TODAY -

Two months ban on rail line work from Dec 16 by UNC
UNC takes strong exception against PM's statement on State's territory status
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, December 08 2011: Coming out hard against the recent statement of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that the Centre is committed to the territorial integrity of Manipur, the United Naga Council (UNC) has banned all works on the Jiribam-Tupul rail line for two months with effect from December 16 .

As the first step towards Nagalim, the UNC is campaigning for an alternative administrative arrangement for the Nagas by severing all ties with the State Government.

The ban on rail work decision comes on the heel of the suspension of the 120 days economic blockade on Imphal-Dimapur and Imphal-Silchar routes ten days back.

The lifelines were cut off to protest the State Government's alleged attempt to bifurcate Naga-dominated areas to create new districts and also in pursuit of the Alternative Arrangement demand.

During a public meeting on December 3, the Prime Minister had said the Centre was committed to the territorial integrity of Manipur.



An earlier picture of the tunnel being dug for the Jiri-Tupul rail line
An earlier picture of the tunnel being dug for the Jiri-Tupul rail line


While the Indo-Naga dialogue is underway at the higher level and a democratic process of tripartite talk of Centre, State Government and the UNC on the demand for an Alternative Arrangement for the Nagas, pending settlement of the Indo-Naga issue is also on, the PM's statement "at this juncture has created confusion in the minds of the Naga public," the UNC said in a statement.

"We are not quite able to discern sincerity in the statement under question and are prompted to question whether the Indo-Naga issue has been subjected to the electoral politics of a mere State under the Union of India, even when the unique history and situation of the Nagas has been recognized by the Centre in the course of the 14 long years of the peace process and also when the PM had committed to an out of the box solution," the statement added.

The Prime Minister during a meeting with the UNC at Raj Bhawan on December 3 had expressed that the tripartite talk should continue, said UNC and added that the Union Home Minister had also on November 2 at Senapati said the same thing.

"Therefore, in protest against the lack of political will of the Centre to address the Naga issues, we are compelled to impose a ban on all construction works on the Jiribam-Tupul Trans Asian Railway line for a period of two months with effect from December 16," the statement said.

The UNC further said the exploration for petroleum and oil being taken up by public sectors undertakings/private companies in Tamenglong District would also be banned till further notice with effect from December 16 .

In his address, the PM had said that work on the 125-Km railway line from Jiribam via Tupul was under progress and is likely to be completed by March 2016, with the Jiribam-Tupul portion finalised by March 2014 .

The UNC has sought the cooperation of all the private companies /public sector undertakings engaged in the railway project and requested them to desist from any construction works during the specified period.

Further, "instead of according priority to settling issues that are already registered and recognized, attempts are being made to tap and take away our natural resources," charged the UNC .


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