TODAY -

Crying need to understand the pull factor : Stop creating the vacuum
- The Sangai Express Editorial :: March 17 2015 -



The Manipur Regulation of Visitors, Tenants and Migrant Workers Bill, 2015 has obviously failed to satisfy those who have taken up the bat on behalf of the indigenous people of the State.

The result was the 18 hour bandh that Manipur witnessed on March 15.

Hard to predict anything now, but if the past is any indication then Manipur may well see fresh agitation and the Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System will again occupy prime space in the State newspapers and local TV channels.

Manipur has already seen intense agitation in the recent past. Lest the demand is seen in the wrong light, the movement is not against anyone, particularly those coming from outside the State.

It is also not against any community. It is also not a call for insulation, for the people here do know that no one can remain cut off from the outside world.

Rather it is the genuine voice of concern ringed out against the geometrically increasing population of non-locals.

Statistics have already been trotted out, with some arguing that the local population may soon be outstripped by the non-locals.

Not an impossibility, given the fact that the population of the indigenous population is extremely tiny in comparison with the population strength of others.

However it also remains that laws and rules may be made but there is no curtain against human migration.

A point which no one can afford to overlook.

Moreover the Constitution grants all citizens the right to move around and settle down freely in any part of the country, despite the fact that some areas may come under certain categories which are off limit for the rest of the population, such as the hills of Manipur.

The question is whether any law will help in checking the inflow of migrant workers or outsiders.

Demands have been raised to pass a piece of legislation to restrict the inflow of outsiders to the State but no one has deemed it necessary to study why Manipur continues to be such an attractive destination for numerous migrant workers.

To repeat a point which has been underlined here numerous times, Manipur has tremendous pull factor while some parts of the country have tremendous push factor.

Why Manipur has immense pull factor should not be too hard to understand if a little thought is applied.

With the local people unwilling to take up manual labour, a huge vacuum is created.

It is to fill up this vacuum that numerous migrant workers arrive here and in course of time settle down. A phenomenon which is also witnessed in neighbouring Nagaland.

A large number of unemployed youth on one hand and no one willing to take up any sort of manual labour and the situation is just ideal for others to come in and fill up the vacuum thus created.

Take up all the jobs that can be done by the local people, say from hair cutting to shoe mending to pulling carts.

This will answer more than half the question of the need to discourage migrant workers from knocking at the doors of Manipur.

Pass all the needed laws and legislations but let the people also wake up to the fact that it is up to them to stop the inflow of migrant workers.



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