Imphal: Tension erupted in Manipur’s Thoubal district as farmers and landowners of 44-Yaithibi Loukol took to streets condemning the state government for damaging several hectares of ripe paddy fields for construction of a Mega Food Park in the area on Thursday.

A video circulated on social media showed a tussle between the police personnel and farmers as the paddy fields, which were already for harvest, were being destroyed for construction of the mega food park, the first such park in Manipur.

A statement issued by 44-Yaithibi Loukol Farmers and Land Owners’ Development Association alleged that the paddy fields were destroyed by the industries department with the help of various commando and police personnel using heavy machines like bulldozers and JCBs.

It further alleged that farmers who came for work on their paddy fields in the morning were denied. The statement added that the BJP-led state government has decided to set up a police outpost at the site under Thoubal and Kakching PS for constructing the food park. The farmers and landowners are strongly against the government’ s plan for setting up a police outpost.

The farmers and land owners association also criticised three MLAs – Paonam Brojen, D Korunthang, and M Rameshwor – saying their moves are meant only for getting contracts and their support for the construction of Mega Food Park is very unfortunate for the farmers and people.

Earlier, the textiles, commerce and industries minister Th Biswajit had informed that necessary preparations are on for the setting up of the first ever Mega Food Park in the state.

As per reports, the Mega Food Park will provide 1500 direct employment opportunities for the local youth in its units. On its completion, the park will also have a 1800 MT cold storage facility, and ripening chambers for locally produced fruits and vegetables.

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