Senapati: The All Tribal Students’ Union Manipur (ATSUM) which is the apex tribal student body has urged the Chairman of the Hill Areas Committee, Manipur to table the HAC Recommended “Manipur (Hill Areas) Autonomous District Council Bill 2021” during the 2nd State Legislative Assembly.
In a representation submitted to the Chairman, Hill Areas Committee, Manipur Legislative Assembly, Paotinthang Lupheng, president, ATSUM and SR. Andria, general secretary, ATSUM stated that the student body submit the representation to apprise him of the wish and desire of the tribal populace of the state to witness the tabling of the HAC recommended “The Manipur (Hill Areas) Autonomous District Council Bill 2022” in the ensuing 2nd Session of the 12th Manipur Legislative Assembly and passing of the same into an Act.
The representation mentioned that Article 371C of the Constitution of India read with the Manipur Legislative Assembly (Hill Areas Committee) Orders 1972 provided a scheme for separate administration of the hill areas of Manipur state through the HAC for Executive and Legislative affairs on scheduled subject matters. The Hill Areas Committee through the Autonomous District Councils is empowered with provisions for administration of the hill areas as defined in the 1972 Presidential orders.
Since its enactment, the Manipur (Hill Areas) Autonomous District Councils, Act 1971 has gone through several amendments yet the basic principle of developing the hill areas could not be achieved but has rather resulted in disproportionate developments between hills and valley of Manipur during the said period as the principal Act including all amendments have served no purpose, being toothless in nature with no financial, executive and legislative autonomy. As such, the HAC as empowered by paragraph 4(3), paragraph 7 and Rule 12A (the Third Scheduled) of the Manipur Legislative Assembly (HAC) orders 1972, unanimously recommended the Manipur (Hill Areas) Autonomous District Councils Bill 2021(which seeks to provide more autonomy to the ADC as envisaged under Article 371C of Indian Constitution read with the Manipur Legislative Assembly (HAC) orders 1972) on the 16th of August 2021 to be tabled and passed into an Act in the 13th session of the 11th Manipur Legislative Assembly. However, the state government flatly denied the introduction of the Bill in the said session of the Assembly.
In this regard, an agreement was signed by the Manipur state government with the ATSUM, ANSAM and KSO-GHQ on 25th November 2021 whereby, the state government agreed to table the HAC recommended “The Manipur (Hill Areas) Autonomous District Councils Bill, 2021” in the winter Assembly session of 2021. However, even after a lapse of 8 months, neither was the Winter Assembly session convened nor has the Bill been introduced in the first session of the 12th Manipur Legislative assembly which was held in the month of March, 2022.
In the light of the above facts, it is submitted that a meeting of the Hill Areas Committee, Manipur Legislative Assembly be convened and as unanimously decided on 16th of August 2021, the same position be communicated to the Manipur state government for tabling of the Manipur (Hill Areas) Autonomous District Councils Bill, 2021 in the ensuing 2nd Session of the 12th Manipur Legislative Assembly and passing of the same into an Act.
In a press communiqué issued by Khaiminlen Doungel, Information & Publicity Secretary, ATSUM, it stated as in pursuant to the resolution adopted at the 2nd General Assembly of ATSUM held on July 15, 2022 at Haipi village, Kangpokpi district, it reiterated the demand for tabling of the HAC Recommended “Manipur (Hill Areas) Autonomous District Council Bill, 2021” in the Manipur Legislative Assembly, the All Tribal Students Union, Manipur (ATSUM) had submitted a representation to the Chairman and all members of the Hill Areas Committee, Manipur.