A newly constituted committee on the protection of border areas submitted a memorandum to Chief Minister Okram Ibobi on Friday for suspending the erection works of a border fence till Indian areas are properly demarcated. He is reported to have assured the committee representatives that his government shall never compromise on Manipur's territory.
Talking to journalists, the representatives said they had visited some border villages in Chandel and Ukhrul districts. Representatives of the tribal students and chieftains were also present.
Govajung village — half of which is in Myanmar — in Chandel district will be bifurcated by the border fence which is currently under construction. Thirteen other villages in the district will also be affected once the fence is erected.
In Ukhrul district, the entire village of Zed Choro will go to Myanmar if the border fence is erected at the stipulated area. Twenty other tribal villages in the district will also be affected once the border fence erection is complete.
It may be recalled that the students and tribal chieftains' organisations in these two districts have been agitating against the fence’s construction, pointing out that their traditional land should not be doled out on a silver platter in this manner.
Ms. Kim Gangte, president of the Manipur unit of the Trinamool Congress, said that at least 14 villages near Saikul will be affected by the border fence. Her party and some others are demanding the suspension of the fence’s erection.
Mr. Okram Ibobi said his government has written to the Union government to review the program since there have been several complaints that Manipur's land will be usurped. However, there has been no response from the Union government on this issue.
On January 9, 1834, the British Indian government had gifted Kavo valley — formerly a part of Manipur, with a territorial area comparable to the state — to Myanmar. Many sections of people are still not happy with the decision, which was viewed by them as sidetracking of king Gambhir — the then king Gambhir of Manipur.
The erection works of the 10 km long border fence at Moreh was suspended following complaints from Myanmar that some parts of its territory had been encroached upon.