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President’s Statehood Order Goes Missing

IMPHAL, Dec 7: In one of the most outrageous case of messy management of files and records, the order issued by the President of India granting Statehood to Manipur in 1972 has gone missing.

State Government‘s efforts to locate the particular order in both National and State archives for reference about some land/boundary contentions proved futile.

On the other hand, it has been established that one major factor for overlapping of peripheral villages in more than one district is recognition of villages by Hills Department without consulting Revenue Department.

Following serious disputes about overlapping of 107 villages in more than one village as detected in the ongoing census exercise, the State Government convened a meeting with local MLAs in October.

The meeting decided to settle the disputes based on the presidential order issued at the time of granting statehood.

It is reported that the presidential order had detailed records on the number of districts and villages of Manipur prior to 1972.

Unable to locate the order in the Home Department, officials of the department personally went to the National and State archives looking for the presidential order but the same order could not be located, informed an official source.

Even though the Home Department has been employing remote sensing maps and cadastral maps of the Revenue Department to settle the issue of villages overlapping in more than one district, the department is making little headway thereby severely impeding the census exercise.

There are some villagers which were included in 2001 census and some others which were not included in the same census report. Again, there are some villages which were included in District Council constituencies and then brought under Gram Panchayats.

Moreover, some villagers are included in both District Council constituencies and Gram Panchayats.

Some other villages which are included in District Council constituencies are included in valley constituencies at the time of Assembly elections.

However, out of these 107 controversial villages, some records of 27 villages have been found and their position is likely to be settled soon.

With regard to the controversies surrounding the ambiguity about the position of these villages, the Hill Areas Committee has written to the State Government to settle the issue based on the presidential order of 1972.

One major factor for the current disputes and resultant impasse to the census exercise was the practice of Hills Department granting recognition to villages based on reports submitted by SDOs and DCs without consulting Revenue Department. Taking serious note of this impasse, the Home Department has issued stringent instructions to all relevant departments to take up necessary measures in order to avoid such controversies in future.

Informing that the second phase of the current census exercise would be carried out from February 9 to 28 next year, the official conveyed that biometric system would be used in the second phase. Notably, the first census report for India was collected in 1892.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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