The state capital which constitutes a meagre percentage of the total area of the state has the unique and unenviable distinction of sheltering almost 90 percent of the entire population of Manipur. The resulting increase in pressure for land, food and amenities can only escalate further, and while the population in the state has been crying for amendments and reforms in the land use policies which will allow settlers to own and utilize land in the hills whereby vast areas of still unutilized wastelands and forests will be developed to generate economic benefits in a sustainable manner, the unrelenting pace of progress have magnified the pressure with demands for land and resources which are already stretched to the limit. The situation is not peculiar to Manipur only, as almost every landlocked and hilly region everywhere is struggling with the same dilemma for ages. What one finds worrisome, however is the offhanded remark by the Chief Minister regarding the prompt and hasty acquisition of land for various development projects in Manipur, to the extent of narrating a comment made by an Airport Authority of India official declaring his amazement when more than six hundred acres of prime agricultural land was allocated at one stroke within a week for the development and improvement of Imphal Airport. The backdrop of the speech – the first National Bio resources and Sustainable Development Summit 2015 at Takyelpat- adding to the irony of the speech. While it may be argued that there is an increasing lack of options or “alternative options” as the Chief Minister have cited, given the shrinking availability of alternative land for taking up these vital development projects which are aimed at uplifting the standard of life of the public, there remains the fact that there are still yet to be developed patches of unutilized spaces which might have served the very purpose better while leaving these fertile lands for producing food. A case in point is the still to be developed Lamphelpat where farming is still not a profitable option, and where vast patches of land is still available to plan huge structures and amenities. While the spontaneity and positivity of the statement deserves commendation, it also indicates the lack of a long term vision and concern for the common man. Also, while lands and resources for various developmental projects are allocated with alacrity, the progress and workmanship of these projects leaves much to be desired. In a state as ours where moving a file, opening a door or even initiating a communication requires financial considerations, every and any so called public development work is destined to fail, only for the very simple reason that there is still no mechanism in place to ensure its speedy and successful implementation. The government, in all its collective wisdom, would fare much better if and when it adopts a radical approach which emphasizes on the actual implementation and completion rather than on planning and inaugurating projects and schemes.
Of “alternative options”
written by williamgurumayum 0 comment 2 minutes read