Beyond the Bazar


It is rather strange that city managers of Imphal have always a myopic view while deciding policies or at the stage of execution. Be it in the case of traffic control or municipal taxes or city based campaigns, attention is always focused in the Khwairamband Bazar area that is Paona Bazar and Thangal Bazar area. The managers simply refused to understand there is a Imphal beyond the Bazar area, and that there has to be a holistic approach in formulating plans or deciding policies. In fact, this myopic view is responsible for most of the ills of the capital city. Take for example, the decision of `pedestrian only`™ regulation from 10 am to 4 pm in the Paona Bazar and Thangal Bazar the implementation which is causing havoc in the roads surrounding the core area. The would-be spillover effect in Keishampat junction to Khuyathong traffic point through Nagamapal and the stretch from Keishampat Power house to Raj Bhavan further leading upto Khoyathong have simply been ignored when deciding on the pedestrian only regulation. It is not that we do not support the regulation in the core area. But the point is, the city managers should have taken into account the spillover effect or worst case scenarios, instead of playing safe with the phrase `experimental basis`™. In today`™s world, projections of worst case scenarios and the innovative use of `leap of imagination`™ have become the order of the day while mapping the future or while developing vision documents or framing policies. We have had enough experimentation in Manipur particularly in the Imphal city sometimes reducing the general public to the level of guinea pigs. Both the city dwellers and the floating population of Imphal have been harassed through the perennial traffic jams on roads around the Bazar and the level of frustration among the general population is increasing day by day. All roads lead to Imphal. It is time for the city planners and managers to understand this.

Secondly, let us take up the zero garbage campaign, which was recently revived by the recently constituted Imphal Municipal Council. The campaign was first launched when the earlier Council was under suspension. Under the supervision of MAHUD department, awareness meetings in the various wards of Imphal Municipal area was organized through the local MLAs, amidst bruised egos among the councilors under suspension. Signing up consumers for the private agencies operating in areas outside the Bazar area was also part of the campaign. It was finally wound up following the announcement of municipal elections. This time round, the zero garbage campaign has been implemented through the elected councilors and it is yet to be seen which direction it is going to take. Five belled garbage vehicles have been pressed into service for collecting solid waste, but only in the Bazar area. This, according to municipal officials, is on experimental basis and it could ultimately reach areas beyond the Bazar. So, a question naturally comes to the lips of citizens, whether the enforcement of the Imphal Municipal Council (Cleanliness & Sanitation) By-laws will cross the limits of the Bazar area. A city will certainly have commercial zones and residential zones although Imphal is not really a planned city. The Imphal Bazar area is not strictly a commercial area, as there are many residential quarters within the Bazar limits. In the first phase of the campaign, private operators were very active although most of their energies were absorbed by the Bazar area owing to its higher monthly fees. But the two or three times a week collection of garbage from residential areas outside the Bazar turned into once in a month routine after the campaign, citing several reasons, lack of disposal site being of them. This is simply a case of bad planning. Planners and managers really need to think beyond the Bazar area for a holistic approach towards solving the problems of the city.


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