IMPHAL, November 8: Reacting strongly against the allegations made by BJP on the Indo-Myanmar border fencing dispute, Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh, today, not only termed the statement as misleading but a cheap publicity stunt to extract political mileage.
Speaking to media persons at his secretariat, Chief Minister clarified that the Ministry of Forest and Environment did not sanction or deposited any money to the state government as charged by the BJP.
It may be recalled that the BJP had recently contended that the Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh had openly cheated the public. Ibobi Singh who is also the chairman of the state Wildlife Advisory Board, allegedly gave clearance for utilising land for construction of border fencing inside the Yainganpokpi Lokchao Wildlife Sanctuary during the period 2006-2007. Of the total Rs 503.68 lakh compensated by the Ministry of Home Affairs, GOI for Compensatory Afforestation Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) formed by the Supreme Court of India, some portion of the compensation was deposited to the state Forest Department, charged the BJP.
The Chief Minister conceded having sent a proposal to the Ministry concerned for fencing the Indo-Myanmar border to curb the menace of drugs, arm smuggling and infiltration of banned militants but the fencing work is taken up by user agency (BRTF) under the MHA.
He claimed that 90 percent of the border fencing work in neighbouring state like Tripura had been completed and has successfully helped in checking illicit cross border activities. Taking into consideration the successful model of Tripura, the Ministry of Forest and Environment had given clearance for border fencing for 10 Km from Border Pillar 79-81 (altogether 9 BP). The final approval (clearance) was given by the Supreme Court after undergoing lengthy formal procedure as per the provision of the Forest and Conservation Act 1972, said the Chief Minister.
With the approval for forest clearance, afforestation for an area of 10 hac. inside Lokchao Yaingapokpi Wildlife Sanctuary was recommended.
Meanwhile, the Chief Minister also informed that the all political party meeting has unanimously approved a memorandum drafted for submitting to the PM, Home Minister, External Affairs Minister.
He disclosed that in the memorandum the parties cutting across their personal differences demanded the Central Government to conduct a joint survey of both Myanmar and India besides urging to halt all border fencing works unless a settlement is brought between the two nations.
The issue is the matter of state and national interest, said Ibobi adding that he termed the activities of some groups as unfortunate for projecting their issue for their personal gain.
The meeting was also attended by the Deputy Chief Minister, Gaikhangam, TMC MLA Dr I Ibohalbi; NCP MLA, L Ibomcha; Dr M Nara and N Mangi, both of CPI; Y Mani, president Manipur State Congress Party (MSCP) and party leader Devabrata; RK Anand-convenor of the All Political Party Drafting Committee; LJP MLA Karam Shyam; M Tombi president JD(U); W Kulabidhu JD(S); and Morung Makunga of NPF.
However, no representative of the BJP turned up during the conference.