Imphal, Dec. 2: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today announced that the Centre would go ahead with the Tipaimukh project. He added that Manipur’s Regional Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) would be upgraded to the status of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi.
Singh landed in bandh-hit Imphal to launch a series of development projects from the historic Kangla Fort.
NGOs opposing the proposed Tipaimukh project and Revolutionary Peoples Front, a militant outfit, separately observed a general strike today to protest against Singh’s visit.
Despite the bandh calls, a large number of people turned up at Kangla Fort to listen to the Prime Minister. Unprecedented security arrangements were made and no untoward incident was reported.
The North Eastern Council (NEC) will sanction Rs 130 crore and the health ministry would provide an additional Rs 100 crore to upgrade RIMS. The institute, which is at present under the NEC, would be transferred to the Union health ministry. However, its regional character would be maintained.
Singh added that the Centre has sanctioned the construction of five 50-bed hospitals in four hill districts of Ukhrul, Tamenglong, Chandel, Senapati and Jiribam subdivision costing Rs 75 crore. He laid the foundation stone for construction of a National Sports Academy, Manipur Institute of Technology, and a city Convention Centre. The foundation stones for all three were laid inside Kangla Fort symbolically due to security reasons. The sports academy will be constructed at Khuman Lampak sports complex at a cost of Rs 18 crore.
The Manipur Institute of Technology, to be built inside Manipur University complex, will cost Rs 35 crore. The convention centre at Imphal Palace Gate will cost Rs 24 crore.
Singh said a request by the Manipur government to upgrade the Manipur Institute of Technology to a national institute has been accepted. This would give Imphal an engineering college of national standard, he said.
Singh said the Tipaimukh and Loktak downstream projects would improve the economic condition of Manipur.
The public investment board has approved the projects, which are awaiting environmental clearance.
Union power minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and heavy industry minister Sontosh Mohan Dev will visit Manipur before Christmas to lay the foundation stones of the projects.
Singh added that the Centre was keen on improving roads in Manipur.