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CM Okram Ibobi Singh in hot soup for gifting away disputed land for Sports University

Okram Ibobi Singh, chief minister of India's restive northeastern state
of Manipur, gestures during an interview with Reuters in the state
capital Imphal August 9, 2003. Manipur is home to a thriving heroin
trade with neighbouring Myanmar and has 20-plus rebel groups fighting
both Indian rule and each other. Picture taken on August 9, 2003. TO
MATCH FEATURE INDIA-IMPHAL REUTERS/Jayanta Shaw

JS/FA
Okram Ibobi Singh, chief minister of India's restive northeastern state of Manipur, gestures during an interview with Reuters in the state capital Imphal August 9, 2003. Manipur is home to a thriving heroin trade with neighbouring Myanmar and has 20-plus rebel groups fighting both Indian rule and each other. Picture taken on August 9, 2003. TO MATCH FEATURE INDIA-IMPHAL REUTERS/Jayanta Shaw JS/FA

Imphal: Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh clarified that the state government had handed over 336.93 acres the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports for setting up the National Sports University at Yaithibi Khunou village of Thoubal district, but 34 acres of this is now disputed because of a court case initiated by the land owners.

The Chief Minister however said he believes the dispute over 34 acres of land, would be resolved soon.

Earlier the joint secretary (development) of the Minister of Youth Affairs had written to the government to get the dispute over the 34 acres cleared failing which the government might consider another new site for building the Sports University.

Briefing media persons at his bungalow office earlier this week, Ibobi said that he has faith that the court will decide in the favour of the government and the disputed 34 acres land would be acquired soon.

The proposal for setting up a National Sports University in Manipur was formally announced by the Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his budget speech in 2014-15 with an estimate of a 100 crores.

The ministry had informed the state government that approximately, only 200 acres of land will be needed for setting up the Sports University. However, Ibobi and his cabinet had given 336.93 acres, that is 136.93 acres of agricultural land in excess without being asked for.

“I have given the extra land for future expansion of the University,” Ibobi clarified to the media.

He added that he was thinking of even providing 400 to 500 acres of land for the proposed University.

Betraying clerical sloppiness however, there are numerous errors in the figures of the land areas. For instance the government provided a non-encumbrance certificate for not only the mentioned 336.93 acres but in the certificate of non-encumbrance a total area of 366.93 acres was marked by the Sub-Registrar of Thoubal district.

This has given rise to speculations that bureaucrats may be conniving to siphon the excess land.

Among the documents handed to journalists from the Chief Minister’s office, a non-encumbrance certificate issued by Sub-Registrar of Thoubal, A Subol Singh states that a total area of 273.16 acres has been purchased directly from 218 willing pattadars and 63.77 acres has been acquired from State Khas land at Yaithibi Khunou village.

It may be pointed out that the total area, that is 336.93, has been mentioned as 366.93 acres in the certificate.

Simply put, the state government has given a false certificate to the Sports Ministry by an excess of 30 acres.

It may also be pointed out that a non-encumbrance certificate had been given on August 24 last year. However, now there is a case on this 34 acres running in the court.

Later, the memorandum of agreement was signed on August 27, 2015 between the concerned central and state representatives. The terms of agreement mention that the land which should be handed over to the centre for setting up the University should be free from all encumbrances.

So, the State government through the Thoubal Sub-Registrar had fabricated the non-encumbrance certificate for the 366.93 acres, thereby not honouring the terms of agreement with the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs. Formally, the total area was handed over by director of YAS, W Bhaktaraj Singh to Deputy Secretary of Sports Ministry, Sunil Garg on August 27, 2015.

Later, the Ministry found out that the total land is still not acquired in totality. A D.O letter (No.70-77/2014/SP.VI) by joint secretary (Development), Rajvir Singh to chief secretary O Nabakishore on 26 May, 2016 states, “Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports is in the process of setting up of National Sports University in Manipur for which the Government of Manipur has already acquired and handed over an area comprising 336.93 acres at 44 Yaithibi Khunou village, Tahsil Khongjom, Thoubal sub-division, Thoubal district.

However, a patch of land measuring about 34 acres falling in the middle is still under litigation and has not been acquired so far. Because of this, it has not been possible to start the construction work for the proposed University.”

It further mentioned that the Manipur government is requested to expedite to resolve the issue of acquisition of the said patch of land at the earliest, latest by the end of June, 2016; otherwise, the government might reconsider the site of the proposed University.

In short, the state government had provided a false non-encumbrance certificate to the centre. The state has unnecessarily given much more land which has not been acquired in totality till date. And the disputed area falls in the middle of the land provided for the proposed Sports University.(ANI)

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