TODAY -

'MLAs of both hill and valley must work collectively'
Source: Hueiyen News Service

Imphal, June 24 2013: Emphasizing on the need for coordination between MLAs of both hill and valley constituencies, Deputy Chief Minister Gaikhangam has said that the MLAs of hill constituencies are also expected to work for the valley like other MLAs of valley constituencies who have been working relentlessly for the development of hill areas.

He was speaking in the State Legislative Assembly during the discussion for demand grant of Tribal Affairs and Hills Department today.

MLAs Samuel Risom, Th Shyamkumar, RK Imo, Dr I Ibohalbi and Laisom Ibomcha took part in the discussion.

Dr Ibohalbi contended that the Autonomous District Council (ADC) has no work to do till date and its members are sitting idle in Imphal doing nothing, thus, they have failed to establish connection with the public.

Dr Ibohalbi demanded to know exact role of the ADC and Hill Area Committee in formulating plan and policies for the tribal in the state, and asserted that the anger among the hill people now perceived is because of the Government's negligence toward their sentiment.

He also pointed out that the popular notion that all the benefits to be availed by the people in the hills are being concentrated in the valley has created a big gap between the hill and plain people, thereby enhancing enmity.

All the ADC members must be allowed to return to their respective places in the hill so as to enable them to start working by restoring relations with the people there, he suggested.

Dr Ibohalbi also said, "It will be correct to remove the words 'any Mizo' and 'any Kuki' mentioned among the official list of 33 Scheduled Tribe communities of the state" .

In his response to the discussion, Gaikhangam, who is also in-charge of Tribal Development, appreciated the MLAs of valley constituencies for their keen interests in the development of tribal people and hill areas.

He further said that the participation of MLAs of valley constituencies in the discussion is a clear instance of unity of the State.

However, some prominent people in hills areas often misappropriate the development fund and deprive the poor tribals in interior areas of all benefits, Deputy Chief Minister noted.

He appealed to all concerned to benefit all people in hills areas through various schemes and programmes taken up by Tribal Affairs and Hills Department.

Gaikhangam further maintained that 50 percent fund of Tribal Development has been allocated to Autonomous District Councils.

Moreover, the ADC members, who have been stationed in Imphal due to certain circumstances, would soon go to their respective constituencies and work for the welfare and development of the tribal people, he added.

Deputy Chief Minister observed that the living standards of tribal people living in hills and valley regions are different.

Tribals in hills are mostly poor and so they should be given more benefits than those tribals in valley areas.

The officers of Tribal Development have also been warned strictly to behave properly with the MLAs and other elected representatives, he said.

Gaikhangam affirmed that the Department is striving for the welfare and development of tribal people of the State through various schemes and programmes.

The Department would soon procure a new ambulance to help people in case of medical emergency, he announced.

In the discussion on Irrigation and Flood Control Department, nine MLAs namely Th Shyamkumar, RK Imo, Dr Ibohalbi, L Ibomcha, P Brojen, Th Bishwajit, O Lukhoi, M Kunjo and Dr Ng Bijoy raised policy cut motions pointing out several loopholes in the function of IFC Department.

Clarifying to the MLAs, IFC Minister Ngamthang Haokip said that the Department could not take do much due to fund shortage.

It spends more than Rs.12 crores every month in the payment of salaries for 1200 work-charge and muster-roll employees, he pointed out.

Mega projects such as Dolaithabi Project and Thoubal Multipurpose Project are going on in good progress and they would be completed within a short time, IFC Minister stated.

Meanwhile, the demands passed by the State Legislative Assembly included Rs.426,27,56,000 for Tribal Affairs and Hills Department, Rs.5,00,36,000 for Stationery and Printing and Rs.860,33,00,000 for Irrigation and Flood Control Department.


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