House Committee constituted to inquire IMC plot allotment scam
4 officials axed for allotting plots on the sly

Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, August 07: Obviously not satisfied with the belated action of canceling the allotment order of 176 shopping plots allotted on the sly on the first floor of New Market, which is yet to be constructed, Chief Minister O Ibobi today demanded to know why the cancellation order of the same was issued only yesterday, while in fact the allotment order was issued on May 17 this year.

Following the outbursts of the Chief Minister and the subsequent constitution of a House Committee to probe the matter, the State Government today issued orders placing the Chief Town Planner H Dilipkumar and the then Deputy Secretary of MAHUD Lalbanga Hangsing under suspension.

The interim Chairperson of the IMC, Ch Joykumar also issued an order late this evening ordering the suspension of the Executive Officer of the Council S Noren and Deputy Executive L Mohendro.

IMC's Health Officer K Arunkanta will function as the Executive Officer until further orders.

Reacting to charges raised by MLA I Hemochandra and in an unprecedented move, the Chief Minister said that the allotment order was issued on May 17 and if the report was not received at the office of the MAHUD Minister then the official concerned should be immediately suspended and the Councillors involved in the shady deal should be disqualified.

To take get to the bottom of the matter, the Chief Minister suggested that the matter be either handed over to a House Committee or to an independent agency.

Kick starting the bomb shell, Singjamei MLA I Hemochandra informed the House today that 176 shopping plots have been allotted to some private parties on the sly by the MAHUD Department.

The MLA took pains to explain to the members of the House that the allotment was effected before the construction of the first floor of New Market has even begun.

Switching to a higher gear, the former MAHUD Minister said that sly allotment of the shopping plots is one of the main factors for the stringent opposition launched by the women folk against the proposal to construct a new market complex at Nupi Keithel, New Market and Laxmi Bazar.

The allotment of the plots has proven that the cry and contention of the Government that the salient features of Khwairamband bazar would not be defaced is a big lie, he charged.

Coming clean on the whole murky deals of allotting shopping plots by the IMC during the last few years, MAHUD Minister L Nandakumar informed the House that the 176 shopping plots of New Market was allotted in three phases by the IMC following two resolutions adopted by the civic body.

Nandakumar informed the House that on June 12, 2000, the then IMC Chairman, Moirangjao Kabui allotted the shopping plots to 46 persons who were all members of an organization named Imphal City Development Committee.

The Minister explained that during that time, the MAHUD Minister was the then MLA of Sagolband AC, Paonam Achou.

Five of the 46 members were all close relatives of Paonam Achou; he said adding that the rest were all active workers of the former MLA.

In March 2001, another 24 shopping plots were allotted to some private parties while Phurailatpam Guneshore was the Chairman of the IMC, further said the Minister.

The again on May 17 this year 106 shopping plots were allotted while Brajakishore was the then Chairman.

Mention may be made here that Paonam Achou was with the FPM when he was the MAHUD Minister while Moirangjao Kabui and Brajakishore were all Congressmen.

Ph Guneshore was a BJP Councillor.

Nandakumar explained that the last allotment effected on May 17 this year was done so without the consent of the Government.

He said that the matter reached the Government following a report published in a newspaper on August 4.Following this, the Government acted and all the allotment orders were cancelled.

The resolutions adopted by the IMC under which the allotment orders were issued have also been declared null and void, he added.

There are no irregularities of in the proposed market complex at Nupi Keithel, the Minister further explained.

It may be recalled that women vendors had raised a protest yesterday to protest the plot allotment on the sly and as the agitated women tried to storm the IMC office, the police swung into action and had to resort to lathi charge and fire tear gas to bring the situation under control.

One woman, Ashangbi was injured in the police action.

The explanation of the MAHUD Minister however did not satisfy the Chief minister who stood up immediately and questioned whether the last phase allotment which was made on May 17 reached the office of the MAHUD Minister or not.

Ibobi said that the Deputy Secretary of MAHUD and other officials all knew about the allotment order and demanded to know why action was taken up only yesterday.

If there is any shady dealings on the part of any officers, then they should be immediately suspended, he said and added that Councillors involved in the shady deal should also be disqualified.

Taking a serious view of the matter, the Chief Minister suggested that the matter should either be handed over to an independent body or a House Committee should be formed to probe the matter thoroughly to fix responsibilities.

He also said that the matter should not be clouded by party interest.

Concurring with the stand of the Chief Minister, Opposition leader RK Dorendra chipped in and said that the matter should be above party considerations and action taken accordingly.

He also suggested the setting up of a House Committee to probe the matter.

Speaker TN Haokip agreed to the suggestion of setting up a House Committee and a five member Committee with MAHUD Minister L Nandakumar was named.

The other members of the Committee are, FCS Minister Ph Parijat, Works Minister Gaikhangam, MLA I Hemochandra and MLA Meinam Bhorot.