It gives me immense pleasure to stand before you on 2nd consecutive Independence Day celebration in the District as the Deputy Commissioner and I consider myself extremely fortunate for this.
Ladies & Gentlemen, first of all I would like to congratulate you all on this sacrosanct day of 15th August, the Independence Day of India and we all take pride in being a part of this largest democracy of world.
At the very outset I want to salute the wonderful people this District who have shown an uncanny vitality and spirit of survival and prosperity.
Ladies and Gentlemen, believe me, people outside are perplexed and baffled that how a town battered by chronic violence and tension has still been growing, shining and blooming! How a District which is currently regarded as one of the most dreaded and unsafe place of North East India is leaping forward and achieving unbelievable success!!Marked by presence of more than 12 insurgent groups and frequent killings, Churachandpur town is still the fastest growing and largest town of the state–only second to Imphal. The District is the biggest producer and consumer of many things from mundane to the most stylish categories like footwears, garments and furnitures. Within last 2 weeks I have came across two young boys who have made it to IIT and both of them had done their 10+2 from Churachandpur town!! This year alone atleast three boys have landed up in IAS and IPS from the District. On a population of 3 lakhs we have 5 daily Newspapers in Churachandpur — a number which even a District having a population of more than 30 lakhs in UP and Bihar cannot boast of! From Airline companies to shopping malls of Delhi and Mumbai and from modelling ramps to the ranks and files of Indian Army, Air force and Navy, young folks of the District have made a thumping presence.
And it is because of this Ladies and Gentlemen, I am reminded of Second Corinthians New Testament:
“ We are hard pressed on every side yet not crushed; we are perplexed but not in despair; persecuted but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed …” (II Corinthians 4:8-9)
Ladies and Gentlemen, The last year has been very eventful for the District. First and fore-most has been the successful completion of 1st year of National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme(NREGS) in the District. Approximately 45,000 families of the District were provided employment under the Scheme with an investment of approximately 34 crore rupees in the year 2007-08. All the households of 3 Blocks– Tipaimukh, Thanlon & Vangai were given 100 days of employment, while all households of Singngat & Henglep were given 65 days of employment. Remaining 5 Blocks received 50 days of employment for all families.
An impact study commissioned by DRDA Churachandpur has revealed that NREGS has brought about amazing changes in the rural economy of the District in a very short span. Now there are concrete evidences that the rate of labour wages in open labour market of the district has significantly gone up after the launch of NREGS in the District. Before launch of NREGS a labourer engaged for various unskilled works was paid on an average of a daily wage of Rs. 60/- to Rs. 70/- per day in the district. But after the launch of NREGS no labourer is available in open labour market in less that Rs. 90/- to 100/-, as NREGS itself is offering an amount of Rs. 81.40 per day. Half of the work force of NREGS constitutes females. Moreover women workers have to be provided with facilities like baby crèche etc. NREGS has proved to be extremely gender sensitive by enabling around 22500 women to participate in work force. On one hand NREGS has launched a systematic attack on rampant unemployment and on the other it has brought a relieving economic freedom to rural womenfolk. Now there are confirmed reports that commercial sex market in the district has received setbacks because of NREGS, with many commercial sex workers having got job under NREGS have stayed away from the obnoxious profession, atleast during the NREGS employment period.
Ladies and Gentlemen, NREGS is not only addressing the chronic unemployment and despair of our youth but more than that it is addressing the plight of our mothers, sisters and deprived womenfolks. Ladies & Gentlemen, please allow me to quote Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton who in the year 1995 while speaking on women’s rights said thus…
“… Now it is time to act on behalf of women everywhere. If we take bold steps to better the life of women, we will be taking bold steps to better the lives of children and families too.. As long as discriminations and inequalities remains so common place around the world- as long as girls and women are valued less, fed less, fed last, overworked, under paid, not schooled and subjected to violence in and out of their home-the potential of the human facilities to create a peaceful, prosperous world will not be realized…”
Few months back some local newspapers of Churachandpur town ran Banner Stories that after the introduction of NREGS the fee payment by poor student has improved and school drop out rate is on decrease. Remarkably but interestingly it is also reported that even the ‘Tithe’ collection of churches has substantially increased indicating enhanced income of common man. All National Level Monitors of NREGS who have come to the District have rated Churachandpur as one of the best NREGS districts of India.
Other developmental initiatives in the District include the speedy completion of Khuga Multi-purpose Dam which is expected to be inaugurated by Prime Minister of India. The Project is likely to address the problems of irrigation, drinking water and power supply in the district and neighboring areas. Construction and improvement work is under rapid progress on the roads leading to Henglep and Tipaimukh even as the Guite road is being slated as National Highway. Construction work has already started at P.T. SPORTS COMPLEX, site Lamka which is another major proj ect having its other segment at Tuibong Peace-ground.
Long awaited Rehabilitation package for the victims’ families of ethnic clashes was ultimately successfully distributed to all 3,500 families few month back after a wait of almost 10 years. Under the package an amount of Rs. 10,000 was provided to each family with a total approximately cost of Rs. 3.5 crore, provided by Govt. of India. Besides, under Special Plan Assistance, Urban Infrastructure works under MAHUD are under successful implementation in Churachandpur Town area with an investment of approximately Rs. 2 crore.
Lastly but above all the people of the district were able to maintain communal harmony and peace during past one year thereby enabling the Administration to maintain law & order in the district.
However, despite all land-mark achievements the district continues to waddle on many fronts. Road communication in the district is in extremely bad shape. Even as I speak these words at this very moment many parts of Tipaimukh & Henglep Sub-Divisions remain cut-off from Headquarter in the present monsoon season. Govt. institutions are still not fully functional in the outlying Sub-Divisions thereby causing great hardship to the people. Some contentious problems of the district still remain unresolved and most important of them is the issue of Mini-Secretariat. While we have seen beautiful sprawling buildings and campus of Mini-Secretariat coming up in Ukhrul and Senapati Districts, the Mini-Secretariat project of Churachandpur District is in serious jeopardy and far from take-off.
Another serious challenge persisting before us is MAUTAM and food-grain scarcity in outlying Sub-Divisions. Recently we received approximately 4000 Qtls of Relief Rice at BPL rate for worst affected villages which was hardly sufficient to solve the problem.
Ethnic tussle compounded by multiplicity of insurgent groups in the district is another core problem because of which the peace and tranquility is always found suspended from thin end.
Today even as we have gathered here to celebrate the land-mark day of our Independence from a foreign rule, it is high time that we take a resolve to free ourselves from other forms of miseries and slavery which include the violence, poverty, disease, deprivations and injustice thereby empowering ourselves to deal with them,
However we should not forget what Jawaharlal Nehru said at the mid night of 14 August 1947;
“Freedom and Power bring responsibility”.
I appeal to all of you to strengthen the hands of Administration so that we can serve you in a much better and more meaningful way.
With my best wishes.