Rehabilitation and resettlement of IDPs

The cabinet sub-committee had interacted with the IDPs but unfortunately the data available with the government at the most is sketchy, though the numbers of IDPs in relief camps and temporary shelters are available. Field workers need to be trained to collect usable data which has to be analysed and areas identified for providing skill training or up-skilling in those trades they have been familiar with.

ByRK Nimai

Updated 27 Jun 2024, 6:00 am

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The Manipur crisis is now almost 14 months old and rather than controlling it has spread to Jiribam, where houses were destroyed and Internally Displaced Persons from both communities were accommodated in relief camps and elsewhere. The Union Home Minister had called a meeting of officials involved in the management of the crisis in New Delhi and there were hopes that the Government of India is ready to make serious efforts to settle the crisis.

The Kuki-Chin had upped their demand of carving a Union Territory through a rally in Kuki-Chin settled area on June 24 and leaders had expressed that the Prime Minister will have to visit Churachandpur if peace is to be negotiated. In Kangpokpi which has recently seen heightened tension due to the setting on fire of a truck in a Naga area by the Kuki that forced the SDSA directing not to sell any goods to Kuki, The latter reacted sharply by recalling students from Maram and the social media was agog with a report of even threatening revenge on the Naga for the Naga-Kuki conflict of 1991-95.  This was a bit surprising as it will open two fronts especially those in Kangpokpi till a clarification was issued by Kuki Inpi Sadar Hills that this is a fake post.

The demand of a UT for the Kuki however, brings in direct conflict with the Naga as Kangpokpi, Kamjong, Tengnoupal and Chandel have been included which are traditional Naga areas. The rhetoric in the rally and the tension between the NSCN (IM) and KNA (B) on the Indo Myanmar border can only result in a physical. For those in the Churachandpur side, the interface with the Naga is limited but for the other districts, there is bound to be serious conflict perhaps leading to huge loss of lives and properties; perhaps much more than the Meitei-Kuki conflict. This will put the Meitei and the Naga, both indigene of the state, together unlike the Kuki-Chin which migrated from Myanmar during the last 300 years and still continuing at present as per the reports received from the border districts.

As stated by one leader at Churachandpur that if peace is desired the PM should come and that they will not go to Delhi indicating that there are people who yearn for peace and normalcy. There are in both the communities but many Meitei felt as the Kuki-Chin started the crisis, there is no reason why the Meitei should seek peace. Though thousands have been displaced and hundreds killed, it has weathered the worst moment and the situation is stagnant. The concern within both communities is the deployment of 50 coys of Central Security Forces (CSF) in 50 identified locations. The Government clarified that there is no additional deployment and only those who had gone for election duty had returned. If this was true, where were they deployed earlier before they went for election duty? If such deployment had occurred earlier, the skirmishes could have been reduced. Further the deployment in some areas is, as expected, opposed by the locals.

Normalcy or peace hinge on the rehabilitation and resettlement of the IDPs and without this there can be no peace or even talk about peace. It was surprising that the Government had not put too much thought on the rehabilitation of the IDPs perhaps thinking that the meagre sustenance amount provided will suffice or perhaps thought the crisis will blow away in a few months. The crisis had contracted the job market and finding jobs at this time is difficult even for normal people not to speak about the IDPs. Government has taken up skill training and provided some starting materials for production of dish wash, candles, agarbatti, etc besides providing sewing machines, etc. However there is a glut in the market of these items and the IDPs had come out to the streets to market them.


In fact even non IDPs are joining in to sell their own products palming off as produced in relief camps. There are a few people who had the business of selling kouna and cane & bamboo products and they bought some from the relief camps and took it to sell it outside the state. But some unscrupulous persons sold off their old stocks claiming it to be produced in relief camps. The Chief Minister had announced that the products from relief camps will be procured by the Government and requested to stop selling these products on the streets but that was only an announcement and no funds have been allocated to stockpile these products.

To compete in the market in the long run quality and price are important criteria. Sympathy buying has dried up and people go for better quality though there still are people who bought these products with the desire to help the IDPs, but the number is dwindling. Perhaps One Million Heroes based in Singapore which provide training and quality materials to produce arigurumi dolls seems the only one taking up the responsibility of marketing the products internationally with the artisan paid once a doll is completed. Though the number supported is not large, it is doing well with good relations between the company and the artisan.

Others also need to chip in as one can’t fully rely on the government alone to provide employment to the IDPs; especially as the government cannot think beyond a limited range of products like candle, kouna bag, mora, dish wash, washing powder, etc. One team of philanthropists had provided looms to the families of the four individuals killed in Kumbi area and like this a number of sewing machines etc have been distributed by philanthropic individuals coming together. But the systematic support for marketing is still poor. For the long term for the children, the government is providing free education and many groups are sponsoring students both inside and outside the state. Some groups had taken up the task of skill training and providing placement. The recent training on fragrance formulations are a good initiative and hope the trainees will get placement after the training is over.

Recently the state cabinet had taken a resolution in its meeting held on 13th instant to form a Cabinet Sub-Committee for “identifying the grievances of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) staying in relief camps, assessing the needs and requirement of persons in relief camps, supervising measures for resettlement and rehabilitation of IDPs, and supervising identification of land for temporary relocation of IDPs”. Such a decision ought to have been taken long back and perhaps the decision was driven by the announcement made a few days before by the MP elect of the Inner Parliamentary Constituency stating that he is in the process of forming a committee of distinguished citizens to look into the rehabilitation of the IDPs.

One can only infer that the constitution of the sub-committee was a knee jerk reaction to the announcement of the MP elect whose vision is totally different from that of the government as his committee will include experts from various fields including the diaspora with specific skill and knowledge, unlike the government which restrict to in-house expertise only. Due to the crisis almost all members of the diaspora have reconnected or strengthened the connections with their homeland. The problem of the MP is that he represents his constituency and most of the IDPs are from the Outer Seat and his idea was to bring out a comprehensive report which can be referred to both the Central and the State Governments to take appropriate measures to redress the problems faced by the IDPs from all communities.


Crowd funding to support select IDPs may be the best approach as it will show the efficacy of the recommendations. The cabinet sub-committee had interacted with the IDPs but unfortunately the data available with the government at the most is sketchy, though the numbers of IDPs in relief camps and temporary shelters are available. Field workers need to be trained to collect usable data which has to be analysed and areas identified for providing skill training or up-skilling in those trades they have been familiar with.  The data shall be analysed and appropriate training including marketing need to be tailored made and provided. The tragedy the IDPs and the locals in the vulnerable villages are facing could never be felt by others and in offices greasing the palm goes on as usual, though  there are a few exceptions.

If focus on rehabilitation and resettlement of the IDPs is made and a pragmatic scheme formulated and implemented in real earnest, normalcy will automatically set in as most of the people are keen to continue with their normal life and those self proclaimed leaders who are hell bent in creating problems will be isolated and marginalised.

(The views expressed are personal)



First published:


crowd fundingmanipur crisisinternally displaced personsidps

RK Nimai

RK Nimai

The author is a former bureaucrat, Imphal, Manipur


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