Imphal: Manipur chief minister N. Biren Singh maintained that his government’s commitment, since its formation in 2017, was to bring bandh and blockade free in the state with improved law and order.
Biren said his first priority as a chief minister was to bridge the gap between hill and valley and also among various communities.
The chief minister was speaking as chief guest at the Seminar organised by Assam Rifles at the City Convention Centre, Palace Compound under the theme “Future Ready Manipur – looking Beyond Ethnicity and Insurgency”.
The seminar had two plenary sessions on topics ‘The trouble neighbour-turbulent Myanmar : implications and impact’ and ‘Past v/s Future- shedding the historical baggage in Manipur’.
The Go to Hills mission was introduced to know and understand the grievance of the people residing in hill areas. Interacting and meeting face to face is the need of the hour, he said. “We can exchange our thoughts with civil society organisations, church leaders and village Chiefs and know their grievances for redressal.” He informed that after the Go to Hills mission, the Go to Village mission was launched to take government officials to villages and provide services to the people at their doorsteps.
The chief minister expressed thankfulness to Assam Rifles, Manipur Police and other paramilitary forces for their contribution in connecting and maintaining healthy relations with the public. He said the armed forces and the public need to change the mindsets and views towards each other as the law and order situation of the state had considerably improved. He continued that security personnel should ensure the safety of the people and a healthy relationship should be created between the security personnel and the public.
The North-East region is blessed with abundant natural resources, rich cultural heritage and young dynamic population. Manipur, with its strategic location, has huge potential in the field of Trade, Tourism, IT enabled services, Hospitality, Entrepreneurship, Sports, Culture, Horticulture and Handicrafts, he said. He stressed the need for a collective vision and coordinated response from all stakeholders to translate these into reality.
He maintained that the security scenario in the state has been improving over the recent years. Disturbed area under AFSPA has reduced further. The government has successfully rolled out numerous outreach programmes bridging developmental gaps and ensuring deeper emotional integration. He observed that Manipur had lost opportunities in the past due to problems of insurgency and polarisation on ethnic lines and added resolving identity based issues requires a comprehensive approach, based on mutual respect and a collective aspiration of a shared and united future.
Manipur being a border state, problems of drugs and illegal immigration not only present a socio-economic problem but also has security dimensions. The government has been making all efforts under its initiative of War on Drugs 2.0 to tackle the problem of drugs in the state. Simultaneously, programmes to provide alternative livelihood for Poppy planters are being taken up.
Regarding connectivity, he stated that connectivity infrastructure air, helicopter services and rail connectivity in the state has also been strengthened. Steps are also being taken to improve connectivity infrastructure along the border, he added.
Biren expressed satisfaction to learn that the Assam Rifles has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Manipur University for organising such seminars to brainstorm ideas for a prosperous and peaceful Manipur. He also requested Lt. Gen. P.C. Nair, director general, Assam Rifles to initiate the process of vacating the Assam Rifles camp from the Manipur University Campus. He also expressed hope that the seminar would provide tools to chart a way towards a prosperous and peaceful Manipur.
The seminar was attended by Consumer Affairs Food and Public Distribution minister L. Susindro Meitei, Education minister Th. Basanta Kumar Singh, MLA Kh. Ibomcha Singh, director general of Assam Rifles Lt. Gen. P.C. Nair, vice-chancellors of universities, senior officials of Assam Rifles and other paramilitary forces and students among others.