Understanding the dignity of labour Time to stop creating the vacuum

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It should be obvious to all. Despite the sharp vigil maintained by voluntary organisations and the Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System (JCILPS) at Sekmai along National Highway-2, non-locals continue to arrive at the State to pursue a living. This can easily be gauged from the number of such non-locals who have been detected and handed over to the police for not possessing necessary documents during the inspection drive conducted in the last few days. And there is a reason why the need to stop the large scale influx is being felt. Given the small population of the land, the apprehension that the local people may be swamped by non-locals is real. It is this  which should be accepted and given that the State Government passed three Bills to regulate the entry of non-local people on August 31 last year it should be clear that the Government too shares the concern of the JCILPS and the people. However not much thought seems to have been given on why Manipur continues to attract so many non-local people. A point which has been raised numerous times in this column. Yes some sort of a Constitutional safeguard is needed to protect the indigenous people of the land, but yet at the same time it becomes imperative to question why Manipur is the destiny for so many non-local people.
A place with a pleasant climate and a society which is not rigid or socially divided. This is Manipur and such a place is going to be an attractive destination to quite a large number of people where the climate is not at all conducive and society is sharply divided along caste lines and other parameters. Add the huge vacuum created by the local people and others are sure to rush in to fill the vacuum. And this is what has been happening in Manipur for decades. Not that people should aim to become labourers or engage in vocations such as hair cutting or mending shoes, but a look at the reality should tell the fact that while a large number of local youth idle away their time without doing anything worthwhile, it is the non-local people who find the means to earn a livelihood by becoming barbers, cobblers and labourers. It is this which should be noted. Take a look at any locality and one will see a large number of young people who do nothing the whole day and complain that there is nothing to do while non-local people who come from far survive here by engaging in all sorts of vocation. Yes there has been some improvement recently as local people have started taking up vocations such as hair cutting but this is not enough. The moot point is, the local people should ensure that no vacuum is created for others to rush in and fill up. This is where understanding the dignity of labour comes in.

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