TODAY -

Good road must to reap fruit of Act East Policy
- The People's Chronicle Editorial :: September 23, 2021 -



OWING to its location, Manipur undoubtedly has tremendous potential to serve as the main route for trade and commerce between India and the developed/developing economies of south-east Asian countries and such a prospect is also repeatedly reflected whenever the state hosts events related to the ambitious Act East Policy or any other programmes aimed at accelerating infrastructure development projects.

With shortage of raw materials and comparatively higher cost of transportation infeasible for establishment of major industrial units, at-least in the near future, it is obvious that the few benefits that the state could reap as and when the Act East Policy becomes a reality would be facilitation of bulk movement of tradable items between mainland India and the ASEAN neighbours.

Determination to take the advantage of opening the gateway to south east Asia has been demonstrated time and again with a series of seminars and discussions on border trades initiated by both government agencies and entrepreneurial institutions with the latest being the conduct of the two-day 'Vanijya Utsav - Exporter Conclave' for promotion of export oriented businesses in Manipur.

As the conclave is a joint initiative of Department of Textiles, Commerce & Industries, Directorate General of Foreign Trade, Department of Commerce and Federation of Indian Export Organisation, it is clear that the government is aware about the importance of getting fully prepared to ensure that the state is not limited to only serving as the transport route when trade and commerce activities with the booming economies of ASEAN nations get underway.

As stated by CM N Biren in his inauguration speech, the conclave will be immensely beneficial to entrepreneurs and businesses in the state'and in promoting local products for exports.

It is also heartening that the CM acknowledged the need for prioritising development of transport and connectivity infrastructure for the state to benefit as the land gateway to the ASEAN nations.

While there is strong possibility that the state might not gain much from the Act East Policy other than providing logistic support to mainland Indian traders, generating revenue through collection of entry and goods taxes and playing host to discussants of export and import conferences, actual materialisation of the Policy will rest entirely on condition of the highways in the state's sector.

Like it or not, the fact remains that few issues in Manipur have sparked greater angst among the population than the poor roads. It has been the subject of various protests and mass irritation for the frustrated citizens.

No doubt, problems besetting proper maintenance of roads get complicated as the state records comparatively higher quantum of annual rainfall and majority of its geographical area lies in hilly terrains.

The inconveniences posed to all citizens due to shabby road condition could be comprehended from farmers unable to swiftly get their crops to market, sick people hindered from getting medical attention in a timely manner, etc.

Thus, the government needs to bring investment to upgrade transport infrastructure, give priority towards proper maintenance of all roads be it the national highways or inter-district/village roads and most importantly give up making the trademark excuses that the working season in Manipur is very limited.



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