The monsoons are yet to spark off its total fury in the state. But if the scenes on the roads and bye lanes of Imphal are any indication, there is every possibility that the citizens of the town are in for a long spell of being caught up in flash floods of slush and garbage. The concerned department and authorities responsible for the road widening in Imphal it seems, have not given much thought or enough of it anyway to ensure that rain water falling on the roads get to flow in the drains. While the initiative of the Government in widening the main roads of the town is note worthy, the spectacle of road side drains being raised much beyond the surface of the roads means that water logging stays on the main roads every time there is a downpour. The drain and sewage system that is still under construction once it reaches the final stages is unfortunately limited to only certain parts of Imphal city while leaving out the peripheral roads and by lanes criss-crossing the town. It has become common for brief spells of rain to lead to flash floods on the streets of Imphal, a phenomenon that does not look like it will go away any time soon. The sight of water logging on the streets is a safety hazard since most roads and bye lanes do have numerous craters and pot- holes. Apart from the raised drainage boundaries on the main roads leading to water logging, the encroachments on areas near small drainage systems in residential areas on one hand, and the amount of siltation and garbage that is getting dumped in shallow drains are all contributing to water spilling on to small roads and bye lanes.
The sight of water logging in a town that is being pegged as the nerve center for trade and tourism is a serious let down and something that can only give the exact opposite of being a place on the path to development and progress. Even as garbage dumps around Imphal are piled on the streets, on the river banks and the markets, the onset of the monsoons is a foul reminder literally of the muck that we live with. The water logging on the streets drags up the garbage lying around and it is only a matter of time before various diseases crop up. Just as the concerned departments and authority seem to be bothered about the state of the sights of water logged roads and its filth, the common man too seems to be barely concerned beyond having to bother about how they will maneuver the roads they must commute by in their day to day lives. There is hardly any shadow or hint of readiness to take up any pro-active action on cleaning up drains. Apart from cleaning up the drainage system, if each household were to take up water harvesting, the free fall of rain water and the amount of spill over leading to water logging would be cut down in some measure. As of now, water harvesting is not being taken up with the seriousness it deserves not just as an environment conservation drive but as a long term measure to ensure water availability. Right now, the high drainage walls on the main roads need to go first before there are any incidents of fatal accidents taking place. What comes out is the fact that the issue of water logging puts the focus on various Government agencies having to work together.
The matter of irony here is that while a little rain leads to water logging and flash flooding, the absence of rains has begun to lead to near drought like situations in the state. This is an indication that the buzz over ‘climate change’ is indeed a reality in the state where the temperatures have been going up every year while the rainfall is only declining year by year. There can be no one single manner of addressing a seasonal occurrence such as water logging or flash flooding as an unban nuisance and characteristic. It tells us that along with the Government agencies, the common man will have to join in by giving more serious attention to the environment around him. It says that the use of plastic bags may be very convenient but become harmful eventually as they prevent water being absorbed by the soil. It tells us that one cannot afford to slumber away and pass on the buck and that we will have to rouse ourselves up and find out ways and initiatives to stay clean and muck free.