Lamenting that many villages and localities in the State including Imphal have been found renamed by some communities as they like, Chief Minister N Biren said that such acts of renaming of villages and places without due permission from the Revenue Department or Tribal Affairs & Hills Department will not be accepted. The Chief Minister also cautioned the media fraternity against publishing such unrecognized names.
Attending the first foundation day of Salaicha Pibarel Punshi Marup (SPPM) Manipur held at MSFDS auditorium, Palace Compound here on Wednesday, Chief Minister N Biren said that what we should do is not to rename the places gifted by our forefathers but to protect them. He pointed out that “Kabow Leikai” which is originally recorded in the Revenue Department has been renamed as Dewlaland and some particular places of Jiribam have been renamed as “Islamabad”.
Many unrecognized names of villages have popped up in Langol, Chingmeirong, and other areas. It is also found that some localities in Imphal and other areas have been renamed as Veng, Villa etc, he said.
The Chief Minister appealed to the media fraternity not to publish names of such unrecognized villages or localities which are not recognized by the Revenue Department and TA & Hills Department. He also appealed to do a cross-check of the government records first before publishing the name. Encouraging the renaming of villages must be stopped immediately.
The Chief Minister said that he had instructed government officials to avoid writing official letters in the name of the unrecognized villages. He said that the general public is not responsible for the current conflict and chaos over the reserve forest issue but the officials of the Forest Department who failed to take action on time.
He observed that the controversy over reserve forest and obstruction to tree plantation could have been averted had the Forest officials conducted frequent field checks, proper surveillance of the reserve forest areas and spread awareness among the village chiefs on reserve forest from time to time.
Biren admitted that Forest officials confined only in the room with AC facilities, moving in first-class cars with flag posts in Imphal, instead of checking forest areas physically are responsible for the current controversy.
With regard to the recent obstruction to tree plantation at Nongmaiching Reserve Forest by Nongmaipal Kuki villagers, the Chief Minister said that Nongmaiching Reserved Forest was notified in 1960 under the Indian Forest Act, 1927. However, a village called “Nongmaipal village” was allowed to settle inside the Nongmaiching Reserved Forest in 1985. We don’t know who allowed such settlement inside the reserve forest. Set aside the settlement inside the reserve forest, even a single tree cannot be cut without the prior consent of the concerned DFO, he said.
Even the State Government needs to seek prior approval from the concerned Ministry if it intends to take up any development project inside the reserve forest. Upon checking records of Google map satellite imagery, the Nongmaipal village has been found shifted three times from one place to another place inside the reserve forest. No forest officials checked it, the Chief Minister continued.
“Government officials are not sincere. Pattas were found issued inside the Waithou Reserved Forest. I don’t mind whether they consider me a villainous Chief Minister or not. I will not spare any unscrupulous government officials. My government has started arresting those dishonest officials who destroyed land,” he said.
“The then responsible officials who allowed settlement of Nongmaipal village inside the reserve forest areas in 1985 won’t be spared,” the Chief Minister vowed.
Reiterating that what the State Government is doing is to protect the reserve forest, protected forest, and wildlife and not to evict the legalized settlement, the Chief Minister said that the genuine effort of the government should not be misinterpreted as the government does not intend to evict the legalized settlements in Ukhrul, Churachandpur, Kangpokpi, Mao etc.
Blaming the failed administration of the past, Biren said that elected politicians of the previous successive governments were confined only to camping and defecting to capture power instead of managing to rectify the failed administrative system.
In the State, there are many places where the Administration failed to reach ever since India attained freedom in 1947. Although Manipur claims ownership of Dzuko valley all the time, trekkers and tourists had to seek permission from Nagaland for entry. Government in the past failed to maintain the status of the nation-state and system. As the government failed to protect Dzuko Valley, valuable trees from the Khujiri dense forest were used to be stolen by some people of Nagaland. With the help of Mao MLA Losi Dikho, the people of Mao, Maram, and Paomai, a security barrack has been constructed there to protect the Dzuko Valley, the Chief Minister said.
He maintained that many communities of the State, including Meetei, Tangkhul, Mao, Maram, Zeliangrong, Thangal, Kabui, Hmar, Thadou, Khongshai, Zoumi etc have united together now. The Meitei Pangal community has also joined hands with the government in its war against drugs. It is a positive move. The future generation will land in jeopardy if the menace of drugs is not fought back collectively, he added.
The Chief Minister asserted that law allows any community to strive for protecting and promoting its own identity, culture, and tradition, however, such effort should not harm and hurt the sentiment of other communities. Meetei, being the majority and guardian, should take a proactive role to unite all the communities and extend a helping hand to the plight of other communities in the hour of need. Meeteis need to be healthy and financially stable enough first so that it can help others, he added.
Observing that Meeteis seem to have weakened now and heading directionless, the Chief Minister said that professionals and scholars have been stuck in their own way of life instead of thinking for the national interest. Even we have no experts who have the guts to counter when some vested interests distorted our historical facts, he said.
The Chief Minister claimed that Manipur University granted a doctorate to a retired Army officer who in his thesis claimed only 700 Sq Km of Manipur was merged with the Indian Union under the Merger Agreement. Based on such a faulty thesis, some crooked individuals have made a mockery of the State and Meetei. The professor who granted a doctorate based on such a thesis distorting Manipuri history should be considered an enemy of the land, he said that, pledging that now the government will not allow anybody who does whatever they like. Speaker of Manipur Legislative Assembly Th Satyabrata, titular king and Rajya Sabha MP Leishemba Sanajaoba, Keirao AC MLA and SPPM Manipur President Lourembam Rameshwor Meetei also attended the function.