Minding One`s Own Fences

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Has the state government been totally and coldly left out of the loop by the Centre while making the decisions on fencing works along the Indo-Myanmar border yet again? It has been almost two days since news reports quoting officials claimed that fencing work at certain section of the border with Myanmar is still being carried on as usual without any interruption. Following the intervention of Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, the Ministry of Home Affairs had directed the Border Road Organisation on December 5 to stop all works on border fencing until the matter is settled through bilateral talks between the two countries. If there was no foundation in the independent reports and the MHA’s orders had indeed been obeyed, one would have expected the local administration to make a swift rebuttal denying its authenticity and allay public fears. But as the needful had not happened, a sense of exasperation has overwhelmed the minds of the public from wanting to know what exactly is happening at the ground level and whether the words of the MHA are trustworthy.

Normally, it would be impolite to jump to conclusion and criticize the authority before giving it a fair opportunity for clarification or room for discretion in making its moves. But, the efficiency of the state government apparatus overlooking the border fencing issue has been highly questionable from the very beginning. First of all, when the public discontent began to gather storm, with all confidence Ibobi had trashed the reports of encroachment by our neighbor as totally baseless. The unraveling of facts compelled him to eat his own words. When there was no way out, Ibobi led a large political contingent to New Delhi to meet the Central leaders. The claim that the border fencing is contentious met the ratification of the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Home Affairs. Still, the state government has not shown the right amount of passion, expediency and determination that the people want to see on safeguarding the interest of Manipur. The all political party delegation had urged the Centre that the state be made part of the decision making process in matters related to border fencing in areas under the jurisdiction of Manipur. But, will it be counted as jumping the authority if we take care to maintain vigilance on the day to day activities at the disputed border areas? The government should issue a clarification on the status of the MHA directives at the earliest. Also, it will be very honorable on part of members of the House to spend some time for discussing the latest development on the border fencing row instead of dumping it with reckless haste.

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