IMPHAL July7: As a part of Action/2015 July campaign, various civil society groups in Manipur launched the Finance Our Future Campaign and People`™ Currency Campaign in Chandel and Ukhrul District.
The campaign is launched to put pressure to the government on taking a decision during the meeting of world governments in Addis Ababa from July 13 to discuss the finance of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), which will guide the development agenda of the world from 2015 to 2030.
Speaking to media during an interaction today, Babloo Loitongbam, one of the campaigners said it may be noted that the world has miserably failed to achieve the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDG), which was set for itself to be achieved by the year 2015.
One of the key reasons for this failure is the lack of accountability mechanism in the MDG. This time civil society across the world is mobilizing the public who are the primary stakeholders of development, he said.
The campaign is an inclusive process to collectively voice the peoples`™ concerns and demand the attention of the government to finance our rightful futuristic needs and resist the trend of investing solely for profit and GDP, he said.
He said on July 6, the civil society mobilization team visited the Chadong village of Ukhrul district which has recently hog the headlines as the village has started submerging inside the swelling water due to the construction of Mapithel Dam.
Village elders, village authority, women elders, pastors and activist from the surrounding villages participated in the campaign, he continued.
This is classic case of how investment for development destroys the life, livelihood, identity and culture of indigenous communities who have been inhabiting the region from the dawn of history, he pointed out.
He said, the mobilization team was shocked to see the total apathy of the government to the immediate needs of the villagers who are experiencing the gradual swelling up of the water level.
Presently Chadong village is completely cut off as the connecting road is submerged inside the water, he said.
The only boat that ferry goods and people to the village is a boat donated by an NGO.
Babloo describing the situation said the narrow footpath cut out from the hills by the villagers and the two temporary bamboo bridge can be positively dangerous in the incessant rain.
A pregnant woman from Chadong was escorted out by some good Samaritans in a dire situation, he said.
The villagers, informed the visiting team, that they will move out of the village with dignity only after signing a proper contract that recognize and retain their onwnership rights over their resources with the government and not by accepting some money dolled out to them.
The Government has deputed security forces to ensure that the affected people are tamed and yet this people are not provided with means to ferry their provisions and depends on the only boat meant for the villagers, he observed.
The security forces have openly occupied the High school building of the Chadong village in total violation of the Supreme Court ruling which prohibits such practices, he continued.
Such militarization is unfortunate on behalf of the State which continues to defiles a citizens dissent spaces, he said.
The situation is pathetic and ought to be reflected in the ongoing assembly in a more democratic people friendly approach, he said and also urgently appeals on behalf of the villagers to the conscious citizens to donate some boats for the villagers.
Earlier the civil society mobilization team visited Chandonpokpi village and Pallel town of Chandel district in the Indo Myanmar border on July 5.
With the help of village authority and NGO leaders the mobilization continued till July 6 where more than a hundred people joined the People`™s Currency Campaign by posing to click photos in the people`™s currency, he said.
He announced that the campaign will continue in all the districts of Manipur and the signatures will be sent to the Union Finance Minster, with a request that he should personally attend the Addis Ababa meeting in Ethiopia. `The matter is especially relevant in the case of Manipur as the Central Government stripped the State from the Special Category Status, which will deprive the citizens of the State from various centrally sponsored developmental programs`™ he remarked.