The two-day seminar was attended by senior officials, top police officers, lawyers, academics and representatives of students and civil society organisations.
“The world has become a global village and every corner of it is striving for progress and economic development. If we continue to go for bandhs and blockades, we will be left out of the race,” Haokip said.
According to Oinam Biren Singh, the retired director of economics and statistics department, Manipur experienced 52 bandhs and 43 blockades in the 2007-08 financial year that led to losses to the tune of Rs 504.32 crore and Rs 236.68 crore respectively.
On an average, a bandh costs the state’s exchequer Rs 6 crore a day while a blockade costs Rs 2.5 crore. The resource persons and the delegates were unanimous in their opinion that effective implementation of the existing laws could check the twin menace that has become a malaise of the civil society.
Social ills like bandhs and blockades could be controlled only by good governance that would ensure social justice, a strong political will and implementation of laws, the additional director-general of police, A. Romenkumar Singh, said. He even suggested framing of special laws. According to him, the existing laws could be used to punish those sponsoring bandhs and blockades.
Senior lawyer Ch. Norendra Singh suggested intervention by the judiciary.
The participants held the Okram Ibobi Singh government responsible for the state of affairs in the state. They accused the government of insensitivity towards people’s plight.
“The government has the habit of responding to a demand only after a pressure group resorts to bandhs and blockades,” Haobam Sanajaoba, a columnist of a local daily, alleged.
The state secretary of the Students Federation of India Salam Pari, also made similar allegation.
The commissioner, information and public relations, P. Bhorot Singh, said similar campaigns would be held in other districts. “Instead of resorting to bandhs and blockades, the aggrieved party should approach the government and it would listen to the demand if it is genuine,” the official said.