Boundary demarcation rider to Sadar Hills district status demand
Report in three months time : CM
Source: The Sangai Express
Imphal, August 25 2011:
With the SPF Government fully convinced that the preceding Governments could not declare Sadar Hills as a full fledged district due to uncertainties and disputes over the area/boundary of the proposed district though all the successive Governments of the last 39 years agreed in principle to the long standing demand, the incumbent Government has decided to demarcate the existing boundary before declaring Sadar Hills as a full fledged district.
The present issue of Sadar Hills district demand was taken up by Opposition leader Radhabinod Koijam during a short duration discussion in the State Assembly today.
Though it was taken up as a short duration discussion, ruling and Opposition members of the House deliberated on the issue for about three hours taking into account gravity of the issue.
From the Opposition bench, the discussion was participated by O Joy, Thangminlen Kipgen, Morung Makunga, Dr Ng Bijoy, RK Anand, V Hangkhanlian, K Wungnaoshang and Th Shyamkumar.
From the ruling bench, Haokholet Kipgen, N Mangi and leader of the House Chief Minister O Ibobi took part in the deliberation.
Taking part in the deliberation, Chief Minister O Ibobi stated that previous Governments noted the Sadar Hills district demand as reasonable but with a clause 'subject to boundary' .
The Sadar Hills district demand including the matter of boundary has been discussed by the State Cabinet repeatedly.
After looking into both the options of constituting a commission with a Judge from outside the State who would be neutral, and constitution of a Cabinet sub-committee, the State Cabinet decided on forming a committee with the Chief Secretary as chairman as the former two options would take around two years in identifying and demarcating the boundaries.
The committee would submit its report within three months.
The committee may also finish its assigned task within a short period and submit its report within a month, said the Chief Minister.
Maximum efforts are being put in to settle the issue before the Assembly elections, Ibobi informed the house.
The Committee on Re-organisation of Administration and Police District Boundary headed by the Chief Secretary may also seek opinion of the public, if necessary, said Ibobi.
If it is for administrative convenience, not only Sadar Hills, many other districts may also be created.
The Government is aware that the people are weary of waiting for district status for the last 30 years.
However, if demands must be fulfilled because there is strong pressure, similar pressures would be exerted on the Government for countless demands from different directions.
Seeking sometime to fulfil the demand, the Chief Minister appealed to lift the blockade.
Ibobi also appealed to the Naga brethrens to call off the counter blockade.
He stated that the Government would work out a formula which would be acceptable to all.
Raising the agenda for the short duration discussion, Radhabinod noted that the demand for Sadar Hills district is more than 30 years old and that it is not some casual demand.
He also observed that demand is not about sovereignty or homeland but a mere district for more effective administration.
On the other hand, the United Naga Council (UNC) has imposed counter blockade on National Highways opposing any move to form Sadar Hills district without their consent.
Pointing out that the whole territory of Manipur is for the people of Manipur, Radhabinod remarked that a large number of hill people have now settled in the valley.
All the attempts aimed at disintegrating Manipur should be tackled by the collective strength of the people.
The concept of South Nagaland was formulated by some supporters of a particular insurgent group who wish to integrate with Nagaland.
Opinions and views of the Naga people with regard to the Sadar Hills issue should be duly noted and work out an amicable solution to the long standing issue, the opposition leader asserted.
A comprehensive study should also be made about the demand for alternative arrangement.
The assertion that certain areas should not be included in Sadar Hills must have certain justifications.
Nevertheless, it is imperative to review the MLR and LR Act.
Administrative convenience should be the prime factor for any demand and creation of new districts.
To enable the general public enjoy the benefits of effective governance, there is a need to create many more districts, he asserted.
Noting that the demand for Sadar Hills district is pending for quite a long period of time, Radhabinod appealed to the Government to take due initiatives.
If there is any need, the Government may convene joint meeting of political parties and civil society organisations and discussed the issue jointly.
Cautioning that inflicting hardships to the mass in the course of the agitation for granting district status would erode public sympathy and support, Radhabinod advised the bandh/general strike sponsors to find another means.
In the meantime, the UNC has imposed counter blockade while Imphal-Jiribam highway has been languishing in the most pathetic condition.
Whatever may be the cause, such strangulation of the mass cannot be justified under any circumstances.
Such utter insensitivity may arouse people's sentiments and may lead to communal tension, Radhabinod stated.
O Joy stated that there is no harm in creation of new districts for more effective administration.
Though the demand for Sadar Hills district is justified, the Government cannot fulfil it in haste, even if it wishes to.
Those demanding Sadar Hills district, those opposing the demand and the other party who are opposing inclusion of any valley area in the proposed Sadar Hills district need to sit down and re-think.
Violence in the course of democratic agitation cannot be justified, Joy asserted.
The matter need to be looked into thoroughly after constituting a high level district re-organisation commission.
Taking part in the discussion, Thangminlen Kipgen asserted that the question of hastiness would never arise in the creation of Sadar Hills as the same demand is already 40 years old.
He also reminded that Sadar Hills was among the six hill districts agreed for creation by leaders of the hills in 1972 .
He also recalled of the Chief Minister's earlier statement that Sadar Hills would be declared as a full fledged district once the necessary infrastructure are installed.
With all the necessary infrastructure already installed, people have run out of their patience to wait any longer, Thangminlen stated.
He urged the Government to declare district status of Sadar Hills first along with constitution of the boundary commission.
There is no harm in removing all the inconveniences.
According to convenience, an area can be merged to Imphal or Tamenglong district, he added.
Dr Ng Bijoy and RK Anand called for earliest fulfilment of the Sadar Hills district demand after constituting a district re-organisation commission as well as for lifting of the blockade.
MLA Haokholet Kipgen asked for declaration of district status first.
Growth of multiple issues following the Sadar Hills district demand has bred certain suspicion among the people of Sadar Hills if Sadar Hills would be taken away to some other place, he observed.
V Hangkhalian asked the Government to make its position clear whether Sadar Hills would be given district status or not.