All thunder and lightening but no rain The dry spell continues

In the end it was more a case of all thunder and noise but no rain. Put in short bursts of strong squall but no rain and this should about sum up the day in Imphal that was March 15. On the said day and date, Imphal woke up to a somewhat overcast sky and it was rather chilly for a day in March, a point which only the early risers may have taken note of and not long after, news started trickling in of strong gusts of wind sweeping through some districts accompanied by hailstones and short bursts of rain, especially at Ukhrul, Senapati and Kangpokpi and in the valley area at Pangei, Koirengei and some parts of Greater Imphal. The dry spell continues despite the early signs of a respite and this is how man’s activities can drastically impact on how the rain God behaves. It should also say something profound about the way in how successive Governments down the years have abysmally failed to tap the rich water resources of Manipur and the current dry spell that the State is witnessing right now is a tragic cocktail of man’s greed and a Government which has failed to capitalise on what mother nature has blessed Manipur with. Manipur receives good rainfall throughout the year with the annual rainfall pegged at anything between 1250 mm and 2700 mm. Eight out of the 12 months in a year are generally seen as the rainy months with only November, December, January and February categorised as the months with no rainfall. It is for this very reason why a pukhri or a pond used to be an important component of every ingkhol or a homestead. However with the rise in population and the increasing pressure on land, many such pukhris have been filled up and done away with, and this stands true for the capital city Imphal. This is apart from the community pond that dots every leikai in the valley districts. The very presence of pukhris in every household and leikais is more than enough indication that Manipur receives a good amount of rainfall every year, and it should say something significant that despite the gift from nature,  Manipur is today reeling under acute water shortage and it is only to the rain God that one can look up to. Piped water supply in every household was a prominent promise trumpeted by the BJP in the run up to the 2017 Assembly elections and this is where one would like to question what meaningful steps have been taken up in the 6 years it has been in power.
Manipur definitely cannot go on like this. Manipur has moved on since the last two/three decades. More cars on the roads, something far removed from those days when just a family or two could boast of owning such a four wheeler in a single leikai, a time when the neighbours used to gather at the courtyard of a family to watch their favourite evening programme on the colour television, a time when receiving a phone call meant calling the neighbour next door or some houses away to inform them that their child had called from the hostel situated in other parts of the country-yet there is nothing much to suggest that the water supply scenario has changed for the better. Something, somewhere is drastically wrong and there could be many reasons for this. Rampant deforestation, filling up the natural water reservoirs, the growing human population and a Government which has never placed a premium on plans to make water available to the people have all combined together to script the story that one sees today. The Government is obviously doing something concrete to save the green covers in the State and the recent eviction of a recently set up village/hamlet inside a protected forest is an example that comes to mind. The crackdown launched on poppy plantations is another example that may be cited here, but there are more that can and should be done. If no steps are taken up to harness the water during the wet season, then water will continue to be sold by the bucket in each and every locality, as in the past. Address the water shortage issue before talking about Imphal being picked for the Smart City project. This is not the time for fairy tales.