The news that emanate from the corridors of power in Assam as well as at the Centre on the COVID-19 front seemingly focuses on reverse projection of so the called huge success in the fight against the killer virus in the state as well as across the nation. It almost takes the shape of one looking at things through the wrong end of the telescope while upholding before the public distant view of rosy images that tactfully make the bitter vitals invisible.
Analyzing matters on the basis of the data released by the World Health Organisation (WHO), among the countries infected by novel coronavirus across the globe, India is the third worst-hit after the United States and Brazil. No matter how far New Delhi succeeds or fails in projecting its fight against the killer virus by mainly highlighting its recovery rates as a story of great success, the world would only take note of the country’s position in the global context.
And in that context India comes at third among the dreaded COVID-19 hubs of the world and accordingly a matter of serious concern for the international community.
So far as Assam is concerned, the state government has no independent policy of its own in the matter of COVID-19 as in the case of all other matters. The Sultans of Dispur religiously follows the strategy of accepting every diktat issued by Delhi with open arms, laced with ‘Thank you Sir’. That indeed is the gospel of the Dispur heavyweights for political survival and holding on to the seat of power.
Over the years the Dispur God-fathers have amply demonstrated that it is Delhi that matters to them while hopes and aspirations of the people may be allowed to rot in the gutters. May one have the audacity to question if ceding Assam’s land to Bangladesh while settling border dispute was in favour of the people or laying out a red for HIndu Bangladeshi immigrants till 2014 (for the present) is in favour of the indigenous people of Assam?
But the saffron sons and daughters of the soil of Assam in their capacity as MPs voted in favour of the CAA in the Parliament. Was every vote in favour of CAA a vote in favour of the indigenous people of Assam or in favour of Hindu Bangladeshi immigrants?
Now that vide the ‘blessings’ of the Centre, the state has been compelled to face the COVID-19 pandemic, with virtually zero think-tank the Dispur Sultans have seemingly run out of ideas. In any case, the administrative and political culture of Dispur is to accept diktat from Delhi in toto with ‘Gamocha’ & multi-coloured bouquet and of course a big ‘Thank you Sir’.
The first step for the Centre in the fight against the pandemic should have been to put an end to all international travel, by air or sea sometime towards the second half of February prior to the visit of the US president. The imposition of the lockdown should have been with long notice for the people, mainly the migrant workers, to move to their home states.
However, when an ultra rightist dispensation calls the shots, the workers are the last entities in its mind. Hence the nationwide lockdown was imposed from the midnight of March 24 with just about 3 to 4 hours notice. Was that wisdom or idiocy? That indeed was the first irreversible blunder by the Centre.
Finally came the pressure from the corporate big guns and the captains of the industries for workers to get their factories and other plants running. With the economy in the gutters, the Centre took the decision of flinging open all gates and cause movements of countless number of trains for movement of propels, mainly lakhs of workers, across the country to get economic activities rolling.
Indeed, this decision to get the workers moving was the Centre’s second wrong move. A great number of trains and buses and later on planes only proved to be COVID-19 transporters. The movement of crores of people across the country only proved to be multiplication of the epidemic into a pandemic with accelerating momentum.
Presently, the government, both the state and the central, are miserably failing to apply even a semblance of a brake to the thundering COVID-19 killer-wave. Everything that comes in the way of the pandemic is torn asunder while Dispur, putting up a brave face like Delhi, continues with its high-voltage rhetoric as though the vastly losing war was being won.
Perhaps mention may not be necessary to project a true image of the Dispur Sultans making sky-rocketing announcements while being engaged in non-stop nail chewing exercise sans ideas and any effective roadmap to face the killer virus. .
On the other hand, beyond a shadow of doubt, the attempt to revive the virtually dying economy by getting the workers in work places has boomeranged leading to COVID-19 boom followed by re-imposition of lockdown, curfew etc as in the case of Assam.
In the fitness of things, Dispur should have set the sky on fire with its vehement opposition to the entry of lakhs of people into the state if the fight against novel coronavirus was to be carried out to its logical end, meaning a Covid-free Assam.
Indeed Dispur’s meek submission to Delhi’s diktat on transportation of millions to the state was the third Himalayan blunder for which the people of the state are facing the massive invasion of the killer virus.
Alas, how could a bunch of people sans brains, sans grit, sans ethics, sans attachment to the native soil, sans the ethos of the well being of the natives first, sans any crusade against the enemies of the state like the coal mafia, the forest mafia, drug mafia, or their friends in the role of political, bureaucratic, police or other official kleptocrats, ever say no to a roadmap laid out by the Delhi God-fathers?
For sure, when the Centre gave the green signal for the transportation of lakhs to the state, it perhaps was beyond the wildest stretch of imagination of the Dispur Czars that Delhi too, in its directionless desire on account of lack of think-tank, was only working towards mushroom growth and multiplication of heavy COVID-19 factories in the state.
In the interest of the well being of the teeming crores it requires a statesman to iron out long term roadmaps while at the same time design short term roadmaps and implement both without compromise. But our political brand is confined to think, plan and work towards consolidating their vote-bank irrespective of the issue at hand.
Having totally failed to grasp the double foolishness of the Centre on the COVID-19 landscape, the third blunder committed by the Assam government to fling open all gates for the entry of millions into the state only added reinforcement to the two earlier foolish blunders by the Centre.
The outcome of these blunders is clear as daylight for all to see. Today the killer virus is having a field day in almost at every nook and corner of Assam, while the daily rise in the number of positive cases in the state is by thousands. Speculations are on as to when the daily tally of fresh positive cases will hit the ten thousand mark and at this rate, it may be more sooner than later.
But the state, like the Centre, will always have the option of highlighting magnified recoveries to cover up the huge failure on checking the spread of the pandemic.
Let alone the government’s bombastic announcements and the sky-rocketing rhetoric, the feeling among a section of the public is that we are nose-diving towards that nadir where we will have to live with COVID-19 and finally many will die of it. With the economy further plummeting many may also die of starvation, unwept and unsung.
This indeed is quite akin to millions in the state learning to survive amidst several devastating flood waves every year while in the process hundreds embrace death amid the government claiming huge achievements. Obviously, with COVID-19 vaccine still being possibly years, nay, decades away in this part of the country, we are now a mentally tougher lot.