Imphal Review of Arts and Politics

MPCC calls using Govt outreach programmes as BJP poll campaign illegal

Disqualification Cases Against RK Imo and Yamthong Haokip Initiated; JCILPS Launches Drive Against Illegal Immigrants; MPCC Accuses BJP of Using Govt Programme in Party’s Poll Campaign

The proceedings on the petition filed by Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) in the Speaker’s Tribunal of Manipur Legislative Assembly, seeking disqualification of MLA of Sagolband Assembly Constituency RK Imo and MLA of Saikul AC Yamthong Haokip on the charge of violating the Tenth Schedule of the Indian Construction by joining Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), will begin on December 18.

Yamthong Haokip and RK Imo are facing prospect of disqualification for defection

According to the notice issued separately on December 2 to MLAs RK Imo and Yamthong Haokip by K. Meghajit Singh, Secretary of Manipur Legislative Assembly for the Speaker’s Tribunal constituted under the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution of India, the two MLAs are to submit their respective written comments/replies to the Tribunal on or before December 15.

The commencement of proceedings of the matter is fixed at 11.30 am on December 18.

The Tribunal also instructed the respondents either to appear in person or by their representatives/pleaders duly authorised by the MLAs on the date and time fixed by the Speaker’s Tribunal for the proceedings of the case.

MPCC General Secretary (Election and Media) Soibam Jeeten Singh on November 22 submitted the petitions filed against sitting legislator of Sagolband AC and former Congress MLA RK Imo who was earlier declared by the Speaker as a legislator without any political affiliation and Saikul (ST) AC MLA Yamthong Haokip of Congress who left the party to join the BJP to Speaker of the Manipur Legislative Assembly Yumnam Khemchand seeking their disqualification under several provisions of the Indian Constitution.

It may be mentioned that former Congress MLA RK Imo along with sitting Congress MLA Yamthong Haokip joined the BJP in New Delhi on November 8 by violating Article 191 of the Indian Constitution and they were felicitated by BJP President JP Nadda at the party headquarters in New Delhi.

JCILPS identifies 610 Without ILP

During a verification drive of 1,115 non-locals conducted by the Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System (JCILPS), a total of 610 non-locals were found to be staying in the state without acquiring any permit, JCILPS convenor BK Moirangcha said.

Of the remaining 505 non-locals, 400 of them were holding a permit in the form of a token and the remaining 105 were in under process for acquiring the ILP permit, he added.

Reports said Moirangcha was speaking to the media during the handing over of charges to the new office bearers of JCILPS Student Wing, at the office of JCILPS in Imphal West on December 2. He said, following the outcome of the drive it can be concluded that none of the non-locals has a proper ILP permit.

When there are certain acts and regulations for punishing the violators of ILP, it is unfortunate that the state government has not initiated action against a single non-local who violates the law.  The present government should be held accountable for the influx of numerous non-locals in the state illegally, giving a threat to the indigenous population of Manipur, said the convenor.

Cong flays govt on ILP implementation

Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) General Secretary Loitongbam Tilotama on December 2 appealed to the public to remain vigilant while alleging that the BJP is going to contest in the upcoming 12th Lok Sabha election without any agenda.

Reports said in a press meet held at office of Block Congress Committee Kakching of Kakching Bazaar, Tilotama said that if the unconstitutional ideology of the BJP government which disregards the indigenous people continues to remain in power, the people will have no voice to protest the queries, and “the people of Manipur will be at a stage of being caged in a zoo and labelled with our indigenous identities.”

Despite the claims made during the frequent visits of central ministers and leaders, of BJP rule bringing peace and development to the state, the BJP has wasted the taxes of the people on the fruitless visits of such political personalities, she added.

Accusing the BJP government for misinforming that the law and order of the state have improved, despite the records of disturbed areas still imposed, she asserted that if the law and order of the state is truly improved there should be at least one less disturbed area.

L Tilotama affirmed that the ILP system implemented by the BJP government is a deceit to the public since it does not include any harsh punishment for any illegal migrants who are caught without the necessary documents, reports added.

Congress furious at mixing Govt programmes with BJP poll campaign

Indian National Congress (INC) Manipur-in-Charge, Bhakta Charan Das on December 3 while speaking to the media at the office of Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) at BT Road, Imphal asked the state government to stop using BJP name in the flagship programme of the government. Use of a political party name in government programmes is unconstitutional, he added.

Bhakta Charan Das lamented that a government should not to be run or get influenced by a political party. He was referring to the various go to village programmes conducted in various parts of the state as an election campaign of the BJP.

Regarding a statement made by Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren in a political conference held on December 2 which says, “Vote for BJP, we will give peace,” Das said, “Such threatening statement made by a chief minister of a state by raising his finger to the public is unfortunate.” The Congress leader demanding the chief minister to amend his words which is highly objectionable said it is like saying that the BJP will bring unrest if they do not get votes.

In regards organising of the ‘Go to Village’ programme during the end of the five years tenure of the state government, Bhakta Charan Das said it clearly shows that the government neglected the villagers for almost four-and-half years. They remember the villagers only when the election is knocking on the door, he added.

CM debunks ASER Report 2021 on school enrolment

The rate of admission in government schools of Manipur has increased by 25 pc during the four years and eight months tenure of the present Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government, claimed Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren on November 29 releasing a booklet of four and eight months of the BJP-led government held at the Chief Minister’s Secretariat in Imphal.

As a result of the increase of student enrolment, the PAB had approved Rs 5.95 crore for school education this year. During the past years, the PAB approved only around Rs 2.8 crore, supplemented Union Education Minister Sorokhaibam Rajen at the media briefing.

However, the legislators of the BJP-led government’s partners National People’s Party (NPP) and Naga People’s Front (NPF) were not present in the media briefing.

Regarding the report of the 16th Annual Status of Education Report (Rural) 2021 or ASER 2021 which mentioned that enrolment in government schools in Manipur has fallen from 26.8 per cent in 2018 to 13.4 per cent in 2021, Biren alleged that the report is baseless and it’s completely false and not official.

It may be mentioned that news regarding the enrolment in government school of Manipur based on ASER Report (Rural) 2021 were published recently in local and national media. Imphal Review of Arts and Politics also published an article Enrolment of Students in Government Schools Declines Contrary to Tall Claims by Manipur Government on November 27. ASER has been witness to changes in India’s school education landscape over more than 17 years now.

“The ASER is a political based NGO, who works for some vested interest. Regarding the misleading information, the state government had booked a contempt case,” Chief Minister Biren further said.

To strengthen government schools in terms of infrastructure, teacher-student ratio, a total of 237 schools in the state (176 in valley and 61 in hills) have been amalgamated. The government also had picked up 2,300 dropout students and were given free education, the Chief Minister added.

Anticipatory Bail for O Ibobi

Manipur High Court Chief Justice Sanjay Kumar on November 30 granted anticipatory bail to former Manipur chief minister Okram Ibobi, in connection with money laundering case registered by the Enforcement Directorate.

Reports said the case was registered by the Guwahati Zonal Office of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on March 16, 2020 based on FIR file by the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Police Station, Manipur in 2018. The FIR pertained to offences under Sections 420 and 120-B IPC along with Section 13(2) read with Section 13(1) (d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.

The alleged offences related to award of certain works by Loktak Development Authority, of which the petitioner was the chairman at the relevant point of time. The works was stated to have been done in violation of the prescribed norms resulting in wrongful financial loss to the Government and the exchequer.

The fresh case was registered by the ED in 2020 on the ground that the information or documents pertained to the Vigilance’s FIR case against accused persons, including Ibobi had generated and laundered proceeds of crime and a prima-facie case of money laundering, under Section 3 of the Act of 2002, was made out.

The HC granted anticipatory bail to the petitioner in connection with the case on August 26, 2019. With the bail order having attained its finality, Ibobi sought similar relief in connection with the case.

In the course of the hearing, the court noted that the petitioner has also been granted anticipatory bail in relation to the said FIR in August 2019. Documentary evidence, which would be the fulcrum of the case, having already been secured and given the passage of time since registration of the earlier case, there is no “manifest risk” of the petitioner tampering with evidence or witnesses at this late stage.

Moreover, the court stated that it finds no tangible reason to believe that the “petitioner would abscond or try to evade the law and, in any event, the same can be guarded against by imposing restrictions” reports added.

Ultimatum to Govt over Asian Highway Expansion

Several organisations in Manipur on December 2 served a five-day ultimatum to the state government over the issue concerning the expansion of Asian Highway and threatened to impose a 48-hour total shutdown in Kangpokpi district if the state government failed to respond within the stipulated time.

Reports said the ultimatum was jointly served by Sadar Hills Chiefs’ Association (SAHILCA), Kangpokpi District Chiefs Joint Coordination Committee on Land Matters (KDCJCCLM), and Asian Highway Land Affected Villages Chiefs/Chairmen Association (AHLAVCCA).

A press conference held at Saparmeina, SAHILCA speaker Lunthang Haokip said that a joint meeting of SAHILCA, KDCJCCLM, and AHLAVCCA deliberated over the state government’s attitude concerning the Asian Highway expansion from Gamgiphai to Kalapahar and considered it as a step-motherly treatment upon the affected victims.

He said that the people of Kangpokpi are delighted to see the works being carried out for development in the district, but the state government so far did not initiate an appreciable measure for the expansion of the Asian Highway by resolving the surrounding issues.

“We have repeatedly urged the state government to give compensation accordingly and start the highway expansion at the earliest but nothing has been initiated till today,” he added. An appointment with the chief minister to discuss the issues was sought once again but he failed to give any further apportionment, he further said.

Ultimately, it was decided in today’s joint meeting to serve an ultimatum to the state government till December 7 and impose a 48-hour total shutdown from midnight of December 7 if the state fails to respond, reports added.

State Govt to Upgrade Kuilong Roads

Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren assured Tamenglong people that the state government would send a proposal to the Centre for upgrading the road from Kangpokpi to Tamei and Tamei to Kuilong so that connectivity of Kuilong to other parts of the state gets improved.  Appreciating 21 villages of Tamenglong district for preserving the forest areas and its vegetation, the chief minister also announced that one ground would be developed in each village as an incentive under Chief Minister’s Green Manipur Mission.

Reports said Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren made this announcement on December 3 during his visit to Kuilong-I, Tamei Subdivision in Tamenglong district as a part of an outreach programme. The programme, which aims to provide welfare services to the people’s doorstep was organised by the District Administration, Tamenglong.

Speaking on the occasion, Chief Minister Biren said that bringing infrastructure development in the interior portion of the state at par with the valley region would foster good relations and respect among different communities. He continued that the current government, since its formation, had always aimed for overall development of the state. As such, many development projects had been taken up, including setting up of a police station at Behiang, security barracks at Tungjoy and Dzuko Valley and construction of an entry gate at Jiribam among others, to safeguard the boundaries of the state, he added.

Reports further said, addressing the gathering, Forest and Environment Minister Awangbow Newmai appreciated the Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren for his vision and concern for all the people of the state. He continued that the state government under the CM’s supervision had taken up various policies to bridge the developmental gap between hill and valley regions, reports added.

Education Minister Sorokhaibam Rajen; MP Rajya Sabha Leishemba Sanajaoba; Caretaker Chairman, Autonomous District Council, Tamenglong Namsinrei Panmei; Additional Chief Secretary V Vumlunmang; Secretary to Chief Minister Ningthoujam Geoffrey, Senior Journalist and Editor of Imphal Review of Arts and Politics (IRAP) Pradip Phanjoubam and other government officials attended the programme among others, reports added.

HC Dismayed by Illegal Stone Crushing Units

The Manipur High Court comprising Chief Justice PV Sanjay Kumar and Justice Kh Nobin Singh on December 1 expressed displeasure at the state chief inspector of Factories and Boilers cum Director of Trade, Commerce and Industries for its failure to take action against illegal stone crushing units being run without licence at Moidangpok village, Imphal West.

Reports said one Thokchom Amumacha Meitei and five other people of Moidangpok Khullen Awang Leikai had filed a PIL before the High Court of Manipur against the operation of various stone crushing units in and around Moidangpok village allegedly “without obtaining valid Licenses under the Factories Act, 1948, and in clear violation of the Location of Factories Rules, 2013 and the Manipur Conservation of Paddy Land and Wetland Act, 2014.”

Agricultural farming is the primary source of income for people living in Moidangpok village. But with the growing number of stone crushing units being set up, farmers in the affected areas could not carry out their agricultural activities unlike before, the petition mentioned. One of the private schools called ‘Sunshine Academy’ at Moidangpok village is likely to be closed down because of one stone crushing unit set up adjacent to it.

The petitioners have submitted various representations to the authorities concerned for taking appropriate action against the illegal stone crushing units. However, no action was taken to address the matter, the court stated.

When the matter was heard on December 1, the High Court expressed displeasure at the authority concerned and held that “the affidavit filed by the chief inspector of factories leaves a lot to be desired. Having admitted that illegal stone crushing units are being run, he surprisingly stated that he was unable to do anything. It is not open to a government functionary of his stature to plead helplessness after admitting that unlicensed factories are being run within his jurisdiction.”

Further, the High Court directed the chief inspector of factories and boilers cum director, Trade, Commerce and Industries to file an affidavit by the next date of hearing i.e. on December 15, indicating in clear terms as to what action has been initiated by his office to curb the functioning of such illegal stone crushing units.

Why Extend ‘Disturbed Area’ Status if L&O Has Improved: O Ibobi

Leader of Manipur Congress Legislature Party (CLP) and former Chief Minister Okram Ibobi on December 1 demanded answers from the state government over the extension of ‘Disturbed Area’ status in Manipur if the law and order situation in the state has significantly improved as publicly declared by Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Government.

Reports said former Chief Minister Okram Ibobi said this while speaking as the chief guest at a political conference of the Congress party organised by the Lilong Block Congress Committee at Lilong Sambrukhong for INC intending candidate for Lilong, Sayed Anwar Hussain.

Ibobi lamented that the development works and schemes initiated for the minority sections during his tenure as the chief minister have been stalled by the Biren-led BJP government.

The former government had created the new hill districts so that development work could be streamlined for the hills. The present government is being appealed to announce at least one new project for the newly formed hill districts, he further said, adding it could not even completely inaugurate all the development projects that were introduced during the Congress rule.

“We consider that it is rather shameful to indulge in making bold, outright claims such as my government is really good. The one who is leading the present government carries no shame and constantly blows his own trumpet and praises his own government. Whether a government is good or bad is to be decided only by the public. If the mandate of the public is forced upon them, then it will be disrespected,” he added.

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