KNO, UPF and the SoO: Long walk to talk

- David Buhril

Eighteen armed groups from the camps of KNO and UPF recently signed for suspension of operations with the Government of Manipur and the Centre. With a long way to go, the agreement has finally put the horses before the cart. The question is how long will it run when it starts running?

Positive signs of peace and progress are on the tracks as the Kuki National Organisation (KNO) comprising 11 armed groups and the United Peoples’ Front (UPF) consisting of another seven armed groups, formally entered into tripartite agreement and signed the Suspension of Operations (SoO) on August 22, 2008. The three parties included the 18 armed groups that constitute the KNO and UPF, the Centre and the Government of Manipur. Naveen Verma, Joint Secretary (North East), Ministry of Home Affairs, signed the SoO documents on behalf of the Centre and DS Poonia, Principal Secretary (Home), was the signatory of the Government of Manipur. According to sources, the SoO was duly signed with an agreement for all the parties involved to abide by the Constitution of India and the territorial integrity of Manipur.

It may be remembered that SoO agreements between the Indian Army and the constituents of KNO and UPF have been in force since August 1, 2005. After three years of near atrophy, with the Government of Manipur not being a party to the previous SoO, peace prospects have severely met hurdles on all tracks. Excluded from being a party to the previous SoO agreement, the Government of Manipur has been holding the whip when it comes to dealing with the KNO and UPF, which was and still is seen by the KNO and UPF as signs of “hesitancy”, “immaturity” and “half-heartedness” to their interest. That climate has slowed the peace prospects and the confidence building process was also injured.

However, the Centre walked the much needed extra miles to explore the prospects of Tripartite agreement, which finally resulted with the SoO agreement on February 4, 2008. With that the Government of Manipur is also a party to the talks and the feet dragging game came to an end. Both the representatives of the KNO and UPF expressed that the tripartite agreement for the SoO would still be in a mire without the significant role of the Centre. The instruments of the SoO are initially agreed upon for a period of one year.

Despite the signing of the SoO agreements, both the KNO and UPF were confronted with one sticking issue that demands them not to disturb the territorial integrity of Manipur. Much before the political dialogue begins “unnecessary hurdle” stacked the defining of the ground rules, which tolled too long of a time. “We had to cross lots of hurdles to reach this stage”, Seilen Haokip, spokesman, KNO said. “We had to go through unnecessary process, which was time wasting. The reason being, the first meeting was substantially to discuss the ground rules for the SoO, which itself makes it quite clear what it should be all about. It was not the time to bring in any political element in it. However the Government of Manipur set a pre-condition for the talks. We have said to the Government of India that we are responding to the olive branch handed out by the Prime Minister of India to all groups who would want to resolve their problems through dialogue. When we responded to that we even went to the extent of saying that we wanted to have our dialogue within the Constitution of India. It is a commonly understood and accepted fact that where there is to be a dialogue, it should be without preconditions. However, we said we don’t mind the Constitution of India, not as the pre-condition, but within that. Actually, even the Constitution of India should not be the pre-condition. But we said, barring that there should be no other conditions for talks. But the Manipur Government inserted a clause that says that the territorial integrity of Manipur should not be disturbed to which we objected to. And we objected in a rational manner, saying that we are aware that this is a sensitive issue and it would be primary in the minds of the government. However, this is not the time and place to disclose. We went to the extent of saying that this is an issue that should be brought out in the political dialogue, not here. The Manipur Government’s representative then said that they had to take the matter back to the State Government. So this went back and forth over this trivial matter. Well, I admit that we have come round to a point, despite all the odds. That’s the point where one always finds the SoO with that factor of territorial integrity in it because without that the Government of Manipur was instable. However irrelevant and incongruous it was, it insisted. So we said that KNO can, maybe, understand that their might be certain compulsions for the State Government to insist on this. So we will accommodate that and go ahead and sign the SoO based on that document, with the territorial integrity in it, provided we reserve the right to raise our political demands when the talks begin. We handed that in writing and it was addressed to the Ministry of Home Affairs and a copy to the Government of Manipur. So the fact that they accepted that paper and the fact that they also signed and allowed us to sign means we reserve that right. It is our fundamental right to raise any issue that we want. This is a common feature in any dialogue. The delay and whole obstacle only reflect the immaturity and the insecurity of the Government of Manipur. It is embarrassing. It is very immature. Just because they have that included, it can never mean that when the dialogue begins that we cannot raise our issues”, Seilen Haokip said.

Calvin H, member of the UPF also said that the UPF signed the SoO agreements after an “assurance” from the Centre, which the Government of Manipur is also aware of. “If one wants to raise any agenda, which is under the Constitution, any citizen has the right and liberty to raise any political agenda one likes. It is not a crime”, Calvin added. Calvin also opines that if there was no mediator like the Centre, signing of the SoO would not materialise. He also said, “Confidence building would still take time for the government as well as for the groups. That would be tested in the future.” Calvin strongly asserted that despite the stand of the Government of Manipur, there is no binding clause in the Constitution that says that State boundary cannot be changed. “According to the Constitution, we have the rights to put forward a host of agendas”, Calvin added. Calvin also said that the UPF was not expecting the issue of territory to come up as early as when they were defining the ground rules. “What surprises us is that it comes up too early. We were expecting this to surface when we have the political talks. Rather it comes up in the ground rules.”

With the sticking point that could change the course of political dialogue, Calvin said, “UPF has the liberty to back off at any point of time if they feel insecure or if they felt that they are not meeting the mark that is expected of the government. That can always happen.” Seilen Haokip, on the other hand, said, “Dialogues will have to begin with the State expressing its view candidly and also the KNO doing the same with the Centre participating in it. And after having discussed the issues thoroughly, the reasons should prevail. I don’t see why KNO or the Kuki people would not get what is their due. If they don’t , then they are not living in a democracy. They are, instead, living in a totalitarian state. Since it is going to be discussed within the Constitution of India, I believed there will be a solution in dialogue.”

Both the KNO and UPF representatives regarded the signing of the SoO agreement as a significant step and felt the need to take a careful step, one at a time. With Manipur embarking on the first ever SoO with the armed groups within the State, it has, from what it has today, to prove whether it would chose to be serious in finding a lasting solution despite the many odds that would be inevitable, or whether to pull the plug to return to square one. With big stakes involved, there is an immense need for all parties involved to tread all tracks and walk the talk.

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Paudoumang in ngohna nial

The Lamka Post August 29, 2008

NREGA Rules diktak a zuih hileh a suakta ding omlou – Behiang Hausapa

LAMKA, August 28: NREGS tungtawn a 2007-08 nnasepna’ng a a khua ua dia fund thelthangsak chih ziak a Mr. Paudoumang Ngaihte, Chief of Behiang tung a Singngat Police Station a criminal case file a om toh kisai in Behiang Hausa Mr. S. Paudomang Ngaihte in a tung a ngohna nial a, ama nna mah sepna dia sorkar in tha a laksakna sum negulou ahihdan tuni’n thusuah bawl hi.

Hiai press release in a taklat dan in, fund tampi negu dan a thukizaknate a tangkou khum ahihbanah ‘shoot at sight’ order puankhum himahleh Imphal a a giah ziak in suakta kha ahihdan taklang hi. Huai press release in ataklat dan in NREGA tungtawn in Behiang khua ah job card 296 bawl hi a, huaite Village Authority-te hawmsak ahihbanah huai khua group 7 suah hi a, VA member-te Attendant dia seh in om uhi. Behiang khopel Behiang (V) leh Behiang Suangphuh a Hausa kineih Mrs. Jubilee Moi mizat Mr. Ginzasoi, Mr. Langsuanlian, Mr. M. Zamzakham leh Mr. Thanglianlam makaih in Job Card neite sukbuai sawm mahle uh 1st Phase leh 2nd Phase ah lohsam ua himahleh Singngat SDO/BDO ding a Mrs. Mannuamching a om apat Government order omsate nelhsiah in Hausa kineihte gum in 3rd phase ah lohching uh hi’n taklang hi.

Singngat SDO/BDO in nnasem khin group 5te Muster Roll Bill-te May 25, 2008 in pelut a, SO kiang ah nnasemlou group 2-te bill pass theihlouh ding chimahleh a khonung a pelut in June 2, 2008 in nnasemlou group 2-te thaman BDO makaih in Hausa kineihte toh hawm in social audit leng bawl uh hidan in taklang hi. June 6, 2008 in hiai hawmkhiat a om nnasemlou group 2-te muster roll bill ding VA leh Office mi hilou midang 2 bawlsak in om a, BDO in nnasemlou group 2-te 3rd Phase fund 2 lakhs val nemang in BDO leh APO in DC/CCpur kiangah Behiang Hausa in sum tampi nemang dan in repot pia ua, DC/CCpur in leng Show Cause Notice pia a, Behiang Hausa in leng a gelhthoh leh a thu in hilhchetna pia hi. Himahleh, Behiang machete ah BDO in NREGA nnasep direct a implement ding in order suah a, BDO in leng Hausa kineihte Development Committee Chairman khawng hisak in Implementing agency hihsak sawm a, himahleh Behiang Hausa in Government Gazette No. 396/18-2-2008 leh NREG Act pansan in review ding in DC/CCpur kiang ah ngetna khia a, huchiin group 5-te bill May 25, 2008 a kipelut koihdap a ompen June 28, 2008 in a bill passed a omkhong hidan in hiai press release in taklang hi.

Huailou in Border Area Development Programme (BADP) toh kisai in Rs. 18.75 lakhs man work 3 piak in om a, 1st installment ding 60% lakkhiatna’ng in blank cheque 3 ah Research Inspector (RI) in DC/CCpur in signature compare masa ut chih paulap in suai kaisak a, himahleh nnasemlou chi’n a cheque midang kiang ah pia ua, huai banah nnasemlou chi’n DC/CCpur in Show Cause Notice pezomah hidan in leng hiai press release in taklang hi. Huai cheque a piakna pa’ apan in Rs. 2.lakhs kia mu a, sumdang leitawibeh in nnasem a, a nnasep Lime farm bawl ding pen leng Behiang (Suangphuh) mun a bawl ding hi a, himahleh huai mun a Hausa kineihte sukbuai ding leh kel hong zoulou ding chihziak in RI lemsakpihna in Behiang khomunlui ah bawl hi. Himahleh DC/CCpur in lemsalou a, BADP 2007-08 a work a tan ding bangzahhiamte lak a Behiang (Suangphuh) a ding pen SDO in Hausa kineih a Behiang Hausa thahsawm Mr. Thanglianlam specimen signature pen DC/CCpur kiang ah recommend bawl a, himahleh Behiang Hausa in huai thu a theihphet in objection petition DC/CCpur kiang ah pia in blank cheque a suaikaisak a midang ana piak uh toh kisai a gelhlat khak ziak in DC/CCpur heh in ‘some other party’ toh sum na nek mang uh nang leng na ‘admitted’ na dit ding ahi chihsan hidan in leng hiai press release in taklang hi.

Huailou in CCpur District Chief Council a Vice-President ahih dungzui in executive meeting a member-te lemsakna bang in Joint Action Committee a Chairman hi a, meeting resolution dungzui in NREGS tungtawn a Job card nei peumah in a kikim a tha 100 chiat sepna ding DC/CCpur ah phut ding thupukna nei uhi. Thagum a ngetna neih sang a dan dungzui a nget ding lemsa in ukil tungtawn in legal notice pesak ua DC/ CCpur in lauh leh heh thuah in legal notice zukkik ding a ngen in Chief Council President tung ah phuba laksawm hidan in hiai press relase in taklang hi.

Singngat SDO/BDO/PO(NREGS) Mrs. Mannuamching, MCS in Behiang khopel a Hausa hihsawmte NREGS a saisak utman a VA Act kalh in Chief lah chi ngamlou in Development Committeee Chairman a hihsak mawk lamdang a sakthu taklang kawm in NREGA Rules leh Guidelines diktak a zuizolou teng FIR bawl khum ding hileh DC apan VLW, Chief Chairman/Chairman (VA) apan Job Card nei teng kuamah suakta omlou ding ahihdan leh nikhat a dakkal 7 sep a Rs. 81.40 loh ding pen dakkal 2/3/4 lel sem a Rs.81.40 loh ngen ahihdan Behiang Hausa Paudoumang Ngaihte in tuni a a thusuah ah taklang hi.

Source: http://zogam.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=4201

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"KHUODO PAWI DING"

Source: PUZO Net

ZO Ngaina thupi penpen khat a kiciemte ahi Zo Khuodo pawi pen kumkhat ciengin khatveita behma kibawl ahi’a, tukum zong “GINUA KHUODO” pawi bawlding GZO in ngimna lienpi kinei ahihi, tuami son ah tukum Zo Khangno’te pattahna in a min zong “ZO KHANGNO KHUODO-2008″ ci min ka vaw vuh hi, Yangon khupi sung aom Zo khangno’te sungah minam itna leh I ngaina’te a manghil lo na ding vuh, thuhilna leh Zo ngaina zieletong’te theisahlo phamaw ahihi.

Yangon aom Zo Khangno’te pen Kawl bulom lah a om vuh ahina dungzui in Zokam siemlo zong tampi omta a, Zo ngaina bangteng ahei ci’a athei om khol nawnlo in, a kan zong om nawnlo mawh hi, tua’te tungah Pu ZO suonlehah’te in tuni cieng dong khotah leh kiptah a inei a hi, ngaina lam, la, khangthu ci’te hil huoi mama a, tupet a I theisah man sih leh minam itna hing kiem ding a, Kawlta, Vaita po tawh hing kitengin, mi mangthangh suah ding vuh ci pen mit a, mu masah ahihi, limtah in ngai sun lei tami thu pen minam tam’te in minam neu’te a vuanelh dan a, Kawlte in ei vuanelh thei ding vuh ahi zieh in Pyo, Thet minam’te dan in a maiming I sualo na ding No.1 a ikoih ding thupi hi. GZO in Khuodo ding vai tawh kisai in meeting ka nei vu atua meeting sung ah zong kipiehna nei pei in, a kitangsam lai ding teng pen Gamdang a om. Minam itna anei, minam avei, akhuol lainatna anei’te kungah nget ding thu khensatna ka nei vuh hi. Sum tawp ding za pen,

Hotel kawm man 300,000/-
Neh le dawn 300,000/-
Video 100,000/-
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Ci bangdan in ka she vua, tua sung pan in a nei a tengin kipiehna ka nei masa vuh hi;

Pa Kham Khen Thang 10,000/-
Pa Leet Suon Khai 30,000/-
Sie Kam Khen Dal 30,000/-
Pa Kham Kho Cin Thang 50,000/-
Tg Hau Khen Pau 10,000/-

Khuodo pawi ah Zo ngaina teng lahna leh thugenna limlien tah in kibawl masa ding a tua zaw ciengin State Show zong kibawl suah ding hi, tuami ah lasa ding’te pen, Kawlgam a aminthang pienpien melthei pawl khat leh Meikaam vutdi in a vua bang a a kithei kholo a lasah siem mama i Zo sungah zong tampi om ahiman in, tua’te tathiem ding ngimna bulpi khat zong ahihi. Tua sungpan a lasiem teng ki kaikhawm kia ding a sponsor ding imi sungah a kinga zo leh Lakhui (CD, VCD) bawl ding zong ngimna kinei ahihi.

Tammi thu tawh kisai in, huna pienuom mun tuomtuom aom sanggam ulenau in minam itna bulphu a, a mangthangh thei ding I Khangno’te kepding huoi ding na hlangaih vuh leh na neisa sumlepaai tawh ahi zongin nangma tehteh kihal in a hizongin itna leh lam-etna tawh kang cial vuh hi.

Zo Ngaina Manphatdan thugen dingin mun tuomtuom pan zong a kisapna dungzui in ka han ding a, Khangno’te huah sugnah minam itna leh Ngaina thupi dan kiguang nuom penpen ahihi.

Kizop na dingin,

Global Zo Organization
No.156, 1-floor, R. 38 Street (Middle)
Kyauktada,Yangon, Myanmar

Tel: 095-01-391526
Email: gzoyangon@pu-zo.com

Pu-Zo.Com

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SoO: A pincer movement?

By : Iboyaima Laithangbam [Imphal Free Press ]

With the signing of the Suspension of Operations (SoO) agreement with the Kuki and the Hmar tribal militant outfits on August 22, 2008 in New Delhi the state and the Central forces are in a position to concentrate on the valley militants who are “floundering at the pincer movement”. Top ranking police officials who do not want to be named said that as there is no need for counter insurgency operations in the hills since the Naga, the Kuki and the Hmar tribal outfits had signed the ceasefire now available forces will concentrate on decimating the valley militants.

The 19 tribal outfits which had signed the SoO are USRA, UKRA, KNF(MC), KNF(J), KNA, KRA(U), ZDF, ZRF, KNF(P), ZRO/ZRA, HPC(D), UKLF, KRA, KLO/KLA, KNF(S) and KNF. Prominent features are that they have now stopped demanding separate homelands and will protect the territorial integrity of Manipur. They will also surrender all weapons and the armoury will be double locked by their representatives and the army. The designated camps where they must stay should not locate in the immediate vicinity of the international border, the highways and villages,etc. They will refrain from extorting taxes, fines, kidnapping for ransom,ambushing police and security personnel. Significantly, there is no clause which forbids the militants from killing members of other factions. Members of the Naga underground factions have also been killing each other almost every week. Though they do not attack the state and the central forces all Naga inhabited areas have been experiencing bloodshed notwithstanding the ceasefires. This may be same story with the Kuki and the Hmar militants. In fact, the SoO agreement was signed at Ashoka Hotel, New Delhi in well gapped two batches so that the feuding rivals do not come across each other.

Angami Zapu Phizo of Nagaland, then the Naga Hills, a part of Assam, was the first rebel leader who took up arms soon after independence in this region. But his five close associates signed the peace accord in Shillong, the capital of the undivided Assam on November 11, 1975 paving the way for massive surrenders with weapons. The signatories said that they accepted the Constitution of India.

In protest against the accord the hardliners broke away and formed the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) in 1980. It was split into the NSCN(IM) and the NSCN(K) in 1988. The NSCN(IM) signed a ceasefire with the Indian government on June 25, 1997. It was extended “without territorial limits” on June 14,2001. It meant that the ceasefire would be effective in Nagaland and all “Naga inhabited” areas in the NE region. As the extension of the ceasefire had far reaching implications the people of Manipur took up the cudgels on June 18, 2001. The State Assembly complex, offices of several political parties,residences of the Chief Minister and other elected representatives were torched. Altogether 18 persons died during the mayhem. New Delhi hastily withdrew the ceasefire from Assam,Manipur and Aurnachal pradesh. However instances are not lacking to show that it is extended to Manipur “informally”. Several rounds of talks have been held between the Indian government and the NSCN(IM) under the provisions of the ceasefire. However these have been infructuous since New Delhi cannot agree to the demand for the unification of the Naga inhabited areas in view of the objections by the governments and peoples of the neighbouring states. In fact one important agenda of the UPA is that the existing boundaries will not be altered. The NSCN(K) had also signed a ceasefire with the Indian government in April 2001 although the militant leaders are yet to come to the negotiating table. Earlier, the ceasefire with the NSCN(IM) was extended in terms of six months or one year. But it was extended indefinitely from July 31,2007.

The army brought about a rapprochment with the Kuki and the Hmar rebels in Manipur. In fact some valley outfits said that some Kuki militants had joined hands with the army in attacking their camps in the inaccessible mountains. The army had signed the SoO with the Kuki and the Hmar rebels on August 1, 2005. However the Manipur government refused to honour it.Chief Minister Okram Ibobi who is also in charge of Home said that the state government was not taken into confidence.As per provisions of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 the army was called in to assist the civil administration. Police and paramilitary forces continued to kill and arrest the Kuki and the Hmar militants. Lots of strings were pulled and Ibobi was summoned to New Delhi time and again.Because if a ceasefire is signed with these tribal outfits there will be peace in the hills with the result that the available forces could be used in tackling insurgency in the valley areas. During the meetings Ibobi is understood to have pointed out that unless there are fool-proof and acceptable ground rules the militants will misuse the ceasefire to strengthen their organisations and burgeon the armed movement. Once the loopholes were plugged the Manipur government gave its approval to the SoO on July 29, 2008. At Ibobi’s insistence a monitoring cell comprising the state and the central officials was formed. On the basis of the reports of the monitoring cell on the flagrant violation of the ground rules,if any, the Manipur government reserves the right to launch counter insurgency operations operations against the Kuki and the Hmar rebels. The valley insurgents are keeping their fingers crossed while waiting and watching the developments.

The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 gives the central forces carte blanche while dealing with the militants and their accomplices. Made of sterner stuff, the valley militants had spurned peace talks offers by three successive Prime Ministers. They have not signed any ceasefire or accords and over the decades less than 500 armed militants had surrendered. Though the government had reserved all grade three and four government jobs for the surrenderees some of them had joined police and paramilitary forces for their own security. Even armed policemen who elected to come to their homes once in a blue moon were gunned down by the ubiquitous militants.

The valley militant groups who are ruling the roost in the valley are the UNLF, the RPF, the KYKL, the PREPAK, the KCP, the KCP(MC), the Islamic militant group, the PULF,etc. When the army was called in at the fag end of 1980 the officers said that it was for the first time that they were facing the urban guerilla warfare in Manipur. When peace talks were offered all but one underground organisations ignored them. The Revolutionary People’s Front said that the only issue it will talk with the Indian government is the modality of restoring the independence to Manipur.

Manipur in its ancient name,Kangleipak, had been an indepdnent kingdom with a royal chronicle listing the reigns of the kings for over 2000 years.The Britishers had conquered Manipur on April 23, 1891.On the eve of independence Manipur and other princely states were restored their independence. But King Churachand of Manipur who was put under house arrest in Shillong had to sign the merger agreement on dotted lines on Sept 19, 1949. Manipur and Tripura, another princely state of the region, were formally merged to the union of India on October 15,1949. However it was pointed out that the king who was merely a titular head had no power to sign such a document. Because in 1946 a legislative council was set up replacing the darbar. The Manipur State Constitution Act, the Manipur State Eelection Act,etc were enacted in 1948. The king could sign a document only with the approval of the State Assembly. However the state Assembly never discussed the merger issue.

The battleline is drawn between the police,security forces and the valley insurgents in Manipur.

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Divide and rule in scheme allotment, says KPF chairman

The Imphal Free Press

Chandel, Aug 28: In an interaction with media persons at Sahumphai Village,Yangkhaopau Haokip, Chairman of the Kuki People Forum, Chandel called for equitable distribution of the benefits under various developmental schemes to both Kuki and Naga people.

Maintaining that there have been many examples of disparity between allocation of funds and schemes to the Naga and Kuki people in Chandel, he said, “Out of a total of Rs.105 lakhs under the District Common Fund (2007-08), only 23 lakh was allotted to Kuki areas while the remaining Rs. 82 lakhs went to Naga areas.” According to the Chairman, the projected fund allocation for the future also shows this disparity as the financial allotment for 2008-09 of a total Rs.241 lakhs has Rs. 222 being allocated for Naga areas against Rs.19 lakhs for Kuki areas; Rs. 165 lakhs for Nagas and Rs. 76 lakhs for Kukis in 2009-10; 194 lakhs for Nagas and 47 lakhs for Kukis in 2010-11 and the same allocation for 2011-12 again.

“Such a distinct demarcation is nothing but divide and rule policy”, he alleged. He also said that when the matter was brought to the notice of the Deputy Commissioner of Chandel, he maintained that special packages for Kukis under the Central Government are being implemented in Khengjoi area.

Questioning the rationale behind keeping an official who does not know the difference between a special package and the District Common Fund, the Chairman has called for the removal of the current DC and to appoint someone who is knowledgeable about the area. “The list for fund allotment for the period of 2008-2012 needs to be reviewed within September 10, failing which we will launch a series of agitations”, he further added.

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PDS: Mautam douna diinga long term measurement

Singngat taang, hei tah taang, Behieng dung chite khen tuom um lou, mun chin a kiel tung ahita hi. Ha pan a i pan uh a ngaita- Pu Khupsuonmung Phiamphu, Working Chairman, ZEPADA

(FCI godown toh kisai CDSU in a taklatna uah, kitatsatlou a niteng poimoh nek-le-tak a om theihna ding leh PDS nuai a deihhuailou pawl khenkhat a kigolhtheite a tatlouhna ding ua state sorkar in a kintheipen a FCI godown bawlna ding recommendation a bawl uh deihthu taklang uhi.) The Lamka Post August 27, 2008

Thu za dan abah leh State Solkar sukha lou a Dimapur apat Lamka tan direct a tun theina diing in Center in Churachandpur District adiing in Public Distribution System (PDS) bawlna di’n sil bangkim zouta chi thu kiza hi. A nna zong pat thei diing dinmun a umta ahiban ah amun leh muol zong DC in kawmu zouta ahidan thei in um hi. Hinanleh, alang khat lam a apoi mama khat ahileh Eimi Elected MLA te khat in FCI leh PDS te apat hamphatna (mahut amu nailou zieh himai thei) mu sawm tin ten ahiman in nasep pen pan thei nailou dan in thu um hi. Zo suon ten kiel a tuo lai ua tam bang a i teel ching ngel ngel khat in bang diing a kiel huhna di’a panla theina um sun a kha tan ahiei?

Rishang Keising ana lal lai in Ukhurl ah PDS hoitah in ana bawl hi. Tunitan in Ukhrul ah kiel tungkha nawilou, tua Food Security anei man un Louma hawsuo, haichi, singnou, thei leh farming lam ah a law ching mama uhi. Bang diing a eima teel ching ngel ngel khat in Zogam khan touna diing lampi akha tan ahiei?

Lamka a PDS Godown bawlna di’n order leh sil bang kim felta, hinanleh State FCI toh a memat sawm teitei zieh in Churachandpur S/C MLA in tunitan in recomendation bawl nailou chi thu leng za ahi. A thu dih pen lamkai lam ten hing suichien uleh dei huoi hi. Mi houlimna ja sawn ahi. I gam adiinga hamphatna lampi khatan a ka thei man a 100% sure sih nanleng a thudih sui thei a hina ding a ka hing gel ahi.

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MAUTAAM: Manipur Governments’ Eye Wide Shut

Manipur Governments’ Eye Wide Shut

Well aware of the grave famine situations prevailing in Manipur especially in Jiribam, Chandel, Tamenglong and Churachandpur districts due to the current Mautaam which caused large-scale devastation of crops leading to total harvest failure of rice, the main staple food in the area. These shortages are due to the increasing p[opulation of rats in the jhuming hills. No crops, no produces to harvest. One year hard labours are in vain.

A suun a zaan umlou in zusa ten Zodawn silpiengte maichai

Zu thanga aw

PUBLIC APPEAL FOR MAUTAAM FAMINE-AID, 2008.

‘Must the hunger become anger and the anger fury before anything will be done.’
(John Steinbeck, US novelist)

The 50-year cyclical bamboo flowering phenomenon, quite peculiar to this region of the North-East is called Mautaam locally.

To put this phenomenon in perspective, it was the indifference of the Assam (undivided) Government to the starvation deaths of the Famine of 1959-60, in erstwhile ‘Lushai Hills’/‘Mizo District’ that led to the secessionist call by the Mizo National Front (MNF), and the eventual birth of the present state of Mizoram. The food crisis was then – as is now – caused by what Maj. Gen. D.K. Palit in his book, ‘Sentinels of the North-East – The Assam Rifles’ put it: “The subsequent flowering of the young bamboo plants brings with it, also as part of the cyclical scourge, an astronomical increase in rodent population and their feeding on young plants and seeds. When the bamboos are devoured the hordes of rats move on to the paddy fields and devour the young stalks, the grain stalks and grain-stores, as happens during every recurring (Mautaam).” It is this Mautaam’s revisitation in Churachandpur District of Manipur, and its surrounding areas, that this APPEAL is all about.

It is pertinent to point out here that today’s Mautaam is concurrently affecting the contiguous areas of Mizoram State. However, the glaring and unhappy difference is that the government of Mizoram is quite ably managing the crisis in their areas. In fact, their relief measures are successful to the extent that some of Manipur’s affected villages are buying rice at the lowest of rates as supplied by that government to its affected villages that border ours!

Today Churachandpur and its surrounding areas – sans the inadequate State Government effort – have been fighting a lonely and losing battle against this frightening occurrence that showed its fangs from late 2006. The exponential increase of rodent population has devoured and laid waste to standing crops since then. This cyclical visitation has always been disastrous for the hill-folk of the region from time immemorial. Even in the 21st Century it is directly threatening the very existence of the affected, because more than 75% of the people still depend on traditional jhum cultivation. And two years of Mautaam has led to drastic fall in annual foodgrain production and a food crisis. In the southern region of Manipur, this sequence of events is a feared and known fact which, inexplicably, is still being ignored by the powers that be. Further, in this particular Mautaam, the problems are compounded by several unexplained events, viz. the sudden deaths of more than 30 children in Thanlon and Tipaimukh Sub-Divisions; animal plague and emergence of swarms of locust-like creatures. By now, the situation is so grim that the affected people are in the throes of a famine/death-like situation, in spite of interventions by the government. And laudable as the successful implementation of the NREGS is in the affected areas, the plight of the people remains unchanged, simply because what was supposed to be a flagship programme of the Central Government is just filling the yawning gap made by the State’s indifference.

According to official estimates the annual foodgrain production in 2007 was only 15% of what was expected. The production for 2008 is bound to fall even further. The District Administration estimated that, in 2007 a total of 16,050.13 hacs of cultivated land was damaged and directly affected 1,03,558 persons (58,179 adults and 45,379 minors) from 14,307 families in 264 villages ( out of 359 villages in Tipaimukh, Thanlon, Henglep and Singngat Sub-Divisions) of the District. Mention may be made of Sangaikot TD Block of Churachandpur Sub-Division which was not included in the initial estimates but subsequently suffered the same calamity. The financial requirement for providing famine relief was calculated by the District Administration at Rs. 19 crores. The additional foodgrain requirement was worked out to be more than 8000 qtls of rice per month. The Inter-Ministerial Central Team who surveyed the area between 2nd & 3rd April, 2008 observed: “With or without Mautaam famine the people are already suffering from severe poverty”.

Meanwhile, as on August 2008, the government distributed only 4,500 qtls of rice under its ‘Mautaam relief’. Some concerned NGOs like Aid Zomi Japan, Chennai ZCF, EFICOR, etc have been extending assistance in terms of a truck-load or two. But such help is frightfully inadequate, considering the enormity of the calamity. Providing sufficient rice – the staple diet – to the affected people is undoubtedly a gigantic task. So given the smallness of the state government’s relief measures till date, it would be unrealistic and dangerous to expect that the government alone will be able to ensure food security to each affected citizen for several years.

As such, the situation may be taken as opening an opportunity for the entire country to reach out to one small neglected corner of its land. Every concerned person or group from government to semi-government agencies to NGOs; from corporate houses to businessmen; from private or government employees … in fact each and every individual not directly affected by Mautaam famine … to extend all possible help to their fellow beings facing the threat of death by starvation!

We should collectively shoulder the responsibility of saving life … it’s a mission, a call … that one cannot ignore. It is a challenge that we must face, and a noble war that must be fought to be won.

Unless we do what can be done today, tomorrow may be too late for the hungry and hopeless who are anxiously awaiting your helping hands.

This humble APPEAL is made to all concerned individuals and groups to become a participant in the herculean effort to mitigate the suffering and fear of death … by starvation … of one’s own citizens, the more so because the affected inhabit a remote unheard corner of India, that is Bharat.

The undersigned are, therefore, co-ordinating a –

MAUTAAM FAMINE-AID
(Mautaam Puuktaw)

The entire exercise will conclude with a –
“CONCERT FOR THE HUNGRY”
5th September, 2008

This Concert is to be organised by the MIZO ZAIMI INZAWMKHAWM and ZOGAM ARTISTS ASSOCIATION with representative Artistes from ZOMUS.

MODE OF PARTICIPATION

1. DONORS are requested to fill up the attached Mautaam Puuktaw Participation Form and may donate in cash or kind.

2. Online submission of Form is available at Puuktaw2008@yahoo.com.This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

3. Cash contribution can be made through Chairman ZEPADA A/C No.11343708035, SBI/ Churachandpur Branch, Manipur.

4. All contributions and its subsequent distribution will be made fully transparent. The distribution will be non-partisan giving priority to the most affected areas. The List of contributors and amount contributed shall be acknowledged in a BOOK OF ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS, highlighting the 50yrs cyclical visitations of Bamboo Flowering (Mautaam) in this part of the world.

5. The above drive/programme – First Stage – is being organised in a hurry considering the plight of the affected people and the fact that this time of the year is the leanest period in the region (even under normal conditions). However, any willing DONOR may donate even after the First Stage of the programme that culminates on 5th September 2008 because the effect of Mautaam shall not end so easily.

We volunteer to fight the war on hunger for and on your behalf.

Kinepna dang i nei nalai hi? A hawm ngen ahitai!

Louma pieng haichi zungteng kei tan in um

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