Governor Address - 1972
ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, THE GOVERNOR OF MANIPUR, SHRI B.K. NEHRU TO THE MANIPUR LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY ON 30.3.1972
Mr. Speaker and Hon'ble Members of Legislature,
I extend to you wholeheartedly my welcome and through you my warm greetings and good wishes to the people of Manipur on this momentous occasion of the convening of the first session of Manipur Legislature, soon after the elections. I am conscious that this is purely a formal session of the Assembly, but it is nevertheless historical in the sense that this session marks the beginning of a new chapter of full statehood which the people of Manipur have now acquired in full measure of equality with the people of other States in our great country of India .
2. In the wake of the statehood granted, the enactment of the Manipur (Hill Areas) District councils Act, 1971, was also an important landmark in the process of granting district autonomy in the hill areas so as to associate the people in the process of democratic and decentralized development. The functions of the District councils and their scope will, I hope, go towards meeting the requirements of economic growth.
3. Significantly enough, the advent of statehood coincided with the birth of Bangladesh after the heroic and magnificent victory achieved by the Indian Armed Forces together with the guerrilla forces of Bangladesh. The people of Manipur along with their brethren in other parts of the country showed a magnificent response, moral and material, in meeting the challenges of the situation which the country had to face. The demands made on the Civil Administration in the operations leading to the liberation of Bangladesh from the Pakistani military junta were also evenly met. The situation created by the rising prices of paddy and staple food during the crisis was effectively contained through a system of distribution of Government stocks through fair price shops, departmental distribution centres, Co-operative Societies, Gram Sabha Pradhans and others. I also look forward to the time when Manipur may derive benefits of economic growth as a result of the newly emerged communication and trade pattern which are bound to emerge on the new map of this entire region.
4. The statehood conferred on Manipur has not only met the political aspirations of the people at large and brought them to a stage of complete equality of opportunity with the people of other States, but it has also given new hopes in the minds of the population, providing the necessary infra-structure which would enable them to manage the affairs of the State and lead to a greater progress. While it marks the attainment of political and administrative maturity, it also at the same time, gives them greater responsibilities for shaping their future well-being in the manner which should make this State richer and more prosperous. It is only proper that the people through their elected representatives should fully appreciate their powers and responsibilities and deliberate on measures which would raise internal resources, so as to make it less dependent on Centre's loans, and to build the State of Manipur of their dreams.
5. In its march for progress and development, Manipur has made strides for the last few years through the Five Year Plans, and a good deal has been achieved towards creating infra-structural facilities, such as roads, power, communication, transportation, etc, My Government will now continue the tempo of development and draw up plans and schemes of progress keeping in view of the overriding priorities of roads and communications and growth through the potentially important sector of agriculture. Our State is geographically located on the map which places it at a handicap compared to others. That is all the more reason that transportation and communication will be the basic requirement of any programme of economic growth. Efficient road communication is also important for rapid and efficient development of a communication system within Manipur itself so that the valley and the hills should develop a mutually dependant economy. Cereal crops, cash crops and horticulture will, I hope, develop to the extent that Manipur would be in a position to raise its resources by exporting its raw or processed food products, developing at the same time agro-industries on wide scale. Indeed, we should be forward looking enough to see that our sweetest rice produced in Manipur is multiplied in quantity through double/triple cropping by augmenting irrigation and power facilities. We have already had a tradition of being in the front line of handloom industry in the country as a whole, and we should further explore the extension of handloom and other small scale industries for which techno-economic surveys have been conducted by the Industrial Development Bank of India, the Small Industries Service Institute, Gauhati, the Ministry of Industrial Development and the Rural Industries Project.
6. Our literacy is one of the highest in the country. Step is taken towards fulfilling the constitutional directive for bringing about free and universal Elementary Education of all the children upto the age of 14.
7. A Board of Secondary Education for Manipur will be constituted for which action has been taken for legislation. This will cater to the long-felt need of the Sate for giving proper education at the Secondary stage in conformity with the requirements of the State.
8. In the field of qualitative improvement programmes such as short term course in the teaching of science, seminars and conferences in collaboration with the NCERT have been organised. A Pilot Project for the teaching of Science at the school stage under the UNICEF Aided Projects will be taken up in the State also. A Sainik School has also been established at Imphal, which will serve as a model school for quality education as well as provide opportunities to the youths of this State for careers in the Defence Services of the country.
9. In the field of Technical Education, the Adim Jati Technical Institute which had so long been run privately by the Adim Jati Shiksha Ashram will be taken over by the Government for developing it to a full-fledged Polytechnic for imparting technical education at the diploma level.
10. In the field of higher education, a centre for Post-graduate teaching has been established under the Jawaharlal Nehru University , which will in due course of time develop into a full-fledged University.
11. In the field of Culture, a State Kala Academy has been established. The Academy will look after the development of the already rich culture of this State.
12. Unemployment which has been a bye-product of socio-economic circumstances has also to be tackled by finding enough avenues for the youth and giving them opportunities to take up productive and growth-oriented employment and to bring about a change of attitude beyond the stage of while-collar jobs. Manipur should not, indeed, lag behind in achieving the green revolution which promises prosperity and better standard of living to the enlightened farmers in other parts of the country. Indeed, one could look forward to a brighter period of development after our important power projects, such as Loktak Hydro Electric Project, are commissioned, bringing thousands of acres of land under irrigation.
13. Before I conclude I may mention that the welfare of the Government employees is also much dear to us. On the recommendation of the Third Pay Commission interim relief was given to the employees initially from the 1st March, 1970 , and again from the 1st October, 1971 . Steps would also be taken for provision of adequate housing and other basic requirements.
14. I should like to say how important it is that for all the development and growth that we all desire in Manipur, we will also have to ensure the basic requirement of peace and tranquillity in the law and order field of Manipur. I am happy that the rank and file of the forces of law and order have all these years attended to their duties with utmost devotion, steadfastness, courage and discipline and a fairly good number of them have been recipient of President's Police and fire Service Medals and other gallantry awards. The question of expansion of the Police set-up and of raising one more battalion of the Manipur Rifles is under active consideration. The peace and tranquillity are essentially something that should take root in the minds of all sections of people in Manipur, and the same cannot be enforced externally only. The economic growth of this young State may continue to be inhibited by violent underground groups and opposition, who have unwisely been misled into such activities which render movement of traders and the people as a whole including Government personnel not without fear or apprehension. Now that the Government of the people is to be run by the elected representatives, all patriotic people will, I hope, return to normal life to join hands with others for the prosperity of the State as a whole.
15. I have taken this opportunity to bring some important matters confronting the Government and the people of Manipur to the notice of the Members of this august House. The people look to this House with great hope and expectation and their welfare will receive due and serious attention so that conditions are created in which our way of life and ideals find the maximum fulfillment.
I have no doubt that this House will seriously devote itself to deliberate and quicken development and to ensure the good of all.