UNC's ban on national projects evokes mixed response in Manipur
A recent ten-day ban imposed by the United Naga Council (UNC) affected the progress of centre-sponsored development projects in Manipur.
People of the state gave a mixed reaction to the ban.
The projects included the Trans-Asian Railway Network. The NHPC, Power Grid and NHAI are also involved.
The ban was called to demand the withdrawal of security personnel and lift prohibitory orders imposed Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code in Ukhrul District following the assassination of an ADC member.
"We do not support this ban. We want the construction of roads and bridges to continue. These projects are not only for the hilly people but for all of us. We want development. We are not happy with the imposition of such bandhs," said a resident of Imphal.
"National projects are very important for our state, for the northeast. If we stop it, then we stop our development," said another.
Manipur's Deputy Chief Minister Gaikhangam said, "It is something uncalled for and something unfortunate to impose on national projects. These national projects are developmental projects for the people of the state of Manipur. Disturbing such things is not only anti-state, but also anti-people and an anti-development act. So, I would like to appeal to those concerned not to resort to these kinds of things. It will not be in interest of any community living here in Manipur."
Adequate security measures have been put in place in the areas where work on national projects, including railway projects is going on. Security forces have also been stationed in all the hill districts.
Manipur's Director General of Police Shahid Ahmed said, "We are making special security arrangements. We will take care of the ban. Our decision is that the work will go on. We have our security arrangements in place."
The UNC frequently calls for strikes in Naga-dominated areas of Manipur, causing much inconvenience to the common people.
The 7th round of tripartite talks involving the UNC, the Centre and the state government was held in February this year.
The central government has been trying to resolve the issue through dialogue in order to restore peace in the region.
(Posted on 09-08-2014)