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http://www.thesangaiexpress.com/fullstory.php?newsid=6841

28 June 2011

IMPHAL:
At a time when the residents of Naga River Colony are raising a strong and vocal protest against the Government’s decision to set up a 5-Star hotel at the locality, a fact finding team of National level civil society organi-sations has expressed apprehension that the State Government may have a ‘hidden agenda’ in acqui-ring land at the locality.

Apart from analysing the facts, the team visited Naga River Colony and interacted with the residents this morning.

The team comprised of National Integration Council Member Dr John Dayal,  North East Support Centre and Helpline Spokesperson Madhu Chandra, Manipur State Minorities Commission Member N Debendra and All Manipur Christian Organisation President Rev Prem Vaiphei.

The team later hosted a press conference at Mani-pur Press Club in the pre- sence of Naga River Colo-ny residents, social workers and civil society leaders.

Speaking to the media, Dr John Dayal said, “It is quite clear from the narratives of the events that the Government has been in undue haste in the entire process of acquiring land. The Government issued land  acquisition notifications even before assess- ment of the hotel’s needs were available. It gives credence to the apprehensions of the villagers that there are malafide intents in the Government’s move and the entire exercise may be just for the benefit of some unknwon rich and politically powerful persons.”

He said that the State Government formed a Committee under the Chairman- ship of the Chief Secretary to assess the value of assets and frame the principle on which the assets and management of Hotel Imphal are to be leased out to private party on PPP model on June 4 this year.

However, the Government started land acqui- sition process way back on May 20, 2011 by issuing the notifications.

After analysing the facts and listening to the  residents, the fact finding team made six recommendations to the State Government to break the deadlock.

Maintaining that there does not seem to be any need to acquire Naga River Colony land to set up a luxury hotel, the team recommended that Imphal Ho- tel be upgraded on the existing land.

There is sufficient land for the hotel and nearby Government properties to suit even a huge luxury hotel, the team said adding that many luxury hotels are being run across the globe in the land less than the one Hotel Imphal currently owns. The team also recom-mneded to have face-to-face discussions by the Chief Minister to respond to the apprehensions of the residents.  It added that PPP models must not be for the benefit of a few but affected people must be given an opportunity to be a part of the PPP with guarantee of profit sharing, employment and other benefits. The team also recommended to lift Section 144 of CrPC being imposed at the locality so that livelihood, security community life are not disrupted.

The team will submit its findings and recommendations to Governor Gurbachan Jagat, Chief Minister O Ibobi, National Minorities Commission Chairperson, National Commission for Scheduled Tribes Chairperson etc.