Organiser and Panchjanya have completed their glorious seventy-five years. In this regard, Media Mahamanthan, a day-long programme was organised by Bharat Prakashan (Delhi) Limited, in Delhi recently. Prafulla Ketkar, Editor Organiser had an engrossing and in depth discussion with N Biren Singh, Chief Minister of Manipur. Biren Singh, who has effortlessly moved from the football field to the rough and tumble of politics, has been elected as the CM of this North Eastern State for the second time in a row. Singh has been winning Assembly elections from the Heingang constituency since 2002. As Chief Minister, Singh has taken many important steps for the overall development of his State. Excerpts
I interviewed you just before the elections. At that time you said that the Bharatiya Janata Party would cross 30 seats on its own. What was the secret behind this belief?
The secret behind this success is the blessings of the people of Manipur and the support of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas and Sabka Vishwas and everyone’s efforts have led to such a huge success for the BJP in Manipur.
Manipur is known for its different politics. There has been a distinction between the hills and the plains, tribal and non-tribal, Manipur and the rest of India. You are ahead with a positive agenda for the first time. You have taken steps to end this entire impasse. How did you achieve this success in your tenure of four and a half years?
The condition of Manipur was very bad before the BJP Government. It used to be closed for 20 days in a month. There were strikes, and picketing demonstrations, Manipur was financially closed. There used to be fake encounters at that time. I want to tell you that at that time I used to feel ashamed of myself that I am a resident of Manipur. To rectify these situations, I joined the BJP. First, I worked to bring people living in the hills and plains together. Manipur is geographically very different from other States of the country. Due to our geographically challenging terrain, roadways, rail routes, air routes and waterways were not developed much. Our Government has taken several steps to promote the development of transport in Manipur. Now we have a direct flight and a National Highway has been constructed for Manipur. When our government was formed in 2017, we started the Go to Hill Campaign. Apart from this, we also started a campaign called Go to Village. Beneficial schemes of the Central Government were not reaching door-to-door of the people. To take all these facilities from village-to-village, camps were organised by administrative officers in the villages. Apart from the Ayushman Bharat scheme of the Central Government, we also took schemes of the Manipur Government to the doorsteps. Due to all these efforts of ours, mutual brotherhood and love among the people of Manipur has increased further.
You said that Manipur used to be blocked. Does this still happen? What steps have you taken to end this situation?
Those who used to encourage riots and terrorism they used to carry out their work by living among the people. After the BJP Government came, people started getting the resources they deserve. When people started getting the benefits of Government schemes, they opposed the people who spread terrorism and riots and started supporting the Government.
‘When our Government was formed in 2017, we started the Go To Hill Campaign. Apart from this, we also started a campaign called Go To Village. Beneficial schemes of the Central Government were not reaching door-to-door of the people. To take all these facilities from village-to-village, camps were organised by administrative officers in the villages. Apart from the Ayushman Bharat scheme of the Central Government, we also took the schemes of the Manipur Government to the doorsteps’
Manipur has been declared as a Covid-free State. You have done a lot of work for health, employment and skills in the remote areas of Manipur. Apart from this, you are also doing a lot of work to make Manipur drug-free. Tell us something more about it?
Manipur border is close to Myanmar. The border of 394 km is completely unguarded. The situation in Myanmar is going very bad nowadays. We had started a campaign, War on Drugs; today people from every section of Manipur are getting support for this campaign. Due to this huge amount of drugs are being caught every day. Drugs from Manipur are supplied all over the country after Assam, Tripura and Bengal. We have taken many steps to stop this. We haven’t had complete success. We tightened the noose on drugs that within 2 months, 10,080 crores were confiscated. My target is to make Manipur a drug-free State in 5 years and it will happen.
There are many non-BJP Government States that are opposing the issue of extra control of BSF in border areas. BSF allows investigation and patrolling under 50 km. Manipur also faced reaction against this special provision to BSF. How will this help you to fight against drugs?
BSF is performing wonderful duty on border areas. This is a historic decision which has been taken by the Central Government. Due to BSF getting more powers, there has been a huge reduction in illegal arms smuggling and drug smuggling in the border area today. People of Manipur feel safe due to more movement of BSF.