The Imphal Municipal Council’s cleanliness drive to keep the Imphal city clean has already begun. As announced by the executive officer of the council, cleaning up Nambul River will be the priority. The executive officer while addressing to the media a few days back has mentioned that in order to attract tourist to the State, it is important to keep Imphal neat and clean. This is indeed undisputable. We have actually witnessed a good number of tourists from across the globe coming to Manipur. The recent event of ‘Battle of Imphal’ saw the presence of high ranking foreign nationals in Imphal, gathering in large number simultaneously. Sangai Festival is also another event that attracts international tourists. It is certain that the inflow of tourists into the State is going to increase in the days to come, also taking into account the interest shown by the State on tourism. We believe the IMC is well aware of the churning that has been unfolding. Well, tourism seems to be the catchword. But when it comes to cleanliness of Imphal, or other places for that matter, there are unsettling questions that seems to have no viable answer. IMC is one important institution which is primarily responsible for maintaining cleanliness in Imphal. How far have the IMC been successful in meeting this obligation? Its track record has been very unimpressive. The state of cleanliness at the Ema keithels, the streets of Paona Bazar and Thangal Bazar – not to mention the wandering cattle that are seen daily in these streets; these are observable report card of the IMC’s standard of cleanliness. Besides, one cannot be sure as of when its employees will be on strike. Here, we do not mean to disparage the democratic rights of the employees in addressing their grievances. The employees have every right to fight for their cause. But this is also true that IMC employees’ strikes have become part of the daily humdrums of present-day Manipur. We are even more doubtful when it comes to cleaning up of the Nambul River. IMC has already announced that those found throwing garbage into the river will be penalised with a fine of Rs 2000. By garbage, as we understand, it means the solid wastes that are dump into the river almost daily. The Khwairamband commercial area produces quite a big amount of garbage everyday. True, the restriction will keep a check on it to certain point. But, what about the sewerageswhich are flown directly into the river from the residential areas along the Nambul? As of now, there is no alternative. We have to wait for the Sewerage Project to take its birth. The Manipur Pollution Control Board, MPCB had also flaunted the idea of a grand project that would clean and recycle the water of Nambul. We have already pointed out in one of our columns in May this year, that there are areas of ambiguities which demand a joint understanding between the town planers and the MPCB as regards to the cleaning of Nambul. The State had envisioned a City Development Plan, CDP in 2006 under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission, JNNURM. Improvement of Nambul is one of the major components of the plan. The IMC is one of the agencies of JNNURM. We wonder if the current cleanliness drive of Nambul taken up by IMC is part of the JNNURM project. Or is it just a perfunctory reaction to the kind of tourism climate that has been building up in the State?
Leader Writer: Senate Kh