Nambul, Kongba in the list of infamous 60 : Cry of Dying Rivers
Making it to the list of infamy and to The Sangai Express this has not come as a surprise. Much before the Delhi based Centre for Science and Environment included Nambul and Kongba among the 60 most polluted rivers in the North East, Professor Rajendra Kshetri of Manipur University carried a series of poems bemoaning the state of Nambul river under the title, Cry of a Dying River. In as much as the poem was a reflection of the sad state of the river that flows through Imphal, it was also a reminder to the people of how their wantonness had reduced Nambul river to such a sorry state. The series of poems was published on Sunday of the English edition of The Sangai Express for over two years and it says something profound that no one seemed to have taken note of Cry of a Dying River. Now that the Centre for Science and Environment has included Nambul and Kongba river in the list of the 60 most polluted rivers in the North East, the pain and concern echoed in the series of poems penned by the Professor from Manipur University should become more significant. No one seemed to take any note of the concerns reflected in the 100 poems with an epilogue to round off the series and there is nothing to indicate that the inclusion in the list of infamy will jolt the people awake. How about the Government ? Has the BJP led Government at Imphal taken note of the news report or is the state of a river of not much significance to the political leaders of the State ? How about the people ? How many readers of The Sangai Express actually got down to the business of reading the report minutely and reflect on how everyone has been taking God’s given gift to the people for granted ?
At the moment the Centre for Science and Environment has named only Nambul and Kongba river but one wonders how it would be if a similar study is also conducted at Imphal river, Iril river, Barak river etc. Will these rivers pass muster ? Tough to say but let it be clear that for too long rivers, forests and the natural environs have been taken for granted and this should serve as the wake up call. As the writer of Cry of a Dying River once echoed in an article carried by The Sangai Express, the rivers particularly Nambul and Imphal river are synonymous with the lifestyle of the people. These rivers are synonymous with the forefathers of all the people and in polluting them, the memories of the ancestors and forefathers of the people are being walloped for a big six, to borrow a phrase from the game of Cricket. This is where perhaps the Government may seriously consider the idea of forming a river protection force, again an idea mooted by Professor Rajendra Kshetri. Let the river protection force patrol the riverside and penalise all those who do not think twice about littering the river banks with plastics and other domestic wastes. Let stiff fines be imposed and for repeat offenders let the penalty include imprisonment with fines. Tough decisions need to be taken if what Mother Nature has given the people are to be protected. Nambul and Kongba are more than rivers. They define the life and culture of the people.