Leader Writer : Hrishikesh Angom
The massive flood in the valley districts of Manipur has indeed given a golden opportunity to the politicians and social-workers of the state to indulge in hectic social-service ahead of the upcoming general election scheduled in 2012. It is the high time for them to show off their purported benevolence to the public by providing relief materials such as rice, pulses, kerosene and even drinking water to the flood affected people. The material assistances provided to the flood victims are indeed valuable but their seeming political motive behind such benevolent acts makes people apprehensive. The people feel that they are making some kind of investment in such situation to procure votes in the upcoming election. There is always publicity in both print and electronic media about ministers, MLAs and even social-workers rendering help and assistance to the flood affected people. Such publicity exposes the motive of the politicians and social-workers trying to gain political advantage rather than rendering service to the public wholeheartedly. Everyone, whether minister or MLA or aspiring candidate, tries to take the name and fame on the pretext of helping the people who are in need of some material assistances.
The recent confrontation between a minister and an aspiring candidate of an assembly constituency on the matter of distribution of relief materials is a clear sign of the “flood” being politicized rather than relieving the victims who are in dire need of some support and assistance from the side of the government. The relief package as announced by the state government seems to get lost somewhere in the midway failing to reach to the flood victims. The 10 kilograms of rice that should be given to every flood affected household have been drastically reduced to some four or five kilograms. So far there has been no announcement from the side of the government to compensate the losses incurred by the farmers, especially for the paddy fields and fish farms. The materials such as rice and pulses will only serve two meals in a day, but the most important aspect of health and public hygiene have not been considered in the aftermath of massive flood. The local clubs and the people are demanding only rice or kerosene but no medicine or disinfectant for maintaining proper public health. The publicity so far made in local newspapers and television channels of the state is of some ministers, MLAs and social workers distributing rice, pulses and water to the public. The local clubs are also made to hold press conferences by these political-minded people to publicize the words of gratitude shown to them for their purported benevolent acts. Without publicity they think their service to the public is fruitless and so they go on making the publicity even for distributing a glass of water to the public. The main concern over here is whether the people really feel satisfied with such purported benevolence of social workers and politicians of the state who turn up to gain something out of such grave situation. The budding social workers would not have much opportunity to appear on the newspapers if they were no flood.
Moreover, the concerned government departments like the PHED andmedical department should take up the needful steps to ensure hygienic drinking water and good health condition to the flood affected people of the state. The process of relieving the flood victims is not over with just five or five kilograms of rice, but requires total revival of the surroundingby spraying disinfectants and chemicals to ensure hygienic environment in the aftermath of massive flood. The politicians and social workers would have been appreciated by the people if they have done the social-service in the real interests of the flood affected people rather than for gaining political mileage.