Thirteen years in the making Story of Civil Secretriat

Thirteen years is a long time. A child born back in 2010 would now probably be in Class VII or Class VIII working well in advance for the first important public examination, the Class X Board examinations two or three years hence. The new civil Secretariat at Mantripukhri along the Imphal-Dimapur National Highway or National Highway 2 is now 13 years old in the making and God knows when it would be fit to be opened to house important offices of the State Government. Thanks to the ruling of the Manipur High Court to complete the construction work of the new Secretariat within 3 months, attention of many must have been drawn to the long, long time it has taken to build the new structure and it remains to be seen how the State Government and the work agency concerned go about to meet the deadline of the High Court. To the keen observers, especially to those who have been in the profession of disseminating information to the public, the ‘13 years in the making’ line should not come as too big a surprise, for this has been the story of Manipur in one way or the other whenever any new project is being taken up. Remember the story of the Inter-State Bus Terminus and one will get a feel of the point that is being sought to be made here. Work on the ISBT was sanctioned some time in 2009, under the 11th Plan of the North Eastern Council. The needed push seemed to have been given to the construction work for the ISBT was inaugurated on December 3, 2011 and to add a significant line, ‘just ahead of the 2012 Assembly elections’ back then. That the ISBT was thrown open for public use came only in 2016, that is a full five years later, give or take a few months away‘ after its inauguration should tell its own significant story. Scripting a story of achievement just before the Assembly elections of 2012, is a poser that comes to mind. Fast forward ten years and there is nothing much to suggest that the Civil Secretariat, for which work started in 2010, is also anywhere near completion. From 2010 to 2023 and Manipur has seen a change in Government, with the BJP led Government in office for its second successive term and the question is, what steps have been taken up to complete the construction work of the Civil Secretariat in the last 6 years ? This does not add up to the much tom tommed double engine growth, a line maintained by the BJP.
There has to be reasons why it takes so long to complete any project taken up in Manipur. Has the BJP led Government ever  given a serious thought to this ? To keep on pointing the finger at the previous Congress Government or its 15 years in power does not exactly live up to the understanding of looking to the future. Learn from the past is a line that comes to mind and from there look to the future. Coming back to the ISBT, it was thrown open for public use in 2016, a good five years after it was inaugurated and fast forward to 2023 and today the bus terminus is anything but a bus terminus. All the taxis and buses plying on the Imphal-Ukhrul line pick up and drop passengers just outside the ISBT. All buses, Wingers and taxis on the Imphal-Guwahati/Dimapur line drop and pick up passengers from north AOC at the moment. This tells a story, a story that no repair work has ever been taken up after the severe pressure the ISBT came under during the peak of the Covid pandemic when all goods laden trucks had to report there. When is it going to be repaired to allow the buses and taxis to come inside the ISBT and let it function as a bus terminus ? There are the stories which one may read into the ‘13 years in the making’ line for the construction work of the Civil Secretariat. Says something significant that the line ‘incomplete projects/works’ should aptly sum up the Manipur that one knows today.