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Plebiscite issue can be part of dialogue: CM
Source: Hueiyen News Service

Imphal, March 16 2011: Government assumes the demand of a plebiscite, initiated by an insurgent outfit, to be a sign of a wish to return to peace.

But there are certain obligations on the part of the Central and the state government before agreeing to the proposal, CM O Ibobi Singh said today in the House of the state Assembly.

The CM was replying to observations made by opposition members during the general discussion on the budget estimate.

He said that taking a decision on the plebiscite proposal cannot be done lightly.

The proposal applies conditions like conducting the plebiscite under the UN and deposition of arms with the UN.

However, if once the negotiations begins and the proposal is put up as an agenda for talks, then, the Centre may consider it, he asserted.

Earlier, initiating the discussion, opposition leader Radhabinod Koijam observed that agreeing or not agreeing is another thing but the plebiscite proposal is a democratic step of the outfit struggling with arm to achieve their ends.

The time has come for the government to take up steps for a lasting solution to the armed conflict, he said.

Stating that the fasting stir of Sharmila has completed 10 years, Radhabinod observed that it is high time for the government to create an atmosphere so that AFSPA can be withdrawn.

In the budget, government has not mentioned any plans to solve issues before the state but it has focussed only on collection of taxes to achieve the target set by the Planning Commission which was ' 200 crore during the fiscal year 2011-12.Without solving the various issues before the people, it is hard to believe of being capable to collect ' 150 crore, he added.

Morung Mokunga, taking part in the discussion, observed that being involved in politics in Manipur is like stepping on thorns.

The law and order is so bad and the government it seems is taking no step to start a dialogue with the Kuki based UGs which are under SoO agreement.

It would be a right step for the government to initiate talks with these UGs, signatories of the SoO, so that problems can be solved before things get worse.

It will be better for the government to find out what their demands are like at the earliest, he suggested.

Even though, UGs under SoO are banned from doing so they are still engaged in the collection of "tax" from the people, taking percentage from the development projects and kidnapping of people for ransom, he alleged.

While alleging the violation of ground rules by the UGs, he pointed out a recent incident of snatching away of the key of a bull-dozer being utilised in road improvement work in Tengnoupal area of Chandel district on the alleged charge of not paying ' 1 lakh as demanded by a group under SoO.

There was also an instance of imposing a ban on construction of a road in Ukhrul district under PMGSY programme for not meeting their demand of ' 1 crore by an UG group under SoO, he said.

The independent MLA drew the attention of the government to the ongoing peace talks between the NSCN(IM) and Government of India and said that for a lasting peace in the region, there is the need for an agreeable solution.

State government should press the Centre to look into a solution which would not hurt the interests of Manipur, the MLA insisted.

In reply to the observation, CM said that government is leaving no stone unturned in the effort to bring peace in the state.

Government has succeeded in moving 18 UG groups under the two umbrella organisations, UPF and KNO into ten designated camps till date, he said.

A joint monitoring group, chaired by the state home commissioner, reviews the arrangement and takes up cases of reported violations of the agreed ground rules, he said adding that stern action will be taken against those UGs who violate the ground rules.

Hoping for an early solution to the NSCN(IM)-GoI peace talks, Ibobi said adding that government supports any peace initiatives taken up in the region.

O Ibobi asserted, "We hope the peace talk will end with an agreeable solution" .


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