In the din of the Assembly election, today silence hangs over the ongoing economic blockade imposed by the United Naga Council since midnight of October 31 last year. This is in stark contrast to the days ahead of the election when the BJP and the Congress went hammer and tongs against each other over the blockade, with none seriously trying to resolve it. Wonder how much the blockade will impact on the election, but as repeated numerous times in this column, it would have only made the position of O Ibobi and by extension the Congress stronger, at least in the valley area. This is about the election, and while every knows and have talked about the impact of the blockade on the people, especially in the valley area, no one seems to have given any thought to the people living along the Imphal-Dimapur National Highway. Maybe this may be attributed to the fact that it is the people living along this highway who have been imposing the blockade with such seriousness that not much thought has been given to how much such a form of agitation impact on the people living along the said highway. In other words, has anyone thought about the impact of the blockade on places such as Kangpokpi, Senapati, Maram, Mao and the other towns located along the highway ? This is a question which the people living along the highway should have raised a long time back.
True in raising the banner of agitation or protest against any decision of the Government, some people will be more deprived than the others but time to acknowledge the fact that the places mentioned above should have been towering head and shoulder above the other tribal groups in the State. Remember communication is a good indicator of development and since World War II, communication to these places have been good and easy. In the late 70s and early 80s, it took almost the whole day to travel from Imphal to Ukhrul district headquarters while travelling to say Mao or Senapati entailed a few hours. A clear indication that these places were much better connected with other places than the rest of the hill districts.
Despite this, one cannot say that these places have developed as much as say Ukhrul or some other places in the hill districts. Why is this so is a question which the people living in these towns and along the highway should have raised a long time back. Good communication means better access to education, health and other development indices but looking at the reality it is more than obvious that none of these advantages have been availed and who should be held responsible for this ? It would be so much better for the people living in the places just mentioned to seriously ponder on why they have not been able to capitalise on their position and accordingly develop and advance.
Source: The Sangai Express