No rain, no water in Imphal river Grim prognosis
If no rain, then Imphal River will run dry after one month. This is the grim prognosis of PHE Minister L Susindro while responding to a query raised by Congress MLA K Ranjit on the floor of the House on February 3. The statement of the PHE Minister aptly describes the Manipur that everyone knows of, and this is the situation which the State has been facing every year down the decades with nothing much to suggest that things will take a turn for the better in the near future. In effect what the Minister said was, ‘It is the dry season and the water in the rivers and streams of Manipur is running abysmally low.’ Like the rest of the world, Manipur has also just stepped into 2023 and on a dry note if one may add and there is nothing amusing about this. This is the situation in Imphal and one wonders how the situation must be like in the hill districts of the State. Year after year the State and her people have been facing this situation and the natural question that follows is, what steps are being planned or are in the offing to deal with the situation ? Questions, all questions at the moment, but the reality is grim. With hills now barren, chiefly thanks to the drug cartel which have never thought about the impact of their action, trees have been felled extensively for poppy cultivation, adding to the water woes of the people. More than enough indications that for far too long, Manipur has been bled dry just so that some drug kingpins can line their pockets. Whether one’s children take drugs or not, the impact of forests being cleared in the hills to make way for poppy cultivation, means that this impacts on everyone. Manipur receives healthy rate of rainfall and is easily one of the wetter places in India and this is precisely the reason why in the earlier days, every household had a pond. Now with the rise in population and each dwelling places or ingkhols getting smaller, most of the households have done away with the ponds. It is also for this same reason why there are community ponds in each and every leikai but now not all the water in the ponds are usable. It is against this reality that more and more need to depend on the water supplied by the PHED through the pipes, which come only once or twice a week and that too for only a few hours. Here again houses located a little distance away from the underground water pipe are unable to avail the water supplied by the said department.
As things stand right now over 15 water supply plants have stopped supplying water to the public and if the sky does not open up in the next 30 days then Imphal river will run dry, is the prognosis of the PHE Minister. More than obvious that the Minister must have been briefed minutely by the officials concerned and it is along this line that he informed the Assembly that the Government has been supplying water via water tanks at the places covered by the said water supply plants at least three times a week under the Har Ghar Jal programme. Laudable steps from the Government, one may say but what happens once Imphal River runs out of water ? All questions at the moment and one hopes the Government has started looking at ways to cope with the situation if the rain God fails to listen to the woes of the people. In the absence of family ponds, one should acknowledge that people now depend on the water supply for everything, starting from cleaning the floor, washing utensils, clothes, bathing, etc. As things stand, there are some localities in Imphal which are already reeling under acute water shortage and obviously this is far removed from the understanding of a place which has come under the SMART City nomenclature. Let the Government encourage rain harvesting and let this practise spread far and wide. Water conservation is another important message that the Government may take to the people. All in all, it stands that Manipur, which receives handsome rainfall annually, should have no business to be reeling under water shortage.