Imphal, Sept. 4: The United Naga Council temporarily lifted the ban imposed on central projects in Manipur with effect from 5 this morning in response to an appeal by the Centre, the UNC said.
The decision to lift the ban, which was imposed from midnight of August 11 on construction of railway tracks and power grid line, was taken during a meeting of the UNC yesterday.
The apex body of the Nagas in Manipur called the ban to put pressure on the Centre to resume the tripartite talks between the UNC, Centre and the Manipur government on its demand for an alternative administrative arrangement for the Nagas in Manipur outside the purview of the state government.
The Centre had last convened the sixth round of tripartite talks in New Delhi on August 30. Official sources here said the last round of talks did not make much headway on the demand. The UNC, however, said they had arrived at a “general agreement” to take forward the talks to political level within two months.
During the talks, the Centre’s representatives appealed to the UNC to lift the ban on central projects in Manipur.
The UNC, in a meeting held yesterday, discussed the Centre’s “request” and eventually decided to lift the ban.
“The ban will, however, continue for projects that are exploitative, divisive and have not taken prior consent of land owners who are displaced/to be displaced and affected by the projects, such as the seismic survey for oil exploration, the Mapithel multi-purpose dam and the Chakpikarong multi-purpose dam in the Naga areas,” the UNC said in a statement.
In the fifth round of talks held in Senapati, representatives of both the Centre and the state government offered development projects instead of the alternative arrangement. This infuriated the UNC delegation.
After the Senapati talks, the UNC leaders had demanded that the next round of talks should be held at the political level as the issue was political.
Before the sixth round of talks, chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh, in his Independence Day speech, had rejected the demand for an alternative administrative arrangement.
Ibobi Singh had also rejected the Kukis’ demand for a separate Kuki state.
“Manipur is a very small state. It is impossible to carve out more states based on communities from it,” he had said.