The United Naga Council (UNC) has written to Arjun Munda, who is Union Minister of Tribal Affairs, on October 31, 2023, requesting him to ignore the project proposals submitted to the Ministry of Tribal Affairs vide D.O.No.11/vc KVIB/04/2023, Imphal, May 12, 2023, & D.O.No 2/6/2023-CM Imphal, October 23, 2023.
In the letter, which was made available to Newmai News Network, the UNC said, “As cited in the subject, the undersigned on behalf of the tribal populace beg to bring the following few facts for favour of your kind consideration and sympathetic action that the tribals living in the state of Manipur have come to learn that the vice chairman of the Manipur Khadi & Village Industries Board, Lamphel, Imphal had recently submitted 6 project proposals to the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Government of India for consideration of the same exclusively for the valley -based NGOs based in Imphal East and Imphal West in the guise that valley based NGOs are relentlessly working for the tribals in the far flung areas of Manipur”.
The UNC letter to the Union minister also said the office of the Manipur Khadi and Village Industries Board has its own ministry and hence submitting proposals to Tribal Affairs Ministry without mentioning the targeted beneficiaries and locations/areas for implementation is “ultra vires and a ploy to siphon off the fund allocated for the tribals of Manipur”.
The letter further said the Tribal Affairs & Hills Manipur being the nodal department and in-charge of tribal programmes and activities, plan formulation and documentation, work proposals etc. for that matter ought to be within the purview of the Tribal Affairs and Hills department and not any other agency.
The Naga body also said the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Government of India, has identified priority districts for the state of Manipur viz, Tamenglong with 95.72 per cent of ST population, Ukhrul with 94.35 per cent, Churachandpur with 92.94 per cent, Chandel with 88,97 per cent and Senapati with 87.49 per cent and therefore, allocation of funds under proviso to article 275(1) of the constitution of India is solely for the purpose of promoting the welfare of Scheduled Tribes in the state or raising the level of administration of scheduled areas therein to that of the administration of the areas of the state with limited allocation of fund.
“As such, breaking up/splitting the allocated funds meant for the tribals to valley based NGOs will certainly destabilise the tribal affairs in its execution of work programmes and yield negative impact while addressing the need of plugging critical gaps,” the UNC letter added.
“In the light of the above reasons, your good self is requested kindly to ignore the project proposals in the larger interest of the tribals of Manipur,” the UNC further added.