Manipur News | Cabinet decides to come down on bandh, blockade callers; Land acquisition cost of NIT fixed

By : A Staff Reporter 10/25/2007 1:37:24 AM

IMPHAL, Oct 24: The state Cabinet today reviewed the law and order situation in the state in the wake of the spate of killings, shootings and kidnappings in the state in the last few days.

The Cabinet also re-affirmed its earlier decision to crack down strictly on the imposition of bandhs, strikes and blockades by various organizations, NGOs and even underground groups in the state in view of the huge economic loss that these forms of protest result in.

Earlier, before reviewing the law and order situation, the Cabinet also approved the proposed rate of premium of land allotted to the National Institute of Technology, NIT, amendment of the Manipur Ceiling on Government Guarantee Act 2004 and the review of the cutting of 20 percent of the basic pay from the contract basis employees of the state government.

The Cabinet took up the agenda of review of the law and order situation in the state as the last agenda in spite of it being listed at the top of the agenda list of today’s meeting.

Highly reliable sources said that the Cabinet meeting chaired by the chief minister O Ibobi Singh was held behind closed doors without any officials of the concerned department who were called in only when needed.

A senior minister who was contacted by IFP did not disclose the details of the review meeting but sources indicated that the issues arising out of the kidnapping of three officials of the state PHED department by suspected KRA cadres was the centre point of the discussion even as the spree of killings, shootings and increasing threats to government officers was also discussed.

The Cabinet during the review of law and order also discussed the increasing imposition of bandhs and economic blockades in the state despite appeals from the government to shun the same as it caused huge losses.

Taking serious note of the failure on the part of the bandh and economic blockade callers to go by the appeals of the government, the Cabinet reviewed its earlier decision on the action to be taken up against with reference to a Supreme Court directive on the same.

After long deliberation on the issue, the Cabinet finally decided to take the stance that calling bandhs, general strikes, blockades and economic blockades is illegal and unconstitutional.

The Cabinet once again reviewed its decision and decided to implement the proposal to fix responsibility for the economic loss sustained on the organizations or groups responsible for sponsoring the strikes or blockades, a senior minister told some reporters during a briefing tonight after the Cabinet meeting.

“It has been decided that the loss to the economy will be collected from the organizations and groups responsible for sponsoring such type of stirs or to send them to jail,” said the senior minister.

The government will immediately implement the decision the Cabinet had decided, he said while disclosing that the government took it “seriously” considering the economic loss.

While disclosing this the minister recalled that a total of 20 days and 60 days bandhs and economic blockades respectively were called by different organizations in 2004-05 for which the economic loss was estimated at Rs. 246 crores.

In the subsequent year 2005-06, he added that 48 days bandhs and 97 days economic blockades were faced by the state and it had resulted in a loss of Rs. 553.23 crores while a total of Rs. 520.73 crores was lost during the year 2006-07. In the current year a total of 42 bandhs and 77 economic blockades were experienced by the people of the state.

The respective loss in the per capita per day was Rs. 22, Rs. 24 and Rs. 27. Thus the accumulated loss to the economy during the last three years has been estimated at 1319.96 crore.

Reduction of per capita income due to bandhs and blockades was 6.10 percent in 2004-05, 11.79 percent in 2005-06 and 9.93 percent in 2006-07 upto January this year, according to data available with the state department of economics and statistics, the minister went on to state.

Mention may be made that the annual growth rate of Manipur during the 10th five year plan was lowest in India, according to the data prepared by the planning commission of India which was circulated at the National Development Council meeting held last year.

The Cabinet also approved the fixation of the premium of land allotted to NIT at Rs. 7.55 per square feet as proposed by the state revenue department. The fixed cost will be around Rs 3 lakh as estimated by the minister.

The Cabinet also discussed the proposal to review the decision of the state government’s cutting 20% of the basic pay of the contract basis employees which is currently enforced.

After thoroughly discussing the matter and considering the plight of employees on contract basis, the Cabinet decided not to cut the percentage suppressing an earlier order of the state government.

The Cabinet meeting also approved the amendment of the Manipur Ceiling on Government Guarantee Act 2004 by adding five sections to the present act which has five sections. The same will be introduced in the state Assembly in its next session, the minister disclosed.

The government has been facing difficulties in the enforcement of the act as the provisions of the act do not provide for the state government to make rules under the act.

Source: The Imphal Free Press [www.ifp.co.in]

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