ATSUM in agitation mode
Source: The Sangai Express
Imphal, November 16 2014 :
Urging for a score of demands concerning tribal issues, the All Tribal Students' Union Manipur (ATSUM) has decided to launch various modes of agitation.
Speaking to media persons at their office at New Chekon, Tribal Market Complex this afternoon, ATSUM president Emboi Serto said that their charter of demands was submitted to Education and CAF&PD Minister M Okendro who is also the Government spokesman on November 12 .
Similar memoranda have been submitted to the Government earlier but the memorandum of November 12 would be the last and final, he added.
Since the representation was submitted, ATSUM is yet to get a chance of meeting Minister Okendro.
Nonetheless, ATSUM would soon convene a meeting of all its constituent units, volunteers, advisors and senior members to chalk out the course of agitation, Emboi Serto said.
Once the agitation is launched, ATSUM would not talk with the Government nor the agitation would be suspended at any point of time.
He also appealed to the people not to project ATSUM as an anti-Manipur students' body.
Talking about their demands, ATSUM spokesman Joseph R Hmar said that formulation of appropriate rules under the Manipur Reservation of Vacancies in Posts and Services (for SC &ST) Amendment Act 2007 and enforcement of the same is their foremost demand.
The State Government is yet to take up the matter in the State Assembly in the form of a Bill.
Even as the sub-committee headed by the Chief Secretary submitted a recommendation on February 17 this year for implementation of 200 point rooster system under the reservation policy, the recommendation is yet to be tabled at any Cabinet meeting.
In response to the demand for establishment of a separate directorate for hills under Education Department, ATSUM and Government agreed to empower the Additional Director (Hills) to run the directorate.
But the Additional Director (Hills) is still kept non-functional and powerless.
Even as several crores were invested for construction of a bridge, the annual budgetary allocation for the Additional Director (Hills) is just Rs 70 lakh, Joseph Hmar lamented.
Service regularization of 1285 contract teachers, payment of salaries to diligent teachers teaching in the 12 grant-in-aid schools located in the hill districts, implementation of pension scheme and provision of EPF benefits for aided teachers are some other demands of the student body.
Saying that 41 per cent of the total population of Manipur are tribes, Joseph Hmar demanded formulation of a tribal language policy and the Government's approval of the budget prepared by the Council of Tribal Languages and Literature Societies.
Maintaining that the existing ADCs are toothless tigers and no powers have been devolved to them, Jospeh asked why the Autonomous District Councils were set up in the first place if they should be kept defunct.
Demanding a concrete reply to their demands, the spokesman appealed to the Government not to adopt any piece meal approach this time.
The Government should shed its attitude of addressing public issues only after there are agitations which entail public suffering, Joseph added.