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Rinku Khumukcham

Rinku Khumukcham

Rinku Khumukcham, Editor of Imphal Times has more than 15+ years in the field of Journalism. A seasoned editor, was a former editor of ISTV News. He resides in Keishamthong Elangbam Leikai, with his wife and parents. Rinku can be contacted at [email protected] 

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AR conducts security meet

IT News
Imphal, May 4,

A Security Meet was conducted at the Chandrakhong Company Operating Base of 26 Assam Rifles of 9 Sector Assam Rifles under the aegis of IGAR (South) on May 2. The focus of the security meet was to discuss issues related to security in the area and likely move of contraband and illegal timber. The Company Commander also briefed the gathering regarding the IED threats and efforts of the Assam Rifles to maintain peace and harmony. The forum was attended by Village Chiefs and members from the Youth Clubs from nearby villages. The attendees appreciated the efforts of Assam Rifles in ensuring peace and assured their commitment and assistance in maintaining the same.

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Usurped Domain

The most basic and important expectation of every rational citizen of a country is for the government to focus on the importance of good governance, transparency, and accountability to economic growth and democracy. The people of the state are no exception, and while states like Manipur where armed conflict situations still present a major challenge to smooth and efficient governance and effective administration, it does not in any manner imply that the rest of the country has it easy as every state or region has its own share of peculiar challenges, drawbacks and dilemmas. It however looks as if the state has been having more than its fair share of the unwanted hindrances and social disruptions thanks in large part to the indecisive nature of the state administrators who have institutionalized the practice of putting off almost every activity related to public development until some form of agitation is staged to set the ball in motion. And the irony in the whole sordid drama is that it is unmistakably clear as to why such a practice is being kept up despite the unceasing protests and agitations against such practices, even though those in the thick of it might have liked to keep things under wraps.
While a substantial part of the euphoria and high expectations generated with the change of guard in the state just over a year ago have evaporated, there is still a lingering hope that the present government will make a difference to the unfulfilled expectations of the people of the state. There have been a spurt of developmental activities across all sectors at the outset, and while the people are set to celebrate the changes, it now looks clearer with each passing day that the public is in for another long haul till the next election. Instead of the holistic approach towards development and inclusive progress assured and even initiated upto a certain degree, it now has come down to the age-old practice of comparative administration. The gradual turnaround is understandable, even expected, as the crux of the detriment has visibly remained unchanged and unchallenged. No matter the political will or the intent of the government, it has been proven that until the system is being targeted and changes made, every effort in development and progress will remain an exercise in futility, which brings us back to the most basic yet all important question- what should be the one most important step the government should take to ensure that initiatives towards a positive and radical change have been made?
One possible answer is the laying of greater emphasis on the responsibilities of the bureaucrats and elected representatives rather than the perks and rights such public positions could present, the key word being responsibility in its broadest sense encompassing the responsibility to ensure all development activities are being carried out without undue delay or deviations, responsibility to ensure social justice and fairness in engagement with the public, responsibility to ensure the law is being upheld and that the aspirations of the people are respected and provided to the best level, and among others, responsibility to ensure the authorities and powers bestowed on the officers, bureaucrats and elected representatives are utilized to make things happen for the common people in time without undue delay. So far, the responsibility part has been the biggest disappointment for the public and has continued to be the cause of most, if not all, unrest, agitations and disruptions in the society. Law-making and its efficient disbursement should remain the domain of the elected representatives. Failure to dispense adequate and timely justice and administration would always invite the facilitators of democracy to try and usurp that domain.

After Water Woes: Designing A Residential Settlement

By: JN Lai (Asst. Prof, International College, the University of Suwon, S Korea)

The woe of recent flood triggered me an idea of possible alternatives to avoid or mitigate the recurrent of the same difficulties in future. As we know, there are multifold factors and causes of such frequent water worries in Manipur. They are unattended deforestation in the catchments, anarchical drainage system, chaotic residential occupation, mindless garbage dumping into the rivers, discriminatory Ithai barrage and Loktak Project. On top of this the tragic burial of Pats/lakes and wetlands in and around Imphal is crucial.
Therefore, logical response to the situation towards transforming the flood bottleneck is to attack all the factors and causes. In the meantime, one project idea floating in my mind that connects to the solution not only to the flood but also to other current issues of sustainable development is – build model villages along the foothills of Manipur. By doing this, finally flood will not able to touch us.  
This could be postulated on the two grounds. First, decades ago Manipur valley was dwelled by many wetlands and we may give back them some. Second, we desire to leave our frayed and un-rectifiable dens of Imphal and the Leikais of the other towns.
Although restoring the Pats to their former form, appears kind of difficulty at the moment, still there will be better side of trade off. Because it will help to resurface natural flora and fauna, and can lower the global warming effect in Manipur. The aesthetic landscape of Manipur will be elevated in some ways, economic beneficial will also come along.
Many of us living in and around Imphal and other towns feel stuffy, smelly which repels us to settle away somewhere afresh. Also ours is such a haywire unplanned town, the renovation and rebuilding may be possibly costly and ungraceful.
New Residential Shift: In the earlier years of mine, whenever I was travelling along the Tiddim Road from Imphal to my village, I was always lost in the thought, looking from the bus window at western side of valley I saw something new and different. There are really beautiful spaces in the green and fresh air foothills of Manipur. The location is not only lovely in scenic landscape but much ideal for compounding reasons for residential settlements. In a nutshell, this will be a better endeavor for socio economic political alternative. The provincial Government of Manipur is always in the principal position to extend a committing help to the new minds in transforming the foothills to a sustainable and environment friendly residential settlements. All around the valley, there are plenty of such sites which can also be reconciled by streams for water supply and fertile soil for kitchen garden.
Sovereign Livelihood: For this project philosophy, the Government is crucially desired to allocate land to group or community. One of the foremost beautiful segment of this design is to restore the sovereignty of self-sustained livelihood and make it operational in the world of 21st century. A different and meaningful live in a community setting where social harmony prevails, organic healthy food are not bought from the outside and maximum clean energy generates within independently. The sewage will be managed in low scale volume as it will be converted into the source of biogas for electricity and other useful purposes. A gas plant will be installed for each household or groupwise towards producing electricity and cooking gas. Solar energy installation and micro hydel power plants can be very functional for the village. It will be independent at the maximum in terms food, water and power.  
Family and Community: The families and individuals who are taking into account the prevailing difficulties and very much willing to avoid the existing inconvenience, can be part of this new idea and be members of this new model village. Their understanding and volunteerism will be of great help in shifting to a new environment. The community in this village may be at the average of thirty families and can include some single individuals. Should be a village of multi ethnic community. Therefore, mandatory to include Meetei, Naga, Kuki, Pangal and others.  Any religious family or individual can be in the community. They can entertain liberty to go to and join the religious ceremonies and occasions outside the village anytime anywhere. There will be no public shrine, church, mosque and temple in the village. However a community centre will be to provide space for occasional social events. The family rituals and prayers should be restricted to their respective houses without undesirable effect to their neighbors.
Housing and Farming: The shape of the village can be a linear cluster of the houses with about one kilometer in width. It may be so for administrative and other functional convenience. Each family can build their own house with a minimum and convenient budget yet scientific, hygienic and lovely one. They can accomplish it with a fair share and the support from the Government’s schemes. The assistant can be in the form of either housing materials or monetary kind. Each family is going to commit to kitchen garden farming for maximum food sovereignty. Therefore they have to own an ideal land space. The farming will include seasonal vegetables, corns, cereals, fruits, other life stock of fowls, dairy especially indigenous breed. There can be as big as medium size farming towards extensive purposes for individuals and groups’ economic activities. The vegetables and other plants will be grown nearby, in and around the family houses. For animal husbandry, it may be set out at a reasonable distance, at the fringe of the village in order to avoid smelly disturbances and unhygienic contacts.
Education: The families of the village will be in need of a good education input for their young hearts and minds in such fresh village lifestyle. The Government has to extend infrastructural supports at least for elementary and middle schools, equip them with productive teachers. Interested individuals but qualified ones from the community can volunteer in teaching the children as well. The community members can also extend voluntary in designing learning curriculum for children.
Transport and communication: An unbumpy approach road free from dust and pot-holes, and flanked with cycle way and footpath is required to stretch from the main roads to the village. Also there will be one inter village road to connect the model villages one another. A public transport set up at least with a bus in tuning with timely frequency will be plying up and down. Since the Government has got reasonable fund and budget for such purposes they must take the responsibility. The community also will use the private cars at the least and optimize the cycling and walking.
Security: A small number of 5-7 selected, active security persons either from police or VDF will be deployed to take care of the day to day crimes and violence of theft, robbery and other nuisances tend to occur in around the village. In case of the requirement of reinforcement in certain situation, they will coordinate with the police station and Superintendent of Police concerned.  
In the beginning for trial experience, about five villages can be set up. Once the villages are in places and run accordingly then hundreds will be followed in no time. Because such is Manipur to copy new things. This could also be an ideal aspect for meaningful tourism in Manipur. This model village will yield home-stay facility for tourists from within and outside. Again, in order to make a meaningful accomplishment a good few supports and assistance from the Government and relevant experts are prerequisite. Best and healthiest farming methodologies, effective maintenance of sewage and drainage technology are much beneficial.

24x7 pre-paid drinking water supply a top priority under AMRUT: MAHUD Director

IT News
Imphal, May 4,

Director, MAHUD & Chief Town Planner, TPD, N. Gitkumar Singh said that it is a top priority to provide 24x7 pre-paid drinking water to households in the Imphal Municipal areas under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation & Urban Transformation (AMRUT). This was stated at the ongoing series of press conference organised by Directorate of Information & Public Relations held at DIPR Complex, Moirangkhom on Thursday.
He said that the main objective of introduction of pre-paid water metres is to check the water theft, leakage and control water wastage. For the project, the Centre has allocated Rs. 180.32 crore out of which Rs. 175.81 crore is for water supply and Rs 4.41 crore for development of parks and green spaces with children/elderly citizen friendly facilities. The funding pattern will be in the ratio of 90:10, he added.
Stating that AMRUT will be implemented in 3 (three) phases which has been approved by the Centre, he informed that all the installments has been released. PHED has already started the process of laying water pipes and supervision will be done by the Urban Local Bodies.
Highlighting the major initiatives taken up by the Department to facilitate State Government’s Programme ‘Khungang Chatse - Go To Village’ mission, he said 146 public toilets in the 27 towns of Manipur has been mapped under Google Toilet Locater. One can locate the nearest public toilet by typing Swachh Toilet Manipur. With the help of the 27 Urban local Bodies to keep the toilet neat and clean, feedback devices in the 146 public toilets will be installed to know the condition of the public toilets and the feedback will directly come to the command centre.
He said IIT, Kharagpur, will be engaged for the preparation of GIS-base Master Plan for Imphal City to choke out plans for proper maintenance of the towns such as to sort out the traffic congestions. The expenditure will be borne by Central Government with a grant of 75 lakhs and the remaining 15 lakhs will be borne by State Government. He said that a comprehensive survey of the Urban Street Vendors of Imphal will be conducted in association with Economics Department, Manipur University. The Department is also finding out the Urban Homeless in the 27 Municipal towns of Manipur in collaboration with Anthropology Department, Manipur University.    
He said the Ministry of DoNER has approved the proposal for management of Municipal Solid Waste for 7 (Seven) towns namely Andro, Sikhong, Sekmai, Heirok, Wangjing Lamding, Thoubal and Lilong (Thoubal) for a total cost of Rs 13.52 crore. He said that a major objective of the MAHUD Department is to dispose the waste causing pollution, scientifically, without affecting the environment. Treatment of waste materials has been taken up successfully for the Imphal town at Lamdeng Solid Waste Plant.
Stating that Imphal was ranked 10th among the 13 cities which got selected in the 23 Fast Track Cities competition under Smart City Mission (SCM), Project management consultant (PMC) for implementation of Smart City Projects will be selected under Smart City Limited (ISCL), incorporated in the year 2016. To ease traffic congestion at the Imphal area, parking lot will be constructed at the basement of the 3 Ima Keithels along with foot overbridge and also to find out alternative routes.
Citizen Facilitation Centre, a one stop centre, will be open under Smart City Limited for easy procurement of Death Certificate, registration of vehicles, getting license etc., for those living in far flung areas. For setting up the Centre e-tender has been open at all India level.  
Under Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban), 27 towns of Manipur have been declared as Open Defecation Free (ODF). It may be mentioned that Government of India has declared 21 towns including Imphal as ODF. The State is planning to become ODF in all the Urbans by 2018, he added.
Ng. Uttam Singh, Joint Director, MAHUD, said that Imphal Evenings will feature additional programme in Collaboration with Manipur Mountaineering & Trekking Association and Art & Cultural Department with inclusion of adventure sports and cultural items for entertainment.
Y. Narmada Devi, Associate Town Planner, TPD; L. Jayarani, District Co-ordinator, MAHUD and Ch. Ningtamba Meitei, Asst. Director, MAHUD also attended the Press Interaction which was moderated by T. Sangeeta, Asst. Publicity Officer, Information & Public Relations.

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