Something is seriously wrong or some people are deliberately playing a nasty game of spoilsport. It appears that there is incongruence between the State Government and the Government of India, particularly Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. Whereas the State Government has made it clear that it has handed over 336.93 acres of land to the Ministry for establishment of a national sports university at Yaithibi Loukon of Yatihibi Khunou, Thoubal district, the Ministry, citing objections to the land acquisition process, has been asking the State Government to either resolve the litigations concerning the land acquisition process by the first week of July or explore an alternative site. Now it is the first week of July. Have the litigations been disposed or should an alternative site be explored? Frankly, the State Government, at the first place, did not do a very commendable job by choosing Yaithibi Loukon for the sports university. As the name suggests, Yaithibi Loukon in Thoubal district is agricultural land, more precisely paddy land. Whereas the State was poised to take over substantial portion of the paddy fields for establishment of a national level sports university, people of the area were opposing the Government’s design tooth and nail. Yes tooth and nail and this was evident unmistakably during the violent confrontation between police and protesters at Sora on November 24, 2014. Again, it was this incumbent Government which enacted the Manipur Conservation of Paddy Land and Wetland Act 2014 with the primary objective of conserving paddy land and wetland in order to promote agricultural sector in the State. The Act defines paddy land as all types of land in the State where paddy is cultivated at least once in a year or suitable for paddy cultivation but uncultivated and left fallow, and includes its allied constructions like drainage, channels, ponds, canals, bunds and ridges. The contradiction or incongruence between the law and the law-makers is simply stark, striking and obnoxiously unpalatable when it came to the selection of site for the sports university.
Now the Government of India cannot play completely inculpable for the site recommended by the State Government for it was their own expert team who approved Yaithibi Loukon as the most suitable site. Now there is no longer protest agitation against land acquisition at the said site and it appears the State Government has somehow convinced the land owners. If we go by Chief Minister O Ibobi’s statement, there is only one litigation involving just 34 acres out of the total 336.93 acres acquired for the national sports university and “there is no question of unresolved matter regarding acquisition of land”. Then what is delaying construction work of the coveted national sports university? Ostensibly, a political game is being played between the Central Government and the State Government or precisely between BJP and Congress party in the name of the proposed university. If this is the case, the two political parties are committing a disastrous blunder. If their political game goes too long and too far, there will be no winner at the end, and it is the people of Manipur, particularly sports persons who stand to lose an invaluable asset. If the proposed national sports university is taken to any other state by any chance, people will certainly hold both the State Government and Central Government (sic Congress party and BJP) culpable. This will be a huge discredit to both the political parties and a big loss to the people. So our humble suggestion is, stop the blame game and start the construction work. And we would like to add, stop politicizing sports and for that matter the national sports university.