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Manipur principal travels 120 km, trekking via forests, to conduct parent-teacher meetings

Snippets from the vibrant Northeast that capture politics, culture, society and more in the eight states.

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New Delhi: In Manipur’s Churachandpur district, a school principal and his colleagues travel around 120 km, often trekking for 10 to 12 km through forests, to reach remote villages where they conduct parent-teacher meetings.

In a report by The Better India, Robin S. Pukhram, principal of St Stephen English School in Churachandpur, explains why he does this unique exercise.

“A lot of our students live in very remote villages, almost 120 km from the school. Since the terrain is hilly, you don’t get buses that connect to the villages. Most parents work as farmers or daily wagers, and struggle to send their kids to school. To visit the school for a parent-teacher meeting, they have to hire private vehicles, spending nearly Rs 2,000 for a visit alone. Hence, we decided to visit them,” he said.

Popularly known as ‘Robin sir’, Pukhram has been taking these meetings in more than 25 villages, over a period of one week, since 2018.

While they travel by car for a distance, the hilly terrains often do not accommodate vehicles, forcing Pukhram and his team to trek through forests. If the villages are too far away, Pukhram said, they stay overnight. “… the parents welcome us with black tea and we discuss how things at the school can improve,” he said.

The principal, who took charge of the school in 2016, had also constructed a hostel from his savings, charging a minimum fare of Rs 200 for each student.

Not surprising then that the school which had 50 students in 2015, today has over 545 pupils.

Also read: Manipur is upset its traditional leirum phee is being sold as ‘Modi gamcha’ in UP

Arunachal district bordering China cut-off after floods

Road connectivity to the remote Shi-Yomi district in Arunachal Pradesh has been snapped after the Sikam Sibu Bridge near Yapik village was washed away due to heavy rainfall on the intervening night of 2 and 3 June.

The bridge was situated on the district’s Aalo-Mechuka road. Transportation of people as well as essential commodities to the remote place, which borders China, has since been badly affected.

State Assembly Speaker Pasang D. Sona has written to the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) to immediately restore the bridge, which is a strategic lifeline for the movement of civilians and defence personnel as well as transportation of drugs, essentials items and construction materials.

The Speaker also said that due to inclement weather, supply of household items and evacuation of patients through sorties won’t be possible.

Also read: Adil Hussain, Papon join campaign to save ‘Amazon of East’ as Assam trends #SaveDehingPatkai

Manipur’s community-run quarantine centre, and a daring woman auto driver

A quarantine facility in Manipur, led by state Assembly Speaker Yumnam Khemchand, is being run by local residents with food and clothes arranged by them.

Set up at the Manipur College in Imphal, this unique facility has around 100 inmates at present.

“This quarantine facility is completely run by us. It is an example of community participation in the war against Covid-19. We are fighting the disease and not the people,” Khemchand was quoted by The News Mill as saying.

Around 70 volunteers work round-the-clock at the centre.

Khemchand also said that inmates are provided warm water with ginger every hour, apart from the regular menu, to boost their immunity.

In other news, Eche Laibi Oinam, Manipur’s first woman auto driver, has garnered praise from social media users for volunteering to drop a recovered Covid-19 patient from the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences Hospital in Imphal to Kamjong ⁠— distance of over 100 km ⁠— at night.

The patient was refused a ride to her home from the hospital by ambulances and taxi drivers when Oinam came forward to help.

“I could sense that there was no one there to help the girl and she was in trouble since she was just discharged from the hospital. That is why I volunteered to drop her. I am happy that at least I was there for her though we were strangers to each other then,” she told EastMojo.

Also read: Manipur village builds 80 quarantine huts in a day, complete with toilets and electricity

Covid makes social media shy-AGP opt for digital campaigns

With an eye on the 2021 assembly polls, Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), an ally in the BJP-led Assam government, has decided to reach out to the masses via digital platforms.

Changed circumstances brought on by the pandemic have prompted this regional party ⁠— not known to be active on social media ⁠— to plan outreach programmes via digital platforms.

“The Assembly elections in the state are not even a year away and already two months have been lost due to the pandemic-triggered lockdown. However, with the changing circumstances, we have resolved to be more active on social media and towards this end our party workers have been requested to take all necessary measures in the coming days,” party president Atul Bora reportedly said.

AGP will focus on 85 constituencies in the state.

Also read: Assam cancels annual Kamakhya temple fair, largest Hindu event in NE — a first in centuries


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