House passes Governor's address
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, July 08: Even as the Treasury and Opposition bench held different views on the Governorís address to the Assembly, the House unanimously passed the address following withdrawal of the amendment motion moved by the Opposition DPA.

Mention may be made that a hot debate ensued yesterday and dragged on till today on Governor Ved Prakash Marwah's address to the Assembly on March 11.Clarifying on the Opposition charges, Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh asserted that if feasible situation prevails and positive gestures from the underground organization/s operating in Manipur for peaceful negotiations are forthcoming there is no constitutional constraint on the part of the State Government to declare a ceasefire.

On proposed withdrawal of Armed Forces (Special Power Act) 1958, demanded by Irom Chanu Sharmila the CM iterated that the Prime Minister and Union Home Minister have advised for necessary/minute assessment of prevailing situation when they were apprised on the possibility of lifting the Act on trial basis from some pockets of Imphal East district.

If and when the insurgent outfits give a positive response for talks lifting of AFSPA and declaration of ceasefire can be announced, he maintained.

The demand for additional Central forces does not mean that the State Government is encouraging human rights violation, said the Chief Minister adding more forces are needed to man the porous border to check infiltration and drug trafficking.

Stating that efforts are on to recruit those who have surrendered youths in the Home Department, the Chief Minister further said that seats have been kept reserved at the department to provide employment to meritorious sportspersons.

Reiterating that the present financial problem faced by Manipur Government is a not a new phenomenon, he said that the overdraft of Rs 50-60 crore during 1995-96 shot up to a whooping Rs 557 crore between 1996-97 to 2001.Refuting the Opposition charges that the State has been surviving on Ways and Means allocation from the Central Govt, Ibobi, who also holds the Finance portfolio, said other Indian States are also seeking similar financial assistance from the Government of India.

Stating that the annual plan size should not be finalized based on respective State resources, Ibobi added that he himself had expressed the same sentiment during the National Development Council meeting.

Striking a defiant note, the Chief Minister continued that in case demands for forwarding soft loan amount, public debt of around Rs one crore, gap of non-plan expenditures and funds for infrastructure development, to be calculated in consultation with finance experts, are not complied with by the 12th Finance Commission all outstanding loan amount of the State will not be repaid.

He also clarified that neither the MoU contents have been violated nor has the services of adhoc/contract employees been extended.

Even though the 2001 census report was not published during the SPF tenure, steps for necessary rectification of flaws, if any, is being initiated, he said.

Remarking that process are underway for financial assistance from abroad to develop Loktak Lake, he said Planning Commission has earmarked Rs 15 crore for chalking out project report of the Lake development plan.

Besides NEC sanctioning Rs 39 crore for the Loktak development, State Govt is stressing on cutting and release of phumdis from the Lake, he maintained.

On certain allegations, Ibobi refuted that neither has funding under the PMGSY scheme been misused nor has the Union Minister of State (Home) ID Swami released Rs 400 crore for police modernization.

While applauding the Governor's address Art and Culture Minister Dr M Nara highlighted that SPF Government is facing an uphill task of governance with an empty money bag at hand.