CM N Biren said that there are 2,743 revenue villages in the State and 55 new villages (11 in Churachandpur, 26 in Tamenglong, 6 in Senapati, 2 in Kamjong, 10 in Tengnoupal) have applied for recognition.
Replying to a starred question raised by opposition member K. Ranjit Singh during the question hour on the 9th day of the ongoing second session of the 12th Manipur Legislative Assembly on Wednesday, the Biren told the House that the State Government is considering devising a policy for denying recognition of new villages below 50 numbers of houses and without relevant documents.
He appealed to all bureaucrats to strictly implement the rule of law while giving recognition to new revenue villages. Land, number of households, approval from the Forest Department and recommendation from the District Council for hill areas are the criteria for giving recognition to new revenue villages. Simple majority of the members of the District Council should pass the recommendation, the Chief Minister conveyed.
Opposition MLA Ranjit while pointing out that many illegal foreigners from Myanmar, Bangladesh etc are suspected to have sneaked into the State and settled in various parts, threatening the future survival of the indigenous people, sought a detailed report about the unrecognised villages in the State.
In reply, the Chief Minister said that as many as 1039 unrecognised new villages have newly cropped up in various hill areas of the State and are waiting for recognition. The issue is a great concern for the State. If the government continues to succumb to the political pressure and appeasement policy, future generation of the State will be at stake. With the implementation of ILP, the State Government has taken serious steps regarding village recognition, he observed.
He said that the present chaos and unrest the state is facing now is the fallout of some irresponsible government officers who acted in their own individual capacity like a government without following the norms with regard to giving village recognition.
Some officers gave recognition defying the rules and procedure prescribed in many gazette notifications. It has been found that one PCCF of Manipur Forest officer gave village recognition defying the rules. For giving village recognition in the hill areas, the District Council will first submit a report to the Tribal Affairs & Hill Department. After having observed the report, the department will recommend the Revenue Department, after which the State Cabinet will take a decision whether the village will be given recognition or not as per rules, the Chief Minister explained.
Biren disclosed that one Forest Settlement Officer namely FR Khan gave recognition to 20 villages beyond his capacity, although the duty of the FSO is only to conduct surveys and submit a report to the government. He warned the incumbent officers of today never to commit such offenses but to work as per rules of law.
He also informed that the TA & Hill Department and District Councils have been asked not to recommend villages having below 50 numbers of households for recognition.
When MLA Ranjit suggested enacting a law with regard to village recognition if the current provisions of law are not helpful to protect the indigenous people, the Chief Minister replied that the current system is strong enough as far as giving village recognition and protection of land of the indigenous people is concerned.
Only some unscrupulous officers defied it. Indigenous people can be fully protected only when the TA & Hills Department, District Councils, Forest Department and Revenue Department work in full coordination with regard to village recognition, maintained the Chief Minister.
When MLA Ranjit demanded action against the PCCF who granted village recognition, the Chief Minister replied that the officer had already retired from service 10 years back but he assured that his government will see what action can be initiated against him. While replying to another starred question raised by MLA Kh. Joykisan Singh, TA& Hills Minister Letpao Haokip said that the Union Ministry for Development of Tribal Areas has sanctioned Rs. 40750.273 lakh from 2012 till date.
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