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Imphal Free Press - Imphal Free Press

By A Staff Reporter

IMPHAL | Nov 11

United Committee Manipur (UCM), Committee of Civil Societies Kangleipak (CCSK) and All Manipur United Club Organisation (AMUCO) today reiterated their stand that they will not compromise on the state’s territorial integrity at any cost. 

President of UCM, Johnson Elangbam said in a press meet held today at UCM’s Lamphelpat office said the recent developments of Naga peace talks with the Centre has alarmed the people of the state. He emphasised on the need to protect indigenous people of the state and its territorial integrity. 

Johnson asserted that their demands have been clear since ‘Framework Agreement’ was signed in August 3, 2015 between Centre and the NSCN (IM). A memorandum has also been submitted to the interlocutor R.N. Ravi in his recent visit in the state demanding to reveal the contents of the agreement to the public. However the agreement has been kept under cover till date, which creates more tension among the public, he added.

Further Johnson continued the civil bodies have been preparing themselves and in this regard they have arranged an open dialogue with the public at Lamyanba Shanglen on November 18 to discuss the pressing issue of Naga peace talks.

He invited people interested in protecting their age-old tradition of living in harmony to participate in the decision making programme in safeguarding state’s territorial integrity. He also appealed civil organisations and others not to impose any bandhs and blockades on the day and disrupt commuters in taking such an important decision of the state.

Johnson urged the people to give full cooperation in the struggle to protect the state from external and internal divisive elements. He also pressed on the politicians and bureaucrats of the state to cooperate in their demands and walk hand in hand.

He asserted that the six points included in the memorandum submitted to the prime minister are still valid till date.

President of AMUCO, Ph. Deban, who also spoke in the media briefing, added that the historic legacy set by the forefathers will never be forgotten and taking away from them would invite intense democratic agitations from the public and especially the three organisations. 

He said the Naga peace talks should respect and honour the territorial integrity and added that more intense agitation than that of June 18 will take place if the Centre takes any unwise decision.

Published in News

By A Staff Reporter 

IMPHAL | Nov 11

Group of Aspirant MPSC claimed that the result of MPSC (main) examination, 2016 was tempered according to a RTI reply given by MPSC first appellate, H. Gyan Prakash on last Wednesday.

Addressing a press meet today at Manipur Press Club, Group of Aspirant MPSC convenor, S. Robertson said that advocate, Th. Lucy under the RTI has requested the MPSC officials to provide photocopy of the answer sheets of the 82 candidates.

But the MPSC rejected the request as the RTI is filed by a third party under scheduled 11 of the RTI, he added.

The convenor said the reply of the RTI by the MPSC also mentioned that “and whereas the commission has in consultation with the examiners decided to recheck certain number of answer scripts which led to allotment of new marks in certain answer papers.”

Such statement clearly shows that the marks of the examination were tampered, he charged.

Robertson said that MPSC official stating that some of the answers scripts have been recheck by the examiner is very doubtful as the evaluation process was completed in the evening of October 3, 2016 and the result was declared on the next day. “At what time did they rechecked the paper” he asked.

The convenor said that they have decided to take up the matter to the Supreme Court within a few days.

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From Our Correspondent

JIRIBAM | Nov 11

The newly constructed, Jiribam 50 bedded government hospital located at Ningsingkhul, Jiribam is plagued by endless issues. Lack of sufficient doctors has been a major malady even since the hospital was inaugurated two years ago.

Besides the dearth of doctors, the beds in the hospital are dirty and the toilet which is attached with the female ward is so untidy that the odour is unbearable to the people.

It may be recalled here that the hospital was shifted before from CHC Jiribam since two years ago by constructing well setup infrastructures at Ningsingkhul.

The people of Jiribam were expecting that this would at least bring some improvement in the situation of health care facilities in Jiribam. On the contrary, the present conditions of the hospital have ruined all the expectation of the people.

Moreover, there are 8 or 9 doctors in the hospital but there are no specialist doctors for gynaecology, Paediatrics and medicine specialist.

Mention may be made that the monitoring committee of CHC, Jiribam submitted several memorandums to the authorities concerned regarding the urgent requirement of Jiribam 50- beded hospital but expectations of the people are not fulfilled. It seemed that the demands of Jiribam people were not considered as important or significant.

At this stage, the fate of Jiribam people are not said to be secured when it comes to healthcare facilities, they are still relying to the neighbouring state of Assam.

Published in News

By A Staff Report

IMPHAL | Nov 11

The two-day regional conference on Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 and POCSO Act, 2012, has highlighted that customary laws, widely practice in the NE region, stands as a major hurdle in effective implementation of legislation giving protection to children.

The regional conference which was inaugurated on Friday concluded today at Hotel Classic with Justice Darmar Murugesan, member of National Human Right Commission (NHRC), on the chair.

As a part of the conference representatives from seven Northeastern states including Manipur presented their initiatives, work progress, failure and challenges that are being face while implementing POCSO Act 2012.

Most of the representatives gave presentations of their works based on children sexual offence that carried out during the past few years, mainly after the implementation of POCSO Act 2012.

“Most of the Northeastern states strictly follow tribal customary laws. This has led to hindrance in bringing any issues related to child rights in legal proceeding”, said by a representative from Mizoram during the presentation.

A representative from Manipur said, “In Manipur apart from tribal customary law, mob justice also contributes in hampering the implementation of POCSO Act effectively.”

In the presentation he further stressed on the negative impact of mob justice which is a common trend in Manipur, adding that it not only victimises the perpetrators. 

Another representative from Mizoram also explained about the lack of reporting on child sexual abuse as result due to failure of police co-operation.

According to a representative from Nagaland, a state being the last to implementation of POCSO Act, the (Act) is in the initial stage and the government is doing its best for the effectively implementing it. “We are doing our best by conducting awareness about POCSO Act in school, colleges and churches”, she added.

In her closing remark, Jyotika Kalra, member of NHRC, asserted that organising such healthy conference is must as it gives a platform of extending and sharing knowledge.

Underscoring the presentation made by the representatives, Darmar Murugesan, observed that in order to have effective mechanism in implementation of POCSO Act, “It is very essential in improving the court’s functioning as the provision of giving bail to the accused person has made the victim’s parent hesitate to take the legal support.”

He said that NHRC has noted the experiences and challenges faced by the northeastern state to be noted down in a draft recommendation to be submitted to central government.

Published in News
Sunday, 12 November 2017 00:00

Tamenglong MLA censures bandh threat

IMPHAL | Nov 11 

Tamenglong MLA Samuel Jendai has criticised the JAC of All Manipur DPC completed recruitment candidate of police constable male 2013 batch, Tamenglong for threatening to impose a national highway blockade on November 15, the day of the chief minister’s scheduled visit to the district.

In a release, Jendai said the JAC is playing a destructive role and needs to immediately recall its call of bandh.

The release said the recruitment matter is in the court and under government consideration, adding that it pertains to the whole state batch of 2013 and not to Tamenglong alone.

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From Our Correspondent

THOUBAL | Nov 11

A meeting organised today by Manipur Home Guards Adhoc Sub Committee at the meeting hall of MMRC Unity Park at Khangabok, Thoubal district for reforming the Home Guards Organisation was disrupted by another group of home guards who tried to stop the meeting from being carried out.   

Severe altercations took place resulting in clashes between the two groups. A team of Thoubal police arrived and tried to take control of the situation. The altercations went on continuously for two hours until the people from MMRC and Unity park, seeing that the situation was getting out of hand, declared that they will not allow the meeting. Afterwards the situation was restored back to normalcy.

It may be mentioned that All Manipur Home Guards Employees Welfare Association is currently taking up several agitations regarding their demands against the government.

Regarding the incident, vice president, AMHGEWA said there is no such an organisation called Manipur Home Guard Adhoc – Commitee and today’s meeting came at the wrong time. The incident came as a result of being influenced by few others in order to divide the home guards. Written letters that prohibited the meeting were forwarded before to the organisers, he said.

A member of those who organised today’s meeting expressed that a meeting of All Manipur Home Guards Employees Association was held in September 2015, where the workers of the organisation who would hold their designations for the term of two years were appointed.

However, even after the completion of their terms, they are still holding their positions, and taking cases and agitations the government without bringing any positive results, he alleged. The employees have not received their salaries since the month of July, the post which are supposed to recalled for every three years have not been recalled, he said adding the meeting was organised so that these issues may be resolved by forming a new organisation.

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By A Staff Reporter

IMPHAL | Nov 10

Green revolution is much needed in the Northeast region said IIS regional director Mangjangam Thouthang while giving his keynote address on the occasion of the regional orientation workshop for field officers of Agriculture department, government of Manipur. 

He though India is no more an agricultural economy some 70 per cent of its rural households still depends primarily on agriculture for livelihood. Agriculture is the source of livelihood for more than 50 per cent of our population he said.

According to the government sources, the state has a lot of agricultural lands in the country out of which only some are irrigated he said. Therefore it is a challenge to provide water to the non-irrigated lands and make it a suitable adoption of advanced farming he mentioned.

 He continued the prime minister has given the clarion call on the need to increase agricultural productivity with overall welfare of farmers therefore the ministry has been renamed as ministry of agriculture and farmers welfare with a view to develop a holistic approach.

He said that as per the recent government data over 83 lakh and 81 thousand soil samples have been collected and about 30 lakh samples have been tested.

To bring success of the government’s development programs and schemes it depends on the people’s participation he said. The challenge we all face today is to take relevant information to the doorstep of the people he mentioned.

The directorate of field publicity acts as the bridge between the people and the government in a true sense, he added.

The main objective of the workshop is to educate and equip the field officers of DFP on the schemes and programmes of the ministry of agriculture and to enable field functionaries to fine tune for effective publicity campaign he mentioned.

The workshop was held at the conference hall of the department of agriculture, Sajengthong.

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Jiri News Network

JIRIBAM | Nov 11

The first seed fair cum food festival was organised today at the Bazaar shed of New Kaiphundai under Tousem sub division, Tamenglong district by People’s Endeavour for Social Change (PESCH) and Kaiphundai village authority. The festival was supported by Brot/EED/RNBA. 

21 C 37th Assam Riffles, Nayab Subedar Shyam Singh attended the occasion as chief guest and inaugurated the festival. Chairman, New Kaiphundaigi Village Authority, Angam Gangmei attended as the president and Agro-ecology coordinator, PESH, D. Phuanthanlung, attended as the moderator.

The students of Kids Academy Kaiphundai performed a welcome song and staff of NABARD, Dr. Namkhinlung Pamei gave the welcome address.

President, Hymdai Self Help Groups (SHGs) Kaiphundai, Pougakliu said the SHGs not only have provided help to the families but also provided self-employment to many individuals so that they may be able to support their families and bring development to the society. Therefore we urge the different CSOs and associations to give cooperation to Self Help Groups (SHGs), he said.

Afterwards, Self Help Groups (SHGs), Kaiphundai performed many cultural shows, adding variety to the festival.

Angam Gangmei expressed his thankfulness to those who made the festival successful and prayed that the festival should provide support to the SHGs. He further expressed his wish that the festival should be organised on the state level next time.

Nayab Subedar Shyam Singh said New Kaiphundai may be small but the people are hard working. Without hard work, it would not have been possible to organise such a festival. He prayed that the people are able to organise bigger festivals in the future and commended the organiser committee.

It may be mentioned that a total of 20 Self Help Groups (SHGs) in the Seed Fair Cum Food Festival; four from Nungkao,  three from Oinamlong, two from Kaimai, 5 from Sibilong, one from Aben and five from Kaiphundai. The main attractions of the festival were Chilly, Handicraft, traditional attires and many items made by the locality.

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 By Kuwar Singh

Unlike other roadside vendors, Pratima Devi refuses to wear an air mask. She runs her fingers round her spectacles, explaining that little drops condense on her lenses whenever she puts on a mask.

The 45-year-old vendor has abandoned her coveted stall license in Ima Keithel to sell phaneks and shawls on the main road in Imphal’s cacophonous Khwairamband Bazaar, where trucks, cars, autorickshaws and motrobikes hurtle past her and other vendors who sit in a precarious position on the traffic divider. A thin, dirty smell of smoke hangs around them during peak hours.

 The Bazaar is flanked with buildings of Manipur’s internationally-renowned Ima Keithel, where thousands of women vendors sell every household item from fresh flowers to mosquito nets.

 While Ima market can trace its origins to the sixteenth century, its three present compounds - the old market, the new market and Lakshmi market were built by the state government in 2010. They would prove a short-lived comfort; in January 2016, a 6.7 magnitude earthquake shook the city and severely damaged two of the buildings.

 “It was good that at least the quake came at night, so the rubble didn’t fall on the women,” says Shanti Thoudam, president of Nupi Keithel Sinfam Amadi Saktam Kanba Lup, the Ima market vendors’ association.

 The damaged compounds had been built by private contractor Simplex Infrastructures for National Building Construction Company. The old market building, constructed in the same area by the public works department (PWD), was the only one of the three left standing, albeit with a crack or two.

 Pratima had owned a garment stall in the new market compound. She was now among the two thousand vendors stranded on the footpath. As an aid measure, PWD built a makeshift shed nearby for them to temporarily carry their business before the buildings were repaired.

 When they set up, the vendors saw that unlike the compounds, which were open from all sides, the shed only had two openings at the end of long, narrow lanes with little room or ventilation.

 “Each woman is allotted 22 inches of space here,” association president Shanti says. “In the compound, we had 34 to 36 inches.”

 Vendor RK Thoibi, 72, says she had stayed in the shed for less than two weeks when she fell sick. In time, and there has been an abundance of it, Thoibi and a few others would return to the footpaths. Pratima went with them.

 The women say their main concern is not congestion itself, but the impact it has on their business. The shed’s dizzyingly colourful lanes cannot accommodate enough customers to sell the stocks of two thousand vendors. And most people only approach the handful of stalls at the opening of the lanes. A few steps inside, a fading smell of fresh garments hangs in the air, and vendors outnumber their customers.

Waiting for buyers, the women converse in resigned tones over red tea, boiled potatoes and roti cooked on oil. They kill time playing Ludo or popping foam fruit covers. Some of them fiddle with their stock; tie a knot at the end of a shawl, pull a thread off a pillow cover. Some others use their cloth piles to lounge on. It has been almost two years since the earthquake, and this temporary situation feels more permanent to them every day.

The BJP government in April had announced that the reconstruction of the buildings will be finished before September. “But now they say it will go on until March next year,” Shanti says.

 A delivery in March is also not certain. Private contractor Chandrahas Singh is retrofitting the compounds on a PWD contract. “We have more than 200 men working on the two compounds,” his site supervisor Momo Kh says. “But we could not get any construction material to the site during the blockade.”

The United Naga Council had called for a blockade of the national highways leading to Imphal last November to protest the creation of new districts in what it viewed as Naga-dominated regions. The blockade lasted for over four months.

 “We had managed to successfully procure the construction material but during the blockade it was lying in Dimapur,” says PWD’s executive engineer Randhir Singh. “We had to send it back to Guwahati and hire a warehouse to keep it there.”

 In front of the site, wrapped in her sunflower-print shawl, Pratima sits on a spread out gunny bag. There are few privileges in being on the footpath, but she now gets dozens of customers, even though they tend to walk away too soon amid rushing traffic and blaring horns.

 “Police harass us. Municipal officers harass us.” she says chewing her paan. “They say we don’t have permits.”

 On Tuesday afternoon, police officers again arrived in the market with lathis and rifles to drive vendors out of the street. No reason was given, and no reason was asked for.  The whistling men marched from one side to the other; beating their lathis on the road as the female officials nudged the vendors to pack their merchandise quickly.

Old women turned to pedestrians for help in carrying the stockpiles. Some vendors left for home, others walked around listlessly with their bags. The ice cream carts cycled away.

 The road was cleared within minutes. It now looked broader than usual. One of the policemen, who at this point was speaking into a megaphone, smiled triumphantly to himself. More armed officers and media persons had arrived. Women from the temporary shed were called to the reconstruction site.

 After an hour of waiting, a cavalcade of SUVs stopped by and out emerged the housing and urban development minister Th Shyamkumar. The minister beamed at the crowd, his palms folded in salutation. Among those gathered, Pratima kept craning her neck to see him.

 The minister spoke with the market president and other vendors from the shed, as well as with the contractor and government officials, all readily present at his disposal. He understands their pain, he kept saying to the women.

 Before leaving, the minister announced that he has received assurance from the contractor that the buildings will be completed and handed over to his department on the festival of Phairen Manchami on January 22. The crowd burst into applause. The women’s faces lit up.

 “We wanted the buildings before Diwali. Now we want them before Holi next year,” association president Shanti had said earlier. “Otherwise we will go on a protest.”

 Many vendors of Ima market work their calendars in terms of festivals, when sales spike. Now they have been promised the buildings a festival too early.

 But Pratima and a few others are not holding their breath. Soon after the minister left, they went back to spread their mats and set up their stalls, keeping a cautious eye out for the police.

The history of the market is chequered with threats to its survival. In 2010, the tremors again shook its foundations. But the mothers have been enduring on for centuries. Ima Keithel persists.

Published in News
Sunday, 12 November 2017 00:00

Ramkung Pamei is MHJU president

IMPHAL |Nov 11 (NNN)

Ramkung Pamei, editor of The Cham, a Tamenglong based daily newspaper has been elected as the president of Manipur Hills Journalists Union (MHJU) in Imphal today for the tenure of 2017-2020.

The election which was held at ADC Bhavan, Chingmeirong in Imphal has also elected other executives of the union.

Outgoing president of MHJU, Sothing Shimray in his speech while welcoming the new executives stressed the importance of unity and co-operation among the MHJU members.

Speaking after the election, newly elected president of the union, Ramkung Pamei called for the collective efforts in pursuing the objectives of MHJU especially issues related to the welfare of the hill journalists. He also batted for affiliation of MHJU to national level media bodies to enhance the welfare of the journalists in Manipur.

Lalmalsawm Sellate editor of Hmasawnna Thar (Churachandpur) is the new vice president of MHJU, S. Nengkhanlun,  Editor Zogam Today (Churachanpur) is general secretary and K. Kopham, reporter of Newmai News Network is assistant secretary, Timothy Z. Zote, Editor Manmasi Digest (Churachandpur) is finance secretary cum treasurer while Peter Adani, editor of The Hornbill Express (Senapati) is information and publicity secretary of MHJU.

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About IFP

Imphal Free Press is a widely circulated English daily published in Manipur, North-East India. Started in 1996, it has relocated its head office from Sega Road, Imphal to Palace Gate, Imphal.

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