COPTAM suspends agitations till Aug 25


From M Kaimuanthang
LAMKA, Aug 17: The Committee on Protection of Tribal Areas, Manipur (COPTAM) has decided to temporarily suspend all its agitation programmes till the 25th of this month after the state government promised that their demands over overlapping census, district boundary and hill land records would be looked into and a acceptable solution worked out latest by the 25th of this month in a meeting.

During the over two-hour long meeting held with the state chief minister O Ibobi Singh and his team on the one hand and the COPTAM leadership on the other at his chamber on August 16 the COPTAM leaders have appreciated the government efforts to understand the legitimate issues raised for protection of tribal land and rights.

The government at the meeting admitted that Manipur Remote Sensing Application Centre, MARSAC, is unofficial and the map of Manipur prepared by it has never been accepted by it, while acknowledging the huge distortion of district boundary.

The COPTAM demanded immediate explanation from the concern department of science and technology and reprinting of the map on the basis of original district boundary.

The state government on its part has again admitted that the sign board erected by PWD in the middle of Kangvai village is due to oversight of the concern department with the chief minister personally disclosing that he has taken to task the PWD officials and instructed them not to re-install it again, said sources.

When the government pointed out that overlapping census indeed occurred in some parts of the state, the COPTAM told the government such a mistake is shameful as the Union government through the MHA issued strict orders to check double counting and double entry in the exercise.

As has been stated by the information and publicity department of the COPTAM the government’s action or inaction on the district boundary issue has been very sensitive and took communal overtones whereas the tribes of the state neither communalise the issue nor demand a new boundary other than the actual ones.

It said maintenance of the original hill district will solve the issues. Ultimately the government apart from others assured maintaining of hill districts land records by respective hill districts with the revenue minister to take steps very soon. Other issues discussed at the meeting, as per the sources, were devolution of power to the ADC which the chief minister in the chair responded by saying the delay has been due to non finalisation of the issue by the MLAs/ Ministers from the hills.

The meeting was attended among others by revenue minister, TD minister, minister Health and Family Welfare, chairman HAC and vice chairman of the HAC.