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Ibobi Snubs Boycott Call, Blends Politics With Oranges

TAMENGLONG, Dec 12: A large number of people turned out today to participate in the Orange Festival in Tamenglong district headquarters inspite of the bandh called by the Naga Youth Front.

The Chief Minister, members of the Council of Ministers and MLAs also participated in the festival without any impediment from any quarters though the United Naga Council (UNC) had urged the people to prevent the Chief Minister, Ministers and MLAs from participating in the Orange Festival.

Chief Minister, O Ibobi Singh, his better half Landhoni Devi, who is also an MLA, IFCD Minister N Biren, Power Minister Phungzathang Tonsing, Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee president Gaikhangam, MLA Awangbow Newmei and MLA Khangthuanang Panmei graced the Orange Festival, 2010 on Sunday at Tamenglong district headquarters.

The Chief Minister has promised to grant Rs 10 lakhs to the organizing committee from the Government side next year for arranging the Orange Festival.

Addressing the huge gathering, amid the air of festivities and the long Winter break, the Chief Minister said that the State Government has been leaving no stone unturned to uplift the condition of Tamenglong district on all fronts.

Admitting that Tamenglong is still lagging behind others in terms of educational infrastructure, transport system and health care, the Chief Minister assured that this will be a thing of the past soon.

For good measures, Ibobi added that the shortfalls will soon become history and the district will witness immense development in these fronts. The Chief Minister also said that decentralization of powers to the local bodies is his Government’s priority and added that the ADCs have been revived with the primary objective of decentralizing power and authority to the grass root level.

To improve and upgrade the 146 Kms long road connecting Imphal and Tamenglong a sum of Rs 64 crores has already been sanctioned. Moreover a sum of Rs 86 crores has been sanctioned to upgrade and improve the IT road from Kangpokpi to Tamenglong.

This is not all; a sum of Rs 17 crores has also been sanctioned for the Kaiphundai-Tousem road.

On NH-53, the Chief Minister said that experts have identified the need to develop Bhalok road near Noney. Taking this route will cut down the road distance of NH-53 by 104 kms, added Ibobi.

For the road to become operational, a bridge will be constructed over the Irang River and for this Rs 10 crores have been set aside.

Exuding confidence that shortage of doctors in Manipur will become a thing of the past, the Chief Minister said that the MPSC has already selected 400 doctors to serve the people.

Out of the 400 newly appointed or recommended doctors at least 15 to 20 doctors will be posted at the Tamenglong District hospital, said the Chief Minister.

Against the backdrop of the call to boycott the Chief Minister and his men at the Orange Festival in line with the decision adopted at the Senapati meet on July 1 this year by the Naga People’s Convention, the Chief Minister made his stand clear and categorically stated that not an inch of Manipur will be given to anyone

Meanwhile, O Ibobi Singh said that Rs 3 lakhs will be given to  the winner of orange competition from next year onwards while Rs 2 lakhs for the second holder and Rs 1 lakh for the third place of the competition.

As of this year, Rs 1 lakh was being given to the winner, Dihimiang of Khongjarol, while Rs 75 thousand went to the second position holder Kahupao of Diulon and Rs 50,000 to the third place holder Aribon of Paikram.

The Chief Minister and his men attended the Orange festival despite the boycott call given by United Naga Council (UNC).

The UNC had urged the Zeliangrong people to prevent the Chief Minister of Manipur, his Council of Ministers and MLAs from participating in the Orange Festival to be held in Tamenglong district headquarters.

The UNC on that day said that as the Nagas had total severance of political ties with the government of Manipur with effect from July 1 demanding the intervention of the government of India for an ‘Alternative Arrangement’ for the Nagas in Manipur, “we no longer welcome the communal Manipur chief minister and his Council of Minister and MLAs in Naga areas of Manipur in any program.”

It can also be mentioned that while endorsing the stand of the United Naga Council (UNC) against the participation of the state chief minister, council of ministers and MLAs in the State Level Orange Festival in Tamenglong headquarters, the Naga Youth Front (NYF) had called a 48-hour Tamenglong district bandh starting from December 10 midnight.

Echoing the statement of the UNC, the Naga Youth Front said that it was upholding the July 1 Naga People Convention (NPC) of Senapati that declared the severing of political ties with the state government of Manipur.

*NNN/Staff Reporter

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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