(MIC): Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh said that ensuring security of convoys carrying essential commodities along the two National Highway in Manipur had been of deep concern to the people of Manipur in view of its vulnerability to disturbance from armed militants. He drew the attention of the Ministry of Home Affairs to consider for a National Highway Patrolling scheme during the 12th Plan on fast track basis and viable long-term solution.
Participating at the Conference of Chief Ministers on Internal Security at Vigyan Bhawan, Maulana Azad Road here today, the Manipur Chief Minister in his speech, urged the Union Government to advice the Border Road Organisation to stick to the timeline of December 2013 for completing upgradation of National Highway 53 which connected Silcher in Assam to Imphal. He said that the National Highway 53 together with the Imphal to Moreh Sector of National Highway 39 was the backbone of the proposed Trans-Asian Highway. He also emphasized the need for improvement of the telecom connectivity along NH-53 for effective security of the convoys.
Manipur Chief Minister expressed his gratitude to the Union Home Minister for deploying a CRPF Bn for dedicated security to the Railways in the construction of Jiribam-Imphal Railway line. He urged the Centre for examine the feasibility of extending the railway line to border town of Moreh during Phase-III of the project, which would be the backbone of the Trans-Asian Highway.
He stated that the construction of the Rail Fed Oil Depot at Imphal by the Indian Oil Corporation was another key priority project to augment storage capacity of POL products in Manipur. He drew the attention the Union Government for completion of the Depot within the next two years and also for enhancing the LPG bottling capacity at the IOC’s LPG bottling plant at Sekmai from 600 MT to 2400 MT during the 12th Plan.
He stated that good infrastructure was an essential pre-requisite for the economic development the region. An improvement milestone in the direction was the operationalisation of night landing facility at the Imphal Airport. The State Government acquired 640 acres of land for upgradation the Imphal Airport to international standards. He drew the attention the Union Government to accord priority to the project under the Look East Policy.
The Chief Minister urged the Ministry of Home Affairs to sanction four Indian Reserved Battalions for protection of the 1500 MW Tipaimukh Hydro-Power Project to be executed by a joint venture company constituted by the NHPC, Sutlej Jal Vikas Nigam Ltd and the Government of Manipur and the 66 MW Loktak Downstream Hydro Electricity Project being taken up as a joint venture between NHPC Ltd and Government of Manipur
Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh also requested the Union Government to assist the State Government in obtaining assistance of the Japan International Co-operation Agency for the Project of Augmentation of Water for Imphal City with raw water from the Thoubal Multi Purpose Project.
Manipur Chief Minister reported that the State Government was taking steps to implement the Crime and Criminal Tracing Network and System Project in Manipur which would cover 101 police stations and 153 higher offices.
He also reported that the State Government successfully controlled ever the militant activities of the numerous Kuki Tribal Militant Groups by entering into a Tripartite Agreement for the Suspension of Operations over the last three years. To carry forward the momentum, two more militant groups namely UTLA and KRA were also included within the fold of the Tripartite Agreement on March 24 this year.
Although the larger valley-based militant groups had so far not responded to the State Government’s offer for a dialogue, the State Government signed a Tripartite Agreement with one smaller militant group namely the KCP(MC)-Lallumba faction in August 2010. The cadres were in the process of rehabilitation with assistance of the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Army and the Assam Rifles. He suggested the Union Government for consideration o absorbing the former militants in the CPOs by relaxing the recruitment norms.
Manipur Chief Minister also urged the Centre for establishment of a fully equipped and staffed Police Station in Khoupum in Tamenglong district to check the movement of the militants.
The Chief Minister also highlighted the importance of effective surveillance above the Indo-Myanmar border and expressed his happiness to learn that the Ministry of Home Affairs finalised to construct 4585 kms of roads, 113 helipads and 2 helibases along the Indo-Myanmar border. He said that the State Government endorsed the MHA’s proposal to deploy BSF as the dedicated Border Guarding Force for the Indo-Myanmar border. It would ensure effective surveillance along the sensitive and porous Indo-Myanmar border which was, at present, at the core of illegal arms and drugs smuggling and the unchecked trans-border movements of militants who were a threat to the internal security. He stressed the need for taking the core issue with clear foresight and in a sustained manner.
The Chief Minister also drew the attention of the MHA for accelerating the border fencing works and also settling the unsettled boundary pillars in Manipur Sector with Myanmar at appropriate level.
Manipur Home Minister Gaikhangam, Chief Secretary D.S.Poonia and Director General of Police Ratnakar Bral also attended the conference.
Inaugurating the Conference, the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh stated that the situation in some of North-Eastern states had, however, remained complex. There was some improvement in terms of incidents of violence, but there was no question that much remained to be done to restore calm and eliminate extortion, kidnapping and other crimes by militant or extremist groups on the pretext of ethnic identity. The pilferage of development funds by militant groups was hurting the efforts of the government to improve the lives of the people of the region.
The Ptrime Minister emphasized the need for strengthening the law and order capabilities of the states concerned and in reasserting and rebuilding normal democratic political and developmental processes. More proactive state police forces reducing reliance on central armed police forces would be a useful step forward. The Centre would continue to work with the states of the region to make this possible. He hoped that the implementation of infrastructure projects in the North-East would create conditions for the return of normalcy.
He was very happy that political processes of negotiation and dialogue were underway with several insurgent and ethnic separatist groups in the North-East that were committed to finding amicable solutions to their problems. These dialogues, which were being undertaken by the Ministry of Home Affairs in close consultation with the states concerned, were making steady headway.
The Centre would continue its support to capacity building and police modernisation efforts by the States. State governments were the primary responders in most internal security situations. He urged the States and Ministry of Home Affairs to carry forward police reform and modernisation to their logical conclusion.