Chapter 31

CM vows befitting reply
Tengnoupal and Kangpokpi inaugurated

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Dec 15

The chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh has vowed to give a befitting reply to the group behind the ambush on the Pallel-Moreh highway by suspected NSCN-IM elements today. Despite ambush by armed insurgents in two different locations on the highway the chief minister went forward with the inauguration of the new Tengnoupal district and Kangpokpi district. Condemning the ambush CM Ibobi said, the government will not be threatened by such dastardly attacks and it will not bow down to such pressure tactics.

Speaking at the inauguration of Tengnoupal district he said, the government is willing to sit with any group to resolve grievances. The state is ready to address any grievance in its capacity but it will not entertain demands beyond the jurisdiction of the state government. The chief minister announced ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakhs and employment to next of kin of the deceased police personnel.

3 cops killed in militant ambush ahead of inaugural function of Tengnoupal dist

The Sangai Express

Imphal, December 15 2016: A least three police personnel were killed and 11 others wounded when they were attacked by militants at two different places along Imphal-Moreh highway this morning. A police team of Moreh station went to sanitise the highway ahead of the Chief Minister’s visit to Tengnoupal when they suddenly came under heavy fire near Lokchao at around 6.20 am. Another police team was attacked between Thamnapokpi and Bongyang around two hours after the first attack, sources informed.

Incidentally, both the ambush sites are located within the newly created Tengnoupal district. While the first ambush site is under the jurisdiction of Moreh police station, the second falls under the jurisdiction of Tengnoupal police station.

Nagas rally against creation of 7 new districts

The Sangai Express

Imphal, December 15 2016: Nagas staged protest rallies today in the ‘four Naga districts’ in Manipur to register their rejection of the creation of 7 new districts by the Manipur Government. The rallies were organised under the banner of the United Naga Council (UNC). The rallies concluded with the submission of memoranda to the Governor of Manipur through their respective Deputy Commissioners.

At Senapati, the rally was well responded by the people at the headquarters followed by a public meeting at Traffic Point Senapati. The event was led by leaders of Naga People’s Organisation (NPO), SDWA, SDSA, Mao Council, Maram Council, Poumai Naga Union, Thagal Union, Zeliangrong Union (Senapati Zone). Addressing the mammoth gathering, former UNC president KS Paul Leo said that the economic blockade on National Highways and ban on construction works on National projects were launched by the Naga people from November 1, 2016 in protest against the preparation of the Government of Manipur to bifurcate Nagas’ ancestral lands through declaration of Sadar Hills and Jiribam as full-fledged districts on the pretext of administrative convenience and development needs. KS Paul Leo stated that for the Naga people, the land and people are inseparable.

CM, others visit injured cops

The Sangai Express

Imphal, December 15 2016: Chief Minister O Ibobi visited all the police personnel who were injured in this morning’s twin attacks along Imphal-Moreh highway and are undergoing treatment at Shija Hospital this afternoon. Before the Chief Minister visited them, Health Minister DK Korungthang, DGP LM Khaute, IG Zone-I Clay Khongsai, IG Zone-II L Kailun, Imphal East SP Dr AK Jhaljit and Imphal West SP N Herojit met them at the hospital.

DGP Khaute said that the attacks against police personnel on duty were acts of cowardice and all the people of Manipur ought to condemn the attacks. Saying that it was an act of terrorism, the DGP claimed that Manipur Police have definite clues regarding which group was behind the attack. A detailed report would be made available to public when the time is right. CPI Manipur State Council Secretary Dr M Nara too visited the injured police personnel. He said that the attack was an act of terrorism and the people of Manipur have been tolerating such acts of terrorism for a prolonged period.

Cut-off Manipur has bigger worries than demonetisation
Under siege since November 1, there is an acute shortage of essential goods across the State

by Iboyaima Laithangbam
The Hindu
Dec 10

Manipur, which has been struggling to cope with an indefinite ‘economic blockade’ since November 1, now faces a siege-like situation following a wildcat ‘total shutdown’ imposed by the United Naga Council (UNC) and other Naga organisations since November 25. The latest shutdown follows the arrest of UNC president Gaidon Kamei and information secretary Stephen Lamkang, who have been remanded in custody till December 22.

Faced with demands for their release for a lifting of the blockade, Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh, however, told The Hindu, ‘The law will take its own course.’

The blockade has emptied the State’s markets of essential supplies. With nothing to buy, demonetisation has, ironically, left the people indifferent. Since November 1, there has been no normal movement of trucks on National Highways 2 and 37 — lifelines that pass through Naga villages — or along the 100-km Imphal-Moreh Road on the Trans Asian Highway No 1.

New districts opposed

The UNC, which claims to represent Naga interests, is opposed to the creation of the Sadar Hills district out of the Senapati district, with a substantial Naga population. At midnight on Thursday, the State Cabinet finalised the creation of seven new districts, with the nomenclature of Sadar Hills changed to Kangpokpi. Mr. Ibobi says this has been done for administrative convenience, and that to create a district is the prerogative of the government.

Ethnic strife

However, Naga organisations, who met to take stock of the development, have said, ‘It amounts to rubbing salt in the wounds.’ The creation of new districts has been a subject of ethnic strife in Manipur since 1971, when it was first proposed. Successive governments have failed to resolve the festering identity-driven tensions sparked by the exercise. For instance, Naga and Kuki villages are located side by side in all four hill districts of Manipur. Mr. Ibobi Singh, who has helmed Manipur’s successive Congress-led governments since March 2002, told The Hindu: ‘The UNC does not respond to our invitations to hold talks on the stand-off and other issues. So we requested Home Minister Rajnath Singh to resolve the crisis by convening a tripartite meeting.’

However, the State government at the last moment backed out of a meeting between the Government of India, the Manipur government and the UNC on November 15. Home Ministry officials met representatives of the UNC as planned but failed to break the impasse. Whereas amity is widely prevalent in people-to-people interactions, the ongoing stalemate between the State government and Naga hardliners has slowed normal life to a halt in Manipur. Essential commodities like potatoes, eggs, lentils, edible oil and salt have vanished from the markets; life-saving drugs are scarce, and fuel is being strictly rationed.

Ruling on a public interest litigation (PIL) petition, the High Court of Manipur on November 25 directed the State government to provide adequate security to vehicles plying along the two national highways. Two other directives call for the deployment of paramilitary forces to ensure the free movement of the trucks. Cross-border trade with Myanmar at border towns of Moreh in Manipur and Namphalong in Myanmar, legalised since 1995, has also come to a standstill,hit by the double whammy of the blockade and demonetisation. Although the formal trade agreement identifies only some items, all manner of goods make their way to Manipur from here.

The blockade has driven down the rupee-kyat exchange rate at these markets from 1,900 kyat/Rs. 100 to 800 kyat/Rs.100. Transportation of goods from other States to Manipur has also been affected. The All Naga Students’ Association Manipur told reporters that it had no objection to the creation of the new district, provided the Nagas were consulted on the process.

Nungba BJP opens ST Morcha office

The Sangai Express

Imphal, December 14 2016: A new office of BJP Nungba Mandal ST Morcha was opened today at Noney which was followed by a political conference. Among others, the inaugural function cum political conference was attended by BJP Manipur ST Morcha president Ading Gonmei, BJP Manipur Pradesh vice-president Adim Pamei, former MLA Salam Ibohal and State ST Morcha vice-presidents Ningreigngam Kashung, Thangjamang Haokip and Benjamin Mate.

Adim Pamei said that Nungba AC is represented in the State Assembly by the incumbent Deputy Chief Minister who also held the post of MPCC president for many years. ‘At one point of time, I worked for the Congress leaders (Deputy CM). But today he is old and his time is over.

I’m contesting the forthcoming election to convey him a message that it’s time for him to retire from politics’, Adim said. Rampant corruption marked the past 15 years of Congress rule in the State and there was no sign of development in Nungba AC.

MHA Secy assesses blockade situation

The Sangai Express

Imphal, December 14 2016: The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) Internal Security Secretary today made a direct assessment of the impacts of the UNC’s indefinite economic blockade. MHA Internal Security Secretary MK Singla who came to Imphal on the advice of Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to take stock of the State’s situation in the backdrop of the indefinite economic blockade held a high level meeting and collected reports from different officials.

The high level meeting held at the conference hall of Old Secretariat was attended by the Chief Secretary, the DGP, the GOC of 57 Mountain Division and high ranking officials of Assam Rifles, BSF, CRPF and intelligence agencies. MK Singla suggested the State officials to take Imphal-Jiribam route for transportation of goods if Imphal-Dimapur highway is too risky.

In response, State officials pointed out that it would be difficult to transport all the goods along Imphal-Jiribam highway alone. They further suggested that the Central Government should take up the issue with NSCN-IM which is under a dialogue process with New Delhi and get the economic blockade lifted. The State officials further stated that it was necessary to open Imphal-Dimapur highway. The MHA Internal Security Secretary held another separate meeting with the DGP and top officials of army, AR, CRPF, BSF and intelligence agencies later in the evening.

HAC VC quits post, Cong, MLAship

The Sangai Express

Imphal, December 14 2016: Hill Areas Committee (HAC) Vice-Chairman Z Kikhonbou has resigned from the HAC post, the post of MLA and from the membership of Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC). Speaking to media persons at Lamphelpat today, Kikhonbou congratulated the State Government as well as the public with regard to the creation of seven new districts for administrative convenience.

However, it was rather disheartening that the HAC was neither consulted nor informed before the new districts were created. Article 371 of the Constitution and the Manipur Legislative Assembly order of 1972 clearly lay down that any political decision pertaining to the hill areas of the State should be adopted only after due consultation with the HAC.

‘Creation of new districts without even sharing any information violated the Constitutional provision.

It is for this reason that I resign from the post of HAC Vice-Chairman’, Kikhonbou said. With regard to his resignation from the membership of MPCC, Kikhonbou said that the people of his Assembly Constituency have been urging him to change his political party else they would not support him.

‘People have been asking him to leave Congress and join a different party since the ADC election of 2015.Even though I have resigned from the primary membership of MPCC, I still love the party and respect all its senior leaders like the Chief Minister, the Deputy Chief Minister and the MPCC president’, he continued.

All land belongs to the state: Ibobi

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Dec 14

The chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh has once again reiterated that all land belongs to the state and not to any particular community. The chief minister today formally inaugurated the new Jiribam district amidst public jubilation at DC office, Jiribam Chingdong Leikai. Speaking at the inauguration CM Ibobi said, Jiribam revenue district was created not for the benefit of any community but for convenience of all communities in the district in terms of administration.

Seeking resolution of all issues without violence he said, violence will not bring any solution. He said, the government had been making preparations for converting Jiribam into a full-fledged revenue district as it entails various infrastructure and different offices. He assured adequate infrastructure for the district and said that the 27 km long road from district headquarters to Borobekra would be upgraded. He further assured a fire service station at Borobekra sub-division.

RPF ban

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Dec 14

The proscribed Revolutionary Front (RPF) has banned its former members from contesting elections. A statement issued by RPF Secretary Publicity Roben Khuman said that former members and RPF and its armed wing PLA should desist from contesting elections. Reiterating its stance the statement said, for those who had fought for restoration of Manipur’s independence contesting elections under the Indian constitution would be a unprincipled stand. It further warned of dire consequences if any former member is found contesting elections.

Election officials sacked

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL| Dec 14

Electoral registration officer (ERO) of Wangjing Tentha N Surjit Singh and assistant electoral registration officer A K Lalmohon were placed under suspension for enrolling minor children in the voter list during the special summery revision. The chief electoral officer Vivek Kumar Dewangan issued an order in this regard yesterday.

Centre rushes official after attack
Manipur seeks 60 companies of central forces to clear blockade

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL| Dec 14

The state police department has sought 60 additional companies of central forces to clear the ongoing economic blockade imposed by United Naga Council (UNC) along Manipur’s supply routes. The demand was made by the director general of police L M Khaute during a meeting with Union home ministry’s special secretary (internal security) Mahesh Kumar Singla at the conference hall of the state secretariat, South Block today. ‘The state police department pressed for 60 additional companies of central forces for reopening both the national highways and clear the blockade imposed by the UNC so as to restore normal supply of essential commodities,’ a highly placed official source told Imphal Free Press.

Shared homeland thoughts

Imphal Free Press editorial, 15 December 2016

The current entangle in Manipur over the government’s creation of seven new districts and the objection to it by the United Naga Council, UNC, which has resorted to a blockade of the state along its major lifelines connecting it with the rest of India, brings to mind some plans drawn up by the British on what they thought would be the best future of the frontier provinces of Northeast India and Northwest Myanmar after they left. Ours is hardly a suggestion that these plans should be revived, but a cue on how similar out-of-the-box resolution can be sought to the complex and conflicting ethnic mosaic that constitute this entire region. The situation in Manipur is serious. The unthinking and indiscriminate UNC blockade continues to dangerously widen the rifts amongst the different communities in the state. Communities in the valley who could have been somewhat neutral to the issue, and perhaps could and would have served as the peace-building bridge, have also been unnecessarily dragged into the faceoff by the indiscriminate nature of the blockade, making them see themselves as the target of the blockade.

The British plans, especially one of them which has come to be referred to as the Coupland Plan, is pertinent. The plan on the eve of Indian independence, though erroneously credited to Prof. Reginald Coupland, was actually conceived by the then Governor of Assam, Sir Robert Reid. Prof. Coupland, with permission used the suggestions in the Oxford volume on problems of constitution making in India he was compiling, and latter writer began crediting him for the plan. The plan was never accepted, as we all know. Probably given the reality of the time it would have been a disaster too. It would probably still not be workable today, but we flag this idea again for a joint exploration if a solution to the multi-dimensional ethnic frictions in the region can have some resolution in a similar approach modified to suit the time as well as political dispensation of the region. The aborted British plan was to leave the Northeast and much of Upper Burma as a Crown Colony, neither under India or Burma (Myanmar) when they leave. It is also interesting that the map of this proposed Crown Colony bears resemblance to the Indo-Burma Region that a federation of underground organisations once wanted to jointly liberate. This map also bears resemblance to what James C. Scott called Zomia in his influential ‘Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchic History of Upland South East Asia’. Quite interestingly, another British officer, J.P. Mills, a contemporary of Reid, also drew up a similar plan, but unlike Reid who visualised a centralised bureaucracy for the Crown Colony, Mills preferred to think of this entity as a federal union. In other words, we are somewhat agreeing with Mills to suggest a common Northeast homeland made up of many federal units. Fortunately for those interested, Prof. David Syiemlieh, of the NEHU, has compiled four such British plans into a volume titled ‘On the Edge of Empire’ (OUP 2014), the most important and elaborate of which are those of Reid and Mills.

It is again very interesting that in all of these plans toyed with by the British, their choice for a capital was, like it or not, Imphal. It may be recalled, Shillong was the capital of Assam at the time, and Assam virtually meant the entire Northeast with the exception of Tripura and Manipur, yet the British preferred Imphal over Shillong, though they did give the latter a thought too. The Crown Colony of course did not include the Brahmaputra and Barak flood plains. The fact is, in the geography of the Indo-Burma region, the political centrality of Imphal and the valley it is located in, which in the aftermath of the WWII had six airports, has not failed to strike anyone, even in the colonial times. In pre-colonial times too, this natural centrality would not have been any different. The British also foresaw how such a colony would have faced endemic and maybe existential problems. One of these is what we are witnessing today. Every single community, even those of a few thousand only, saw themselves as unique, and would have felt unrepresented if they each of them did not have direct representation in the government in equal measures. There were many more anticipated problems too, all of which added to the still birth of this Crown Colony. Probably for the better too, as the Northeast, especially multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, multi-religion Assam and Manipur, can vouch with the bitter divisions within them. But the idea is interesting. Maybe if a sublimated version of it can be conceived of, where a larger political union within which the different states of the Northeast are federal constituents can receive consensual green signal, all these notions of greater exclusive homelands can find some healthy accommodation. Indeed, happily the idea of the Northeast itself is emerging somewhat like this. Though many think Northeast as an idea no basis, the reality is, this idea now has a definite identity and sense of peoplehood. Maybe there is something to build on here to resolve the problem of insular and divisive street politics such as we are facing today in Manipur.

Manipur blockade: The Congress and BJP must stop shadow boxing

Dec 12, 2016 22:56 IST
By KumKum Dasgupta
Hindustan Times

Manipur chief minister has also accused Union home minister Rajnath Singh of double standards, alleging that he has not at all conveyed to state BJP leaders to give the CM concrete proposals on the UNC economic blockade. In Manipur, economic blockades have become a part and parcel of daily life.

The latest one started on November 1 with the United Naga Council (UNC) enforcing a blockade on the highways to protest against Congress chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh’s move to upgrade Sadar Hills (under a new name, Kangpokpi) and Jiribam to full-fledged districts. Recently, the state government announced the formation of five new districts other than Jiribam and Kangpokpi: Tengoupal, Pharzol, Kakching, Noney and Kamjongin. The UNC, which claims to represent Naga interests, is vehemently opposed to the creation of the Sadar Hills district out of the Senapati district, with a substantial Naga population. The creation of new districts has been a subject of ethnic strife in Manipur since 1971, when it was first proposed.

The shutdown gathered more steam after the state government arrested UNC president Gaidon Kamei and information secretary Stephen Lamkang, who have been remanded in custody till December 22. Faced with demands for their release for ending the blockade, chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh, however, told a national daily, ‘The law will take its own course.’

Since the start of the blockade, there has been no normal movement of trucks on National Highways 2 and 37 — lifelines that pass through Naga villages — or along the 100-km Imphal-Moreh Road on the Trans Asian Highway No 1. The prices of commodities have gone through the roof. With elections round the corner, the blockade is not just a simple blockade anymore. Both the ruling Congress and the BJP, which is eyeing for the state, are trying to exploit the impasse politically.

Union human resource development minister Prakash Javadekar, who is the party-in-charge of elections in Manipur, last week charged the Congress government in Manipur for not resolving the blockade issue in the State. Ibobi Singh, who has been in power since 2002, told a national daily: ‘The UNC does not respond to our invitations to hold talks on the stand-off and other issues. So we requested Home Minister Rajnath Singh to resolve the crisis by convening a tripartite meeting.’ However, his government had backed out of a meeting with the Centre and the UNC on November 15. Home Ministry officials met representatives of the UNC as planned but failed to break the impasse.

The CM has also accused Union home minister Rajnath Singh of double standards, alleging that he has not at all conveyed to state BJP leaders to give the CM concrete proposals on the UNC economic blockade.

‘Who is behind the UNC is an open secret,’ said Ibobi Singh, indicating the support of NSCN-IM. ‘NSCN I-M is in ceasefire with Government of India and though intervention from MHA is very much needed to call-off the economic blockade’.

For the BJP, the unrest works to its favour; they are hoping that the public would get disillusioned with the Congress government and vote for ‘development’.

Some, however, feel that the new districts will work in the favour of the Congress in the elections: ‘The timing [of new districts] is important. The budget for new districts and development work will have to be incorporated in FY 2017-18,’ a senior journalist wrote in an editors’ forum on Facebook.

‘There is every possibility that the people who will be benefited (read: majority) with the new born district will surely like to see the Congress in power for another term to ensure implementation of the notification (new district) without any hindrance’.

‘Keba, Sarat rallies not authorised’

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Dec 12

BJP spokesperson Nimaichand Luwang today clarified that the political conferences organised by Sapam Kunjakishwar Singh and P Saratchandra Singh were not allowed by the party. Talking to reporters Nimaichand maintained that as per the party’s policy if any BJP ticket aspirant wants to hold a political conference he or she would get the consent of the mandal in the constituency first and also all the ticket aspirants should be part of such conference.

Luwang was reacting to the demonstrations staged by supporters of Kunjakishwar Singh and Saratchandra Singh at the gate of the BJP head office yesterday evening. They also pelted stones at the BJP office. Police had to use tear gas shells to disperse the agitating supporters of the two ticket aspirants. Kunjakishwar and Saratchchandra yesterday convened political conferences in their respective constituencies of Patsoi and Heingang.

Ibobi appeals for patience
Nupi Lan Day observed across the state and beyond

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL| Dec 12

The Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh has appealed for calm and patience, and said that any issue can be resolved over the table through talks. CM Ibobi was speaking at the state function of Nupi Lan Day today at the Nupi Lal memorial complex. He said, everyone has a right to air their grievances in a democracy but without violence. Impossible demands will only create tension in the state.

All issues however contentious can be thrashed out through talks by involving all stakeholders, he added. Nupi Lal Day is observed today across the state and other Manipuri inhabited areas outside the state, remembering the courage and spirit of Manipuri women who fought against the British in 1904 and 1939. Besides CM Okram Ibobi Singh, his deputy Gaikhangam along with his council of ministers, MLAs and high-ranking officials attended the function and paid floral tributes to Nupi Lal statue at the complex.

Chaoba threatens to quit BJP over rally fracas

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Dec 12

State BJP leader Th Chaoba has today demanded resignation of Prahlad Singh Patel, who is in-charge of Northeast and J & K maintaining that the latter is responsible for instigating national leaders to stay away from yesterday’s political conference in Tera Bazar. Th Chaoba, who is also the convener of BJP state election management committee, was speaking to the media at the Tera Bazar residence of BJP aspiring candidate of Patsoi Assembly constituency, Sapam Kunjakishwar alias Keba here today.

He also threatened mass resignation of aspiring candidates of the party if they are denied election tickets. Clarifying over the unfortunate incident that happened yesterday, Chaoba said, ‘Yesterday’s incident had never happened in the history of Manipur BJP’. He maintained that the preparation of the meeting was given approval by the national president of the party Amit Shah as well as Union minister Prakash Javadekar.

Blockade in Manipur a gross violation of law: MHA warns

The Sangai Express / PTI

New Delhi, December 12 2016: With the indefinite blockade of highways in Manipur by a Naga group (UNC) creating crisis, the Centre on Monday warned that no one will be allowed to take the law in their hands and denounced the ‘illegal’ action as a crime against humanity.

In a statement, the Home Ministry voiced concern over the ongoing blockade in Manipur and the consequent shortages of essential commodities faced by the people of the State. It asked the United Naga Council (UNC) to remove the blockade, saying all contentious issues need to be settled peacefully by democratic and lawful means.

‘The Government of India is firmly committed to maintaining rule of law. It considers blockades anywhere in India a gross violation of law and a crime against humanity causing untold suffering to countless humans. No individual or organisation will be allowed to take the law into their own hands,’ the Ministry said. It is hoped that State Government will act with responsibility and maturity to ensure both maintenance of supplies to Manipur as well as social harmony.’

The statement said that the Centre has remained committed to ensuring that the routes to Manipur are open and remain accessible to all including supplies of petroleum products, and other essential commodities including foodstuff.

Policy will jeopardise peace process : NSCN

The Sangai Express

Imphal, December 12 2016: Taking serious note of the ‘incessant assault on the political and historical rights of the Nagas by the Government of Manipur backed by the Central Government,’ the NSCN (IM) has today declared that this ‘treacherous policy will lead to endless confrontation and will surely jeopardize the ongoing peace process’.

In a statement issued to the media today, the NSCN (IM) said that they represent the Naga people and their political aspirations and therefore take full responsibility of their well being and protection. Stating that the Nagas have come to the negotiating table with the honest intention to sincerely resolve the decades old conflict, the NSCN said that it was in this line that the Framework Agreement was signed on August 3, 2015.

However despite the serious negotiation and the significant progress, the declaration of disturbed areas in the hill areas of Manipur and sending the Central forces to Naga areas has taken the Nagas totally by surprise, said NSCN (IM). ‘Is this a sign of sincerity or seeking peaceful political situation? We are compelled to ask this question to the Government of India,’ added the NSCN (IM).

Nagas under UNC reject dists creation

The Sangai Express

Senapati, December 12 2016: The Naga people’s consultation convened by the United Naga Council (UNC) at Senapati today and attended by Naga tribe councils’, frontal and regional organisations, intellectuals, Church leaders, Parliamen- tarians, social leaders and members of the general public has rejected the creation of 7 new districts by the Manipur Government.

The Naga people then endorsed the executives of the United Naga Council to use all possible means towards intensifying the people’s protest for safeguarding the rights, land and resources of the Naga people. In this regard, the UNC executives in consultation with the presidential council will constitute a working committee with members from amongst senior activists.

One of the recommendations of today’s consultation said, ‘It is the position of the Naga people that the land and people are inseparable. The people’s movement was launched against the Government of Manipur’s plan to bifurcate our land. The Government of Manipur ‘s response was to arrest our leaders treating them as criminals’.

House campaign at Uripok

The Sangai Express

Imphal, December 12 2016: Congress intending candidate for Uripok Assembly Constituency, MPCC general secretary RK Ranisana organised her fifth house campaign today. Speaking to the media, she said that people showing huge support for a women candidate has given her tremendous strength. She said that both men and women of Uripok have to work together to uplift the overall condition of the place.

‘If the people elect me, the first thing I do would be taking up works to prevent the frequent flooding and to eradicate the incidents of crime against women and children’, she said.

New dists and Rs 22,000 Cr road package : Interesting developments

The Sangai Express editorial 13 December 2016

It is getting interesting. Shortly after the Congress Government here announced the creation of seven new districts, the BJP led Government at the Centre announced a Rs 22,000 crore road package for the State, besides laying the foundation stones of Makru and Barak bridge on the Imphal Jiribam highway to better road connectivity. Granted the Rs 22,000 crore may have been worked out some time back, but the timing of the announcement, coming so close behind the creation of the seven new districts, is just too significant to be dismissed as a co-incidence.

And surely the districts creation and the Rs 24,000 crore road package will be used to the hilt by the two political parties ahead of the coming Assembly election. More than obvious that the BJP is looking to seal another State in the North East, after Assam, through the EVM, or via the Assembly election. The case of Arunachal Pradesh, where the Government has aligned itself with a party close to the BJP, is different. So if Chief Minister O Ibobi may be said to have delivered a master political stroke just ahead of the Assembly election, the BJP too has not lagged behind, coming out with a promise which the people have been eager to hear for decades.

Apart from the Rs 22,000 crore road package, the BJP Government has gone one step ahead and announced that the task of looking after the Imphal-Jiribam highway will be handed over to the National Highway Infrastructure Development Corporation (NHIDCL), which is fully owned by the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways. The new move of the Centre to remove the Border Roads Organisation from looking after the Imphal-Jiribam stretch of the National Highway may be seen as an initiative taken by the BJP, but remember Chief Minister O Ibobi has also been for long crying out against what he has termed the ‘inefficiency’ of the BRO officials in maintaining the highway.

In such a condition, it becomes difficult to say where the credit should go for deciding to replace the BRO. Whatever the case, it would do good for all to raise the question of how far a free hand was given to the BRO to maintain and execute development works along the Imphal-Jiribam Highway. Were there any interferences from any quarters, especially from any powerful organisations which are deemed to be close to the Central Government? A significant question which cannot be easily swept under the carpet. So it is that the two major political parties will go to the people trumpeting the two new developments.

No doubt the Congress must be on a high for the feel good factor it has managed to inject among the people of Kangpokpi district, which incidentally has three Assembly segments, but remember the BJP too has managed to win the approving nod of quite a large number of people for giving yet another opportunity to the State to not rely on only one roadway. Interesting developments and how well these new developments are sold to the people will go a long way in impacting the voting pattern of the people when D day comes.

Gadkari chugs in with Rs 22,000 crore road package
Projects to complete in four years

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Dec 11

Union minister for road transport, highways and shipping, Nitin Gadkari today laid the foundation stones for construction of Barak and Makru bridges and also announced a road development package worth Rs 22,000 crore for Manipur. The package, which includes road projects covering 1877 km was announced by the minister at a function attended by Union minister for human resource development, Prakash Javadekar and chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh at the parade ground of 1 st Manipur Rifles in Imphal.

The projects would be taken up along NH-39 road from Mao Gate to Imphal City, NH-150 road from Tipaimukh-Imphal-Ukhrul-Jessami section, NH-102B road from Churachandpur-Singhat –Sinzawl-Tuivai, NH-37 Barak Makru Bridge, NH-137A from Khumbong, Nambol, Mayang Imphal to Kakching Lamkhai, NH-102A from Ukhrul-Toloi-Tadubi and NH-137 from Tamenglong-Khongsang road. Gadkari said the construction work of the two important bridges along Imphal-Jiribam highway would be completed in one a half year while the road development projects would be taken up over a period of three to four years.

Gadkari requested the state government to expedite land acquisition proceedings and forest clearance for finalization of detailed project reports and bidding process for civil works.

‘The Centre has taken initiative to upgrade the capacity of local contractors, engineers and stakeholders in the North Eastern states and the projects are being tendered in small packages. Based on their success, further action will be taken for more projects. A meeting with potential contractors is also planned in near future by National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd to propagate the idea further,’ the minister said.

Lauding the deeds of Gadkari, Javadekar stated that he has been known as ‘man of action.’

‘Speed, scale, quality and transparency are the hallmark of his work which can be seen from the projects he undertook in Mumbai. The main priority of the central government is to bring a change in NE states and to let them developed,’ he said.

During his speech Ibobi slammed the Centre for not being able to develop properly NH-37 which is the second lifeline of the state.

Ibobi vents anger on Centre

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Dec 11

Chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh did not hide his anger before two Union ministers over repeated allegations by BJP leaders that the state government was not doing anything over the ongoing economic blockade. Ibobi Singh’s outburst came while addressing the launch of road projects in Manipur by the Union minister for road transport, highways and shipping Nitin Gadkari at the parade ground of First Manipur Rifles here today.

Apart from Gadkari Union human resource development minister Prakash Javadekar and BJP MP Prahlad Singh Patel were present at the programme. Apparently the chief minister was not happy with visiting BJP leaders and Union ministers charging him that the state government did not make any concrete proposal for tackling the indefinite economic blockade though the Centre was ready to provide assistance to the state government.

New districts not for political mileage, clarifies Ibobi

Imphal Free Press
THOUBAL | Dec 11

 Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh has said that the creation of the seven new districts was an outcome of the steadfast ‘do or die’ stand taken by the state government with the objective of providing better administration and not aimed at taking any political mileage out of it. The chief minister was speaking at the inaugural function of the newly built 33/11 KV Power Sub Station at Kakching Mahadeva Ching and Community Hall at Kakching Turel Wangma of the newly created Kakching district today.

Addressing the function Ibobi said there was no question of consulting or not consulting any ‘third party’ in announcing the creation of the new districts as it is purely a prerogative of the state government which took the firm stand on the belief that ‘come what may this would be the action plan of the government’. The announcement could have been made in the early part of the year but it had to be delayed because of due to incompletion of various on-going projects taken up by the state government, said the CM.

Stating that such sensitive decisions are taken in closed door confidential meetings and not in public gathering, Ibobi said the decision was taken in a ‘do or die’ manner at the Cabinet meeting at midnight so that it may not be leaked. The allegations by some political parties that there was no transparency in the announcement of the new districts must be stopped, he urged.

Alleging that the UNC’s indefinite economic blockade is an offset of a political conspiracy between the Union government and the NSCN-IM, the CM said we had met the Union Home minister Rajnath and sought his intervention to end the blockade apprising him with the fact that UNC is being supported by NSCN (IM) and blockade on national highways is illegal. Rajnath said that to end the blockade the state government should assure the UNC that no Sadar Hills district will be created.

Stating that Rajnath was told that creation of new districts is prerogative of the state government and we will not follow any NSCN (IM) or Union government’s dictate on whether we create districts or not, Ibobi said from the Union Home Minister’s statement it is clear that the economic blockade is a ploy of a conspiracy between the Union government and the NSCN(IM).

Opining that though small, Manipur abounds in various issues he said in such a situation the government is cautious in tight rope-walking with the anxiety that where it could go wrong. Maintaining that any issue in the state can be resolved through dialogue, he said instead of peaceful interaction if the government is taken for any ride with any illegal and inhuman activities it may become unbearable for the government which will be forced to act accordingly, he warned. Listing the works accomplished by state government he said the Manipur’s power sector has become a role model in the country while adding that in other vapours field also the state government is making headways.

Minister’s absence irks BJP workers

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Dec 11

BJP state head office located at Nityaipat Chuthek, Imphal was chained and locked by the BJP workers and supporters of State Executive Member BJP Manipur Sapam Keba this evening. Aspiring BJP candidate from Patsoi constituency Sapam Keba himself was present protesting in front of BJP State head office. It may be mentioned that a mass rally cum public meeting was fixed this morning at 11 am at Tera Bazar where the presence of Union Minister HRD Prakash Javadekar, state leaders including BJP state president Ksh Bhavananda Singh, former party president Th chaoba Singh, both BJP MLA Kh Joykishan Singh and Th Biswajit Singh, and other party leaders were expected.

Tera bazar by 2 pm in the afternoon was literally full of the party faithfuls waiting for the chief guest and guests of honour to appear but when it was known that the leaders are not coming, the workers and public numbering more than 5000 along with Sapam Keba rallied towards BJP State Head Office and staged a dharna in front of office premises.

‘Ibobi govt has failed on development front’

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Dec 11

Manipur is in the verge of change, said Member of Parliament Lok Sabha, Pravari BJP Manipur Pradesh Prahlad Singh Patel. He was speaking at Umang Laikol Lampak during a reception function of retired IPS Th Radheshyam Singh today. He said that Union Minister of Road Transport and Highway of India Nitin Gadkari have announced to sanction Rs 22 crore package today during his visit at Jiribam to develop Imphal-Jiribam National Nighway. He said that Imphal-Jiribam highway is a lifeline that remained in bad shape from past many decades.

He said that Union Minister Nitin Gadkari has also put pressure to complete the state railway project within 20 months time so that the public have the developed infrastructure at the earliest. Prahlad Patel said that if the road and bridges on this highway were in good shape then the current sufferings that the general public of state are facing will not occur.

Polls likely in Feb : Report

The Sangai Express

New Delhi, December 11 2016: Elections could be possibly conducted in the five States next year in February. The five States are Uttar Pradesh, Punjab , Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur. According to a Jagran report, the Election Commission (EC) has decided to announce the election dates of all five States together. As per reports, Election Commission can announce the election date at any point of time and even the State Government officials have been asked to be up on their toes regarding this.

Punjab, Goa, Manipur and Uttarakhand Assembly tenure will end in March 2017, while UP’s Assembly tenure will end in the month of May 2017. Earlier, speculations were being made of conducting elections at the start of next year, but a clear picture is yet to arrive on this. Just three days ago, The Hindu reported, the Election Commission had asked the five poll-bound States to decide the date for annual exams and submit it to them for their knowledge, as the election shouldn’t clash with the examinations. EC requires schools, various classrooms and even teachers for conducting elections.

No show by BJP Ministers enrage many : Intending candidate snubbed

The Sangai Express

Imphal, December 11 2016: A large number of BJP supporters belonging to Heingang Assembly segment were left disappointed and fuming when no Union Minister and BJP Manipur Pradesh leaders turned up at an election meeting held at Heingang Mayai Leikai today. The meeting was organised by BJP Heingang Mandal for the party’s intending candidate P Saratchandra and it was said that at least two Union Ministers were supposed to attend the meeting.

Anguished by the snubbing, BJP Manipur Pradesh executive member P Saratchandra said that the cheap politics of some BJP Manipur Pradesh leaders are poised to ruin all the noble and impressive policies and programmes of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It was said that Union Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar, Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari and some BJP leaders of the State were supposed to attend the political conference held at Heingang Mayai Leikai. But the people gathered for the meeting were left disappointed and anguished as none of them turned up.

Speaker inaugurates community hall

The Sangai Express

Imphal, December 11 2016: Manipur Legislative Assembly Speaker Th Lokeshwar Singh inaugurated a multipurpose community hall at Pukhao Laipham today. MLA Md Fazur Rahim, Pukhao LP School former Headmaster W Shyamkesho, Dolaithabi Zila Parishad Member Tombi, Pukhao Gram Panchayat Pradhan N Bimota Devi and Haraorou Tangkham Gram Panchayat Pradhan Hemapati attended the inaugural function as special guest, president and guest of honour respectively.

Speaking at the inaugural function as chief guest, Speaker Th Lokeshwar Singh said that creation of new districts was done for administrative convenience.

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