TODAY -

Poor Hill Roads - Lack of transportation cause for backwardness
- Hueiyen Lanpao Editorial :: August 13, 2009 -



IT HAD been reported in the local and regional newspapers for the hundredth time that the roads and the highways in the hill areas of Manipur are in poor shapes and not all worthy to be traveled upon, leave alone the question of a comfortable travel!

Those amongst us who had the privilege to travel on the dusty and untrodden paths along the winding mountain passageways know the hardship that the people in the rural and the interior areas of the hill districts have to endure to travel from a village to the other, and from their village to urban Imphal.

In fact, it takes one and a half days to reach the Tipaimukh sub-division from Imphal, whereas it takes barely three hours to reach New Delhi from Imphal - whatever the form of travel may be.

There is even a story - a true one at that - of an expecting mother who had to be ferried from Tamei to Tamenglong proper in a jeep on an extremely rough highway, because there was no doctor worth the name to treat her at Tamei. The result was that she died when giving birth.

Perhaps she might not have died if she was in Imphal that day.

Or, the story of how huge quantity of ripe oranges lay waste in the villages in Nungba sub-division, because these cannot be transported to the local markets in time due to lack of transportation facilities.

There are myriad other instances of such stories - the story of a tragedy because there are no roads proper enough for bringing in transport vehicles.

Today we are seeing clean, freshly laid all weather roads in urban Imphal, along the Tiddim highway and elsewhere.

We do need such good condition roads here in Imphal where there is a huge number of vehicles plying each day, each busy in their own businesses. The plush, modern cars with a low clearance need the machine laid sparky roads for a quick, flashy drive.

On the other hand, we also need good condition roads in the hill areas. Roads that would save us all from backache and neck ache, and roads that would not kill pregnant women. The more important point is that the people in the hills need good condition roads to improve upon their economy and means of livelihood.

They need these roads to rush to the nearest good facility hospitals in district headquarters and the state capital to save lives. They need the roads to transport their goods - the oranges, lemons, apples, potato, peas, plums, cabbage and so forth - to the nearest local markets fast enough before the vegetable rots.

When this becomes possible, they can hope to improve upon their lives by earning revenue, however modest it may be. Also, an equal development in the hills can lead to better understanding between the hill and the plain people - socially, politically and culturally.

That is why there must be a collective effort from all sections - sans religion, creed and political biases - to usher in equal development in all parts of the state.

To achieve this, we need to urge the government to activate its mechanism for developing the roads in the hill districts.

We may quote the Imphal-Mao and the Pallel-Moreh stretches of National Highway 39, and the Imphal-Ukhrul stretch of National Highway 150 as a good example to begin spade work for ushering development in the hills.





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