Shortening the distance between Imphal and Jiri using all means should be top priority.
High tech modern vehicles now can drive more than 100 kilometer per hour. If the driver is highly train the speed can reached beyond 100 Km/per as according the condition of roads.
The distance between Imphal to Jiribam by road is only some 220 kilometers but even the best driver takes not not less than 6 hours to reach Jiribam from Imphal no matter how sophisticatedly designed is the vehicle he drives. For passenger vehicles it takes more hours even the whole day if in case the bridges constructed had to be repaired as it becomes mandatory for every vehicles to wait until the repairing work of the bridge is over.
Saying so it’s no wrong to say that road construction works are being taken up in full swing. The way the construction or say the repairing work is being taken up is appreciating but it is skeptical to believe that the works will be completed before the rainy season.
In late 90s there was hue and cry from various sections of the people demanding construction of the road stretch. It was not only because of the frequent bandh and blockade at Imphal-Dimapur road stretch but because of necessities as Silchar of Assam is likely to be a major business hubs some other days. Above this Jiribam which is also a strategic location for business transaction from the state of Manipur need to be connected with the fastest form of transportation. That time the present Chief Minister of Manipur N. Biren Singh, started a campaign for improvement of the road when he was the Editor of a local Newspaper Naharolgee Thoudang. A meeting held at the residence of Dr. Ibohal at keishampat elected him as the chairman of the committee form to improve the road condition of Imphal-Jiri either by way of pressing to the government or by donating from the people of the state. Even transporters too had even contributed everything they could to improve the road condition of Imphal to Jiribam.
Well there may be scientific reason for the government inability to complete the construction works of Imphal Jiribam road as expected by the people due to the geographical factor. But using any means to make this stretch of road which is just 220 kilometer will boost state revenue.
For example, with the introduction of GST, the state government does get its revenue from goods selling in the state which are being bought from other state. However, people in Jiribam district as well as people from Noney and Tamenglong sometime had to go to Silchar to procure their day today necessities. The SGST definitely went to the Assam Government this way.
Mr. Nilotpol Choudhury during a short interaction with this writer said that there are around 90 residential schools in Shilchar area. In all these school, 80 to 90 percent of the students are from the state of Manipur.
It is common that parents of the state prefer their children to sent to school outside thestate. But the children were sent to schools at Silchar because there are no proper infrastructures in both Tamenglong ( now bifurcated as as Noney and Tamenglong) and Jiribam districts. Huge amount of money has been spent for theses students in schools at Silchar and with the introduction of GST the revenue from these people which can be benefited to the state government goes to Assam Government.
Well not every hope is lost. With the coming of the railway here in the state, there is a possibility that the state of the state of Manipur might change overnight. It will be just 2 hours journey from Jiribam to Imphal once the railway started functioning. May be it would take not even 2 hours if express train are introduced.
Today Jiribam is a full fledged revenue district. But except for a DC office and SP office many government offices which are compulsory are yet to be established. Had not the state government prepared a proper planning most of the opportunity that the state could have enjoy might shift to the neighbouring state.
On the matter of the threat to the local people due to influx of ousiders, it is time that Manipur government learnt some lesson from the Assam government like introduction of NRC. Not necessary that the state prepare legislation which will have differences among various communities of the state.
Rinku Khumukcham, Editor of Imphal Times has more than 15+ years in the field of Journalism. A seasoned editor, was a former editor of ISTV News. He resides in Keishamthong Elangbam Leikai, with his wife and parents.