Reacting to the accusation by the Kuki People’s Alliance (KPA) for prosecuting tribals, Works and YAS Minister Govindas Konthoujam on Thursday said that demolition of the church at Checkon in Imphal was according to the court verdict and to improve the quarters of Checkon into multi-storey structure.
Speaking to the media at a press meet held at minister officer chamber located at Old Secretariat, Govindas said that removal of church was in pursuant to the Supreme Court direction. In 2009, the Supreme Court was directed for removal of unauthorised religious structures in public streets, public parks, public places, he added.
The church and its other structures were standing on government land which was allotted by the Manipur government to the chief engineer (building), PWD for construction of government residential quarters, Govindas said, adding that there is no hurdle in saying that the church was constructed on government land way back in the year 1990 that without the approval from the state authorities.
The minister informed that according to SC direction, the state government framed a policy in respect of existing unauthorised construction of religious nature or structure, which had already taken place and was notified.
In 2010, the State Level Committee for reviewing the unauthorised construction of religious nature and the District Level Committee was constituted for the purpose of removal or relocation or regularisation of the religious structure, he added.
The present state government is following the said notification of 2010, no new notification was made, the minister said. Then where is the Biren government of persecuting tribals, he asked, saying that the accusation against the Biren-led government is totally wrong.
The minister said that government employees are increasing while government quarters are less and so, there was a need to improve quarters and their standards. People and employees from hill districts come to Imphal and there is a place to stay. And also, 75 percent of Lamphel quarter is occupied by hill people, however, the state government is constructing multi-storey for hill people, he added.
However, some people wrongly interpreted the government as communal in the influence of some group and this is very unfortunate, said the minister.
He said the government is planning to construct a modern multi-storey within Imphal city and some other places. To bring development, change is required and that is why quarters of Langol Housing complex, Game Village, Babupura and Sanjenthong will be improved into modern multi structure, he added.
“Change for development is for public utility and not for the government opportunity”, said the minister.
He said it is very suspicious that there is a group of people who influence government work using communal intentions for destroying love relations between the majority community and other communities.
He further informed that a 15-day notice period was given to the colony to vacate the church and the government did not demolish by force. Moreover, those who shifted from the colony were given places to stay, he added.