The traffic jams and cross roads in Manipur
Where do we go? How do we respond? The solution lies on 'You and Me'

Philip Kamei *

A wedding cavalcade adds to the traffic congestion in Imphal

In this very tiny 'Land of jewels' or 'Switzerland of India' I am deeply concern and like to throw light on traffic jam and a period reeling under a cross road in Manipur State of Today. When I say traffic jam I mean the obstacles and hardened face of all people in Manipur in all walks of life. To be very precise and brief, the political scenario, education system, developmental issues, economics, social and cultural issues of the people in the state and the development gap between hilly districts and valley district are some traffic jam and cross road in the state. Whom should we blame and where do we stand now? These are areas that I would like to write down in this article.

Education scenario

Education scenarios have made tremendous change from some 2 decades ago, and now the people in the hills and valley are competent to the rest of the world and nation. Yet, this is happening to few 5-10% of the educated and academicians of the Land. I would say that our people have potential to learn, acquire and come up and lack nothing in comparison to others. Yet, the share of State GDP spend on Education sector is meagre and this need to be extensively and intensively enlarge. So also education must be free zones say from bandh, general strike, and other social issues. We need to fully utilise maximum number of days in a year for school hours. When these are done then private tuition might not be needed for all .But for few students who wanted to score and make distinction, can do so at extra-cost. Because the scenario of school fees and private tuition make poor people becoming poorer and stand at beyond carrying capacity of their earning. Most importantly educational infrastructure and teaching post should be filled up and routine check up by department of education both in hill and valley is the need of the hour, problems of shortage of teacher, problems of government school should be address. Rectify it and enough remedial measures should be taken up by Government. Most government school exist for name sake only; this gives rise to more unqualified people in the state. Because poverty and quality education are inverse function in the real world; Ideal and enlighten citizen are created out of quality education. Therefore, our state expenditure towards schooling and education need more investment rather than to spend huge amount in the name of counter terrorism and on other unproductive sector.

Political scenario

Now the politic in India has gone more than 6 decades yet the people in our state did not feel pain in electing a wrong and incapable leader. When our leaders are worthless and weak how can we make progress? We know 'good trees bear good fruits and a bad tree bear bad trees' Before we vote the common people have to think over some issues like rent seeking, environment hazard, utilization of public fund and must assess the work done for the people over five years time. After having proof of the candidate efficiency and his willingness to work for the greater cause of citizen and welfare of the citizen we need to go for franchise. But the political game in our state lies on force, intimidation, money, lineage etc. I feel time has come and Manipur is reeling under acute pressure of development, and employment for the bulging population and many of which are educated unemployed are rising rapidly even small grade jobs are hard for the government to create in the state.

Therefore, some reformation and better understanding of democracy by the people is a much. People unknowingly cast their valuable vote for nefarious and corrupted leader who are parasitic to them. What a common man can do when your vote has made you grow poorer for the money injected to the poor are gone deep inside the pocket and stomach of the leader that are elected. So we need to introspect many days and nights before we cast our vote. That is the essence of democratic ideal and values to us. let see out of 60 MLA5 in the state how'many MLAs have visited the entire district to see the development work of the government. Some came of course for vote campaign of their candidates but almost all have not gone to district for making a change and development for the state. Is it because connectivity is a problem to them or is it because they didn't love the citizen. 50 politics need to alleviate poverty and unemployment crisis of the land and its people. These are real political ideals behind being the people representative. Other than politician how many lawyer, bureaucrats, academician, environmentalists, NGOs really work with the common people. When these many gaps are bridge then hopefully Manipur State can also be a prosperous state.

Exploitation of the natural resources like land, water, mineral, oils & petroleum, forest etc

Do we ever realize how our people and government exploited resources to improve the welfare of People? Manipur Indeed have been endowed with many rivers, many land and many forest resources. Say Flora and fauna, we have bamboos, canes, forest products, birds and animals of all kind. Do we ever examine that they are increasing in number or goes on declining day by day on account of under-utilized or unexploited. In Manipur, we have potential for horticultural crops, forestry, animal husbandry, fisheries, poultry etc and setting up of small handicraft and cottage industries based on forests resources. We have ample historical sites, water fall and scenic beautiful landscape to build it as a tourists spot. Also, in Agriculture too we can produce enough in term of fruits, vegetables, spices, cereals but most people are buying and consuming those products that can be produce in our own state. There are lot of areas and activities that we see numerous potentialities but the serious matter is; people are poor and government did not pay much attention and did not formulate enough policy in this regards.

In such a cross road; NGOs, common people, like-minded people, rich middle class can tie up with the citizen and go about it starting from the rural areas asserting the potentiality of those places. There is no denying fact that no third party would come and build our state. It is we who are in the state have to come out of the den to roll on development in the state. We have no proper secondary and tertiary sector that could absorb all people and provide jobs for all. Therefore, our agricultural and primary sector need to be revived with more extensive and intensive utilization by application of modern science and technology. Because all the developed countries have come out of primary sector and reaches a take off stage as per Malthus doctrine/ theory of growth. The base of industries and tertiary fall heavily on the success of primary sector; since industries and agriculture depends on each other.

Health sector

As an old saying goes 'health is wealth' to make this dictum true we need to address and see how many people in the state are dying untimely death in absence of basic health infrastructure. How many women are dying in child birth, how many are mal-nourished? And how many people are dying of minor diseases like Malaria etc. Putting all these challenges, time is now ripe for construction of health related infrastructure in all the districts in the state. Enough number of Hospitals big or small, enough community centres etc have to be build. Numbers of bed, number of medical staff and modern equipment and facilities have to be made available then we can be proud of healthy living as this is an indicator of human Development index based on longevity. For instance the District Hospital in Tamenglong has no facilities for major operation, not having sufficient medical staff and lack of bed etc and many more. There are too many problems as a result it could not make the people feel secure to go to district hospital for treatment. Such problems is most or less common to all the hill district.

Connectivity and electricity

We all can see the deplorable condition of road in our state, we have no road with good quality, connectivity is really horrible and pitiable but the real cause is though our government spent quite a huge sum all money goes to pocket of the big contractor in our land. It is also popularly known as percentage government as all types of people are involved and have their share on it, yet out of the money/schemes that are being allocated if 60 to 70 Per cent of the fund are utilized perhaps we would have a number of good road in Manipur. Bad connectivity is a burden and directly hurting people who live hand to mouth and doom to poor people. There are quite many instances of brought dead for most sick people on the way to reach hospital. These are silent epidemic and core issues which are hurting all and sundry. Another serious issue is electricity, many villages are yet to be electrified and power shortage is so acute and our state is doom with dark world. When the world has been continuingly working for 24 hours a day, we are just working with 4-6 hours a day of electricity.

In such a scenario how can we ever compete with the outside booming economy? For Today's is an era of global information, high-tech and speed is the essence for every successful career. In this Information age speed, accuracy and reliability with standardized information with appropriate data and evidence will only take us ahead. So, lack of electricity is lack of skill and knowledge especially for the students and academia community. Let us remember knowledge is power and a light of the economy. In electricity too, Manipur has enough for lighting day and night yet major power are being sold off to other states. Therefore, artificial scarcity of electricity to our people must be put to first priority in taking up along with many issues of development in the state. People in other place willingly pay electricity bill like people of Manipur standing in queue at ATM booth but why? This is not happening in the state. Bill payment has to do with people satisfactory of its consumption. But mostly electric supply are off and on out of this short load shedding timing too.

How to respond and what are the option now?

Now the very fact that we all are adapted to whatever is the eventuality. Above all we are multi­ethnic when we played alienation attitude towards our fellow being that would be the root cause of our state to be doom and dark. Let us have a real feeling of oneness in action, speech and mutual understanding. The seed of development is no longer to be concentrated in valley district alone whatever is the facility available in valley, government have to work tirelessly to ensure that the counter-part in the hill also get the facility. To set a few example, how many place in the hills districts are having venue for competitive examination, why do poor people in the far-flung areas have to go down to State Capital to give an exam for C-Grade and D-Grade Jobs. People in the hills are walking a distance of 5-7 kms by foot in rain and sun to get education and in the valley students have to be dropped by automobiles. This is a mere illustration that something is not right. Whom do we blame for all these. I feel we must blame ourselves because all these have some connection with the elected leaders who rule our land and the people. Let us see the biodiversity of our land and its resources that are heavily endow in the state.


On 3rd to 10th July a team of expert from birds, animals, reptiles under the Barak Riverine Eco-system Study were conducted in Makru, Barak, Jiribam and Tuivai river etc. The study found that Manipur land and river systems are adorn with many species of flora and fauna which is rare and endemic to the world now. The field survey and in-depth studies reveals that water animals and land animals like reptiles, snakes, frogs, turtle, fishes, birds, frogs which are of rare and endemic species are found in the state. Some frogs that can predict the natures of climate change are also identified and terrestrial plants and orchids were also found. Now these many species are in the areas where Tipaimukh Multi-purpose Dam is to be build. Some of these resources would be submerged if the Dam is to be constructed. So the people have to be aware of this biodiversity that would be heavily interrupted. In fact, the people who dwell on this area are nature lovers even though they exploited the resources for food, clothing and shelter. Once these people were given awareness, our land would be a biodiversity hotspot in the world. Environmental issues and green economy is the main agenda as of now. So I would say Manipur state lack nothing in comparison to other states in term of resources. Therefore the whole burden lies on you and me to transform the economy of the state.

* Philip Kamei is Research Scholar at Manipur University and he wrote this article for The Sangai Express.He can be reached at kameiphilip[AT]yahoo[DOTco[DOT]in
This article was posted on August 08, 2012

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