Tuesday, September 19, 2017 1:30 pm IST

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CM Drags PM To Phumdi

Recently the Chief Minister of Manipur had expressed his desire to dissolve the 9th Manipur Assembly prematurely to pave way for the next general elections ahead of its normal schedule, in the best interest of the students. What is encouraging is the understanding and the good sense the Chief Minister has shown for the students, especially the school-leaving students. Exams for class X and XII, the two important exams in the career of a student, are held in March/April every year. Therefore the decision of the CM to dissolve the Assembly prematurely to constitute the 10th Assembly well before the end of 2011 is truly commendable.

But what strikes one with a pleasant surprise is: since when did Ibobi Singh, the CM started caring our children? This observation – cynical though – springs up from the SPF Government’s records since its coming to power a decade ago. As records speak, the students do come next to law and order and development-cum-contract work in the priority list of the Ibobi Singh Government. Or else how does one explain its policy of “Tallaga Maraina Tokchakhini” – don’t listen to them, just make them weary – while dealing with the students, and their related problems.

Even at the present, the students are deprived of their classes because of the tussle between the Government and the teachers on the implementation of the 6th Pay. Any responsible Government would think of the interests of the students first before taking a decision. The Government is expected to call the teachers for talks. But what is happening is, the Government would issue some vague statements or remain silent.

In the last few days, the CM made some fatuous statements in this regard on the sidelines of Capitol and Thoubal projects instead of formally asking the teachers to come for talks. In fact, the provocative statement of the CM – showing arrogance of power, does not make the situation better. However the latest decision the Govt to talk to the teacher is encouraging. The truth is, whether the demands are conceded or not conceded, the problem must be resolved one way or other without delay in the best interest of the students through negotiation and persuasion and the responsibility of the government need not be reminded. After all the CM has already shown his great understanding and utmost care for the students even to the extent of ending the life of the Assembly prematurely.

However contradiction in the persona of the CM is not surprising. One may remember, when the students were deprived of education for more than 4 months on the July 23, BT Road murder incident, the CM had famously pronounced: “the right to education is more important than the right to life”. And yet, the CM himself didn’t allow the students to study by disagreeing to the popular demand to institute a Judicial enquiry into the killing; a case of seer insanity.

Such quixotic behavior and imbecile thoughts of the CM have become a cause for worry for Leibaak-meeyaam. One also finds that the CM occasionally burst into fit of anger in public whenever he feels something wrong. One such incident was his outburst at the Loktak Phumdi site before the visit of P. Chidambaram. The incident flashbacks the matrix of development of the Loktak Phumdi project.

The story goes something like this: the Centre has given some 200-300 crores of rupees to Manipur to get rid of the Phumdi – the thick grass-plants that grow in the water body of Loktak. This is done by cutting the Phumdi and pushing it down the course of the Ithai River which goes through the Loktak; and ultimately the floating Phumdi has to cross over the Ithai Barrage or pull it up on the banks of the river etc. This writer had once joined a voluntary Phumdi clearance service among the locals in the Pumlen area – a backwater of Loktak, a decade ago. And that experience gave some idea of how Phumdi are cleared.

Now, the Ibobi Singh Government has given the money – Rs.200-300 crores to a firm, K. Pro……….. (something not remembered) which is located in a room of a residential flat in Dwarika, Delhi. It is also widely reported that the Loktak-development-contract of the 200/300 crores was awarded to the K.Pro….. before its birth or in other words Rs. 200-300 crores gave birth to a firm: K. Pro….. Dwarika, Delhi.

This extraordinary act of the Ibobi Singh Government has led most people, including this writer to believe that the Loktak Phumdi-clearance firm, the K.Pro… is related to the CM. This has led the BJP to look into the matter and ultimately petitioned the President to order an enquiry into the Phumdi business, et al

While defending his government’s awarding of the contract, the CM has claimed that the work of K-Pro….. is done under the strict supervision of the Planning Commission, of which the Prime Minister is the Chairman. Now, the statement of Shri Ibobi Singh has complicated the issue that has all the moorings to blow up into another major scandal like the 2G-Spectrum—though Rs 200-300 crores may be peanuts to the Centre; because the CM’s statement has implied that not only he himself, but the PM and the Dy Chairman of the Planning Commission are also in the know of the entire scheme of the K-Pro……. This is a serious attempt to involve the Planning Commission to cover up its act. And therefore the people of Manipur deserve a clarification in this regard from the PM who had said in the Parliament that he would do everything to clean his “public life”. Or should the Opposition in Manipur Assembly demand a JPC for the Phumdi?

It is also widely reported in the local media that men and machinery of the LDA—Loktak Development Authority—are being used for the work of K-Pro…. or has K-Pro…….. subcontracted its job to the LDA?

Now, this has raised the question: Why doesn’t the Ibobi Singh Government give the money to LDA and make it work, instead of K-Pro… which has no machinery, nor expertise, nor experience for itself? Had the LDA been given the job—which the Government can do without any problem—it would have developed into a Navratna of the State.

The LDA with its knowledge of Loktak and Phumdi—which has no parallel in the world—and its machinery is anytime better than a ghost-firm. One may also remember that the Loktak people of Thanga, Karang, Moirang, etc know all the tricks to grow or remove the Phumdi. And with the liberal central funds, the LDA would have no problem to accomplish the job by associating and employing the Loktak people—the idea of inclusive growth—who are now on the warpath because of their being excluded from the Phumdi-cum-development work by the wise policy of the Ibobi Singh Government and the K-Pro……. Employing the Loktak people, to remind a simple idea, would have brought a happy ending to their protest because that would give them a better life. The whole Phumdi episode is a poorly enacted drama, base in taste and low in quality.

And as for the noble thought of the CM to dissolve the Assembly, there is an interesting twist in the story—and a believable one too—that the stars of Ibobi Singh tell him to face the election before the end of 2011; no wonder, for a CM who would adorn himself with striking shades of color at different time, even saffronising himself as his stars reportedly tell him to. But and the big but is, for this beleaguered land who will see the stars? Hope some honorable members would do that during the ensuing Assembly budget session!

*The article is written by Heigrujam Nabashyam

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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