Elected functionaries of the panchayati raj institutions (PRI) in the five valley districts of Manipur along with MGNREGS beneficiaries on Tuesday gheraoed DC offices in their respective districts.
The elected PRI functionaries have been protesting against non-release of funds meant for Central sponsored MGNREGS, second instalment of 15th state Finance Commission as well as their monthly honorariums of 13 consecutive months since the last few days. Earlier, they staged a peaceful sit-in-protest in front of Imphal East DC office complex where the office of the directorate of state rural development and panchayati raj (RD and PR) located.
Intensifying their ongoing protest, the elected PRI functionaries along with beneficiaries of MGNREGS staged the protest in front of the DC offices across the six valley districts –Imphal West, Imphal East, Thoubal, Kakching and Bishnupur districts.
Large number of job card holders also joined the protest staged defying the restrictions on gathering of more than 20 at a time imposed by each district administration following the spiral increase in the number of COVID-19 positive cases in the state in the last around two weeks.
As the protesters banned entry of staff of the district administrations and other government offices in the DC office complexes, normal working at the offices were disturbed for the day.
Except in the Imphal West DC office where police tried to disperse the gathering on the advice of the district administration, the protesters were allowed to continue the protest till late afternoon.
In the Imphal West DC office, the protesters engaged in a heated argument with the police when the latter asked them to conclude the protest taking in account the grim COVID-19 situation.
Angered by the police action, the protesters locked down the main entrance gate of the DC office with a padlock. The police, however, broke the padlock later.
In Imphal East, the protesters carried out a rally defying the COVID-19 SOP. The rally was stopped by police from moving beyond Palace Compound near the City Convention Centre.
When the protesters insisted that they wanted to meet the state RD and PR minister, the police allowed only four representatives to proceed to meet the concerned minister.
The elected PRI functionaries were protesting since April 17 last demanding release of MGNREGS funds and airing their grievances in front of Imphal East DC office at Porompat.