Joy grills govt on not dealing firmly with bandhs, blockades
Source: Hueiyen News Service

Imphal, July 08 2010: Opposition MLA O Joy of MPP today asked the House of Manipur Legislative Assembly the reason behind the state government's inability to deal firmly with the bandhs and blockades which have been banned by the Supreme Court observing that these kinds of agitations deprive the people of their fundamental rights.

The MPP MLA raised various questions insisting the home minister to disclose total numbers of bandhs and blockades that had imposed in the state during the last 15 year, from 1995 to till date, names of the organisations calling the strikes, the extend of damage and loss and the value during the period.

He also insisted to disclose the measures taken by the government to prevent such type of strike amount to violet the fundamental rights of the people in future.

Joy further observed that imposing bandh and blockade which hurt the fundamental rights, right to life, is illegal in the eye of law and Indian Constitution.

Supreme Court of India had also imposed ban on calling such types of strike in the country.

The ban is not only in Manipur but in the whole of the country but in the state, government is not able to prevent these types of strikes even though the same is calling invaded, he said observing the need for enforcing a separate law to deal with the strikes.

If there is an organisation, holding election is a must.

ANSAM imposed economic blockade on the highways more than two months against the holding of elections to ADCs in hill districts.

Government declared leaders of the blockade sponsored body as offenders.

But police could not effect to the arrest of the offenders.

Whether, the organisation has no executive bodies, why they are not arrested, what step has been taken up against the organisation, Joy asked to the Chief Minister who is also in-charge of home portfolio.

In reply to the question, Chief Minister, O Ibobi said that 628 bandhs and blockades was witnessed in the state during the last 15 years, from 1995 till June of the current year 2010, causing huge loss to the tune of Rs 2828 crore in the state exchequer.

As per estimates prepared by Department of Economic and Statistics, Rs 5 to 6 crore per day when a bandh is imposed in the state while the loss is Rs 2 to 3 crore per day due to National Highway blockade, the Chief Minister asserted adding that during the pass 15 year Manipur suffered a loss of Rs 2828 crore to Rs 3000 crore in its exchequer.

Bandhs and blockades were called by numerous organisations in the state.

They may be categorized as students' organisations, Joint Action Committee (JAC), political parties, trade unions, underground groups etc.

Their demands range from purely localized issues to political, religious, administrative, and other such matters, he added.

In the state, there are many organisations.

Those who are not studying in school and college also formed organisations in the name of students.

When called bandh and blockade government tried its best to prevent it by evoking Manipur Essential Service Maintenance Act, 1984, Ibobi said.

"Government evokes the Act whenever strikes are called.

During recent highway blockade the state government has obtained additional central forces through the MHA (Ministry of Home Affairs)," he said.

Government did not take blocking national highways in the state lightly.

A private member resolution is coming up in the house in the near future.

"Let us discuss the matter thoroughly when motion comes up," he said.