TODAY -

Time to stop creating the vacuum : Dignity of labour
- The Sangai Express Editorial :: April 7 2016 -



After a lull of some months.

That is the drive against non-local labourers. After the State Assembly passed the three Bills on August 31, 2015, focus shifted from the valley to the hill districts, particularly Churachandpur district following the huge protest against the three Bills and which led to the death of nine people.

The bodies are still lying in state and there is as yet no indication that the last rites of the bodies will be performed anytime.

This is about Churachandpur and one may recall the days of protest organised by the Manipur Tribal Forum, Delhi at the National capital with nine symbolic coffins to lodge their protest against the three Bills as well as to pay homage to the nine killed at Churachandpur.

It did not end with the protest for a call was also rung out demanding a separate administration for the tribals of Manipur.

Things also took a more ugly turn after Nagaland Chief Minister TR Zeliang questioned the wisdom of the State Government in passing the three Bills during the Lui-Ngai-Ni festival at Ukhrul on February 14 this year.

This in short is about the hill districts after the three Bills were passed by the State Assembly on August 31 last year and now the focus is again on the valley, Imphal in particular.

True to its earlier stand, the Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System has begun cracking down on non-local labourers working without the requisite official documents and already some important works have been banned for hiring these workers without valid documents.

The Sangai Express has already questioned why an issue which is about protecting the interest of the indigenous people should be dividing the people so strongly.

One reason could be the cut off year of 1951 in the three Bills.

Difficult to say on what basis the State Government decided to keep the cut off year at 1951 but as an RTI application submitted by a former student union leader revealed, the State Government does not seem to have the National Register of Citizens of 1951.

Will this cut ice with the Centre ?

Difficult to say what the future holds, but important to note that so many non-local labourers have been hired by construction companies and this brings the question of whether there are no local people willing to take up the works assigned to the non-local people.

Is it about skills or is it about the local people not willing to do physical labour ?

A point which The Sangai Express has been consistently raising.

In a nutshell local people are not willing to take up manual labour, never mind the fact that thousands remain unemployed.

This automatically creates a vacuum and it is only expected that non-local people will rush in to fill the vacuum.

So while legislations are needed to protect the interest of the indigenous people, it also stands that no vacuum should be created to attract others.

Time to stop offering space to others and this can be achieved only when the local people start working.



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