Manipur: The dry State

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By Yambem Laba

In 1991 the then Chief Minister of Manipur the late R.K.Ranbir Singh had declared Manipur to be a dry state following the diktat from the proscribed People’s Liberation Army of Manipur thinking  that he would have made Manipur dry of liquor little did he realized  that his diktat  would have much influence on his move. For the bootleggers at large and the syndicate that controls the inflow of IMFL (Indian Made Foreign Liqueurs) would soon be at large. And now, that IMFL and the
locally distilled Sekmai, Phayeng and Leiramam are available at equally large and abundant quantity at places where the Govt. of Manipur and its agencies are sure about their locations. Yet their whereabouts and their clandestine operations are being turned about by the custodians of the Law for their daily intake ranging from 5 to 100 rupees depending upon the force they represent.

But what the Late R.K Ranbir could be turning in his grave (May his soul  rest in Peace) is the fact that his successor Shri Okram Ibobi from Thoubal and now in his this third term as Chief Minister of Manipur has not only been able to maintain his dry state of Manipur not only to liquors but also to Water, Petrol, Diesel and Power meaning electricity.

One just have to go around looking for a petrol pump supplying  fuel to the thousands of  commuters every day  on their vehicles queuing up every morning  to fill  up their vehicles .There are no bandhs and blockades in sight yet the oil syndicate seems to have taken over the Government of Manipur to ensure that an  oil embargo was in sight-this had resulted in a fear psychosis and led to panic buying amongst the consumers- resulting in an over spilling  black market of oil consumers pushing up the price of petrol to over Rs.100 per liter. In the backdrop is the scarcity of water, something which no person in the world can do without. The taps have ran dry for the last seven days  and the private water carriers are making  gold out of that charging some Rs.300 for  a 500 liters delivery  of water potable or not. No questions are asked and non taken that seems to be the rule of the day.

This is in spite of various political parties raising a hue and cry over the non- availability of Water in the State. The Singda Dam which supplies the bulk of drinking water to the over 5 millions of citizens in the Imphal area is said to have enough water for the next 15 days. And coupled to this is the fact that both the Iril and Imphal rivers the twin suppliers of potable water to the people of Imphal and the rest of Manipur have  running dry for the last  4 months.

There have also been various debates about the non availability of water in the State .The Hon’ble PHED Minister Shri Irengbam Hemochandra had assured the people to pump water from the Loktak Lake to be purified and later pumped to the people. This was alright as a political promise but he did not spell out where the cost is going to be made-perhaps out of the personal coffers of himself or Shri Ibobi was not clarified.

But all said and done is there governance in Manipur  where people can avail of basic facilities of life like water, power or petrol to sustain their daily lives that is the big question of the day in our golden Land the Sanaleibak otherwise known as Manipur.

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