Home » MLA RK Imo urged all MLAs to unite and bring a resolution to amend the Land Reforms Act

MLA RK Imo urged all MLAs to unite and bring a resolution to amend the Land Reforms Act

by Guru Aribam Naocha
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IT News
Imphal, Sept 10:

MLA of Sagolband Assembly Constituency RK Imo Singh today sought support from all members of the Manipur Legislative Assembly to change the land reform laws and support equal land rights for the people of the Hills and Valley.
MLA Imo Singh wrote to all members of the Legislative Assembly, saying, “I write this letter to my entire colleague members of the Legislative Assembly of Manipur to seek your kind attention and support for the cause of the people of Manipur. Our state of Manipur has been reeling under the conflict since May 3, which has resulted in the loss of lives, many injuries, the displacement of thousands of people, and the destruction of properties across the state. The state government has been following its policy of ensuring the safeguard of indigenous people across the state, policies of action against illegal migrants, narcotics, and insurgent groups violating ground rules of ceasefire, and eviction drives in reserved and protected forests across the state. Due to the constant drive by the State Government to protect the indigenous people, the Central Government enacted the Inner Line Permit in the State in 2019, with the base year being 1961, a dream turned into reality for the people of the State”.
Imo further said, “Manipur is a very small state, with the valley areas concentrated in less than 10 percent of the total land of the whole state. Every person is allowed to buy land in the valley and settle down here as per their wish and choice. However, the Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms Act 1960, a law enacted by Parliament, is only applicable and extended in the valley areas and some areas of the hill districts; thus, it is not extended in the hill districts in general. This literally means that any person belonging to the valley is not allowed to buy land in the hill districts of their own state, while they can buy land anywhere else in the country and even in other countries. It is one of the most illogical, controversial, and biased laws ever enacted by Parliament, which forbids the Valley people from buying such lands, except for a few areas mentioned in the Act”.
Imo continued to say that in the period between 1988 and 1990, during the Chief Ministership of his late father, RK Jaichandra Singh, he initiated amending this MLR and LR Act so that it was extended across the whole state.
To ensure the smooth passage of the bill, he had discussed with various village chiefs from the Hill Districts, along with the legislators and other stakeholders, allowing the MLR and LR Act to be extended in their areas, which would entitle them as legal owners per the revenue records and bring more development and progress in their localities. However, this failed to see the light, as the majority of legislators, including the valley legislators, were apprehensive about this amendment to the Act. He had warned that there would be a day when most people would regret this move to block the amendment, and despite being the Chief Minister, he could not enforce his idea to have a settled Revenue Department across the state and prepare surveys and records of rights in respect of permanently settled areas, including the Hills. It is an irony that the most powerful tribal leaders, politicians, businessmen, and village chiefs have created an imaginary threat perception that the Valley people will go and settle there in the Hill Districts.
Imo further said, on the other hand, these leaders have their properties in the valley area and are enjoying the benefits, while the poor tribal people in the hills are not able to enjoy the same as the land belongs to the chiefs, a few individuals, and the community as per the customary law. Extension of this Act in the Hills doesn’t mean that the land will be taken over by the government and the Valley people. It is more about the determination of an individual and his rights over his property, which at this point in time is mostly enjoyed by village chiefs and other powerful leaders. It will also be a protection from illegal migrants settling in the Hill Districts, as the Act will protect illegal settlements as there will be proper revenue records for the whole state.
In the year 2020, as a Legislator of Sagolband, I moved a motion against the State Government for a failure to bring a policy to have an equal land law for the Hills and the Valley. I had brought to the notice of the Chief Minister on the floor of the Manipur Assembly that the Valley people cannot buy land from the tribals even in the valley areas without taking due permission from the DC concerned, which is in fact a very shocking and negative law for the people in the Valley. The CM had assured the House in August that amendments would be made to ensure this was rectified, which the state government ultimately amended recently. The amendment now allows non-tribals to buy land from the tribals without getting permission from the DC in the valley area. The government has taken more positive steps to allow the sale or purchase of lands in the valley to only the native people living in the state, to protect all the indigenous people. A committee has been formed to oversee this new land law, according to MLA RK Imo.
Lastly, RK Imo seeks the cooperation of all the Members of the August House to stand united and amend the MLR and LR Act in the Manipur Legislative Assembly, which will benefit the indigenous people of the state. Let us all unite for this cause and move together for the Act to be applicable and extended in the whole state of Manipur. As this is an act of Parliament, it has to be ultimately ratified and amended in Parliament, which we all should initiate in one voice.

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Imphal Times is a daily English newspaper published in Imphal and is registered with Registrar of the Newspapers for India with Regd. No MANENG/2013/51092


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