Imphal: The Manipur government’s decision to acquire land at Haollenphai village — in Moreh town bordering Tamu of Myanmar — to set up International Township, a “smart city”, is facing stiff opposition from Thadou students.
A “smart city’s” core infrastructure is information technology where networks of sensors, cameras, wireless devices and data centres form the key infrastructure-providing essential services.
The Thadou students have urged the government to revoke the plan to acquire land for construction of such a city at the border. They have issued an ultimatum to meet the demand by or before November 18, failing which a 48-hour strike will be imposed on all national highways in the state.
The Thadou Students’ Association (TSA) today organised a news conference at Manipur Press Club here on acquisition of 3,000 acres land at Haollenphai of Moreh, a border town in Chandel district of Manipur, for construction of a “smart city”.
The vice-president of the students’ association, P.C. Doungel, said: “We have submitted a memorandum to chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh on October 21 demanding revocation of the land requisition plan immediately. However, we have not received any reply till today.”
Saying that industries minister Govindas Konthoujam in a press statement had stated about acquisition of 3,000 acres of land at Haollenphai, the association sought a public clarification from the government.
Doungel said if the report is false, the government must retract to the statement and offer a public apology. “If the report is true, the government must provide detailed information on the process of land acquisition and whether all the guidelines and rules of land acquisition have been complied with,” he said.
The general secretary of the association, James Hao-kip, said if the government failed to meet the demand, the agitation will be intensified.
The press statement of the union said if the government has acquired the land, the students’ association and the indigenous community would consider it null and void. “We will also consider it as a direct assault on tribal rights and the people. Together with like-minded organisations and public, the TSA will vigorously pursue remedial steps.”
The students stated that they neither want nor need a “smart city” in their area. They said they want development, but it should not be imposed on them.