From Our Correspondent
KANGPOKPI | July 5
Troops of 38 Assam Rifles under the command of Major Syed Irfan, post commander and 38 AR Kangpokpi post apprehended one KUFO cadre in the general area of Kangpokpi district on June 29 at around 10:30 pm.
The arrested cadre has been identified as Satkholen alias C Sent, 28, son of Doukholun from Lasan village in T Waichong sub-division of Kangpokpi district.
Another TPLA cadre was arrested along the National Highway near Changoubung yesterday morning by 38 Assam Rifles Kangpokpi Post and Maram Battalion in its joint operation in the area. The arrested cadre has been as Demginlun Kipgen, 18, son of Haokai Kipgen of Kangpokpi Ward No.2. He was arrested along the highway after carrying out extortion in Changoubung village.
Moreover, four cadres of KUFO were apprehended by Jwalamukhi Battalion under the aegis of Senapati Brigade yesterday in Saikul sub-division.
The arrested militants were identified as Henjahao Kuki, (19) son of Mangchong Lhouvum of Thenjang village and Letminlen Lhoujem, (26) son of Jemlun Lhoujem of Wakotphai village and Lunjahao Lhouvum, (23) son of Thangkom Lhouvum of Lasan Village in T Waichong sub-division and Thongkholun Lhoujem, (20) son of Sehjang Lhouvum of Motbung village in Saitu sub-division.
IMPHAL | July 5
It was on Monday evening when Irom Ibemhal of Singjamei Chingamakha Phura Makhong was preparing for dinner and egg curry was on the menu. She had hard boiled seven eggs and took off the shells. She made thin cuts along the eggs skin and fried them. She noticed that one particular egg was not turning brown unlike the rest.
She asked her daughter that the egg was not turning brown when fried in oil. Her daughter, Bemma told her to fry it later along with the onions and chives at the start of the cooking process. Yet, the egg refused to change colour.
Bemma, who heard about ‘plastic eggs’ being sold in the market and also saw some uploads on social media, suspected the egg of being a fake one. She took a piece of the albumin and placed it on top of a candle.
“It smelt like plastic burning. I was there when they burnt it,” said Irom Lalit, husband of Ibemhal. They had procured the egg from a nearby shop. It was only one among the seven. Their daughter had uploaded the pictures of the fake egg later on Facebook.
With the news of sale of ‘plastic’ or artificial eggs in the market doing the rounds in social media, designated officer of Food Safety Administration, Imphal West, Y. Satyajeet Singh has collected samples from the egg whole sellers. Most of the eggs are brought in from Andhra Pradesh by road.
“After hearing the news on social media, we have sent our teams and collected samples of eggs from Ngari Guli, near Ima Keithel and other whole sellers. We are sending it to our designated laboratory at Lamphel. We hope to get the reports from them shortly,” the officer said.
Satyajeet reminded that indulging in storage, sale, distribution or import of unsafe foods is an offence under the Food Safety and Standard Act 2006.
The team of food safety officers including S. Purnali, Dr Dinesh and P Nongallei had procured the samples from Agrocopex, GET, SSS traders and SL Traders from Thangal bazaar.
Offenders can be fined from a minimum of Rs 1 lakh and 6 months imprisonment to a maximum of Rs 10 lakh fine and imprisonment up to seven years. Like the police department the food safety officers have to get the suspected food samples and give them to the laboratory for testing. The laboratory technician will give a certified report and based on that the officers have to petition the court to arrest the concerned trader, if found guilty.
But, getting the samples tested on time is a problem due to inadequate infrastructure at the state testing laboratory. The laboratory can test some basic physical and chemical test but cannot detect even heavy metal or pesticide in the food items. Moreover, microbiological tests cannot be done.
As per rules of the Food Safety Act under section 46, the result should be given within 14 days by the laboratory. At present, there are 79 cases of food testing pending and the latest sample was given in May 2017. The egg samples were sent to the laboratory today, sources said.
The state laboratory should be having an accreditation of the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratory (NABL) and as such, the infrastructure can be upgraded to test various food products. At present, tests which cannot be done here are sent to referral laboratories at Kolkotta or Ghaziabad.
Under section 40 of the Food Safety and Standard Authority of India (FSSAI), a citizen can take any food item for testing to the state laboratpry located at Lamphel, MACS complex. If the food is found unsafe, the testing fee will not be charged.
If suspicious, whom to call
If any citizen has any doubt about the quality of foods the sample should be taken to the food safety officer. For Imphal West, one can call 8415818305 for registering a complaint. They can meet the concerned officials at CMO Imphal West (old building medical directorate). For Imphal East, the food safety office is located at the CMO office at Porompat near JNIMS.
By Oken Jeet Sandham
Ever since the Government of India started political negotiations with the NSCN (IM) after signing a ceasefire agreement with the latter in 1997, they have been making “Timeframe after Timeframe” to settle the Naga political issue. Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh made a “Timeframe” for settling the Naga issue during his second tenure as Prime Minister. It didn’t happen. Then, Prime Minister Narendra Modi as soon as he became Prime Minister made another surprising “Timeframe” to settle Naga political issue within 18 months and it has already elapsed. Even Home Secretary, GK Pillai, while talking to the press after reviewing the “Special Attestation Parade” held at Assam Rifles Training Center and School, Shukhovi, near Dimapur in 2010, said the Naga issue would be resolved in 12 to 24 months. But the solution did not come.
I simply wonder how the Government of India could make “Timeframe after Timeframe” to resolve the Naga political issue while holding “political talks” with one Naga Political Group while there were over half a dozen Naga Political Groups some of them already had the ceasefire with them. Straightaway, the Government of India should have guts to speak the fact that there could not be a final settlement to the Naga political issue if all the groups were not involved in the “Political negotiations.”
I really appreciate GK Pillai as, at least, he cautioned that the Naga issue was a “difficult problem requiring an imaginative and innovative solution” while saying that no final settlement could come about having talks with one Naga underground group.
The Government of India’s ceasefire with the Federal Government of India (FGN) in 1964 and their subsequent political talks with the Naga underground leaders and other accord like the “Shillong Accord” of 1975 were a clear indication that the “16-Point Agreement” of 1960 was not a final agreement to the Naga political issue.
Although the “16-Point Agreement” gave birth to the Statehood of Nagaland as the 16th State of the Indian Union, the Naga issue continued to remain and became more and more complicated in the following years. One of the biggest political blunders the Naga People’s Convention (NPC) had done in the history of the Naga politics was they had directly entered into an agreement in 1960 that was later known as “16-Point Agreement” while they were supposed to be a “mediating party” between the Government of India and the Naga underground group. Had they consulted the Naga underground group before entering into the agreement, it would have been a different story. We never know the Naga political issue might have been resolved at that point of time had they consulted the Naga people who were in the jungles then.
Even Odisha Governor, Dr. SC Jamir, who is one of the signatories of the 16-Point Agreement, used to say that the agreement was one of the finest political agreements the Naga people ever had but not a final agreement.
Soon after the Government of India’s signing of the “Framework Agreement” with the NSCN (IM) on 3 August 2015 at Delhi, Interlocutor for the Naga Talks, RN Ravi, had been holding “Consultative Meetings” with Naga civil societies, Naga legislators and even had similar exercise in Manipur with the leading civil societies. He had also had such exercise with the Naga civil societies from Tirap, Changlang and Longding Districts of Arunachal Pradesh. In fact, he should have held such “Consultative Meetings” with other leading civil societies of Arunachal Pradesh. So far, he has not done any “Consultative Meetings” with the civil societies of Assam.
Although it was politically necessary to have “Consultative Meetings” with Civil Societies of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Nagaland and Manipur, it will not yield a positive result without addressing the “core issue” and it will be simply a waste of time, rather buying time to prolong the Naga issue.
Ravi himself had repeatedly gone on record that the Government of India would never attempt for any piecemeal solution as they had already experience in the past and their approach would be “comprehensive.” That means unless all the Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs) are involved in the process, there cannot be any final settlement to the issue. To achieve towards this goal, Ravi should start holding “Consultative Meetings” with them.
Why has the Government of India not attempted to take the advantage of the positive development taking place among the various NNPGs? It was in December last year that six NNPGs – GPRN/NSCN, FGN, NNC Parent Body, NPGN/NNC (NA), NSCN (R) and NNC/GDRN (NA) – came together and formed a “Working Group.” They also unanimously adopted a resolution that said, “On our own volition, we have agreed to come together in the interest of the Naga people as a whole and form an interim platform by the name ‘Working Group’. Under this interim umbrella, the like-minded NNPGs shall chalk out the roadmap towards fulfillment of Naga political aspiration.”
Fighting failure is different from making a failure. In our present situation, we all are making failures, not fighting failures, and indulging in playing the blames game for the failures. It is like a lair is lecturing and believers are listening.
Time has come for the government of India to sincerely come forward to resolve the issue once and for all. Otherwise, it will be nothing wrong to say that Modi is preparing for walking on the man-made “Elusive Peace” and not for a “Solution.”
Ravi should make it very clear the stand of the Government of India towards the Naga peace process. He should tell the Naga people the hurdles and difficulties the Government faces while finding a solution to the Naga issue.
If he fails to address the core issue and tries to resolve the Naga issue, it will be another “16-Point Agreement.”
Most roads in Imphal are in ruins on account of their being covered with flood waters for a day or two. Exposed in the process are not just the damages that the vagaries of weather can bring, but more so the culture of official corruption which has ensured no public infrastructure is of the quality they were meant to be. In this age when railway lines and roads are being built on what once seemed impossible terrains, Manipur’s roads cannot handle even a little excess moisture. This is a problem in itself, but also the roots of some of the most endemic scars Manipur bears. For indeed, there is no gainsaying that if only the ways of the government had been above board, questions such as moral legitimacy of governance would not have been so very complicated or controversial. Had the officialdom kept to the limits of laid-down norms and propriety, Manipur would not have been in the plight it is in today. Unfortunately, so much of what would have been considered abnormal have today been normalized, and everybody has come to take them as part of life and beyond them to do anything about. No harm can be greater. It is such an irony that today even murders however foul, especially if the killers belong to an underground organization, and if the victim is a government official, have come to gain some legitimacy in the eyes of the public. Even if this is by default on account of the government’s own reputation of misdeeds, this is nothing short of tragic. In such a misplaced sense of legitimacy, the presumption often also is, abhorrent as the violence may be, the victims got what they asked for and that their fate is poetic justice at work. This is the nature of the moral vacuum created by the guardians of the government over the decades. This is also why the campaign to bring about a comprehensive resolution to the multidimensional conflict that the state is immersed in, has to begin from within this space first. The government must endeavour to legitimately fill up this moral vacuum if it is serious about resolving the increasingly chaotic state of affairs in this beleaguered land. No doubt about it that although government accountability before the eyes of the public is an absolutely essential condition in resolving the conflict situation, this quality alone may by no means be the sufficient prescription in itself. There certainly will be more to accomplish, before light at the end of the tunnel appears. For whatever monstrous visage the many insurgencies may have taken in the present times, the initial seeds that sowed it is powerful enough to germinate again and again even if the present crop has abandon all ideologies and ultimately doomed itself to self-destruction and annihilation.
That is to say, beyond corruption, incompetence and moral degeneration of the government establishment, there are other deeper historical and identity issues that fuel the engine sustaining insurgency. The fact also is, while everybody would join in to condemn corruption that has contaminated the soul of the government so thoroughly, and an equal number would also in their hearts bitterly curse the mutants that insurgencies have become in recent times, many of them would still fall within the mental constituency sharing the same identity insecurities and a sense of historical incongruence they suffer as part of the larger Indian nationhood as it is generally understood. Hence, beyond the immediate challenge of bringing the law and order within the grip of the establishment, for any judicious roadmap to lasting peace, there is also the absolute need to address and engage these deeper concerns meaningfully and with empathy. Most unfortunately, the failure of the government in meeting either of these expectations is stark.
The state is under a new government now, and to be fair, the new team has been trying their best to prove they are different from their predecessors the Congress who were in power for 15 years. Fifteen years should have been long enough time for any government to have shown results in the regard but this is where they failed. However, the new government is not altogether new either, for many of them were part of the past government, holding portfolios and responsibilities which are responsible for the failures of today, so let them abandon the one-up-man-ship and begin building their own master-plan for the future of the state in earnest. Already there are signs of future troubles, and it should alarm them that the most immediate of them just needed the mention of the visit by the NSCN(IM) peace moderator, R.N. Ravi, to Nagaland for the population here to get restive. Likewise, mentions of the long standing ILP demand in the media are also increasing in frequency, just as the question of a resolution on the creation of new districts. Let nobody be fooled that these and many more issues, such as that of custodial killings, which once raged and shook up past governments, and even threatened to singe the state, have been shelved forever. If left unaddressed, they will sooner than later re-emerge to haunt the new government too.
Manipur is veritably a savage and amoral political jungle today, where the idea of rule of law has been thrown into the winds. This is evident everywhere, from the unruly traffic where no norm seems to exist, to the culture of mob justice which has become routine, or the dark clouds of ethnic strife looming on the horizon. It remains to be seen if the new government can do anything to take politics beyond the shameful scramble of managing and distributing government contract jobs for a cut in the profits and gain back the moral legitimacy so vital to fight these challenges ahead. We can only hope new bottles can and do sometimes change the texture and flavor of the old wines in them.
From Our Correspondent
KANGPOKPI | July 5
Sadar Hills Autonomous District Council (SHADC) inaugurated its newly constructed canteen today at the office complex of the district council at Kangpokpi.
Vice-chairman of ADC Sadar Hills, Thangjakam Misao inaugurated the canteen in the presence of chief executive officer of SHADC Kangpokpi, DK Thangboi and various other officials.
A warm farewell party was also organised for the 12 retired employees of SHADC Kangpokpi at the conference hall of the office after the inauguration function. The retired employees were presented with mementos and traditional shawl as marked of appreciation for their commendable contribution towards the administration.
The farewell ceremony was attended by chairman of ADC Sadar Hills, Haokholal Hangshing, Vice-chairman Thangjakam Misao, executive members and members of ADC Sadar Hills apart from the officials and staffs of various departments under SHADC Kangpokpi and it was blessed by Pastor J Lunkim.
By A Staff Reporter
IMPHAL | July 5
All Manipur Integrated IT Solutions today complained the irregularities in tender process of department of Information and Technology, Manipur and demanded a fresh tender notice.
Publicity secretary of the IT farms, Dinakumar Longjam, told reporters at Manipur Press Club that a tender was uploaded by the DIT on June 13 to provide wireless internet connectivity to selected district headquarters as Bishnupur, Thoubal, Churachandpur, Tamenglong, Chandel and Senapati.
“We appreciate the effort of the government for such positive step by calling an open tender from IT Solutions but there are several irregularities in the technical evaluation and procedural issues of the tender that it is not an open tender anymore, rather it is a restricted tender”, he continued.
The tender gives very less time and no opportunity is given for assessment of the project feasibility. The tender was uploaded on June 13 and the pre-bid meeting was held on the June 16, and the last day of bid submission was on 19 of the same month, which gives only five working days for accessing various sites during these days and that is technically unsound, Longjam reiterated.
It does not mention any security deposits, which is mandatory for any part of a tender, and Service Level Agreement (SLA), the secretary added.
He also questioned why the DIT only mentioned Electronics and Communication Engineering (ECE) for site engineers and why not other IT and Computer Science and Engineering (CSE).
He also requested the DIT to revoke the said tender and to issue a new tender so that all other firms should be able to participate.
IMPHAL | July 5
The Manipur University Student’s Union (MUSU) suspended their agitation as the university, vice chancellor assured to fulfill their demands at the earliest.
The decision was taken after the vice chancellor invited representative of MUSU for a meeting today.
It may be mentioned that the administrative block of the university was totally shut down by the student’s union as the vice chancellor failed to give positive response to their demands.
Speaking to the media MUSU, president, Buchi Mayanglambam said that the agitation will be resumed if the vice chancellor fails to take up action according to their demands.
He said that the vice chancellor has assured to make notification of appointing a regular register, an examination controller and a librarian by 15 days.
Moreover the vice chancellor told that he will forward the memorandum to the chief minister and to the governor regarding removing of Assam Rifle camp from the university campus, said Buchi.
The president continued that the vice chancellor also assured to closely look into the matter of academic and to strictly monitor the working hours of the teaching staff.
By A Staff Reporter
IMPHAL | July 5
The 3rd foundation day of the monthly multilingual journal “Salai Taret” was observed today at Manipur Press Club, Imphal.
As a part of the observation July month’s journal was released today and Sheihou Esei was presented by S. Membi Leima and her party.
Speaking at the function presidium member, DIPR, director, K. Meghachandra said that journalism was introduced in the state during 1960, and it has brought new changes in the society. With the passage of time the scope of the profession has become larger, he added.
People have started to get aware about what is happening around the world, as well as in the state, he added.
The director expressed hapiness that Salai Taret has come up with the objective of bringing awareness of Manipur's rich culture, tradition, religions, history, law and order situation on a broader scale to the people outside the state.
The function was also attended by Pollution Control Board, chairman, L. Radhakishor, Salai Taret, chief editor, M.H. Yaiphaba, AMWJU, president, W. Shyamjai, CADA, retired additional chief engineer, W. Kumar as presidium members.
From Our Correspondent
MOREH | July 5
Normal works and business have turned into an unwanted situation after the BSNL broadband tower and other electronic machines were electrified and burned by the lightning thunder on June 23 at Moreh area.
Due to lack of communication, many customers faced hardship in their daily routine of works, including transactions in banks in the area covered by the tower. The communication gap in business has affected immensely in the border trade also. Moreover, the BSNL staff had to respond numerous complaints from their customers.
Sources said that the fire was caught in the tower by the lightning as there was no earthing connected to it and the fire spread out resulting in total burning of the important electronic machines.
IMPHAL | July 5
Nungba Kendra Citizen’s Forum (NKCF) has expressed strong resentment over the confusion faced by the general public of Nungba Kendra and surrounding villages after the creation of Longmai (Noney) district.
A release said the public of the villages under Nungba, Khoupum, Noney, Haochang are facing many inconveniences as there is no infrastructure or arrangement to effectively run the office of deputy commissioner (DC) at Noney.
The villagers are diverted to go to the office of Nungba DC whenever they approach the office of Tamenglong DC and also face tremendous hardship in obtaining necessary documents such as domicile certificate, tribe certificate, income certificate and others, it added.
NKCF has requested the chief minister of Manipur to look into the matter seriously and redress the grievances of the people of the villages at the earliest. However, the citizen forum would carry out different forms of democratic agitations if the issue is not redressed by the government.