The Zomi Chiefs Association, General Headquarters briefed the media on the restrictions imposed by the State Government on the implementation of the Border Area Development Program (BADP) which was a development program under the Ministry of Home Affairs.
While the Government of Manipur has issued an order (No.4/BADP(Visit)/2009/Plg) on 20.12.2012 that “BADP works of Ukhrul, Churachandpur and Chandel Districts will be executed through Village Panchayat/Authority”, it was later rectified by another letter (No.4.8.2017-18 BADP Plg) on 18.07.2017 to the effect that “scheme costing upto Rs.5 lakhs (in place of existing Rs.20 lakhs in general) only may be taken up by Village Authorities”.
The Deputy Commissioner, Churachandpur issued a Circular (No.DC(CCP)/BADP/16-17/Main) on 29.11.2017 stating that “Gift Deed of the land allocated for execution of the approved and sanctioned works/schemes should be executed with the concerned SDO/BDO”
All Manipur Border Area Development Association (AMBADA), which was formed against the above Government order served Legal Notice (Legal Notice BADP/1) to the Government on 28.02.2018. The Director, Ministry of Home Affairs, Department of Border Management, Government of India has written to the Chief Secretary, Government requesting the views/comments of the State Government on the matter which was not obliged to till date.
AMBADA has filed a Writ Petition against the Union of India & 9 others in the High Court of Manipur bearing Writ Petition (C)No.237 of 2018 against the above mentioned orders of the Government of Manipur and Deputy Commissioner, Churachandpur with reference to the implementation of BADP in Manipur. Later, the Government of India represented by the Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs & 9 others has filed an Affidavit in-opposition as follows, “I beg to state that the same pertain to State Government of Manipur and as such, the same may be best replied by the Government of Manipur”
The Deputy Commissioner, Churachandpur has on 08.06.2018, issued Tender Notice 1 & 2 (No. DC(CCP)/BADP/TENDER/17-18) for implementation of BADP 2017-18 which was petitioned by the Chiefs of BADP covered Villages under Sangaikot, Singngat, Suangdoh, Mualnuam and Thanlon Sub-Divisions on 18.06.2018 to be cancelled or put on hold.
However, ignoring their plea, the Deputy Commissioner, Churachandpur has on 22.09.2018 issued another notice stating that “technical bids will be opened on 25.09.2018 (Tuesdat) at 11:00 am in the office Chamber of Deputy Commissioner, Churachandpur”
The Zomi Chiefs Association leh Kuki Chiefs Association, Churachandpur intimated the Deputy Commissioner, Churachandpur on 01.10.2018 as follows “to cancel Notice Tender Notice 1 & 2 under Letter No. DC(CCP)/BADP/TENDER/17-18, dated 8th June, 2018 and 22nd September, 2018 for BADP 2017-18 as the pending writ petition with the High Court of Manipur. If our intimation is ignored, the Chiefs of Churachandpur will be constrained to take strong measures to protect and preserve our interests”.
However, no concrete action is taken by the District administration till date. Pu Pumzadou Thangsing, President, Zomi Chiefs Association General headquarters, states that Village Authorities in Manipur are a legal entity constituted under the Manipur (Village Authorities In Hill Areas) Act, 1956. They have been the implementing Agency of BADP as per the guideline issued by the Central Government and that the restrictions imposed by the State Government goes against the very fundamental idea of the programme which states that, “BADP can be executed through…. Village Authorities…. Due emphasis should be given for effective involvement of local population…… for executing schemes in order to inspire mutual trust and confidence between the Government and the border population”. Further, the circular of the Deputy Commissioner, Churachandpur to execute Gift deed is totally unnecessary as these developmental works are executed for the benefit of the general public and as such, land should be in the possession of the Village Authority. Stating that many youths and leaders has sacrificed their lives for the protection of tribal land, no land donation should be made to the Government. If their call for restoration of order (No.4/BADP(Visit)/2009/Plg) of 20.12.2012 is not heeded, ZCA will take all necessary steps to protect the interest of the tribals and seek the cooperation of the general public on the matter.