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Has 2011 Brought A New Hope? Maybe!

At International level, it has set with hope that India would grow economically much stronger as a nation, self sufficient in fields like food, energy, space technology, and information technology. India has secured UNSC semi permanent seat. Foreign Policy moves are paying good dividends. India has earned favorable global respect & dignity. At national level India is beset to fight corruption and has commenced axing many political/bureaucrat heavy weights from top who had seemingly become indispensable otherwise for storing of party political strength. India’s rural & hill sectors have shown a broad shine with CGI sheets tops replacing age old grass/hay tops and villages come on connectivity lens under PMGY, PMSY, IAY and MGNREGA schemes. India has shown a remarkable grit in displaying its political will to take on any Internal Security challenge(s) posed by home terrorists like Maoists, Naxalites, Kashimiris or North Easterners, also any ISI-sponsored group or otherwise and religious bigots-cum -fundamentalists. Police all over the country have undergone drastic changes and above all judiciary is showing its full hammer strike with CBI and NIA sleuths absolutely going active and effective. Interpol operations against Indian insurgents are meeting absolute successes.

Manipur in particular and NE in general, too have come under considered glitter proportionately. Hill villages/towns which used to give camouflaged look merged with green/brown natural canvass, now catch view of observers from far up in the sky while in aircraft grass roofs replaced with CGI sheets. It gives an idea as if more and new villages have come up, may be all due to NREGA like project results Hills lack in towns not coming up in strength and volumes to match with national yardstick of reckoning of urban townships, so bulk of the urban mission developmental schemes which become due in Municipal areas are not getting sanctioned from Central pool and funds (CPA). Sanctions/allotments so received gets exhausted in Imphal, Thoubal, Moirang, Lilong places like only. This can happen conveniently if LRA and MLRA are extended to the Hills without disturbing Constitutional protections to the tribal’s rights over lands. Only correct interpretation is needed to be comprehended by tribals. Even if District Autonomous Councils get Panchayati Raj incorporated within the same administrative jurisdiction of its elected members, it may become flexible for Planning Commission to make fund allocation, to give a look of equidevelopment of all areas.

Year 2011 has brought in a spectacular change in the mindsets of valley based people, irrespective of communities/tribes, to go open for merry making. More than a thousand of cars, buses and medium sized vehicles   were seen occupying both sides of the Sekmai river with music, kanats, garden umbrellas and booze (who wanted) compared to last 15 to 20 years when people used to be apprehensive to go on such outings specially to Sekmai which used to be a meeting-cum-crossing place for UGs of all hues. This figure was seen on the opening day of Jan 2011. It was difficult to imagine Manipur as a dry State. A pretension only! In the town life, shops remain open at least up to 6:30 pm compared to shutters moving down lousily from 4 pm onwards and bazaar giving deserted look by 4:30 p.m. Traffic has gone mad, no space for parking vehicles in town and sound decibels of almost 76-78 dbls can now be felt even while in your bedrooms, whose houses are close to the main roads. If this graph keeps on moving upwards, it will surely create health hazards and people will suffer collectively. Imphal is witnessing modernity in aerodrome droning with sounds and night lighting facilities coming up, flyover functional, twinkling lights on road-side warning against hitting meridians, decorative   light show, Ima markets catching up occupation humming with life, Moirang market functional, Thoubal markets coming up in a big way. Civil Police and Commandoes smart turnout observed everywhere within Municipal areas and Capitol Project & High Court buildings cheering up sunken spirits. All a good show though at cost of sickening sight of subsidiary roads due to French Sewage Project in slow & snail progress. Other roads of public utility closed for years on affecting water supply too.

New Samtal (situated on Indo Myanmar border ) fully occupied by Military, Sajik Tampak blooming with life and developmental  projects, Chandel and Tipaimukh free from UG control and roads in the villages and inter village connectivity scheme have come up giving cheer up to  lifting of spirits. Road CCPur-Thanlon, CCPur- Singhat fully done up by BRTF and lateral road Thanlon-Senjol under cutting by BRTF and NH-53 with Railway Line project in progress are really dreamed probabilities coming true and assuming shape of future smiling Manipur. Hundreds of UG elements surrendering to GOC and IGAR (South) with DGP Manipur in active acknowledgment, speaks volumes about improved and safe environs created by the SFs, Civil police and strategic command. All the top leaders’ major UG groups are either in custody or on negotiating network. Even the NDFB anti-talks (opponent) group has agreed to come to negotiation table which augurs well for NE and the nation as a whole. UG leaders who had created safe heavens in cosmopolitan cities of India and abroad are no more safe, thanks to the improved foreign policy of India and recognized fact by all the administrations of States/UT’s to act in unison to thwart ugly designs of internal and home brewed enemies.

It can be safely surmised that ULFA citadels, crumbled down due to lack of vision in hindsight’s of the revolution they had started with i.e. revving up agitation of blocking Bangladeshi’s entry into Assam and latter   getting entrapped to fall under their protective arm of securing safe heavens that too getting netted into ISI/Bangladesh fundamentalists unknowingly as well helplessly. When a year back ‘the renowned intellectuals of Assam Sahitya Parishad held dialogue with them to know their proposed action (after liberation) on economy,  autonomy  and protection to all other ethnic groups presently within Assam, say Karbi, Bodos, Rabhas Cacharis, Dimasa’s and stand on Dimapur lands reverting to Cacharis—the UG leadership had no answer. They were forced to do rethinking on relationship with NSCN (IM)’s due to their belligerent approach to insist NC Hills areas for Nagalim. The second, major UG organization of Nagas (all factions) got entangled in their own web on Forum for Reunification of all groups plus not dropping their extra territorial claims on neighboring States, thus loosing sympathy waves. Prolonged negotiations in Delhi and abroad secured comparatively a negative gain. Ten years resulted in convincing Indian authorities to recognition that Naga issue was unique, factored into their history, and also for them to understand that Govt of India position was critical and appreciable for maintaining territorial oneness of the nation under Indian Constitution and now demand  getting centrifugal plus NAGA HOHO, the apex body of Naga going quiet and UNC insisting on a  separate political/administrative functioning i.e. neither with Nagaland nor with Manipur, emergence of Frontier Nagaland demand gaining momentum in Nagaland and Dimasas also emboldened now looking for Dimapur (their lost Kingdom capital) under reawakened demand of Dimaji State.

The third, UNLF getting embroiled ‘within’ by sticking to plebiscite alternative only knowing full well its outcome if held, as the events are speaking loudly in different tones around Valley up to the last mound of   the Hills. With this changed scenario, the Govt of Manipur & GoI need working new responses to new challenges for Manipur & its people rather for all the stake holders who wish to see Manipur to emerge as an egalitarian State and a strong bridge between India and Pan South East Asian Pathways under Look East Policy. In between B’desh-NE & Myanmar it has to re-investigate the frozen economic activity. The water resources which are the biggest assets available to Bangladesh and India needs to be used as life zone and self employment sources. 2011 is therefore calling Indian statesmanship at Delhi level:

• To internalize all blames on our systems. Neutralize bigot fundamentalists systematically and avoid passing buck for everything sloth to Pakistan. Muslims and Hindus must contribute for national peace, harmony and create interfaith space.

• Re-explore potentials of Chinese-Indian contribution to mutual uplifting of economies by commonalising communications-trade, seek water gas exploration and art-cultural exchanges and get out of the Chinese ‘haoo-ah’ created by various analysts and so called experts and retired seniors who have never seen the IB from close angles. If both sides agree not to interfere 10 kms either side except at most unavoidable points, with mutual consent, the border problem will never be a bug and a matter of dissent as there is no other solution to adjust borders. This problem is realized by only those who are inhabitants there, who have no idea, what is the security risk around them. That is their natural living zone.

• Link & develop land-sea connectivity with Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand & China in best feasible manners with 100 feet multipurpose ring road along entire IB mutually consented, advantages are many, disadvantages NIL.

• Bangladesh creation was unavoidable as political necessity though strategists at that time (1947& 1971) never realized it would be economic partition too. People of Bengal—Bangladesh has common—heritage multiple that is religious philosophy, art and cultural. Even freedom struggle witnessed common sharing, if so then why today, any mutually effective developmental projects are viewed with suspicion? Take example of Tipaimukh Dam and establishing of new sea ports why politicize it?

• Let our all connectivity impacting NE & Manipur be in tapping water resources etc, duty free flow of trade to get through as normal and at a faster speed.

• Crackdown on corruption now in motion must be accelerated.

At Manipur level in particular

• Rehabilitate internally displaced tribesmen at their original places. 15000 Anals are crammed up in and around Chakpikrong (Chandel District) since 1992-94 due then Naga Kuki conflict.

• Kukis and Nagas be persuaded to return each other’s lands wherever grabbed like Joupi (Tamei), Tamenglong & Makhan (Motbung) area & other places well known to the Govt. They are also 1992-1994 conflict results.

• With peace all round, UNC and KNO with respective elected leaders & church leader must sit together and declare forgive and forget the past bitterness once for all and then Kukis be asked to drop annual black day observance for healthy growth of society. The veteran politician & living legendary figure Shri Rishang Keishing H’ble Member Rajya Sabha had done it for bringing peace between Paites & Kukis at Imphal by a feast hosted by him which worked well.

• Sort out traffic/transport jamboree. More than two lakh vehicles are creating social indiscipline, noise pollution with diesel pulling & gas horns creating health hazards. Like Delhi discard policy of vehicles (15 years life) be introduced if needed.

• Make civil administration department functional up to EAC level in situ. Old fashioned posting order at Chingai with HQ at Ukhrul/Imphal be done away with.

• Place one IRB Bn each with appropriate civil police & ED up to SDO/EAC level so that all other deptts can function there with safety & security. Local Committees from responsible citizens be formed to take care of their safe stay. Village chiefs & council members can play a good role.

• PHC/Subsidiary health centre must have doctors/ para medical staff with adequate medicines stocks and ambulances. In fine, the synergy level obtained between civil police/SFs and civil administration be enhanced further. Current achievements are possible only because of safe security environments so created by this trio. For no human rights violation in last one year all the concerned & involved agencies deserve congratulations.

*The article is written by RS Jassal.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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*The Sangai Express- Largest Circulated News Paper In Manipur
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