The Telegraph
Saturday , March 18 , 2017

Biren budget focus on hills

Nongthombam Biren Singh (right) with King Leisemba Sanajaoba in Imphal 
on Friday

Imphal, March 17: Manipur chief minister Nongthombam Biren Singh today said his government would table a budget based on topographical needs in order to bring equal development in the hills and valley.

He made the announcement during a meeting with Manipur's titular king Leisemba Sanajaoba at the palace here today.

"We are working on a topographical needs-based budget. We need to provide Rs 200 for the hills compared to Rs 100 for the valley because of the difficult terrain. If enough attention is given in five years, both the hill and valley will have equal development," he said.

Biren Singh claimed that his idea of a region-specific budget was appreciated by the NDA government at the Centre, which will provide funds for development of the hills. "The state government is preparing a detailed project report for submission to the Centre," he said.

Biren Singh urged the king to play a major role in bringing emotional integrity of people in the valley and hills.

Immediately after being sworn in, Biren Singh had announced that his first priority would be bridging the gap between the hills and the valley.

Stressing the need for emotional integration of the hills and valley, the chief minister said the Meiteis have to play a big brother's role.

He appreciated the role of kings in Manipur who had tied up with the chiefs of various communities since time immemorial.

"Today we are proud of being Manipuris who feel that no one can suppress us. This is because of the kings who bestowed love and affection on all the communities living in Manipur," he said.

He urged the king to bring all village chiefs to Imphal for an interaction and promised to provide the funds for organising the meeting.

The chief minister said Manipur cannot progress unless both the hills and valley are developed together. His government has given top priority for overall development of hill areas, he said.

"Ministers and officials will go to villages in the hills and ascertain the condition. We have to be focussed on all-round development of the hills," he said.

On the alleged encroachment in Manipur by Myanmarese authorities, he said he had received an application from an indigenous association on the issue. Biren Singh said he would send a team to inspect the site and a report would be sent to the Centre for further action.

He said a survey would be conducted to verify allegations that the NSCN (I-M) has designated camps in Manipur. Subsequently, a report would be submitted to the Centre.

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