Second week of January 2009 was one of the targets set for the completion of the pipe laying works of Imphal Sewerage Project. When Chief Minister O Ibobi gave this assurance on December 31, 2008 while inspecting the works of the said project, the people of Imphal were already at the end of the tethers with the never ending ongoing work of the French Government assisted project. January 2009 has come and gone, a good two years back and while time has simply flown by, a cliche’ no doubt, the Sewerage Project is for all practical purpose stuck in a time warp. Again in 2009, the projected deadline set for the commissioning of the project was March 2011 and this has turned out to be nothing more than some hot air which only dubious characters can blow. Even as the 2011 economic blockade has already earned infamy by entering the record book for being the longest period in which the lifelines of a State have been cut off during peace time, the Imphal Sewerage Project is set to enter the record for being a project which has been in the stage of ‘under progress’ for more than nine years. The foundation stone for this project was laid sometime in 2002, when Raj Bhawan was occupied by Ved Marwah. According to explanations given by the Government, work on this project progressed only in stutters and gasps due to lack of adequate fund from 2003 to 2005. If the nuisance value created by this project can be quantified then another record would be in the reckoning. The nuisance value can be seen on the streets and roads of Imphal. The most convenient roads that take one to the route that connects Lamphel to Langol Housing Complex and Shija Hospitals and Research Institute have been cut off for more than five years now. Watham Leirak at Thangmeiband that connects Lilashing Khongnangkhong to Lamphel has for all practical purposes been turned into parking lots for buses and heavy vehicles since the road portions that have been dug out for laying the pipes of the Imphal Sewerage Project have been left as they are. The road that runs to the south of Indian Council of Agriculture Research at Lamphel has been turned into a dead end and the once black topped road has become one with the nullah that runs by its side. The road that runs to the west of the All India Radio Colony and takes one to Langol Housing complex and Shija hospitals too has been cut off. All these have made Lamphel areas more flood prone and the agony of the people living in Government quarters there can only be imagined.
RIMS road is no longer a road, but a dirt track. The ongoing digging, filling and digging exercise in front of M Sector or along the Kanglapat road, the joke of a road at Uripok just where the BT Flyover ends or begins, depending on whether one is proceeding eastward or westward, the road in front of RIMS, etc are all gifts of the Imphal Sewerage Project and it has been like this not for a year, not for two years but for over five years. Development comes with a price, this is a given, but when the price comes not because of development but because of a Government which cannot look beyond its arrogance, then it sucks. There should be no excuse for the inordinately long time it has taken for the Government to complete the Sewerage Project well on time. The meek attempt to pass the buck for the failure to meet the deadline to the economic blockades of 2011 is nothing but insulting the sensibilities of the people. As if this is not enough the Government has ensured that the tentacles of the Sewerage Project spread wide and far so much so that today they have come to pose a hurdle to the smooth progress of the road repairing work in Imphal. This in effect means that RIMS road, Waheng Leikai road, Uripok-Kangchup road will continue to kick up dust and send the blood pressure of the people shooting for some more time. Rest assured the some more time period will run into months, if not decades. A splendid gift of ten long uninterrupted years in power from the stable of the SPF Government, which is otherwise known as stability in political parlance. Another understanding of stability defined by the present dispensation.