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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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Road safety in Manipur: A need to plug fatal gaps

By -Hungyo Yurreikan

The age of motor transport dawned over a century ago and is here to stay. Roads are the nerves and veins of society and this analogy dictates that for a healthy society-one that does not self-destruct, a basic requirement is that we keep our roads safe and free flowing.  Besides drawing analogy, it has to be recognized that safety and security needs of humans is basic to survival and thumps most other needs, thus it begs the question ‘how safe are our roads?’
Be in on social networks, prints or broadcast media, road fatalities has become a regular news items. So much so to the point that people are becoming unaffected to what the news signifies, such news don’t appear to command the reaction that it should. Human lives are lost, beyond sympathies, it should invoke anger, yet the public doesn’t lose much sleep over it. Imphal, Manipur’s Capital City is fast running out of space, and to a relatively lesser but still alarming rates, the smaller townships. Each day, congestion creeps in further, making every structure appear as though they are pushing each other, a messy eyesore. The beauty of breathing space has beenquickly forgone. Factors of growing population, poor maintenance of roads, insufficient drainage, lack of proper signage, street vendors, illegal extensions of immovable properties, and most visibly the growing number of vehicles have brought about a massive change that stares right into our face, a problem that everybody identifies but nobody accepts as their responsibility. A kid can no longer safely walk to the house next door to meet friends, the roads are bad and traffic rushes with no concern.
Is road safety beyond our control? Yes it would be impossible for one person, no matter how powerful to ensure road safety. But through collective conscience and action, supported by proper legislations and empowered agencies, roads can be made much safer.
Members of society have to acknowledge that some changes are required to improve our experience during road commute. While the government has to be continuously pressured to do its part, there are certain things that the administration cannot implement in isolation. Traffic discipline is one that needs public participation just as much as the government’s effort. If Manipur is able to boast of a safe and disciplined traffic on her roads it would indicate a leap forward in social equity. Surprisingly it does not entail too much labour and investment to achieve certain levels of tangible progress in this domain. It is a shared responsibility of the society and would require adoption of certain roles from citizens, and proactive intervention from government agencies to fill certain gaps.

The roles of citizens are not new concepts, but rather simple etiquettes, safety measure, and compliance to law. These can be briefly listed as follow.
1.    Honking: horns in automobiles are meant to be used on need basis, to alert others. It isn’t built for blaring and announcing one’s arrival or movement on the road, nor to berate others in meaningless high decibels. Use sparingly so as not to startle others. At night it’s an accepted practice to use headlights instead of horns. Honking at night causes stark disturbances and may confuse other motorist.
2.    Use of rear view mirrors: Very important when manoeuvring in traffic. Disturbingly, two wheelers in Manipur usually don’t have rear view mirrors. It may be some short of fashion among youngsters to have them removed. Harmful trend, every motorist needs to know that life; their own and those of others are more important than how stylish their vehicles looks.
3.    Use of seat belts and helmets: Seen by many as an inconvenience. Youngsters in particular considers helmet a bane on their style, which definitely is not an acceptable excuse. Law enforcing agencies also needs to enforce these safety practices and people need to place their own safety on higher priority. 
4.    Underage driving: A serious risk to self and others, a downright disregard for live and law, an offence under law which has now made parents/guardian liable to prosecution along with the ward.
5.    Stopping at red light: A red light means that pedestrians or vehicles in the other sections have the right of way. Always assume that pedestrians are going to cross the road in front of your vehicle and keep the space/zebra lines open.
6.    Respect the right of way: When coming into a main road from a crossing give way first to the vehicles already moving on the main road, no matter how big and flashy your vehicle is, right of way is not assigned by size of vehicle. In traffic islands and round-a-bouts give way to the vehicle on the right.
7.    Overloading: a burden on the vehicle and the road, and a safety hazard. It is not merely a negligence but an outright disrespect of the law and human lives.
8.    High beams: Lower high beams when there are vehicles moving in the other side of the road. It’s not just a courtesy, blinding other driver is a safety hazard.
9.    Keep crossings free: Do notpark vehicles at the point of road crossings/intersections, it can cause accidents as it block visibility and jam up multiple roads. A vehicle making a turn needs more space as compared to one that is moving straight, so parking at crossings/intersection eats up the space needed for a safe turning.
10.    Drinking and driving/ drunk driving: Imminent hazard, alcohol numbs the senses, there is no rationale as to why anyone without full command of senses should be on the road steering a vehicle. An absolute disrespect of society, an offence that needs to be strictly checked by law enforcing agency.
11. Knowledge of traffic signals and signage: A driver necessary needs to be able to interpret traffic signals and signs.
12. Timely and correct use of indicators: Vehicles are equipped with indicators for a reason; it is how you communicate with other vehicles on the road. Make proper use
13. Parallel Riding: Parallel riding of two or more vehicles and chatting with other drivers is a big risk,it is in not a commensurate pay-off no matter critical the matter discussed is. If required just park and catch up.
14. Parking basics: Park in such a way that your vehicle does not obstruct others nor occupies unnecessarily large space.
15. Overtaking: Overtake from the right to maintain awareness between the leading and tailing vehicles. Don’t overtake at crossings and turns.
16 .     Be courteous: The road belongs to all, animals included. Share the space.
Getting a vehicle insured by the respective owners needs to be emphasized. Besides being your property and an asset, a vehicle on the road is a liability to you and to others. As such the security it provides cannot be neglected, and constitutes an essential document for many events on the road.
It is poignant to note that two-wheelers and three-wheelers in Imphal seem to be oblivious of traffic discipline. Whether negligence or mere ignorance, it needs to be addressed at the earliest. By and large they stop wherever they want; be it right in the middle of the road or at an intersection, they make abrupt turns in front of you without any signal, they overtake from the left, they honk like a train, they are usually overloaded, and the headlights and indicators of these vehicles are either never used or are non-functional. There is a dire need to set up a special task force to ensure that two-wheel and three-wheel motorists are kept abreast with the rules of the road and safety standards.
It would be of great significance towards road safety if the government initiates steps like making it mandatory for commercial passenger and cargo transport drivers to undergo certification on road safety of short durations periodically. To complement this effort, the competent agency should ensure that proper road signs are installed and promote literacy of traffic signals and road signs through appropriate means. Pushing the agenda of road safety further, a focussed study needs to be instituted to determine the number of road fatalities, causes of accidents, types of accidents, preventive methods and best practices to adopt.

***The writer Hungyo Yurreikan is a resident of Ukhrul. He can be reached at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Truth, sincerity and commitment with reasonable action is the only way left now Mr. Chief Minister

Seems like the present impasse in the state of Manipur against the contentious CAB and also large scale movement warning the government of India for keeping intake the political boundary of the state is gaining momentum, with the ruling government instead of felling the heat of the people while trying to defend the CAB as well as doing around false play to the demand of the people for disclosure of the content of agreement between the NSCN-IM and the Government of India.
Having understood the sensitivity of both these issues, the two apex bodies – MANPAC which is spearheading large scale agitation against the introduction of Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) and the COCOMI that is spearheading the alert demonstrations demanding disclosure of the content of the agreement reached between the NSCN-IM and the Government of India, are making no U-turn. When COCOMI’s demand fears a virtual wall for division among the brothers of the state, the MANPAC’s initiative not only bridged between the brothers of the state but also the entire indigenous people of the state. However, the defensive move of the Manipur government by re-defining CAB and reinterpreting as a legislation that will not affect the people of the state by the State government , is now confusing some people of the state who still love those in the government but have no option when it comes for the land, people and integrity of Manipur other then voicing against them.
People of the state at present never want to miss the Sangai Festival, the International Polo tournament not just for entertainment but for moving forwards this state towards development. People do understand that cancellation or postponement of this Sangai Festival will be a huge lost of the state that will be hard to reorganize it in the near future. But who is compelling the people to agitate even at the cost of losing such a big opportunity of the state.
If one remember, Chief Minister N. Biren Singh had stated that he and his government would urge the center to insert a clause in the CAB so the state of Manipur is not affected at any course. That was before the last Lok Sabha Election. The statement by N. Biren Singh the Chief Minister of Manipur is a clear indication of CAB affecting the state. Now, when the BJP led government at the center is all set to introduce the Bill for passing it as a legislation without consulting any chief minister including N. Biren of Manipur (subject to correction), the spokesperson of the government said that the CAB will not affect the state of Manipur. And some of the BJP leaderships are also echoing to what the Spokespersons of the government. On the other hand instead of feeling the pulse of the people and acted as per the desire of the people, the Chief Minister N. Biren Singh keep on insisting the people to remain calm, when he himself is not certain of what are in the agreement between the NCSN-IM and the Government of India. Why the government fails to convince the people about the safety of this state is because Mr. Biren Singh had never told that any consequences that occurred due to final settlement will be the responsibility of the government. He only called upon all section of people to have faith in his government and  said that he will come to the people for help if his government is helpless.
How could the people have faith in the present government with many doubtful appeals? Had not there a people protest either in CAB or the Naga issue what would have been the situation of Manipur in the post October 31. That was the day where government interlocutor RN Ravi assured to inked the final settlement.
The government of Manipur needs to understand that the people of Manipur are not going to rest until it is assured either in act or writing at parliamentary level that a legislation for special protection be given to the state of Manipur whether the government inked the final solution with the NSCN-IM or in the introduction of CAB. The government should make public that they are not in the position to stop the passing of CAB as it is to be done in the parliament and make sure that they will stand up for the cause of the people to pass certain legislation to make meaningless of CAB when it comes to the state of Manipur. Yes, urge the center to give assent to the Manipur Peoples’ Bill or joined the voice with other North East states to re-introduce the Eastern Bengal frontier Act model, even as they feel necessary to be on the side of their central leadership.

Normalcy crippled in Manipur during MANPAC’s 18 hours general strike

IT News

Imphal, Nov. 19

The 18 hours total shut down called by the Manipur People Against Citizenship Bill (MANPAC) from midnight yesterday has crippled normalcy in the state of Manipur particularly in Imphal city. Order issued by the Imphal Municipal Corporation (IMC) for stern action even at the cost of cancelling the vendor or shop license in Khwairamband Keithel area if the shops and vendors remain closed during the total shut down called has not been followed. Almost all business establishments in Khwairamband Kethel area remain shuts, shops and private establishment at both Paona and Thangal Keithel down their shutters, even shops in the periphery of Imphal city were seen closed during the shutdown called.

Despite the fact that the Government of Manipur issued order instructing District Deputy Commissioners of all districts and Commissioners of Education (S) to take up stern action against government employees and teachers who fail to attend today, almost all the offices bore deserted looks and less attendance of employees. Some government employees could not attend as their transportation to office depends only on public transport like private passenger vehicle services while others could not do so as petrol pump in the state remain closed. When Imphal Times reporters visited Council of Higher Secondary Education Manipur and Education U office, some employees were found attended but did not entertain any visitors on the ground that some staffs are absent today.

Almost all nationalized banks operating in the state remain closed during the total shut down.

In government schools and colleges some teachers were found attending the schools but it is more like holiday as no students attended today.

MANPAC called the eighteen hours total shut down today in protest against the passing of the Contentious Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) under the aegis of the North East Forum for Indigenous People (NEFIP). The NEFIP is a common platform of around 250 different civil groups from the entire North Eastern states of Manipur.

At Kaching, the streets was deserted, almost all shops and business establishments, schools and colleges and Banks were remained shuts in response to the total shut down called by the MANPAC.

The same is with other districts of the state.

Inter district buses service and also the inter state bused service stay off the road paralyzing normalcy in all district head quarters as well as the normal life in the interior part of the state.   

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Please understand CAB; if not today future is at stake if it passes

Instead of understanding the peoples’ worry about the impact of Contentious Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB), 2019, which is all set to pass in the ongoing session of the Lok Sabha, Manipur government and supporters of the BJP are making all effort to change the mindset of the people. Spokesperson of the government of Manipur, who is also the Education Minister of Manipur Th. Radheshyam strongly advocated the passing of the CAB categorically stating that the provisions in the Bill which is in the way to convert into act is not going to effect the state of Manipur. He justified his statement on the ground that as of now Manipur don’t have illegal Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Christian, and Buddhist migrants in the state. And that the provisions of the CAB only said that those religiously persecuted or fear of being persecution belonging in the said religions in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh who have been migrated to the country and that too before 2014 December. As of now Manipur don’t have such migrants and Manipur don’t have to worry about it, a strong and straight forward response which seems to lack the consequences in the near future of Manipur which have no legislations to protect the state.
Interestingly, the same statement in defence of CAB has also been circulated widely in the form of pamphlet without mentioning the authority of name of any organization since yesterday. If the government spokesperson is having full confidence that Manipur will not be affected by the CAB, then such pamphlets distributing should be published by the government. If the pamphlets are being circulated by some vested interested group then instead of convincing the people it will create more apprehension as it is natural that it will be no difference from pouring fuel to the anger to the people agitating against the passing of CAB.
Yes, as for the Imphal Times, we feel that Government Spokesperson Th. Radheyam’s speculation on CAB is no wrong. Those immigrants that the CAB is talking about are nearly non-existence. What the state of Manipur is facing about is about (illegal) migrants who influx to the state by having proper documents to prove themselves as citizen of India. Under Article 21 of the Indian constitution, these immigrants have every right to enter the state of Manipur and the government of Manipur still has no legislation to check this kind of infiltration. State government attempt to frame legislation for protection of the indigenous people by passing Bill in the state Assembly is of no use till today as even the Manipur Peoples’ Protection Bill is still pending as the president of India is yet to give its assent.
As of now, we all knows that whoever entered the state are not entrepreneurs which want to expand its business in the state, but those entered in the state are migrant workers and casual labourers who live on hand to mouth. The problem being face by the people of the state is the influx of this migrants having document to prove themselves as Indian.
19 lakhs people in Assam have been cancelled citizenship as they are illegal immigrants in the state of Assam. And as per the statement of the Government it is likely that among the so many people only few (Muslim) will be deported (can’t say where, as no assurance of accepting them by Bangladesh Government has been made public). Many will become citizens of the country. Similarly, many more will be granted citizenship in state like West Bengal, Bihar etc. If these people from the three countries are granted citizenship and entered the state of Manipur, what will be the future of Manipur? It is common sense that the migrant will first look for jobs (labour) and Manipur is a place where these people will keep priority for settling.
So CAB is a legislation that will add double the problems of the people of the state.
A request the Government of Manipur is that supporting the CAB may get some blessing from the leaders for today, but if it gives multiple problems to the near future, future generation to blame your leadership may not even exist. Act like leader of Manipur and not a mere workers of the central leaders.