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Untold miseries of the voiceless on IT Road

This Father’s Day, Nature's Fury triggered alarm and panic among the people living in the region.

ByThanggoulal Khongsai

Updated 23 Jun 2022, 11:14 am

(Photo by Thanggoulal Khongsai)
(Photo by Thanggoulal Khongsai)

 

This Father’s Day, Mother Nature invaded IT Road in such a horrific manner, throwing life out of gear and triggering alarm and panic among the people living in the region. Their sources of livelihood were washed away by flash floods and landslides caused by incessant rainfall in Manipur, particularly in its hill areas, which is reeling under darkness due to power cut and where roads and bridges lie damaged.

Father’s Day and Landslide

Alarmed by the landslide that reportedly occurred around 7-8 am Sunday at the heart of T Waichong that washed off the hotel which belonged to a widow on that fateful hour, local villagers along with neighboring villagers collectively cleared the debris. Such was never expected on the day where women and children would celebrate Father's Day with big surprises. However, the surprise being more damaging in the village caused by the landslide, this Father’s Day was a day to remind those in power to rethink and reconsider the way they perceive the IT Road region.

Meanwhile, there were two major landslides between Banglabung and Joupi the night before a landslide hit T Waichong. The landslide between Gelnal and Joupi was so severe that it cut off the main highway from the rest of the regions. Even two-wheeler vehicles could not pass through, adding more burdens to villagers from Joupi-Tamei.

Many are now reportedly running out of food and other essential items as there is no means of road and transport to reach their villages. Fortunately, some neighboring villagers came all the way from their village on foot to buy essentials at Gelnal or T Waichong. Hence, it is the need of the hour for government attention to ease the hardships facing the people. Any further delay to look into the plight of the people in the region may necessary be deemed considered unconstitutional. We are hoping for the people’s government to act swiftly and restore normal activities.

The other landslide that occurred between Banglabung and Gelnal may be less severe as compared to the others mentioned. However, the quantum of damages it caused in the region is undeniably equivalent to that of the severe ones. As speculated by some of the local elders , there is a possible threat that another landslide may reoccur if incessant rain follows. This pose serious insecurities to some of the locals whose main livelihood will not be spared by the nature's fury as many are already victims of recent landslide and flood as their paddy fields and cultivable lands were lost completely.  Thankfully, JMDC managed to clear the landslide on Tuesday.

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The flood that washed away all livelihood:

The heavy rains not only caused landslide and damaged land and paddy fields located far from the Irang river bank, it also washed away some of the paddy fields located at its bank. It was on February 20, that I visited the major paddy fields that were washed away by the river. The damage caused was beyond my expectation. I spoke to some of the owners whose paddy fields were destroyed. Many of them no longer hope to receive government attention as they have been suffering from lack of road to electricity, PHC to education etc many years.

As the livelihood of farmers in the region have been washed away by natural calamities, the government alone can help rescue them and restore their livelihood.

Besides the paddy fields, many of the electrical poles installed particularly on the paddy fields and river banks have fallen or washed away. Eight posts were found lying on the ground. More electric posts are expected to be washed away by the river water. Such was the invasion of IT Road by the Irang river on that Father’s Day, June 19.

Until this day, the entire region of IT Road faced electricity failure, causing more panic in the region. Many of our daily activities have been stopped due to no power supply. This is not the first time I have stressed the electrical condition of IT road. It may also be pointed out that, major electrical poles are on the verge of falling which needs immediate attention for replacement. 

During an on the sport assessment, paddy fields that were washed away by the recent floods within Gelnal territory were close to 1800x70 Sq ft and an estimate of around 4 hectares were also submerged. As per reports from the locals, the major devastation to paddy fields at Gelbung, Chalwa, Phoikon, Wakotphai etc are no different from what had happened to Gelnal paddy fields. All these have created more insecurities among the people in the region as the quantity of rice production for their family consumption will adversely be reduced, affecting their economic and sustainable condition in the coming year. This may possibly caused famine in the region.

Nevertheless, some of the canals supplying water to many paddy fields are already obsolete as they were destroyed by the recent flood. In someway or the other, the plight of people caused by the flood are all the same. As such, fields that were not washed away by the rivers are still facing canal problems. This canals are not only block by the pebbles and stone carried by the flood, but also by the landslide caused at different locations. For instance, the landslide at Joupi totally blocked the canal which supplies water to more than 13 paddy fields. Similarly, major paddy fields whose main sources of water is taken from the Irang river are already been blocked. Many of them are so severe that no human labour will be able to open it anymore. This is the present state of farmers in the area whose main livelihood solely depends on the paddy fields. 

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JMDC:- The sole responder:

During every natural calamity in the region, the Joint Monitoring and Development Committee, IT Road and CSOs have no option but to response to every calamity within our own limitation to ease the suffering of the common people, as the government fails to act.

However, despite the efforts taken up multiple times by JMDC and CSOs in the areas in every critical incident, the government has been seemingly ignoring the efforts made thereby putting more financial and labour burden on JMDC and CSOs of the area. The government should establish cordial relations with the public in the area and help to address their concern.

Taking serious note of the situation and the plight of the people, the state government, including the three MLAs of the region should restore their normal lives and activities without further delay.

Many lives have been under severe threat and mental trauma due to the lack of concern by the state government and its intervention. Further negligence of the area by the ruling authorities may lead to  misunderstanding in the public. It is a time for the government to find an solution to the problem of IT Road at least in the interest of the voice of the voiceless citizens of IT Road.

(The views expressed are personal)

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First published:23 Jun 2022, 11:14 am

Tags:

father's daynatural calamitiesJMDCnature's fury

Thanggoulal Khongsai

Thanggoulal Khongsai

The author is from Gelnal village, Kangpokpi, Manipur, former GYC Secy. Author can be reached at thangoulalkhongsai@gmail.com

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