TODAY -

Must expedite process for border Haat projects
- The People's Chronicle Editorial :: June 01, 2022 -



IT'S heartening to note the gradual transformation in the narrative from Manipur's law and order problem in the recent past to one of development-centric remarks by both central and state ministers.

There are certain issues, for which finding solutions will take time for the governments and would depend on resilience of the public, but not many would argue that Manipur at present is passing through one of the most peaceful periods, subsequently giving hope to the masses that continued stability in the law and order will eventually lead to socio-economic progress.

Taking into account of the fact that Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well as union ministers have been consistently remarking that development of the northeast, is inevitable to make India economically powerful, it is obvious that the central government wouldn't relent from funding infrastructure development projects, if the government of Manipur came up with feasible project proposals.

As implementation of major developmental projects entails huge expenditure, it is imperative that the state government prepares project suitable to the local environment and resources, and availability of workforce.

While large-scale infrastructure development projects seem unrealistic at the juncture as the state government is not in a position to allocate its share of the fund which is the norm, the announcement made by Union minister of state for external affairs and education Dr RK Ranjan that border and village Haats will soon be established in the state's outlying villages would be welcomed by villagers in the border pockets, where absence of basic amenities has been the dominant discourse since the past many decades.

Till 2021, there were around 10 border Haats, which are described as rough-and-ready markets allowing local people to trade in locally-grown agricultural and manufactured items along the border, specially the Indo-Bangladesh border.

As these border Haats are confined to the Meghalaya-Tripura sector of the border, it seems that the Union government accords importance on geo-political situation in the neighbouring Countries.

With Bangladesh no more the safe haven for insurgent groups it used to be about a decade or so back, operationalization of the border Haats isn't a problem.

Nevertheless, the geo-political turmoil in Myanmar shouldn't be the reason for delay, if any, in going ahead with the activation of the border Haat projects in Jessami, Kwatha and Behiang villages along the India-Myanmar border belt for denizens of these remote border areas deserve the opportunity to be a part of the much-published holistic developmental initiatives of the Union and state governments.

Along with citing the Modi government's policy for last mile development and make border villages vibrant with the proposed border Haat projects, Dr Ranjan expressed confidence that development of basic marketing infrastructure in the border villages would help improve cross border trade and people-to-people contact.

While there is possibility of the projects facing socio-political barriers in case the situation in neighbouring Myanmar doesn't improve, the border villages would definitely be looking forward to the Union minister to push for materialisation of the project within short notice.

Dr Ranjan may also prove commitment to improve living standard of the border villagers by readying all official processes to operationalize the border Haat projects as and when the Centre gives the nod.



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