Looking along community divide For administrative convenience

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Four major communities in Manipur. The Meitei, Naga, Kuki and Pangal. The population as per the 2011 Census is 28,55,794 and the geographical area of the State is 22,327 square kilometres. For 28,55,794 people stretched over an area of 22,327 square kilometres, Manipur has nine districts, Bishnupur, Chandel, Churachandpur, Imphal East, Imphal West, Senapati, Tamenglong, Thoubal and Ukhrul. On the other hand Nagaland with an area of 16,579 square kilometres and a population strength of 19,80,602 has 11 districts in Dimapur, Kiphire, Kohima, Longleng, Makokchung, Mon, Peren, Phek, Tuensang, Wokha and Zunheboto. Not exactly a comparison, but the comparative study has been drawn up to underline the point that while a neighbouring State with lesser geographical area, lesser population strength and with as many as 17 major tribes has 11 districts, a stringent voice of opposition has been raised to the long standing demand or proposal that Sadar Hills and Jiribam be upgraded to the status of districts here in Manipur. One particular reason why the voice of opposition has been raised is due to the propensity of the people to view everything along community lines. So while it is widely seen that it is the Kuki people who have been spearheading the demand that Sadar Hills be upgraded to the status of a district, it is the Meiteis of Jiribam who are seen as raising the banner of a district status for  the sub-division. And standing against this demand are the Naga people of Manipur.

Why is it that everything is read along community line is the question that should be raised by anyone with a modicum of conscience. Districts should be created for administrative convenience. For example, if the people living along Kasom Khullen side find it difficult to communicate with the district headquarters at Ukhrul, avenues may be studied to see if a separate arrangement, such as the possibility of creating a district for the people there may be studied. It is for this reason why Imphal was bifurcated into Imphal East and Imphal West districts some time back. District should not be created along ethnic division. It should be for administrative convenience and this is precisely the reason why Nagaland has 11 districts. Unfortunate it is, but this bare fact keeps slipping off the consciousness of certain set of people like water from the back of a duck. As things stand today, the State is already reeling under the twin economic blockade-one called by the UNC on the district demand issue and the other imposed by ATSUM on the reservation row in admission to MU and if the past is any indication, then there may be yet another round of blockade, this time called by those demanding that Sadar Hills be upgraded to the status of a district. This is not to forget the general strike called by the JDDC at Jiribam and clearly there seems to be no end in sight to the sufferings of the people.

Source : The Sangai Express

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