EM Exclusive – Eastern Mirror https://easternmirrornagaland.com The latest and breaking news from Nagaland, northeast India, India and the world. Current affairs and news of politics from around the world, latest updates on business news, sports, arts and entertainment Sun, 31 May 2020 08:46:27 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://easternmirrornagaland.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/cropped-FavIcon-32x32.png EM Exclusive – Eastern Mirror https://easternmirrornagaland.com 32 32 Government to probe Tuensang incident https://easternmirrornagaland.com/government-to-probe-tuensang-incident/ Sat, 30 May 2020 09:51:46 +0000 https://easternmirrornagaland.com/?p=314946 Dimapur, May 30 (EMN): Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio has assured that an inquiry will be conducted into the Tuensang incident and examine the issues that led to lapses.  This statement was given by Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio during his visit to the quarantine centre at Ganeshnagar in Dimapur May 29.  Tuensang episode The chief minister clarified the events surrounding the Tuensang episode. This is the transcript of the chief minister’s speech in audio, which was in Nagamese: ‘As for the government, I am trying to say in the best possible way that the Tuensang episode was not in my knowledge. They made a mistake in the management. Our instruction is that if anyone has to be sent to the districts, the previous day all arrangements have to be done.’ ‘In the morning—Nagas have meals by 6-7—so they have to be fed well and tiffins should be packed for them and they should have been sent off. Moreover, they should start by 8:00 am so that they can reach their destination before dark. In Nagaland, if they start early, they would reach their destinations before dark.’  Meeting shocker ‘However, during our meeting in the night, I was told they had reached...

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Dimapur, May 30 (EMN): Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio has assured that an inquiry will be conducted into the Tuensang incident and examine the issues that led to lapses. 

This statement was given by Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio during his visit to the quarantine centre at Ganeshnagar in Dimapur May 29. 

Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio speaking to the police personnel during his visit to Ganeshnagar in Dimapur district on Friday May 29, 2020. The erstwhile industrial estate is being converted into a quarantine centre. The chief minister was accompanied by his cabinet colleagues, district administration and other officials. (Photo Courtesy: Joy)

Tuensang episode

The chief minister clarified the events surrounding the Tuensang episode. This is the transcript of the chief minister’s speech in audio, which was in Nagamese:

‘As for the government, I am trying to say in the best possible way that the Tuensang episode was not in my knowledge. They made a mistake in the management. Our instruction is that if anyone has to be sent to the districts, the previous day all arrangements have to be done.’

‘In the morning—Nagas have meals by 6-7—so they have to be fed well and tiffins should be packed for them and they should have been sent off. Moreover, they should start by 8:00 am so that they can reach their destination before dark. In Nagaland, if they start early, they would reach their destinations before dark.’ 

Meeting shocker

‘However, during our meeting in the night, I was told they had reached Mokokchung. So I said, how come? And we had an argument.’

‘The chief secretary also gave his apology and I also in the video message—because the government policy was okay but the management level was not—stated the government’s regret about the whole episode.’  

‘So, on Monday the cabinet will have a sitting and all the SOPs will be reviewed. Also, regarding the Tuensang episode, we have to say that undiplomatic and unpleasant words were also uttered; good words were also said. We have to fight the Coronavirus united and win against this Covid-19.’

Inquiry  

The chief minister also assured that an inquiry will be conducted as requested by Tuensang organisations and ENPO.

‘The individuals should have been given food before leaving. They were crossing two districts—so many people and proper coordination should have been done. They were supposed to go early but went only after 2. Everything was a failure. All the problem was our own creation. So although I don’t want to speak ill of anyone, I have to say and accept the failures,’ the chief minister said.  

‘So, to know how a communication gap happened, and how the management failed, an inquiry will be initiated for the sake of record and if needed, someone has to be punished for it.’  

The pandemic and challenges  

Countries across the world including advanced countries were not prepared for the pandemic, he said. They were falling short of physicians, health workers, sanitation workers, and medicine. These countries also stressed only on prevention.

Rio said that the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) were created to handle the situation when returnees arrive.

But what the government faced was far greater than what they had planned for.  The authorities also planned that all the returnees would be kept in Kohima and Dimapur and then be sent to their districts only after testing.

After getting clearance from the Health ministry and the ICMR, the government set up the BSL-3 lab in Kohima. Only 90 tests can be conducted in a day, while only 50 samples can be tested in pool or collective tests at a time, and only nine times collectively.

Group management  

Thereafter, if one group is negative then the plan was to send that group straight to the district but due to due technical problems till yesterday, May28, pool tests could not be done, he said. 

The chief minister said if the returnees show symptoms, all of them will be kept in Dimapur and tested. But those without symptoms would be sent to their districts. Those positive cases would be treated in Dimapur, he said.

The chief minister explained that asymptomatic patients would be segregated in quarantines. He observed that the returnees in the age group 20-40 with good immune system might be able to withstand the infection and by second and third test they most properly would come out negative.

Neiphiu Rio said that the mortality rate is only about 3% globally. About 70% to 80% of those infected are being cured. In India as well as other countries, he said, even symptomatic patients were being sent to home quarantines. 

The chief minister appealed to the colonies and villages to allow home quarantines as current restrictions by some of them in the form of not allowing home quarantines, will result in the need to keep people together. And this, he said, will have the infection spreading to more people if they are kept together. He urged the leaders to educate the public regarding home quarantines.

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Mother’s Day Special: Why motherhood is universally spelled L.O.V.E https://easternmirrornagaland.com/mothers-day-special-why-motherhood-is-universally-spelled-l-o-v-e/ Sat, 09 May 2020 18:43:21 +0000 https://www.easternmirrornagaland.com/?p=311713 Reyivolü Rhakho Kohima, May 9 (EMN): Mothers are selfless; countless times, they have proven to be superheroes in quiet, yet unbelievable ways, with or without appreciation. And if not to the outside world, at least for their children, she remains an inspiration and a role model. On the occasion of Mother’s Day, Eastern Mirror brings you some stories of young mothers, who are working on the frontline, fighting against the Covid-19 pandemic while trying their best to give undivided attention to their family. Sharing their lives’ challenges and multi-tasking experiences with this correspondent, were young mothers from varied professions including a senior journalist based in Kohima, Atono Tsükrü Kense; a sub-inspector at Women Police Station, DEF Kohima, S Yawao; and Vikeseno Sakhrie, who is a nurse at a private hospital in Kohima. How does it feel like to be a working mother? “It has never been easy being a mom trying to juggle a job with family life. Honestly, there are times, when there’s a feeling of remorse and stress, trying to divide my time and attention between family and work,” said the senior journalist Kense, whose son is turning six in June. To her, “being a journalist and a...

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A young mother carrying her child. (EM Images)

Reyivolü Rhakho
Kohima, May 9 (EMN):
Mothers are selfless; countless times, they have proven to be superheroes in quiet, yet unbelievable ways, with or without appreciation. And if not to the outside world, at least for their children, she remains an inspiration and a role model.

On the occasion of Mother’s Day, Eastern Mirror brings you some stories of young mothers, who are working on the frontline, fighting against the Covid-19 pandemic while trying their best to give undivided attention to their family.

Sharing their lives’ challenges and multi-tasking experiences with this correspondent, were young mothers from varied professions including a senior journalist based in Kohima, Atono Tsükrü Kense; a sub-inspector at Women Police Station, DEF Kohima, S Yawao; and Vikeseno Sakhrie, who is a nurse at a private hospital in Kohima.

How does it feel like to be a working mother?

“It has never been easy being a mom trying to juggle a job with family life. Honestly, there are times, when there’s a feeling of remorse and stress, trying to divide my time and attention between family and work,” said the senior journalist Kense, whose son is turning six in June.

To her, “being a journalist and a mother is a lethal combo, both equally requires our time, undivided attention and commitment. I have no babysitter or any helper and with four male members in the family, including my son, it becomes overwhelming sometimes—the physical and emotional toll becomes too profound to handle with work pressure on one hand, and household chores waiting for you on other side”.

Kense, who is also the present general secretary of Kohima Press Club, said that ‘women as multi-taskers eventually learn (quickly) to adapt on how to balance work life and family life’.

According to S Yawao, “motherhood is God’s most wonderful blessing, and besides, it is not an easy task to perform uniform duty and at the same time play mother’s role”.

Juggling between work life and family life

Being a frontline worker during this Covid-19 pandemic, at the same time being a responsible mother is challenging; however, these mothers have managed to strike a balance.

According to 28-year-old Vikeseno Sakhrie, who works as a nurse at Bethel Medical, her duty during morning hours are the most challenging. From running errands and taking care of her child and getting ready to work (starts at 7 am) becomes overwhelming.

During stressful days, she even thinks of quitting her work, but her love for the profession and understanding that patients need to be attended to, is also equally important, she shared.

Sub-inspector Yawao, who is also 28 years old, said: “We have to be mentally prepared at present situation as frontline workers. I have to leave home early sometimes and get back home late, leaving my daughter under the care of a babysitter, which feels so hard, but in the end I had to go through this, being duty bound on the other hand.”

She shared that it was especially difficult when her 11-month-old daughter fell sick, and she and her husband, who is also a sub-inspector, had to take leave from work.

Further, being in a ‘uniform service’, the nature of work is such that “we have to perform our duties to our best in any kind of situation, be it at present due to Covid -19 pandemic or in other occasions /situations,” she added.

Meanwhile, Kense said: “The biggest challenge as a working mother is the nagging guilt of if I am able to give my all to my family and the stress of being trying to be equally loyal to both my family and work. As a working mother, I am sure most women don’t find much time for themselves juggling between work and family, and also the inevitable numerous social obligations. In the midst of all these, at the end of the day, what matters most is the happiness of your family. If they are happy, I am happy, it sounds cliché but it’s true.”

She added that “it is never easy, and especially at this time when the role of journalists becomes crucial and on the other hand, the whole family at home seeking a mother’s undivided love and attention.” Balancing between work life and family is what, she said, is still “learning on how best to adjust with.”

Her inspiration: child, husband, passion for work

“Utmost faith in Almighty God and my daughter and husband has become my inspiration that keeps me going,” said the sub-inspector.

Being a journalist for over 10 years now, Kense said that her “passion to write” is something that keeps her going despite the roadblocks. Although, she happened ‘to end up in the profession by default, over the years, I have grown to love what I do. Everything is not about money. It is doing what you love and pursuing your passion,’ she shared.

Sakhrie said that she draws strength from her 14-month-old son, husband, family members and in-laws.

Does she get enough support from others?

Perhaps, as mothers, wives, and full-time working professionals, support and encouragement from family members and in-laws are of utmost significance.

The senior journalist shared: “If not for the support I get from my husband and family, I wouldn’t be working today. Being a journalist, a wife and a mother is indeed a challenging job; and I tell you, you need to have a very understanding spouse who understands your erratic schedule, deadlines, and the pressure involved in our profession.

“There are times, when I get remarks from people: Oh! You should leave your job and give more time and attention to your family. Family is more important. Women don’t necessarily work. Your family is your duty and work etc..”

However, she pointed out that the balance between work and family is a personal decision every woman has to make at some point of time. “It is a personal choice. As long as my family has no problem, I don’t bother too much about what people say or think,” Kense added.

Apart from the frequent calls, which sometimes, interferes with her family time, she said that she has been ‘coping quite fine’.

Sakhrie, who got married in 2017, said that her in-laws are supportive of her and understands her nature of work. Her mother-in-law babysits her child when she is on duty, as her husband works at an outpost.

The police officer said that her husband supports her in every possible way and that they try their best to help each other and balance family and professional life as well. “On the other hand, it is family members’ and in laws’ consistent support that encourages us,” she added.

Tinge of guilt for not giving enough time

Every working parent has a tinge of guilt for not giving their child the time they deserve, and so, are these mothers. Kense described it as “one of the most painful feelings I carry with me every time I step out of my home”.

When her son was just eight months old, her sister babysat her son, as she had to resume her work (from maternity leave).

Over the years, her son has come to understand the nature of her work. “Nonetheless, it makes me no less guilty that I have to leave him,” she explained.

“Whenever I am getting ready for some late press conferences, he would say: Mummy, it is getting dark. You should stay at home,” she shared. “These are occupational hazards that working mothers learn to deal and live with it,” Kense shared.

Meanwhile, Sakhrie also admitted to feeling guilty for not giving ample time to her son. In order to deal with that, she would ask for leave from work and spent time with her son.

In spite of all the overwhelming challenges, these mothers would gladly choose to be the same person, even if given a second chance. “I would still choose to be me, and would have it no other way,” Kense said.

“Over the years, I have faced some irreparable tragedies. Yet, these problems have taught me valuable things: to be more thankful and appreciative of the life that I have,” she added.

“I am happy with my (present) life despite of hardships in balancing family and professional life,” said Yawao.

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Locked down, Nagaland tea growers brew losses https://easternmirrornagaland.com/locked-down-nagaland-tea-growers-brew-losses/ Thu, 30 Apr 2020 19:16:11 +0000 https://www.easternmirrornagaland.com/?p=309966 Our ReporterDimapur, April 30 (EMN): The first plucking of a tea leaf during the harvest season is the freshest one; however tea farmers in Nagaland have missed their first production to the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown resulting in losses worth in crore. A tea garden owner from Jaboka village in Tizit under Mon district, Epha Wangnao, told Eastern Mirror that the lockdown was imposed at a time when the tea leaves were supposed to be harvested. Wangnao said in Tizit, those villages that border Assam are plain areas and most of those villagers are tea farmers and depend on tea farming for survival. He said the tea farmers have incurred loss of minimum INR 1 to 3 crore during the lockdown. Wangnao said the harvest season for tea starts in the month of March, which provides the freshest tea as it is the first pluck and fetches good amount of money. If the tea leaves are not plucked on time, which starts by the end of March, it will fail to yield the same quality of fresh leaves for the next pluck. According to Wangnao, his village with around 192 households, yields nearly 3000 kg from one hectare in one round...

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A tea estate in Nagaland.
A tea estate in Nagaland.

Our Reporter
Dimapur, April 30 (EMN):
The first plucking of a tea leaf during the harvest season is the freshest one; however tea farmers in Nagaland have missed their first production to the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown resulting in losses worth in crore.

A tea garden owner from Jaboka village in Tizit under Mon district, Epha Wangnao, told Eastern Mirror that the lockdown was imposed at a time when the tea leaves were supposed to be harvested.

Wangnao said in Tizit, those villages that border Assam are plain areas and most of those villagers are tea farmers and depend on tea farming for survival. He said the tea farmers have incurred loss of minimum INR 1 to 3 crore during the lockdown.

Wangnao said the harvest season for tea starts in the month of March, which provides the freshest tea as it is the first pluck and fetches good amount of money. If the tea leaves are not plucked on time, which starts by the end of March, it will fail to yield the same quality of fresh leaves for the next pluck.

According to Wangnao, his village with around 192 households, yields nearly 3000 kg from one hectare in one round of plucking. He said his brother has incurred a loss of INR 5-6 lakh during the lockdown period.

He said most of the tea farmers are able to make a living from tea plantation but the lockdown has been harsh on them.

Around 70 pick-up trucks come to their village from Sonari in Assam, which is about 22 km from the bordering villages in Tizit.

Another tea garden owner, Thomas Konyak, said that every family owns minimum 3 hectare of tea garden and a farmer yields one lakh kg of tea leaves in a day. During the lockdown, a farmer incurred a loss of INR 14 lakh in a day, ‘that amounts to INR 3 crore losses for the tea farmers/owners’, he said.

“When the market rate is good, the tea leaves are given out at INR 20 per kg, otherwise it is sold at INR 14 to 18,” he said.

Tea garden owners also employ daily wage earners and the tea leaves are transported to Sonari. Konyak said the tea garden owners/farmers spent INR 1 to 3 per kg for the transportation charges.

A tea factory owner said that because of the lockdown almost a month-and-a-half has been wasted, which has affected his business. The factory owner said an advance was paid to the farmers before the lockdown but following the lockdown, factory has been shut.

“Most of the tea garden owners/farmers are dependent on the factory. We do not expect good market after the lockdown because of the disruption in the supply chain. After the lockdown is lifted, it all depends on the market rate for us to recover for the losses,” he said.

A tea farmer from Tsurang Valley in Mokokchung district also told this newspaper that there are not many factories in the state; so most of their produce is sent to in Assam.

“I have sent my tea leaves to the factory in Sonowal only once after getting permission since lockdown because of the sealed borders; most of what I pruned has gone to waste,” said the tea estate owner and added that almost 10,000 kg were wasted.

He shared that labour costs were also very high as a large number of workers are required in the estate measuring around 200 acres.

Apart from the road conditions, which make transportation very difficult, the tea farmer also shared the challenges of paying taxes to Naga groups.

“I pay a few hundred rupees to the underground for every trip to the factory; they also charge business tax,” he informed.

“Mentality is also such that if they know how big your garden is, they will ask more tax not knowing the ground reality,” said the farmer.

He maintained that other plantations, like rubber or even fisheries and others, have subsidies and schemes but not many for tea plantations.

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Home schooling exposes digital divide in Nagaland https://easternmirrornagaland.com/home-schooling-exposes-digital-divide-in-nagaland/ Wed, 29 Apr 2020 19:38:05 +0000 https://www.easternmirrornagaland.com/?p=309764 Our CorrespondentKohima, April 29 (EMN): Some schools and colleges in the state have initiated alternative arrangements to ensure that learning is not compromised during the nationwide lockdown to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, but there are also others without such facilities. While experts claim that home schooling will widen the gap in performance between low and high achievers, between students from disadvantaged backgrounds and their more affluent peers, it (home schooling) has received mixed responses from parents and students. Some educational institutions conduct classes online and interact with the students and parents, while some providing notes, assignments and project works to their students through social media. Out of the many, Tetso College in Dimapur has been conducting online classes and interactions with its students; and St. Mary’s Cathedral Higher Secondary School (SMCHSS) in Kohima has developed its own app and has been providing notes and assignments to students. However, many institutions are unable to make such arrangements, which have become a matter of worry for parents. The All Nagaland Private School’s Association (ANPSA) Mon unit in its letter dated April 27, informed that it had decided to reach out to the students from nursery to class 7 through WhatsApp with the...

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Our Correspondent
Kohima, April 29 (EMN):
Some schools and colleges in the state have initiated alternative arrangements to ensure that learning is not compromised during the nationwide lockdown to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, but there are also others without such facilities.

While experts claim that home schooling will widen the gap in performance between low and high achievers, between students from disadvantaged backgrounds and their more affluent peers, it (home schooling) has received mixed responses from parents and students.

Some educational institutions conduct classes online and interact with the students and parents, while some providing notes, assignments and project works to their students through social media.

Out of the many, Tetso College in Dimapur has been conducting online classes and interactions with its students; and St. Mary’s Cathedral Higher Secondary School (SMCHSS) in Kohima has developed its own app and has been providing notes and assignments to students. However, many institutions are unable to make such arrangements, which have become a matter of worry for parents.

The All Nagaland Private School’s Association (ANPSA) Mon unit in its letter dated April 27, informed that it had decided to reach out to the students from nursery to class 7 through WhatsApp with the supervision of the parents. Students from class 8 till 10 were reached out with hardcopy notes and WhatsApp for information and assignments while class 11 and 12 through online, hardcopy notes and WhatsApp.

The letter also mentioned that the school office would function with effect from April 28 (Monday to Friday) between 10 am till 12 noon for parents to collect the hardcopy notes and other necessary educational materials.

A teacher from Mon town, Alih Konyak, confirmed to Eastern Mirror that the new teaching method is functional in the school she teaches in and added that assignments in the form of essay writing, articles and others would be submitted on re-opening of schools.

Kulungolu, a student of SMCHSS, said, “My school teachers are giving us notes through school app and I am learning at home with the help of my family.” She added that it is more convenient to learn from home.

“I always dreamt of being homeschooled and lockdown has given me the opportunity to experience it, yet I miss my friends and it is a different story,” said Akho, a college student.

A working mother informed that the school her children study gives assignments and projects to students through WhatsApp and submission is also done through the same medium. “It is a good mental exercise for children,” she said while adding that it demands more attention from parents.

Sekho told this newspaper that at first, she was not aware that the school her son goes to, was providing notes but her son is catching up. She said that Hindi is a new subject for her son and that it was hard to deal with the new subject at primary level.

A teacher from Phek informed that till date, no arrangement has been made in his school as strict rules have been imposed by the local authorities. He expressed hope that the government would formulate a policy that would enable learning in all parts of the state.

Another teacher in Kohima expressed his apprehension over the arrangement made by the department of School Education for high school level classes to be conducted through Doordarshan and All India Radio, stating that many will not have adequate facilities in rural areas or even regular power supply.

Yanbe, a mother of three children in Kohima, informed that she is not aware if the school that her children go to is making any arrangement for home learning. She added that they don’t use smartphone to access information even if the school providing such facility.

While another mother, Jenny, said that they got study materials and notes through WhatsApp but said she is ‘not qualified enough to teach her children at home.’ She informed that a stopgap arrangement has been made by requesting a college student in her neighbourhood to teach her children so that their education is not compromised.

Senti, on the other hand, shared her concern about the transmission of the novel coronavirus, stating that it is alright even if her children miss a year of education if they are not infected by the virus.

“Life is more important than to miss a year of education as children are highly prone to be infected because of their low immune system,” she said.

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Different kind of ‘distancing’ for people in Dhansiripar area https://easternmirrornagaland.com/different-kind-of-distancing-for-people-in-dhansiripar-area/ Tue, 28 Apr 2020 19:30:55 +0000 https://www.easternmirrornagaland.com/?p=309583 Our ReporterDimapur, April 28 (EMN): As the Covid-19 battle rages on, the Nagaland government has been reaching out to people, helping citizens both at home and outside Nagaland. However, at a time when essential commodities are necessary for survival, a sub-division under Dimapur district is struggling to meet even basic needs due to the current extraordinary circumstances. The Dhansiripar sub-division, which is approximately 28 km away from the district commissioner’s office and consists of more than 35 villages, has rarely seen progress. However, the people living under this sub-division are set on overcoming the lockdown in spite of the poor road conditions, poor schooling system, and poor healthcare facility, with their limited resources. Maihamdi Indane Gramin Vitrak (MIGV) in Dhansiripar village, is the only gas supply agency in the sub-division, and provides the basic requirement to thousands of people living in the area. Speaking to Eastern Mirror, a staff of the gas agency, said that they have been distributing approximately 50-60 gas cylinders on a daily basis since the lockdown started. The gas cylinders are being sold at INR 760 for those with cards. In addition, home delivery services are also offered at INR 850 per cylinder, he said. According...

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The only operating gas agency in Dhansiripar sub-division.
The only operating gas agency in Dhansiripar sub-division.

Our Reporter
Dimapur, April 28 (EMN):
As the Covid-19 battle rages on, the Nagaland government has been reaching out to people, helping citizens both at home and outside Nagaland.

However, at a time when essential commodities are necessary for survival, a sub-division under Dimapur district is struggling to meet even basic needs due to the current extraordinary circumstances.

The Dhansiripar sub-division, which is approximately 28 km away from the district commissioner’s office and consists of more than 35 villages, has rarely seen progress.

However, the people living under this sub-division are set on overcoming the lockdown in spite of the poor road conditions, poor schooling system, and poor healthcare facility, with their limited resources.

Maihamdi Indane Gramin Vitrak (MIGV) in Dhansiripar village, is the only gas supply agency in the sub-division, and provides the basic requirement to thousands of people living in the area.

Speaking to Eastern Mirror, a staff of the gas agency, said that they have been distributing approximately 50-60 gas cylinders on a daily basis since the lockdown started.

The gas cylinders are being sold at INR 760 for those with cards. In addition, home delivery services are also offered at INR 850 per cylinder, he said.

According to him, the people there were ‘better than others’ as there was no case of panic buying of gas cylinders from their agency.

When enquired about the chain of supply, he said that the agency orders the gas cylinders monthly. He also informed  that it takes around 3-4 days to procure the supply from the distribution point (town) to the agency’s store, and that each consignment usually consists of 6-7 truckload.

However, he said that it was difficult to meet the demand of the people as the number of consumers was large and the supply was not sufficient stating that “the agency runs out of stock most of the time”.

Eastern Mirror also spoke to various people belonging to different villages of the sub-division about how they were faring given the lockdown, especially when there are no ATMs around to ease some hardships.

An elderly man who runs a small shop at Dhansiripar village said that the lockdown had made him helpless when life in the sub-division was already a struggle.

According to him, the entirety of the sub-division was far away from having any ATM branch. However, he shared that if the government opens at least one ATM branch, it would be a big relief to everyone.

“We don’t have any ATM branches out here, and on top of that, we cannot go to town to withdraw money. Now, where will we go to get the money we need for survival?” asked the shop owner.

Another shopkeeper from Kiyeto village said that he has been giving away money to people in need with the help of internet banking. According to him, customers take some amount of money in cash and pay him through online banking services like Google Pay, Paytm, etc.

However, he said that he has to go to town to deposit the money in his account again, which is a problem.

During one such trip, he said that men in uniform beat him on his way back to the village after procuring the essential commodities, which the villagers depends on for their daily meal.

He shared that he is uncertain about how to proceed in the coming days if the lockdown continues.

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Crunching times for sellers, users of betel nuts and leaves in Dimapur https://easternmirrornagaland.com/crunching-times-for-sellers-users-of-betel-nuts-and-leaves-in-dimapur/ Tue, 28 Apr 2020 19:28:12 +0000 https://www.easternmirrornagaland.com/?p=309578 Our ReporterDimapur, April 27 (EMN): The government of Nagaland had banned spitting in public places with effect from March 23, which was notified by the principal secretary of the Urban Development department. Meanwhile, betel leaves and betel nuts, which are non-essential commodities, are still available in the market at a higher rate since it is running out of stock. While speaking to Eastern Mirror, one of the sellers informed that the rate of betel leaves had increased due to its unavailability in the market and they were finding it difficult to import it from Assam since the government had ordered a ban on transportation of non-essential commodities. The price of old betel leaves is INR 50 per 20 pieces and the new leaves cost around INR 15 per 20 pieces. He also added that the wholesale rate would be around INR 43 and INR 13 per 20 pieces. Another seller informed that all the betel leaves and betel nuts come from Assam and they purchase it from Super Market at wholesale rate. He informed that due to shortage, he is selling 40 pieces of betel nut at INR 200 and 20 pieces at INR 100. Eighty pieces of betel nut...

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Our Reporter
Dimapur, April 27 (EMN):
The government of Nagaland had banned spitting in public places with effect from March 23, which was notified by the principal secretary of the Urban Development department.

Meanwhile, betel leaves and betel nuts, which are non-essential commodities, are still available in the market at a higher rate since it is running out of stock.

While speaking to Eastern Mirror, one of the sellers informed that the rate of betel leaves had increased due to its unavailability in the market and they were finding it difficult to import it from Assam since the government had ordered a ban on transportation of non-essential commodities.

The price of old betel leaves is INR 50 per 20 pieces and the new leaves cost around INR 15 per 20 pieces. He also added that the wholesale rate would be around INR 43 and INR 13 per 20 pieces.

Another seller informed that all the betel leaves and betel nuts come from Assam and they purchase it from Super Market at wholesale rate.

He informed that due to shortage, he is selling 40 pieces of betel nut at INR 200 and 20 pieces at INR 100.

Eighty pieces of betel nut cost INR 320 in the market, he informed and the wholesale rate cost around INR 290 to 300. He added that it is in ‘high demand right now’.

Another seller informed that right now, stocks are available in the market since the restriction on opening shops has eased, but at a higher rate.

He informed that before the lockdown, the betel leaves cost around INR 20 to 25 per 20 pieces in the market but now the cost has doubled, but people were still buying it.

He also informed that earlier, he used to sell ‘paan,’ but now the price in the market has increased so much that there is no profit. In order to make profit, he has to sell it for around INR 15 to 20 per piece, he informed and since the ‘customer would argue with him for the high price’, he decided to stop selling it.

When queried about tobacco, he said that right now tobacco was completely running out of stock in the market, and in most of the shops, it was all empty. Moreover, the government has banned the selling of tobacco, he added.

While speaking to a woman, who is a wholesaler of betel nuts and leaves, she said that she was able to get half a sack of betel nuts from one of her suppliers on Tuesday but it was sold out in the morning itself.

She informed that betel nuts cost INR 260 per 80 pieces at wholesale rate.

She also informed that the betel leaves cost INR 30 per 20 pieces and added that she was not sure if she could get betel nuts today (Tuesday) since it is very difficult to transport them. Moreover, all the supply comes from Hazi Park, which is closed due to the lockdown.

Only a few betel leaves and unprocessed betel nuts are left at her shop. She informed that the unprocessed betel nuts were bought from Dimapur itself.

While speaking to one of the police officers at the Assam-Nagaland check gate, he informed that only essential commodities are allowed to enter Nagaland from Assam. Moreover, they check the receipt of the essential commodities that are loaded in the vehicle.

He added that the vehicle has to be sanitised first and they never allow vehicles that carry non-essential items to enter.

“Even ambulances from Assam are not allowed into Nagaland, how can we allow betel nuts and betel leaves transportation?” he said.

He also said that under the guise of essential commodities, vehicles entering Nagaland might be concealing other items. However, he said they cannot check all the vehicles that are fully loaded with essential commodities.

The officer added that some stock might be available in Nagaland since the lockdown was enforced all of a sudden.

While speaking to the Commissioner of Police, Dimapur, Rothihu Tetseo, he informed that the government has banned sale of liquor, ‘gutka’ and tobacco but has not specifically mentioned betel nuts and betel leaves.

Tetseo added that all essential goods from Assam were allowed to enter Nagaland and even from Nagaland some essential items are transported to Assam. Not only betel nuts and leaves, even some items that are not allowed might be concealed in the essential commodities carrier, he said.

“Right now, all they have to do is take precaution and be very careful especially the containment areas,” he added.

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Fighting a big loss, Dimapur’s two-wheel taxis deliver essentials to citizens https://easternmirrornagaland.com/fighting-a-big-loss-dimapurs-two-wheeler-taxis-deliver-essentials-to-citizens/ Tue, 28 Apr 2020 15:14:59 +0000 https://www.easternmirrornagaland.com/?p=309460 Dimapur, April 28 (EMN): Two-wheeler taxis—the ‘Scooties’—in Dimapur were initially one of the few groups in Dimapur to announce home delivery services for citizens of the city when the government of Nagaland announced a lockdown in March to prevent the Coronavirus pandemic from spreading into the state. The fast developments caused by the coronavirus pandemic across the world and India let to a domino effect. States, one after another, announced lockdowns and border sealing. This left a gap in the supply chain that also affected the Northeast states including Nagaland, which depends largely on neighbouring states for essentials. It was a gap the lockdown created that someone had had to fill.        In Dimapur, Nagaland’s principal trading centre and supply conduit for the entire state, closed shop. That was where the trial for citizens in Dimapur began. The problems were myriad in the form of demand for food and domestic essentials and medicines that were compounded by the lack of transportation, and strictures on people from moving out from their homes. Scooting to the rescue     On April 6, a group of two-wheeler taxi riders in Dimapur decided to ride in. Just about a score of them, approximately 24 members,...

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Two-wheeler taxi riders take a meal at High Noon Diners, a Dimapur restaurant that was converted into a storehouse from where they deliver essentials to citizens in the city. The state of Nagaland is in a lockdown as part of measures to prevent the Covid-19 pandemic from spreading into the state.

Dimapur, April 28 (EMN): Two-wheeler taxis—the ‘Scooties’—in Dimapur were initially one of the few groups in Dimapur to announce home delivery services for citizens of the city when the government of Nagaland announced a lockdown in March to prevent the Coronavirus pandemic from spreading into the state.

The fast developments caused by the coronavirus pandemic across the world and India let to a domino effect. States, one after another, announced lockdowns and border sealing.

This left a gap in the supply chain that also affected the Northeast states including Nagaland, which depends largely on neighbouring states for essentials. It was a gap the lockdown created that someone had had to fill.       

In Dimapur, Nagaland’s principal trading centre and supply conduit for the entire state, closed shop. That was where the trial for citizens in Dimapur began. The problems were myriad in the form of demand for food and domestic essentials and medicines that were compounded by the lack of transportation, and strictures on people from moving out from their homes.

Scooting to the rescue    

On April 6, a group of two-wheeler taxi riders in Dimapur decided to ride in. Just about a score of them, approximately 24 members, the group who had formed into an association, the Nagaland Two-wheeler Taxi Association, Dimapur District (NTWTADD), began delivering essentials to Dimapur citizens at their doorsteps.

The members purchased food essentials and perishables in stocks from villages in and around Dimapur proper to cater to households. Markets and wholesale outlets were closed as were other business establishments then. Keeping a stock was the only option.      

‘We had procured perishable items (vegetables) in large quantities from local farmers and sources at a wholesale but at higher rates than what it is now,’ Joel Ngullie, operations manager of the group’s services stated in texts to Eastern Mirror on Tuesday.

Spoiled cabbages. Piles of bitter gourds, cabbages, aubergines, tomatoes, green chillies etc., became spoiled and had to be discarded.  
Spoiled bitter gourd that had to be discarded.

Then the eventual relaxation of the lockdown regulations from the state’s authorities affected the riders—the stock of vegetables they could procure from whatever stores and outlets that were open that time went to waste.

Piles of bitter gourds, cabbages, Aubergines, tomatoes, green chillies etc., became spoiled as the relaxation allowed certain categories of business establishments to open.  

Then, a couple of days later, the lockdown was relaxed and vegetable sellers in every locality were allowed to do business.

‘This caused us huge losses as we couldn’t dispose all that were in our stock, and eventually more than half of it had to be discarded,” Ngullie said.

“Even after all that, we continue to function on a deficit unable to make up on our investment.”

The taxis’ war room

Ngullie owns a restaurant, High Noon Diners, near the Dimapur town hall. The restaurant is currently a makeshift storehouse for the goods that are to be delivered to citizens who place orders for essentials from their homes.   

The losses notwithstanding, the group feels that there is a need for them to fill the service gap for citizens who depend on the local supply chain but they can neither commute nor travel because of the lockdown.   

‘However bad our own situation, we still stand by our conviction towards giving our best services possible to the citizens of Dimapur town and beyond during lockdowns, Khrozote Kapfo, president of the association’s Dimapur unit, is said to have opined, according to a member.

Business lessons

But there are hard lessons: The taxi riders are not taking chances with vegetables and perishables during this time.

Ngullie said the group now does not want to take the risk of buying perishable items. To keep the services going, they are compelled to buy from the retail stores, or shop for citizens who place various orders for meat, medicines, and dry ration besides vegetables and anything else that customers place orders for.

Besides the vegetables having had to be discarded, the taxi riders aren’t making money. For instance, the members charge only a meagre extra fee to commute and deliver the goods at people’s doorsteps. The fee may not justify the job—the work requires searching the town for goods amid a situation when supply outlets and sellers are scarce, where no-entry zones are one and many.

And then, they travel long distances to deliver the goods to citizens.  

‘All that running around for a meager delivery charges, considering the fact that getting from one point to the other isn’t as easy with roadblocks in many colonies and no-entry points around town,’ Ngullie said. He is also general secretary of the taxi association for Dimapur.

But no back-show

Regardless of the losses they have incurred, the two-wheeler taxis, pictured here at an earlier date, will continue working for the citizens of Dimapur especially during the current situation.

In spite of all the setbacks and the drastic dip in delivery orders the Dimapur two-wheeler riders are ready to sacrifice silently, and are ready to go the extra mile, Ngullie said.

‘We do not do any self-promotion, nor have sought neither received any assistance from govt or organisations, apart from some individuals donating basic protection equipments,’ he wrote.

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Unlocking the potentials of home-delivery services https://easternmirrornagaland.com/unlocking-the-potentials-of-home-delivery-services/ Mon, 27 Apr 2020 19:56:00 +0000 https://www.easternmirrornagaland.com/?p=308588 Henlly PhomDimapur, April 27 (EMN): The nationwide lockdown amidst the Covid-19 pandemic has taken a toll on the business community, daily wage earners and transportation drivers to name a few; and Nagaland is no exception. However, not long after the lockdown was imposed, the state government and the district municipalities came up with the idea of home delivery services, making it convenient for citizens to purchase their needs. Permit was given to a few delivery services including the Nagaland Two Wheeler Taxi Association Dimapur District (NTWTADD). The Dimapur Municipal Council (DMC) permitted the two-wheeler passenger service — NTWTADD  which was introduced in 2019 — for home delivery of essential goods to ease the situation during the lockdown.  However, the two-wheeler taxi association had to face challenges initially when they ventured into delivery services. NTWTADD general secretary Joel Ngullie, who also manages the operation, told Eastern Mirror: “When we started out on April 6, there was total lockdown in place. So, we procured perishable items (vegetables) in bulk from local farmers (Seithekie) at a higher rate than what it is now. Unfortunately, as we progressed a couple of days later the lockdown was relaxed and vegetable markets were allowed to sell....

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Two-wheelers ready for home delivery service in Dimapur.
Two-wheelers ready for home delivery service in Dimapur.

Henlly Phom
Dimapur, April 27 (EMN):
The nationwide lockdown amidst the Covid-19 pandemic has taken a toll on the business community, daily wage earners and transportation drivers to name a few; and Nagaland is no exception.

However, not long after the lockdown was imposed, the state government and the district municipalities came up with the idea of home delivery services, making it convenient for citizens to purchase their needs. Permit was given to a few delivery services including the Nagaland Two Wheeler Taxi Association Dimapur District (NTWTADD).

The Dimapur Municipal Council (DMC) permitted the two-wheeler passenger service — NTWTADD  which was introduced in 2019 — for home delivery of essential goods to ease the situation during the lockdown. 

However, the two-wheeler taxi association had to face challenges initially when they ventured into delivery services.

NTWTADD general secretary Joel Ngullie, who also manages the operation, told Eastern Mirror: “When we started out on April 6, there was total lockdown in place. So, we procured perishable items (vegetables) in bulk from local farmers (Seithekie) at a higher rate than what it is now. Unfortunately, as we progressed a couple of days later the lockdown was relaxed and vegetable markets were allowed to sell. This caused us a huge loss as we couldn’t dispose off all that we bought and eventually more than half of our stock had to be discarded.”

“Even after that we continued to function on a deficit unable to make up on our investment. However, we still stood by our conviction towards giving our best services to the citizens of Dimapur town and beyond during lockdown. Now we don’t take the risk of buying perishable items, rather we are compelled to buy from the retail market just for the sake of delivering to those that place orders (meat, medicines, dry ration, vegetables, anything that the customer lists up, and all that running around for a meagre delivery charge ) and in spite of all the drawbacks, the riders are sacrificing and are ready to go the distance,” he shared.

Ngullie said the permit for delivery service from the DMC was a blessing in disguise as the lockdown had affected most of their earnings and it was just a few months ago that they had started the passenger services.

He said initially the job was demanding and good customer service was difficult especially when there were only few shops and essential commodities available.

Even the rate fixed by DMC at INR 50 for the delivery charges was less, as the riders had to go to the market to search for the items and deliver them at the customer’s place. The orders received were also overloaded and overwhelming but ‘everything is smooth now,’ he said.

Ngullie also said that although the permit was within the town area, they started receiving orders from beyond the town area. They started delivering till 4th Mile while working from 10 am to 4 pm. Even during the rainy days, he said, the riders were on duty because of the demands of the customers for essential needs.

With the rise of delivery service in demand, he said the association was contemplating on continuing with delivery services especially considering the unemployed youths.

Laljamlou Lupho, who started ‘The Delivery’ service seven years ago, said during the lockdown he has been receiving lots of orders for home delivery—more than the normal days before the lockdown was announced.

Lupho, who delivers the orders himself, said he and his boys had ‘no time to give rest to their phones with the non-stop and one after the other calls that they receive for delivery orders’.

He said since the lockdown, they have been receiving lots of orders from beyond Purana Bazaar to Chümoukedima, as they are unable to travel to Dimapur markets. However, he said most of the orders are not available in the market especially after the wholesale market at Marwari Patti was sealed.

Atu Jamir, a baker by profession, said: “Initially during the lockdown, I had to cancel lots of orders as movement of public and vehicles were restricted. But with the introduction of home delivery services for home essential commodities and groceries by the district administration and DMC, it has given the opportunity for all local entrepreneurs and work-from-home wives and businesses like us to reach our customers for their needs. I have also started to keep in touch with the delivery firms and have started taking orders. I am happy with the way the administration has taken this step and I believe more delivery firms should be permitted to deliver.”

Jamir also shared that “if there are about 1000 home delivery orders, that simply means 1000 people less in the marketplace as social distancing is very important or simply public gathering at any given point of time”.

She urged the public to stay home, stay safe and use these services.

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‘We need the presence of family and friends during pregnancy’ https://easternmirrornagaland.com/we-need-the-presence-of-family-and-friends-during-pregnancy/ Mon, 27 Apr 2020 19:50:25 +0000 https://www.easternmirrornagaland.com/?p=308579 As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to alter our lives, pregnant women and new mothers in Nagaland describe their life in lockdown Livine KhrozhohKohima, April 27 (EMN): Having a baby is a wonderful and joyous experience but a pregnant woman needs utmost care, affection and proper diet for herself as well as for the baby. However, due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, pregnant women are facing many difficulties. Some women spoke to Eastern Mirror and shared about what they are going through and how they are overcoming their struggles. “There are days when I wake up feeling energetic but feel sick the next moment. Certain days, my mood swings come in, and again suffer from nausea. Going through all these phases, I really wish to go out for some fresh air, go for a ride or visit my families, friends or relatives. I long for more company even though my husband is always beside me,” shared Amen Jamir, a resident of Kohima, who is in her 14th week of pregnancy. Jamir shared that for her monthly check-up, she was told not to visit the clinic during the lockdown period unless she had some serious complications with her pregnancy. “I miss my...

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As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to alter our lives, pregnant women and new mothers in Nagaland describe their life in lockdown

Livine Khrozhoh
Kohima, April 27 (EMN):
Having a baby is a wonderful and joyous experience but a pregnant woman needs utmost care, affection and proper diet for herself as well as for the baby. However, due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, pregnant women are facing many difficulties.

Some women spoke to Eastern Mirror and shared about what they are going through and how they are overcoming their struggles.

“There are days when I wake up feeling energetic but feel sick the next moment. Certain days, my mood swings come in, and again suffer from nausea. Going through all these phases, I really wish to go out for some fresh air, go for a ride or visit my families, friends or relatives. I long for more company even though my husband is always beside me,” shared Amen Jamir, a resident of Kohima, who is in her 14th week of pregnancy.

Jamir shared that for her monthly check-up, she was told not to visit the clinic during the lockdown period unless she had some serious complications with her pregnancy. “I miss my check-up, but I am contacting my doctor through WhatsApp and (phone) calls,” she said.

“The prescribed pills which I am taking may have the required minerals and vitamins,” she said adding that a “regular diet, green leafy veggies, fresh fruits, red meat, fish etc., are scarce, which is a big problem now unlike other times.”

Her husband goes to the market on all relaxation days, to grab whatever he can get. For small bites in-between, she relies on packed dried fruits and nuts.

“At times, the fear of not going back to the normal days engulfs my mind. Realistically, unless a cure is found for this virus, we are never going back to the days we used to live. Such thoughts are so disturbing. But leaving aside, I try my best to erase all those thoughts through prayers,” she shared.

Lovika Chophy, who is due anytime this week with her second child, shared that she was having her regular check-up from a private clinic before the facility was  closed due to the lockdown.

“I visited the hospital where my obstetrician attends but I couldn’t avail his service and it got me worried a bit because my pre-natal vitamins were over. Thankfully, there was another doctor who attended to me,” she said.

Chophy shared that during the initial lockdown period, she faced some difficulties in getting the required diet especially green vegetables and fruits. “But now somehow I am getting the vegetables from the market but not the required fruits, which is a big drawback in my diet,” she added.

“We need the presence of family and friends, especially during pregnancy. Though their support is always with me through constant (phone) calls and messages, I long for their physical presence as they will be the ones taking care of me after my delivery, but due to the lockdown they cannot travel and be with me,” she shared.

Another woman from Dimapur, who is pregnant with her first child, shared that women during the course of pregnancy have food cravings, adding that she is “eating abnormally and is always hungry and I don’t even remember a time when I am not hungry”.

She shared that she has become good friends with the delivery people, as she often orders fruits or cookies from the bakers who work from home. “If they do not find what I am looking for on a particular day but see them in the market the next day, they take the trouble of calling me and informing me about the availability,” she shared.

She also informed that she has her doctor’s number in case of an emergency, which is a relief for her. “I was in my first trimester during the initial days of lockdown so I was worried about my check-ups and needs but my gynae made it easier as she was just a call away,” she shared.

With lots of “negative news” being reported regarding Covid-19, there is always fear of falling ill.

The fear of purchasing emergency needs is also another concern, she said adding that “worry is taking over excitement when a woman should be going through a happy time”.

Julia Rovah, a mother who recently gave birth to her first child, shared that she was apprehensive during her pregnancy stages due to the situation. However, with the assistance and treatment provided by the Asha coordinator and primary health centre (PHC),’ things went well and by the grace of God all is well’.

Speaking about diet, she shared that she had some challenges but managed to get the required diet as she had made arrangements beforehand. “And talking about medical facilities, the PHC team pays timely visits and provides the required medical assistance,” she added.

Nusavolu Lasuh, who recently gave birth to a child in Kohima, expressed that it was very unfortunate to give birth in this situation. She said that they were unprepared when lockdown started, which is a lesson for her ‘as well as for other young couples’.

Lasuh also shared that she is not able to visit her doctor, as there are no taxis available. She said this was a problem for people who do not own vehicles.

A mother residing in Dimapur also shared that she is struggling to buy new clothes for her baby as they grow up fast and the old clothes do not fit anymore. Also since the baby was born during winter, the baby has only winter clothing. The weather is getting hotter and there is nowhere to buy baby clothes due to the lockdown, she shared.

A gynaecologist from Naga Hospital Authority Kohima, has advised that locally available green vegetables are the best during pregnancy, as some women cannot take iron supplements during early pregnancy, and even in mid-trimester.

He said that after three months of pregnancy, and even after delivery, women need iron and calcium.

“During pregnancy they require iron and calcium for the baby and for herself, and at the time of labour and delivery, they lose blood, so to make up for that blood loss, they need calcium, mineral and iron; and also during lactation,” he said.

The doctor also informed: “If a woman after giving birth expects to get back to normal through a normal diet then it will take almost two years to get back to pre-pregnant state. However, if they take iron and calcium during delivery and lactation period, within 6-12 months they can become normal like a pre-pregnant state,” he added.

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Voices from the other side: Nagas tending to Covid-19 patients elsewhere https://easternmirrornagaland.com/voices-from-the-other-side-nagas-tending-to-covid-19-patients-elsewhere/ Sat, 25 Apr 2020 18:18:38 +0000 https://www.easternmirrornagaland.com/?p=308157 Menuse-O Max KhieyaKohima, April 25 (EMN): “We are given seven days of continuous work, and (for) another 14 days we will go for quarantine because we are getting many patients,” said 30-year-old Dr. C Manpa Phom who is pursuing MD degree at Gandhi Medical College and Hamidia Hospital, Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh. Despite the threat posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, many healthcare workers from Nagaland are attending to Covid-19 patients at various healthcare centres across the country. It has been three years since Phom last saw his family. “Since three years, I haven’t seen my mom and dad, my brother and my sisters except through video calls,” he told Eastern Mirror. Phom is due to complete his degree in April and was planning on coming to Nagaland. But the Madhya Pradesh government has asked him to assist the hospitals there. “I am here now and I don’t know when to go (back to Nagaland).” In Bhopal district, there are already 400 positive cases; and three Covid-19 designated centres. “One is already full, one is about to get full and the third one is our hospital (Gandhi Medical College),” Phom said. The workers perform their duties for eight hours, from 7...

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Menuse-O Max Khieya
Kohima, April 25 (EMN):
“We are given seven days of continuous work, and (for) another 14 days we will go for quarantine because we are getting many patients,” said 30-year-old Dr. C Manpa Phom who is pursuing MD degree at Gandhi Medical College and Hamidia Hospital, Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh.

Despite the threat posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, many healthcare workers from Nagaland are attending to Covid-19 patients at various healthcare centres across the country.

It has been three years since Phom last saw his family. “Since three years, I haven’t seen my mom and dad, my brother and my sisters except through video calls,” he told Eastern Mirror.

Phom is due to complete his degree in April and was planning on coming to Nagaland. But the Madhya Pradesh government has asked him to assist the hospitals there. “I am here now and I don’t know when to go (back to Nagaland).”

In Bhopal district, there are already 400 positive cases; and three Covid-19 designated centres. “One is already full, one is about to get full and the third one is our hospital (Gandhi Medical College),” Phom said.

The workers perform their duties for eight hours, from 7 am to 8 pm daily, for seven days in a week. After coming back from the hospital, they go straight to their respective active quarantine centres.

However, if one gets tested positive for the virus, then he or she will be admitted to the Covid-19 designated centres. The whole process takes 21 days.

Phom described how challenging it is to wear a proper PPE for eight hours where one is not allowed to drink, eat or even attend to nature’s call.

Also, he expressed concerns over the condition of medical facilities in Nagaland. “I’m just worried how the state is going to manage and with what facility the government of Nagaland is prepared,” he said, stating that “Nagaland has doctors but no proper equipment and setup”.

Kevizenuo Nyekha (30), a technologist under Microbiology department at North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences (NEIGRIHMS) at Shillong in Meghalaya, informed that the lab in her institute has detected 12 positive cases so far.

Nyekha, who lives with her husband in Shillong, said she was not apprehensive about working at the lab because she follows safety measures. “When I come back home from the lab, I take bath immediately and put my clothes in the washing machine.”

Despite the challenges, she had this to say: “Why should we stay home if someone needs us? Now is the best time for us to give our best in whatever we do by contributing our part.”

Dr. Vephizo Keyho (32), who is currently undergoing a post-graduate training in the department of ENT at Regional Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) at Imphal in Manipur, said he has not faced any difficulties while attending to the assignments given to him to handle Covid-19 related cases.

“When we go for screening, we get a full set of PPE (personal protection equipment). If we are not in the Covid designated areas, we get gloves, caps and masks,” he shared.

He said that every Outpatient Department (OPD) is converted into an emergency set up in most of the hospitals all over India. At the RIMS, they are running the emergency department 24×7 for the time being.

“There are some screening team while others are selected to attend to the Covid-19 positive patients,” he shared.

However, there are protocols and guidelines to follow. If any of the medical team members is exposed to Covid-19 positive patients, they are not allowed to come to the hospital.

Keyho explained that a separate isolated location is allotted to every medical team if any of its members are exposed to positive patients.

If the medical member does not develop suspected symptoms during the isolation period of two weeks, the person is allowed to come back to the hospital, he said.

According to him, the Covid-19 pandemic is a challenge for the doctors as ‘we are expected to give our best to fill the gap and save the society and the world as a whole’.

Dr. Hentok Phom, a senior medical officer at the Nagaland Control House Centre, Nagaland House in Delhi, said that he has been attending to ‘Naga patients with both Covid and non-Covid related cases with a medical team in Delhi’.

Phom, who has been working in the national capital for 30 years now, said as a medical professional there is no stigma against Covid-19 patients or those with suspected infections.   

“As a medical professional, we have to justify our profession,” he said when asked what motivates him to serve the people.

Imnainla, a nursing officer at the Cardiothoracic Centre at AIIMS, in New Delhi said that there is “fear everywhere” but the institute is “well equipped”.

She said that even some of her colleagues were kept in quarantine.

Their shift is divided into seven groups where for three days, each team is into patient-care, taking turns while for another three days, they will be working from home, managing online appointments and meeting consultations, she informed.

However, for emergency cases, they are called to the hospital to work.

If a person is detected Covid-19 positive at the cardiology department, or if a Covid-19 patient is admitted, he or she is referred to the trauma centres and other places designated as Covid-19 centre, informed Imnainla.

She shared that one of the nursing staff was detected Covid-19 positive on being tested.

According to her, most of the staff from Northeast at AIIMs were working peacefully without experiencing any discrimination. “Everyone is willing to help,” she added.

Imnainla maintained that she adheres to safety measures at home and added that whenever she comes home, she would first clean up herself in their home designated washroom before attending to her kids after half-an-hour or so, wearing a mask.

Imnainla shared that the responsibility towards the nation and continued support and prayers from people motivates her to perform her duties. “It’s my duty and it’s the right time to work for the nation,” she said.

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