All hands on deck
The caption is a signal used on board a ship when there is an emergency and the Captain gives a call to indicate that all crew members are to go on deck to receive their briefing. Meghalaya is today in a similar situation. The second Covid wave which is more virulent than the first one, has entered Meghalaya with a vengeance. This requires that all those in leadership positions, social, political, religious, business and institutional roll up their sleeves and get down to helping those in need and there are many. The Sikh community of Shillong is always the first to extend help to those in need. Last year they gave food to the poor during Covid times. This time around they have organised an oxygen langar which is the need of the hour. This is a commendable gesture which needs to be replicated several times over by other good Samaritans. The Marwari Yuva Manch is also providing free food. This is how society converges to tide over a crisis. It is a matter of concern that political parties are not seen or heard doing social work at this critical juncture. The Congress as the main opposition party in Meghalaya should stop nitpicking about how the MDA Government is handling the pandemic. Would the Congress have handled things better if it was on the hot seat? Does it have a better strategy to beat the virus, more so since the former Chief Minister and Congress stalwart is a medical doctor? This is the time to rise above party politics and nudge the government to fill the gaps that they perceive exists in the manner in which things are being handled at this point.
At this point religious and educational institutions also need to come forward and offer their services to the sick and suffering at this time. There is need to consolidate efforts because the future looks grim and Meghalaya cannot go the Delhi or Maharashtra way or UP way where people die not so much of the disease as from the lack of oxygen. So let different groups take up different responsibilities. On the part of the Government, it is important at this time to clearly delineate the governance framework. Not every decision can flow from the political high table. The administration must be given the space to take certain decisions based on ground realities. After all, administrators are trained to manage disaster. The decision for a full lockdown could have been taken after weighing all pros and cons. Announcing a lockdown just five hours ahead results in panic buying and crowding, thereby defeating the purpose of a lockdown. At these times, strategize, strategize, strategize is the mantra and knee jerk decision must be avoided.