Arrested development at Kamjong; villagers cry foul at Govt apathy

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By Paojel Chaoba
IMPHAL, September 30: According to residents of Kamjong village, the Sub-Divisional Officer of Kamjong comes to office twice in a year: once on Independence Day and the other on Republic Day. Kamjong sub-division, which comes under Ukhrul district is located at about 130 kilometres from Imphal and is populated by Tangkhuls as the majority tribe with a mix of Kukis, Meiteis, Nepalis and some pockets of migrant population. Kamjong has at least an approximate population of 15,000.

Though road communication is better than other far flung interior areas of the State, development activities are still taking place at a snail’s pace. The functioning of different government offices are at a negligible ratio inclusive of the sub-divisional office. In a press interaction with members of Rajenlong, a village administrative body representing14 villages out of the total 45 villages of the sub-division, it was mentioned that the public faces a dilemma while procuring  domicile, income and other certificates inclusive of birth certificates. “The Community Health Centre advises us that a birth certificate cannot be given by them and we have to go to the Deputy Commissioner who sits at Ukhrul headquarters,” convernor of Rajenlong, Thomas stated. The sub-divisional office is also manned by a sole head-clerk at present.

President of the body, C Zingshongan said that the road from Kamjong to Kongkanthana which is about 35 kilometres has not been repaired nor has singling been done despite funds being provided under the Border Area Development back in 2011. He added that the road from Kamjong to Kongkan which is repaired under PMGSY is not up to the mark.

The Veterinary office has been lying closed since 5 years back, the check post meant to scrutinize the import of pigs and buffaloes from Myanmar has not been done so for the said time. Reports were culled of animals dying of unknown diseases after being brought from Myanmar.

Mobile connectivity is another major problem as the BSNL tower at Kamjong is not fully operational. Towers under construction at Grehang, Ramfoi and Chatrik village are still incomplete. Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) phones are the only means of connectivity for the villagers.

The education sector is another major handicap. According to Rajenlong Student Union President Worngahan Awungshi, there are 4 government run schools within the sub-division. But, for the last 40 years, students appearing for the HSLC exam have to go to Phungyar to give their exams which is located about 90 kilometres away.

“Students need to have at least 10,000 Rupees for HSLC, they have to find lodgings, food etc. Sometimes, they have to carry stoves to cook their own food and the expenditure is too much for BPL families. Sometimes, academic years are lost as the expenditure cannot be borne,” Awungshi said.  Kamjong High School and Grehang High School have applied for recognition as a HSLC centre since 2004 but has not been responded till date. It may be mentioned that at least a hundred students appear for their matriculate examinations each year.

The domino effect on the dropout students is the risk of becoming drug addicts. As the border is just located 35 kilometres away and due to high proliferation of Heroin, opium, teenagers become easy prey for addiction as they drop out from school. It was mentioned that at least 50% of teenagers are mostly drug users while there is no counseling or rehabilitation centre at Kamjong sub-division.

The 50 bedded hospital at Kamjong is also operated by a skeleton staff inclusive of 4 doctors who attend to their duties on a roster and one doctor is available at a time only to the public.

The Rajenlong members cried foul of Government negligence and urged concerned authorities that at least some of the grievances of the Kamjong public should be addressed at the earliest. 

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