TODAY -

Ongoing clash, the floods, the losses : Bad time for Manipur
- The Sangai Express Editorial :: Juhe 04, 2024 -



Definitely a bad time for Manipur.

The ethnic clash continues to be qualified by the term ‘ongoing’ and it has been like this for over 365 days, Cyclone Remal has exacted a heavy toll and the damages caused by the cyclone and the accompanying rain need to be seen beyond the submerged homes, the submerged vehicles, the extensive damages inflicted on vegetable farms, the landslides and mudslides in the hills, but also on how soon the Government will be able to address the damages inflicted on the standing assets of the place and the people, such as the roads, the waterways, the power supply etc.

Non-stop rain accompanied by strong gusts of wind meant that Imphal literally became synonymous with blackouts and it was during those days of rain and more rain that people made a beeline for the shops which sell power banks, for afterall keeping in touch with the outside world, even when the advice from the authority concerned to the people was to stay indoors as much as possible, was the way to keep oneself abreast of the developments, in so far as the flood situation was concerned.

The rain has stopped, for now, but then the brief but extremely strong gust of wind, accompanied by rain on June 3 afternoon should not be forgotten for this was a reminder to all that the sky is yet to clear completely.

All the more reason for the people to be on their toes and keep themselves abreast.

The complete picture of the devastation caused by the heavy rain, accompanied by the strong wind, will emerge later but it should not be forgotten that the ravaged roads in Imphal should also be calculated as part of the colossal loss Cyclone Remal has inflicted on the place and the people.

As things stand right now, almost all the road stretches in Imphal have become a driver’s nightmare, especially when one has to negotiate through the numerous potholes and the water logged stretches of the roads, especially in the leiraks and leikais.

Even before Cyclone Remal made a landfall, many road stretches in Imphal were in a pitiable state. One just has to take a drive through Nagamapal road to get a feel of the point that is sought to be made here.

Negotiating the numerous potholes on this stretch will definitely requite experience on this stretch and the flood has only compounded matters.

Or better still go to the Inter State Bus Terminus along Dingku Road and one wonders whether any repair work has been carried out there after the wear and tear it had to suffer during the Covid days when all heavy, loaded goods trucks had to report there after arrival.

It is clear that it will take long for Manipur to fully recover from the battering the place has received and the first point that will be felt is how fast the battered roads are repaired, including the muddy and slushy ISBT.

Many would say this is the worst flood they have seen and experienced in the last 40 years or so, even worse than the 1988 flood that submerged many parts of the valley districts.

Non-stop rain or downpour of this type comes rarely but with climate change having entered the lexicon of almost of everyone, isn’t it time for Manipur to see and study what steps may be taken up to give better, clearer warnings ?

As noted in an earlier commentary here, the focus of the India Meteorological Department was on Cyclone Remal and there was not much report on the likely heavy rain that could lash the North East States, particularly Manipur.

Perhaps Imphal may study the possibility of equipping itself with the latest devices or centres to predict such catastrophes more accurately in the future.

It is more than clear that the people and Manipur were caught unaware when the sky opened up and rained non-stop for days flooding all the more low lying areas and the localities located not far from the major rivers which flow through Imphal.

Serious thoughts also ought to be given on why Imphal came under water, but no such report of flood has come in from the other districts, such as Bishnupur or Kakching or Thoubal.

Water logging is a serious question that ought to be sought to be addressed and the first step for the Government should be to put a complete ban on the use of plastic carry bags below a certain thickness.

One also wonders what has happened to the much tom-tommed ban on plastic carry bags ?

The time to act is now and the devastating flood is the right time to start doing the ground work.



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