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Manipur’s Crumbling Infrastructure – A Dire Wake-Up Call from Climate Change and Internal Crises

by Editorial Team
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Manipur’s Crumbling Infrastructure – A Dire Wake-Up Call from Climate Change and Internal Crises

For the second time in almost two months, Manipur has faced the wrath of Mother Nature. Almost all low-lying areas and inhabitants near major rivers in the Manipur valley were once again inundated with water. Many people had just returned to their homes from relief camps when another flash flood occurred. This recurring devastation is a result of climate change, but the flooding in residential areas due to breached riverbanks and failing drainage systems raises the question: is this a natural phenomenon or a man-made disaster?
Climate change is no longer a distant threat; it is a present reality impacting every corner of the globe. In India, its effects are manifesting in a series of alarming infrastructure failures that highlight the urgent need for comprehensive action and preparedness. Recent incidents, such as flash floods in Manipur, multiple bridge collapses in Bihar, structural issues at Ayodhya Ram Temple and Delhi Airport, the collapse at Rajkot Airport, and the deteriorating condition of the Imphal-Jiribam Road due to incessant rains, underscore the vulnerabilities in our infrastructure and the escalating costs of inaction.
The ongoing crisis in Manipur is a stark reminder of the fragile balance between human activity, internal strife, and natural ecosystems. The state has been plagued by violence and ethnic tensions, which have compounded the environmental issues. The hills in Manipur, once a natural barrier against extreme weather, have been extensively deforested for poppy plantations. This deforestation has led to increased soil erosion, reduced water absorption, and heightened the risk of flash floods. The devastating impact of these floods is a direct consequence of environmental degradation exacerbated by climate change and aggravated by human conflict. The loss of vegetation not only increases the frequency and severity of floods but also disrupts the livelihoods of local communities and threatens biodiversity.
The Imphal-Jiribam Road, a crucial lifeline for Manipur, has been severely impacted by incessant rains, leading to dangerous driving conditions and frequent disruptions. The road’s deterioration is largely due to inadequate construction and maintenance, which fail to account for the region’s heavy rainfall and landslide-prone terrain. This situation exemplifies the urgent need for sustainable and resilient infrastructure that can withstand the impacts of climate change.
If Manipur is very much an integral part of India, the government must heed these warning signs and take proactive measures to address the growing threat of climate change on its infrastructure. First, there needs to be a concerted effort to incorporate climate resilience into all stages of infrastructure development, from planning and design to construction and maintenance. This includes updating building codes and standards to reflect the realities of a changing climate.
Second, there must be increased investment in sustainable practices, such as reforestation and sustainable land use, to mitigate the impacts of environmental degradation. Replanting hillsides and restoring natural barriers can significantly reduce the risk of flash floods and other climate-induced disasters.
Third, regular audits and maintenance of existing infrastructure are crucial. Identifying vulnerabilities and addressing them before they lead to catastrophic failures can save lives and reduce economic losses.
Lastly, there must be a comprehensive strategy for climate change adaptation and mitigation that involves all levels of government, private sector stakeholders, and local communities. Public awareness and engagement are key to ensuring that everyone plays a part in building a resilient future.
The recent spate of infrastructure failures across India, compounded by the internal crisis in Manipur, is a stark reminder of the escalating impacts of climate change. It is imperative that we act swiftly and decisively to strengthen our infrastructure and make it resilient to future climatic challenges. By doing so, we can protect our communities, safeguard our economy, and ensure a sustainable future for generations to come. The time to act is now, and we must remain alert and prepared for what might come next.

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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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