Asia’s one of the largest women dominated markets, Ima Keithel, in Imphal witnessed huge damage.
Imphal, a village like capital city of Manipur in northeast Bharat, faced a major shivering experience on early hours of 4th January along with various east Bharatiya localities and parts of northern Myanmar, eastern Bangladesh and southeast Tibet. Habituate with national and international headlines for insurgency, HIV/AIDS, sports and cultural activities, Manipur lately drew the media attention for a different reason, a strong 6.7 magnitude earthquake.
The pre-dawn jolt resulted in the death of at least six persons in Manipur with hundreds injured across the region, where the epicenter was traced at Tamenglong, near Imphal. The temblor struck at 4.35 am and continued for nearly one minute, when most of the citizens were yet to wake-up from their cold night sleeps. Collapsed buildings, broken structures and unusual confusions made the residents panicky and it continued for hours.
The significant damage was reported from Ima Keithel (meaning Mothers’ Market) in the heart of Imphal city. One of the largest women markets in Asia, Ima Keithel witnesses the gathering of around 5,000 women seller-buyers daily, where a range of products and items like garments, traditional toys, spices, vegetables, dried fishes etc are sold. The earthquake made many of those women market-goers jobless at least for few weeks.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, quickly spoke to the Chief Ministers of Manipur and Assam with other neighbouring states and assured all possible help and cooperation in relief and rehabilitation process.
PM Modi also directed to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who was in Guwahati on that night, to take all necessary measures for immediate rescue and relief operations in both the states. Shri Rajnath Singh sent his deputy Kiren Rijiju to Imphal to oversee the ground situation. Shri Rijiju was soon joined by the DoNER Minister Jitendra Singh at Imphal in monitoring the rescue and relief operations.
Manipur CM Okram Ibobi Singh, who took timely initiatives to help the panicked residents of the State after the jolt, sought central assistance of Rs 20 crore for relief and rehabilitation process. He also informed that two specially equipped teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) had been sent to Manipur after the quake and they were stationed at the affected areas to assist the residents. A medical team from New Delhi was air dashed at Imphal to help the State healthcare machinery.
According to local seismologists, the latest earthquake was one of the biggest tremors in northeast Bharat in recent times. The shivering was felt inall states of the region, which fallunder zone V in India’s seismological map. Sikkim faced a quake in September 2011. Earlier, three major quakes hit the region in September 2009, October 2000 and August 1988 taking the scores of lives.
NJ Thakuria from Guwahati