At least six members of the All Manipur Tribals Development and Grievances Forum (AMTDGF) have been detained ahead of the proposed indefinite economic blockade from Thursday midnight onwards. The six were detained in separate incidents at Kangpokpi and Senapati districts in Manipur, police sources said.
Demanding release of adequate funds under the MGNREGA scheme to all the 16 districts of the state, the AMTDGF on November 2 called for an indefinite economic blockade of the National Highway-2 and 37, which are the lifelines of Manipur, from Thursday midnight onwards.
ADGP of Manipur, L Kailun informed the media that Manipur police detained six members of the forum. He, however, told the media to verify authenticity of the organisation before publication of the news.
Kailun further said that economic blockade is an anti-national activity and violation of people’s rights so the police departments geared up for providing necessary security arrangements for the vehicles as per requirement and demand.
Transport Minister Khasim Vashum appealed to the forum for talks and said the call for economic blockade of the national highways particularly on NH-2 (Imphal-Dimapur) and NH-37 (Imphal to Jiribam) will cause many inconveniences to the general public as these two national highways are considered as the lifelines for the state for transportation of essential commodities and materials or equipment related development works of the state.
The department of rural development and panchayati raj, government of Manipur has released clarification of funds related to MGNREGS on November 2.
The state government is totally against bandh or blockade on the National Highways which cause hardships to the general public and hampers the development of the state, the minister said.
The minister further said that the demand to release 100 per cent pending funds under MGNREGS by the department of rural development and panchayati raj, government of Manipur is baseless.
Allegations of misappropriation of Rs 756 crore of MGNRGES funds meant for tribal people by the state government are strongly condemnable.
Of the mentioned Rs 756.50 crore, a total of Rs 100 crore has been disbursed and allocated for all 16 districts irrespective of hill or valley districts. Further, an additional amount of Rs 150 crore will be released soon and the remaining will be released in due course, the minister said.
“Be careful before the allegation, MGNREGS is a centre sponsored scheme, if such controversy comes then it may be cut off,” the minister said.
The minister informed that a meeting was held with the transport department, police department and rural development and panchayati raj officials and with the finance department at his chamber on Thursday.
The minister appealed to the forum to withdraw the economic blockade on NHs. He also appealed to the transport union for the good vehicles to keep on plying their vehicles on the national highways. The police department will provide the necessary security arrangement for the vehicles as per requirement and demand.
It may also be mentioned that Chief Minister N Biren on his Facebook page posted an appeal to the media fraternity that the blockade of national highways or economic blockade of national highways is an anti-national activity as declared by the apex court. He requested the media to verify the authenticity of the organisation before publication of such serious news. We have never heard of this forum in our state.
Biren also stated that there is nothing which is specified as tribal money or general money in MGNREGS.