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Tuesday, Mar 31, 2020 12:30 [IST]

Last Update: Tuesday, Mar 31, 2020 06:50 [IST]

Prevention is better than cure

Om Prakash Basnet

There was a demand from all corners that the Center should come up with a definite plan and a fiscal package to mitigate the fear that more people may die of hunger than of Covid-2019, during the Lockdown. The congress MP Gaurav Gagoi has been reiterating the need of a fiscal package to the poor people of the country, time and again. It was expected that the Union Finance Minister would announce some financial packages for the people, but her 1st announcement was only for easing statutory fillings. This time she has announced a package of 1.70 lakh crore as financial assistance and ex gratia to the people of our country.

'Prevention is better than cure' we read in our school days, 'Better safe than sorry ', we see on road side when drive. Once again the pandemic has urged us to rely the relevance of these idioms that so long we are aware of being alone and isolated, we are safe. The pandemic coronavirus spares no one, nor dose it see any gender, race, religion or age before transmission. We have to understand the enormity of situation before the death toll rises unfathomably here in our country. If we don't realise the value of 'Lockdown' and do not follow government guideline properly, there is every possibility that a huge chunk of our population may be in the graveyard very soon, where you may be one of them. So respecting our Prime Minister's plea for 'Lock down', should be our primary duty. Every one of us should maintain social distancing inside and out. There should be no excuses till normalcy comes. The need of the hour is to unite as a nation, abiding by the instructions of the government to defeat the disease.

Following a prelude practice of one day 'Janata Curfew' the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi, announced a nation wide 'Lock down' for 21 days and asked people to stay in their homes, maintain social distance to break the transmission chain of Covit-2019. Being isolated we can cut the chain of transmission and take the steam out of the disease by acting in unison.

So far the novel coronavirus has claimed 29 lives in India and over 1000 confirmed cases have so far been reported. It is of course a positive sign that the rate of escalation is low now. To break the transmission chain of this deadly Covid-2019, the country is already in lock down for 21 days, till April 14th. A task force has been constituted under the leadership of Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to combat the situation by providing relief to the affected sectors as well as to counter cyclical stimuli to revive flagging economy once the crisis of the pandemic is over. The Prime Minister already announced a package of Rs. 15,000 crore to boost the healthcare sector, including training and equipments. The home ministry has followed up on the Prime Minister's statement with detailed guidelines on how to enforce the lock down.

Its a good that no confirmed case of coronavirus has been reported in Assam so far. The state government has l taken some essential measures to combat the situation. The senior cabinet minister Dr Hemanta Biswasarmah had already declared a seven days state lockdown till 31st March. A temporary medical isolation camp with a capacity of 200 bed has been installed at Sorusajai Stadium, Guwahati. The government has assured the people of the state that there won't be any dearth of essential commodities in the state during the lock down. Those who have come from outside the state, have been stamped on their hands  and asked to keep themselves home quarantined. It is stated by the home secretary of the state that the lock down under the Disaster Management Act, first of its kind so far, has provisions for stringent punishment including one year non bailable jail. The state DGP Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta said that the police has decided to punish strengently those who give misleading information in the social media and the hoarders.

   In Sikkim too no coronavirus case has been reported so far, but desperately people of the state are not taking this National Lockdown seriously. Instead of maintaining social distancing, the Lall Bazaar hub for groceries shopping in Gangtok was reported to have faced a commotion. Answering an allegation for having been failed to take early measures to control Covid 2019, by formerly chief minister of Sikkim Pawan Kumar Chamling, Jacob Khaling, the political secretary to the Chief Minister of Sikkim stated that the SKM government acted much earlier to prevent its entry to the state. Instead of hosting debate, it is expected that all party should  work together to defeat the fatal coronavirus in the state. Expectedly the BJP state president, D B Chauhan has demanded the SKM government to determine a relief early for those daily wage earners in Sikkim whose livelihood be severely crippled for 21 days national lock down. The state government should declare a relief package for these people.

   The Prime Minister has appealed the people not to cross the Laxmanrekha of their door step. They must stay in their home to break the cycle of coronavirus. However he did not say anything about homeless, who have no place to stay. The government has no policy deal with these homeless people to stay isolated. These people are also Indian citizen and their lives are also equally valuable and vulnerable as the haves.

     It is a duty of every citizen to innovate ideas which could help the government to cope with the situation. As the country is experiencing a new kind of situation, it is imperative to have one's policy to ease the situation which could be helpful to the govt to draw it's roadmap to overcome the disaster.

         Although the Prime Minister has announced a 21 days lockdown in the nation, we should prepare ourselves for another couple of months, which is indicative from government's food stock preparation for three months and Sitharaman's announcement of three months ex gratia. Instead of panic, we should co-operate our government. If our comfort home stay can prevent us from the pandemic Covid-2019, what else are we searching outside? The government is trying its best to save our lives. It is a pandemic, if everything goes rightly, after 21 days there is a chance for withdrawal of Lockdown. Contrary to our expectations, if situation aggregates the lockdown may be prolonged. In this circumstance we may have to take care of our neighbours. We should be ready for charity and philanthropy too.

Sikkim at a Glance

  • Area: 7096 Sq Kms
  • Capital: Gangtok
  • Altitude: 5,840 ft
  • Population: 6.10 Lakhs
  • Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 to over 28,509 ft above sea level
  • Climate:
  • Summer: Min- 13°C - Max 21°C
  • Winter: Min- 0.48°C - Max 13°C
  • Rainfall: 325 cms per annum
  • Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi