IMPHAL, Oct 22: The Manipur Land Reforms and Land Revenue Act (MLR & LR Act) was deliberated at length during a public mee-ting held today at MDU Hall here under the aegis of MLR &LR Act Demand Committee.
Many speakers who addressed the gathering obse- rved that the MLR & LR Act which is enforced only in the four valley districts has been denying the people equal rights to land ownership in the State.
The Act is the prime factor for denying land owner- ship rights to the hill people.
Today’s public meeting was attended by Justice (Retd) H Kaminikumar, retd IAS E Sonamani, for-mer Advocate General Hij- am Nabakumar and retd IAS S Kunjabihari as presidium members.
Hijam Nabakumar said that after the merger of Ma-nipur into India, the Assam Land Reforms Act was enforced in Manipur.
A separate Act for Mani-pur was passed by the Ind- ian Parliament in 1960 without consulting the people of Manipur in the form of the Manipur Land Reforms and Land Revenue Act.
According to Section 2 of the Act, the State Government should issue a prior notice if the Act should be enforced in the hill areas of the State.
So far, no such notification has been issued, and as such the hill areas remain out of purview of the Act.
As the Act has not been enforced in the hill areas till date, no hill people possess any patta (land deed) for the lands they have been holding.
They could neither sell their lands nor buy new plots. The general practice is, the village chiefs/khullakpas would simply claim the whole hill ranges of their localities as belonging to them. Nabakumar further stated that it would be no easy task to enforce the Act in hill areas as the Government has been acting at the behest of their high command, not in the interest of the people.
S Kunjabihari observed that demanding implementation of the Act in hill areas in the present situation would require tactful and sincere approach.
The meeting was divided into two technical sessions where ex-Minister Haobam Bhuban and Padmasree RK Jhaljit were the moderators.
Speaking at the first session, Dr Dhanabir Laishram noted that non-implementation of the Act opened floo- dgates for outsiders to settle in hill areas.
Encroachers have been occupying large tracts of reserved forest and proposed reserved forests areas.
For this very, the Government should first re-adjust the existing districts and drive out all encroachers before any new district is created. UCM president Dilipkumar asserted that the State Assembly should first amend the MLR &LR Act. Before creating Sadar Hills district, the Government should re-arrange all the districts for public convenience and more effective administration, Dilipkumar said.
RK Ranendrajit cautioned that a civil war may break out in Manipur if the MLR & LR Act is not enforced uniformly all over Manipur.
Source: The Sangai Express