IFP Editorial: We are deeply concerned with the problem of clogged drains of Imphal city. For a valley which once had a perfect drainage system and waterways in the past, the present drainage system is a joke on our forefathers.
Updated 26 May 2022, 6:04 am
Normally Municipal Administration Housing and Urban Development (MAHUD) Minister Yumnam Khemchand does not mince words while expressing his opinions. The other day, he was aghast at the state of drains in his Singjamei constituency and he lamented with the words ‘drains are not dustbins’ and said one of the most important factors for blockage of drains is due to disposal of solid waste in the drains and suggested that people should stop disposing of solid waste. He further said, besides dumping solid waste many households use to pile construction materials over the drains and with during monsoon the construction materials causes blockage of drainage systems which is the reason people at the surrounding areas of Kakwa face artificial flash floods frequently. The case is not only of Singjamei area, but everywhere in Imphal city.
In recent times, the width and depth of the drains on main roads and lanes has been greatly reduced. For main roads, the width of the roadside drains have been reduced to one metre with a depth of one metre while that of the drains in lanes to one and half feet. One may say that in the olden days, the main roads and lanes were narrow, and that most parts of the drains had to be filled up for creating wider roads and lanes. The narrow and shallow drains with covers coupled with the change in the character of garbage have clogged the drains. A major waste material which stands out in present times is plastic wrappers, bottles big and small, and other non-degradable items.
We are deeply concerned with the problem of clogged drains of Imphal city. For a valley which once had a perfect drainage system and waterways in the past, the present drainage system is a joke on our forefathers. The ancient Puya ‘Tutenglon’ speaks of a drainage system which leads to the major rivers or rivulets leading to the Loktak Lake and further through Manipur River into the Chindwin River or the Barak system. Major research works have been done on the waterway system which was prevalent in ancient times. Trade and transportation were mostly dependent on the waterway system.
Nobody reads the ancient Puyas which happens to be the treasure trove of knowledge passed down the centuries and the research works on the Puyas anymore. And now, let us talk about the drainage system of Imphal. Fifty years back, the drains on both sides of the major roads were about 3-5 metres, and in the lanes 1-2 metres and flash floods were vitually unknown in those days. Come what may, the drains were never clogged and excess water was drained out through the Nambul River and the Naga River which passes through the heart of Imphal. Lamphelpat and Takyelpat were low lying areas where the excess water of Nambul is stored for some time to prevent floods which again are drained out after the river level comes down.
In olden times, every family has a soak pit called ‘Lukhaak-kom’ where kitchen waste and other waste materials are dumped and since most of the waste materials are bio-degradable they became natural fertilizers in time for the kitchen gardens. However, due to population pressure most of the Lukhaak-koms have gone in the urban areas and again the character of waste material has changed with the coming of plastic wrappers and bags.
The city administration had in recent times introduced garbage collection by private parties. But, tragedy is that there is no segregation of waste between bio-degradable and non-degradable items. We have a suggestion for the new MAHUD minister. He needs to take into confidence the local clubs of the city for taking a responsibility in preventing people from dumping plastic waste in drains and storing of construction materials over drains. This would go a long way in preventing flash floods during monsoon season.