Editorial – Potholes Return

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The monsoon has just set in. The state has seen a few days of intermittent but heavy downpours in the past fortnight. Sorry evidences of this are already making their

appearances everywhere. The leakages on the roof of the three Khwairamband Keithels, the collapse of the stretch of the retaining wall along the Nambul River near Takyel are

two very prominent ones, but there are plenty more, and ones which are much more widespread. In Imphal area alone, during the showers many areas were water-logged, and when

these flood waters receded, they left many roads with their black toppings either washed off or else loosened beyond redemption and ready to fall off once heavy traffic resume

on them. At the Kongba Road for instance, adjacent to the Andro Parking, a huge and deep pothole has appeared, and its girth is widening slowly but continuously in the absence

of any effort by the concerned authorities to repair it. As we had noted before the onset of the rains, the innards of the road at this point was already becoming visible

because of the wearing off of the thin bitumen coat over it. The rains are now devastating it, soaking and softening the compact earth and gravel foundation under the road.

Since the rains have started, the repair work now probably have to wait till the dry seasons, but the unfortunate thing is, by then the road at this point would have been cut

diagonally by the expanding pothole. There are also other spots on this stretch of road which had been soaked and weakened by logged water and it is anybody’s guess that more

potholes would appears at these spots sooner than later during this monsoon. The question is, why were no effort made to repair these weak spots before the onset of monsoon. A

stitch in time would have definitely saved nine. Now, at the end of the monsoon, major and expensive repair work would have to be done, unless the government intends keeping

the potholes for commuters to tackle as they would. This too is quite likely, for though it calls itself a welfare government, governments in Manipur has had no scruples about

causing the ordinary citizens imminently avoidable harangues.

The authorities ought to have noticed too that where the black toppings of the roads are most vulnerable to peeling off during monsoon are those portions where the roads do not

have parallel drainage systems running alongside them. When the rains come, the rain water having no drains to run into, take the paths of least resistance, and these, most

often than not, become the roads themselves. We wonder how roads came to be built without any accompanying water drainage mechanism. It is inconceivable that the government did

not know this is like buying buckets without handles to carry them. But whatever its reasons, ignorance or neglect, the brunt always get being borne by everybody. The

government should also worry about the recurring repair cost this neglect is causing the public exchequer. The problem is, not many, not the least those in the government, are

worried about exhausting the public exchequer unnecessary, after all, the attitude has always been, public property is nobody’s property.

There is another way the roads get spoilt and potholes appear in them. In the last couple of decades, with the increase of traffic volume on our roads, Imphal roads in

particular have had to be widened several times with the result that municipal water pipelines which once upon a time ran parallel to the roads a meter away from them, have now

come to buried under the roads. To provide connection to any consumer, the roads would now have to be dug up. After these connections are made, the earth filling is never firm,

leaving the roads broken and ready to be destroyed by the next monsoon. The question is, when these roads were being widened, the authorities ought to have also constructed

connection points to these pipelines which protruded beyond the breath of the road so that the roads can be left untouched when new connections are made. We wonder again why

the government has still not realised that in the conduct of these enterprises, close coordination between its various concerned organs is vital. As of now, many of them

continue to work at wasteful cross purposes. When will the citizens ever get to see a sane administration which cares for their welfare and conveniences?

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