Who profits from bad roads? One answer aside from the motor repair workshops would be obviously the contractors! The mechanics would be obviously happy as they would have ample business from the broken down vehicles, the contractors would earn an annual amount from blacktopping a particular stretch. So, when the rains wash away the tar and stones and potholes emerge, there is always someone profiting from that. Hence, the loss of the public is always someone’s gain.
With an arrested development of the state, would certain individuals in power profit from that is a very practical question. As power has shifted from the Congress and the BJP coalition government is set to change the developmental landscape, we have the first north east business summit in this month. Top companies which are household names are most possibly flying down in their private jets to attend the summit. The state government has made elaborate arrangements for the summit and plan to lure in investors. The chief minister also seems to be making a foray in this regard at Myanmar during the South East Asia business summit. Well! development is always positive and the youths of the state which are about 8 lacs in the unemployed list would get myriad opportunities to get a job in the private sector.
However, it must be taken into consideration that if if the giant corporate houses do decide to make a venture here, the least amount of investment would be in the tune of 500 crores.
If the companies see the potential and set up business, it may be safe to assume that it would spell the end for many local entrepreneurs.
For instance, we can take the hospitality sector which local hoteliers are cashing on. The Classic group of hotels have 3 main buildings in Imphal area and are considered rated three stars. However, if chains like the Taj, Oberoi, Leela decides to open up chains here. One need not spell out what would be in store for local businessmen. This is just an example in a particular area, imagine the other sectors which can be invested on by the MNCs.
In business or politics, it is always the survival of the fittest but state can adopt certain policies which can give the local entrepreneurs a fighting chance. And for that the experts are there.
Further, the state government should also consider any investment proposals which may affect the communities and may be objected at simple plunder of the resources. The former Congress government had given the green signal to Jubiliant company for oil exploration and many wells are being set up within the state. If the crude oil be drained by a government or private company, what do the public get. It may be mentioned here that the National Hydro Power Corporation built the Ithai Dam and submerged thousands of arable land in the name of development. Now, the state government is at the mercy of NHPC as the floodgates of the dam cannot be opened at the directive of the state government but from the corporation’s top brass. Moreover, the agreement signed between NHPC and Manipur government then has gone missing. It’s quite amusing at this point that the NHPC do not have an agreement paper in their hands yet ruin the state’s ecological balance. Another question is how much is the NHPC contributing in power to the state and how much electricity is produced by the project. Now, the state is taking power from the national grid and its high time that a statistical data be framed on how much the Ithai barrage is worth in generating electricity and at the same time how much the LDA is spending on trying to save the Loktak lake. How much land can be reclaimed for agricultural purposes if the dam is decommissioned.
The point here is that development is welcome but not at a cost which we will regret in future.
Leader Writer: Paojel Chaoba
Source: Imphal Free Press