Text courtesy: An editorial published by the Sangai Express on 9 May 2017
Point taken. This was not the main theme of his address at the centenary celebrations of voluntary organisation, Bharat Sevashram Sangha through video conferencing, but in stating that only Sikkim’s capital Gangtok found a place in the top 50 of clean cities in the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi hammered home the point that many cities in the North East are filthy. That is, out of the 12 cities in the North East region, 11 are dirty. And if a city is listed as dirty and filthy, it also says that the mindset of the people of the city are also dirty and filthy. The statistics further say that only four other North East cities found a place between 100 and 200 while seven were positioned between 200 and 300.
Imphal is among the four cities from the North East to be ranked between 100 and 200 coming in at 122, but this itself should tell a story of its own-that is how dirty Indian cities are. A shame it should be that even among the dirty cities, Imphal comes a poor 122 in the list of clean cities and a close look at the capital city of Manipur should tell just how dirty and filthy Imphal is today. A look at the commercial centres of Imphal should tell the filthy story of Imphal. Take a walk along Naga nullah, which has been covered and where vegetable vendors sell their ware by the side. Filthily dirty is the word that comes to mind and the same story will be repeated at all the lanes and by lanes of Imphal.
The dirt and filth that mark Imphal is a reflection of the mindset of the people and this is what is disturbing. That such a mindset should prevail amongst a people, who otherwise give due emphasis on keeping their courtyards clean, is a testimony that a good number of people cannot understand cleanliness and hygiene beyond their nose. So keep one’s verandah and courtyard clean but don’t give a thought on littering public place.
A look at the natural water ways, locally known as khongbans in all the leiraks and leikais should underline this point. No wonder all khongbans and nullahs have become dumping grounds for the people and the effects of clogging these water ways with plastic carry bags come to the fore every time there is a downpour. So dirt and filth go a long way in creating artificial floods during the rainy season and these artificial floods do not come alone for they inevitably come with the annual diseases. Imphal is now at the 122nd rank in the list of clean cities, and such a poor showing will continue as long as the people refuse to look beyond their immediate self and understand that cleanliness also means keeping public places neat and tidy.
[PS: All the italicisation in the editorial by the PCRM Edit Team]