The red carpet has been laid out and all stops has been pulled out, including deployment of security forces, cordoning of sensitive areas, search and verification operations to ensure that the visit of the Prime minister to the state can be passed off without any unwanted incident. The state government even issued an order for its employees to attend office and be present at Hapta Kangjeibung, the venue where Prime Minister Narendra Modi will deliver his public speech. It would be an understatement to mention that even the staunchest critic would be impressed with the plethora of inaugurations and projects the visiting dignitary will unveil and initiate today. Whether these projects will see the light of day or achieve its intended targets is for time to tell. These projects and schemes are evidently aimed at speeding up progress in the state, and should be welcomed as such. At the risk of sounding pessimistic, it must be said that there is still a slip between the cup and the lip, and if the past is any indication, there has been more talk than the actual walk, or is it a case of too much talk without considering the limitations of time and resources? whatever the case may be, the continuing trend is something the present government should ponder upon so that their expressions of intent is not misinterpreted as empty promises to draw public attention and remain in the news.There is also a contradiction in the way the chief minister is trying to portray an image of a leader who is accessible and open to his people, and the manner in which every possible effort is being taken up to apparently shield the visiting prime minister from the general public except for the public speech which is nothing but a monologue in its truest sense. It would have been an epic moment had the chief minister planned an interactive session with representatives of civil societies even if for the shortest period to put their important social concerns and issues to the prime minister in person. Or would the outcome be too difficult and unbearable for the ‘hyper-confident’ prime minister? While the security concerns for such an important- perhaps the most important, and powerful person in office in the country is understandable, the fact that such diverse schemes and projects for different regions are initiated and unveiled for namesake from a place of their choice and convenience by the central and state authorities has not gone unnoticed by all and sundry. The pertinent questions arising out of all these hectic and often frenetic rush to present a semblance of control and normalcy in the state to impress a visiting dignitary is: what has the state really benefitted from the Prime Minister’s hour long visit? Are the schemes, projects and inaugurations not possible to be carried out without the physical presence of the prime minister? If so, would it not be more convenient and certainly welcomed by the much harassed general public in the state, and even by a majority of the overworked security personnel if all such inaugurations, unveilings and foundation stone laying ceremonies are held at the safety and convenience of the Prime Minister’s secure and comfortable official residence at the national capital which will also incidentally save a significant amount of public resources?It is the bounden task of the government to work for the progress and prosperity of the people who voted them to power. It is their responsibility to commit themselves to their tasks and use the resources at their disposal for public good. Such normal and expected duties from their ends should not be projected as a favour towards the public. Period.
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.