By Daisy Leivon
Manipur, IMPHAL, August 23: The long drawn Imphal Sewage Project is turning out to be nothing but another marker on the state inability towards fulfilling its promises to the general public.
The sewage project cuts through the heart of Imphal city through its streets and lanes.
The Thangmeiband Watham Leirak is an epic example of how the sewage project has degraded the lives of the people. This road used to be the main thoroughfares of people living in and around Thangmeiband and Lamphel connecting them to the rest of the city.
The sewage project work along Watham leirak had been going on for almost 8 years and still there is no end in sight. Through the years, the people living along the area have been struggling with the constant changes to the road and their environment.
Although, the project was intended for creating a convenience to the people it has now become nothing but a nuisance with the slow progress and indifference from the government’s side.
On a survey of the road, we discovered that a few light vehicles could pass through the road but it seemed like we were driving along a road in some remote village rather than a road right in the middle of the city.
We can imagine what the situation must be like for the roads and the people living in the remote villages of Manipur if such pathetic situation occurs in the city itself, not to mention that the Capital Project is just few metres away from this road.
Speaking to the people who live along this road, their dismay is apparent. It was not easy for them to be forced to live in a situation when their own personal lives had to be compromised to adjust to the environment. The delay has been going on for so long that the whole situation had become normal to most of them.
L Ramananda, a resident who owns a small shop speaking to IFP expressed his anguish over the pathetic condition of the road and the never ending sewage project.
He said, “Even businesses along the road are dead as hardly anyone crosses the road and there are no customers.”
He further informed that the proposed road expansion has not happened as well. While sacrificing a part of the land for the sake of expansion is itself a curse the delay in expansion work has created a sense of uncertainty among the residents affected by it. Compensation has not been given to the affected people either.
Due to the never ending work along this road, situation of flood during monsoons, dirt gathering up and dusty environment have been troubling the residents for so many years.
An resident informed that, “Even during emergencies it is difficult to just get out on the main road and there is hardly any public vehicle moving around. Children have to walk distances or be dropped and picked up for school buses or vans as they don’t run through the road anymore.”
Flood during monsoons is very difficult for the residents specially children and working people. The drainage system has been defunct due to sewage project.
L. Pratap Meitei, President of Naharol Leishemba Club said, “The lanes and smaller roads are being used like a National Highway and it has resulted in wreckage of the road and even the small ponds next to these small roads are getting affected.”
In order to maintain these roads, the club has been charging the trucks as the government does not even give a small heed into what is going on in the neighbourhood and how the sewage project is hampering the lives of the people.
The Vice President Manitomba also informed that due to the project the pipes that delivers water has been cut off and some areas in the neighbourhood have not been receiving waters for years and they have to purchase water. Furthermore, even the pipes that are still intact are so old that they water that comes out of the pipes are literally black which is unusable to the people.
The club have appealed to the concerned authorities to come and inspect the project in the field itself. It has also warned that strong agitation will be organized if the government continues to neglect the whole project and the issues arising because of the extreme delay in progress of work. The club raised a demand that work on the road should be started in two months, otherwise the neighbouring roads will be closed and no trucks will be able to pass through it.
Even though the Watham leirak road has been open recently after 8 years, the roads are such that a car can barely manage to drive through.