TODAY -

Revive Manipur's public transport system

Dr Mohammad Imtiyaj Khan *



Last year, an article on "Against Magic/Winger culture in Manipur" was published in The Sangai Express and other major media publications. The article highlighted the short-sighted and highly disorganised transport system of Manipur. The consequences of imbecilic transportation are increasing number of road accidents, heavy road traffic, pollution (noise and air), high cost and inconvenience to commuters.

The short-lived JNNURM sponsored HOP-ON bus service failed to make commutation any better. The current situation demands revival of public transport in Manipur, or proper regulation of the private players. Manipur's mass transport has been mostly undertaken by private buses. Once functioning MSRTC died an unceremonial death years back owing to incurring losses, thanks to frequent looting of passengers, and burning down of buses plying along NH-39. My generation did not see any MSRTC buses for public transport inside Manipur.

Today's youths may not know that MSRTC existed some years back. Some irresponsible employees of MSRTC are trying to mortgage the neglected residual assets of MSRTC outside Manipur. Yes, it is reported that MSRTC complex in Dimapur has been encroached upon and the report further claimed that the complex "has been reduced to money minting business in the hands of some unscrupulous official (s) whose main duty is to take care and protect the properties of the MSRTC, Dimapur".

Taking advantage of the absence of publicly funded transport system, district transport officers have established a lucrative nexus to distribute permits to Tata Magic/Winger vans for operation in a particular route without taking stock of the number of vehicles already plying in that route. This has resulted in an unhealthy competition among the owners/drivers for profit often resulting in a messy transport system. Commuters don't get vehicles in time and when they get it, they travel heavily packed. Comfort and Magic/Winger vans are like parallel tracks: they never meet each other.

On the other hand, the drivers/owners of these private transport vehicles make a good profit. At least 1000 rupees per day. Now, if Govt plans to introduce or regulate the system, many vehicles may go off the road. It would mean kicking their stomach mercilessly.

Mass transport system in most of the north Indian states is in bad condition. Even in Delhi, I have seen crammed Tata Magic/Winger vans in service, inspite of a wide range of options such as metro trains, many hundred bus strong JNNURM service, Volvo buses, private buses, rickshaws, autorickshaws, etc. The roads are too congested and traffic is slow moving resulting in more than 90,000 road accident deaths per year in Delhi. The situation is not any better in Guwahati.

In Ranchi, the autorickshaws and Magic vans accommodate 12 passengers each. Obviously it is scarily dangerous to take a ride in such overloaded vehicles. A driver told me that traffic police slapped unreasonable fine on them. To make up for the fine, the vehicles need to be overloaded. There is no queue system in the vehicle parking.

Therefore, there is violent competition among drivers to entice prospective passengers. Since there is limited option, commuters embark on such vehicles grudgingly. This situation is not much different from that of Manipur's current transport scene.

  A Winger van and a Magic van in Guwahati
Photo (L to R): A Winger van and a Magic van in Guwahati



South Indian states have well-maintained publicly funded mass transport corporations. They have both town and inter-city buses for the commuters. In both the categories, they have different services with duly authorised stops and dynamic bus fare. Daily and seasonal passes are issued on request, and ticket fares for senior citizens and kids are just half of the normal fare. Ladies, gents and senior citizen seats are clearly reserved. The vehicles are well-oiled, and service is frequent, punctual, cheap and dependable. The bus stops are cleanly-maintained and digitally-equipped. Private buses are few in south Indian states.

The state transport corporations have free and fair recruitment process and regular employees who ensure a complaint free service to commuters. The special advantages of having corporation buses are that public can work longer in the evenings to contribute to the economy, and commutation is safe specially for ladies and senior citizens who are crammed in wicked spaces of ill-maintained private mass transport vehicles elsewhere. These corporations are profitable and new buses are added to their fleet from time to time.

North Indians who visit or stay in south Indian states feel privileged because of the enjoyable corporation bus ride which they don't get in their home states. One such city I should mention here is Mysore. Mysore district population is much more than that of Manipur. The mass transport service in Mysore starts at 6 in the morning and closes at 10 pm. The roads are not too congested and traffic is fast moving. The buses are mostly low-floor type or fixed with automated door locking facility. Foot boarding is not possible. Accidents are much less.

 A KSRTC bus stand, designated bus stop, ultra comfort Volvo bus and ultra deluxe bus in Mysore.
 A KSRTC bus stand, designated bus stop, ultra comfort Volvo bus and ultra deluxe bus in Mysore.
Photo (clockwise from L to R): A KSRTC bus stand, designated bus stop, ultra comfort Volvo bus and ultra deluxe bus in Mysore.



Taking a cue from the success of transport corporations down south India, Manipur should wake up now to revive MSRTC. We should prepare a long-term revival strategy. The main reason for shutdown of MSRTC was incurring losses owing to frequent forced shutdowns and burning down of buses by protesters of various hues and affiliations. However, this kind of disturbances and law and order problems are not here to stay. But, Manipur will stay for centuries to come. We will see stability sooner than later.

In that case, as population grows, the limited public space (read as state highways) is going to be occupied mostly by personalised transport vehicles. These vehicles will increase road traffic, accident, pollution and inconvenience. To best of my knowledge, in mid-November to mid-December 2014 alone there were more than 15 road accident deaths and many more injured.

The suspended particulate content in the air of Imphal area could be alarmingly high. In the wake of these threatening data, one can only say that publicly funded mass transport system is going to be the future of commutation. If not today, we will have to revive MSRTC tomorrow to decongest roads, reduce traffic, pollution (noise and air) and minimise the consumption of fossil fuels.

In order to revive MSRTC, the Govt should first take stock of the existing assets and employees of the erstwhile corporation. Some way or the other public should have to be sensitised about the consequences of the absence of MSRTC. Strict rules should be laid down with legal implications. The loudest and strongest opposition will come from private mass transport vehicle owners which now include Magic/Winger van owners. Govt should come up with a formula to deal with the opposition.

There should be a time frame to phase out Magic/Winger vans from our roads. Local leaders should convince the Magic/Winger owners to upgrade to mini-bus by selling off their current vehicles. Govt should help them purchase buses. Govt should start recruitment of staff and acquisition of buses on loan from central Govt. If none of these options work, MSRTC should be started as public-private partnership. I am sure the young crop of civil servants will be able to revive MSRTC for growth and prosperity of Manipur.

Lack of transport facility has always been a thorn in the flesh of Manipur.


* Dr Mohammad Imtiyaj Khan write this articlee for e-pao.net
Dr Mohammad Imtiyaj Khan teaches at Gauhati University. The views presented in this article are personal and have nothing to do with the University. He can be contacted at nohimbo(at)gmail(dot)com
This article was posted on January 08, 2015.


* 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 e-pao.net. 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.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Sangai Run-Marathon @Sendra #1 :: Gallery
  • On Peace Deal & Framework Agreement #1
  • 22nd Winners' Cup (Football) #1 :: Gallery
  • The charge of sisters :: Poem
  • Reorganisation of North Eastern Council #2
  • DAMMS Freshers / Literary Meet 2017
  • (Blank Editorial)
  • Culturals @Mera Houchongba #2 :: Gallery
  • Kang Chingba @ Wangkhei :: Gallery
  • North East Fashion Week #2 :: Gallery
  • Know The Meetei
  • Indo-Naga Peace Process :: Articles
  • Not just the Gateway
  • Use milk for silky smooth skin
  • Mobile Application for Sangai Festival
  • Manipuri Mega Photo Contest Finalist
  • 5 point resolution on Naga Political Issue
  • NE is least favoured tourist destination
  • Final: Hazari/Tombi Polo #1 :: Gallery
  • Sangai Festival 2017- Events Schedule
  • #TB hotspot cannot be on blindspot
  • United Metal 3.0 @Imphal
  • My name is Kom, Mary Kom
  • Swachch Bharath Swasth Bharath
  • Sangai Festival 2017- Online booking site
  • The Killing Fields (2013-17) :: Timeline
  • Mary set on Olympic gold
  • For every causes, there is a reason
  • Moibung Khunou -near khurkhul :: Gallery
  • Miss Kut #4 :: Gallery
  • On the Naga Framework Agreement
  • Media Challenge: Glance from hills #1
  • GIS day at NIT Manipur
  • Pangal Leader Mohammed Hanif Shah
  • NPF questions Speaker convening meet
  • Painting Exhibition by Babli Das (Tripura)
  • Indo-Naga Talks 2017 :: News Timeline
  • Looking out for possible measures
  • Manipur Sangai Festival 2016 #7 : Ooba
  • Cultural Program @ MCA :: Gallery
  • Parihal, Nimshimphy, Neilianthang: eMing
  • Ningol ChakKouba @MBC #3 :: Gallery
  • Oh dear Daddy, see I a Native Proud: Poem
  • Buddha's metta and karuna #3
  • Narendra Modi will never play Nehru
  • Photo Caption Contest by Whakal.com
  • General Call to All Former NPF Leaders
  • Penguin Readathon & Book Gifting
  • ENNG opposes inclusion of TCL..
  • Report alarm for Arunachal
  • Loktak witness drastic fall in migratory birds
  • Lecture on 'Rohingya Resettlement'
  • 'Weaves of Ching-tam' @London :: Gallery
  • Opening: Jadonang Football #1 :: Gallery
  • Robert's Weaves of valley & hills at London
  • Remembering boy..felled by fake encounter
  • Sangai Photo Awards 2017 : Contest
  • Meeyam meekup nahum singna leibiyu
  • HighWays : Govt. needs seriousness
  • Singcha Wuya Won @Kamjong #4 :: Gallery
  • SDG Consultation: NE :: Gallery
  • North East Fashion Week #1 :: Gallery
  • Distribution Patterns of the Asian Eye
  • Sustainable Development Goal Consultation
  • Wrangle in Mapithel dam: Legal perspective
  • In the Slums of Heaven :: Poem
  • Wreath Laying Ceremony for AR Martyrs
  • Time to take a bow, Robert
  • Create jobs for NE to stop trafficking
  • March: Mera Houchongba #4:: Gallery
  • Sin-Lang Fest @DM College #2 :: Gallery
  • Sangai Festival: Ideas for a change
  • A shadowy dreamer :: Poem
  • Winter - A blessing in disguise for us ...
  • Course in Nanotechnology at NEHU
  • Pamel : Serene Natural Hub, near Lamlai
  • Vacancy at YVU Financial Services, Thoubal
  • System Operators @PR Enterprise, Khurai
  • Just by showing concern will not change..
  • Food Stall @Phayeng #2 :: Gallery
  • Miss Kut #3 :: Gallery
  • The moment :: Poem
  • Board exams decoded
  • 3rd NE Fashion at Itanagar: Day 2
  • Conference : North East in Globalized Era
  • NE-IAS launched to support Startup India
  • Painting Competition on Conservation
  • Ramkung Pamei is new MHJU Chief
  • Priyogopal (Senior Artist)- Photo :: eRang
  • Kabui Dance @Jadonang Football:: Gallery
  • Fashion @NE Festival, Delhi :: Gallery
  • Deviance and Corruption in Kangleipak
  • Applied health research is vital to #endTB
  • 3rd NE Fashion at Itanagar: Day 1
  • Tri-nation Motorcycle Rally reach Imphal
  • Traffic woes continues
  • Kwatha festival #1 :: Gallery
  • Kokkhum Festival #1 :: Gallery
  • Special Rapporteur on Human Rights
  • The threat to balkanize Manipur
  • Cry of a Dying River - 6 :: Poem
  • Biological based integrated Congress grass
  • 3rd Audition of Fagi Unplugged
  • Sadar Hills District Demand: News Timeline
  • Of clean environment
  • Paonam Lily (Archery) Reception :: Gallery
  • North East Fest @ Delhi :: Gallery
  • Girls Football- Nov 4 #2 :: Gallery
  • IBSD, India & VITO, Belgium signed MOU
  • First angioplasty for in-stent restenosis
  • RIST Popular Talk-33: Quantum Hall states
  • Commonwealth alumni event of NE
  • Lecture on The Rohingya Conundrum
  • Tri-National Motorcycle Rally
  • 3rd North East Fashion Week at Itanagar
  • ILP Nov 30 deadline: Why not only for valley
  • Expected changes, do we see ?
  • Festival of Raas Leela #2 :: Gallery
  • Sin-Lang Fest @DM College #1 :: Gallery
  • Hari Uthan- Kang Chingba #2 :: Gallery
  • Code of silence: Concealing gender justice
  • God Rules Over All :: Poem
  • Five day 'Flower Show' at Ukhrul
  • Go birding to honour Bird Man of India
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Uphul Waiphul and Leikhom Leinang
  • A reminder to Central Govt.
  • Ningol Chak-Kouba @Pune :: Gallery
  • Miss Kut #2 :: Gallery
  • Meitei Pictographic Writings :: Book Review
  • Careers related to mental health
  • Beauty & Money for a purpose
  • Human rights infractions in Mapithel Dam
  • AMAND Ningol Chakouba at Pune : Report
  • Chef Required at Kakching
  • NHPC Raising day at Loktak Power Station
  • Of ST demand, ILP, peace talk
  • For elderly people
  • Prof. Nongmaithem Tombi Singh : A Profile
  • Hazari/ Tombi Polo Tournament #2:: Gallery
  • U-17 Footballer honored by Guv :: Gallery
  • Just in favour of nocturnal life
  • Dance of Fire Flies at Autumn :: Poem
  • North East Festival bids farewell
  • Agenda of Govt spelt out at DBC, Maram
  • Nurturing the future
  • Ningol Chak-Kouba @Delhi #2:: Gallery
  • NE Fashion Weekend @Delhi #1 :: Gallery
  • History will not forgive us
  • A girl :: Poem
  • Pre-merger political party struggle
  • JRF wanted at NIT Silchar
  • March: Mera Houchongba #3:: Gallery
  • Girls Football- Nov 4 #1:: Gallery
  • Taxi- raising Air Pollution in Ukhrul
  • Skill development training with MUDA
  • Pui Thangamliu -Photos #1 :: eRang
  • NH7 Weekender [28 October] :: Gallery
  • Surjalal: Fellow of American Physical Society
  • Salesian College Grabs UK Project
  • Prime focus
  • Miss Kut #1 :: Gallery
  • Hari Uthan- Kang Chingba #1 :: Gallery
  • Kangujam Chinglensana (Hockey) feted
  • Chavang Kut @Tengnoupal :: Gallery
  • Sub-Junior Girls Football #2:: Gallery
  • Namsai gets Buddha relic from Thailand
  • Ningol Chak-Kouba @Delhi #1:: Gallery
  • 3rd Ningol Chakouba, Delhi : A Report
  • Dr. Rahejuddin Sheikh : Best Director Award
  • Chothe: Shabu Hong Rein :: Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Candle light for Belinda Morse :: Gallery
  • Exhibition of Pottery Crafts #2 :: Gallery
  • Phayeng Cultural programme :: Gallery
  • Khongjom War Memorial #3 :: 360 ° View
  • Ichangi Laidhi #1 :: eRang
  • Ningol Chakkouba by Paomee:: Gallery
  • Ningol Chakkouba @Kolkata :: Gallery
  • Ningol to her mapam lamdam :: Gallery
  • Manipuri Calendar for 2018 : Download it
  • Mera Men Tongba :: Gallery
  • FIFA U-17 Profile :: Kh Ninthoinganba
  • FIFA U-17 Profile :: Thounaojam Jeakson
  • FIFA U-17 Profile :: Nongdamba Naorem
  • FIFA U-17 Profile :: Dheeraj Moirangthem
  • FIFA U-17 Profile :: Amarjit Kiyam (Captain)
  • FIFA U-17 Profile :: Thangjam Boris
  • FIFA U-17 Profile :: Wangjam Suresh
  • FIFA U-17 Profile :: Md Shahjahan
  • Featured Photo for 2017 #4 :: Gallery
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic
  • Landscape of Manipur #7: Wallpaper
  • SPONSORED ADS