TODAY -
Lairam Khullen continues to be caught in a time warp
Source: The Sangai Express / Thanreingam Muivah

Imphal, January 16: One would certainly not miss the travails of travelling through the lop-sided terrains to reach a village called Lairam Khullen which is situated under Kasom Khullen sub division in Ukhrul district.

The dusty and bumpy road that leads to this village has negligence and Government apathy written all over it and it is not only hazardous but also dangerous to the travellers.

In the failure to set up drainage system many parts of the road that do not receive direct sunlight remain wet and muddy during the chilly spell and usually pose a danger to travellers.

The condition of this road worsens during the rainy season.

At the receiving end of this miserable road are the villagers of Lairam Khullen who have to walk on foot for four to five hours at the average to fetch rations and other daily requirements from the nearest commercial point, Kasom Khullen.

And unfortunate stillfor other items not available in this sub divisionvillagers have to walk for seven to eight hours to reach another commercial centre called Nongpok Sekmai.

Left with no other options, these villagers have to accept such hardship as a matter of fate that does not favour them and simply remain mute about it.

"Had communication and transport system been better , the number of our households would have crossed 250 but today there are only about 80 house holds with many others having shifted to different places in search of better and easier livelihood," recalled one of the villagers ruefully.

Speaking to a media team, the village headman, Ninghor Jajo said that the construction work from Gref road junction to Lairam Khullen covering a stretch of about 12 kms was to be implemented under the PMGSY in 1997 but the contractor concerned did only the side cutting of about 2 km and left the other work undone.

"We have approached him several times but he kept changing his statement every time we meet him," said the village headman.

The special contractor at first stuck to the story that the Government had taken the money sanctioned for the work and that he had no further knowledge about the work, said the headman and added "but after we took a serious stand over the matter he claimed that he had done the work.

In 2001 the bill was sanctioned and disbursed under PMGSY and the work resumed for some time but it soon stopped again, lamented the village headman.

On being asked about a bull dozer that was seen in the middle of the village, Jajo said that it belongs to the PWD which was brought into the village on January 13, 2006 to construct the road but nothing had happened.

May be the Government is merely waiting for the bull dozer to gather rust, he said.

The media team also visited the Primary Health Sub Center and discovered the two-roomed office building to be empty and used by the villagers as a rest camp or house for visitors whenever big occasion takes place in the village.

Jajo said one nurse called Kips Sochong from Moirang worked at the center from 1984 to 1986 and another nurse, Khahaola from Tuinem village replaced her from 1987 to 1989.They were the only nurses who dispensed with their duties, said Jajo and added that after they were transferred no nurse has been discharging her duty diligently.

"No one has been despatched to the PHC since then and finally when we approached the department concerned we found that one nurse was appointed on contract basis in December 2007 to work in this health center but we have not seen her even once," Jajo added.

The villagers find it hard to cope with diseases like diarrhoea during winter season and malaria during summer season apart from frequent occurence of death toll due to unavailability of even first aid facility in this village.

Women especially during the time of delivery face untold miseries, the villagers claimed.

Interestingly there is one person who was appointed by the village as the chowkidar to look after the water pipe that has been laid along the village upto the Tuibia Lok (a stream on the western side of the village).

But villagers said it is hard to maintain since the pipe is a plastic one which easily get ruined sometimes due to rodent bites.

In 1972 the village got a water supply scheme but this proved to be a flop and since then the villagers had to manage on their own by making contributing money annually.

There is one primary school with seven class rooms made of planks and the grass and shrubs that have grown inside one of the class rooms are enough testimonies of the state of the school.

Not surprisingly, the villagers said that the school has been remaining closed due to absence of teachers.

What is amazing is that the village which is said to be about 700 years old has not seen electricity even once.

According to the villagers, in 1993 some employees of the Electricity Department came to the village and assured the villagers that they would soon bring smiles on their faces.

In the same year a mile long wire was stretched and some 3 to 4 posts were erected but nothing happened after that said the villagers.

Now electric posts are being utilised by the villagers as house hold materials.

Public Distribution System too is something of a mirage here.


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