The Zomi Chiefs Association (ZCA) has ardently welcomed the newly drafted “Manipur (Hill Areas) Autonomous District Councils Bill, 2021” proposed and recommended by the Hill Areas Committee, Manipur Legislative Assembly which will be tabled on the 13th Session of the 11th Legislative Assembly beginning from August 20.
ZCA in the release issued on Thursday commended the able Chairmanship of Leishiyo Keishing for various initiatives for the protection of tribal land and rights including the passing of Resolution No. 38 (2020)-HAC, dated 11th March, 2021 where it was categorically resolved that “any declaration of Protected Forest, Reserved Forest, and Wildlife Sanctuaries on or after 20th June, 1972 shall not be enforced by the Department until the approval of the Hill Areas Committee, since it pertains to Scheduled Matters of Article 371C of the Presidential Order of 1972”.
It continued to say that Manipur (Hill Areas) Autonomous District Act, 1971 has undergone several amendments; however, the disproportionate level of development between the Hills and Valley of Manipur as witnessed today even after 50 years after the implementation of this Act is a clear testament to the inadequacies and deficiencies of the Act. The proposed “Manipur (Hill Areas) Autonomous District Councils Bill, 2021” apparently attempts at structural alignment between the Hill Areas Committee, the Autonomous District Council and the Village Authority for a seamless flow of administration in the Hill Areas of Manipur.
The proposed bill, if passed, will partly address the administrative distinctiveness of the Hills and Valley areas as enshrined in Article 371 C through the Hill Areas Committee and partially fulfill the historical autonomy enjoyed by the tribal people from time immemorial. It will also be a more judicious distribution of power for a more cordial and peaceful coexistence amongst the various communities of the state, it added.
The Zomi Chiefs Association concluded saying that it fervently appeal the leader of the House, CM N. Biren Singh to support this Bill along with other legislators of the state and calls upon all tribal Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) of the state to ensure that this Bill translates into an Act in the interest of the Hill Areas in particular and the whole of Manipur in general.