Deputy Chief Minister Gaikhangam Gangmei told reporters on Monday that he and Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh will leave Imphal on Thursday to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other senior Ministers to discuss the issue of border row with Myanmar. The Myanmarese army has reportedly constructed one camp at Holenphai village near the border town of Moreh. The leaders will put forth the factual position and the stand of the Manipur government.

He said that the Manipur government took a serious view of the reports that the Myanmarese army has constructed its camp well inside Manipur's territory. Since it is a very sensitive issue involving another country it is not for him to make a comment at this stage. However, there is no question of compromising Manipur's territory, he said.

The Myanmarese army had ignored the objections from the district police and civil officials. Intercepting the felling down of trees at Holenphai village the Manipur officials had tried to dissuade them from the destruction of forest for the construction of the army camp. However the army officers maintained that as per British maps the area comes under Mynamar. It is significant to note that the claim is made only now.

There have been demands from the NGOs and other activists for the suspension of the construction works of the border fence till a final agreement is reached. A committee constituted by the government had also visited the area. Suresh Babu, the principal secretary (Home) maintains that it is a security fence and not border fence. This comment has drawn flak from several circles. The NGOs want to know the difference between security fence and border fence. The governor Ashwini Kumar had also visited the border areas and he assured the villagers that he would take up the matter with the appropriate authority.

In view of the disturbing developments businessmen and traders are not going to Moreh, the centre for the legalised border trade, as usual. There is a shortage of consumer items. One kg of rice is sold at Rs 35 at Moreh. Besides PDS rice meant for the poor sections of the people is smuggled out to Moreh. Recently police seized some trucks transporting illegally rice meant for PDS.

Meanwhile reports say that in absence of instruction from the Ministry of External Affairs the personnel of the Border Roads Organisation under the supervision of Assam Rifles are carrying the construction works of the border fence.

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