Ministerial team regrets 'lost opportunity'
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, August 07 2010: The Ministerial team which was deputed by the Government to Senapati district headquarters today to hold talks and hear grievances of UNC has expressed regret that an opportunity for free dialogue was not being made use of.

A statement issued by Chief Secretary DS Poonia said that as part of the ongoing joint initiative of the State and the Central Governments to open dialogue with the United Naga Council, a team of State Ministers including Minister of PHE/IPR/Tourism TN Haokip, Minister of IFC/YAS N Biren and Minister of TD & Hils/Vety & AH DD Thaisii visited Senepati district headquarters today.

Joint Secretary (NE), Ministry of Home Affairs, represented the Government of India in the team which also included the Chief Secretary, Principal Secretary (TD & Hills) and other State Goverment officials.

The visit followed an invitation to UNC president Samson Remei to hold talks and hear grievances.

However, UNC did not participate in the meeting.

The joint team has expressed regret that an opportunity for a free dialogue was not being made use of.

Conveying the concern of both State and Central Govt, the joint team appealed to UNC to respond to the invitation positively.

All those present regretted that UNC has not responded to requests of the Central and the State Government.

It was reiterated that differences can only be resolved through healthy dialogue.

It was also noted that UNC had earlier declined to attend the round table meeting convened at Imphal on August 3 .

The visit of a joint team to the Senepati district headquarters for a dialogue was yet another opportunity for the UNC to place their demands.

The presence of senior Ministers of the State Government and the Joint Secretary from the Ministry of Home Affairs was an indication of importance attached by both State and the Central Govt to open a dialogue with the UNC.

The joint team re-emphasised that bandhs and blockades add to the miseries of the people by accentuating the scarcity of essential commodities and the movement of goods, services and people along National Highways.

It was mentioned that Senapati district occupies a special position in the economy of the State as NH-39, the lifeline of Manipur, pass through the district.

Thereafter, Principal Secretary (TD & Hills) made a detailed presentation on the Manipur (Hill Areas) District Councils Act, 1971 and subsequent amendments in 1975, 2006 and 2008.It was noted that elections to the six District Councils were successfully conducted in May/June, 2010 after over 20 years.

Joint Secretary (Home Department) Devesh Deval also made a brief presentation on the demands of UNC and the status of action taken by the State Government.

It was explained that the matter regarding warrant of arrest involves compliance of the directives of Gauhati High Court.

As such, the concerned persons will be required to make an appropriate petition to the High Court.

Concluding the meeting, the joint team unanimously resolved to once against issue a joint appeal to the UNC to call off the economic blockade in the larger public interest of all communities of Manipur.

It was reiterated that the State and the Central Govt are always open to dialogue and the UNC is welcome to meet the State Govt representatives.