TODAY -

Najmaji's flood fixing formula

Free Thinker *

Flood in Imphal city :: 14th June 2018
Flood in Imphal city on 14th June 2018 :: Pix - Shankar Khangembam



Najmaji, Her Excellency, the very amicable and accessible Governor of Manipur (comparable only with immensely popular Chintamani Panigrahiji) has made it amply clear to our media buddies that aforestation is the only answer to fix the floods in the State.

We all agree. Her suggestion may pragmatically be linked with Birenji's recent proposal to plant hundreds of thousands of Agar tree (Agar wood) in the hills of Manipur. This is going to be the most durable remedy to our perennial problem of flooding in the State.

Next is to restore and preserve our water bodies (pats/lakes) like Lamphelpat , Porompat, Khonghampat, Charangpat, Keisampat (was it a pat?) etc. Then, damming, dredging, digging-canals, deepening-drains (widening also), diverting-rivers, durable embankments, etc., will certainly help in flood control and water management.

Though the Forest Survey Report says that forest cover of the State of Manipur has increased marginally by 1% or so due to conservation and plantation activities as well as regrowth in shifting cultivation areas, we still need massive aforestation in order to redeem our erstwhile thick forest cover in the hills for an effective rain water retention. Otherwise the monsoon flash flood havoc will recur every year without any break.

I have nothing to say about the forest data, but it reminds me the words of Mark Twain, "these are lies, these are damn lies, and these are statistics."

In addition to Agar we may also plant oranges and lemons because our citrus fruits are in great demand (because of exotic flavor) everywhere though transportation and marketing is still a trammel. Actual aforestation may take ten to fifteen years. If we start planting trees today we shall reap the benefits and fruits after a decade. Our next generation would remember us then for the good work we have done now.

Meanwhile I extend my heartfelt condolences to those who have lost their near and dear ones in the flood related incidents and also bestow my sincere sympathies to those who have lost their properties & livestock in the deluge. In Manipur, six persons have died, more than 150 habitations have been submerged and nearly 2 lakh people have been affected as a repercussion of this first monsoon fury.

One madly honest bureaucrat posted in Assam told me that every year 'father Brahmaputra' brings flood to the Assam plains; it is a blessing for many including politicians, bureaucrats, and contractors. They always want to face such ravaging floods on a regular basis.

Now the Chinese have started diverting water from it, so the impact of the Brahmaputra flood can't be as devastating as before. Still the flood managers, fighters, controllers, Boards etc., are not willing to reduce their estimated budget to encounter the anticipated deluge. Perhaps they never intend to have a lasting solution for it. Rather they believe in annual harvest.

Monsoon brings luck to the government in the sense that because of the incessant rain and topsyturvic floods, number of strikes, dharnas, protests, bandhs, rallies, blockades etc. will come down drastically. If this combination of rain and flood continues in the entire season the incumbent government will be having a sigh of relief (for the time being) from various hassles and troubles.

We have seen some good works done by the concerned Government Departments, State Police, Assam Rifles, BSF, Army, Red Cross, local clubs, serving and prospective MLAs & Ministers in the relief and recue of flood victims and also blocking the overflowing water. Don't blame the CS for the ride, perhaps he does not know swimming, but his commitment can't be doubted.

The natives are experts in swimming. Chief Minister, PWD Minister, Flood Minister, flood Commissioner and many others came on national/local TV as they were in mud and water to check the rising water flow. They were virtually fighting the flood tide and desperately trying to repair the breached embankments with bamboo, sand backs and earth. What a scene to be remembered and recorded!

Finally, it is a unanimous view that the permanent solution lies with extensive aforestation. Now, Ram Madavji and Bhabanandaji may kindly invite Sadhguru( Jaggi Vasudev) to initiate a tree revolution here in Manipur as he did so successfully in Tamil Nadu.

He will come as he knows his admirers/ followers. Sadhguru maintained that he had to plant trees in the heads of the people before they themselves actually started planting saplings throughout. In the last 15 years or so the green coverage of Tamil Nadu has increased manifold.

At the end one thing becomes quite obvious that some people are so exuberant about floods. More floods mean more happiness for them. Next time I will try to understand their psyche and flood economics. Before the inundation, whether it was deep dredging or side dredging, you can't question the intention of such activities? Because the object was very clear; it was meant only for flood control and nothing else. Why are you smiling, gentleman?


* Free Thinker wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was posted on June 27, 2018.


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