TODAY -

Condition of roads testifies cash-strapped state
- The People's Chronicle Editorial :: July 30, 2022 -



CURSORILY, the information shared by works minister Govindas Konthoujam that 163.10 km out of the total length of state's highway of 552.82 km need renovation/repair doesn't appear much of an issue but in reality it means that a relatively lengthy portion of the roadways are in poor shape and consequently affecting transportation of goods and passengers.

Regardless of works department taking up road repair works in and around the capital city, the potholes filled stretch of the Nagamapal road, which is one of the busiest routes in the state and traffic jams are most intense, stands testimony to how poor maintenance of roads creates problems for the public.

Thus, one could easily comprehend inconveniences faced by the citizens while travelling along the state highways which are not in the best condition.

As the central government does not allocate separate funds for repairing of roads, the responsibility naturally falls on the state government to maintain proper condition of the state's highways.

The inconveniences faced on daily basis by the citizens due to shabby road condition could be comprehended from farmers unable to swiftly get their crops to the market,
disruption caused to children's education as consequence of submergence of roads leading to schools during the monsoon season,
sick people unable to get medical attention in a timely manner,
employees prevented from getting to work, businesses affected because customers don't have access,
and motorists watch hopelessly as their vehicles undergo rapid depreciation,
all of which could be averted if the roads are wide enough and free from potholes.

The government needs no reminding that investing in infrastructure projects could spur economic growth while guaranteeing excellent return on the invested sum.

Thus, priority should be given towards proper maintenance of all roads, be it the national highways, in-ter-district/village and the narrowest lanes in residential areas.

It's not as if infrastructure improvement is not on the government agenda but the oft-repeated excuse from the side of the policy makers is that the working season in Manipur is very limited.

The short working season narrative, however, seems to be a diversionary tactic, as the main reason for belated initiation of repair works could be the state's poor financial condition.

Such an apprehension has been validated when minister Govindas clarified during Thursday's assembly session that cancellation of work order worth nearly Rs 900 crore, for which administrative approval had already been sanctioned, is to prevent possible spike in debt.

Thus, as Manipur can no longer continuously live on the mercy of the Central government, as has been the case for most states in the northeast region, which will suffer embarrassingly as and when the Centre decides to stop the 'doling-out' habit, the state government must strive for own survival.

The government shall have to find means to generate resources to run the day today affairs, which include proper maintenance of the road networks.

In short, the time has come for the state to stand on its own feet by generating resources for development of robust infrastructures and ensure smooth implementation of other welfare schemes and projects.



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