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Imphal Free Press - Imphal Free Press

Paojel Chaoba

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.

Samples Collected

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.

Testing Lab

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.

Published in News

By Paojel Chaoba

IMPHAL July 5

There has been video uploads of fish being injected with preservatives on the social media. The video shows the fish being dabbed with a chemical (suspected to be formaldehyde) and sometimes injected with a syringe.

The purpose is to prevent the fish from rotting away during the transportation.

After the video appeared, Imphal West designated officer Y. Satyajeet collected samples of various fish varieties brought from outside the state. The samples were collected on May 5 last. Samples of sareng, pengba, rohu, ngahei, ahila and mackerel from 17 different retailers were collected.

The fish mainly brought from Andhra Pradesh is locally called “Box ki Nga.” The samples have been handed over to the State Public Health Laboratory located at Lamphelpat, MACS complex. The report from the laboratory is still pending whereas as per rules of the Food Safety and Standard Act, 2006 under section 46, the results should be given within 14 days.

At the Lab 

The laboratory does not have proper scientific tools required to conduct the test. Imphal Free Press learnt that in order to conduct the test to verify if there is formaldehyde content in the fish, a scientific test called micro-jkhedal distillation should be done.

In order to extract the formaldehyde, the laboratory set up requires certain reagents and apparatus. At present, all the required chemicals and other equipment are there except for a jkhedhal condenser. It was learnt that the apparatus costs hardly Rs 5,000. The test is still pending due to the unavailability of the equipment.

Formaldehyde “suspected”

During preliminary test, a source disclosed, formaldehyde is ‘suspected’ in the fish. But, the test should be done as per guidelines of the Indian Standard Institution (ISI) method or in adherence to Director General of Health Services manual.

For such tests, the state laboratory is presently unable to formally announce the formaldehyde suspicion as the apparatus is not available to conduct the test and cannot adhere to the national food safety guidelines.

A reliable source informed that the gills of the fish are red in the fish brought from outside the state. The public generally check the gills colour for freshness of the fish and the paler the colour, the less fresher and vice versa.

The source informed that the fish also seem to be dabbed or injected with a de-homoglobilizing agent (to prevent the blood from coagulating and retain its freshness).

Generally, fish caught in the morning locally begins to lose the gill colour by evening. It is a question of how long a fish can retain its texture when transported in an ice box for 3 to 4 days. The test is still pending.

Published in News
Thursday, 06 July 2017 00:00

CM to officials: Know GST

IMPHAL | July 5

Chief minister N Biren has directed all officials concerned to acquire thorough knowledge about the new tax regime. He also asked them to impart proper awareness to the common people, who are at the grassroots level, to make revenue collection easier.

He chaired a high level meeting on Goods and Services Tax (GST) held at the conference hall of the Old Secretariat here today. Speaking at the meeting, N Biren also directed the officials, DCs and SDOs to take the responsibility of revenue collection seriously and work hard at the ground level.

He said that the meeting was convened to discuss the pros and cons of GST, and also to find ways to effectively enforce it in the State. As GST is a new concept, the chief minister observed, all the government machineries need to work in better co-ordination and understanding for its effective implementation.

Later, N Biren also inspected the biometric attendance machines and various rooms of the Old Secretariat complex.

Speaking to reporters after the inspection, the chief minister said that all the SDOs had been appointed as nodal officers of GST at the sub-division level.

As such, they would give proper awareness on the new tax regime to the people at the grass-root level, he added.

Stating that around 17 different taxes were imposed on goods and services at the Centre and State levels earlier, the chief minister maintained that all these taxes had now been clubbed together into a single tax known as GST.

No matter Prime Minister Narendra Modi had revived the 90:10 Centre-State shares for Northeast States, all the developmental projects depend upon the financial condition of the State.

As such, the government needs to strengthen and revitalise the revenue collection system in order to add extra pace to development, the chief minister pointed out.

Responding to a query on the Central government’s assistance regarding flash floods faced by the State, N. Biren said that after the government declared the present situation as a State calamity, he had not only written a letter to the Prime Minister but also personally talked to Union Home Minister, Rajnath Singh over the phone on the matter.

The Central government would send an official team to assess the losses.

Responding to another query, N. Biren informed that State’s Plan size would be fixed as soon as possible.

The new government would give thrust to skill development, connectivity, infrastructure, drinking water and other basic amenities, the chief minister added.

Deputy chief minister Yumnam Joykumar Singh, chief Secretary O. Nabakishore, administrative secretaries, deputy commissioners, SDOs and other high ranking officers were present in the meeting.

Published in News
Thursday, 06 July 2017 00:00

Lilong SDC pulled up for dereliction

IMPHAL | July 5

The sub-division collector (SDC) Lilong apparently had to go through embarrassing situations when he was pulled up for dereliction of duty relating to the current flood.

Md Itocha, SDC (HQ) Lilong, of Hiyangthang Thongkhong was pulled up from his residence yesterday by a team of Lilong police led by its officer-in-charge following a complaint lodged by the deputy commissioner of Thoubal, L Nabakishwar.

The DC, in a written complaint to the superintendent of police M. Pradip Singh, said despite responsibilities assigned at the critical hours of alarming flash flood situation in the Lilong sub-division, the SDC (also in-charge of SDO Lilong) was “absconding” from his responsibilities.

The DC said he was found not reporting for his official duties on time which amounted to dereliction of duty and unbecoming conduct of a public servant which in turn grievously hampered the flood relief operation going on in the sub-division.

Citing the circumstances, the DC requested the SP to arrest the SDC from his residence.

Acting on the complaint, the police picked up the official and brought him before the DC.

Although no punitive action was taken against the SDC, it is learnt that stern warning was issued to the SDC not to repeat similar act in the future.

Published in News
Thursday, 06 July 2017 00:00

Govt’s inaction invites mob action: UCM

IMPHAL | July 5

United Committee Manipur has expressed serious concerns over the increasing rate of crimes committed against women in the state, and called for the swift action of the judiciary to prevent mob action.

The committee has alleged that the frequent carrying out of mob action by the people is due to the failure of the government at implementation of law and order, and the consequent loss of faith in the system, said a release.

The Judiciary should take up actions in the interest of the public to prevent mob action, it said. Expressing surprise over the dispute over the ownership of land amongst the villagers of Maring, and also between the people of Moirang and Thanga, the committee informed that it was unfortunate, and appealed not to give in to violence.

We should take step back for a moment to reconsider and find an amicable solution to the issues, it added.

Further the release clarified that UCM has stopped fund drive for observation of June uprising from the public. It is learned that some miscreants are collecting money by using UCM’s name, which the latter takes it very seriously, added the release. 

The committee has requested to stop such activities immediately, if anybody comes across such type of collections, it should be reported to the no. 7005329097 and 9436236127, it added.

Published in News

IMPHAL | July 5

The employment situation in Manipur recorded an all-round downwards trends in the month of February 2017 as compared with those of the previous months as shown by a report issued by Directorate of Employment, Employment Exchange Complex, Lamphelpat.

A release said that number of applicants registered downtrends to 523 including 240 female applicants as compared to 4,080 applicants registered in the previous month. Imphal West district with 174 applicants including 82 female recorded the maximum number of registered applicants while Tamenglong recorded the minimum with no registered applicants, it said adding that three physically challenged including two female and four U.E.I and G.B including two female registered this month.

It further said that vacancy notified was recorded nil and visitors to career information were also recorded nil as compared to 10 in the previous month.

Live register remained unchanged in the Self Employment Promotion Cell with 4,370 applicants including 1,219 female applicants, it said adding that total recorded applicants in live register sums up to 8,17,411 including 2,45,545 female applicants till this month.

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By A Staff Reporter

IMPHAL | July 5

A one day civil society report on “Sustainable Development Goals: Agenda 2030” organised by The Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights in Manipur and United Nation (CSCHR) was held today at Manipur Press Club, Imphal.

Speaking as presidium member, CSCHR, convenor, Debabrata Roy Laifungbam said that he appreciates the first National Voluntary Review (NVR) submitted by the central government for reviews at the upcoming United Nation High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.

However the NVR has critical areas of lapse and misrepresentation concerning development realities in armed conflict area across the Northeast India region, he added.

Debabrata pointed out that sustainable development agenda is a collective responsibility and duty that involves all sectors including governments, business, schools, cities and villages.

The lack of consultation of civic and local bodies, civil voluntary organisations of the state in the preparation of India’s NVR and the implementation, monitoring and reviews of SDGs in the country is a major concern, he added. 

The convenor said that ever since India’s endorsement of the adoption of the sustainable development goals, the development policies in the state has never changed. The formulation of the North East Hydrocarbon Vision 2030, the Manipur Hydro Power Policy 2012 will only lead to expropriation of land and natural resources of the state, he observed.

Further elaborating on (SDG goal 5) of gender equality, Debabrata maintained that it is misleading as the violence against women aggravates with several incidents of the state’s implicit role in the perpetration of such violence. 

The extrajudicial execution of youth in Manipur by the Indian army and Manipur police under the draconian law like AFSPA led to suffering of indigenous women, he added.

Acquisition of agriculture and wetland of the state and destruction of forest for developmental projects has only increased the agrarian crisis in the state, he claimed.

Debabrata asked the Central government to adopt an environment friendly development process during implementation of sustainable development goals.   

The programme was supported by Wada Na Todo Abhiyan (WNTA).

Prof E. Bijoykumar, Economics department of Manipur University and Phulindro Konsam, chairman, COHR also spoke on the occasion.

Published in News

IMPHAL | July 5

The Manipur State Rural Livelihoods Mission signed the first Memorandum of Understanding for implementation of the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (DDU-GKY) with M/s Apollo Medskils Ltd in the presence of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj minister Thongam Biswajit Singh today.

The MoU was signed at the New Secretariat office of the minister.

The MSRLM was represented by State Mission director, R Sudhan, while the M/s Apollo Medskills was represented by its senior vice president-Projects S Sridhar.

The DDU-GKY is the skills action-arm of the National Rural Livelihoods Mission, tasked with skilling rural youth, moving them from poverty to productivity. It owns and manages the entire lifecycle of the process, from investing into skilling projects (at no cost to the trainees or employers) to identifying internships and placement opportunities, and to track career progression over a period of 3 years from graduation.

According to the MSRLM, the number of rural youths to be trained till March 2019 is 10518 candidates.

DDU-GKY follows a 3-tier implementation model. The primary tier is the national unit that functions as the policy-making, technical support, facilitation and investing agency. The next tier is the DDU-GKY State Skill Missions under the State government/ State Rural Livelihood Missions, who co-invest as well as directly supervise and/or engage with publicly or privately held organisations from specific sector industries, education and training or NGOs who have a reputation in delivering skills, training and development programs.

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From Our Correspondent

UKHRUL | July 5

A 40 years old man, AS Wungreithot of Tashar was drowned by the outflow of river near Ngaham Chihui paddy field at Lamlang river yesterday. The body could not be found though the villagers searched at the river side of Tashar, T Chanhong, Ramva, TM Kasom, Lamlang and Shangkai.

The incident happened at around 11:30 am yesterday, while he was fishing at the river side. He is survived by his wife Rachel and two minor sons.

Meanwhile, one minor was hit by landslide and swept away into the river in Chingjaroi Khullen village, under Jessami TD block, Ukhrul district.

Moreover, on July 1 at around 7:30 am, K Vitam Gilbert, a 15 years student of Class IX at Christ King High School, Chingjaroi Khullen was hit by a big rock while clearing the landslide at the canal and fell into the river. Labourers in the area found his unconscious body after chasing for about 100 metres in the river. His spleen was raptured and undertaking treatment at Raj Medi City, Imphal.

Every year the villagers are compelled to construct dams that feed the various paddy fields canal but they are unable to withstand heavy rainfall due to lack of permanent minor irrigation dam. This year, seven areas Angvengla Apo, Angveng Alu, Jhapfüla, Anglangla, Alengru-äb, Hangpula and Ngjola paddy field consisting of 120 farmers have been affected by the torrential rain.

Absence of bridge across the river Avükati that shares border with Senapati district has caused lots of inconvenience to the farmers who have paddy fields across the river. There is no road connectivity between Chingjaroi and Laii (Laiyi). The Headman of Chingjaroi Khullen, Francis A Shimray has appealed for construction of inter-village road (IVR) between Chingjaroi and Laii (Laiyi) Phaibung and Chingmei Khunnou and construction of minor irrigation dam.

K Thotmathing, president of Chingjaroi Khullen Youth has appealed to the Government of Manipur for compensation to the affected 120 farmers and victim Vitam Gilbert. The road connecting Razai to Chingjaroi Khullen, a distance of 8 Kilometres is also in a debilitated condition.

Published in News
Thursday, 06 July 2017 00:00

RMSA teachers to launch pen down strike

By A Staff Reporter

IMPHAL | July 5

Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) Graduate Teachers Association, Manipur has declared that they will start a pen down strike from tomorrow until their seven months’ pending salary is given.

Publicity secretary of the association, Pamei Zion said they received salary only till November 2016.

Pamei elaborated that they went to meet the chief minister N. Biren, education minister, Th. Radheshyam Singh, education commissioner and even the superintendent on May 18 and May 22. But they were not able to meet the concerned officials.

They staged a rally on June 8 and managed to meet the chief minister and education minister. On June 13 the association was called by education minister and the minister had promised to disburse the salary by June end.

“Today is July 5. We went to meet the director of RMSA and because of the weather, he did not turn up to his office and so we have decided to start pen down strike from tomorrow until our salary are credited,” the publicity secretary said.

The teachers will also stage sit-in-protest and launch other democratic form of agitations until the demand is met, he added.

One of the members of the association questioned why should regular employees be neglected for six-seven months and be treated like this. “We have our needs and face financial problems since we are posted in remote areas,” he added.

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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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