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Source: Hueiyen News Service

Imphal, March 04 2009: Manipur government has demanded provision of altogether eight battalions of Central security forces for deployment in project areas of Tipaimukh Hydro Electricity Project and Jiribam-Imphal Rail Line in the North Eastern Council Steering Committee on Security and Border Trade meeting held at New Delhi today, officials report here said.

In the meeting which chair by the Union Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta, state additional chief secretary, (planning and home) DS Poonia represent the state.

Joint secretary MHA (Border Management) Jarnail Singh also took part.

From the Manipur government side, the source said, deployment of adequate Central Security Forces in the project sites at Tipaimukh Hydro Electricity Project and at the Jiribam-Imphal Rail Line was tabled.

Deployment of at least four battalions each at the two projects sites above the presently stationing security forces was proposed by the state stressing the needs of flashing out militants operating in the areas where the projects are taking up.

As per the government assessment reports, the area where the Tipaimukh project located is dominated by militant outfits, Hmar People Convention-Democratic (HPC-D) and Hmar National Army (HNA).

Besides UNLF, NSCN(K), NSCN(IM) etc.are also actively operating.

The controversial Tipaimukh Hydro Electricity Project located within Manipur bordering with Mizoram state under Purbung sub-division of Churachandpur district at the confluence of Tuivai and Barak River.

Apart from strong presence of militants, the project has been taken up amidst strong opposition from various NGOs, government consider to provide sense of security to the officials and workers of the project is a must.

Many NGOs in Manipur are strongly opposing the construction of this dam highlighting the impacts of the dam to the ecosystem and biodiversity as the dam will submerged a vast land under water.

Considering all this expects, state government proposed deployment of 23 companies (4 battalions) of central security at the project site for the protection of quarries, roads and project site construction.

The security assessment is against the Union ministry of home affairs (MHA) which put the initial requirement of security forces at 12 companies.

As many as 21 rebels groups are active in the area along the 94 km stretch where the Jiribam (border town of Manipur with Assam)-Imphal (first phase), Manipur government assessment reports further stated citing the need of deployment of at least another four battalions of Central Paramilitary Forces for deployment for the protection of the project sites.

Detail of the militants presence on the areas were the rail line is pass through, the report said UNLF, Naga National Council (NNC), NSCN(K) and Kuki National Front (KNF) are operating in the areas from Jiribam to Kaimai, the area from New Kaimai along the Khongsang upto Irang is dominating by NSCN (IM) and at Awangkhul by both factions of NSCN.

The report also said that NNC was initially confined only in Nagaland but their operations expanded at Ukhrul, Senapati and in Tamenglong (where the railway line project located).

As such at present altogether 21 rebels outfits (eight each of Naga and Kuki, two each of Zomis, Hmar, one Muslims and five Meetei are operating in the area where the railway to pass, the assessment report to be tabled stated.

Only five companies of CRPF are deploying along the NH-53 which run nearby the stretch of the proposed rail line.

Apart from four more battalions of security forces, additional security personnel to conduct counter insurgency operations in the areas are required, the source maintained.

Mention may be made that the foundation stone of the railway tract making aiming at connecting Imphal with other state through rail line was laid in 2004 adjacent to NH-53 with a target to complete by 2012.

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