Greeted with ‘Stock Nil’ sign Overwhelming sense of deja vu
A sense of deja vu but there was nothing nostalgic in being greeted with the words that screamed ‘Stock Nil’ at most of the fuel outlets in the last three days. Seven years in office and it is more than evident that the BJP led Government is yet to exorcise the devil of fuel shortage. For the moment, the State Government seems to have bought peace with the fuel tranporters but it is important for the people not to forget that pipelines which fuel the daily existence of the common people can easily be snapped with the snap of the finger. More than enough indication that the National Highways which connect Manipur to the rest of the country are still at the mercy of some gun toting elements. More than enough evidence that the reach of the Government is confined only to the valley area. Stock Nil at the petrol pumps was a rude reminder that the State Government still does not have any answer to make the lifelines of the people and the place safe and secure. Not the first time that the lifelines of the people and the State have been held to ransom and this will not be the last time either. The tanker drivers and transporters may have agreed to resume normal duty for now, but what is the guarantee that the drivers and their helpers will not come under attack or threats from the gunmen on the highways ? The answer should be obvious to all, and the reality is the lifelines of Manipur will continue to be at the mercy of some elements with no answer on how to handle the situation. It has been like this for decades and it should be more than clear that there is still no answer on how to deal with the situation. Highways under the fancy and whims of some elements, the call for a Separate Administration still hanging in the air, thousands still merely existing in relief centres spread across the State and some elements coming under the impression that they can open fire at anyone that catches their fancy. Add the comic characters that add a sort of vulgar colour to the canvass that has been spread out and clearly the near absence of a Government rings out loud and clear. The Government will need to show its presence other than stopping the flow of traffic so that the high and mighty ones can pass smoothly. Arrogance cannot be the defining feature of a Government that came to power riding on the franchise of the people.
Instilling confidence in the people. Not too tall a task if the Government applies its mind to it. And this is what is critically needed at this moment. The Kukis have already made it more than clear that they no longer trust Manipur, underlining it with the declaration that they can no longer live together with the Meiteis. The Separate Administration call rests on this premise and at such a critical point of time if it cannot control the trigger happy elements and the comic characters within itself, then the trust and confidence of Imphal and the valley districts will also surely get eroded. Things should not be taken for granted and the past should be more than enough lesson for this. It is against this grim reality that five persons were shot and hurt at Khwairakpam Leikai, Sega Road on October 14. Two persons have reportedly been arrested, but the question before the Government is, how was such an atmosphere created that some elements have come under the impression that they can throw their weight around and even open fire on a group of people ? The Government should look beyond the act of opening fire and injuring five persons and look at the bigger picture. The elements of plain goondaism are starkly visible and this is what is deeply disturbing. Manipur has never seen such contempt of the rule of law. Manipur can certainly do a lot better without these notorious elements.