TODAY -

No comment on assurance for a more humane act
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, December 03 2011: While demand for total repealing of the controversial Armed Forces (special Powers) Act 1958 from Manipur still remains an important issue in the State, the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, for the second successive time made no mention of his earlier assurance that a more humane Act will replace AFSPA.

During his maiden visit to Manipur in November 2004 the Prime Minister assured to the people at a public meeting, also held at Kangla, that every effort would be made to replace AFSPA with a more human act.

While it is worth mentioning that the PM's maiden venture here was in the backdrop of a mass movement for scrapping of AFSPA following the alleged rape and murder of Th Manorama Devi by Assam Rifles troops, today's visit is the third time for Dr Manmohan whose second arrival in Manipur as the Prime Minister was in 2006 .

Even though his first visit and subsequent assertion on replacing the Act apparently led to the constitution of the Justice Jeevan Reddy Commission for a revision of the said Act, the panel's reported recommendation for repealing the same is yet to materialise.

The previous visit of the Prime Minister followed by a similar public meeting ended without any comment on the controversial Act and during his nearly five-hour long visit today accompanied by UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, not a single word was spoken on the said issue during his address to the people at the historic Kangla.

Apart from dwelling on various development initiatives undertaken by the Central Government for Manipur, the Prime Minister also allayed apprehension from certain section of the society on the proposed move for a Supra State Body to address the Naga issue.

During the inauguration of the City Convention Centre at Palace Compound and Manipur Film Development Corporation auditorium at the same area, Inter State Bus Terminus at Chingmeirong and State Assembly Complex at the erstwhile Chingmeirong firing range the visiting delegates spent about 15 minutes each.

After inaugurating the High Court complex at Chingmeirong (Sangakpham) Dr Manmohan and Sonia Gandhi had a brief interaction with members of the Manipur Bar Association while at the State Assembly Complex a photo session along with members of the State Assembly Legislature was the highlight of the event.

At the Chingmeirong ISBT complex the Prime Minister arrived at the venue at 12.30 pm and left soon after unveiling the inauguration plaque.

Both the PM and the AICC chief arrived at Kangla from Tulihal Airport in a chopper and proceeded to the project sites on motor cavalcade amid heavy deployment of security all along the routes.

even though there was substantial presence of the public on some of the routes only Ministers, MLAs, top civil officials and security officials were allowed access to the project sites.

Earlier, the Prime Minister accompanied by Chairperson of United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Sonia Gandhi arrived at Kangla Fort in a chopper from where both headed to Palace Compound for inauguration of the City Convention Centre.

After formal inauguration of the Centre, both the Prime Minister and Congress party chief briefly assessed the interiors besides taking a ride on the excalator, the first such facility in Manipur.

The Convention Centre, inaugurated by the Prime Minister was constructed with a total fund allocation of Rs 46.52 crores under the Centre's special plan assistance.

It is, however, informed that the total project cost is Rs 53.89 crores which include about Rs 22 crores for provision of additional facilities such as furniture, excalator and other electro-mechanical items.

Development of the Centre was entrusted to Kolkata-based M/s Simplex Project Ltd under the State's Public Works Department.

Construction of the said facility, which officially commenced from March 9, 2009, is said to be an integral component of the Government of India's Look East Policy.

Taking into account the need for accommodating increase in trade and commerce activities once trade relations with South East Asian countries stabilise, the Centre was envisioned as an important facility for major get-togethers and frequent high level meetings besides a place for exposure to the rich cultural heritage of Manipur.

Under this concept the Centre was developed to cater to the interest of the whole Nation, especially in promoting the potential of the North East region.

The Centre, which still requires some minor infrastructural work, will have a main auditorium of 746-seat capacity, five multi-purpose halls, one exhibition cum multi-purpose hall, an 80-seat capacity conference hall, one art, history and museum hall, one 78-seat capacity audio visual room and an 18-seat capacity VVIP conference hall.


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