TODAY -

Ima Keithels: Closed since March 21 :: More than markets
- The Sangai Express Editorial :: February 04, 2021 -



The immediate task before the Government is cut out.

With the number of new infection in 24 hours seeing a sharp drop, with the last two days witnessing only 4 and 5 new cases respectively (February 1 and 2), the Government should now apply its mind on when and how to re-open the three Ima Keithels which have been shut since March 21, that is three days before the Nationwide lockdown was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 24.

This is all that more important since the Khwairamband Nupi Keithel Sinpham Amadi Saktam Kanba Lup (KNKSASKL) has gone ahead, and informed The Sangai Express that Khwairamband Keithel would be re-opened from February 15.

This was the stand of the KNKSASKL and while the State Government is yet to come out with an official stand on the matter, a top functionary of KNKSASKL significantly informed that the Chief Minister himself had expressed his desire for re-opening the Keithel from February 15.

To underline their intention to re-open the Keithel from February 15, process of cleaning the market place has started but there is as yet no official confirmation or denial from the side of the Government. The position of the Government is understandable.

The rate of infection has definitely come down drastically in the last few days and by extension the recovery rate has also improved considerably but the virus is still out there and it is as yet not very clear how many would be stepping out to voluntarily receive the Covid vaccination shots in the coming days.

Yet given the fact that the three Ima Keithels feed, clothe, educate and sustain numerous families, it is only right that the focus of the Government should now be on when and how to re-open the three markets, despite the virus being still out there with science yet to fully understand how it behaves and how it will behave in the coming days.

The road to recovery started months back across the Nation with the Prime Minister himself ruling out any more lockdown, and the State Government too has started the process of infusing new life to the badly injured economy of the people and the land.

Shops have reopened and so too restaurants and the hotel business. Classes from Class IX and above have re-opened from January 27 and calls have been raised from some quarters to allow fresh admissions.

Limping back to normalcy under the condition that it will come with the rider 'New Normal'.

It is in the backdrop of this reality that the Government should now look at the feasibility of re-opening the three Ima Keithels.

This call is all that more important as Ima Keithels need to be understood beyond the economic openings provided to the people and seen in the context of the historically important place the women markets occupy.

Take away the Ima Keithels, and the identity of Manipur will never be complete.

This is the fact and one just have to recall the days when the anti-CAA protest was at its peak here with the Ima Keithels serving as the meeting point, physically and metaphorically speaking.

What however should not be forgotten by all concerned is the fact that the virus is still out there and it is the responsibility of everyone to follow the Covid appropriate behaviours and strictly comply with the SOPs laid down by the Government from time to time.

Economic activities should not mean lowering one's guard down at this moment, else the purpose of keeping the Ima Keithels under lock all these days would be lost and no one would want that.



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