By Our Staff Reporter
IMPHAL, Jul 9 : Taking strong exception to the State Cabinet’s recommendation to hold the State Assembly’s Monsoon session only for two days, ex-Chief Minister and CLP leader Okram Ibobi has questioned whether the BJP-led coalition Government is afraid of debating the key and burning issues of the State.
Speaking to media persons at Congress Bhavan here today, Ibobi expressed keen desire to hold the Monsoon session for seven to 10 days in the interest of the people of Manipur so that the burning, key issues can be debated thoroughly.
The State Cabinet’s recommendation to hold the Monsoon session from July 20 to 23 (out of which July 21 and 22 are holidays on account of being Saturday and Sunday) implies that the Government has no intention to discuss any of the State’s key issues on the floor of the House, Ibobi asserted.
In view of the many sensitive issues such as the dispute over border pillar, Manipur University crisis, Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, the demand for 7th Pay etc, people would like to see the Monsoon session for appropriate number of days so that all these issues can be discussed threadbare, said the ex-Chief Minister.
Out of the three Bills passed by the State Assembly for protection of indigenous people, one had been returned by the Government of India but all the people of the State would like to know the fate of the two remaining Bills.
“Our enquiry with the Government of India revealed that the two remaining Bills too had been returned to the State Government”, Ibobi said.
Noting that the State Government has been working to introduce a fresh Bill in the forthcoming Assembly session for protection of indigenous people, Ibobi asked whether the two remaining Bills would be tabled at the State Assembly again.
He further questioned if the State Cabinet recommended for just two days’ Monsoon session so that it can defer the anti-influx Bill to the next Assembly session on the pretext that stake holders are yet to reach a consensus.
Taking due note of the clarification made by the Ministry of External Affairs that no part of Manipur’s territory was lost due to installation of border pillars, the ex-Chief Minister said that several rounds of meetings were held during UPA regime among the then External Affairs Minister, relevant Central Government officials and officials of the State Government on the border issue.
“Then Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Dr Suresh Babu who is currently the State’s Chief Secretary and I represented the State Government at these meetings”, Ibobi said.
When construction of border fence started over a length of 10 Kms, there was a strong contention from many civil society organisations that a large portion of Manipur’s territory had been left out on the side of Myanmar.
At the insistence of the State Government to halt the border fencing work until the controversy over the boundary was resolved, the same work was suspended, Ibobi claimed.
Asserting that Congress party would not tolerate loss of Manipur’s territory even by one inch, Ibobi said that the controversy can be settled for good only through re-survey and re-demarcation together with the local people and all stake holders. The Vice Chancellor is the top administrator of any university but Manipur University VC Prof Adya Prasad Pandey has not taken up a single step to fill up the many posts lying at the university. This is sheer irresponsibility and negligence on the part of the VC, Ibobi remarked.
Even though MU is not within the purview of the State Government, it can definitely talk with the Prime Minister and the Union HRD to bring an end to the lingering crisis.
While appealing to the State Government to talk with MUSU and MUTA so as to restore normal academic atmosphere in the university, Ibobi asked if there is any difficulty in replacing the incumbent VC.
Talking about the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, the ex-Chief Minister conveyed that a Congress delegation went to Delhi recently and urged the President and the Joint Parliamentary Committee Chairman to withdraw the Bill as it will spell doom to Manipur.
In case the Bill is passed in the Monsoon session of Parliament, Manipur Valley would be turned into a dumping ground for immigrants, Ibobi cautioned.
He maintained that the 7th Pay can be implemented immediately after negotiation with employees while arrears may be paid with retrospective effect from the first week of April 2016 by way of depositing them in GPF accounts in phase manner. The State Government would certainly face financial difficulties. At the same time, the State Government need to show the additional amount required for implementation of the 7th Pay when the 15th Finance Commission comes into force.
Any request of the State Government to reflect additional amount in the 15th Finance Commission’s award for implementation of the 7th Pay is most likely to be rejected, he opined.
If one is running a Government, he/she must take reasonable risks. They should talk with the Prime Minister and the Union Finance Minister and make sure that the 7th Pay is implemented with respect to State Government employees and pensioners, Ibobi added.
By Our Staff Reporter