CORRESPONDENT KANGPOKPI, 20th Oct: Regardless of the commendable initiatives taken up by the new government, including the ‘Go to Hills’ slogan, for bringing uniform development in the state, such objective will never yield the desired result in case Autonomous District Councils (ADC) continue to be bereft of any executive power, ADC Sadar Hills executive member Lunthang Haokip has stated.
Highlighting the inevitability of promptly implementing the District Council (Amendment) Act, 2008 for achieving the goal of inclusive development in the state, the executive member told newspersons at his Gamnom-Sapormeina residence on Friday that the ‘Go to Hills’ slogan will remain as a mere political rhetoric if the government does not take up initiative for devolution of power to the ADCs.
Lunthang, who is entrusted the charge of TA & Hills, Office Administration, Rural Development & Panchayati Raj, etc., noted that ‘Go to Hills’ mission of chief minister N Biren, introduction of Tribal Leaders’ Day and ‘Meeyamgi Numit’ and financial assistance to persons with disabilities and economically underprivileged families are some commendable initiatives of the BJP-led coalition government, which the earlier governments failed to visualise.
“The Hills people are extremely happy for the ‘Go to Hills’ mission as it aims to bring new development and changes in the hill districts keeping in mind development of the hills means development of Manipur”, he said.
Lunthang, however, stressed that full implementation of the District Council Act, 2008 will be the deciding factor for the materialisation of the government’s vision of putting the state to the path of development.
Reiterating that that district councils are the backbone of administration at the grassroots level in the hill districts, the executive member recalled that in-spite of devolution of powers to 26 departments as per the District Council Act, 2008 (Amendment) about a decade back, implementation of the same in letter and spirit remains far from reality.
If the BJP government is truly committed to its ‘Go to Hills’ mission then the need for devolution of powers to the district councils cannot be undermined any more, he asserted.
On the issue of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana – Gramin (PMAY-G), a flagship programme to provide housing to the rural poor, Lunthang contended that many eligible beneficiaries have been left out of the Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC), 2011 and as such the very purpose of ensuring benefits to the marginalised section of the society remains highly questionable.
While alleging that excluding genuine citizens from the SECC 2011 is fallout of the survey officials lacking transparency and compassion towards deserving beneficiaries, he pointed out that in 10-Gamnom Sapormeina District Council Constituency alone out of 53 villages 21 villages have been left out while substantial number of villagers residing along the Asian Highway No.1 were not covered by the survey.
When these conveniently accessible areas could not be covered under SECC 2011, it is futile to expect that villages in the interior parts might have been covered, he said while demanding official process for re-survey in all hill districts so as to ensure that the benefits of the scheme reach out to all deserving citizens.
Lunthang also alleged that almost all the developmental files remain pending at the table of authorities concerned and suggested that the chief minister look into the matter at the earliest.
He also appealed the CM to include at least three ADC chairmen in the Work Advisory Board so as to streamline the Tribal Affairs & Hills Department and also to ensure smooth maintenance of hills developmental files in the interest of the people.
On behalf of ADC Sadar Hills, he also conveyed greetings to the people of Manipur on the auspicious occasion of Ningol Chakkouba along with noting that the festival of eternal love between brothers and sisters is no more confined to any particular community but celebrated by many other indigenous communities to cherish its ideal of bringing about understanding among the various communities and promoting unity and integrity in the society.