Wungnaoshang sticks to his gun on the demand for Phungyar district

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Imphal, April 9(NNN): MLA of Phungyar assembly constituency Wungnaoshang Keishing has on Saturday expressed his deep astonishment at the directive issued by the United Naga Council (UNC) to withdraw the demand for the creation of Phungyar district.

Phungyar District Demand Committee, of which Wungnaoshang Keishing is the convener, has been demanding for the creation of Phungyar district by bifurcating Ukhrul district of Manipur. The Committee has even threatened to resort to drastic forms of agitation if the demand is not met by April 15 next.

The UNC has challenged the demand for creation of any new district at this juncture in Naga areas on the simple logic that `Naga people in the State of Manipur have severed all political ties with the government of Manipur demanding the intervention of the government of India for an Alternative Arrangement outside the government of Manipur.`

The first tripartite talks involving the government of India and Manipur with UNC got underway on December 3, 2010 at Senapati district amid scathing opposition generally from the Meitei community of Manipur.

While UNC clearly views the demand for the creation of a new district as a setback to the demand for Alternative Arrangement for Nagas in Manipur, Wungnaoshang does not apparently see the connection between the two.

The UNC has termed the demand as `the handiwork of the adversaries to vitiate and derail the Alternative Arrangement process which is in progress peacefully and democratically.` He however chose to remain stoic against the UNC directive saying that `the threat from UNC will not have a bearing on his political career because he has with him the support of the people.`

For Wungnaoshang Keishing, the demand for the creation of Phungyar district has an underpinning of obligation towards the people of the backward assembly constituency. `It is the demand of the people of Phungyar assembly constituency. So as an elected representative of the people, I am only obliged to help in the fruition of their cherished demand,` he said.

In an attempt to justify the demand, he observed that Phungyar assembly constituency has been lagging behind on all development counts such as education, health, transportation, infrastructure etc. To reach Ukhrul district headquarters from Phungyar takes even a week sometimes (particularly because of the unavailability of motorable road infrastructure), not to forget places within Phungyar that are as far off as 200 km from the district headquarters which are even badly connected.

Many people from the area, including his own parents, have died without even seeing Ukhrul district headquarters, he rued reflectively.

The demand for the creation of Phungyar district is therefore the fallout of years of neglect and underdevelopment in the assembly constituency as development funds are waylaid at the district headquarters, said the MLA.

This is in sharp contrast to what the UNC had to say about the demand: `the Naga people represented by the UNC seriously view this political gimmick as totally unhealthy and hence urged the “so called Demand Committee” to immediately withdraw their representation submitted to the government in the interest of the people.`

Wungnaoshang was briefing the media after distributing materials to beneficiaries of his constituency under Integrated Watershed Development Project (IWDP).

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