IMPHAL: Despite being part of Manipur, anyone who visits Vangai range sub-division in Pherzawl district could not shake off the feeling of visiting an unfamiliar place as the entire sub-division is not just cut off from the rest of the state but also reels under apathy of the government in all aspects. The only thing that connects the sub-division with the rest of the outside world is bamboo raft, which the residents use for crossing Barak River. Formerly under Churachandpur district, Vangai Range still has no sign of development with no proper facilities in education, health and transport sectors.
The sub-division, which has 58 recognised villages, could be reached after a drive of 32 kilometres from Pherzawl district headquarters and then by crossing Barak River. There was a bridge over the river, over which MSRTC buses used to connect the sub-division with the rest of the country. But after the bridge collapsed about two decades back, the entire sub-division remained in isolation. Though the Congress government began construction of a bridge, it was left uncompleted forcing the residents to opt for a rather conventional method of crossing the river with the help of bamboo rafts. Pherzawl DC A Tombikanta recently visited the sub-division.
Without no other means to cross the river, the DC had to pay Rs 700 for each of the vehicle to cross the river on the bamboo rafts. It takes almost 45 minutes to get one vehicle cross the river. After crossing the river, no-body could find any metalled road in the entire subdivision though major roads of the subdivision had been black-topped by BRTF way back in 1978. But failure on the part of the state authority has made all roads in the sub-division dusty in summer and muddy during rainy season. The SDO office located at Patpimun village was found unattended among thick bushes and one has to walk through the bushes to reach the office since one could not find any approach road. In its long history, no SDO has ever sat in the office as they are always stationed in Churachandpur district.
Surprised on seeing the DC visiting the village, the villagers expressed their pleasure and pleaded him not to return.
No government teachers could also be seen in any of the government schools in the sub-division. A person, who claims himself to be the education secretary of the sub-division, is engaging teachers from among the villagers to teach the students. While the government teachers and the said person are getting salary from the government, the engaged teachers are taking up the duty to teach the students at a miserly sum of Rs 4000 per month.
In the health sector too, without any proper facilities and health personnel, the residents of the sub-division have to go all the way to Jiribam to get medical treatment.
From Patpimun village, where the SDO office is located, one can reach Jiribam after travelling 68 kilometres along the deplorable roads. Earlier in order to get to Jiribam district, one had to cross the Barak River with the help of a suspension bridge at Kangredhor village. However, after the collapse of the bridge, boats or bamboo rafts are the only means that connect the sub-division with Jiribam district.
In such a situation, villagers are looking towards the government authority to make arrangement for a motor boat as an immediate solution until a bridge comes up.
Source: The People’s Chronicle