Stop squabbling, focus on COVID and development: ATSUM

MB Report

IMPHAL: Announcing that it will embark on an inspection tour to all the hill districts of Manipur for scrutinizing the developmental works undertaken by different departments and ministries under the government of India and government of Manipur, ATSUM warned that any lapses and shoddy quality of works encountered during the inspection tour will face its wrath.

Spurred by repeated complaints from the local people that many of the works sanctioned are either a non-starter or even if it was taken up the quality is poor, the union stated in a press release issued by its secretary Selboi Haokip that it has been decided to chasten and expose the responsible contractors, work agencies or anyone who are found to be involved. Nobody should be under the impression that they will be let-off scot free because of the leverage they enjoy with politicians or unholy nexus with underground elements, there is nothing more important than people’s comfort, the union forewarned.

According to ATSUM, it has been keeping a close tab on all the development works undertaken in the hill districts and was shocked to know that these contractors or work agencies are apt to coming out with ludicrous excuses of blaming the UG’s for their failures and using them as scapegoat to hide their shoddy works. Yes, there are instances of hefty demands, interferences and abduction of the workers thereby denting the work progress but this should not be made a pretext for non-performance, it argued. However, it admitted that there should be clemency while making monetary demands and unnecessary hassles cause to the workers should be avoided keeping in mind the greater benefit of the people from those works.

“The failures of the government’s monitoring agencies who have been employed to monitor the progress of the works undertaken have also come to the glare. Instead of chastising the errant contractors they are more inclined to taking kickbacks, bribes and pocketing wads of dishonest money. In collusion with the line officers or departmental officers’ work completion certificates are given without proper verifications or without determining whether quality is maintained or not in the process. From commissioners, principal secretaries, directors, chief engineers, DC’s, ZEO’s, SDO’S, SO’s, principals, headmasters and to field officers there has been a mania for contract works, to award the work to his/her kin or cronies or to have at least a share of the pie through cuts or percentage,” the release stated.

The release further said that there is a need to stop the sordid culture if we are to grow and develop at par with the rest of the world. There is a need for retrospection, change of attitude and propriety in the deliberation of our respective duties. ATSUM advocated the need to expose these corrupt officials or individuals who are responsible for the decadence of the tribal society and shame them in the public which entails public participation, .

The union also drew the attention to the fact that many part of the hill areas are cut-off from the rest of the world due to landslides, roads are filled with potholes, farmers are clamoring for fertilizers, progressive works are derailed, essential commodities scarce, the economy nose-diving and all-pervasive COVID 19 wreaking havoc. It noted that inspite of the people languishing in misery politicians are deeply preoccupied with their selfish agenda.

The union questioned whether this is the political culture that our politicians want to keep as a legacy for Manipur and as the role model for future governance. This is the gravest moment Manipur had ever faced as we are grappling with COVID and when our collective focus should have been directed towards its containment but even now the lives of the people are given the scantiest regard, alleged ATSUM while attacking the politicians for stubbornness to claim position of power. It placed sincere hope that the elected MLAs iron out their differences however difficult it might be and work for political stability as the people’s misery has reached the sky.

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