The Movement for People's Rights Forum, Manipur (MPRFM) on Friday appealed to the leaders of Hill Areas Committee (HAC) to not mislead the public on proposed Manipur (Hill Areas) District Council Bill, 2021.
MPRFM stated in a release that it is constrained to make the appeal to clear doubts created by the "ill-motivated" campaign by some political leaders and organisations regarding the proposed District Council Bill.
The forum stated that the District Councils Bill 2021 recommended by HAC is less about devolution of powers to ADC and more about granting powers, especially, executive powers to Hill Areas Committee.
Granting more powers to HAC can be done by Parliament alone and not by the Manipur Legislative Assembly and the Indian Constitution has given a constitutional status to HAC, it said.
"Whether we like it or not, it has to be accepted that HAC is a standing committee of the Manipur Legislative Assembly with a constitutional protection," it added.
The release further said by going through the Manipur Legislative Assembly (HAC) Order, 1972, it is well understood that HAC is a recommending body just like any other standing committee of the Legislative Assembly.
The impression is that the proposed bill is about more powers to HAC than devolution of powers to ADCs and the more suitable name of the bill is "The Manipur (Hill Areas Committee) Bill, 2021", it added.
The release also questioned, "Why did HAC proposed a bill which is not within the powers of the state legislation? Why did not the proponents of the bill inform all these issues to the public? Is this bill not an election gimmick to mislead the public for getting votes in the upcoming election?"
"Is the proposed bill not a deliberate attempt to discredit the progress and achievements of the present BJP led government of chief minister N Biren in developing hill areas of Manipur?" it further asked.
This sustained misinformed campaign about the bill in hill areas by some politicians is a clear sign of frustration that they are unable to fight election on development agenda, it said.
The MPRFM made an appeal to the public not to succumb to such kind of "cheap political propaganda" and remain united to defeat such "evil machinations".