TODAY -

Ukhrul's wait for viable banks

Thanreingam Muivah *



Reeling under the diktats of 'influential few' our poverty-ridden society, whose system apparently has nothing to do with the public, has in many occasions failed to grab opportunities that came in the form of imported ideas. These ideas are often dubbed as harmful elements to our society while it is not beyond anyone's imagination to think that any developmental project or initiative that seeks accommodation is healthy to the society.

But what is annoying to the writer here is that without any effort to properly assess and examine the feasibility of a particular idea that earnestly knocks the approval of the masses, there usually emerges a strong force of resistance within the society oughtrightly sidelining the voice of others who otherwise in many cases have the penchant to serve the society with their noble thoughts.

Unfortunate still, in many cases, such acts of resistance reveal the story of a few powerful bigwigs having persuaded by what is already in existence to put the new initiatives on halt as the latter is thought to be counter-productive.

The result of which is now not too far to seek. Simply look at the status of our society which is being left far behind others in many aspects. It is in this light that we need to come out of the cocoon and pave the way towards ensuring an atmosphere conducive for business community to play a positive role.

For, there are many entrepreneurs queuing up to expand their business. And it is not surprising to learn that in every cases of taking such entrepreneurial risks, peaceful atmosphere comes as the topmost criterion. In the mean time, many enterprises have also been proved to be successful in many parts of the country.

When we have already entered into an era that compels us to realise that technology and attitudinal willpower play a vital role in our daily chores, it is so disgusting that many people in our society are being hit hard with the anguish of where to get the next meal from.

This could be best exemplified by the fact that many villagers in Phungyar Sub-division in Ukhrul district are staring at the grim prospect of starvation due to crop failure in the last season. We have heard of such awful story not for the first time. The recent famine that prompted the people of Churachandpur and Tamenglong to skip a meal or two is still fresh in mind.

For the people of Phungyar Sub-division who are currently gripped by the fear of starvation, the only remedy that could be thought of at the moment, may be to rope in the State Government to reduce their cry of anguish. But to what extent would the Govt, which has often been questioned about the thousands of tones of foodgrains rotting away in the official godowns show its mercy, is a big question that looms on the people's hope.

Keeping all these doubts aside for a moment, let us dwell on a particular subject that could be of use in the long run. The prospect of having a viable bank in Ukhrul district could be one noble idea to ensure that more people in the district do participate in the economic process. It would not be an over statement to say that the UBI, the lone bank in the district with a population of about two lakhs, is in a state of utter disorder.

Leaving all the poor functioning of the bank behind, if the report that UBI is not even in a status of disbursing few thousand rupees prompting itself to borrow them from other individuals, is anything to go by, we can imagine the plight of the customers in this bank. No doubt, with the initiative of some civil society organisations in the district, some assurances have been poured in as far as the functioning of the bank is concerned.

At this critical juncture we also need to look for other alternatives like opening of other nationalised banks in the district. Time and again we have been taught that the only existing bank ie United Bank of India is not in a position to effectively serve the two-lakh people in the district in view of the growing number of customers. The State of Manipur is also yet to learn that in many parts of India there is one bank branch for each population of 15,000 at the average.

According to reliable sources, the State Bank of India and Punjab National Bank are on the move to launch their branches in Ukhrul district. In whichever part of the district may the said banks choose to expand their business, it is for the public to ensure a peaceful atmosphere so that Ukhrul's prolonged wait for a viable financial institute to play a positive role does not stretch further. Having said this, the role of civil society organisations which would not be swayed by the forces of some vested interests but work with unflinching commitment would be inevitable.

To know other aspects of banking beyond depositing and withdrawal of money, we are in a very crucial moment to create an interactive forum and bring together bankers, entrepreneurs, microfinance experts, planners, educationists etc in order to invigorate economic life of the district. Only then we can assure ourselves not to miss the train again.


* Thanreingam Muivah contributes to e-pao.net regularly . The writer is also a regular columnist for The Sangai Express and can be contacted at athan4you(at)yahoo(dot)com
This article was webcasted on June 27th, 2009.




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