Saturday, May 18, 2024

No vision

It is about time our people realize that a government can’t possibly have long-term excuses for poor basic governance. Governments can do anything if they intend to. With political will and a visionary imagination, governments elsewhere have changed the most backward and crime-ridden states in India and for that matter war torn and ravaged countries around the world into emerging economies. And in that context of change, our state is perhaps the most fertile place for reform. This state has long been waiting the transition of politics into leadership and statesmanship. The sorry state of affairs in our state can be attributed to reluctance and stubbornness to change. Though management of change is a cumbersome process or it is resisted by many, but change in positive direction is always welcome. Today among others we have an ailing health care, underdeveloped tourism and hospitality sector and obsolete education system. So it needs a massive overhaul. Unfortunately over the years, our leaders have shown themselves to be too individualistic and visionless, who have no clue of the pain an ordinary man is undergoing. Sure our state is a tough place to govern with so many groups and elements active at all times. So we need a person with an uncanny ability to carry everyone along. It is also a shame that there is not a single leader in the state willing to own his portion of responsibility in the contribution to the mess in which the whole situation is as of today. Indeed the traditional excuses of mal-administration and malfeasance are now running out. A conducive atmosphere, some more or less eventless years that we have witnessed for some years now all promised to be harbingers of approaching prosperity. The time for our state to emerge from the depths of gloom and dismay seemed to be right around the bell. There were expectations, even from the critics of the ruling party, that this time around we will see the better end of governance and development. No big expectations these. Expectations of good roads, a dignified pattern of electricity, good hospitals and good schools! So, when after the last general election, former chief minister Neiphiu Rio returned for his fourth innings in the top chair, our people hoped that they would finally, for once in the tumultuous history of our state, be worthy enough of a government that broke the status-quo, a government that would revolutionize the state’s policies and go beyond electioneering promises and pledges. Yet, the change as envisioned is yet to come. Unfortunately instead of an imaginative, dynamic government we got an imaginary one. There are so many crying examples of apathy and lack of political will all around us. In most district headquarters or towns in the state we have roads that have been dysfunctional for decades. Drains that were dug out years back are still wide open, staring and mocking us. The bridge over Dhansiri River connecting Purana Bazaar with Walford (Super Market) in Dimapur is yet to be completed, missing the targeted completion by years. The Dimapur Municipal Council (DMC) or the Kohima Municipal Council (KMC), for instance, has their own benchmarks for imagination and creativity. While the state isn’t worthy enough of a feasible master plan, the departments are rather busy with and more focused on constructing shopping centers, apartment complexes, etc. The epitome of agricultural science and public policy in our state is not visible. Ribbon cuttings, machinery distribution, photo opportunities and stentorian speeches later, our farmers are still where he was decades back. Our revenue system is the same that we had in the early 1980s. We have been hearing about digitalization of revenue records since time immemorial, but this is yet to see light of the day. We have so far no exclusive children’s hospital in the state. Our hospitals are crying for ventilators. Compared to other state’s that are now coming out of economic recessions and political depressions, our government is a dampener. Apparently our governments lack imagination. They don’t dream beyond the contours of five-year terms. We haven’t had a government that has thought about a twenty-year strategic plan. And imagination is the key to change and reform. We need an imaginative government, not imaginary ones.