TODAY -

Question : Are the Gods angry ? Wake up call for Manipur
- The Sangai Express Editorial :: May 30, 2024 -



The Gods must be angry.

On a more scientific note, this is a wake up call, a call that must have come many times earlier, and people need to be thankful that so far Manipur has not reported many deaths even though the place has been reeling under the impact of Cyclone Remal.

This is the fourth straight night that incessant rain has lashed Manipur and even though the State Government is yet to work out the full impact, meaning the total losses incurred, the flooded houses, the submerged roads, the conked out vehicles caught in the raging water plum in the middle of the road, the on-off power supply should tell the story of how much it has impacted on the movements and lives of the people.

Making things worse is the fact that Manipur did not receive much coherent or loud warnings or Red or Orange Alert calls in the days before the sky opened up in all its fury and what is seen today is a people caught totally unaware and neck deep in water.

Thanks to the rapid stride in technology, even before reports of flood or water overflowing from the major rivers that run through the heart of Imphal reached the office of this newspaper, the social media was rife with reports coming in of the devastation caused in the hills as well in almost all the localities of Imphal.

Not uncommon to see Whatsapp shares of heroic rescues-particularly of an infant-near Little Clinic at Nagaram coming from individuals who may be stationed at places as far away as Bangalore or Delhi.

Open Facebook or Whatsapp or any of the other social media sites and one is sure to be greeted with pictures, video clips and stories of the devastation caused by the incessant rain and roads literally turning into streams with water surging at breakneck speed.

Even as this commentary is being penned down, there are reports of more points where different rivers have overflowed and one can distinctly make out the water level inching up on the roads, especially on the Airport road.

The sky is still overcast and there is not even the slightest hint that it will clear, giving a grim prediction of more rains to come and as in any catastrophe the important point is to see whether the people have learnt any lessons from the deluge or not.

No way there is to prevent heavy downpour or rain, but the least that can be done is to lessen the devastating impact that incessant rains may bring.

It is for this very reason why Imphal and the valley districts have their own natural waterways known as khongbans.

Now khongbans have literally disappeared to give way to the man made nullahs, which are again clogged with plastic carry bags and other non-bio degradable things that literally choke the free flow of water.

The result is the overflowing water from the nullahs which literally flood the roads, with the water making its way to the dwelling places.

The chaos, the madness that one sees in Imphal right now could have been lessened to a great extent if only man had not encroached upon the khongbans, not filled up the waterways with plastic carry bags and other pollutants, had not disturbed the existence of numerous water bodies.

Time was when a brief spell of rain was more than enough for the leikai folks to come out with their eens or fishing nets to catch fish from the khongbans.

Now recount this to any of the youngsters and they would act as if they are listening to a fairy tale.

Manís greed has wreaked enough damage and the deluge that Manipur is reeling under right now is the best time for everyone to take a long, hard look at the reality and see what ought to be done to avoid such incidents.

For starters, stop trying to encroach on public land, stop treating the nullahs or water ways as dumping grounds, keep the river banks clean and yes stop using plastic carry bags.

A wake up call this should be for the people of Manipur and one hopes this also gives the right opportunity to the Government to see what stringent steps may be taken up against those who do not think twice before littering public places with non-bio degradable items, especially plastic carry bags.

For the moment, the Government must estimate the losses wrought by the incessant rain and the resultant floods, the damages inflicted in the hill districts and take up preemptive action in the face of the fact that the sky is still overcast and the possibility of more rain is distinctly high, very high.

The wrath of nature compounded by a selfish people, are the lines one may read in the raging waters everywhere.



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