The Indigenous People’s Forum Manipur (IPFM) has appealed to the state government to reserve 72 per cent for local people in any project from the Central government or international agencies for development works of Manipur.
IPFM president Ashang Kasar at a press meet held at Manipur Press Club on Thursday said that not only 72 per cent should be reserved for the local indigenous people, mainly for sub-contractors of Manipur but also any projects should be mandatory partners with local people.
He said the original inhabitants, rather the indigenous people of Manipur who call themselves ‘the true sons of soil’, have expressed deep anguish and disappointment as they have been gravely marginalised and neglected by the state government, mainly because of its sycophancy. The indigenous people are deprived of various economic opportunities and benefits in their own land, he added.
He explained that every year the Central government sanctions enormous funds for a number of projects for the benefit of the people of Manipur. However, as all the contractual works for the projects sanctioned by the Central government are awarded to companies or firms or individuals from outside Manipur, the benefits are ploughed back to the outsiders, except some incidental benefits.
“Now even sub-contractors of Manipur do not get any contract or supply works in their own land. This is a system of giving out by the right hand and snatching it back by the left hand”, said Ashang Kasar.
Thus, he said that the benefits meant for the people of Manipur have become a mockery. This practice has deprived our people of the opportunities for economic development.
The economic condition of our people generally remains below the poverty line with no economic and developmental progress in the real sense of the term, he said.
The indigenous people of Manipur are discriminated against and dominated in their own land by outsiders, he claimed, adding that this is against the spirit and principle of equality enshrined in the constitution of India.
Sounding alert to people of Manipur, Ashang Kasar said to wake up from the state of servitude and raise their voice against injustice, step-motherly treatment and deprivation of opportunities meted out to the sons of the soil.
The state government should take up necessary action to reserve 72 percent in any works. If no action is initiated IPFM along with other civil society organisations will join hands and pressure with force agitation for reservation, he said.