Manipur is three hours away from Delhi by air. But it might as well be a world away. Caught in a whirlpool of corrupt politics and 59-year-old insurgency, it’s become a flailing state.
The state’s administration is opaque. In many areas, the nearly 30 separatist groups call the shots. For two weeks, there has been a power-cut in Tameng-long district because officials have been missing from offices. Instead of the state government cracking the whip, the NSCN (I-M), a rebel group, has cautioned the officials they would be punished if they don’t get back to work.
Economically, the state is one of the worst performers. Its annual per capita income stood at Rs 19,258 in 2007-08 — third lowest among Indian states.
Home Minister P. Chidamba-ram has said a large part of development money is routinely siphoned off. Under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna, Manipur’s 2008-09 target was 900 km. It has completed 79 km.
The government’s neglect of civil society has ensured that the mood is rebellious in the streets of Manipur.
Protesting fake killing on July 23, civil society group Apunba Lup has shut down schools and colleges indefinitely.