Let There Be No More Delays

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By: Khelsoril WanbeThangmeiband Tarung,Imphal.How shall we describe the rate of development process in Manipur? I feel either ‘slow’ or ‘very slow’ will be the right answer. If the progress of a work or project is extremely slow, its significance or benefit is diluted and gets lost on the way. We need to look at the world around us; we seem to be lagging far behind our neighboring states and countries. Let us look at the condition of our educational system, roads, electricity, water supply, medical system etc. Are they okay or are they in a mess? Even without comparing them with those of other states, we need to ask ourselves, “Are we satisfied?”. Let us first look at our educational system. Private institutions up to higher secondary level are doing quite well, although our government higher secondary schools seem to have taken the reverse gear. Our higher education, I mean, our government colleges are facing serious problems of neglect and indifference that makes it hard for them to compete with highly competitive colleges in other parts of India. So what happens is that, right after completing 10+2, most of our brilliant students flee away from the state in search of ‘greener education’ in other states so that they will be able to compete in national competitive exams like CSE, CDS, IES, IFS etc. And how many of our youth are studying in IT, engineering, medical and management colleges in other states. It’s true that here too we have few centrally funded technical institutions, but they are not more than special exceptions.  How many crores of rupees are we forfeiting ourselves and gifting away to other states just because we do not have good colleges and institutions? It is true that the general atmosphere too is not so conducive to education because of the high frequency of bandhs, strikes and boycotts. However, this should not be held as the pretext for neglecting education. Education seems to have been relegated to the bottom of the priority list of the government and also of the people (indirectly). Law and order and security are given the highest importance, although this area too is not in a healthy condition. We should not forget that education is the foundation of a society. Without it our land will be in darkness and we will get lost someday. We should not complacently look up at the prestigious institutions in other states and places where we can send our children by spending a heavy lot of money. Things are interrelated of course. So the overall condition of our state is by no means healthy. Look at the roads; how long have the development works been going on. For years and years now, we have been moving on the same rugged roads (there are few exceptions of course) and we don’t know when we will travel on roads that are comparable to those in Sydney or Bangkok. A road that has just been repaired will last only about a month. How come this is happening everywhere in this unfortunate state? Corruption is thriving and we are all swimming in this muddy water. In the high places corruption is blooming like roses of different colors. So when it comes to public property, not much is left. So meager is left for the roads, electricity, water and what not. Anything public immediately/ gradually turns into private. Good roads are converted into posh Boleros, i20, (BMW) and (Toyotas)! I can (not literally) also do that, everybody can do that; there is no restriction. Because it has been declared and demonstrated from the top that corruption is the only business that is thriving here: in this land where many a small industry has died their untimely death. Yes, we practically do not have any industry worth the name here. It is very difficult for the so many unemployed youth in the state to live a dignified life. So, many are tempted to go for illegal businesses and corrupt activities. Corruption leading to further corruption is also a special case for study here. If a young man wants to join government service, the common practice here is that he has to buy a job- which seems to be relatively more available in the security department because the land is still struggling with security problems. So a poor unemployed guy is willing to bribe lakhs of rupees to get a modest job that will earn him few thousand rupees a month, and the temptation is all around him- to snatch if necessary from unwary preys- and he easily becomes a predator. But, this is happening in other departments too. If you want a file to move smoothly, you have to grease the palms of humble public servants in the government offices. Is this a part of redtapism/bureaucrazy, I wonder but this is happening. And I still wonder if Jan Lokpal bill will be able to help the poor people of Manipur. It becomes increasingly confusing as to who is the predator and who the prey; who the saint and who the hypocrite. So we are all swimming so contentedly in this slimy muddy water of corruption-one of its kind in the world. Corruption is an all-encompassing institution that seems to have attained a venerated status in the state, for it dwells so pompously in high places as well as among the rank and file of the society. From the highest to the lowest rung of the society- the virus has affected all. The heartening development in the recent months, however, have been that of Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh’s pledge to punish corrupt official and the big catches that followed in the persons of Suresh Kalmadi and his associates at the central level. But, it remains uncertain when or whether our tiny state will ever be freed from this malignant virus. It will definitely involve a bitter and painful therapy if we ever want to see a cure from this epidemic or whatever we may call it. Old habits die hard- it is possible but difficult for an alcoholic to turn into a teetotaler. It is going to involve the overhauling of the whole system in which we are moving. And that too has to come from the top- from those who walk in the corridors of power and sit at the steering wheel of the government. “Government of the people, by the people for the people” seems to have perished from the earth and no longer seems to be applicable in the world around here. Other than corruption, there are other things too that we need to give serious thoughts to if we want to rise from this present plight we are in. We need to look at advanced countries and see how they had metamorphosed into what they are today. Nothing of this world is perfect but my desire is to think together how we can improve our present dismal condition we are living in.
     A month or so ago, during his visit to Manipur, the ambassador of Cuba proudly enumerated the great and impressive achievements of the Cuban Revolution. In Cuba, he said, free medical check-up are given to its healthy citizens for it is much better to prevent sickness than try to cure after a person has got sick. Free medical treatment to all. Free education up to master level was also what he mentioned is made available in Cuba. 65% of technical jobs in Cuba are held by women, he said. Cuba has made a really very impressive achievement in the area of Human Resource Development, even better than those in USA and Europe. Sincerity, dedication and discipline are obviously the hallmarks of the Cubans which we too should try to emulate. But here we seem to regard sincere and honest people as simpletons. Are we in need of overhauling our attitude and mentality? 

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