No hills bodies attend Round Table meeting
Meeting appeals to UNC to call off economic blockade
Source: Hueiyen News Service

Imphal, August 03 2010: The round Table meeting convened by the Government of Manipur to discuss matters related to the Autonomous District Councils was held this evening in the conference hall of the Chief Minister's Secretariate in the absence of all the tribal bodies which were invited.

All the tribal bodies, which were invited, namely UNC, ANSAM, TNL, SDSA, NPO, ATSUM, ZIB, CNPO, KIM, CDSA, Zomi Council, etc.

did not turn up for the meeting.

The meeting started a little after the scheduled time, which was 3 pm.

The meeting was convened particularly to consider the demands of certain sections of Manipur particularly the United Naga Council (UNC) and ANSAM.

Besides the State Council of Ministers, president, MPCC, Chairman & Vice Chairman, Hill Areas Committee, representatives from civil society organizations, academia, intellectuals NGOs, Ld Advocate General and officers from both the State and Central Governments were extended open invitation to participate in the said Round Table meeting.

The objective of convening the meeting was to provide an open forum to all stakeholders t o express their views freely and frankly to address the perceived and other grievances of those opposed to the recently held elections to the six District Councils and agree on an acceptable solution, according to a press release issued by Chief Secretary, DS Poonia.

Although invited, the UNC and ANSAM refused to even accept the invitation.

The Tangkhul Nagalong also declined to participate.

During the meeting, Principal Secretary (Hills) made a detailed presentation on the legal provisions in the Manipur (Hill Areas) District Councils Act, 1971 and the amendments thereof in 1975, 2006 & 2008.He detailed the powers conferred on the six District Councils and informed that the State in the process of delegating more powers to the Councils.

He also commented on the successful conduct of elections to the six District Councils in May-June,2010 after over twenty years, the press release stated.

Joint Secretary, State Home Department made a separate presentation on the demands of the UNC and the status of action taken by the State Govt.It was noted that the UNC has given a all once again for resuming the Economic Blockade with effect from 6am of August 4 .

Hrushikesh Panda, Addl.

Secretary, Ministry of Panchayati Raj, Dr MC Mehanathan, Director (NE), Ministry of Home Affairs and Surender Kumar, Director from Ministry of DoNER, Government of India, gave useful suggestions.

Dr Ksh Bimola Devi, Professor, Manipur University, Prof C Amuba, Vice Chancellor, Manipur University and K Daimai, Joint Director, Tribal Research Institute, Imphal and others actively participated in the discussion.

Chairman & Vice Chairman, HAC, Ministers, president MPCC made useful contributions to the deliberations.

All present regretted that the UNC, ANSAM and TNL had declined to participate.

They felt that differences can only be resolved through a healthy dialogue.

All concerned would be well advised to make use of such forums to express their views and convince the decision makers about the credibility of their claims.

All present expressed regret that UNC and ANSAM was again imposing Economic Blockade for twenty days from August 4 onwards.

It was noted that frequent blockades cause immense hardship to the common man and particularly daily wage earners.

Any re-imposition of blockade at this stage will further accentuate the scarcity of essential commodities and add to the miseries of the people of the State.

After a detailed and threadbare dialogue it was unanimously agreed that imposition of bandhs and blockades, particularly of National Highways which are lifelines of our people, can never be a solution to any problem as it leads to hardship and misery to all sections irrespective of their community and creed.

At the end of the Round Table meeting, it was unanimously resolved to issue a Joint Appeal to UNC to call-off the Economic Blockade in the larger public interest of all communities of Manipur.

It was also resolved to appeal to the UNC, ANSAM and TNL, etc.

to participate in democratic dialogue for resolving their grievances.

The State and Central Governments are open to a dialogue and will always be willing to provide a Forum for a healthy exchange of views and address any grievances of all stakeholders.

Meanwhile, the Centre has urged the United Naga Council not to resort to economic blockade of Manipur and participate in the next round of talks.

The appeal is in view of the hardship that would be caused to the common people due to blockade.