Don't kill plants for your own security, Mr VIP

Debanish Achom *

The crater left by the bomb explosion in the middle of NH-2 on Oct 1 2012
The crater left by the bomb explosion in the middle of NH-2 on Oct 1 2012 :: Pix - TSE

Nobody needs to be told that the environment is always the first casualty of any developmental work. But the strange thing in Manipur is that, besides bearing the birth pangs of unsustainable urbanisation, the environment will suffer the most for the sake of some make-believe sense of security.

The local media recently reported that the chief secretary, after a meeting with state home department officials, has come up with a 'brilliant' idea to stop frequent IED attacks on Tiddim Road and elsewhere. However, the kind of brilliance the administration seems to be radiating is this: remove all plants from road medians since they help conceal improvised explosive devices. The authorities plan to fill the medians with cement and stones.


As if choking the town with umpteen number of fuel-guzzling autorickshaws is not enough, the administration has stooped to another level of short-sightedness with the suggestion that it is better to raze a perfectly good road of any greenery than to provide better security. Of course better security doesn't come for free; it needs hard work, coordination and labour and most people tend to avoid work. Uprooting some harmless plants doesn't even break a respectable amount of sweat.

The state home department says VIPs often use Tiddim Road to go to the airport, and the frequent IED attacks pose a risk to them. But is it worth uprooting saplings for the convenience of some handful of VIPs in the long run? These so-called 'important people' will fade away soon without any tangible contribution to people's lives, while the utility of the saplings will benefit our children when they grow up imagine a clean, tree-lined road where one can breathe fresh air on a cool summer evening. We envy the lush green sights of cities in other countries when we stare at our TVs, and we don't waste a moment to mouth what can be done to straighten things here after whooping down some three pegs of hard liquor.

Yet, when it comes to preventing bombings on a stretch no longer than a dog's five-minute walk, all our 'learned' authorities can come up with is to turn the road into a mini desert, despite having the resources to think of other means. Security personnel who are languishing in less risky areas without any real 'job' should be made to man the entire airport stretch. That will give them something to get busy with in the first place and prevent IED attacks and save the plants as well.

The state administration is well-known for going to the extremes in civic matters. It doesn't seem to know the value of settling for a middle ground that benefits everybody. For example, it paid no attention to how cycle-rickshaws can be run more efficiently in such a small town, and instead screwed the place with hundreds of polluting automobiles in the holy name of development. A better way would have been to keep the number of cycle-rickshaws in harmony with that of autorickshaws. Elderly persons, who would have otherwise conveniently found a cycle-rickshaw on a narrow leikai street, is now forced to walk quite a distance to catch an autorickshaw. Add to this the insane amount of automobile exhaust that people, especially children, inhale these days.

If there was ever a way out, it has been effectively sealed with the home department's move to uproot plants on the road to the airport. The 'educated' officials, including the chief secretary himself, in drawing the conclusion have overlooked certain fallacies that are both scientific and commonsensical in nature.

Firstly, a majority of town planners across the globe are moving away from the practice of cementing roadsides and medians because such a method depletes groundwater level. Municipal corporations of Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore have learnt the lesson the hard way after trees started dying since concrete blocked water seepage to roots.

Secondly, a lot of effort and money had gone towards planting the saplings on Tiddim Road. Uprooting them when they have just started to bloom is like sending children to college, only to shoot them dead on their graduation day. Just because there is a terror threat in central Delhi, will the city government cut all trees surrounding India Gate to prevent terrorists from concealing bombs?

And thirdly, cutting trees for a short-term goal is simply a bad example. The current trend is such that almost every civic administrator everywhere pays attention to the debate raging over climate change. Even the mere act of drilling a sewage pipe or laying a road involves keeping the environment intact as much as possible. Small acts make a big difference.

But those small acts are not happening here.

Ultimately, tomorrow's children will suffer the most as today's VIPs would have long gone by then, having enjoyed the spoils of their time selfishly without giving any thought to the consequences. They won't even have to live through the deadly pollution that will eat into the lungs of the next generation. The least they can do, if they are willing, when they grow old and lie on their deathbed, is to apologise to children for leaving a mess of a town once fondly known as Imphal.

* Debanish Achom wrote this article to
The writer can be contacted at debanish9a(at)gmail(dot)com
This article was posted on November 20, 2012

* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.

  • Day 2: Asian Theatre Fest : Gallery
  • Sangai Festival Day 1 #4 : Gallery
  • CM plans for Information Technology Park
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand : Timeline
  • BJP MLA Thongam Bishwarjit : Gallery
  • Politics & its influence in appeasement
  • Ode to April :: Poem
  • Oppose Anti-Reservationists Rally @Delhi
  • National campaign on Child Trafficking
  • Connectivity and NE Economy
  • Looking at the deeper implications
  • Day 3: Traditional percussions #1: Gallery
  • Day 2: Classical Dance #1: Gallery
  • Koubru : A precious hill in Manipur
  • Transformation of CPRs & SERs in India #1
  • Of Comments, Tussle and Sentiments
  • On The Way Home :: Poem
  • Sangai Festival Day 1 #3 : Gallery
  • Prog Schedule: Movements In Recent Past
  • Ningol Chakouba @UK : Gallery
  • Ningol Chakouba at Kent, United Kingdom
  • 'Nehru, children and science' at Imphal
  • Speciality courses for NE doctors from Jan
  • Mizoram bans turmeric from Myanmar
  • Restrict number of vehicles during wedding
  • 9th Polo Intl: India Vs USA : Gallery
  • Poudonlung, Jenchui :: eMing
  • Sangai Fest: Bus Tour : Gallery
  • Sangai Fest: Film Festival : Gallery
  • Sangai Festival Day 1 #2 : Gallery
  • New positive & negative developments
  • On an Autumn Night :: Poem
  • Assessing implementation hurdles
  • Reqts @ Nirmaan Training Academy
  • Peace Education Development Prog
  • NSCN-KK mulls separate agenda for Nagas
  • No separate pacts with ultra groups: Ravi
  • 8th 'Naga Unification' day observed
  • All roads lead to venue of Sangai Fest
  • Sangai Festival Day 1 #1 : Gallery
  • Is there real 'recovery' from addiction
  • USA team for 9th Manipur Polo Intl
  • My search for the Manipur Lok Ayukta
  • 9th Manipur Polo Intl : Game Fixture
  • Thangmeiband by-election : Gallery
  • FOSS Training @Assam Don Bosco Univ
  • Free Academic Workshop For NE @DU
  • Victim of Discrimination in Ghaziabad
  • 'Pride of India' award: Kanarjit Kangujam
  • Lajong retains Shillong Premier League
  • Every Naga has right to voice thoughts..
  • NE theatre goes to Bangla
  • NEHU to have ASEAN centre
  • Myanmar Airlines @Imphal Airport: Gallery
  • Verdant hills of Ukhrul : Gallery
  • Manipur Sangai Festival : Schedule
  • Tribal Cultural Fest #1 : Gallery
  • I Accept this Precious Life : Poem
  • Congress Grass Control using sickle pod
  • ZU(AMN)-ZB(AMN) issues
  • Prisoner & process of dehumanization #2
  • Creation of stereotypes, flagrant distance
  • 1st CM Md. Alimuddin remembered
  • The Nehruvian founded
  • New Executive Committee Of MSAD
  • Day of reckoning in two ACs
  • Ningol Chakouba @Bangalore : Gallery
  • Preparation works for Sangai Fest: Gallery
  • Panti Neimei: Prayer for longevity of life
  • Australia team for 9th Manipur Polo Intl
  • Registrations open for Alcheringa 2016
  • Launch of Blood Donor Mobile apps
  • Ramina Haorokcham in BBC India top 100
  • Tree plantation program at Lishamlok
  • Wildcraft opened new showroom in Imphal
  • Algorithms In Engineering (AIE) @ IITG
  • Special Winter School at HRDC, NEHU
  • Polo Intl : Manipur team players' profile
  • Measuring dishonesty
  • Divide becoming sort of a constant
  • Ningol Chakouba @Imphal : Gallery
  • Career as Dental Assistant
  • Sanjenthong Bridge inaugurated : Gallery
  • Tribal traditional methods of forest
  • Ningol Chakouba @Mantripukhri : Gallery
  • The Naga Political Struggle #3
  • I Am... :: Poem
  • AIFF scouts for sites in Imphal
  • Mary picked for AIBA's Olympic Test event
  • NE militants using Chinese arms: Rijiju
  • NE Women & Entrepreneurship
  • Showcasing Manipur via Sangai Fest
  • Ningol Chakouba @New Delhi : Gallery
  • England team for 9th Manipur Polo Intl
  • Aberrations & Dilemma
  • My Journey Your Life :: Poem
  • International year of the soils
  • Women's Income Centre @Thoubal : Gallery
  • Ruskin bonding
  • Keibul Lamjao: Dancing Deer: Presentation
  • Ningol Chakouba Festival at New Delhi
  • Delegates : BCIM meet @Chengdu, China
  • Two Sukhoi land at Imphal airport
  • Guwahati-Bangkok in 48 hrs: Study
  • Keeping the editorial space blank
  • Ningol Chakouba @Pune(AMAND) : Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn the Manipuri script
  • Ningol Chakkouba at Pune
  • Madness of MPSC in Astt. profs recruitment
  • Bureaucracy : Master or servant ?
  • Sangai Youth Art : Gallery
  • Sangai Youth Art Challenge 2015 held
  • Condemns AR curtailing freedom of press
  • NE Indigenous Peoples' Parliament
  • Phou Suba @ Andro :: Ooba Video
  • Chakkouba Fish Fair #2: Gallery
  • Amur Falcon in mountain of Tamenglong
  • Concept of Manipur Film Industry
  • Football (5 players aside) @Bangalore
  • Ningol Chakouba @Pune(UMCF) : Gallery
  • Lalit Thapa :: Player Profile
  • Ningols to mapam lamdam #2: Gallery
  • Final Match of MSL: Gallery
  • Ningol Chakkouba @MBC : Gallery
  • Ningol Chakkouba Shopping #2: Gallery
  • Ningols to her mapam lamdam: Gallery
  • Ningol Chakkouba :: Flash Presentation
  • : e-commerce website
  • Chakkouba Fish Fair #1: Gallery
  • Ningol Chakkouba Shopping #1: Gallery
  • Greetings on Occasion of Ningol Chakouba
  • Conflict resolution in respect of Manipur #4
  • Mera Houchongba @Konung #5: Gallery
  • Mitchi ten :: e-pao Radio
  • Ningol Chakkouba : Biggest festival
  • Traditional Huts for Sangai Fest: Gallery
  • Ningol Chakouba at South Korea
  • Tingkai Khullen, Senapati : Gallery
  • Mera Houchongba Culturals #2: Gallery
  • Likon Sanaba @Wangoo #2: Gallery
  • 87 Manipuri graves- WW I :: Download
  • Sunitikumar: Wood Carving : Gallery
  • Jiribam Wallpaper #2 : Download
  • Download :: PMP Bill 2015
  • Download :: MLR&LR Bill 2015
  • Download :: MSE Bill 2015
  • Sapam Robinhood - Lamjing Meira