IMPHAL December 19: Supporting the movement to have the Protected Area Permit, PAP, removed, sports minister Nongthonbam Biren flagged off a motor rally from Chingmeirong Khongnanag Ani Karak this morning.
The rally was organized by the Local Support Group Manipur to sensitize the public about the downside of the Act and to further collect signatures from the general public as part of the global online signature campaign initiated by the Manipuris of Canada.
The rally participants mainly consisted of the members of the support group and face-bookers of the state mainly based in Imphal area.
Wearing armbands ‘Remove PAP’ and similar bumper stickers in the light motor vehicles and two wheelers, the activists congregated at Chingmeirong before being flagged off by the sports minister.
The rally went from Khurai to Wangkhei, Checkon, Keisampat, Kwakeithel etc including many areas of Imphal East and West.
In between it stopped at 20 crowded places along the route to collect signatures.
Rk Shivachandra, the key person behind the campaign stated that more than a thousand signatures were collected today.
He further expressed gratitude that the campaign was met with positive responses from the public.
‘Even the tourism minister TN Haokip and sports minister N Biren have signed the petition, I am fully convinced that with such cooperation from the side of the legislators, PAP, will be removed from the state and tourism can flourish for the benefit of all’, he beamed.
Today’s campaign came as chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh and other officials of the state are scheduled to meet the Union home minister P. Chidambaram on December 21 to discuss issues among others the issue of PAP.
The sports minister N Biren before flagging off the rally stated that the chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh, chief secretary D. S. Poonia and DGP Yumnam Joykumar Singh are meeting the home minister on December 21 and the Chief Minister would raise the issue of PAP during the meeting.
‘This Act has created an alienation to the public of not only Manipur but the whole of northeast in general, we have been pressuring the Centre to remove the Act and I am hopeful that the plea of removal of the Act will definitely be considered by the Indian government, this signature campaign is the need of the hour and a good beginning for a good cause’, the minister said.
Chidamabaram during his recent visit to Manipur announced that the Centre would announce soon a decision on PAP.
Under the system foreigners require a special permit to enter Manipur.
It has also become a big harassment for Manipuris expats who stay abroad and get married to foreign nationals. The problems begin when the family cannot remain in the state for more than 16 days at a stretch.