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Unsure assurances

by IT Web Admin
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Arguably the most vulnerable point regarding the state which still continues to be exploited and abused by various vested interests to have their way are the two main national highways connecting the state to the rest of the country. These lifelines have seen untold horrors and experienced unimaginable atrocities perpetrated by every wannabe crusaders espousing causes most often conceived without the benefit of logic or reason. Looting, plundering, vandalizing and even killings has been carried out at whim for so long and so frequently that people taking these roads have resigned and braced themselves for such possibilities every single time. And while such unwanted incidents are nothing new, it is unfortunate that whatever little the central and state authorities have done has so far have fallen way short of any reasonable expectations and are evidently carried out not with the intent to ease the real problem but rather as an act of tokenism. While the state and its people continue writhing and reeling under the relentless pressures being imposed by cutting off essential supplies from outside by strangulating the highways, precious little has been done so far by way of concrete steps to curb the menace threatening the very existence of the people of the state.
Uncountable assurances were given and promises made, and in trusting the very words of the high and mighty, precious lives were lost. The sad story continues, and while the sordid saga of uncertainty and danger continues for those whose only means of transportation remains through these treacherous roads at the best of times, for those who are accorded security and protection, the whole episode remains an impersonal and distant irritant.
The bitter reality was driven home yet again when escorted convoy of tankers carrying various types of fuel for consumption in the state were fired upon, not once, but twice within a span of a month just a few kilometers from the state capital injuring a number of people and causing damage to the vehicles. Needless to say, the resultant protests by the transporters against the state government for its failure to safeguard the vehicles and secure safe passage along the highways forced the fuel pumps to shut shop causing much inconvenience to the public.
Talks of establishing a Highway Security Force has been doing the rounds for as long as one would care to remember, and while battalions of security forces are being raised to maintain peace in the state, it is rather unfortunate and a cause for concern that the much needed mechanism to secure the lifelines of the state are being given a miss until now. There also remains the big question of dealing with the perpetrators in a befitting manner. The overwhelming consensus being that the velvet gloves must come off for good.
If, however, the alacrity and vigour with which the present Biren-led state government is approaching the challenges facing the state is any indication, there is still reason to hold on to our hopes. The danger, as always, is in the unpredictability on whether the present momentum and intent would last the full term. Only time and Biren can prove that with certainty.

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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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