TODAY -

Imphal, the rapidly growing capital city of Manipur

Khelsoril Wanbe *

Imphal City as seen at Night time from Cheiraoching,   on 3rd March 2014
Imphal City as seen at Night time from Cheiraoching, on 3rd March 2014 :: Pix - Deepak Oinam



Imphal being the capital city of Manipur and the hub of all major activities, its power of attraction is very strong and irresistible for people belonging to different parts of this tiny beautiful state. All the major government and private institutions schools, colleges, hospitals, sports facilities and head offices of various departments are located here. Communication and infrastructures too are comparatively in far better condition here.

In the hill headquarters and remote parts of the hills, and rural areas, most of the facilities that are available in Imphal are absent on top of the highly deplorable conditions of road and communication, which obviously are some of the major reasons why most of the affluent and well-to-do people of the hills prefer to come down to Imphal and either permanently settle here or stay most of their lifetime in the capital city.

The percentage of hill people settling in the valley is no longer negligible although I do not have the accurate data. But who can help it; Delhi is the capital city of India; people from every state of this great sub-continent come to Delhi to either settle permanently or earn their livelihood. The facilities and opportunities available in the capital city of India are enormous. Thousands of Mongoloid north-eastern people, even at the risk of their lives, come to this palpably hostile northern Indian city where the people are racially different and economically and politically far superior.

The different communities of Manipur inarguably are ethnically interlinked despite the existence of perceivable conflicts and disagreements that may not be totally incapable of being resolved. Despite everything, we need to realise that human beings are interdependent economically, geographically, politically and culturally. Progress and development will happen only through mutual cooperation and understanding. There is the need to develop cosmopolitan outlook by shedding narrow parochial and chauvinistic mindset. We cant really help it; weve got to be tolerant and generously exhibit mutual concern and consideration.

It is true that the pressure of population on land in Imphal in increasing year by year. The city streets are congested. The length and breadth of the city has to get expanded and extended. The cultural, religious and ethnic potpourri has to get ever more complex and richer. The valley, particularly, Imphal east and west are swarmed in by populations from both hilly and valley districts.

Yes, thousands have immigrated to the two divisions of Imphal, yet thousands and lakhs are still out there stranded in virtual wilderness in the absence of medical, educational, commercial and other necessities and facilities.

What Im trying to say is that only a small percentage of people from rural remote backward areas manage to emigrate/immigrate to the metropolis of Manipur; the majority of them continue to lead sub-standard life I say this not in despise of their miserable plight but Im only trying to describe the reality. And, of course, we cant and dont expect all the people of Manipur living in the remote backward areas to migrate to Imphal leaving out the vast undeveloped portion of the state wasted.

How long will the rural areas and especially the hills continue to remain in neglected and forgotten condition with roads not worth the name, schools that are not better than cattle sheds where hapless children of poverty stricken parents pretend to get education under dilapidated wall-less roofless huts; no hospitals, clinic or dispensary worth the name doctors are posted in those remote places where they seldom turn up due probably to the absence of many basic necessities and facilities that have to be provided to those medical officers I mean lack of quarter facilities, lack of educational facilities for their children, terrible roads; should we simply blame our doctors and MBBS for dreading or refusing to get posted or, even if posted, they do not dare to remain stationed there or go and discharge their noble duties.

Roads and all other facilities and amenities are either in extremely poor condition or completely absent. The same is the case with those government school teachers, police personnel etc. Unless and until road connectivity and communication is well developed in the rural backward areas, business, education, health facilities and all other government departments cannot prosper, survive or even exist.

And more and more people from the rural and hill areas will try to swarm in upon Imphal. To prevent Imphal from experiencing population explosion, all parts of the state need to be developed and given equal attention by the government. For government and administration to operate and function satisfactorily, all the districts, sub-division, blocks, villages need to have good roads and connectivity.

All the basic necessities like water, medical facilities, educational facilities, sports facilities, road connectivity, electricity need to be made accessible and affordable in all parts of the state, then only the state will become a developed and prosperous one. Our so-called Imphal centric development will not help much towards building a prosperous welfare state.

More towns need to get developed to gradually reduce the pressure of population on Imphal city. But never should few superrich people try to take the sole responsibility of formulating development blue-prints at the expense of the overall welfare of the poor people.

Development of cities and towns should not mean construction of formidable mega shopping centres, malls, hotels, super-market which will have deleterious and debilitating impact on the poor people. Development should be accompanied by the alleviation of the poor mass by way of providing them with the basic necessities that very importantly include employment opportunities.

Development should primarily mean providing good roads, good water supply, good electricity supply, good educational and medical facilities. Development should not mean destruction of settlement areas and agricultural lands for establishment of industrial estates, commercial complexes etc that are chiefly meant for facilitating business or industrial operation of the few superrich.

Only through proper consultation and consent of the people should mega development works be taken one glaring is example construction of mega-dams. The mindset of bringing about development at the cost of peoples welfare is wrong and unacceptable. There is therefore the need to draw a proper distinction between positive people friendly developments and development works that are taken up with vested interests of the few superrich millionaires and crorepatis.


* Khelsoril Wanbe wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was posted on June 03, 2015.


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