Building bridges over troubled waters

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Sometimes, It’s quite amusing to observe the functioning of the Manipur government. In a hurry, one may trip and fall; similarly the about to begin Sangai Festival may share the same fate. One wonders how the planning department and the administrative people chalks out the time and plans for renovation of bridges and roads. The Sanjenthong bridge which as per promise by Cheif Minister Okram Ibobi was scheduled for completion before the Sangai festival, but as with all development projects in the state, it gets bogged down and work completion on time is a distant reality, a dream, a wish.

It is an insult to the public and moreover for the politician who came to inaugurate constructions like the City Convention Centre. The building is still to be painted and everything inside was on scaffolds then and now. Obsolete, but presenting a different and fake visage to people of concern. Such mock drills have been part of the administrative system and public servants in various departments still serve their self interest and in furtherance of increased bank balances. This is open secret that most files cannot be moved at the secretariat offices without tipping the peon to other babus in their air conditioned rooms. The legs of corruption must have been running long distance since the State gained statehood in 1972. From stories told from various experiences, employees are chosen from the rank of the politician’s family members and the subordinate officers of the department get their quotas. Back then, it was said that presenting a well grown fish to the right officer can land one with a job. The rest is history as the amount escalated from the fish to thousands and now presently in millions. Scams galore of the Manipur Public Service Commission, police department, medical entrances, engineering quotas etc. are multifold and government jobs are mainly a reserve for the wealthy and the connected. Having a cabinet minister as a relative may land one with a job and contracts would be favorable for the close ones of PWD, PHED, IFCD and the trend still continue.

So, bribed politicians , bribed officials etc. can just lead to the non-finishing of works on time and demanding quality is impossible as we also have to think about the contractors purse also. Plus, choosing honest politicians is a problem, if there is any! The majority of the public goes with the trend of voting only for those who have the capacity to bribe them. The candidate who tries on public goodwill is either a nutcase or a certified loser. Well! The finger may point in various directions but ultimately some of the fingers also point back at oneself and one also is not free from blame. An introspection is required and bringing about change begins from oneself. Every citizen has his duty to perform, from the cobbler to the minister. If that duty is performed with just a bit of honesty, the bridges would be completed on time.

Leader writer: Paojel Chaoba

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