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Managing natural resources

by Rinku Khumukcham
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 “Be very careful what you wish for; they might come true”- ironic as the saying might sound, the people of the state have had the unfortunate experience of living this statement for a number of years now. What was a fervent wish for the people only a couple of days back have materialized, only to add more worries and cause much discomfort and inconvenience. The frantic rush for water, made more serious by the forecast of a prolonged spell of dryness had the public worried, with much of the days preoccupied with the process of looking for and stocking up on any available source of water. Neglected and stagnant bodies of water which have hitherto been left untouched suddenly became precious. Social organizations and public bodies were suddenly awakened to the necessity of keeping the environment clean and the waters hygienic. The jolt did our society a world of good, and hopefully the heightened civic sense prevails for years to come. But the irony of the situation is that only a few days of rain have left the state in danger of being inundated. Roads and lanes became unusable as water everywhere was flowing on the streets, with the newly constructed drains and drainage systems either being too high off the road or disconnected with the rest of the drainage system, if there still exist such a system worth the name. Incidentally, there is an apparent realization on the part of the Government of the increasingly worsening situation of floods and droughts in the state, with reports of a plan to set up a plan to tackle the situation. But it’s easier said than done and it would take much more than a mere plan, however practical or efficient it might be, to make things work at the ground level. There needs to be a radical change in the system as well as in the mindset of those running the system. Welfare of the public does not necessarily mean huge expenditures and never ending construction activities, nor does progress entail unimaginable inconvenience to the public. Timely execution and strict conformity to the quality and schedule of activities could produce better results. A concerted effort needs to be taken up- a proposal that is in all probability an impossible feat given the present circumstances. It is rather unfortunate that a state like Manipur, endowed with abundant resources and favorable conditions have remained largely underdeveloped, not for want of assistance from the centre, but as a result of the haphazard implementation of policies and programs, not with the best intention and welfare of the public in mind, but apparently with personal interests and private gains in sight. To say that the state is prone to droughts and floods would be stretching things beyond acceptability. It is rather the absence of an efficient system of utilizing these natural resources such as water and natural drainage system, compounded by haphazard unplanned populist measures of doling out contracts such as for drains and culverts without proper planning. The Government needs to take up measures to harness and preserve resources such as rain water and address the issue of disconnected drainage system along with a system to keep these resources and structures functional and clean. Involving the multitude of social organizations and making them partners in the process of development instead of doling out contracts to the cronies of the powerful and the influential will go a long way in mitigating the various social inconveniences and inefficiencies plaguing the system at present.

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Imphal Times is a daily English newspaper published in Imphal and is registered with Registrar of the Newspapers for India with Regd. No MANENG/2013/51092


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