CM's effort to reach out snubbed...
KIM, ATSUM follow UNC, ANSAM, decline invite

Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, August 03 2010: Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh today convened a State level round table conference to consider the demands of certain sections of Manipur particularly the ones put up by the United Naga Council (UNC) and ANSAM.

UNC and ANSAM, however, did not participate in the meeting, as announced earlier.

The Government was also dealt a double body blow with the Kuki Inpi and ATSUM deciding to stay away from the proposed round table conference.

Speaking to The Sangai Express, spokesman of ATSUM, Joseph Hmar said that they decided to stay away as the apex bodies of the tribal communities had decided to stay away.

Moreover the invitation from the Government came a little too late, he said adding that it was given just 2/3 days to think it over, before the proposed meeting.

Issuing a statement in this regard, Chief Secretary DS Poonia said that besides the Council of Ministers, president of MPCC, chairman and vice chairman of Hill Areas Committee, representatives of civil organisations, academia, intellectuals, NGOs, the Advocate General and officers from both State and Central Governments given open invitation to participate in the said round table conference.

The objective of convening the conference was to provide an open forum to all stakeholders to 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 work out an acceptable solution.

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

The Tangkhul Naga Long also declined to participate.

During the meeting, Principal Secretary (Hills) presented a detailed accounts on the legal provisions in the Manipur (Hill Areas) District Councils Act, 1971 and the amendments thereof in 1975, 2006 and 2008 .

He detailed the powers conferred on the six District Councils and informed that the State Government is in the process of delegating more powers to the Councils.

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

Joint Secretary, State Home Department made a separate presentation on the demands of UNC and the status of action taken by the State Government.

It was noted that UNC has decided to resume the economic blockade with effect from 6 am of August 4, 2010 .

While Additional Secretary Ministry of Panchayati Raj Hrushikesh Panda; Director (NE), Ministry of Home Affairs Dr MC Mehanathan; Director from the Ministry of DoNER, Government of India Surender Kumar chipped in with their suggestions, Prof Dr Kh Bimola Devi of Manipur University, Vice Chancellor of Manipur University Prof C Amuba, Joint Director of Tribal Research Institute K Daimai and others actively participated in the discussion.

Chairman and Vice Chairman of HAC, Ministers and MPCC president also made useful contributions to the deliberations.

All those who are present in the meeting regretted that UNC, ANSAM and TNL 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, the statement issued by the Chief Secretary said.

All present also expressed regret that UNC and ANSAM are planning to impose economic blockade for 20 days with effect from tomorrow.

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

So any reimposition of blockade at this stage will further accentuate the scarcity of essential commodities and add to the miseries of the people, the statement conveyed.

It further conveyed that after a detailed and threadbare dialogue, it was unanimously agreed that imposition of bandhs and blockades, particularly of National Highways, which are lifelines of the 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 also unanimously resolved to issue a Joint Appeal to UNC to call off the economic blockade in the larger public interest of all communities in Manipur.

It was also resolved to appeal to UNC, ANSAM and TNL to participate in democratic dialogue for resolving their grievances.

The State and the Central Governments are open to dialogue and will always be willing to provide a forum for a healthy exchange of views and address any grievances of all stakeholders, the statement issued by the Chief Secretary added.