Meet demands debate on India-EU FTA

IMPHAL, April 16 : A memorandum demanding extensive debates in the Parliament and Assemblies of all Indian States on the proposed India-European Union Free Trade Agreement has been dispatched to Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, Union Minister of Commerce and Industries Anand Sharma and Opposition leader in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj.

Demands/points of the memorandum were resolutions adopted at a public meeting held at Sekmai community hall today.

The meeting was preceded by a mass rally from Sekmai community hall to Sekmai Bazar and back to the starting point.

Speaking the public meeting, secretary of the Resource Upliftment Centre for Human Interest Malemnganba said that 14 rounds of talks have been completed between India and EU on the bilateral FTA.

Once the FTA is signed between the two parties, it is the common mass who would be adversely affected. It is crucial for the general public what FTA is all about and what would be its impact on the community.

North East Dialogue Forum convenor U Nobokishore said that the proposed FTA between India and EU is not merely about trading garments or agricultural produces. It would be a comprehensive agreement which allows foreign companies to exploit minerals, oils, forests, and agricultural land at their free will.

Once the FTA comes into effect, not only natural resources of Manipur would be exploited and destroyed, it would also put to an all traditional practices of life and livelihood, Nobokishore cautioned.

Medicines would be dearer by 200 per cent. Medicines manufactured in India are comparatively cheaper and are of high standard. These drugs are used in the neighbouring countries of Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar etc.

Companies manufacturing these drugs would be taken over by foreign companies or MNC once the FTA becomes operational.

Stating about the initiatives to explore oil in Tamenglong, Churachandpur and Jiribam and extract chromite from Siroy hills, Nobokishore decried that the proposed FTA between Indian and EU has never been put up for debate in the Parliament.

The contents and nuances of the agreement have not been disclosed to public.

Another resource person Rebati Singh said that free trade agreement between India and Myanmar has been responsible for the sharp decline in the handloom productivity of Manipur particularly khudei and innaphi.

Hand-women quilt which was a very popular dowry item a few years back has been replaced by foreign blankets imported through Moreh. All these are matters of serious concern which affect many families of Manipur directly or indirectly, Rebati said.

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Courtesy:ISTV Imphal


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