Tentacles in population dynamics of Manipur

Dr K Nabachandra Singh *

A very crowded scene at Ema Keithel, Imphal in November 2015
A very crowded scene at Ema Keithel, Imphal in November 2015 :: Pix : Shankar Khangembam

Manipur is gifted with natural beauty and favourable climate. About 10% of its total area constitute the valley area and the rest (90%) is hill areas.

The valley is surrounded by the hill ranges which make barriers to invaders from neighbouring countries in the past during the reign of Kings of Manipur. After the merger of the kingdom to Indian union in 1949, many problems crop up in respect of it’s population dynamics.

While entry of outsiders was restricted by imposing strict regulatory mechanism during the rule of the kings, there seems to be no rule/regulation at hand till date to regulate the entry of outsiders or foreigners. This will ultimately lead to the situation the original Tripuris are now facing in their own homeland.

They are minorities in their home state, not even represented in the state Assembly due to influx of Bengalis from erstwhile East Pakistan, now Bangladesh. A wake-up call to all the indigenous people of the hills and valley of Manipur to avoid a catastrophe on our future generation.

1. The influx of migrants in Manipur can be studied from different angles – International commitments by the Indian Union:

(i) The Indo-Nepal Treaty of Peace and Friendship signed at Kathmandu on 31st July 1950 by Prime Minister of Nepal, Mohan Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana and Indian Ambassador to Nepal, Chandreshwar Narayan Singh came into effect on the same day.

This treaty permits free movement of citizens of both the countries across the border without any passport or visa, live and work in either country and own property or do trade and business in either country. This treaty was executed when Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was the Prime Minister of India with a view to strengthening India’s position in matters of defence and foreign affairs.

A large number of Indians (Madhesis) live in Nepal, own property, do business taking the benefit of the treaty. The dominance of the Indians in trade and commerce of Nepal prompted the Nepalese constituent Assembly to suggest scrapping of the 1950 treaty. Reciprocally, millions of Nepalese live, own property and do business in India particularly in North-East India.

(ii) The Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971 resulted in mass exodus of Bangladeshis from the erstwhile East Pakistan to India. About 8 to 10 million refugees have taken shelter in the north-eastern region.

Subsequently, Indo-Bangladesh Friendship Treaty was signed between the Indian Prime Minister, Smt. Indira Gandhi and the Bangladesh Prime Minister. Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on March 19, 1972. This treaty gives the Bangladesh refugees the privilege to settle in India. This treaty lapses on March 19, 1997.

The influx of the foreign national from Nepal and Bangladesh have a far reaching effect on the demography of the North-East India. In the context of Manipur, the Nepalese are mostly concentrated in Kanglatombi, Leimakhong, Kalapahar and Kangpokpi of Senapati district and in Serou village of Sugnu of Thoubal district.

The Bengalis from Bangladesh are concentrated mostly in Jiribam of Imphal East district and Saiton village in the South under Kumbi constituency.

These foreign nationals who migrated either from Nepal or Bangladesh and who were given constitutional safeguard under the treaties move to various parts of valley in search of job.

The skilled labourers stay in rented houses in and around Imphal to earn their living. What is alarming is the uncontrolled inflow of the relatives, near and dear ones of these migrants who had already settled in Manipur. Manipur state Government has no proper legal or administrative mechanism to check further inflow. The pressure is felt in the thickly populated valley areas, as it provides more job opportunities to the labourers. It is comparatively less felt in the sparsely populated hill areas of Manipur.

2. Illegal migration from Myanmar

There are continuous inflow of migrants from Myanmar through the porous Indo-Myanmar border on the southern side. There is strict regulation on the Myanmar side to check illegal entry and violators often face imprisonment while on the Indian side it is almost free for all. Furthermore, the inhabitants on both sides of the International Indo-Myanmar border happen to be tribal such as Nagas, Mizos, Kukis in several pockets thereby facilitating trans border migration.

If this illegal migration is not checked, after several decades the hills of Manipur may witness the pitiable situation as is now seen in the valley of Manipur. The illegal immigrants should be dealt under foreigners act. The central and state governments are quite indifferent in this regard although enthusiastic social organizations often raise the issue. The indigenous hill people of Manipur also need to think for the safeguard of the future generation of their own tribes.


In the hills of Manipur, there is proper constitutional safeguard to disallow the plain people or non-tribals to settle in the hills. While on the other hand, the tribals and outsiders from any part of the country can come, settle, own landed property in the valley areas of Manipur.

This unbridled Land Revenue policy of the State Government has resulted in very high population density in valley areas – nearly 1000/ of Imphal West, (according to 2011 census) followed by Thoubal(818/, Imphal East (638/ and Bishnupur (485/ As is seen from the 2011 District-wise Population census given below, the population density of Tamenglong is only 32, followed in increasing order, by Ukhrul (40/, Chandel (43/, Churachandpur (59/ and Senapati (109/

A closer look at the population growth rate during the decade (2001-2011) suggests that there is abnormally high population growth in the hill districts vis-a-vis the valley districts of Manipur. Ukhrul shows a decadal growth rate of 30.07, followed by Tamenglong (25.69), Senapati (25.16), Chandel (21.72) and Churachandpur (19.03). On the other hand, the decadal growth rate in all the 4 valley districts of Manipur is around 15 only.

The abnormally high decadal growth rate in the hill districts may be, most probably, due to high influx of tribals from neighbouring states and Myanmar engineered by vested interests for their political ends. The pathetic scenario of the indigenous Manipuri people are now becoming a minority in Jiribam, should not be lost sight of. It is an outcome of short sighted game plan of the politicians of the region to capture power by importing migrants for their vote bank regardless of the fate of their children in future. The brethren of the hill areas of Manipur must think of the future which is threatened by the inflow of migrants from other states or countries.


The valley area is subjected to population pressure resulting from:
(a) International commitments viz Indo-Nepal Friendship Treaty (1950) and Indo-Bangladesh Friendship Treaty (1972)
(b) Manipur Land Revenue (MLR) Act which puts no bar to the sale of land from the valley areas to the tribes or outsiders.

On the other hand, the valley people cannot purchase or settle in the hill areas. This creates a situation like a one-way traffic which will ultimately lead to saturation in the valley in the near future. Educated people, State or Central Government employees from the hills normally settle in Imphal valley as most of the Government offices are located in this area while the poor urban dwellers shift to the rural areas but not to the forbidden hill areas.

The burden can be lessened to a great extent by improving the infrastructures, road connectivity, health care centres, educational facilities, power and other such facilities available in the valley areas; establishing Government institutes in the hill areas leaving aside the Imphal centric/valley centric concept.

In the realm of physical sciences, we find that the one way process will lead to a point of saturation. The most stable dynamic equilibrium will be attained through a two-way process. Similarly, the state of population explosion in the valley areas of the state can be checked if the land laws are suitably amended to allow the indigenous plain people to settle in hill areas, as is the case in the valley for the hill people.

Ultimately, a homogeneous Manipuri society can be built up. Now, businessmen from outside the state have complete control over the market of Manipur. They own land and buildings in the heart of the city. Furthermore, skilled and unskilled labour from outside the state enter the state in large numbers daily and stay in various rented houses of the town areas, thereby creating a precarious situation for the local work force.

It will therefore be in the interest of all sections of Manipuri society regardless of caste, creed and place of birth to put in place proper legislation like Inner Line Permit System to regulate the entry of outsiders and to disallow the sale of landed property to outsiders (non-Manipuri) both in the Hills and Valley before we face a Tripura like situation where indigenous Tripuris are no longer represented in the constituent Assembly of Tripura.

It is internationally accepted fact that a species, be it plant or animal or a tribe is under the threat of extinction, the world community comes to the rescue by adopting necessary measures to ensure its perpetuation.

Failure to do so will lead to total extinction of the species from the surface of the earth. Let us not revisit Tripura like situation where native Tripuris become minority in their own homeland due to unchecked inflow of Bengalis from neighbouring states and country.

* Dr K Nabachandra Singh wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on September 21, 2016.

* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.

  • 18 Immortal Souls Remembered : Flash
  • The Great June Uprising : Read all about it
  • The Pitfalls of Identity Politics
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • All his sons :: Poem
  • Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016
  • Eid bring cheer in flood hit areas
  • Willong Khullen, Maram #1 : Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Defending the environmental defenders
  • Delusion in self - cause of worry
  • Road to Russia: FIFA World Cup
  • It must be love :: Poem
  • 'Future of Naga people is bleak'
  • Give a miss call to Amnesty
  • 'Naga area' bandh on June 18
  • Dzuko valley #4 :: 360 Panorama View
  • Flood in Imphal [14 June] #2 : Gallery
  • Id-Ul-Fitr Festival
  • Letter to PM Modi on Naga Talks
  • Greetings on Eid-Ul-Fitr
  • Rejoinder to NPF statement
  • Rejoinder to Nagaland Chief Minister
  • Flood relief continue on 3rd day
  • India-Vietnam Youth Dialogue 2018
  • MU debacle: Why would it be left unnoticed
  • Spirit of World Cup : Brazil to Russia
  • NEC to come under Home Ministry
  • Manipur NGO hosts summit on LGBTQ
  • Flood in Imphal [14 June] #1 : Gallery
  • Women Struggle in Self-Determination
  • 14 June- World Blood Donor Day
  • Naga Integration not possible- NPF react
  • Naga Integration is not possible- CM Rio
  • Relief work in flood affected areas
  • A day which keeps our spirit alive
  • Ranked 320 in the country : MU
  • Flood in Imphal [13 June] #2 : Gallery
  • Irenna, Zeinorn, Ithoibi :: eMing
  • Sovereignty Struggles in Northeast #5
  • Be alert: It's admission time
  • Yin and Yang
  • Watermelon beauty benefits
  • Temp accommodation for Aligarh students
  • Wrath of Mother Nature: Why challenge..
  • 60 pc is no longer first class : 95 pc
  • Flood in Imphal [13 June] #1 : Gallery
  • Sanamahi Laihui & Sanamahi Laining
  • Kuhi- Essential plant for Nungbi pottery
  • Climate justice is integral to development
  • The bridge :: Poem
  • Lt S Vijaya Devi felicitated
  • Then : Indifferent :: Now : Hyper sensitive
  • Phumdigi Tantha : Dance Drama : Gallery
  • Grief at Xavier Rutsa's demise
  • Modi's India: A descend into Ochlocracy
  • The Philippine Experience
  • Cry of a Dying River #33 :: Poem
  • Community Iftar at Moijing, Cachar
  • Candle Light at DU over Assam lynching
  • Demand replacement of Manipur Univ VC
  • The Tragedy of Higher education
  • Unacceptable points spelt out
  • Teinem Luira Phanit @Ukhrul #3: Gallery
  • RPL-PMKVY trainees @Hojai : Gallery
  • Manipur Sports University in UP ?
  • Coloniality of the Postcolonial
  • Yellow leaves in the autumn :: Poem
  • Prof N Irabanta-distinguished academician
  • Leadership matters
  • Artificial turf for budding talents
  • 2 municipal bodies in NE awarded
  • Who is Arambam Somorendra ?
  • Manglandasu Nang - OST :: e-pao Radio
  • Shirock 2018 - Shirui Lily Fest #3 : Gallery
  • Linthoi's "The Tales of Kanglei Throne" #2
  • Grass root challenge- Education in hills
  • Earth does not belong to us...
  • Sita Mata as test-tube baby
  • What happen to VIP Culture Mr. CM
  • Merchants of education
  • Laitonjam Rajnikanta : Profile
  • A blessing to see :: Poem
  • Sovereignty Struggles in Northeast #4
  • Difference between Hinduism & Hindutva
  • How to choose the perfect fragrance
  • Iftaar party at Lilong
  • Bitter truth of Manipuri society
  • MU, NSU, IGNTU : Students at the centre
  • Amuktang-Ga Haikho #1 : eRang
  • Sangai Veterans' Football #2 : Gallery
  • Pony : A Cavalry Horse Par Excellence #2
  • Issues that keep Manipur burning
  • Cry of a Dying River - 32 :: Poem
  • CM & AR interaction with villagers
  • Certification of PMKVY trainees of Hojai
  • Christian appeals for Peace in Shillong
  • How safe are our women?
  • Riders put up by JAC for talk
  • Khangkhui Cave in Ukhrul #3 : Gallery
  • Pluralism, Democracy & Ethnic Relation #2
  • Irom Sharmila meets with Mehbooba Mufti
  • JRF @ Mizoram University (Biotechnology)
  • Tobacco and heart disease
  • Understanding SOWA - RIGPA #2
  • Campaign "to End Child Sexual Abuse"
  • Implementation of 7th Pay
  • Indigenous street vendor sing gi wafam
  • The crumbling Manipur University
  • Kang Tournament @ Yaiskul : Gallery
  • Zeliangrong orphaned by Nationalism #1
  • A rainy night :: Poem
  • HSLC Exam is the start! What next?
  • World Environment Day: Thoubal, Chandel
  • 1528 cases of fake encounter
  • Shifting tide
  • Sharmila calls on JK CM Mehbooba
  • Linthoi's "The Tales of Kanglei Throne" #1
  • Handloom Weaver @Bishnupur : Gallery
  • Shirock 2018 - Shirui Lily Fest #2 : Gallery
  • Hinduism in Manipur : Political Perspective
  • World Environment Day at Sendra
  • All the World and his Wife :: Poem
  • Two Shaft Handloom Weaver at Bishnupur
  • Career Guidance Workshop at Ukhrul
  • Rejoinder: on Vigilance Commissioner
  • Appointment of Vigilance Commissioner
  • Towards the brighter side of Technology.
  • MU in the news for wrong reasons
  • Tribal Cultural Festival #1 : Gallery
  • Women in CCpur turn to self-help groups
  • Fear and Worry
  • Rongmei Scholars Association formed
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Deteriorating politics in Manipur University
  • Purul Paoki Wrestling : Gallery
  • Sangai Veterans' Football #1 : Gallery
  • Devolution of power to PRIs
  • Khangminashi IV (Lecture) : Report
  • Seminar at MU - Hinduism in Manipur'
  • Northeast: Issues at Stake #2
  • Thietham - A story of grit of a girl
  • Daylight robbery: Will the govt wait..
  • Date with Dy CM : Was it prudent?
  • On FIR against NPF President
  • Yepthomi - winner in Nagaland Lok Sabha
  • Evolution of The Meetei State
  • Heartbreak at Ukhrul: Unfolding Shirock
  • Bacteria, pathogenic bacteria..
  • Drafting Bill for Protection of Manipuri
  • Cry of a Dying River - 31 :: Poem
  • Char saal Modiji sarkar :: WJ
  • Imran Khan signed by FC Goa
  • The mental equation
  • State Level Khurpui-Lam Festival: Gallery
  • June Calendar for Year 2018 :: Tools
  • School Girls Basketball #2 : Gallery
  • Where horse trading terminated so curtly
  • Reactions to Merger into Dominion of India
  • Course in Political Science at NEHU
  • Impunity allows extrajudicial execution..
  • National Robotic @IIT Techniche
  • K-Startup Grand Challenge campaign 2018
  • Are Congress & BJP the only option of India
  • Unceasing cease Work strike
  • Where is Manipur....???
  • 'Manipur' in Google maps : Gallery
  • Making Arts & Science colleges relevant
  • Pluralism, Democracy & Ethnic Relations
  • Parliamentarians for Anti-Racial Law
  • Architectural Designer @ R-Square Design
  • Walk-In for AdL SBT Hub, MU
  • Recruitment with Globizs, Imphal
  • Never filed FIR, filed complaints with ECI
  • The Killing Fields - 2013-18 : News Timeline
  • Rohingya problem: Humanitarian crisis
  • Mama Poktabi :: Funga Wari
  • Veterans Football Tournament #2 : Gallery
  • Kishon & Taka Tamut scaled Mt. Everest
  • What is Nipah Virus? How does it spread
  • 74th Anniv: Battle of Red Hill commemorated
  • Naha Activist singbu khudakta thadokpiyu
  • Erendro's arrest is not a wise decision
  • IM accuses AR of 'derail peace process'
  • Pony : A Cavalry Horse Par Excellence #1
  • Shirock 2018 - Shirui Lily Fest #1 : Gallery
  • Shirui valley travelogue
  • Iftar at Aligarh by Manipur Student Assn
  • Sougrakpam Vijaya makes history sailing...
  • Arunachali unfurled Salai Taret at Mt Everest
  • Panthoiba: 2nd Rank- class XII, Uttarkhand
  • Ras Leela @JNMDA Day : Gallery
  • HSLC 208 Exam Toppers : Gallery
  • HSLC 2018 :: Toppers Listing
  • HSLC 2018 :: Check Result
  • HSLC :: Statistical/Subject Topper
  • HSLC 2018 :: External
  • Voices from beyond Kangleipak Ema
  • Technology redefines unity
  • Veterans Football Tournament #1 : Gallery
  • Climate change from Christian perspectives
  • International Nurses Week #2
  • Civil Engineer @ R-Square Design
  • Poumai Purul Hiimai Paoki #2 : Gallery
  • Kakching Garden :: 360 Panorama View
  • Folk Dance Festival #5 : Gallery
  • Aerial view from Chingmeirong : Gallery
  • Governor's Taekwondo Cup: Gallery
  • Khangkhui Cave, Ukhrul #2: Gallery
  • Curtain Raising- Sangai Fest 2017: Gallery
  • Story of Silence : @Somorendra Lecture
  • Lainingthou Lai Lam thopka #2 : Gallery
  • Re-visiting Khangkhui caves in Ukhrul
  • Sandrembi Cheishra :: Book Review
  • Ngasepam Nalini : State Akademi Award
  • Gardening @Ema Keithel #2: Gallery
  • Front Page Photo 2018 #2: Gallery
  • Pakhangba Cheng Hongba #2 : Gallery
  • Steelheart @ Shirock , Ukhrul #3 : Gallery
  • A. Halim Chowdhury: A Profile
  • Class XII Exam Toppers : Gallery
  • Class XII Result : Science Toppers
  • Class XII Result : Arts Toppers
  • Class XII Result : Commerce Toppers
  • HSE Result 2018 : District Wise
  • HSE Result 2018 : Highest Marks
  • HSE Result 2018 : Science Stream
  • HSE Result 2018 : Arts Stream
  • HSE Result 2018 : Commerce Stream
  • Kh Sanjita & Saikhom Mirabai :: Gallery
  • Temples of Manipur : Gallery
  • Recipients of Akademi Awards for 2014
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic