By Alex Guite
LAMKA, April 6: Mani Charenamei, ex-MP and the lone independent candidate in the outer Manipur parliament constituency visited the border village of Behiang on Sunday.
He was visiting the site of the proposed trade centre, an initiative during his term in Parliament during the 14th Lok Sabha for the benefit of Churachandpur and the state at large, in Behiang village.
While visiting border pillar no. 41 and seeing the ground reality, he said that he was surprised at the stagnation in the development of the trade centre.
“People of Churachandpur should try their best to make the centre a reality and force the government to act. Leaving it alone to the borders village to act will be wrong. People in Churachandpur must unite to develop trade in the border villages forcing the government to act”, he said, adding that if there can be a booming border trade centre at Moreh why not at Churachandpur in Behiang.
Pointing out that Churachandpur have the potential and the means for a booming trade, he said that it was painful to see his work being nipped in the bud and added that he would soon made it work with the support of the people of Churachandpur whom he described as his well-wishers who would made no stone unturned to elect him in Parliament.
In an emotional meeting on the way to Behiang village, more than 25 prisoners in a Myanmar prison presented him with a gift.
Pasuam, a man who was languishing in a Myanmar jail in 2006, recalled his ordeal in the jail and said that he owed his life to the former MP.
The ex-MP said that he was glad that he had taken the decision to visit the place and witness for himself, adding that if elected he would know where to start and take up the issue in Parliament which was left as it is by the present representatives.
Having work for the release of Zou speaking prisoners at Myanmar during his term as MP, he was facilitated at many villages on the way, where many people were glad to see him as he is considered as their saviour from Myanmar prisons which was often described as a virtual grave for many prisoners.
On the side lines of the visit, he told IFP that unlike the declaration of the NCP observer of NE Narendra Verma, who said that their candidate was selected as he was a Kuki, he was not representing a community but the Kukis, Nagas, Mizos, Zomis etc who are all inhabitants of the hill districts.
On the question of chieftainship in the hills, he said that the chieftainship is central to tribal customs and traditions from time immemorial and have to protect this distinct identity.
On the question of the chief forum and their boycott of the Congress party, he said that it’s a good step to have their grievances heard in a democratic way by using their freedom of speech and protest as the government was evasive.
The ex-MP also said that irrespective of their support and view on his policies he would without malice work for Churachandpur and other districts in the Parliament so that development, peace and prosperity will be ushered in the hills.
He also said that whatever the government does in regard to the rights of the chief; like the introduction of VDA, they must take the chief into confidence and not act as they do now as it means a lot to the tribals.