TODAY -

Road to unity
- Imphal Times Editorial :: May 10 2020 -



The state, as is in every other part of the country is experiencing lockdown at present, and while we are much better off compared to most other states of country having to engage their resources and efforts to fighting the worsening Covid-19 pandemic, the importance of self-sufficiency has again been felt, perhaps more acute than ever before.

Instances of villages in far-flung corners of the state struggling with essential daily needs in face of the extended lockdown imposed by the central government has been getting worse by the day.

While 72 percent of the population of the country lives in the villages and rural areas, the situation is quite the opposite in Manipur with about 90 percent of the state’s population scrambling for space in the valley comprising about 10 percent of total area of the state.

The situation appears rather tragic when one learns that of the 10 percent staying in far flung places of the state, almost half of them have great difficulty connecting with the state capital.

We have heard heart-wrenching stories about how half of the people from Tipaimukh have never been to Imphal, not because of lack of desire, but for the fact that the road, or what has been passed off for a road for so long, is taken only by those who absolutely must have to go to Imphal.

The Imphal-Jiri road is always in the news, with pictures to try and drive home the unsavoury ground reality that is still being experienced by the commuters and hundreds of transport trucks on a daily basis.

The importance of roads in ushering in progress and development of a place has been so frequently written about, but still remains a topic that needs more writing and reporting about.

Rural Road connectivity is a key component of rural development by promoting access to economic and social services and thereby generating increased agricultural incomes and productive employment opportunities.

It is also a key ingredient in ensuring poverty reduction.

In fact road connectivity is the most important project that should precede any other socially or economically progressive plans or infrastructural developmental activities.

Roads connect not only vehicles but also hearts.

One of the factors for the lingering suspicions and hesitations being felt amongst the various communities living in the state which has so far posed a stumbling block to the efforts of bringing about a consensus in various vital social issues has been the utter lack of cooperation and coordination amongst the communities.

This is basically the fallout of the absence of decent roads which would have made frequent and easier access to different places possible.

When people from different communities and walks of life comes together more frequently, ideas and perceptions gets accepted more readily and positively.

In fact increasing interaction amongst the different communities is vital to foster healthy arguments and also to address differences which otherwise would lead to cynicism, suspicions and objections.

For now, the state government has been proactively engaging in providing lip-service and verbiage without anything much to show for it when it comes to matters regarding expansion of road connectivity in the state, let alone repairing or upgrading the existing ones to be able to withstand the vagaries of nature.

In stark contrast to the promises of the state government, conditions of roads in the state, even in the capital has been deteriorating except for a few select ones which has been bestowed unofficial special status for reasons best known only to the high and mighty.

If every other efforts of the state government to usher in inclusive progress is to take shape, the people needs to be united first, and only an improved connectivity and roadways can open new roads, figuratively and practically speaking, can make it happen.



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