Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Ground Zeros & distance leadership

The June 7 issue of Eastern Mirror had a front-page news item titled: High COVID case-count not reflection of one-day result – DC Mokokchung. Clearly, this news item was a journalistic query regarding the reported 164 positive cases detected on June 5 at Mokokchung and the Deputy Commissioner clarifying why this number was reported in one day and used the opportunity to inform the public the numerous measures undertaken in the district to contain the pandemic. Great going, because it is important for all leadership keep the public abreast of all what is going on, which is what transparency is all about ~ and now all the more crucial because an uninformed public would be a liability in our fight against the pandemic. However, there is also no need for any district administration in Nagaland to be apologetic and/or defensive about the rising number of positive cases within its jurisdiction. The entire State knows that the district administrations are the main backbone in our war against the Coronavirus since last year. Everyone knows the numerous constraints each district is confronting in terms of funds and other resources, man power and infrastructural obstacles ~ as well as other indefinable and indescribable hindrances. The term ‘district administration’ here is not restricted to civil and police administration alone but also all other Government Departments and agencies entrusted to manage a district. Everyone also knows that the support system from the Government any district administration merits particularly in these circumstances has not really been up to the mark, so to speak ~ therefore it has been an uphill struggle for our district administrations. But they have carried on regardless and we have heard no complains so far ~ and unlikely to hear any. Yes, the public, the Church, social, religious, tribal, women and youth organizations and individuals have reached out to uphold the district administrations at a time like this, therefore our districts have not collapsed under the weight of the pandemic. This underscores the entrenched and robust bond between the public and the administrations has always been the strength of our districts and has one again proved to be our shield against the pandemic. While all Departments in our districts must be lauded, a special mention must be made of the Deputy Commissioners and appreciation conveyed because their inspiring leadership has been the source of our districts’ resilience particularly at this time. It’s not that things are hunky-dory in our districts but that all differences, disagreements and disputes are made secondary at this time speaks well of our Deputy Commissioners ~ although indubitably they are dealing with them every day even now. Now, since the pandemic is a health issue and though no Deputy Commissioner will think twice about it ~ much less talk about it ~ it is noticeable that our Medical Minister has not regularly toured to boost the morale of our district administrations, especially the health personnel. Here we will not even talk about the necessity of the Health Minister to be updated about the needs of hospitals and other health institutions by way of funds, personnel, infrastructure, medicines and other medical requirements because indubitably the Department of Health and Family Welfare is regularly updated on the situation at district Ground Zeros and keep him posted but it doesn’t harm for the districts to have the Minister’s presence at these Ground Zeros from time to time. Distance learning is one thing but distance leadership is another thing. Actually, the Medical Minister’s Twitter fascination is not an issue but his perceived abandonment of his moral and constitutional obligations is. On June 7, out of the goodness of his heart and due to his concern, our Home Minister donated masks, sanitizers and some funds to the Dimapur Press Club from his own pocket, which is much appreciated but shouldn’t it have been the Medical Minister, who should have reached out to the media fraternity and other private sector fraternities in Nagaland even if from the Government’s pocket? No one wants to be unkind and critical of our Medical Minister because perhaps he is confronting numerous and graver constraints than any one of us. Even then, he needs to focus more attention towards the districts, especially Noklak, Longleng, Kiphere and Peren. That said, it must be reiterated that Nagaland too lives in her villages, small towns and districts hence they need special attention to prevent our vulnerable rural areas from being the major pandemic theatres.