Chandel (Manipur), May 13 (ANI): The border areas of Manipur’s Chandel district, adjacent to Myanmar, function as a gateway to promote international border trade.
A visit to some of the remote villages in the area would indicate the important role played by them in the region.
Manipur, which occupies a stretch of 1,463-kilometres along the border with Myanmar, is considered the gateway for India”s trade with South East Asian neighbours.
Moreh town in Manipur, 110 km from capital Imphal, is an upcoming commercial hub under the ‘Look East Policy’.
The Central Government has undertaken construction of roads for better connectivity along the Indo-Myanmar border .
Construction of a bridge over the Khujairok River and work on border fencing are also underway.
“Twenty five items have been selected and short-listed under Indo-Myanmar border trade agreement. Another 15 items are bing added. Altogether, 40 items were selected as trade items……. Both the countries will be benefited. India will get things at cheaper price,” says Lunminthang Haokip, Additional Deputy Commissioner, Moreh
Another interesting place is Ngamkhai village. Surrounded by lush green mountains, it is predominantly inhabited by the Kuki tribe.
Main occupation of the villagers here is making charcoal, collecting timber from the forest and sand stones from riverbanks.
It is located close to Moreh, but still it lags behind in terms of development.
Limited healthcare facilities, insufficient water supply and erratic power supply are some of the problems faced by the villagers.
“Healthcare is practically nil. We depend on the primary health center, which is not properly set up. It lacks doctors, nurses and instruments,” said Ginsei Lhungdim, General Secretary, Hill Tribal Council
“We usually face water-shortage as we live at higher elevation. The supply that we receive doesn’t even last for half and hour and it is not enough for all of us,” said Tong Khongam, a local resident of Ngamkhai Veng Village.
Even though insurgency led violence is less in the area as compared to other parts of Manipur, there are frequent economic blockades and shutdowns.
According to Lunminthang Haokip, Additional Deputy Commissioner, Moreh, practical problems are there. The road between Pallen and Moreh is not good. Moreover, other problems like bandhs and economic blockades hamper trade.
Villagers believe that the suspension of operation agreement signed between the Center and the Kuki National Front (KNF) has considerably reduced militancy in the region.
“There is no of violence by Valley or tribal Underground group, following the signing of Suspension of Operations agreement,” said Ginsei Lhungdim, General secretary, Hill Tribal Council.
It is hoped that with proper development of infrastructure, the immense business potential of these border villages can be realized that will transform the lives of the villagers. (ANI)