'Extortions bleeding Moreh vehicles dry'
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, August 04: Each and every passenger bus plying on National Highway 39 (Imphal-Moreh) are annually paying a sum of Rs 30,000 to the various underground organizations to meet the various taxes imposed on them, stated-Keishamthong A/C MLA Ibomcha during question hour of today's Assembly Session.

Demanding the Govt to spell out the measures taken up to curb this increasing trend of extortions by various underground organizations on National Highway 39 (Imphal-Moreh), the MLA categorically stated that the State Govt has totally failed in putting a halt to this menace of extracting illegal taxes from the transporters.

He further informed that various militant groups like KNO, UKLF, GPRN etc together collect an annual sum of around Rs 20,000 from every Van, Sumo etc while for passenger buses the amount shoots up to Rs 30,000.Replying to the question raised, Chief Minister O Ibobi who also holds the Home portfolio informed the House that strict security measures have been taken up on the Imphal-Moreh Road by dividing the particular road stretch into two sectors and added that the road stretch between Pallel and Molnoi falls under sector I, while Lokchao to Moreh falls under sector II.

Assam Rifles, Manipur Police, Manipur Rifles and Indian Reserve Battalion (IRB) are presently in charge of this particular road stretch and a road Opening party is sent every day to clear the road, informed the Chief Minister.

He also maintained that only 14 extortion and kidnapping cases have occurred on this particular highway (Imphal-Moreh) in between Jan 1, 2000 and July 7, 2003.Replying to Langthabal A/ C's MLA O Joy, who questioned about the measures taken up by the Govt against a particular contractor who illegally took away 98 barrels of Bitumen and sold it.

Works Minister Gaikhangam informed the House that the particular contractor N Rohit Ranjan to whom 98 barrels of Bitumen were allotted by the Executive Engineer (EE), Highway South Division PWD has already been arrested and is under custody.

Singjamei PS has also registered a case against the contractor and investigations are being carried out.

Besides taking up all necessary actions against the contractor, the contractor would also be made to pay the value of all the stolen Bitumen either in cash or kind, added Works Minister Gaikhangam.

Answering to a query from Thanga A/C MLA S Ibohal, Minister Industries Th Devendra said that the State Govt has plans for starting an Industrial Growth Centre in the State but he however informed that the project could not be started due to some disputes over the Centre's site.

Out of the Rs 30 crores which would be needed to start the centre, Govt of India, Non Lapsable Central Pool of resources, Financial Institution and State Govt will be providing Rs 15 crores, Rs 11 crores, Rs 2 crores and Rs 2 crores respectively, added Devendra.

He further informed that a foundation stone laying ceremony of the Centre was held at Napet Palli Lamlai during the Chief Ministership of W Nipamacha and added that a sum of Rs 1.5 crores and Rs 1.76 crores have been released by the Central Govt and the State Govt respectively till date for the Centre.

Replying to a question raised by Wangkhei A/C MLA Y Erabot on the allotment of 1.11 acres of land at Telepati to the WAKF Board in 1993, Minister Revenue E Biramani said that he did not have any information or report about the decision taken by the Cabinet sub committee but added that he would take up all appropriate measures after a careful study of the reports of the Cabinet sub committee.

Minister Forest & Environment and Tourism C Doungel while answering to a query from Moirang A/C MLA S Gopal informed the House that 2763 tourists had visited the Sendra Tourist Home in 2002-03 resulting in an income of Rs 17,430.