The Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi has said that the government will examine whether Manipur's land will be encroached upon when border fence will be erected in some parts of the Manipur-Myanmar border. He was reacting to the demands from several political parties to suspend the erection of border fence during a brief meeting with journalists on Wednesday night. He further said that the state government had already requested the Union government to look into the matter.

Several political parties say that the proposed border fence will divide at least 14 tribal villages. Besides all political parties except the ruling Congress are convening a meeting shortly to discuss the issue. It may be recalled that the erection of the 10 km long border fence at Moreh, the border town was suspended following complaints from Myanmar that its land had been encroached upon.

Maggots

Officials have taken up steps to check the unlicensed roadside factories of ice creams, breads and other edibles in and around Imphal following the reports that maggots were found in the ingredients of ice creams manufactured for sale to the people. The students' wing of the Committee on Inner Line Permit System in Manipur and some journalists raided three roadside ice cream factories in Imphal on Wednesday.

In the first raid on the ice cream factory run by a father and son duo from Bihar, the team found that they were using highly contaminated water drawn from a roadside creek. Live maggots were found in the water to be used in the manufacture. In the second raid in the Imphal city, there was no basic food safety. Besides the ice cream factory is also manufacturing ice for cold storage of fish. Plastic sheets smeared with fish blood were found covering the ice cream ingredients. The third factory had a licence. But there was no food safety measure.

Following the news reports in local media on Thursday the officials concerned were galvanised into a flurry of activity. Sources said that the roadside factories having no licence will be closed down. Besides sale of such health hazard ice creams by the hawkers is banned with immediate effect.

Confiscated

Troopers of 40 Assam Rifles deployed at Lilong about 20 km from Imphal arrested three Muslims on Wednesday midnight along with contraband drugs and illegal arms and ammunition. It is feared that they were travelling towards Imphal from Moreh, the border town about 100 km away. They were intercepted between Waithou and Ushoipokpi in Thoubal district.

The arrested persons have been identified as Abdul Rahman (21) and his elder brother Sher Khan (23) of Sangai Yumpham in Thoubal district and Ayub Khan (22) of Moreh ward No. 4. They were travelling in a car.

The Assam Rifles troopers recovered one 9 mm pistol, a live cartridge, five rounds of .303 rifle, two extortion letters in the name of the United People's Revolutionary Front, a staggering quantity of contraband drugs and Rs 70, 000 in cash.

They were handed over to police on Thursday. Police have registered a case. Police sources said that the gun, ammunition and drugs had been smuggled from the border areas. The arrested persons will be subjected to interrogation.