TODAY -

Imphal: Smart city or High Security City?

Deben Bachaspatimayum *

 Bird eye view of Imphal Valley as seen from top of Cheiraoching :: August 29 2014
Bird eye view of Imphal Valley as seen from top of Cheiraoching in August 2014 :: Pix - Deepak Oinam



Smart city is exciting everyone and all when it is being seen as an opportunity for many aspiring stakeholders from gullible common people on the streets to the loyal citizens to elite class of contractor-turned-politicians, bureaucrats, technocrats and contractors. Everyone seems to be already falling in line with the recently redefined north eastern region as "land of opportunities" by the rightist nationalist government in Delhi from being stigmatized as land of insurgencies over the last six decades.

There is no surprise in Manipur's political class shifting goal post to reap their bests to the directions that come down from New Delhi as it has been their hallmark characteristics of Manipur's political class since the independent pre-existing state was made to merge to the wills of New Delhi through subversions of people's own regional political aspirations.

The idea of Smart city has got everyone into Imphal-centric thinking once again keeping the political concerns of the entire state: months long ILPS stir that occupied the all streets of Imphal just 3 months ago, out of sight and out of mind. Smart city seems to be the greatest concerns for the civil society groups than the deeply hurt emotions of hill people who still weep over the nine dead bodies lying without last rituals done. Indeed, public memory is short-lived.

The 'mandatory' consultations with civil society members, being intensively pursued by the administration and over-excited technocrats, on the possible shape, size and money of the proposed 'Smart city' is already disengaging the valley people from their contesting positions with the political aspirations of the hill people. One may wonder if the 3 bills stir has already resulted into getting Smart city for the valley Imphalites and Framework Agreement for the agitating hill peoples!

While Imphal is busy talking about smart city hill people are staging 9-coffin rallies in New Delhi and others are busy evolving implementation strategies of the Framework Agreement in the hills of Manipur. RN Ravi is giving renewed hopes that Nagas will be done at the opening of Hornbill festival in Nagaland and Kiran Rijiju is studying the 3 Bills carefully under pressures from Chief Ministers and MPs from Nagaland and Mizoram.

A cursory look back into sequence of events and historical processes seem to reveal that the people of Manipur, particularly the valley people, have become a mass of apolitical and captive consumers' society in the contemporary context. All are thinking independently; valley people for Imphal; hill people for the hills, Political class for new contract works for winning the next election, and New Delhi for the national security and development. No one has anything to do with the other.

Smart city for Imphal, extension of the 'Disturbed Area Act', 'extra-judicial killings as sovereign duty of the state' and 'alternative arrangement' for the hills have never been listed in any election manifestoes of any political parties in the state and yet these are becoming the realities, today for the people. This shows that people's issues like 'protection of territorial integrity', 'equal development for hills and valley', questions of social justice, quality education, conflict resolution, peace and harmony in the state, public security, accountability and transparency in development works, better transport system and services, healthcare, child rights and protection of women have had no connection with the routine periodic electioneering processes and governance in the state.

On the contrary, the gradual improvement in the voting percentage in every election and single political party winning absolute majority providing the most stable government in the electoral history of Manipur at present time further shows that there is clear disconnect between people's issue and electoral politics in the state. This Smart city is clearly not the need of the people's situation.

The difference is easy to reckon from recent past. One MP from outer Manipur Parliamentary constituency could demand for 'Honourable Naga political solution' in the parliament session but none from inner parliamentary constituency took a position on the 'political issue emanating from the controversial merger of the state' which caused the protracted armed conflict in the state having taken toll of precious lives of younger generations.

If the present MP from the inner constituency continues to remain silent to the Home Ministry's recent position to the Supreme Court on extrajudicial killings in Manipur one surmise what is state's politics all about? Whose government is this any way that people dutifully elect every five years that is run on 90% grant from the Centre?

Is this for the people of state or for the contractors-turned-politicians or for the Central Government? It is this political economic context, the Smart city has been dropped in Imphal and so it is exciting for many who run the state and manage the centrally funded economy. Even while Manipur has to catch up with the winds of change under Act East Policy in the neoliberal global context, it could be worthwhile to question: how the proposed Smarty city is going to impact on and affect some of the persistent issues of the people.

How would Smart city which will be based on smart and intelligent technology (power dependent and on which there will no local control) impact on the galloping population of unemployed educated youths (already crossing 7 Lakhs), the armed political conflict and violence situation, corruption in recruitment processes, increasing crime against women and children, and increasing militarization, hill and valley conflicts over land and natural resources, the dependent economy of the state, food security of the increasing population as against increasing loss of agricultural lands to non-agricultural usages, and increasing number of large land owners over small land owners?

Most importantly so, will the army personnel respect the honourable elected representatives of the people inside the Smart city? More fundamental question is also why Imphal has not so far developed as a functional city? But even as the Imphal city has to emerge as Smart city by external designs and described as engine for growth by economists what sector of economy the city is going to grow on?

Even when we leave behind the past and take a leap into 21st century what is the VISION of the economy that the Smart city is designed to take the people to in future that is at least socially, culturally and environmentally friendly, also? Whose vision that will be of any way: of the indigenous people of the state or of New Delhi or of the elite class in the state?

If there is no clear understanding on how the proposed Smart city might impact on the contemporary issues and situation or connection with, then, the foundation of this city must be reconstructed by solving the many of these socio-political and economic problems, first, while keeping the dream for smart city at a distant place in future.

Justice must be done without delay. If the foundation of Smart city is being built on by burying the truth about the skulls found in erstwhile Tombisana High School campus and silently approving the extrajudicial killings and deep militarization in the state in line of the Union Home Ministry then one can be sure of having a 'High Security City' instead of a 'Smart city'.

For, the security of the elite class is important than common people in the streets! Some people are more equal citizens than others if security force has the slightest suspicion on the loyalty of 'the others' in this occupied native state.


* Deben Bachaspatimayum wrote this article for Hueiyen Lanpao
This article was posted on December 29, 2015.


* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Kanglei Thokpa @ Sagol Kangjei : Gallery
  • Violence in Manipur 2023-2024 : Timeline
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2024 #3: Gallery
  • Meitei Professors' Invention granted Patent
  • Historic Premiere: 'Chilli Chicken' at Manipur
  • Effective Unified Command for Resolution
  • Music & Quiz: Drug Abuse amongst youth
  • Visionless and headless DMU
  • When is the right time & situation for PM visit
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #37: Download
  • Inspirations from Scientists of Manipur: Book
  • Manipur crisis: Treat the disease, not symptom
  • 133rd Durand Cup Trophies Flags Off
  • NEET droppers vs freshers
  • Death : Only future to look at ?
  • Mental health of displaced people
  • Aftermath of Imphal Flooding #1 : Gallery
  • When was the last time we smiled ?
  • Appeal to Stop Unbearable Monetary Demand
  • 'Oppenheimer' links with Supreme Science
  • 'Preventing from holding a press conference'
  • Travel tips during Monsoon
  • Look at it via ground reality
  • Making the 'Balak Buddhi' wiser
  • Kang Chingba @Govindajee #1 : Gallery
  • Release Ebo Mili & Stop large dams in ArP
  • Rainforests are the lungs of Earth
  • Education suffering from political interference
  • Inflated bill main vote plank, law dont cut graft
  • From the Lok Sabha to Manipur
  • Third visit of Rahul
  • Birth Centenary of Jananeta Irabat, 1996 : #9
  • International Day of Yoga #1 : Gallery
  • Lord Jagannatha's processional chariot fest
  • World Zoonoses Day 2024
  • PM 'bola' in Parliament
  • Acknowledging the stand of UNC
  • Embracing tree plantation as a new trend
  • 17th N Tombi Equestrian C'ships #2 : Gallery
  • The spirit & the creed of the Olympics
  • Kang Chingba (Rath Yatra) : Book
  • 'Economic blockade: Rumors baseless'
  • The Power of Poppy - 38 :: Poem
  • Balancing children's academic performance
  • Imphal flooded (again) [Jul 3] #2 : Gallery
  • Covid, Ngari, Yu and Loktak
  • Rural people struggling with network problem
  • English certificate courses for BA student
  • 6th July is International Day of Cooperatives
  • Clogging the waterways with plastics
  • Diverting public attention from core issues
  • Manipur Kanba Khongchat #2 : Gallery
  • Gateway of Assam
  • Integrating GIS & EWS for flood management
  • The Dopamine overdose
  • Free workshop on civil service exams
  • Bucket of cold water after a hot shower
  • Breaking the silence
  • Imphal flooded (again) [Jul 3] #1 : Gallery
  • Embracing 'Sharra - Kashar-ot'
  • Drug abuse & illicit trafficking in Manipur
  • Nudity being served to increase followers
  • Record high temperature
  • Bangladesh FM Hasan Mahmud's Riyadh visit
  • Indigenous call for NRC
  • Come home to the electorates
  • Meiteis must unite for survival
  • Flood advisories issued
  • State & District Control Rooms
  • Green Hydrogen for a clean environment
  • Need for an Emergency
  • Monsoons beauty
  • Calling out the indifference of Delhi
  • Questioning the silence with a roar
  • Birth Centenary of Jananeta Irabat, 1996 : #8
  • Problem & prospect of floriculture in Manipur
  • WomenLeaders India Fellowship 2024-25
  • Naga Peace Talks and Narasimha Rao
  • Arunachal Minister visits Oil Palm @Godavari
  • Clear cut stand from the Nagas
  • Crisis resolution in 100-day plan ?
  • Great June Uprising @Kekrupat #2 : Gallery
  • Manipur: A battleground of imperial geopolitics
  • Wangkhem Suresh @ Higher Defence Course
  • Shoppers Stop's 1st Store in Dimapur
  • Stop razing rail station, divert 25k Cr to Signal
  • Has Imphal completely lost the plot ?
  • Time to take responsibility
  • Tarpon chaklen katpa @ Andro #3 : Gallery
  • July Calendar for Year 2024 : Tools
  • Letter to Prime Minister of India
  • International Day of Parliamentarism
  • Skill Development Course at Lumshnong
  • The Power of Poppy - 37 :: Poem
  • Radio E-pao: Manipuri Film OST (130+ song)
  • Manipur Kanba Khongchat #1 : Gallery
  • Multiple Openings @ JCRE Solutions
  • Our mass addiction to predicting future
  • Bonsai - A play with another aspect : Review
  • Timely diagnosis to stop misuse of medicines
  • Impactful tool- Instagram marketing strategy
  • Essence of the June 28 rally
  • Birds of the same feather
  • Scientist of Manipur: Satyendra Thoudam
  • Education and the fate of Manipur
  • Centre not mind talking to Kitovi or Alezo
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Nambol
  • Why Bangladesh urge military diplomacy
  • MoU : Assam Don Bosco Univ with Cambridge
  • Understanding beyond the coup
  • Donning the role of LoP
  • Rally @ Jiribam [June 26] : Gallery
  • Umananda Island- World smallest river island
  • Breaking the impasse
  • Fantasies of a sinister childhood
  • Program: developing women entrepreneurship
  • Microlearning is impacting talent acquisition
  • Looking for the way forward
  • The message
  • Moirangthem Robi - Mr Universe India 2022
  • Parthenium Menace in Indo-Myanmar : Book
  • Respect & recognise domestic worker
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Hiyanglam
  • One test not for India
  • Include tomatoes in your skincare routine
  • Raising ST call a notch or two higher
  • United in grief, but...
  • Panthoibi Phijol Hongba @Mandalay : Gallery
  • Open Letter to Hon'ble CM of Manipur
  • Slavery in the machine world
  • 'Either Rio regime delivers or it fails'
  • No need for NEET or NET
  • Walkathon to promote health at Guwahati
  • Paradox of arming & disarming citizens
  • Meaningless statements
  • Birth Centenary of Jananeta Irabat, 1996 : #7
  • You are king of web, then slave
  • A Groundbreaking HIV Prevention Option
  • Board of Studies at Assam Don Bosco
  • Public Services as a career choice
  • Manipur violence and state
  • Last minute cancellation
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #36: Download
  • Saraighat Bridge - An Expedition
  • Meeting with MP Dr Bimol Akoijam
  • Manipur: 11 medal (5 gold) @ Natl Taekwondo
  • Socialization and the Two "Meads"
  • The Power of Poppy - 36 :: Poem
  • Scientist of Manipur: Raghumani Ningthoujam
  • Chilli Chicken Delivers a Flavorful Punch
  • International Day of Yoga 2024
  • Antimicrobial Resistance: Top 10 health threat
  • Indo-Naga Talks (From 2012) :: Timeline
  • Taste vs Health
  • Fiasco of UGC-NET, NEET 2024
  • From NEET to NET: It's time to fix NTA
  • Great June Uprising @Kekrupat #1 : Gallery
  • Ema Panthoibi Phijol Hongba at Mandalay
  • Proposed Palm Plantation behind Jiri violence?
  • 'Why Impose War on Us'
  • Why workers most affected by scorching heat?
  • Coup of 2021 not the only push factor
  • Last chance not to fall from grace
  • Ibudhou Cheng Hongba #1 : Gallery
  • Kind attention 'Your Lordship' CJ of India
  • 'Opposition-less Govt in Nagaland is rhetoric'
  • Xorai - Assam's cultural symbol
  • Natural ways to lighten dark underarms
  • Is Delhi doing the right thing ?
  • Set the priorities right
  • Ima Keithel flood- May 30 #3 : Gallery
  • Modi's arduous journey & fate of Naga peace
  • Autism: Why fit in, when you can stand out?
  • Bloodstained Masquerade :: Poem
  • Dharamvir Singh: Forgotten hero of TV
  • What is keeping the clash going on ?
  • Warning of a coming politico-military storm
  • Birth Centenary of Jananeta Irabat, 1996 : #6
  • The Great June 18 Uprising : Timeline
  • The Great June 18 Uprising : Gallery
  • Are we on track to end AIDS by 2030 ?
  • 3 writers from Manipur for Sahitya Akademi
  • Manipur's traffic, parking: A big nuisance
  • Career in elderly care
  • Keeping the folks under a state of confusion
  • Nothing neat about NEET
  • Aid to relief camps @ Jiribam : Gallery
  • Gastronomy tourism in Manipur : Gallery
  • Eid-ul-Adha: Embracing sacrifice
  • Bike Rally - Sekmai to Kangla : Gallery
  • Tarpon chaklen katpa @ Andro #2 : Gallery
  • 2nd Annual Art Exhibition #1 : Gallery
  • Education Fair @Imphal #2 : Gallery
  • Ima Keithel flood- May 30 #2 : Gallery
  • Scientist of Manipur: Laishram Shanta
  • Bimol Akoijam (Cong) wins Inner PC : Gallery
  • 'Ishanou' Selection @ Cannes #2: Gallery
  • Imphal valley districts flooded #3 : Gallery
  • Ima Keithel flood- May 30 #1 : Gallery
  • Imphal valley districts flooded #2 : Gallery
  • Imphal valley districts flooded #1 : Gallery
  • Licypriya meets Italy PM & Pope Francis
  • HSLC (Class X) 2024 : Full Result
  • HSLC 2024 : Important Info & Grading System
  • HSLC 2024 : Pass % : Private Schools
  • HSLC 2024 : Pass % : Aided Schools
  • HSLC 2024 : Pass % : Govt Schools
  • HSLC 2024 : Statistical Abstract
  • HSLC 2024 : Comparative Statement
  • Scientist of Manipur: Jayanta Manoharmayum
  • Scientist of Manipur: Amom Ruhikanta
  • Preserving Thang-Ta :: Rare Photos
  • Malemnganbi Laishram : Science Topper
  • Thokchom Sheityajit : Arts Topper
  • Aiena Naorem : Commerce Topper
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024 : Science Topper
  • HSE 2024 : Subject Pass Percentage
  • HSE 2024 : District Pass Percentage
  • HSE 2024 : Candidates with Highest Marks
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024: Science Full Result
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024: Arts Full Result
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024: Commerce Result
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024 : Arts Topper
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024 : Commerce Topper
  • Nupi Landa Thaunaphabishing : Full Book
  • A ferocious hailstorm @Imphal : Gallery
  • Scientists of Manipur : Ngangkham Nimai
  • GHOST of PEACE :: Download Booklet
  • List of Kings of Manipur: 33 - 1984 AD