Fear-stricken Manipur engineers submit resignation

Iboyaima Laithangbam

IMPHAL: Harassed by "anti-social elements", 230 engineers of the Manipur Public Works Department have put in their papers en masse. But Chief Minister Okram Ibobi, who holds the Personnel portfolio, has refused to accept the resignations. A few hundred engineers of the Irrigation and Flood Control Department and the Public Health Engineering Department are expected to follow suit.

Talking to mediapersons, PWD chief engineer N.G. Rashtrapati said the State Government had not taken steps to protect the engineers. On July 1 PWD executive engineer R.K. Mobisana was kneecapped in his house. Following threats to his life, Mr. Mobisana twice requested the State Government to provide security guards twice but to no avail.

On the contrary, he was punished for refusing to give in to gunmen's demands, said Mr. Rashtrapati.

The incident sparked fear in all engineers.Earlier, chief engineers S. Brajamani and O. Digendra took voluntary retirement, unable to withstand harassment.

As part of a rehabilitation policy, 15 per cent of contracts and other projects in all government departments were reserved for surrendered insurgents. This policy is said to be behind the recent problem.

Though such reservation was officially closed, reports suggest that gunmen corner almost all contracts.

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