IMPHAL: The question hour of the Manipur Legislative Assembly on Wednesday saw a heated exchange of words between Chief Minister N Biren and Opposition MLA Khumukcham Joykishan over construction of Eco-Tourism project at Cheiraoching, Thangmeiband.
Replying to a query raised by Opposition Congress MLA Kumukcham Joykishan, Chief Minister N Biren said that the work for construction of Eco-Tourism project at Cheiraoching, Thangmeiband is being executed by Manipur Police Housing Corporation at an estimated cost of Rs 14,18,01937 and the state government has obtained clearance from the Ministry of Forest and Environment for the project.
The Chief Minister also placed the copies of work order, Agreement Copy, Tender Notice, sanction order, letter sent to the Ministry of Forest and Environment and subsequent approval in the house.
MLA Kumukcham Joykishan alleged that construction of the Eco-Tourism project has been taken up flouting the guidelines prescribed by the Ministry of Forest and Environment with setting up of three labourer camps and demanded a proper copy of the agreement.
The Chief Minister denied the charge citing that there was no question of flouting ministry guidelines. He said that government needs to maintain secrecy in some confidential matters and told the opposition MLA that the latter has full liberty to approach any appropriate forum to seek justice or to seek details through RTI Act if he felt dissatisfied.
The remark of the Chief Minister aggravated the opposition MLA.
The MLA said, “House is the appropriate forum. We in the house are law makers elected by the people. If the MLAs are denied information regarding the projects taken up by the government, holding of such House session will be meaningless”.
Later on, the speaker ruled that the issue could be settled by holding a meeting between the Chief minister, the opposition MLA in the Speaker’s chamber to clear doubts.
Replying to a query raised by MLA Awangbow Newmai, Social Welfare Minister Nemcha Kipgen said that so far construction of 779 Anganwadi centres have been complted during the last two years. Construction of four Anganwadi centres at Kandihang, Aben, Tousem Khullen and Phaitol villages in Tamei AC have been completed.
Agriculture Minister V Hangkhanlian said that the estimated area where cultivation could not be taken up due to drought in the state was 99,153 hectares and the estimated area where cultivation is possible is 95,847 hectares. Total yield of the state was estimated at 2, 57,154 MT.
The minister stated this while replying to a query from MLA AK Mirabai in the house.
The Minister further replied that as per decision of the cabinet on 31/8/2019, the department declared drought in the state on the same day. Accordingly, a report was submitted to the Relief and Disaster department, Manipur. As per the report, an inter ministerial central team visited the state on October 11, 2019 to take stock of the drought situation. Proposal of the state for relief assistance is under consideration in the ministry. An amount of Rs 6,02,93,000 was sanctioned by the Planning department for procurement of different Rabi seeds from state fund as per contingency crop plan proposed by the department. With the sanction amount, 96.12 Mt of Peas, 50.32 MT of Mustrd, 253 MT of Wheat, 49.58 MT of Maize, 107.40 MT of Gram and 34.44 MT of Lentil meant for were procured, added the minister.
To another question raised by MLA K Ranjit, the Agriculture minister said that 100 water pumps were procured to face drought last year. Before providing pumps to the farmers, information for requirement of pumps was obtained from the concerned DAOs and pumps were handed over to the concerned DAOs for use in the drought affected areas where there are water source. There are no specific guidelines for providing pumps. However, an MOU was signed between the pump beneficiaries and concerned DAOs that the pump allotted to them will be returned to the concerned DAOs after use. The district officers have been directed to collect the pumps from the farmers in a letter on January 13, 2020.