TODAY -

Lockdown pushes border villages to extreme misery
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, April 17 2020: On account of the country-wide lockdown which has been necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of villages located along Indo-Myanmar border have been facing extreme misery.

Talking with The Sangai Express, Phungyar AC MLA K Leishiyo said that villagers settled between border pillar numbers 8 and 9 along Indo-Myanmar border depend on markets located across the international border for their daily requirements.

But the villagers have stopped crossing the border to Myanmar for buying daily requirements after they were threatened by Myanmar that they would be shot down once they set foot on Myanmar soil.

Of all the villages located between border pillar numbers 8 and 9, Namlee village is located at the extreme border.

Other nearby villages are Ashang Khullen, Wangli, Bungpun, Makan, Kachumram, Old Kangkhum, New Kangkhum, Kasung, Nambasi Khullen, Nambasi Khunou and Nambasi Valley.

These 11 villages are covered by the Border Area Development Programme (BADP).

There are some other villages namely; Raishangphung, Tarong, Khunthak, Kasong Khunou, Khunglo and Mouthouram which are located close to the international border but not covered by BADP, Leishiyo said.

In addition to the extreme border village of Namlee, all other villages covered by BADP purchase their daily requirements from neighbouring Myanmar villages namely; Phaiyang, Bandula, Miothit, Thanam, Tungkhyak and Minthar.

Phaiyang village located across the international border is the main centre of shopping for the villages of Manipur located between boundary pillar numbers 8 and 9, said the MLA.

Likewise, the border villages which are not covered by BADP too depend directly or indirectly on commodities imported from Myanmar, he conveyed.

As positive cases of COVID-19 is much higher in India as compared to Myanmar, the road connecting Manipur's Namlee to Myanmar's Phaiyang has been sealed, Leishiyo said.

Even though the international boundary between boundary pillar numbers 8 and 9 is an open space without any border fence, Myanmar army threatened that they would shoot any one from Manipur if found inside Myanmar.

As a result, all the border villages have been reeling under extreme misery, conveyed the Phungyar MLA.

He said that he held a meeting with the chiefs of all these border villages on Monday.

As an immediate relief measure, rice, dal, sugar, common salt and face masks were distributed to the border villages on the same day.

Although people stayed indoors and all inter-village roads were blocked to prevent spread of coronavirus, the villagers appealed to the Government to let them go to fields for agricultural works as plantation season has already set in, Leishiyo conveyed.

In case any of the villagers show any suspected symptom of COVID-19, he/she must be brought on litter up to Kangkum PHSC or Nambisa PHSC.

Given this reality, adequate numbers of PPE, masks, gloves and thermal scanners would be provided to the two PHSCs at the earliest, said the MLA.

"As already announced by the Chief Minister, I assured the villagers that no one would go hungry.

I also appealed to all the villagers to strictly abide by the coronavirus guidelines", he said.

All the paddy fields of Mapithel village and surrounding villages have been inundated by Mapithel Dam, said villagers of Mapithel Dam area.

They also appealed to the Government to release the water currently held by the dam, if such a huge volume of water is not needed, so that paddy cultivation can be done where possible, Leishiyo conveyed.


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