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The enemies within

by IT Web Admin
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Tethered by the slim 26Km long Siliguri Corridor, the Seven Sisters (excepting Sikkim which became a part of the North Eastern region in 2002)- the North Eastern states continues to be one of the poorest region in the country still heavily dependent on dole-outs from the centre with no particular source of substantial income worth talking about for as long as one cares to recollect.
Add to it the peculiar and disturbing situation still awaiting concrete remedial measure- that of the more than 400 kms of porous border with Myanmar which are poorly guarded and an open conduit for arms and drugs, not to mention the illegal immigrants.
The ground reality, as one is experiencing at present, is one of confusion, indecisiveness, ambiguity and increasing intolerance regarding customs, traditions, beliefs and religions.
The geopolitical positioning of the region has been blamed, and rightly so to a certain extent, for the backwardness and lack of economic opportunities for the inhabitants who indeed have to face obstacles that are not even imaginable or conceivable in the rest of the country.
The educated public of the region, world-weary and well-travelled, seem to have an inexplicable affinity for embracing the bright side of things while downplaying the multitude of vexing problems and irritants that combines to hold back the state and the region from keeping pace with the rest of the country despite its potentials which have been much publicized, discussed, deliberated upon and generally accepted. So what are the things holding back our state from picking up the pace of progress despite the burgeoning multitude of educated and experienced individuals?
For starters, the lack of conventional opportunities for economic development on an individual level leads to excessive and almost always unfair competition fuelling corruptive practices. For all the hue and cry about developing entrepreneurship in the state, the choice is still a very risky and demanding one, in more sense than one as a prospective entrepreneur have to start from scratch and overcome insensitive, ignorant and often indifferent officials in every step of one’s entrepreneurial efforts.
We also have an acknowledged yet unofficial system of political favouritism where opportunities are provided not to the best candidate for a job or project, but rather to the ones who can win favours from those who matter, never mind the fact that the favoured ones are often the least qualified for the tasks at hand. Cronyism and contract-culture has proved to be a major hindrance to the march towards development. There is also the unexpressed resentment against the mushrooming vigilantism which invariably ends up with a cut of the loot, and once satiated, turns a blind eye to the blatant inefficiency, deliberate misappropriations and open disregard for public welfare as has become the norm rather than the exception when it comes to public development activities.
But the worst offenders and detractors of progress are the public themselves, for while baying for the blood of the high and mighty, it is the petty, almost ignorable deeds that adds up to become the behemoth that is standing in the path to progress. Offering bribes, accepting cash for votes, accepting less of their allotted share of benefits, failing to speak up on any irregularities all adds up to the present situation we are experiencing today. We need to change ourselves if we seek to change the state and society. We need to defeat the enemy within to realize a better future.

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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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