CM assures to probe corpus fund theft

IMPHAL, 16th Sep: Categorically stating that the present government welcomes constructive and positive criticism made by media which is for conclusive development of the state, chief minister N Biren has declared that the Vigilance Department will investigate into the case of embezzlement of corpus fund for the pension scheme of state journalists.
Making the declaration during the 46th foundation day celebration of All Manipur Working Journalists’ Union (AMWJU) held at Manipur Press Club here on Monday, Biren stated that the matter of misappropriation of corpus fund meant for the pension scheme of state journalists was conveyed to him by AMWJU president and therefore the case will be investigated by the Vigilance as the development is a matter of great concern.
The chief minister stated he has been apprised about the inadequate land area allotted for construction of Press Colony at Lamphelpat and the matter put up to him about the acquisition of four/five government quarters nearby the area to establish a proper Press Colony for state journalists who have been working against all odds will be looked into.
He observed that there is an apparent need to keep a scope for providing increased number of Directorate of Information & Public Information (DIPR) cards to media houses as the entry of people into the media field in the state has risen.
Biren, who attended the function as chief guest, maintained that the state has witnessed significant reduction in number of unwanted incidents which is due to the sensible and responsible journalists who have been toiling hard to disseminate daily information to the masses even under unfavourable conditions. Asserting that media houses need to verify their sources before publishing the stories, he mentioned that the government would extend all possible help for the welfare of the working journalists who have been provided Chief Minister's Hakshelgi Tengbang (CMHT) recently. He also assured that he would try to increase the pension money under the existing Manipur State Journalists’ Pension Scheme.
Expressing concern over the alarming drug menace and alcoholism amongst the youth of the state, the chief minister urged the media fraternity to support the present government's initiative of 'war against drugs' campaign and organise seminar, awareness campaign, etc., to discuss the pros and cons of lifting the liquor prohibition in the state.
AMWJU president Kakchingtabam Bijoy, who presided over the function, recalled that the pension scheme money for state journalists was raised through a musical event fetching an amount of Rs 1 lakh and another Rs 5 lakh was donated by the government.
He elaborated that the total amount of Rs 6 lakh was deposited as corpus fund which has reached to around Rs 25 lakh now with the passage of maturity but shockingly the money has been found withdrawn without the knowledge of the pension committee.
While drawing the attention of the chief minister towards the interference made by residents of government quarters in the construction of Press Colony, he also emphasised the need to strengthen the functioning of DIPR offices in different districts.
Narrating various problems being faced by state journalists while executing their duties, he urged the chief minister to increase the pension amount given to the retired journalists of the state. CM Biren distributed prizes to the winners and runners-up of the 9th Annual Sports Meet of All Manipur Working Journalists' Union held during Yaoshang 2019 festival. He also honoured the founder members of the union. Manipur Hills Journalists' Union president Ramkung Pamei and Editor's Guild Manipur president Khogendra Khomdram attended the celebration function as guests of honour. State Information Commissioner Oinam Sunil; Secretary to the CM Ningthoujam Geoffrey; executive members of AMWJU and others attended the programme.

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