ZSF suspends agitation, signs MoU with state government
The Zomi Student Federation, (ZSF) suspended its agitation today following a understanding reached with the government of Manipur during a meeting at the guest house at the Khuga Dam, when the chief minister arrived at the Dam site to inspect the progress of construction works there. The ZSF has been demanding compensation for those injured in land-mine bomb blasts.
A memorandum of understanding in this regard was also signed today between the students body and the state government.
All preconditions set by the ZSF for talks with the government including withdrawal of all cases against ZSF leaders and its activists, official invitation and judicial inquiry into the police excesses on unarmed students have been agreed to by the government.
A formal meeting between the ZSF leaders and government will however be held tomorrow at the chief minister's office in Imphal at 1 pm.
Today's meeting was attended by the chief minister O Ibobi Singh, IFCD minister T Phungzathang, deputy chairman, state planning board Dr Chaltonlien Amo, chairman hill area committee N Songchinkhup, and MLA T Manga Vaiphei from the government side.
Riding on the conducive atmosphere thus created the government and the ZSF leaders will further hold a series of talks starting from tomorrow at the CM's office from 1 pm. How long the suspension of their agitation will be in effect will depend on the success or failure of the talks, the ZSF president said.
The ZSF has been demanding restoration of school infrastructure, teachers in the hills' government schools, implementation of ST quota as per rules and filling of all backlogs, rectification of names of places in the hills which have been distorted and payments of ex-gratia for 11 persons and compensation for those injured in land-mine bomb blasts planted by UGs at Thanlon and Singngat subdivision recently.
Earlier, the ministerial team led by the chief minister conducted an inspection of the progress made so far in the Khuga dam construction.
Briefing media persons, the chief minister O Ibobi Singh expressed satisfaction at the progress of the dam construction work made so far saying that some progress has been made since he visited the site earlier this year.
He however expressed apprehension that the dam will not be completed by the deadline of May 2006. He also said that fresh contract will be made with other agency/corporation to assist the current work focus while working hours would also be increased.
Construction of the dam has been hampered since the ANSAM economic blockade began as transportation of some construction materials were blocked, Ibobi said.
It may be recalled that the chief minister, dissatisfied over progress of construction work, returned in a huff during his last visit.
Stating that steps are being taken to hold talks with the ANSAM to bring to an end the economic blockade issue, Ibobi said that he is planning to visit the district headquarters of Senapati, Ukhrul, and Chandel to inspect government offices burnt down recently and to find ways of restoring them. He would visit Chandel tomorrow to begin with and hold consultation with various local leaders for settlement of ANSAM's problems.
Maintaining that all problems can be settled through discussion irrespective of the venue of such talks the chief minister urged the civil society groups and associations to open the door for discussions to solve their problems.
Von: 25 August 2005, http://www.kanglaonline.com, by Sapam Aruna and M Kaimuanthang