Who recommended lockdown relaxation, ex-CM questions Govt

STAFF REPORTER
IMPHAL, 12th Apr: Lashing out at the state government for ‘irresponsibly’ relaxing the lockdown for a few hours amid the COVID-19 pandemic, former Chief Minister and Congress Legislative Party (CLP) leader O Ibobi has questioned if the state government would take the responsibility of any unwanted consequences, resulting from the few hours of relaxation.
Addressing a press conference at his quarters at Babupara here Sunday morning, Ibobi said that many countries are in lockdown as an effort to curb spread of coronavirus. Taking the example of China, it is now known that the trajectory of the spread of the disease could be reduced or somewhat 'normalised' through a 2-month long lockdown.
India too had imposed a nationwide lockdown two weeks ago. Many people, including those in Manipur, despite facing immense difficulties extended support to the government’s decision by staying in their homes. However, the efforts to contain the spread of disease were rendered meaningless, when the lockdown/curfew was relaxed for a few hours on Saturday in the name of the upcoming Cheiraoba festival and Easter Sunday, Ibobi said.
Praying that the opening of markets on Saturday do not lead to an uncontrollable outbreak of COVID-19 in the state, Ibobi said that the state would be in a perilous situation if the disease happens to spread.
Mentioning that Christians all over the world were already urged to avoid any Easter Sunday congregation, the former CM questioned on whose advice the state government had approved the relaxation. He further questioned if opinions of medical directorate or experts were considered and whether the state government is confident that the disease would not spread in the state.
"If the state government is confident that the disease will not spread, why is the lockdown still in place? Has any other state governments relaxed the lockdown in their respective states?" Ibobi questioned, while contending that the state government made a hasty and irresponsible decision in relaxing the lockdown.
He reiterated that it is the responsibility of the state government to provide essential commodities to the people either through home delivery or any other mechanisms during a lockdown.
Recounting that CM Biren in a press briefing had stressed the need to extend the lockdown period apart from urging people to limit the number of gathering in religious rituals/occasion, Ibobi sought clarification from the government with regard to the Saturday's relaxation.
"Congress is neither taking political advantage of the situation nor it believes it is the time to do so. It is only pointing out the wrongdoing of the state government for the sake of the people, as is the duty of an opposition party", he asserted.
Expressing elation over the recovery of one of the COVID-19 positive patients of the state, the CLP leader lauded the state government's announcement of awarding Rs 35 lakh to JNIMS doctors as incentive. The government should announce similar incentive for doctors, nurses, security and journalists, he suggested, while urging people to encourage the aforementioned groups.
With regard to betel leaves case, the former CM demanded the state government to reveal the identities of the real owners of the cargo. He also questioned whether any action has been taken in connection the recent violence in Andro Constituency.
MLAs Gaikhangam, Kh Joykisan, Govindas Konthoujam and Meghachandra were also present during the press conference.


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