IMPHAL, May 27 (DIPR) : Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh has drawn the attention of the Prime Minister for substantial enhancement of NEC and NLCPR budget and for providing flexible additional funds to the NE States, considering the bona-fide needs of the economically backward small States of the NE Region. Participating in the 65th Plenary Session of the North Eastern Council at Shillong today, CM O Ibobi stated that the NEC helps infrastructure development in the NE Region. However, due to limited availability of funds, desired level of infrastructure development could not take place in the eight member States. NEC identified core areas for regional planning of the NER based on Vision 2020 of NER. However, without enhancement of budget allocation of NEC it would be difficult to provide fund for these core areas.
He further said, “Adequate investment of Plan funds is also required to compensate earlier lack of fund flow to NER as Special Category States. One time package from NLCPR of 10% GBS may be provided to all NE States for completion of ongoing projects and for streamlining future fund flow of NEC/NLCPR funds to these States”. He also urged the Centre for equitable distribution of NEC funds and enhancement of allocation of fund for Manipur. He pointed out that percentage allocation for Manipur were still less than 6% and needs enhancement in the coming years to be at par with other States getting more than 6% of the total releases.
While supporting the NEC’s current proposal of sectoral head-wise allocation which gives more weightage to committed liabilities for completion of ongoing projects, the Manipur Chief Minister stressed the need for higher allocation in Power Sector and he requested the NEC to continue giving priority to complete ongoing projects and take up new projects in core thrust areas of NEC in consultation with the State Government. He also requested NEC to consider the priority list of projects in core thrust areas and release funds for ongoing schemes early.
Referring to the revised guidelines of NEC, the Chief Minister suggested to review the clause on transfer of land to State Government or leasing out of the same to the State Government for 50 years in case of infrastructural support to Private Institutes and Societies, at least for the ongoing projects. He said, “The current provision has delayed completion of ongoing schemes like construction of boys hostel, girls hostel of the RK Sanatombi Devi Vidyalaya at Jiribam, for which State Government has entered into an MoU without this provision”.
On Act East Policy and the role of North Eastern Council, Ibobi stated, “NEC can play the role of regional council of the NER envisaged in the NITI Aayog for planning and development in the region as a whole and can spearhead infrastructure as well as human resource development of the NER. Considering the strategic location of the North East States, NEC can pay a vital role in the ‘Act East Policy’ of the Government of India. Manipur having its locational advantage will be happy to do its bit as gateway to South East Asia and NEC may coordinate with the efforts of the State Governments of the region to actualise the Act East Policy”. On Youth Affairs and Sports, the Chief Minister said that in recognition of the laurels and potential talents of the State’s sportspersons and youth, the Central Government was setting up a Sports University in Manipur, one of its only kind in the country.
He stated, “We need to keep this momentum going and start the project. NEC could consider stepping in to create state-of-art facility in-campus playgrounds, stadia etc. where international and National level sports in the fields like archery, shooting, polo etc. can be organized. This could give a boost to the sports loving tradition in the States and reap benefits for the society”. The Chief Minister said that the rail line from Jiribam-Tupul-Imphal, a National project would not only bring about stability in the transport network of Manipur and mitigate hardship of travelling but would also reduce the cost of transportation of goods.
He appealed through the August house to the NF Railways for timely completion of the Jiribam-Tupul section by March 2017.
Land acquisition for phase-II, Tupul-Imphal having 27 Kms had already been initiated and desired land would be handed over to NF Railways after finalization. Referring to road connectivity, the State Chief Minister said that the National Highways and important State roads connecting State capitals with district headquarters and sub-division headquarters required widening and major improvements including construction of RCC bridges.
He sought the support of MoRTH, DoNER and NEC for the purpose. He said, “The second lifeline of Manipur, NH-37 (Imphal – Jiribam section), cannot be fully operational because of weak bridges at Barak, Makru and Irang. These projects may be expedited by NHIDCL. Along NH-39 (Imphal-Moreh section), the first lifeline of Manipur, construction of bridge at Lokchao has been pending for more than three years due to non –finalization of tender by MORTH. This may be expedited by MORTH. For better connectivity and durability of road, improvement of Imphal-Mao Section of NH-202 (NH-39), may be taken up as an externally aided project. We also need support for better inter village connectivity in the border areas of North East States and Manipur in particular.
PMGSY road is yet to cover all the strategically identified border villages. For socio-economic development and inclusive growth of poor in the remote hill areas, improvement of road connectivity, power and IT infrastructure are essential. Without infrastructure in place, value addition and marketing of the products and banking for entrepreneurs and livelihood activities will stand to suffer. We seek the support of the Government of India for higher investment in these sectors and provide a package for inter village road connectivity of border areas”.
On power sector, the Chief Minister appealed to Government of India to expedite the completion of power grid’s 400/132KV sub-station at Imphal and Sikkim to match with the commissioning of the State’s 400 KV sub-station at Thoubal supported by NLCPR. He further requested to expedite the proposed 400 KV link to Misa via New Kohima and New Mariani from Imphal at the earliest for better reliability of power supply system in Manipur, Nagaland and parts of Assam.
To meet the vision of 24×7 power for all, he urged the Ministry of Power, M/DoNER and NEC to provide sufficient funds for power sector to complete ongoing transmission & distribution projects in Manipur including establishment of State Load Dispatch Centre (SLDC ) in Manipur proposed under NLCPR for safe and secure intra-State as well as NER Grid management. On Communication and Information Technology, the Chief Minister stated that the advent of Digital India created a requirement for all Government offices to be connected to internet for providing online services to the citizens. The district HQs and block HQs were being connected to SWAN and Bharat Net. However connectivity of the Government offices was yet to be taken up. To address this requirement, a proposal had been included in the State priority list of NEC projects for the year 2016-17. The Government of Manipur also set-up an Information Technology (IT) Park at Mantripukhri, Imphal with a total floor space of about 20,000 sq ft . Approximately 120 IT professional are working in the IT Park.
The project aims to promote the IT Park for attracting reputed companies, firms, from outside the State. With the advent of the Act East Policy, the IT firms in Manipur are gearing up to expand and explore in Myanmar for opportunities. He urged the NEC and agencies concerned to support the State for improvement of IT communication in the State. On livelihood projects, the Chief Minister stated that the State Government had been advocating replication of the livelihood projects in other districts of Manipur, considering the performance of NERCORMP-II project funded by IFAD and NEC in Senapati and Ukhrul district of Manipur. He said, “We have high expectation from NERCORP-III projects implemented in Chandel and Churachandpur districts by NERCORM Society under NEC. We request for expansion of livelihood project to uncovered villages and district like Tamenglong and Jiribam of Imphal East of Manipur, presently not covered under NRLM”.