Nagaland in the last few years has gone through one of the worst case scenarios in terms of infrastructure failures that the state has ever experienced since statehood. Whether it is the El Nino or Climate Change in action the region has been having unpredictable weather conditions with higher rainfall than previous years. Moreover, according to meteorologists the cycle of abundant rainfall has started for the annual south west monsoon, a few years back. It should be a lesson learned for the planners and lawmakers that after the dry spell of 15-30 years comes more rainfall.
Regrettably the state is witness to one of the worst road conditions in years. It is also coupled with the sudden increase in population in the urban areas with major rise in traffic. The increase in the urban population has also have given rise to more number of human biases with more number of the population experiencing the harrowing road and traffic conditions every day. Public memory is short but Dimapur and Kohima experienced worst road conditions in the late 1990s and early 2000s with major improvements from mid 2000s even the sparingly used alternative roads. However the maintenance was not commensurate to the numbers and length of the roads in the state. It is not a wonder that thousands are employed under one road or the other as contingency labourers. Most probably, the little money for maintenance is paid off as salary with no work done.
The state is also presently going through a crumbling power infrastructure. This is a bigger threat to the development of the state than perceived. The state is hardly able to sustain the purchase of power but the percentage of recovery is very low. Ridiculously, most of the major defaulting consumers are government offices and quasi government institutions. There has been not a single government with the political will to correct this problem over the years. The hapless citizens continue to bear the brunt of it. Moreover, the state usually should have surplus power but even the much publicised Doyang Hydro Electric Project fails to give reach its optimum capacity. The increased rainfall unfortunately could not be tapped.
With regard to water supply, safe drinking water is no longer a state subject in Nagaland. Any form of water to the households is instead a luxury. Households now depend on either rain water and privately sourced means of water supply or ground water. The actual average litres per capita day supply should actually put to shame the lawmakers concerned with the department. On the flip side, the increased rainfall causing bad road conditions is a blessing in disguise for many citizens when it comes to water problems. In the rural areas the many years of incorrect data a.k.a ‘paper works’ indicates sufficient water supply with proper water sourcing projects as per specifications, well maintained distribution with sufficient reservoirs. Everyone from the department to the village, even after communitisation, are in a catch-22 situation as an honest status quo report might land many into trouble.
The slogan ‘sadak, bijli, pani’ meaning roads, electricity and water is now considered out of fashion even in most parts of India. For a state that recently attained 54 years since statehood, it is very unfortunate to be discussing it.