Gearing up for the 2nd wave and perhaps more
The attention of readers is drawn to Patricia Mukhim’s article “Traditional Institutions in a modern democracy” (ST 30th April 2021). The writeup is a down to earth analysis of the relationship between our traditional grassroot institutions and the Government, wherein the common mandate of both is service to the people. The unfortunate part of this liaison between the two is that it simply sustains itself on a personal relationship of the individuals involved. If the PR equation of the officers involved on behalf of the Government with the head of the traditional institutions is good, the liaison works and thrives. Where the PR is weak, the synergy also suffers resulting in awkward and faltering coordination between the two.
The author made mention of the fact that the Dorbar works on a “trei mon sngewbha”or voluntary basis. Another factor of the Dorbar is that the election of its office bearers is on a non-political basis. These are the two redeeming features of our Dorbar system that are not found in the Panchayat system operating in the rest of the country. It is the reason for the respect and trust the Dorbar receives from the community. Others envy us of this fact but unfortunately our own, especially officialdom, does not and the traditional institutions are more often than not, officially neglected. If our traditional institutions are to successfully coordinate with the Government especially in managing a crisis like the current Covid Pandemic, our Dorbars need to be supported by giving them the recognition they deserve. Besides official recognition our traditional institutions also need to be empowered so that they can function in a financially transparent and legally lucid manner.
In the absence of a state level legislation to bestow upon the grassroot institutions the recognition and empowerment they deserve, the Dorbars especially in the Khasi Hills, turn to the District Council and the Syiem for the acknowledgement they crave. The less said about the public service capabilities of the District Council and the Syiem and their ability to synergise the Dorbars, the better. Hence the need and urgent requirement for a state level legislation to give legal empowerment, together with the necessary rules and regulations to enable the grassroots institutions of the state to perform in a uniform coordinated manner! As we enter the 2nd and perhaps even a 3rd or 4th phase of the Covid pandemic, the urgency to have a smooth working relationship between the administration and an empowered grassroots governance system cannot be over emphasised. It is hoped that the Government and our politicians give the matter the attention it deserves. It is better to be united, prepared and ready than to be caught squabbling and napping in a crisis.
As we speak about preparedness the tragic lessons of mainland India as it grapples with the 2nd wave of Covid should be kept in mind. We need to start thinking and preparing for makeshift field hospitals; extra hospital beds; extra health workers and doctors to man such additional facilities. In the rest of the country the armed forces have stepped in to fill the gap. In Meghalaya too the Govt should start negotiating with the Army to prepare for such infrastructure if, and when the need arises. From news reports it does appear that the State has identified its own inhouse Oxygen manufacturing unit that can meet any requirement in the future. There is however urgent need to ensure assured supply and stockpiling of adequate vaccines. We are a small NE state and our needs might be overlooked. This is an area of extreme concern and adequate attention and priority must be dedicated to this aspect of the crisis. However, there is no harm in exploring all avenues and sources of assistance in preparing for the worst when it comes.
Covid vaccination- professionalism personified
As the second wave of the pandemic hits us in what is a gruelling battle between the virus and the human race, vaccination seems to be our only hope. Despite the myths and conspiracy theories on social media about the after-effects of the vaccine, the Government is determined to complete the process on a Mission Mode to ensure that our citizens are inoculated against the dreaded disease. Being lucky to be tagged a frontline warrior, I intended to get myself vaccinated along with a co – worker and we narrowed our search for a vaccination centre with the last resort being Civil Hospital, Shillong. Since many vaccination centres are non-functional till date, we finally decided to take our jab at the said hospital. We were reluctant at first since it was a Government hospital but decided to take the risk. But the professionalism and the positive attitude of the Vaccination Team put us completely at ease. From the registration kiosk to the observation room the entire process was a breeze.
We were cordially greeted at the registration counter and after the process was completed and briefing done on the do’s and don’ts post vaccination, including being told to take a picture of the instructions lest we forget them, we were administered the jab by a very caring attendant. He engaged me in a conversation and before I knew it the vaccination was over. The attendant at the observation room informed us of the mandatory waiting time of 30 minutes and gave us a Paracetamol tablet just in case fever sets in. We never realised how the 30 minutes passed by as conversation in the room was vibrant. After the half hour wait we were handed a “vaccination completed” certificate.
As an endnote I would say, “Hats off’ and “Kudos” to the entire COVID vaccination team at Civil Hospital for executing the vaccination process in such a professional and friendly manner. Today my experience at Civil Hospital has instilled my faith in the Government Healthcare system of my state.
IPL: A farce in this crisis period
Whenever India plays cricket against a country be it in India or abroad most of the players fail to give their best. They will first lose one or two matches and then with the sting of conscience begin to play seriously. But the notable thing is that the same lot of players in the IPL, give their best from the first match itself. Is it because of the huge money paid to them? They often score double the runs compared to the balls they face in the IPL? Where does this potentiality hide when they play for the nation in spite of high payments made to them by the BCCI? Secondly, in the present health emergencies where people are dying due to lack of oxygen and economic crisis that India is passing through why are the team owners of IPL wasting so much money on the IPL. Yes, they (IPL owners) are affluent people but should they not think about the crisis that the nation is facing?
India is a developing country and in these days of Covid crisis is it wise to waste so much of resources on sports which is not of national interest? All states have been told to stop all sporting events then how is IPL being allowed free rein? Other developed nations that are capable of holding such games don’t do it despite their resources. Thirdly, the cricketers across the world are the richest among the sporting lot and Indians are no exception. So how much more money do they want to accumulate? The other day Sachin Tendulkar donated a large amount towards the present health crisis and some foreign players have also donated handsomely but where are the other Indian cricketers? Also why are all cricket matches these days held in Ahmedabad stadium right from the test matches, one-dayers and now IPLs. Obviously all these events are attracting a good number of spectators so one is unsure whether physical distancing is practised especially at a time when the state is reeling under a huge surge of corona? Incidentally a few foreign players have already left for their homes in view of the corona surge. IPL matches should henceforth be stopped and if the IPL owners have accumulated huge amounts of money and do not know how to spend and where to spend it then they should ask the nation to show them the right way to spend. What they are doing now is just for the entertainment of the upper strata of society otherwise none will hesitate to call them an insensitive lot.