By Our Staff Reporter
IMPHAL, Apr 29: In pursuit of its demands with regard to issues on the Manipur Autonomous District council, reservation in the Manipur University, shortage of teachers in hill district schools and forest matters the All Tribal Students’ Union Manipur has decided to go ahead with the series of agitation programme from May 1 onwards.
At 6 pm of May 1 till 6 am of the next day ‘protest general strike would be imposed while from May 2, 6 am till the same hour on May 7 economic blockade would come into force, said an ATSUM release.
The student’s body had been demanding restoration of administrative machineries in the hill districts through the revival of Autonomous District Councils which the ATSUM had been alleging that State Government is deliberately delaying re-enactment of the Manipur Hill Area District Council Act.
Similarly, the State Government is being blamed for alleged lack of initiative to ensure reservation of tribal candidates in the Manipur University with regard to admission and employment in the varsity which had been upgraded to a Central University.
The ATSUM statement further demanded that Government of Manipur officially introduce a Bill in the next assembly session for either ‘reconversion of MU from Central University to State University’ or creation of a separate University exclusively for the tribals.
On shortage of teachers in the hill district schools, the ATSUM statement conveyed that inspite of 1332 teachers recruited in 2005 on contract basis their services had never been exercised following termination of services ‘with the excuse that regular teachers had already been provided’.
In reality only 306 science and arts graduate teachers were provided for the vacant post of 1332 teachers, it added while questioning Government plan, if any, to address the shortage.
On the Forest matter, ATSUM said, “the issue raised by the Working Groups on Land & Natural Resources and student bodies particularly in Ukhrul district on Joint Forest Management and other related issues are genuine and is in the interest of the tribal people of Manipur”.
Contending that State forest Department, rather than act swiftly to redress the problem is trying to justify the delay through make-belief tales and lame excuses, ATSUM cautioned that any further delay on the issue would compel the student body to chalk out and resort to recourse.
Security tightened after Tipaimukh sabotage
By Our Staff Reporter
Imphal, Apr 29: Security measures has been beefed up in the aftermath of the April 26 attack launched by armed cadres of the Hmar people’s Convention, Democratic (HPC-D) that caused substantial damage to machineries installed at the construction site of Tipaimukh Multi-Purpose Project even as the Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh has convened a meeting on May 2 to take stock of the situation.
Informing that decision to convene the meeting, to be attended by top officials of NEEPCO including its Director General, was adopted at a meeting held under the chairmanship of the Chief Minister, the source said Chief Secretary, Principal Secretary (Home), DGP and other top ranking security officials were present at the said meeting.
Jolted by the HPC-D attack during which bombs were reportedly used in destroying drilling machine stationed at the Project site on the barak river bank, security measures had been strengthened with para-military force personnel deployed on patrolling duty at the construction site located close to the Manipur-Mizoram border.
The North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO) is the implementing agency of the 163 metre high dam envisioned to generate 1500 megawatt power, which had been dogged by controversy with certain section of the society and NGOs demanding scrapping of the project on environmental and socio-economic concerns.
The Project site lies within Churachandpur district and about 300 kilometres from here with the act of arson actually taking place on the Mizoram side of the inter-State border, according to Superintendent of Police (churachandpur) S Manglemjao Singh.
In the wake of the incident security measures has been tightened on Manipur side where the dam would be constructed, the SP said adding that security have been kept on high alert in the area.
“We are informed that the Assam Rifles posted at Parbung, the nearest security post from Tipaimukh, have intensified patrolling around Tipaimukh areas”.
Meanwhile, a senior NEEPCO official, while officially intimating about the incident report to the state’s principal secretary (Power), has emphasized the need to take appropriate action at the earliest.
The official representation said miscreants blasted the drilling machine kept at the dam site on the left bank of Barak river in Mizoram.
Besides throwing away the drilling accessories to the river, they also fired some rounds in the air. An FIR is being lodged with the Sub Divisional Police Officer, Sakawrdai, Mizoram, the report said adding that the field staff have been shifted to Tuirial HEP. HPC (D), in a statement said the drilling works at Tipaimukh area is against the aspirations of the Hmar people of Tipai-mukh as the matter involves their land, dignity and rig-hts. Destroying the machi- neries was a necessary act in the interest of ‘safeguarding our ancestral land and our people from destructive intervention made by the government of Manipur and Neepco in pursuit of imposing a mega-dam’, the statement said. The outfit also accused the state and NEEPCO of “pushing the proposed project without consulting the people who will be severely affected”. The Hmars’ blood and land will remain intact, it said.
Amid large scale protests by anti-dam lobbyists, Union power minister Sushil Kumar Shinde had laid the foundation stone of the estimated Rs 700 crore dam on December 15, 2006.
Dam opposers particularly environmentalists and representatives of NGOs are of the view that the project once implemented would uproot 150 villages and inundate over 7251 square Kms of forest areas including the orange belt in Tamenglong district in addition to rendering over 40,000 people homeless.
TSA condemns bomb blast
IMPHAL, Apr 29: The Thadou Students’ Association, Sadar Hills has strongly condemned the April 24 bomb blast at near the Babupara quarter of PHE Minister TN Haokip as well as the attempt to abduct Moreh College Principal and pledged its support to any movement launched by the HTC on the latter issue.
On other issue, the TSA decried that official works of the Division Forest Officer, Northern Division HQs Kangpokpi is being carried out from the Imphal office of the Department.
Reminding that TSA had already apprised the Forest Department authorities (PCCF) through a memorandum on April 5 for shifting the Division Forest office to its original location in Kangpokpi, the student’s body cautioned that as the ten day timeframe on the matter had ceased without any positive response from the Government any undesired incident that arises as a consequent of TSA’s movement for justice should be borne by the Government.
It also prevailed upon the Government to ensure completion of renovation/repairing works of NH-39 before the onset of rainy season to prevent the TSA from pursuing its own course of action.
Murder of two Anal women; SP cracks case
Tbl cops round up 3 suspects
By Our Staff Reporter
IMPHAL, Apr 29 : Asserting that some break through has been made in the investigation of the murder of PS Snowy alias Julie (27) of Anal Khunou, Chakpika-rong, and Louphu Esther Anala alias Romi (29) of Charangching, Chandel at Khekman under Thoubal district, the SP of Thoubal Clay Khongsai today said that three accused have been rounded up.
In a statement the SP said that one co-accused identified as Md Mabosana alias Abdul Rahman of Keibung Sanabam Leirak, an active member of PULF (MI faction) was arrested from his house on April 6; on April 22 another primary suspect, the brain behind the killings identified as Mrs Majida (25) wife of Md Abdul Majit alias Tomain of Keirao Makha Leikai was arrested from Mantripukhri while another suspect identified as Md Tajuddin alias Abothem (27) of PULF (MI faction) was arrested from his house located at Keibung Wangmataba on April 26.
Two main accused are still at large but they have been identified, said the SP and added that the best efforts are being put in to arrest them.
Meanwhile the All Tribal Women’s Organisation has decided to call off bandh imposed along the Imphal-Moreh route on NH-39 following a meeting with the Works Minister at his office chamber today.
The decision to call off the bandh was arrived after it was agreed that the SP of Thoubal police will issue a statement relating to the progress and arrests made so far, including photographs of the accused in the case, to give better protection to women and children, that the issue of ex-gratia may be discussed with the Chandel Naga Peoples’ Organisation and JAC at a latter date.
===========Work progress of Capitol Project
Volatile situation throws work process behind schedule
IMPHAL, Apr 29: In the light of the massacre of 15 migrant workers in different parts of the State last month, problems faced in transportation of the required construction material from outside and frequent imposition of bandh and blockade among other hindrances, the deadline set earlier for completion of the construction work on the ambitious Imphal Capitol Project is likely to be extended further.
The work on construction of the project being taken up at an estimated cost Rs 141.42 crores was started in January 2006 with the target of completing the work within 30 months. However, there has been no progress in the construction work of the project which is still at the foundation stage (lying of the piles) even though the project duration is due to expire in June-July this year.
Following the last month’s incident of killing migrant workers at different parts of the State, the workers of the Simplex Infrastructure Limited, which is the implementing work agency of the project are still being apprehensive and not being able to concentrate in their work.
Not long after commencement of the work on the project , it had remained stalled for three complete months following interference from UG elements. During that period, most of the labourers of the construction company have also been shifted and utilised in other work sites, according to an official of the Public Works Department (PWD) of the State Government.
Even at present, there is lack of adequate skilled labourers in taking up the construction work of the project while the local labourers face the problem of communication, the official disclosed.
Apart from the necessity of bringing in all the required construction materials like steel, iron, cement and sand from outside Manipur, the construction company has been facing the problem of illegal taxes imposed along the road, the official said, adding that the incident of frequent bandh and blockade in the State has also resulted in tardy progress of the construction work.
Nonetheless, the construction company has done an excellent job in maintaining the quality of the work. If there is no hindrance, laying of the piles would have been completed long ago, the official said, adding that in all around 2000 piles have to be laid and the work is nearing completion.
Once this work (laying of the piles) is completed, construction of the main structure would not take much time, the official assured.
In view of the slow progress of the work due to various factors, Simplex company has also requested for extension of the deadline of the construction work on the project, the official added.
As to the construction of the High Court complex being taken up as part of the larger capitol project, the work is going on and progressing smoothly as it does not involve much of the complex technical works, the official informed. The official, however, declined from giving any comment on the cons-truction work of the multi- storeyed Nupi Keithel of Khwairamband Bazar. Although most of the con- struction works related to Luxmi Bazar and New Market have been completed, work on Purana Bazar is yet to take off. When the wo-men vendors of the market approached the CM in this regard recently, the latter assured that the three market sheds would be inaugu- rated at the same time.