Territorial integrity adorns Marwah's Assembly address
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, March 11: Governor of Manipur Ved Prakash Marwah has stated that his Government is committed not only to the maintenance of peace, social harmony and better fiscal discipline, but also to protect the territorial integrity of Manipur.

Giving the opening address of the 5th session of the 8th Manipur Legislative Assembly today, the Governor said that his Government has been watching the progress of the Centre-NSCN (I-M) peace talks in the context of its likely implications on the territorial integrity of Manipur and assured the august House of taking up all possible measures within its means to protect the territorial integrity of Manipur.

'My Government has made it clear that the territorial integrity of Manipur is inviolable and has urged the Union Government to suitably amend the Constitution to protect it,' he said.

While endorsing the Centre's peace initiative with the leadership of the NSCN (I-M) with a view to bring peace in the North East region, Marwah pointed out that dialogue is the preferred method for redressal of real or perceived grievances in a democratic set up and there should not be any place for violence in it.

With this conviction, he informed that his Government has also urged the Union Government to initiate dialogue with various insurgent groups operating in Manipur and neighboring States to find a permanent solution to the perennial insurgency problem.

Delving into the root cause of the problem, Governor noted that lack of individualization and non-development of the tertiary sector, is the primary reason behind continuing insurgency and other social evils.

The North Eastern region as a whole and Manipur in particular, continues to be affected by violence perpetrated by various insurgent organizations operating in the region with their bases in the neighboring countries adjoining India, he noted, with concern and conceded that efforts made by the law enforcement agencies to curb the activities of the cadres owing allegiance to such organizations have proved inadequate.

One of the important reasons inhibiting the efforts of these agencies have been and continues to be the porosity of the International borders.

Besides, the strength of the State Police is inadequate to effectively curb the activities of the insurgents, thereby necessitating deployment of Central Security Forces in the State, the Governor said.

However, he went on to say that the results of the coordinated counter insurgency operations launched by the State Police and other security forces during 2002 have been encouraging.

As a result, 67 insurgents were killed, 869 were arrested and a large quantity of arms and ammunition were recovered from them, he added.

He further said that despite the constraint of limited availability of resources, his Government has taken up various steps to augment the strength of the State Police and also to improve its capabilities.

Side by side, measures have been initiated to encourage the insurgents to eschew the path of violence and join the mainstream life, the Governor said, informing that towards this end, his Government has adopted a surrender-cum-rehabilitation policy formulated by the Government of India.

So far 149 insurgents have surrendered, out of which 20 have been rehabilitated and the remaining are to be rehabilitated in the near future, he added.

Speaking on the financial difficulties of the State Government, the Governor said that Manipur has been facing a very serious problem of fiscal imbalance during the last 2/3 years.

This has resulted in frequent disruption of financial transactions with its attendant adverse effect on the development.

The total income of the State from all sources, including devolution of funds from the Central Government, is inadequate to meet the expenditure creating a gap between the income and the expenditure, he noted, asserting that several measures have been initiated in the recent past to correct this imbalance.

Highlighting on some of the important measures being taken in various sectors of development, Governor mentioned sizable increase in the production of vegetable crops under Technology Mission during the year, expansion of cattle cross breeding programme, setting up of nine Forest Development Agencies (PDAs) to implement various afforestation schemes, successful persuasion of NEC to earmark a provision of Rs 36 crores for execution of works for preservation and protection of Loktak Lake, increased in plan size, initiation of schemes to generate employment, restoration of Assembly building; CM's Secretariat and Speaker's Bungalow and Annexe, commissioning of Leimakhong Heavy-Fuel Based Power Proj, implementation of BADPs and various other developmental schemes namely, PMRY, DDHPY, PMGSY, etc among others.

Governor also claimed that his Govt has devised and implemented various schemes for accelerated development of tribal, especially those living below the poverty line.

He informed the House that during the current year 1070 ST and 255 SC families below poverty line were given financial assistance under various family welfare oriented schemes.