Imphal Review of Arts and Politics

Congress leaders visiting the Governor, Najma Heptullah

Black Fungus Claims First Victim, Congress Urges Free Vaccinations for All, and MHRC Reviews Faulty Rice Distributions

The Congress party in Manipur has urged Governer Najma Heptulla to move the state government for providing free Covid vaccinations to all in the state. Also the HC has upheld the Speaker’s Tribunal decision disqualifying three party hopping MLAs, while the state has reported its first black fungus death during the week.

Congress Urges Free Vaccination for All
Congress leaders visiting the Governor, Najma Heptullah

The Congress party in Manipur on June 3 demanded free COVID-19 vaccination for all and sought the attention of the Governor of Manipur to ensure free and total vaccination with two doses on time for all the residents of Manipur.  A team of Congress Legislatures led by former chief minister and Congress Legislative Party (CLP) leader, Okram Ibobi submitted a memorandum to Governor Najma Heptulla while urging the government to guarantee 1 crore vaccinations per day and ensure free vaccination to every Indian citizen amid a surge in COVID-19 cases.

Okram Ibobi Singh was accompanied by Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) president, K Govindas, AICC CWC regular member, Gaikhangam and MLA K Meghachandra, reports added.

Briefing media persons, former chief minister Ibobi stressed that there was no political motive behind the demand. “It is not the time for politicking since people are getting infected and there are daily deaths in this small state. There are about 30 lakhs people in Manipur and it will be comparatively easy to vaccinate the high-risk group of people. As is done in some other states, the Manipur government should declare suitable compensation to the families of dead corona warriors,” Ibobi said.

He also asked why there should not be a compensation of Rs. 4 lakh each, as per the government’s order which already was in place and learnt to be later withdrawn, to the next of kin of the deceased due to COVID-19 in Manipur.

O Ibobi further questioned the rationale behind the delay of the 2nd dose in the state and making those citizens, with 1st dose being inoculated; wait for three months.

As per the government of India, it has administered 21.31 crore vaccine doses till May 31, 2021. But, only 4.45 crore Indians have received both the doses of vaccine, which is only 3.17% of India’s population. In the last 134 days, the average pace of vaccination is about 16 lakh vaccine doses per day, the memorandum added.

HC Dismisses Plea Challenging Disqualification of MLAs

A double bench of the High Court of Manipur has on June 2 dismissed the petitions that challenged the disqualification of MLAs Yengkhom Surchandra, Sanasam Bira and Kshetrimayum Biren.

The high court observed that their disqualifications by the Speaker’s Tribunal will remain valid and are in accordance with the provisions of the Tenth Schedule of the Indian Constitution.

The Speaker’s Tribunal on June 18, 2020 had disqualified the three MLAs from being members of the Manipur Legislative Assembly under Article 191(2) of the Schedule till the expiry of the term of 11th Legislative Assembly of Manipur.

S Bira, Ksh Biren and Y Surchandra were elected as MLAs of Kumbi AC, Lamlai AC and Kakching AC as candidates of Indian National Congress. After the BJP-led coalition parties formed the government in the state, they supported the ruling party and joined the BJP.

The High Court stated that there is no case of violation of the constitutional mandate while passing the disqualification order.

First Black Fungus Death in State

A 46-year-old patient who was on June 1 diagnosed with black fungus at the Shija Hospitals in Imphal, has succumbed to the infection. The patient, a resident of Thangmeiband, who was admitted to the hospital on May 29 died late June 1. Hospital sources have stated the patient was non-Covid, reports said.

The cumulative Black Fungus cases in the state as of June 3 according COVID-19 Common Control Room is three with a new case, a 37-year-old female from Bishnupur district reported from Raj Medicity hospital.

MHRC tells Kakching DC to Ensure Rice Distribution

Manipur Human Rights Commission (MHRC) on June 3 directed the deputy commissioner, Kakching district to ensure that the distribution of rice to the public in Kakching district is carried out as per the requirement of National Food Security Act (NFSA) and PMGKAY, and to submit a compliance report within two weeks.

Reports said the commission issued the directive, following a complaint lodged by one E Rajib Singh and others in connection with the alleged irregularities in rice distribution under PMGKAY during the COVID 19 pandemic.

Stating that the NFSA beneficiaries should be given five kilograms of rice each under PMGKAY scheme for the period of May and June, 2021, the complaint written to MHRC alleged that the fair price shop owner distributed only three kilograms of rice to each beneficiary.

Mobile COVID-19 Testing for the Entire Sekmai Assembly Constituency

Sekmai Assembly Constituency MLA, Heikham Dingo in a press release on June 2 said that mobile COVID-19 testing by RAT will be continuing for the entire population of Sekmai Assembly constituency to prevent the spread of the disease. He appealed to the people to volunteer themselves for COVID-19 test to support the fight in making a COVID-19 free state.

Reports said the first phase of mobile testing by RAT for the Sekmai AC was launched on May 14. As of June 2, a total of 1,049 persons have been tested and 194 persons were tested COVID-19 positive. The persons who were tested positive were admitted to the COVID Care Centre located at Lamboi Khongnangkhong, Imphal West and some of them are staying at Community Home Isolation Centres (CHICs) opened at Senjam Khunou, Tera Urak, Lamlongei and Phumlou.

Accused in Killing of KRA Cadres Arrested
Police with the arrested men

A special investigation team (SIT) of Kangpokpi district police arrested three prime accused in the killing of two Kuki Revolutionary Army (KRA) cadres, including its self-styled army chief. The three accused were apprehended by 36 Assam Rifles at Lilen-B village, Peren district of Nagaland on June 2 and brought to Kangpokpi by the SIT.

Reports said the three have been identified as Satminthang Hangshing, 34, of Lhungtin village; Lamginlal alias Lalcha Chongloi, 38, of Lhungtin village; and Lunginhao alias Robert Hangshing, 33, of Phaikon village, Kangpokpi district.

SBI at Indo-Myanmar Border Razed
Charred remains of the SBI office at the Myanmar border

A major fire razed the only branch of State Bank of India (SBI) at Moreh along the Indo-Myanmar border in the wee hours of June 3.

Reports said a fire broke out around 4 am of June 3. While the cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained, a short circuit is believed to have caused it. The fire destroyed a portion of the State Bank of India (SBI), Moreh branch building at Moreh Keithel.

Certificate Required to Enter Moreh

The Moreh Covid Task Force has stepped up its efforts to contain spread of Covid-19 and announced that anybody without a COVID-19 negative medical certificate would not be allowed to enter Moreh from June 4 onwards.

Reports said the task force also announced that vegetable sellers from Myanmar will not be allowed to enter Moreh town. It stated that they sell their goods at the borderline near Sunrise ground and Hollenphai.

The development came following increasing reports of COVID-19 positive cases in Moreh town during the last few days.

Free 24-Hours Ambulance Service

A free 24-hours public ambulance service for COVID-19 patients was launched by one MK Boni, a resident of Lilong Haoreibi Makha Leikai Tanker, Thoubal district on June 3.

In a media video release, MK Boni alias Habibur said that the free ambulance service was initiated to ensure that people with COVID-19 infections reach hospitals or medical facilities in time. The ambulance service is meant for the welfare of poor people, and anybody in need of the service can contact 8787766178, he said.

Mentioning that he still feels the pang of losing both parents at a very early age, and that he was raised by his older siblings, MK Boni said that helping elders of the locality gave him the utmost pleasure as a kid. The free ambulance service was launched along with the view that it might help in saving the parents of a child, he added.

Workshops, Spare Parts Shops to Open

The state government in an order dated June 2, 2021 has permitted more activities to cater to the needs of petroleum products and other goods transporters. Workshops for goods trucks, petrol tankers, LPG Bullets within the municipal area are allowed to open from 9 am to 3 pm while taking precautionary measures and Covid appropriate behaviour.

Reports said one out of each three spare parts shops, one out of three tyre shops and one out of three battery shops for heavy vehicles at Thangal bazar may open from 10 am to 2 pm on all days except Sundays. The DC and SP have been asked to prepare the roster schedule. Authorised dealers of spare parts, tyre and batteries outside Thangal bazar may also open from 10 am to 2 pm.

AMTUC Demands Drivers’ Pending Wages

The All Manipur Trade Union Council (AMTUC) demanded the state government disburse the 13 months pending wages for drivers at the earliest.

AMTUC president, T Tikendrajit said that the issue of pending salary for drivers was raised by the All Manipur Government Drivers’ and Technician Association during a webinar held on June 3. The council took the matter seriously as government drivers are amongst the frontline warriors, reports said.

Crackdown on COVID-19 Curfew Violators

The Manipur Police continues its drive against violators of curfew and COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions issued by the state government and the state disaster management. The police on June 3 penalised as many as 176 persons and released them after slapping fines amounting to Rs. 54,760.

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