Saturday, July 20, 2024

Our problems

The number of water logged roads in the state and the regular landslides on our national and state high ways with the onset of monsoon every year betrays a much bigger malaise existing in the way our state is developing. Though it is almost a foregone conclusion that rains leave the roads totally battered, the repeated landslides and water logging is an apt reflection of how neglect has not just washed away the natural drainage system but also lent it a poor road networking. While nature’s fury always has a telling impact on development works, particularly roads, the present destruction is exacerbated by follies that are purely man made. With poorly constructed potholed roads and choked drains, our towns turn into pools of filth and devastation after the rains. The roads, even in the newly constructed one in the four-lane highway, this time are not only battered with gaping potholes but totally bruised and the reason is not just an exceptionally heavy rainfall. It rather stems from poor planning of roads, sub-standard and technically flawed construction and repairs. And, all these are manifestations of complacency, inefficiency and above all corruption within the government departments. State capital, Kohima and commercial capital, Dimapur are no exception. Rather, it is a glaring example of how rampant corruption and dismaying lack of work culture has caused the decay of the existing infrastructure. Our predicament is only symbolic of how development works and development issues are treated across the state. The filthy and unhygienic conditions of Dimapur and Kohima, among others, are no longer a secret. The fate of the other towns of the state can well be gauged from the fact that successive governments have concentrated on these two towns as far as their development agenda is concerned. The issues of development have often sparked off competitive claims of discrimination from different parts/regions of the state. Of late we have heard cries of discrimination from different regions over disproportionate disparity in allocation of developmental funds. The allegation was that schemes and funds are allocated to some areas only leaving other areas far behind. Sure, there should be equitable development of all the regions of the state. It means whether a city, town or a village, the benefits of development should reach everywhere, and the amenities and facilities that are available to the people living in one area should be available in other areas also. Now the alleged discrimination that came up recently were based on the allocation of funds to each region in terms of development and maintenance of basic infrastructure like roads, drainage, water supply system, etc. But it was never argued on the basis of the need of a particular region or the other. Rather than flare up this unreasonable argument of discrimination based on unscientific assessment and estimates, though the question of disparities remains vital part of the governance discourse, there is need to shed this tendency of questioning why a particular region or sub-region has got more money in its kitty than the other. Rather, there is a need to seek answers to questions about where the money allocated for the basic infrastructure of each region, sub-region and area has gone on the basis of the shambled condition of various projects, from roads and bridges to drainage system. In fact the government must be made to answer why urban areas and forests are being allowed to be converted into concrete jungles, why massive greed is paving way for flattening of hills and leveling of forest areas to be turned into commercial ventures, and residential colonies, since much of this greed is behind the increasing cases of landslides even in areas where these were unknown. The government also needs to be held accountable for its lack of planning in allowing vast expansion of towns without any scientific planning and for the dysfunctional drainage systems. There needs to be greater realization and acceptance of the fact that it is not just rains that are washing off the infrastructure, including roads. It is deep rooted corruption that is drowning and devastating everything.