Will Mizoram touch new highs under Zoramthanga?

Will Mizoram touch new highs under Zoramthanga?
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Highlights

The landslide victory of Mizo National Front MNF, after the political hibernation and debacle of the party for one decade, in the recentlyconcluded state legislative elections of Mizoram under the dynamic leadership of Zoramthanga, the Mizo leader and champion of the causes of the Mizoram people, has been the reflection of what we may call the beginning of a new chapter in the history of the st

The landslide victory of Mizo National Front (MNF), after the political hibernation and debacle of the party for one decade, in the recently-concluded state legislative elections of Mizoram under the dynamic leadership of Zoramthanga, the Mizo leader and champion of the causes of the Mizoram people, has been the reflection of what we may call the beginning of a new chapter in the history of the state which stands on the crossroads of the labyrinth of dilemmas of development.

Even after more than three decades of the foundation, Mizoram has still been stuck into variety of socio-economic problems and development crises vis-a-vis rest of the part of the country, there is no denying the fact and for the solution of which the common masses of the state have been looking forward to him with curiosity and great hope.
The biggest question at this stage which raises its head for earnest answer is: Would Zoramthanga prove to be the saviour of people inundated with avalanche of the problems for decades? The second question is no less important.

Will Mizoram be able to come out of the virtual stagnancy under the dynamic leadership of the leader like Zoramthanga who always stood for the well-being and development of the Mizos? And the most important question which calls for urgent attention is: How would the newly-elected chief minister bring about the much-expected changes in the lives of the people of Mizoram, deprived and isolated from the mainstream development of the country since the formation of the state in the Republic of India?

The Jet Airways flight from Indira Gandhi International Airport New Delhi reaches Lengpui, the only airport of Mizoram, near the capital city of Aizawl, connecting rest of the country to it via air, at 3.30 PM. If you happen to hire a taxi from the airport, the Maruti Wagon R which abounds in Mizoram next to the unofficially-claimed state carrier of Tata Sumo only, it reaches Mamit district headquarters at nearly 7.30 PM. It means the journey of around 65 kilometres from Lengpui airport to Mamit is covered by the reserved taxi in not less than 4 hours.

It also means that the hired taxi runs 16 kilometer per hour on an average on this road route which is filled with potholes. It is the condition, especially when there is no rainy season which spans from April to late October.
During the rainy season the same distance between Mamit and Lengpui airport is covered in more than 5 to 6 hours, sometimes even more if the road is blocked due to landslides. It is really a nightmare to journey across Mizoram when it pours during the monsoon.

The above description is not meant for guiding the tourists who aspire to visit Mizoram, especially Mamit. The message is clear that plight of roads in Mizoram, the most prominent means of transport, is really very horrible and it has not wrought havoc only upon the economy of the state but also the socio-familial condition of nearly 1.1 million population of the state.

As per the official sources of Mizoram Public Works Department (PWD), most of the roads in the state are in extremely bad condition due to severe monsoon and scarcity of government funds for their regular repair and maintenance. Even the National Highways of the state are in the deplorable situation for which the partly the lacklustre activity of the contractors, appointed by the government, and partly fund crunch on the part of the government are allegedly told to be responsible.

There is no gainsaying the fact that role of fast and smooth means of transport plays vital role in the holistic development of a state and country as a whole. But the pitiable scenario of means of access of the common masses to the various towns and cities inside the state has to present something bizarre the picture of which is nothing less than an ordeal.

It is not any exaggeration that the most important responsibility for the newly-elected government is to urgently ameliorate the road condition which is just like the lifeline of the common masses of the state, especially when it does not have the railways networks due to hard and inaccessible terrain condition. The government also needs to build new metalled roads in other areas which are deprived of the basic facilities.

Drug addiction is another menace which is taking the youths of the state in its grip and due to which precious and promising lives of the state of Mizoram are being ruined. It has now taken an endemic form over the past three decades in the state. As per one of the latest data of the PTI, 25000 youths are drug addicted in the state out of which 10000 are intravenous drug users and 2000 drug addicts are being treated and counselled in various 300 rehabilitation centres of the state.

The latest data shows that there have been more than 1400 deaths due to drug abuse and addiction in Mizoram since 1984. The drug addiction and its repercussions have not only directly affected its addicts but also each family of the state. The chief minister Zoramthanga’s firm commitment to bring about complete prohibition of alcohol in the state is surely going to bring about the positive changes in the families who have reached out to the brink of devastation in the years gone by.

The Reserve Bank of India in its reports of 2013 states that around 20.5 per cent of the state population of Mizoram are living as Below Poverty Line families which is a little more than the national average of 21.9 per cent of the country. But in contrast with the national percentage of rural poverty of the figure of 25.7, the Mizoram rural BPL families per cent is relatively higher at 35.4. This heavy inequality in the haves and have-nots people of the society too needs to be bridged shortly so that an equitable society can be founded for the fast inclusive development of the state.

Given the difficult nature of the hilly terrain of the state of Mizoram, the new-elected government must lay out radical policies for the faster comprehensive and balanced development of tourism industry in the state. It is really unfortunate that unlike other states of seven sisters of North East, the development of tourism is in a shambles in Mizoram which is so rich in its flora and fauna as well as eye-catching climatic scenario. The government must urgently develop economic infrastructural facilities at war level for boosting the tourism in the state. It would not only give hike to the employment opportunities but also bring about increase in the per capita income of the state.

The power-deficit state also needs to chalk out plans for the establishment of hydel electricity production. The increment in power production would substantially help establish and accelerate new industries in the state. The fast development of handloom and horticulture industries may give much-needed boost to the economy of Mizoram. It is hard to deny that development of these new avenues is bound to generate new employment opportunities which the youths have been so eagerly longing for. Mizoram being the second most literate state (91.58 per cent) only after Kerala (93.91 per cent) must take a bevy of pragmatic and flawless plans for providing jobs to the educated youths of the state to harness their talent for the ultimate paradigm change of the state.

- Shreeprakash Sharma

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