TODAY -

HAC members under Govt, public scrutiny
- The People's Chronicle Editorial :: August 13, 2022 -



AMONG other organisations, All Tribal Students' Union Manipur (ATSUM) wouldn't be amused with chief minister N Biren Singh categorically stating that the incumbent government will not endorse the Autonomous District Council Bill, 2021, recommended by the state assembly's Hill Areas Committee (HAC), without necessary amendments in the Bill which the Union has been insisting on enacting as law.

In fact, ATSUM is yet to lift the economic blockade but has suspended the agitation after nearly a week of its imposition in the hill districts citing hardships faced by the commoners and amid furious reactions as well as fervent appeals from valley-based organisations.

As per the CM's take on the much-disputed proposed legislation, which went viral on the social media platforms, the ADC Bill, 2021 has provisions to divide Manipur into two entities, with two chief secretaries and two secretariats, which if enacted would technically mean separate administrative set-up for the valley areas and the hills.

While the source of the viral post and purpose, if any, remain mysterious; the 2.11-minute long video has underscored that CM Biren wouldn't fret from calling a spade a spade and driven home the point that no attempt to balkanise Manipur would be allowed.

Amid speculation that the raging debate for and against the original ADC Bill has the potential to create sharp divisions in the society, it is certain that the CM's remark on the proposed legislation, which tribal student bodies, ATSUM in particular, want to table in the state assembly, has made it crystal clear that the Bill recommended by the HAC should be agreeable to all the stakeholders.

As the Bill reportedly has provisions that could eventually lead to division of Manipur into two entities and separation of administrative mechanism, it is on expected line that the chief minister has questioned agenda of the HAC members who formulated the Bill.

Now that the amended version of the Bill is learnt to have been prepared after consultation with all the 20 members of the HAC, the government deleted divisive agenda from the Bill and tabled the same in the House for welfare of hill people and empower them, the task is cut out for both the government authorities and the HAC members to convince the stakeholders concerned that the new proposed legislation will fulfil aspiration of the tribal people to see uniform development, with exception of the agenda to sow the seed of separation.

In terms of infrastructure development and socio-economic wellbeing of the people, it would be presumptuous to claim that the majority community settling in the valley are all living a decent life for there is huge disparity between urban and rural population in the plains also.

Though life in the twin capital cities appears to be comparatively better, it must be acknowledged that there are hundreds of thousands of families in the valley districts who are struggling every day to make both ends meet and have no access to basic amenities.

As such, leaders of tribal organisations which have been contending that successive governments had been valley-centric and are scheming to create divisions need to introspect before blaming the valley dwellers, which also include substantial number of wealthy and influential individuals belonging to the tribal communities.



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