Chief Minister O Ibobi’s inauguration spree of some of the important public infrastructures in two different districts on a single day neatly captures the development mood that his government has been drumming up in the State for quite some time. Taking out time from the hectic Assembly Session, the CM has made a statement by reaching out to the two districts of Churachandpur and Bishnupur on a single day, that his government is concern about development. It definitely takes us down the memory lane of another inauguration spree that took place in 2011. This was when the United Progressive Alliance was in its second term of power in Delhi. The then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi came to Imphal in December 2011 to inaugurate the City Convention Center, the State Assembly Complex and the Manipur Film Development Corporation auditorium, all hurriedly on a single day. And of course, the Inter State Bus Terminus near Khuman Lampak, was also inaugurated on the same day by the same visitors. A remote control device was used while inaugurating it, showcasing the State’s technological progress. Ever since, this ISBT has been in the public limelight, capturing front page spaces with photographs of its premises dotted with human excreta. The City Convention Center after almost three years of its inauguration bears no sign of completion even today, except for its well decorated façade standing tall and forlornly. MFDC auditorium which is just across the City Convention has a different picture. The auditorium is equipped with one of the best setups with digital surround sound, hi-tech projector and other modern gadgets. Truly, this is one of the public structures we are proud of. However, this costly infrastructure has been running with inadequate staff. There is need for inducting more workforces for the infrastructure to thrive. The same is true for the newborn Chandrakirti Auditorium at the Palace Compound. It is learned that paucity of fund has been one of the chief reasons for not recruiting adequate staffs. Registered that the financial climate may not be favorable on the Government’s part for recruiting staff, as evident with the current ban on recruitment; but our contestation is that the purpose for building such infrastructures is hardly served unless there are enough people to look after them. Agreed, the present government must be given credit for such infrastructural achievements of public worth. But what is appalling is leaving the structures alone to its own fate. Before embarking upon such costly projects, the government must also take into cognizance of the simple fact that an infrastructure needs maintenance for it to survive. The same logic applies to any infrastructure whether it is new or old. The CM while inaugurating the newly constructed block of the Churachandpur District hospital assured that his government would set up a Hills Medical College in the district. The announcement is certainly welcome. We have been maintaining in this column that health care facilities should be upgraded and expanded to each and every district of the State, rather than concentrating in the Imphal areas. What is unhinging is that without enough manpower, physical infrastructure alone cannot look after the patients. The Senapati District hospital even after inauguration of its new building is not fully functional because of lack of staff. If this kind of development represents the real mood of development, then it is a retarded development.
Leader Writer: Senate Kh.