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(By Halley Nongmaithem)
The All Tribal Students’ Union, Manipur (ATSUM), visited the remote tribal pockets falling under Jiribam District on December 2 to take firsthand account of the hardships faced by the tribal people.
ATSUM’s visit is based on the ‘Charter of Demand’ and as a part of the ongoing hill district tour to redress grievances faced by the tribal populace on various issues like education, healthcare, forest and land rights.
Reportedly, the people living over the Borbekha areas in the district, have little access to basic health amenities, education, sanitation, potable water among others.
Thangboi Punji village since its formation in 1950 has not been provided electricity, despite being located just about 30 km from the district headquarters.
Speaking to media persons, SR Andria, General Secretary of ATSUM lamented on the absence of ‘zero’ education in most of the tribal villages of the area, He appealed to the state government to seriously look into the matter of the educational institutions which are existing only in paper and to take necessary initiative at the earliest.
The apex tribal student body ATSUM drew the attention of the state government on issues confronting tribal land rights and the intention of the state or district administration to convert tribal village lands into patta land.
“We appeal to the government and concern authorities to start the process to revive payment of hill house tax payable by inhabitants of hills areas without further delay,” they said.
(Edited by Gabriel G Momin)