Demands, Dialogues and Development : Evasion serves no purpose
- Hueiyen Lanpao Editorial :: November 18, 2014 -

The multiplication of civil society bodies is definitely a headache to the incumbent government, as one or the other grievance pertaining to various aspects of the society crops up in the form of demands and agitations.

Burgeoning number of civil society groups (social organizations) may be attributed to the weak and inefficient governance.

As long as a government works as efficient as possible, the question of raising numerous social bodies will not arise.

Manipur is known for having a large number of civil society organizations, students unions and other non-government establishments.

Even the same organization often experiences factionalism and division within, due to differences of ideologues and manners of working.

Even though it is the mis-governance that has led to chaos arising out of multiplication of pressure bodies, these numerous bodies are doing for the betterment of the society at their own expense.

Given the situation, the government must also respect each and every civil body which deals with one aspect or the other within its domain.

All Tribal Students’ Union (ATSUM), one of the most powerful student bodies of the state particularly in the hill districts of Manipur, has been working for improvement of educational scenario in the hill districts, which have been allegedly neglected by the valley based government apparently due to remoteness or lack of proper communication and transport linkages.

The dissatisfaction the hill students of Manipur have experienced since the last many years has been vomited through the ATSUM very often.

The ATSUM, besides working for the improvement of education in the hills, is also spearheading various movements for the cause of hill people.

The only worry among the people of the state is the division of the Students’ Union into two factions, one led by Tombing and another led by Emboi Serto.

Multiplication of pressure groups leads to increase in frequency of agitations, which affects the common people rather than the government.

The difference between the agitations launched by hill organizations and those led by valley organizations is that the former is more severe as it disturbs the life-line national highways.

Now, another ATSUM ultimatum has appeared in the newspaper headlines.

In a memorandum submitted to the state government on November 12, the All Tribal Students' Union Manipur led by Emboi Serto served an ultimatum to launch agitations, if the government fails to fulfill its grievances laid earlier.

The Union has regretted that the government is turning a deaf ear to its demands.

ATSUM demands include regularization of 1285 contract teachers recruited in 2006 for the various posts of the schools in hills.

Keeping in view the demand for merger of hills schools to the Nagaland Board, the State government and ATSUM had signed an agreement to have a separate Directorate for the hill schools.

According to the ATSUM, out of the 18 government schools, the government had approved eight schools for the grant-in aid, but till date no school has been upgraded as per the approval.

The concern is that tribal students from the villages have to spend Rs. 2000 to Rs. 2500 to study in their district headquarters.

The student body also alleged that nothing has been done to promote the ‘Tribal Language’. The Union also blamed the government for non devolution of powers to the ADCs, besides raising pending issues of reservation for tribals in education.

Amid all these demands and fury of the students’ body, one thing which is disheartening is that the incumbent Education Minister appeared to have evaded meetings with the representatives of the ATSUM on more than two counts.

As the Students body stated ‘the Education Minister invited them for talks on November 13 last’, but the talks could not be held as the copy of the memorandum was not in the minister’s possession.

They were asked to come next day, the 14th November, but the Minister could not be met due to certain engagement for children’s day.

Again on November 15, when the student leaders turned up to meet him, the minister did not spare time, as he left for his home constituency.

Notwithstanding the merits and demerits of the demands of the students’ body, the Education Minister’s apparent evasion from meeting the leaders of the Union for talks may cause trust-deficit between the government and the governed.

Amicable solutions need proper dialogues accompanied with due respect for the agitators too.

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