Has the coronavirus stopped spreading? The records don’t say so. But the zeal of the government to discuss and deliberate on the subject seems to have waned. When the government has lost its zeal in publicising the Coronavirus how can media do otherwise? So reporting on the Carnivorous is also weakening.
From the beginning till now the handling of the coronavirus by the central government and the Assam government has been shabby. They are resorting to certain measures now which they should have done at the beginning. Had they done that we wouldn’t have faced a man-made disaster which destroyed our economy and brought unspeakable miseries to the life of millions in India. But the madness on the part of the government hasn’t stopped yet fully.
Till the other day, on week days they were allowing to open shops only on one side of the road. And they are still closing Saturdays and Sundays causing inconveniences to people. Why are they doing this? Are they doing this to contain the pandemic or this is a ploy to control the activities of their political opponents? We don’t know. But, we know how futile these measures are because they haven’t stopped the spread of the coronavirus.
The sad thing is even now we don’t know who are the people managing the coronavirus and its related challenges facing us in Assam, though we have seen lockdown circular being issued time to time in the name of the chief secretary.
Sometime back Axom Nagarik Samaj, a civil society organization, formed a Citizens COVID-19 Committee with leading health consultants, social scientists, political thinkers and social workers of the state. The committee worked hard and prepared a 13,000 word report detailing all the issues related to it. The report was submitted to the government of Assam through the chief secretary.
This nongovernmental report laboriously prepared by an expert committee didn’t receive the attention it deserved from various quarters. The media also reported it perfunctorily. Why has it happened? It has happened because we have created such a perfidious atmosphere all around us that nobody has the time and patience to go deeper into anything. We have become a community of controversy seekers.
Even if it is related to our life and reality plain truth doesn’t interest us at all. The coronavirus is spreading much faster than before. As mentioned earlier all attempts at controlling it have failed. Against tall claims of the government it has been found that many testing centres don’t even have the testing kits forget about other important things.
There is no doubt that coronavirus is serous thing. But that doesn’t mean that people will not suffer from other illness in the time of Coronavirus. But how are those patients being treated in hospitals? This is a serious issue. Everybody knows that during this time many patients suffering from other serious illnesses have succumbed to their diseases without receiving any treatment because hospitals were not willing to admit them. This is most unfortunate.
Despite all the claims of the health minister, the coronavirus has clearly shown the pores and holes in our public health system. It has shown that our public health system is nothing but just a skeleton without any flesh and blood. It is impossible to fight with the coronavirus and any such public health emergency without a sound public health system.
A good public health system does not mean the state of the art hospitals. It means the basics: an airy hospital building with enough open space, certain facilities- ventilators and etc, doctors and well trained paramedics. And it must be well organised and decentralized.
In recent years government has established a few big hospitals at different places. But very often we hear that they are not properly manned and maintained. Unfortunately we don’t have any systematic study on our public health system. We only have big announcements by the government and sensational controversies by the media. Government is not working sincerely to build a strong and decentralized public health system and media is not informing and educating us on vital issues of public interest.
Presently media is busy with Zubin Garg and Jatin Bora controversy. Zubin is good singer. But Jatin seems to be overrated. What is the essence of this controversy? Do we remember the spontaneous public upsurge all over Assam immediately after the passing of the CAA in the parliament?
People were so upset and angry that they defied all government prohibitions and came out in the open protesting against the act. The ruling party politicians were scared to face the wrath of the public. People spontaneously barricaded them and stopped their movements. Everywhere they were shown black flags.
Most of our artistes are popular artistes. They are not conscientious and committed lot. They aren’t trendsetters. They are trend followers and popularity seekers. These tend followers were observing which way the air was blowing! They thought that political waves were changing fast.
They thought it was time to change the camp. So they changed camp and the media has overkilled it. AASU celebrated it. Songs and dance became the only form of protests. But it soon evaporated and the rest is history.
The coronavirus offered an excellent opportunity to the government to refurbish its image and connect to the people while its opponents were caged. The game plan changed and it was time for the trend followers to return to their original camp. What a shamelessness!