Sekmai River: Rs 100-Rs 500 entry fee for picnickers, Is it worth it?

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Laishram Ranbir

DSC_0006 (2)Imphal, Jan. 30: After years of ban on picnicking at Sekmai River, since the 2017 New Year eve, many have began thronging the area alongside the river looking for the best spot for picnic and the locals of the Sekmai village charged the picnickers anything from Rs 100 to Rs 500.

DSC_0021With none to clean up the leftovers left by the picnickers which have been lying at the river side contaminating and polluting the river as well as the area, the entry fee charged for picnicking at the Sekmai River, questions have been raised as to the worthiness of such fees.

DSC_0044Sekmai is a famous picnic spot and a favorite getaway from Imphal about 20 km away along the NH-1.

IMG_20170126_161322Every year during the peak season of January, Sekmai picnic spots drew more than thousands of people of Manipur state, young to old. During this time the picnickers generate thousands of garbage like used polythene bags, water bottles, locally brewed liquor bags, broken whisky and beer bottles, washing powder and soap wrappers, potato chip wrappers, sanitary napkins, spoiled slippers and shoes, used plastic cups and plates, food leftovers, burned woods etc. which lies scattered all over the place, especially along the river bed.

IMG_20170126_161637Dust bins have been kept at the river side to be used and the locals who came to collect the entry fee use to urge the picnickers to use them but such efforts seem to be in vain. None of the picnickers care to pile up the garbage or leftovers together at a single place and instead left scattered which later run down along with the river polluting the water. Sekmai River: Rs 100-Rs 500 entry fee for picnickers, Is it worth it?

IMG_20170126_161544One could even witness broken glass bottles lying all over the area posing physical threat to the safety of everyone stepping in the area.

“Who will be responsible for such inhuman activities? For the garbage and leftovers that have been scattered all over the area, who will come and clean the things which have been left behind? Aren’t we responsible for what the Sekmai River have become today from what it was years back?” Not only garbage, almost all of the picnickers travel through two wheelers, three wheelers, four wheelers and sometimes heavy vehicles like buses. The vehicles they bought are being washed in the river itself, polluting the water with the chemicals and oils from them.

IMG_20170126_172226Many NGOs, Civil Societies and Clubs have organised numerous awareness campaigns on river cleaning and responsible picnicking to save the Sekmai River but the people who came for picnic seems unaware and instead contaminating the water seems to be increasing day by day.

IMG_20170126_161340With the changing environment system, aren’t we humans need to be aware about the riverine ecosystem? The unrestrained and unregulated activities of mankind can destroy the system and as the water from the river has almost dried up, if we do not take up necessary steps, one day Sekmai River will remain as a name only.

Government and concern departments have been shouting, promising to take up necessary steps and programmes to save the environment but not in action or activity. Where have the development projects and plans to save the dying rivers of the state gone?

Assuring lies during the election campaign to draw votes with blank future of the state, how long will the state and its people suffer? Day by day different species of the state which could not be found in other states are becoming extinct, famous lakes, rivers have turned into drains filled with garbage. How long will the government keep on fighting for power and seat to rule the state?

One must not forget that about four years back, quarrying sand from Sekmai river bank and organising picnics at the area was banned by the local clubs of Sekmai as such activities have seriously impacted the natural environment of Sekmai River while picnics have made the river dirty and polluted and sand quarrying has been the main reason responsible for parching of wells at Sekmai area.

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