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Imphal Free Press
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IMPHAL | Nov 16

Directorate of minorities and other backward classes has released over Rs. 6 crores as post-matric scholarships for OBC students, said a release.

Names and account numbers of the 9151 eligible students were forwarded to the State Bank of India’s secretariat branch today. The scholarship is for students from the academic year 2014-15, 2015-2016 and 2016-17, it added.

Noted in personal diary

By Dr. Malem Ningthouja

Prologue

Open invitation is circulated through social media, inviting people to attend One Day Open Dialogue on the topic “Possible Outcomes of the Framework Agreement in the Context of Manipur”. The programme scheduled for November 18, 2017, proposed to be held at Lamyanba Shanglen, Imphal is jointly organised by All Manipur United Clubs Organisation (AMUCO), Committee of Civil Societies, Kangleipak (CCSK) and United Committee Manipur (UCM). Prelude to the circulation of the open invitation, I have noticed private TV Channels in Imphal, hosting several discussion programmes on the matters connected to the Framework Agreement that was entered into between Government of India and National Socialist Council of Nagalim (IM), dated August 3, 2015. I have seen and listened to some of the opinions presented by the leaders of the organisations mentioned above. Having noticed the open invitation, I presume that the dialogue will be attended mostly by those who stand for the unity of Manipur and there will be an emotionally charged situation. I am afraid that they do not fall into the trap of blind propaganda that merely ends up with another round of communal tension, where the real culprit would escape away without exposure and effective challenge. Although I am not in a position to attend the programme, it is for my personal record that I make the following statement.

What is the Framework Agreement?

The ongoing clandestine Framework Agreement (FA) negotiation between the Government of India and National Socialist Council of Nagalim (IM) is a matter of serious concern in India, particularly in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur and Nagaland. But the genesis of this FA is more than two decades old. It is worth reminding that the NSCN-IM was formed in 1988 to fight for the complete sovereignty of the Naga peoples. It worked in parallel with other militant groups such as Naga National Council and NSCN-(K). Very soon, within few years of its existence, since around 1995, it began to enter into peace-talk with the Government of India, which was finally materialised in the Ceasefire Agreement of 1997. Therefore, from around mid 1990s, NSCN-IM had stopped from pursuing a common revolutionary agenda for India-Burma regions. It naturally shivered strategic alliance with other militant organisations who would continue to wage war of liberation.

Along the trend of ‘peace’, on August 3, 2015, NSCN-IM formally signed for a FA with the Government of India. It articulates idea of ‘shared sovereignty’ of the Nagas with the Government of India. Practically, it had to be based on some adjustment within the structure of the three tiers power sharing system prescribed in the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution of India. Seen positively, the FA had some positive aspects. NSCN-IM is no longer an enemy to the Government of India. It is now elevated to the position of an importantly ally in mechanising joint strategic control of territory, market and natural resources in the Indo-Myanmar border regions. Unfortunately, most of the Naga public are dark about the proceedings and contents of FA, though the negotiating parties make elaborate publicity about (or on) every occasion of ‘talks.’ Many suspected that, under FA, NSCN-IM, particularly the top leaders, enjoy special favour manifested in display of power and elegant and luxurious livelihood.

The suspicions add to pre-existing sectarianism and conflicts amongst Naga peoples in general and among contentious stakeholders in particular. The Government of India, being internationally exposed of its one sided collusion with one militant organisation, devised new tactics of inviting other Naga groups on the pretext of joint stakeholder consultation programmes. However, frustrations, dissentions and factional armed conflict are not coming to an abrupt halt. In the meanwhile, to subside all these, NSCN-IM intensifies the propaganda of Nagalim integration, with the objective to strengthen its strategic control in all the Naga inhabited areas in Northeast. Though this propaganda could not materialise Naga consolidation immediately, it invokes community sentiments and diverts attention of those who could be easily won over psychologically. On the other hand, this propaganda adds to the apprehension of territorial disintegration in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Manipur. Fifth columnists, composed of sectarian and chauvinist forces take advantage of the situation to mislead the people into genocide. The Government of India studies the situation to act on opportunity to exert strategic control. It is doing the job quite well!

I have the following opinions in regards to the FA:

Short and long terms benefit for Government of India

Firstly, the FA enables the GoI to find a loyal ally with the NSCN-IM and other militant groups who had either followed or will follow this model, to effectively regulate the activity of other armed groups. This is the rule of tactics!

Secondly, after regulating the activity of armed groups, the GoI can without restraint build up several layers of funded loyal groups who will subsequently control the instruments of government. This is strategy!

Thirdly, the GoI can pursue without restraint its agenda of ‘capitalist growth’ model in Indo-Burma regions. The ‘capitalist growth model’ includes extension of railway networks, grafting in of alien population forces, construction of hydro electricity projects, mining and extraction of carbon reserves, minerals and other natural resources, expansion of market and tourism, and etcetera. This is governance!

In short, FA is a strategic success of making further inroads of finance capitalism. What do you expect more?

NSCN-IM has short term boom and benefit

Firstly, the ‘shared sovereignty’ enables NSCN-IM to outdo other Naga groups in the balance of power. It will also enjoy the favour of joint military tactical alliance vis-à-vis other non Naga armed organisations. Through its show of strength, propaganda and a vast network of middle class over-ground civil society organisations; it will enjoy virtual reign of power for some years in the Naga inhabited areas. This is welcomed!

Secondly, NSCN-IM organisation and its higher officials will get trapped in the violent whirlpool of capitalist constraints. It can’t protect the Nagas from the onslaught of finance imperialism. It can’t prevent from the relative break down of tribal unity due to ‘consumerist’ opportunism among contending parasitic forces that would fight for short cut accumulation of wealth. However, the organisation and its higher officials will benefit a lot from the ‘capitalist growth’ model through various channels of revenue extraction. Any Naga who is in good terms with the powerful functionaries of either the GoI or NSCN-IM will benefit a lot. There will also be trickle down benefit at different lower degrees depending upon the hierarchy of contact. Everyone has a share of the loot!

In short, the cosmetic delivery of FA will make majority of the Nagas completely oblivion of the long term destructive tendency of capitalist onslaught by the alien forces. The short term boom will bring few decades of temporary laurel, which will be blindly construed as golden period in the annals of Naga history. But this is going to be the ‘dark period’ that will be marked by perpetual subjugation, exploitation, oppression and marginalisation of common Naga population whose number will grow tremendously. In the competition for larger share of capitalist cake, NSCN-IM will become a divided house compounded with severe challenges from other competing forces. Its involvement in bourgeoisie electoral politics will further jeopardise internal conflict, disillusionment and dissention. Gradually revolutionary or progressive force will emerge; who will search for fraternal support beyond their fallen community. No sectarian and communal force can prevent them from uniting with other like minded groups. One had to wait for them to emerge!

FA and messages for Manipur patriots

Land and natural resources belong to the State/ government and that citizens merely enjoy some temporary proprietorship. The question of integrity or disintegration of territory is a State matter; and that people must remain loyal to the State who alone could defend their sentiment of territorial integrity. Be obedient and you will be awarded!

The armed groups from Manipur are being cornered now to the level of demobilisation. Other than few instances of sporadic armed ambushes, they are politically ineffective. Militarily, they can’t hit and run easily as the vast tract of hilly regions are now covered by various forms of FA, CA and SoO. They should become loyal like the NSCN-IM so that a new mechanism of power balance could be created to regulate the activity of those who would disturb the established territory of Manipur. Negotiate or get lost!

The progressive mass organisations are being exhausted from pursuing any consistent and successful resistance to the negative impacts of militarisation and destructive projects. They are being indirectly suggested not to challenge ‘capitalist projects’, so that their concern for territorial integrity is positively considered by the State/ government. Any threat to the ‘capitalist project’ would be subdued through various means of internecine conflict by raising sensitive issues. Support capitalism and you can rest for now!

The question of integrity of Manipur

Yes, there is a danger to integrity. Can you imagine?

Firstly, Manipur is no longer the property of the peoples of Manipur. The peoples are no longer the owner of this territory. The people and territory are the spoils of colonial war and capitalist loot. There is reign of alien capitalist regime that controls everything ranging from land, over ground and underground resources, knowledge system, human capital, market and culture. When the people lives in colonial bondages the territory itself is being alienated from them as they merely enjoy temporary proprietorship through payment of taxes in various forms. Where is your land?

Secondly, the material foundation upon which the political community of Manipur was established in 1947 was destroyed after 1949. The unity evident in the democratic election of 1848 was the material manifestation of the psychological unity which had developed over centuries of economic formation. Until and unless there are efforts to build up self-reliant material foundation of unity; the campaign for unity cannot be materialised among the lumpen population—that is largely composed of opportunist individuals who are blindly misled by the cosmetic services of capitalist looters. A revolutionary programme, independent of the support of the regime is essential to encourage people to live with dignity and cooperation. This had to be the viable common agenda. What do you wait for?

Thirdly, identify the main enemy, expose it clearly so that people would realise whom to hit hard against at any emotive outburst. It is currently untimely to target the puppets; whose injury will be misinterpreted and ignite communal tension to the advantage of the main enemy. Control the mouth of the integrity CSOs whose spectacular propaganda in the Valley merely contributes to communal media browbeating. Keep a check and control of communal and chauvinist forces who in the name of integrity spread the venom of sectarianism and communal mistrust. Do not focus on 2000 years old past history but convey the vision of “why unity of the oppressed peoples is essential in order to achieve brighter future.” Be a revolutionary!

Choose your goal

From divisions people can unite for common goal. Respect differences and initiate common progressive economic and political programme with longer vision. You do not need political dialogue with anyone to do this. You just act on progressive economic programme for the masses and political training of selected capable teams. You have to purge out counter revolutionary forces from your groups; demobilise them and overtake them in constructive mass work. Do it before you grow old!

Revolution neither comes nor waits anyone. It has to be created through the activity of men in action. Are you ready?

From Our Correspondent

TAMENGLONG | Nov 15

The chief minister of Manipur, N. Biren Singh overwhelmed the public during his visit at Tamenglong district. A large crowd gathered at the Mini Stadium waiting for him under the hot sun.

The chief minister assured gathering that Tamenglong-Khongsang road will be blacktopped by February 2018. He said that he was not happy at the present work progress. However, temporary restoration works of Tamenglong- Khongsang road has been improved after state assembly election and it has been given to NHIDCL with high hopes of speeding up the works, he added.

Numerous of memorandums were passed on to the chief minister, while he appealed all the government officials who are posted in Tamenglong to station at respective work place without fail.

‘If there is no place to stay, stay in rented house. The state government will pay back your rent’, said N. Biren.

He also assured that the state government will soon launch free treatment and financial aid of upto Rs. 2 lakhs will be provided to the BPL family. Another scheme for disabled person and widow scheme will also be launched very soon, he added.

The CM inaugurated the new building of 50 bedded District Hospital, in the presence of cabinet ministers and other dignitaries at Duigailong village. He also visited the patients.

The hospital has been constructed with a budget of Rs. 21 crores by DRDA Tamenglong under NLCPR fund. Construction works was begun in 2009 and completed in 2017. The hospital has already been occupied and atleast 54 patients have been operated successfully few days ago.

Later, the CM and cabinet ministers laid the foundation stone for construction of Transit Hostel for doctors, nurses and teachers. The estimated cost for construction of Transit Hostel is Rs. 10 crores and construction works will be done by Manipur Housing Corporation.

Foundation stone was also laid by the CM for construction of Rani Gaidinliu’s market with a budget of Rs. 10 crores and works will executed by Police Housing Corporation.

Moreover, the CM laid the foundation stone for Water Supply Scheme and 5000 metric tonne FCI Godown at Mini stadium, where the public meeting was held today.

The CM also stated that construction of FCI Godown will be executed by CPWD with total estimated budget of Rs. 27 crores while water supply scheme of Rs. 39 crores.

Biren Singh also said that development package for Tamenglong of Rs. 50 crores has already been sanctioned. He further announced another Rs. 325 crores for Tamenglong and Noney district including Khoupum block, Tamai, Nungba and Tousem for road and connectivity, water supply, electricity and others.

Meanwhile, the Zeliangrong Baudi in press statement appreciated the chief minister and cabinet ministers for visiting Tamenglong district despite of deplorable condition of the road.

The statement signed by chairman of Zeliangrong Baudi Tamenglong zone, Agipou Pamei said that the meeting was supposed to be held at Mini secretariat but due to incomplete construction of the building, it was held at DC Bungalow and the Zeliangrong Baudi has deeply regretted for it.

He further mentioned that PWD minister, Biswajeet had assured that the mini secretariat will be completed by 2018 and the general public is eagerly waiting for it.

By A Staff Reporter

IMPHAL | Nov 15

Former chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh today came out to join the chorus of charges in the present times that whatever the BJP government is claiming to be their achievements are all works that the Congress government initiated.

“The BJP government is merely continuing with what the Congress government began, but are making loud noises now that it was they who conceived of, and pushed for initiatives for the development of the economy of the country”, he said.

It may be recalled that another central Congress leader, Shashi Tharoor, had mockingly pointed out that most of the development initiatives claimed by the new BJP government are actually schemes designed by the Congress government, but given a new name.

He said that BJP has come to power only very recently, even the Central government has only 3-4 years of governance behind it, and that all their achievements are made easy because of the painstaking foundations laid by the Congress government for decades beginning from Jawaharlal Nehru time.

He challenged both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and state Chief Minister N. Biren, to not only take credits for the development work, but also to work for peace and harmony of all people and not to fragments the country and the state for their political gains.

Ibobi was speaking at the sit-in-protest today held at Mayang Imphal demanding the BJP government to disclose the contents of the Framework Agreement that was signed between NSCN-IM and BJP government in August 3, 2015.

The sit-in-protest was organised by Mayang Imphal Block Congress Committee and was attended by big names of state Congress party including MPCC president T.N. Haokip and former deputy chief minister Gaikhangam and MLA of Khundrakpam constituency Thokchom Lokeshwor Singh

He urged the government to disclose the contents of the Framework Agreement to all public so as to allay fear, curiousness and confusion among them.

The former chief minister also said that the BJP government have been talking about transparency in governance all along. He urged the BJP government to show transparency by disclosing the Framework Agreement.

He also said that “he respect the brotherhood with Nagaland, but asserted that peace and harmony of the state should not be disturbed by demands of their ‘Greater Nagaland’ and disintegrate this small state.” The indigenous people of the state and the territorial integrity of the state should always be preserved by the government, he added.

The boundaries of all North-eastern states were set after independence, but for places like Manipur and Assam the histories of their boundaries go back much longer, he said.

He urged the Biren led BJP government in the state and Modi led BJP government in the Centre to understand this and not to affect the territorial integrity of the state.

IMPHAL | Nov 15

Governor of Manipur Dr. Najma Heptulla said that the land of Manipur is very fertile not only in biodiversity but for future development of the youths which is why she is totally involved with the young children and youths of the state. She stated this while inaugurating the 2-Day National Conference on ‘Promoting Business Opportunities in North Eastern India and India’s Act East Policy’, to be held on 15th and 16th November, 2017, today, at the Centenary Hall of Manipur University organized by the Manipur Institute of Management Studies, Manipur University in collaboration with Centre for Global Management and Responsible Leadership, XLRI, Jamshedpur.

Governor Dr. Najma Heptulla addressing the gathering said that the  Prime Minister of India is sincerely concerned about the issue of backwardness in the NE region. His look east policy also includes work east policy. Clarifying on the notion that the government has never been bothered about the NE Region, she said the problem is the distance (accessibility) from the rest of the country.

Dr. Najma Heptulla said after taking charge of the State her first suggestion was to improve the conditions in the hill region as many areas lack basic infrastructures including medical facilities. Due to difficult terrains, doctors and medical staffs are unable to provide even the basic medical facilities.

Villagers residing in remote areas are also unable to reach to the nearest medical facility due to lack of transport facilities including bad road conditions. Deeply concerned about the issue, the Governor requested the Prime Minister for ‘flying doctors’ to treat the people. The Prime Minister and NE council accepted the allocation of fund for flying doctors.

She said that she is pleased to learn that since its inception in the year 1995, the Manipur Institute of Management Studies has been imparting management education in the region and striving for growth with quality.

She said that she is happy to learn that the Institute is focussing on the quality of the young minds, reminding of her late grandfather, the first Education Minister who laid the foundation of quality education in the country. She said the Manipur Institute of Management Studies is a fast growing Institute with a mission to instill potential and practicing managers with analytical skills, leadership qualities, achievement motives and a vision, all so crucial to the steering of enterprises.

She expressed her belief that policy makers, researchers and practitioners from different parts of the country participating in the Conference will explore ways and means to promote business opportunities in the North Eastern States. The abundance of natural resources in the region presents a huge investment opportunities and growth of enterprise in the region.

However, the region is facing innumerable challenges like sustained conflicts, geographical isolation, militarization and migration, lack of economic and social development which has led to a drying up of industries and investments in the region.

The Act East Policy of the Government of India is opening up many opportunities in this part of the country. Apart from the commitment of the Central and State Government, the capacity building needs of the people in the region have to be acknowledged and addressed.

After discussion with  Prime Minister on skill development called the Livelihood Programme, Workshop on skill development has been organized at the Raj Bhavan, Imphal in collaboration with the Central Ministry.

She also announced that a livelihood mission project has been approved by the State Government which will be launched soon. Manipur is a powerhouse of energy and have enough people to be developed and trained in small scale industries in organic farming. We can really develop a large scale of export of the products. Of late, great initiatives have also been taken up by the Government of India with regard to the Act East Policy which includes tri-lateral highways passing through Imphal and connecting to ASEAN countries, railway lines up to the border town of Manipur, bilateral and multilateral agreements with the ASEAN member countries, trade negotiations and many more.

However, few issues and challenges too need to be focused and they are law and order, political will, internal conflicts, physical infrastructure like road, telecommunication, banking and so on, she added.

Terming the conference as a platform for policy makers, researchers and practitioners to present their understanding on how business opportunities can be promoted in the region she said she is fully confident that the practitioners and experts will present papers for deliberation on how business opportunities could be promoted in the region. She also said that she would like to look up the recommendations of the conference which could be beneficial for the development of the state.

Prof. Adya Prasad Pandey, Vice Chancellor, Manipur University; Prof. N. Lokendra Singh, Dean, School of Social Sciences, Manipur University; Prof. P. Venugopal, Chairperson, CGMRL, XLRI, Jamshedpur; Mr. Nakib Ahmed, Advisor, NE Initiative, Indian Chamber of Commerce, Kolkata; Prof. Ch. Ibohal Meitei, Director, MIMS, Manipur University, delegates, entrepreneurs of the state and students attended the inaugural ceremony.

 

IMPHAL | Nov 15

In line with the State Government’s popular slogan, ‘Go to the Hills’, a State Cabinet meeting was held at Tamenglong district headquarters today.

Tamenglong became the third hill district which hosted a Cabinet meeting after Churachandpur and Chandel.

The State Cabinet meeting held at Multipurpose Hall, DC Office Complex with Chief Minister Shri N. Biren in the chair, approved the revision of existing terms and conditions of the Advocate General of Manipur. The revision was necessitated as the existing terms and conditions which were fixed about seven years ago do not commensurate with the current price index. The existing terms and conditions of the Advocate General were revised in 2010 vide Law Department’s Order No. 8/1/2007-AG /L dated 24/05/2017.

Among others, the revision of terms and conditions included enhancement of monthly retainer fee payable to the Advocate General of Manipur from Rs. 30,000 to Rs. 1,00,000.

The Cabinet also gave its nod to appointment of 37 former Contract Veterinary Officers (VOs), who are still available and willing to work. Their service was reinstated considering their past service, and also to comply with the Court’s directive.

These VOs were inducted into service on Contract basis on May 5, 1999 following a State Cabinet decision taken on March 16, 1999. Their contract engagement was extended from time to time till February 28, 2003.

The Cabinet also approved one-time relaxation of recruitment rules for promotion in the Electricity Department, which has already been unbundled and corporatized into two companies namely, Manipur State Power Company Ltd and Manipur State Power Distribution Company Ltd.

Later, the Cabinet also reviewed different developmental works and projects being taken up Tamenglong district. Tamenglong DC Shri Armstrong Pame presented a PowerPoint presentation before the Cabinet and Administrative Secretaries concerned.

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Imphal Free Press is a widely circulated English daily published in Manipur, North-East India. Started in 1996, it has relocated its head office from Sega Road, Imphal to Palace Gate, Imphal.

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