Imphal, Aug. 13: A high-level committee has been constituted to examine the controversy over the construction of a border fence along the Moreh sector of the Indo-Myanmar international border.
The committee will probe whether the norms of border fencing are being adhered to while constructing the fence.
The decision to constitute the committee was taken after affected villagers, public organisations and political parties raised objections to the fence, saying it was being constructed much inside Manipur, beyond the norm of 200 metres from the zero line, upto 1km from the international border at times.
They have also objected to the fact that the 10km-long fence, the construction of which is yet to be completed, will bifurcate more than 10 villages in Chandel district.
The decision to constitute the committee was taken by the state cabinet last night after it discussed the border fence row, an official source said.
The committee will be headed by principal secretary, home, Suresh Babu. Its other members include inspector-general of Assam Rifles (South) Maj. Gen. Rajeev Chopra, a senior official of the Border Roads Task Force, deputy commissioner Chandel Th. Chittaranjan Singh and superintendent of police Chandel E. Priyokumar Singh.
The construction of the fence has been taken up by Assam Rifles for security reasons and is being implemented by the Border Roads Task Force.
“The committee will make spot verification of the border fencing very soon, review the fence and submit a report to the government on its actual position,” a source said.
The government committee was constituted after the Information Centre for Hill Areas of Manipur, an NGO, chiefs of Kuki and Naga villages and Kuki and Naga organisations formed a committee called the Committee on Protection of Land in Border Fencing on August 2.
The citizens’ committee submitted a memorandum to chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh the same day, demanding a joint survey by India and Myanmar for demarcation of the boundary based on historical documents.
It also demanded that the citizens’ committee should be a part of the survey team and that the fencing should be halted until a clear demarcation of the boundary was done.
The president of the citizens’ committee, Nongthonbam Rajendro Singh, welcomed the constitution of the government committee.
“We are happy with the government’s move to look into the problem raised by us. However, our border land protection committee will not accept any boundary fixed by anyone without the involvement of our committee,” he said.
The Opposition Manipur Peoples Party has already sent a memorandum to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, urging him to stop the construction of the fence till proper verification of the boundary is done.