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NH-37: Forgotten or intentionally neglected?

by IT Web Admin
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The State of Manipur and other North Eastern region have quite a few common socially accepted and sanctioned practices which would definitely sound peculiar and rather unnecessary to the rest of the country. The socially proactive people had come to learn to fend for themselves, to not depend on the promises and assurances doles out with such generosity and frequently, and to voice their plight and frustrations in no uncertain terms and in many ingenious ways and means. The recent act of repairing a stretch of dilapidated and severely damaged road along the National Highway 37 is just another example of the many instances of volunteerism of the people of this State. Indeed everyone involved in the exercise ought to be applauded in public for their heroic efforts and selfless conduct. But such acts also brought out questions that would be uncomfortable for those in the thick of things to answer. What prompted the volunteers to take up such extreme steps? Was it necessary if those who are supposed to look after the welfare and maintenance of these roads have done their bit to keep it in good condition? The State is witnessing such extreme steps in every sphere of our lives- be it with the repairing or replacement of transformers in the localities when they go bust, forcing the residents to suffer months of darkness, or with water supply where the people are forced to dug up and repair the faults with resources pooled in by themselves, or even with schools and community centres in most far flung places where the villagers had to share the burden of building the infrastructures and utilizing them. It seems more convincing with each passing year about the allegations of the Government relying on this very characteristics to shy away from their sworn duties. Such social norms had become a convenient ploy that the Government has so effectively been using to turn a blind eye to the happenings in the State. The state of the National Highways, especially the Imphal_Jiri road (NH37) has been reported for the past so many years now, and the Government has been reporting the advances made, yet the recent report reveals otherwise, laying bare the blatant lie and face saving techniques employed to while away the inevitable facts that would surface one day. Unforgettable comments of those who had the bad fortune of travelling on this road, like the participants of the ASEAN Car Rally, some years back, who described the road as an impossibly damaged road, or the lone Japanese tourist, having crossed some of the most treacherous and hostile terrains, describing the Imphal-Jiribam  road as the worst one he came across the seven continents. It is also clearly evident that the Government does not think much about the feelings of it’s people, even less about their well being. Is it that the development funds being doled out by the centre from time to time has more appeal and utility, albeit for a different purpose, than the earnings a developed and industrialized Manipur could provide for them? Why is the State Government hell bent on keeping the State in this sordid condition? The answers still elude the common man. What is certain is that these acts of volunteerism are indications of the public reaching the breaking point, of having had enough of the apathy and indifferent attitude of the authorities. It would be prudent to note that another practice of the common people of making their frustrations and angst known to those who matters is still to come. It would be wiser, and more beneficial to get things going and address the needs of the people before another spontaneous upheaval would bring the State and those who are lording over to their arthritic knees, proving these roads to be their roads to perdition.

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