Just when the state is all set to propel itself into one of the most well-governed in the country as was unfailingly promised at every election campaigns, the lust for power and pelf played spoilsport, yet again. The dreams of a smart city peddled by the powerful few who decides the destiny of this insignificant state from the cocooned comfort at the country’s capital has been keeping the people of Manipur on a dream and a prayer for so long. Hopefully, things are starting to move in the right direction once again, notwithstanding the fact that the pace of progress is anything but inspiring to put it mildly. And amidst the glimmer of hope, the ever present strife and tussle for power within the ruling party is posing a serious threat to the nascent dream of the collective public and the real masters have to step in once again to bring some semblance of normalcy in the ranks of the elected representatives of the state. no one is certain which way the wind will blow but the need to put an end to such self-degrading attitudes and irresponsible conduct has been felt by one and all for a while now. and the sooner the better else every little progress we have witnessed will literally go down the drain.
Promises and assurances are no substitutes for concrete results which is what the impatient public has been longing for. We have seen promising starts and convincing displays of intent but the follow through and the political integrity to deliver as promised has been largely dismal. For a party which sparked the spirit of change in the public, the feeling of needing that wee bit more push and alacrity to the activities has been present, and the present volatile political situation is not helping matters none.
The concept of a smart city is a fantastic one whose time has come, and there is no denying the fact that integration and synchronization of activities and information is the only way in which the government can effectively take the state forward. Yet previous attempts at modernization (read installation of CCTVs ) turned out to be a farce designed to profit a few at the expense of the taxpayers. No one has ever been held responsible for the deception. Automated traffic signals at majority of the junctions barring those at the heart of the city remain ineffective and unmanned. Waste disposal remains a smelly issue in more ways than one, and the concept of segregation of waste which is the basic step towards proper disposal of waste is still unknown to most public, and nor has there been any perceivable effort on the part of the government to educate and inform the general public regarding the same. Secure parking facilities around the city for cycles, as well as dedicated and safe cycle tracks which would encourage a lot of the public to turn to cycling as an alternative, healthy and cost-effective means of transport needs to be developed at the earliest to reduce pollution and congestion which is becoming a big issue right now. Motorcades for VIPs and VVIPs should be trimmed down to the bare minimal for obvious reasons, and stricter scrutiny and inspection of workings of every government departments should be undertaken to reduce corruption and increase productivity. Regular and timely updates of information in the respective websites of the various departments will go a long way in achieving this objective.
Smart does not necessarily equate to having quick witted intelligence and advanced political manoeuvres. A diligent and sincere approach towards the task at hand, a systematic and honest appraisal of activities and prioritizing responsibilities over privileges will set things for the right course. Perhaps a tall order for the present crop of confused, conceited and conniving souls with the penchant for begging the public once in a while for the chance to ‘serve’ them but ends up getting served instead.
Jeet Akoijam, Resident Editor of Imphal Times hails from Singjamei Liwa Road. Has been with Imphal Times since its start. A National level Rugby player and a regular Trekker and Nature Lover, loves spending time in lap of Mother Nature. Jeet is the father of two lovely kids. Jeet can be contacted at [email protected]