- Amit Shah flagged off schemes worth Rs3,000 crore for Manipur
- He asked Manipur's civil society bodies to seek its development, too
- He congratulated Manipur on getting the right to impose inner line permit
Union Home Minister Amit Shah today flagged off a slew of developmental projects in the northeastern state of Manipur, claiming that its "days of blockades" and strife were over. He also said that the government's aim was to connect the northeast with Kolkata in West Bengal and Bangladesh through the land boundary agreement signed between the two countries.
"Manipur used to face blockades," Mr Shah said referring to the frequent disruption of its economy, essential supplies, and traffic often over boundary disputes with neighbours and even over issues internal to the state. Since the BJP government took charge around three years ago, major blockades have indeed been unheard of in Manipur. "Over the past three years there have been no blockades. This just goes to show how the BJP works for development. The Biren Singh government has given a new identity to Manipur."
Mr Shah was speaking at a public gathering at the Hapta Kangjeibung ground in Imphal before inaugurating seven developmental projects worth almost Rs3,000 crore for the state. These projects include the Rs2,000 crore Thoubal multipurpose project, the Rs128 crore IIIT, and the Rs325 crore Churachandpur Medical College.
The Union Minister is in Manipur as part of his two-day northeast visit which began in Assam on Saturday. Earlier this morning, he bid farewell to Assam after praying at the Kamakhya temple in Guwahati and arrived in Imphal around noon, to be welcomed by Chief Minister Biren Singh.
Speaking at the Hapta Kangjeibung ground, the Home Minister touched upon the sensitive issue of "inner line permit", a document Indian citizens require to travel to a particular state. Three states in the northeast, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, and Mizoram were the states that asked for this document, until, in 2019, this requirement was extended to Manipur.
"Without even asking the indigenous people Modi ji did justice to the people by granting inner line permit to Manipur. This is how we protected the indigenous communities of Manipur," Mr Shah said.
He went on to refer to the state's civil society groups, which have often expressed distress over calls to unify areas occupied by Naga tribes. Any accord with the Nagas, they warn, must steer clear of threatening Manipur's territorial integrity. Only on Saturday, a public convention attended by major civil society bodies of the state decided that no ethnicity-based council can be accepted within Manipur.
Assuring such civil society groups of the government's commitment, Mr Shah also took a jibe at them: "I see the various demands of the civil society groups. One request to them is to also include demands relating to development of Manipur," Mr Shah said.