TODAY -
State Devt report moots repeal of AFSPA, toe Reddy Commission report
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, October 31 2009: The Manipur State Development Report, prepared by the State Planning Commission has come out with a number of significant recommendations, which if implemented in letter and spirit could have far reaching impact.

The draft report prepared by the State Planning Commission was discussed with Chief Secretary DS Poonia in the chair today and attended by top ranking Government officials.

After going through the minutes of the draft report, the Chief Secretary instructed that if any Department wants certain changes or modifications in the report, then the same may be intimated to the Planning Department, said a source while speaking to The Sangai Express today.

The draft report, a copy of which is available with The Sangai Express deals with core areas for immediate intervention in order of priority and covers a whole range of subjects such as infrastructure development, food security, sustainable natural resource management, employment and social security, decentralisation and governance etc.

Under decentralisation and governance, the draft report has recommended the repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act as per the Justice Jeevan Reddy Commission recommendation.

The Jeevan Reddy Commission was instituted following the huge demand to repeal the Army Act following the custodial killing of Th Manorama in 2004 .

The formation of the Commission was announced by Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, when he visited the State in 2004 .

Other than this, the draft report also recommended extension of a more democratic and representative version of the Sixth Schedule to all the hill areas of Manipur.

The 6th Schedule has been a long pending demand of a number of tribal civil society organisations.

To give a boost to infrastructure and minimise room for incompetency, the draft report also suggested banning private contractors from constructing infrastructure.

It was also recommended that each village be provided one telecom tower, reduce restrictions on provision of cellular services in border areas to the extent feasible in order to promote communication through cellular services (a Home Ministry order) and extending and improving broadband services in all districts.

To improve road quality, monitoring the use of adulterated bitumen was also mooted.

On economic development, special emphasis was placed on the power sector, with the draft report suggesting that strategies to reduce cost be adopted.

This include reducing Transmission and Distribution losses and utilising capacity to its optimum level.

The report also suggested making the idle plants operational reactivating the non-functional plants as most of the capacity created in the State are lying idle and serve as mere standbys to the regional grid.

To avoid further cost and time over runs, the report also suggested providing adequate funding to complete ongoing small and medium power projects that are acceptable on eco-sociological grounds.

Constituting a State electricity regulatory commission capable of evolving a fine balance between recovering cost and encouraging the use of power, has also been suggested.

Protecting bio-diversity also figures in the draft report and towards this it has suggested stopping rampant exploitation by illegal traders and contractors.

On agriculture, the report has suggested the setting up of a Land Commission to protect the access of women and other weaker sections to productive resources, land and forest.

Taking on the entire expenditure on growth centres as Central assistance, with a ceiling of Rs 15 crores per centre, to promote industrialisation has also been mooted in the draft report.

The draft report also suggested tapping the creative, traditional legacy of Manipur along the lines of countries such as China and Thailand and to penetrate international markets.

The State must spearhead India's economic links with ASEAN and South East Asia, mooted the report.

Encouraging adventure tourism such as rafting expeditions on the Barak river and trekking across frozen rivers on the way to Dzuko valley are some other suggestions mooted in the draft report.

The report has also suggested adopting the mother tongue as the medium of instruction at the primary level, development of books in the mother tongue, increasing the State's budget in Education etc.


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