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Imphal Times

Imphal Times

Luck matters; but not always

“Even the rains have stopped, or else we fear that the celebration may be disturbed”. Chief Minister N. Biren Singh showed his apprehension while speaking during the celebration of 1 years of his government where Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi along with other Union Ministers, MPs attended.
Lucks does matter, N. Biren Singh had never expected that he would become the Chief Minister of Manipur as BJP Manipur had already senior member who were capable becoming the Chief Minister. It was his luck that no other senior members got elected.
A slip of tongue, perhaps, while celebrating the BJP victory in the state last year, Chief Minister spells out his magic words “Go to Hill”. But N. Biren Singh keep his words. Since the coming of his government, many changes have been brought. The gap of misunderstandings between various ethnic communities of the state has been bridge and the most frequently heard word “Blockade in High ways” is now history.
N. Biren Singh and his team deserved the celebration of one years of his government.

It was again luck that 105th Indian Science Congress is being hosted by the Manipur University which co-incidence with the completion of one year of N. Biren Singh Government. Scientists and scholars from across the country are visiting the state for the occasion and simultaneously witnessing the year of his government.
Luck does favour N. Biren Singh. The threat from the opposition congress party is unlikely to give any impact as the politics of Manipur always depend on the change of politics at the Center.
Well there might be some changes with the withdrawal of the Telugu Desam Party (TPD) from NDA today morning. But there is no way that Congress party rise at the center. As long as Congress don’t rise at the center there is no way that Congress Party here in the state throw out the present government. The Supreme Court verdict on the parliamentary secretary issue might compel the Governor of Manipur to disapprove consent to the Bill passed by the state legislative Assembly in an attempt to rescue the 12 MLAs, but the luck this time is on the side of N. Biren Singh and his political party. In one year many changes have been shown except the promises on re-engagement of retired officials and corruptions at some sectors. BJP will surely regain the seats, as luck still favours him. But the fate of the 12 MLAs depends on how the ruling of the court comes and the response of the Election Commission of India. This is stated as Supreme Court verdicts on PS issues at Delhi State Assembly said disqualified candidate for holding office of profit cannot contest election for three years.

An open letter to the Chief Minister of Manipur; Border area of Ukhrul demands government attention

By: Ringphami A Shimray
Hill areas of Manipur palpably remain relatively lagging far behind in all dimensions of development. One such developmentally retarded hill region lies in the eastern hem of Ukhrul district along Indo-Myanmar border. This frontier region, known for its extreme backwardness and remoteness, has remained excluded from development processes. People living in this region are leading a miserable life bereft of hope for a better future.
This border area is comprised of twenty two villages namely: Pushing, Mapum, Zingsui, Rusheah, Sahamphung, Roni, Matiyang, Hangaokaphung, Chamu, Khayang, Khayang Phungtha, Kachaophung Tangkhul, Kachaophung Kuki, Maokot, Chatric Khullen, Chatric Khunou, Chahong Khullen, Chahong Khonou, Chahong Pharung, Chahong Chingthak, Chahong Chingkha.
Being remote and hilly, infrastructure has been the most essential aspect of development in this border area. Unfortunately, the successive State Government has failed to give the attention the area deserves. Non-availability of proper physical infrastructure such as transport and communication facilities, electricity, irrigation facilities and poor social infrastructure like medical and health care facilities and education infrastructure have remained the key constraint for socio-economic development of the area. For instance, roads have been under deplorable condition, motorable only in summer. The area remains cut off throughout monsoon as the unfriendly topography and climatic condition of the region make the hilly terrain highly vulnerable to landslides and soil erosion causing restrictions on free movement of people, goods and services for the entire period of monsoon which normally stays for nearly six months. This border area has witnessed a large number of premature deaths pertaining to preventable diseases. Villagers have to carry the sick and travel long distances, often on foot, to reach hospital in the district headquarters. The pathetic situation continues to exist even today. The services provided by the government health agency are indubitably far from meeting the growing needs of poor and illiterate villagers. Lack of adequate medical and health care facilities in the villages leads to deepening the existing poverty and creates a new poverty. In many instances, treatment is deferred owing to financial constraint exacerbating the bad condition of the patient to worse. In many cases, patients are taken to hospital only when their condition became beyond healing. Government schools in most of these border villages do not have enough classrooms, adequate furniture, sufficient teachers and lack access to resources thereby adversely affecting effective delivery of quality education to students leading to dismal outlook for the upcoming generation. In some of the villages, the number of students attending in government schools is insignificant. Statistical reports of many government schools of this border area are deliberate exaggeration. Students migrating to private schools in pursuance of better quality education are on the rise. If the present trend continues, then the government schools may not have even a single student in the near future. None of the villages have electricity until today despite the fact that electricity poles have been erected in some of the villages a couple of decades ago. In the absence of power and other alternative source of lighting in their homes, students have to read their books in dim light emitted from burning pinewood. Besides, most of the villages are yet to have access to telephone network and internet connectivity.

Poverty refuses to go away from this border region. It is another grave issue causing unemployment among youth. Young people, the most powerful resource of the nation, remain very unproductive, frustrated and in a state of total hopelessness. They are susceptible to any form of anti-social elements. Alcoholism and substance abuse is rife among youth resulting in the hapless victims of dreadful diseases. Skill development training for rural youth under current BADP is markedly far from catering to the demands of growing number of village youth. Educated unemployed village youth though willing to take up industry and income generation activities for self-reliant or any other viable projects for sustainable village economy, there is none to support them to develop their potential. In the absence of any other alternative source of livelihood, the villagers remain fully dependent on agriculture for subsistence and their primary activity is Jhum cultivation which is characterized by low productivity. Jhum cultivation is not only utterly uneconomic but is a threat to ecology, bio-diversity, water resources, climate and natural environment.
Deactivation of Sahamphung SDC office has been a great deficit for this border area. Sahamphung SDC headquarters, located @ 50 km. from Ukhrul headquarters, was established way back in the eighties. But unfortunately, this office has remained in abeyance for almost thirty years; the office buildings were completely demolished following Kuki-Naga clash in the early nineties. People from the area have been clamoring for resumption of the said office. Though it was approved to revive the office in 2014, the then State Government had initiated no follow up action on its part to resume the office to fulfill the decades-old demand of the people. None of the successive MLAs of the area, too, was audacious enough to get involved into the matter thereby miserably failed to carry out the task entrusted to them. The failure of the past leadership has resulted in loss of people’s faith in political leadership.
Another distinct disadvantage of the area is the ununiform distribution of the villages under different assembly constituencies and different development blocks. The villages currently fall under two different assembly constituencies, partly under 43-Phungyar A/C and partly under 44-Ukhrul A/C. The villages that fall within 43-Phungyar A/C are under Kamjong Block whereas the villages falling within 44-Ukhrul A/C are further fragmented and partly placed under Ukhrul Block and partly under Kamjong Block outside the ambit of the same assembly constituency. This is extremely unfair and is detrimental to the interest of the villages concerned. Besides, few border villages which were earlier under BADP have been excluded from its purview of late to the disadvantage of the villages.
The situations of extreme socio-economic backwardness of this particular border area and untold hardships being experienced by the deprived villagers demand special attention of the State Government. Therefore, immediate reactivation of Sahamphung SDC office, proper maintenance of the existing roads, enhancement of medical and health care facilities, improvement of educational infrastructure, electrification or alternative energy sources, development of minor irrigation projects to facilitate agricultural diversification, promotion of small-scale agro-based industries and cottage industries, implementation of self-employment generation schemes, telephone network and internet connectivity may be suggested as critical imperatives to facilitate rapid development of this remote border area and to enhance the quality of life of the inhabitants.

State Labour department working to reach the unreached genuine construction labours; to launch website for transparency

Imphal, March 17: State labour department which has been in the news for various allegations of irregularities now is transforming. The new Chairman of the Manipur Building and other construction Workers’ Welfare Board, Sanglakpam Preshyojit, is working to reach out the unreached genuine construction labour from the state so that every possible support can be provided to them.
A website is being under construction and all information about the activities of the labour department as well as the list of the genuine labour whose name has been registered will be displayed. Any person from the state will be able to find out the name of the labour card holder.
Over 1 lakh labour cards has been issued in the state and there are complaints of genuine labourers not getting the card. Chairman Sanglakpam Preshyojit  said those who already possess labour card for getting beneficiaries need to renew their card and the officials of the Labour department will be conducting verification once more.
Another important measures taken up by the Chairman is that the department is planning to organise series of training programme for unskilled labourers. For this, an approval from the government is being awaited. What is more interesting is the formation of a new labour body called the United Labour Union of Manipur (ULUM) with Dr. Nara (former Minister) as the president and Abonmei of Nungba as the Secretary. A meeting of the newly form labour body was held and most members of the body are from hill districts of Manipur at Kombirei Hall DC Office Complex.  Representatives from Noney, Tamenlong, Ukhrul, Senapati, Chandel, Churachanpur, Imphal East, Imphal West, Bishnupur, Thoubal were attended in the meeting. The Chairman of the  Manipur Building and other construction Workers’ Welfare Board was also invited in the meeting.
Speaking in the meeting, Sanglakpam Preshyojit said that in other states like Mizoram, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh 50% of the labour are from non locals. This is because of lack of skill in construction works. He said he feared that someday Manipur might also face the same problem. That is why the Board is looking forward to give training to non-skill construction workers in all the districts of Manipur, Preshyojit added.
Some changes in the Board are also likely to see in the coming days. Some of the prominent figure who had been dedicated for the cause of the working community will also be included. 5 members will be selected irrespective of which background they belong to and 5 members will be from among the IAS and another 5 from Chief Engineers.
The Chairman also assured to contact engineers and contractor to utilised native workers in constructions works. He assured to urged the government for organising training programme for the unskilled labourers.

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MACR organizes children exposure cum tour programme

Imphal, March 17: Manipur Alliance for Child Rights (MACR), which is working for the inalienable rights of children of Manipur, organised a children exposure cum tour program on today. The program was flagged off from Senapati Headquarter by M. Pradip, Superintendent of Police, Senapati Police Station and Robin Raomai, Convener, MACR, Senapati Chapter.   The team was received and welcomed at the Secretariat office of Manipur Alliance for Child Rights (MACR), Moirang Hanuba followed by a grant feast. Ashim Ghosh, General Manager, CRY, Kolkata and Montu Ahanthem, Convener, Manipur Alliance for Child Rights gave their best wishes to the children. The team visited at Manipur Zoological garden, Iroishemba, Kangla Fort and Manipur State Museum.
The objective of organizing the exposure cum tour program was to promote communal harmony and emotional integrity among the different ethnic communities of Manipur. Many Children from different communities come forward to express their thought, which would strengthen the integrity of the state and to create a recreation venue to reduce the trauma and fear psychosis due to the different types of conflict which are prevalent in Manipur. Altogether around 250 children from Senapati District took part in the exposure program.

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