Ibobi Worried Over Myanmar Border

GUWAHATI, Feb 2: Manipur chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh on Tuesday said the porous Indo-Myanmarese border remained a serious concern as most arms and ammunition were smuggled by militant groups across this frontier.

Addressing the conference of Chief Ministers on Internal Security at New Delhi, Okram pressed for reviewing the existing border-guarding arrangements by deploying a dedicated force to provide effective surveillance along the border by setting up border out posts.

He lauded the home ministry for sanctioning one counter-insurgency and anti-terrorism school in Manipur. Suitable land had been identified at Jiribam and the director of Manipur Police Training School designated as the nodal officer, he added.

“A dedicated Loktak Protection Force has been raised for flushing out insurgents from the Loktak Lake. Three hovercrafts will be deployed within six months,” he said. He said the law and order situation in Manipur had shown signs of improvement.

The number of civilians killed and injured came down from 92 and 117 in 2007 to 20 and 53 respectively in 2010. On the other hand, the number of extremists arrested increased marginally from 1,296 to 1,397 and NSA detentions from 145 to 230.

Okram said there was an increasing realization among the public about the activities of miscreants and their antecedents. “Sit-in protests were promptly organized against militant organizations that kidnapped, killed or demanded money,” he added.

In the past six months, Okram said, the government had a major achievement in ensuring that the 18 Kuki Militant groups moved into their 10 designated camps. As of today, 1493 cadres and 709 arms were lodged in these camps.

He also informed that in August 2010, an agreement was signed with one valley based rebel group that agreed to lay down arms and abjure violence.

He said the state government has taken steps for implementation of the Crime and criminal Tracking System. The CM said Manipur had increased police manpower significantly during the last two years. Through a concerted recruitment process, the strength increased from 15,414 in January 2008 to 24,618 by January 2011.

He drew the attention of the Centre for providing a special financial package to sustain the momentum of strengthening the state police.

He further renewed the State Governments request to the home ministry for sanction of two additional Indian Reserve Battalions for protection of National Highway-39 and Loktak Downstream Hydro Project.

He said the National Highway-53, another lifeline of Manipur needed to be made motorable all year round to relieve public hardship due to economic blockade in National Highway-39.

He thanked the Union Home Minister P Chidambaram for convening high level meeting in December last year to review work on NH-53. Okram told the conference that Border Road Organization has assured to complete the repairs of NH 53 by February so as to withstand the monsoons. He urged the home ministry to monitor the maintenance of the highway closely.

*Reported by Oinam Sunil.

(Courtesy: TNN)

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