disruption of services. On the other hand Bethany hospital was closed down for a month for a similar contact tracing and decontamination exercise. Unfortunately this problem arose because the pregnant lady concealed critical information (her husband was admitted in another hospital for Covid disease. Earlier when she went to two other city hospitals with labour pains she was turned away when she gave history of husband being admitted for Covid disease.
In the last few days many hospital including government hospitals have turned away any patient suspected to be having co-existing Covid disease by citing one excuse or the other. These patients finally came to NEIGRIHMS hospital for treatment. Why does a premiere Institute with many super specialities department like Cardiology, Urology, CTVS, Neurology, Neuro Surgery to name a few have to admit Covid patients? Why take the risk of closing this hospital for the sake of few patients with Covid and deny access to patients with others health issues (non Covid)? Maintaining a Covid and non- Covid section in the same hospital is an impossible task. We all know, containing the spread is the only way to fight the disease since there’s no vaccine as of now.
I sincerely believe that a truly dedicated Covid hospital is the need of the hour. The state government has to take the lead. The new building in Civil hospital Shillong is the best location since it is located away from residential areas and is on the National Highway for easy access. Ganesh Das Hospital can take care of Obstetrics and Gynaecology cases with Covid. All other hospitals can contribute by giving treatment for non-Covid cases under cover of MHIS. All unregistered patients should be enrolled into MHIS scheme. It is time for private hospitals to come forward and be counted in this time of pandemic. Another hospital in Tura may be set up to cater to the needs of the people in the western part of the State. This will help in many ways and with a single point of treatment; resource will not be over-stretched and can be specifically spent as intended. All Covid patients from all other hospitals should be shifted to the dedicated Covid hospital. I cannot imagine what will happen if we really reach a point where all hospitals become containment zones..God forbid.
Further, the rise in prices of essential commodities has to be looked at seriously with needed action at the ground level. Just before the lockdown, 1 kg of broiled chicken was only Rs 200. Now it is Rs 320! Tomato is Rs 80 a kg? Yes we do hear announcements that no one should raise the prices of essential commodities but the question is, would this be enough? A humble submission is that in all market areas including the localities; the rates of items should be displayed by the government in flex printing with a telephone No to call if anyone is found to be charging more than the declared price of the government.
The government has done a very good job in regulating inter-state travel but inter-state movement of patients’ needs better regulation. I sincerely hope that our government, our Covid warriors and people will be able to stand up to the challenge of this Covid pandemic. With good planning we can mitigate its effects- “together not alone”.
Name withheld on request,
Water crisis due to damaged pipelines
In the past whenever there is a heavy downpour, there would also be a breakdown in the main water pipelines at the catchments which would result in disruption in water supply to Shillong City. The Departments concerned hardly took a week to rectify the defects but this time the water supply from Umkhen Source has stopped since June 27 June 2020 and it is now more than a week that we have had to go without water. The notice from the Executive Engineer PHE Greater Shillong Supply Division
No-1, came on July 3, 2020 almost a week after the incident. It seems this time the damage caused is extensive and would require more time to repair. We can only hope and pray that the problem is resolved at the earliest, taking into consideration the plight of the consumers.
E S Syiemiong