Increasingly polluting Nambul river Divergent views

Divergent views but bound by a common theme-Nambul river and the havoc wreaked on it by the ever increasing pollution. On February 7, the English edition of The Sangai Express carried two interesting write ups, one the lead article written by a Professor of Manipur University and the other an open letter written by a doctor. While the good Professor lauded the stand of Chief Minister N Biren to crack down on all who dump waste and dirt in Nambul river and spelt out the steps that may be taken up to save the polluted river, the doctor raised the pertinent question of why the people should be penalised instead of the employees, (employees of Imphal Municipal Council, in this case) who have not been dispensing with their duties, and instead launching cease work strike on one demand or the other. The main article dwelt on how to save Nambul from further degradation and recalled the earlier days, say 3 or 4 or 5 decades earlier when Nambul used ‘to serve people, particularly those residing on both sides of the river banks, for their daily domestic purposes and other household needs’ and went on to call Nambul the lifeline of the valley dwellers. In line with the call to save Nambul river, the Professor underlined four points which are illustrative not exhaustive. One is to set up a Task Force by the name of Manipur River Protection Force; keep three to four police personnel at every strategic points of all the bridges in the valley to stop/check people from throwing garbage; impose fine/penalty on those found/caught throwing garbage and make garbage throwing (in the river) a punishable offence. The writer even suggested passing a Bill in the Assembly to effect the four point suggestions mooted above.
On the other hand, the good doctor in his open letter to the Chief Minister questioned whether the Imphal Municipal Corporation is fully provided with all necessary infrastructure which includes vehicles for collection and transport and man power in consonance with the volume of work and responsibility; who is monitoring the works of the NGOs and others including the ward members to whom the works had been outsourced and who is running the Corporation, the Mayor or the Minister of MAHUD. In raising these questions, the doctor was conveying the message that when there is a body with the responsibility to collect garbage and wastes, why point fingers at the people for the ever increasing filth at Nambul river. In line with his argument, the doctor also questioned, who should be penalised for the filth at Nambul, the tax payers or the officials/employees concerned ? Two divergent stands, but central to Nambul river. Whether it is the negligence of the department concerned or the lack of civic sense of the people in general, what is irrefutable is the fact that today Nambul is the most polluted river in the State, not one of the most polluted rivers, to borrow a phrase from the Professor. It is also clear that to save the river from further degradation, the authority concerned and the people need to work together to save the river. Let the Government and the people together take the first step.

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