In this era of science and technology, we have reached the moon, we are planning to live on the Mars and everyone has a desire to develop. Then the big question is, “how can we make it possible”? We need a vision, which must identify the potential risks and bottlenecks and their possible solutions in order to mobilize efforts in a focused manner. It is neither a prediction of what will actually occur, nor simply wish-lists of desirable but unattainable ends. It is a testimonial of what we believe is possible for Manipur to achieve, by fully mobilizing all the available resources like – human, technological and natural resources. Our effective strategies should focus on fully utilizing the man, material, technological and natural resources that we possesses—in the most rapid, efficient, organize and sustainable manner.
Every Nation or State, therefore, needs a vision, which should stir the imaginations and motivates its people to greater efforts. The denizens of Manipur should also share visions of prosperous Manipur, visions of winners, visions of leaders. Here, a vision is not just a public speech, conference proceeding, project report or a plan target—it is an articulation of the desired end results in broader terms.
Clearly, Imphal Municipal Council (IMC) has been experiencing the growth, parallel to some other cities of India. The contributions of Manipur to the World and India are already written in the golden book, because of which, today, we are known to many as, “Power House of Sports”, “Land of Polo”, “Land of Dancing Deer”, “Land of Siroi Lily”, “Land of Juko Lily”, “Land of Loktak Lake”, “Land of Women Markets” etc. These will clearly provoke our thoughts that, “How smart will Imphal Smart City (ISC) be?”
To answer the above question, we need to have focused objectives, such as: To identifies and apply appropriate technological advancement and conservation principles for the betterment of the ISC urban infrastructures and food security by protecting the natural environment. To pioneer in developing a new ISC, rather than to copy or follow others. To commit in disseminating indigenous knowledge and cultures at local, national and international levels. To show-case our indigenous products all over the world through entrepreneurships. To target better economic performances of the ISC. The ISC should also have the goals for food security, sustainable livelihoods, poverty alleviation, quality educations and jobs creations by mitigating the negative impacts on various factors and by sustainably utilizing the available resources.
Nonetheless, ISC will have many challenges to meet. Some of them are: Competition—no doubt Imphal City is supplemented by picturesque surroundings, still it has many growing challenges from various factors such as inter cities competitions, migrations and immigrations, environmental degradations, wastes problems, lack of proper infrastructures, pollutions, energy inefficiency etc. Health—lack of preventive, curative or palliative pharmaceutical or medical facilities to treat pandemic diseases. Urban Economy—lack of participation in building a strong financial capital of the State. Urban Safety— no Zero Accident City. Food Security—no proper facilities for processing and preservation of food grains, vegetables and fruits. Environment—no proper sustainable environmental conservations and tackling the major issues in a holistic approach. To meet the above challenges, ISC needs to plan itself. The plans should be systematically identified and evaluated by competent authorities of IMC, so that it can be implemented by giving utmost importance.
All over the world, urban and peri-urban agriculture is contributing to employment opportunities and income generations of households, operating as individuals and organized as micro and small enterprise operators, cooperatives and investors. It has also become an area of investment opportunity. Producers are able to satisfy their food need and supply the market with agricultural products mainly grains, crops, vegetables, poultry, milk, livestock, fruits, honey, tree crops etc.
In this scenario, the utilizations of wastewater and biodegradable solid wastes have high potential for reuse in agriculture; an opportunity for increasing food and environmental security, avoiding direct pollution of rivers, canals and surface water, conserving water and nutrients, conserving lands and landscapes. Thereby, reducing the need for chemical fertilizer and disposing of municipal solid wastes and wastewater in a low-cost sanitary way. The WHO’s international guidelines on wastewater reuse in agriculture and aqua-culture and recommendations of wastewater treatments are considered by many governments as the legal framework. Roughly, 10% of the world’s urban wastewater is currently being used for irrigation. However, industrial wastes, such as heavy metals, acids and derivatives of plastics, and organic and inorganic components of human wastes—pose serious health and environmental threats. Prolong contacts of solid wastes and wastewater poses numbers of health and environmental risks for users and communities.
Therefore, the preparations for growth and growth plan for ISC should be, to develop capabilities to meet the challenging demand for urban populations, industries and environment. Diversification of ISC into the emerging areas, in line with the changing trends of the World and the advancement of the infrastructures and technologies is required. There should be focus on the expansion of ISC activities with increase in workforces and infrastructures. IMC should also tap the potential Human Resources. Incorporate the improvements of the human life styles, health, environment, and mitigation of the urban poor. All these can be achieved through; improvement of work cultures, infrastructures, technologies, quality educations and health facilities.
Finally, realizing the ISC goals should not be an end in itself, but rather an essential condition for allowing the spirit of Manipur to emerge and flourish. The fresh minds and young Manipuri’s have immense potentials and ideas within them—that we just need a push. It is a joint responsibility of all of us present today in Manipur, and also for the future generations who will lead tomorrow, to continue the pace of developments by leaps and bounds to fulfill the visions of our Imphal Smart City.
Khwairakpam Gajananda (PhD),
Center for Environmental Sciences,
CNS, Addis Ababa University,
P.O. Box. 1176, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.