People to people connectivity of ASEAN region stressed
IMPHAL | Aug 7
Chief minister N. Biren Singh said that Manipur shares close affinity in terms of culture, customs and food habits with the ASEAN region. He said he looks forward to unlocking the potential of the region by enhancing people-to-people connectivity and nourishing the civilizational linkages.
He was addressing the 25th anniversary celebration conference of the ASEAN-India Dialogue Partnership at Vientiane, capital city of Lao People’s Democratic Republic today.
The celebration was jointly organised by ASEAN India Business Council (AIBC), Lao PDR chapter, Indian embassy, Lao PDR and Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
He said that renaming of the ‘Look East Policy’ as ‘Act East Policy’ by the current government in India is reflective of its commitment to deepen its ties with ASEAN countries.
There has been a strong emphasis on enhancing India’s road and maritime connectivity with its eastern neighbours. Some of the key projects include the India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway, which connects Moreh in Manipur with Mae Sot in western Thailand through Mandalay in Myanmar, and the Kaladan multi-nodal transport project, which aims to connect Kolkata, India with Sittwe Port in Myanmar, Biren said.
Stating that it is exciting to know that there are plans for extending the IMT highway further to Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, the chief minister said that the focus and commitment shown towards developing the Northeastern region as a pivot of the Act East Policy reflects in the increased trade between India and Myanmar.
Biren also informed that the India’s Northeast had witnessed a trade upswing from Rs. 775 million ($12 million) in 2013-2014 to Rs. 1.445 billion ($22 million) in 2015-16.
In terms of land connectivity, Biren said, Manipur is the gateway for India to the ASEAN region. On the other hand, Manipur is well connected by air, serviced by the Imphal International Airport, he added.
The chief minister pointed out that there are huge untapped potentials to develop and expand the air connectivity eastward from Imphal in particular and the Northeast region of India in general to the ASEAN region.
The government of Manipur is making all efforts in its earnest to improve the physical connectivity by widening the National Highway up to the border town of Moreh in Manipur, he said while adding that to facilitate trade and commerce, physical infrastructures at Moreh are being enhanced.
Stating that the government of Manipur had opened a multi-storeyed shopping complex at Moreh to facilitate marketing of various products and produces of Manipur and India through Myanmar, the chief minister informed that other projects at Moreh include construction of guest house and opening of border Haat, which is under process. There are also plans to extend the railway line to the border town, he added.
Biren further said that the Northeast region is rich in horticultural products, plantation crops, vegetables, spices, rare herbs, and medicinal plants. It offers unlimited tourism opportunities, rare flora and fauna, natural scenic beauty, performing arts, cuisine and handicrafts, he added.
Sangai, which is an endangered sub-species of brow-antlered deer, is found only in Manipur. It is also the State animal of Manipur, he added. The Manipur Sangai festival is celebrated in the State of Manipur in the last week of November, Biren said.
Similarly, the State had also stated celebrating Shirui festival from this year onwards to celebrate the beauty of the State flower – Shirui Lily, the chief minister said.
The national flower of Lao, ‘Dok Champa’ is known as ‘Khagi-Leihao’ in Manipuri, and it is integral to the customary and religious functions of the people of Manipur, he said.
Given such similarities, Manipur and Lao can explore opportunities to partner and share the rich culture and traditions as part of the tourism festivals in Manipur to bring closer the people of Lao and the State of Manipur and the region, he added.
The demographics of the two countries are largely young. For enduring peace and sustainable development, it is necessary that the youth are part of the developmental discourse to address the concerns about sustainability etc, the chief minister said.
As part of the initiative to cater to the aspiration of the youth of the region, the two countries need to encourage greater participation of the youth by exploring mechanism to facilitate exchanges in areas of culture, sports, traditional arts and education, he added.
The chief minister is accompanied by parliamentary secretary (Tourism) Dr. S. Ranjan, parliamentary secretary (Home) L. Susindro, advisor to CM Rajat Sethi and personal secretary to CM S. Rajen during his visit to the ASEAN country.
Tripartite talks to resume Aug 9
Newmai News Network
IMPHAL |Aug 7
Two days before the third round of the tripartite talks of Kuki National Organisation (KNO) and United People’s Front (UPF) in New Delhi, Kuki civil bodies have urged the two umbrella bodies of “Kuki armed nationalists” to “unequivocally present the Kuki people’s demand for statehood”.
On August 9, the KNO and UPF will be holding tripartite talks with the government of India and the State government of Manipur in New Delhi.
Amid this development, KNO ‘Negotiator’ Dr Seilen Haokip told this agency tonight that they will stick to their agenda. “We are not demanding anybody’s land. We believe in peaceful co-existence with our neighbours,” said Dr Seilen Haokip.
A 9-member delegation of the KNO headed by ‘Negotiator’ Dr Seilen Haokip will be participating in the tripartite talks. Dr Seilen Haokip also said that KNO ‘Chief Negotiator’ who is also the President of the organization PS Haokip will only participate in the final stage of the dialogues.
Meanwhile, sources from the UPF informed that a 14-member delegation led by its spokesperson Aron Kipgen will be participating in the August 9 tripartite talks.
On Monday, in the run up to the third round of political dialogue between “Kuki armed nationalists” and the government of India, a meeting was held initiated by the Kuki Inpi Manipur (KIM), the apex social body of the Kuki people, at Kuki Inn,
“Every Kuki organisation participated in the meeting and jointly resolved that, the political demand of the Kuki people beginning with the memorandum regarding statehood for the Kuki people which the Kuki National Assembly submitted to Jawaharlal Nehru, the then Prime Minister of India in 1964, has consistently remained one of Statehood,” the KIM said.
Today’s meeting also resolved that “the same demand was reiterated at the Kuki Nampi Conclave at Haipi from August 28 to August 29, 2015”. The Haipi Declaration for Statehood was further ratified.
Preceding the Haipi Declaration was the Delhi Declaration adopted on September 2, 2010 in which every existing Kuki revolutionary organization at the time participated, KIM added.
“Therefore, the Kuki Suspension of Operation (SoO) groups are, hereby, re-assured that Kuki people within India always stood for self-determination in the form of a State under the ambit and Union of India, and the same stand reaffirmed today.
Accordingly we urge the delegation representing the Kuki armed nationalists under SoO with the government of India to unequivocally present the Kuki people’s demand for statehood at the upcoming tripartite meeting scheduled for August 9, at New Delhi. Any departure from this long standing political position of the Kuki people will be deemed a betrayal of Kuki people and their aspiration,” was one of the five resolutions taken today.
“Finally, this year of the Lord 2017 having marked the centennial year of our forefathers’ defence of Kuki territories and freedom against the British colonial incursions in the Kuki Rising of 1917-1919. We urge the Government of India to finally recognize our long standing political demand/our birthright to self-determination by the creation of a State for the Kuki people under the Indian Union,” the fifth resolution said.
By A Staff Reporter
IMPHAL | Aug 7
Manipur Pollution Control Board, chairman, MLA, L. Radhakishore has asked the management section of all the hospital including both private and government in the state to follow the rules and criteria given by the pollution control board while disposing bio-medical waste.
He was delivering the presidential speech during a joint preparatory meeting on bio-waste management today at the state guest house, Sanjenthong here today.
If any hospital is found to be not following the rules and criteria given by the pollution control board of disposing the bio-waste, legal action will be taken but against the hospital, warned the MLA.
Radhakishore said that the state has a total of 539 government hospital and 59 private hospitals, so a big quantity of bio-waste is produced every day from these hospitals. If the bio-waste from the hospital are not treated properly it gave a lots of harmful effects to human as well as animals by polluting the environment, he added.
As a step to prevent the pollution arising from bio-waste the chairman asked all the hospital authority to give awareness to all the officials of their respective hospital regarding bio-waste management.
Radhakishore announced that pollution control board will help the hospital management at its best level in managing the bio-waste.
The meeting was attended by RIMS director in charge Dr. H. Nabachandra as chief guest, JNIMS director, Th. Bhimo Singh and RIMS medial superintendent Ch. Arunkumar Singh as guests of honour, respectively and representatives of different hospital.
From A Correspondent
THOUBAL | Aug 7
The functioning of Anti- retroviral therapy (ART) centre, Thoubal is under a cloud of fraudulent practices. It has become a place of corruption where the staff are embezzling funds meant for the patients.
The funds are being stalled and not provided to the PLHIV (People Living with HIV’s) who are presently undertaking ART treatments.
In May 15, 2015, a memorandum was released by Manipur state aids control society regarding the introduction of welfare scheme called “Local conveyance support to PLHIV.” As per the scheme, patients who are taking ART medicines from a local ART centre will receive a sum of Rs. 150 per month from the centre.
Records are found that since the implementation of the scheme, 7 ART centres out of 10 in the state, were provided with the funds for only 3 months and the remaining 3 ART centres i.e RIMS ART centre, Senapati ART centre and Thoubal ART centre have been provided for only 9 months.
As per the order released by the former health commissioner P.K Singh on January 12, the total amount of funds sanctioned for three ART Centres (RIMS, Thoubal and Senapati) have been disbursed on a reduced amount.
The patients have informed that the staffs of ART Thoubal are not giving out the funds properly; as they would frequently give only an amount Rs. 100 by making an excuse that they do not have the change or Rs. 50. The patients’ request to add them up in the fees of next month is denied by the staffs.
Moreover, the patients would not get any fees after travelling from remote distances as the staffs who are handling the money is absent. While conducting the transactions, the fees which are kept in due are not made up and the money is not handed out in a monthly basis.
As per the guidelines, the patients who are 2 days late from the scheduled date for arriving at the office will be declined from receiving the fees. However, it has been found that staffs are giving out money to some selected patients who are 4 or 10 days late, which is a clear sign of discrimination.
The staffs are also going against the guidelines which mention that the fees must not be provided if the patient is absent and someone else has come to collect them. The staffs are giving out money to relatives and substitutes who came instead of the patients.
The most shocking finding is that patients from the hills are not provided any fees on the excuse that that they do not come under the ‘Criteria.’ When asked about what type of criteria, the staff would not give any proper explanation.
Patients who are bed-ridden in Thoubal district hospital are not given any fees and the records of those who are getting the fees are not entered in the cards, making them run here and there.
Many patients under Thoubal district have no knowledge about the existence of the conveyance support scheme, as the information is not provided to them by the centre. There are cases when staffs of the centre arrived at the homes of some patients and tried to quarrel or humiliate them, even disclosed their status to the public, simply because the patients came to know about the scheme and started enquiring about it.
The illiterate patients, widows, widowers, children who have lost their father or mother, orphans and many other PLHIVs who would like to keep their status confidential have been discriminated by the staff and these patients have requested the authorities concerned to look into the matter and take actions against the centre.
By A Staff Reporter
IMPHAL | Aug 7
State government has not notified guidelines for the formation of Village Level Child Protection Committees in Manipur. This is violation of Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS).
State Co-Ordinator Manipur Alliance for Child Rights (MACR), S. Bheiga Sharma said during a meeting held today at MACR office located at Sagolband Moirang Hanuba. And delay in formation of formal VLCPCs in the state has resulted with continued child trafficking and unsafe migrations of children in many villages, he charged.
He said the state is badly affected by scores of issues such as armed conflict, HIV/AIDS epidemic, drugs abuse and others which have fractured the socio-economy of the state thereby putting the lives of thousands of children in highly vulnerable situation.
From November 2013 to October 2016, 80 trafficked children of the state were officially repatriated, while 39 child sexual offences (POCSO) cases were produced before nine child welfare centres during December 2015 to October 2016, he added.
Bheiga said as per recorded by MACR 146 children victims of different child rights violation incidents in the state were reported in the newspapers during the period from January 2016 to July 10, 2017. This year from January to July 10, 23 children became victims of different violent actions such as trafficking, sexual abuse, murder and others.
For protection of vulnerable children in the first place setting up of Child Protection Committees in Village, Block and District level has accepted all over the world.
VLCPCs are primarily responsible for creating a child friendly and safe environment for children, in such an environment, the rights and well-being of all children are ensured. They will be responsible for three core responsibilities such as monitoring, reporting and responding to the issue of child protection in the community, Bheiga asserted.
Considering the emerging needs of VLCPC, MACR with support of Cry-Child Right And You, Kolkata, so far 33 informal VLCPCs in four district of the state since last three years. Nevertheless, since social welfare department has not issued notification for the formation of VLCPS.
VLCPC needs wider supports from NGOs, Corporate bodies and international agencies like UNICEF apart from government. Bheiga demands state government to form VLCPCs in the state for protection of vulnerable children who remained unmapped and unreached.
IMPHAL | Aug 7
Deputy chief minister, Yumnam Joykumar Singh today inaugurated a five days Special National Training Programme on Advancement of Seed Testing at ICAR research complex for NEH region, Manipur centre at Lamphelpat, Imphal.
Speaking at the inaugural function, he said, development of agriculture & horticulture i.e. overall development of primary sector in the State are important to generate self-sustained productivity and revenue resources as well.
He said, although the State has the potential to generate revenue resources in some sectors like, tourism and healthcare, the most important is the development of primary sector. Problems and methodology in terms of agriculture in Manipur are different from that of the mainland, he added.
Although, the State has adequate rainfall, there is the need to provide proper irrigation facilities so as to enable the farmers to grow crops successfully thereby increasing productivity, he said.
Further Joykumar said, as Northeastern region has a good climatic condition, there has to be certain type of vegetation which are normally suited to the food habits of the people and therefore, those vegetation are to be cultivated in large scale.
On seed testing, he said, with the advancement of scientific and technological knowledge of how seeds are treated and stored, the traditional methods are also need to be imbibed in the process. If so, agricultural productivity will increase and it can play a major role in economic development in the State.
Organising such trainings will help the farming community to inculcate knowledge which will help in agricultural practices, he added.
Additional chief secretary Suhel Akhtar while addressing the gathering said, keeping in view the importance of self-dependency in food consumption in the State, there has to be adequate agricultural and horticultural productions. Government alone cannot provide the necessities and therefore, all the stakeholders should come together and co-operate each other to make it a success, he said.
S.V. Ngachan, director, ICAR research complex for NEH region said, entire Northeastern States except Assam are deficient in seeds. ICAR with the help of States agriculture departments has been trying to enhance seeds production for the last many years, he said, adding seed production campaign has to be started and such training will go a long way to enhance productivity.
Around 50 trainees from within and outside the State are participating in the training programme which is being organised by ICAR, Research Complex for NEH Region, Manipur Centre along with National Seed Research and training centre, Varanasi under the sponsorship of ministry of agriculture & farmers welfare and department of agriculture, Manipur.
Ningthoujam Prasant & Elangbam Nikita
IMPHAL | Aug 7
Internet is a “double-edge sword”, meaning, it provides many opportunities to the users, but at the same time, it has also become an avenue to commit crime.
As there is no censorship some of the internet users are using it as means to expose, tarnish and malign the image of people ‘known and unknown’ to them.
Speaking to the Imphal Free Press in this regard, Prof Mc. Arun, Manipur University said, “Cybercrimes are increasing day by day and it is likely to increase. Social media users commit heinous crimes by uploading obscene content and also, can incite communal conflicts.”
He said one of the reasons can be because of more and more people jumping on the technological bandwagon, there is cultural shock happening and also, because of ‘sexual frustration’ and ‘fantasy explosion’.
In the process of negotiation and adaptation, they have taken liberty a bit too far exposing their evil and unethical perspectives, he added. He also pointed out that parents have to do their part in shaping the youths and also, media has to follow ethics.
A faculty of the department of mass communication, of MU speaking to the IFP said, “It is an age where instead of saving someone’s life when in danger, some of the public are busy clicking photographs and recording video for uploading. It seems like humanity is forgotten at the cost of being a “self-styled journalist”.
The virtual world has given us a platform to connect, but in the process of connecting we are taking our freedom too far and in the whole process they end up defaming others, she said, adding we have even seen cases of ‘sextortion’ and this are not a good sign for the society.”
To curb such menace, the lawmaker should educate the public to file and lodge complaints and also people using social media should be careful while uploading photos, videos and comment, she added.
Another faculty member of the same department said there is an urgent need to educate all sections of the society to the dangers of the Internet and how to stay safe online. Raising awareness of the penalties of online offence and the successful performance of the state cybercrime cell will hopefully deter future offenders, he added.
Further he maintained that youth needs to be motivated in right way to participate in citizen journalism both individually and in the group. It is discouraging that victims, particularly women, are now taking up the courage to stand against such crimes, he lamented.
It may be recalled in the recently concluded Assembly Session, chief minister on the floor of the House replying to a query from the Opposition said that there are 39 cybercrimes cases of the state registered during 2016-2017.
Crimes perpetrated by using social media platform have been on the rise in our state. It may be attributed to the increase in the use of smartphone and availability of internet data at cheaper rates wherein some people have resorted to expose others at their own free will, not thinking too much of the consequences that will fall on the victim.
IMPHAL | Aug 7
Social welfare and cooperation minister Nemcha Kipgen highly condemned the recent rape of a minor school girl who was also attacked and attempted to murder somewhere under Senapati district earlier this month.
The minister while expressing her concern said that the utmost priority as of now is to help the victim regain her consciousness, as she is presently unconscious post the incident. As such, on the supervision of the minister, security personnel have been deployed at the hospital room of the minor girl and have instructed the police not to let anyone directly interrogate the matter to the victim until she regains her normal condition.
“Those involved in this heinous crime will not be spared under any circumstances,” said the minister. The minister had also given assurance for extending maximum assistance in getting justice in time for the victim.
Under the supervision of the SW & Coop. minister, a team of Manipur State Commission for Women led by chairperson K. Sobita Devi have visited the hospital to meet the minor girl and to spot enquire the prevailing condition of the victim.
The team who met the officials concerned of the hospital take accounts of the present condition of the victim. The officials stated that medical examination had already been taken by the RIMS forensic department. As per the doctors of the hospital, there is still very little improvement in the girl’s condition therefore she is being observed under intensive care.
The team also met Senapati S.P. Faumei Gonglin, to discuss the matter. During the meeting, the S.P. said that an FIR had been taken up in connection with the rape of the minor girl and efforts are being made to find the accused involved in this heinous crime.
In an effort to find out those involved, combing operation had been done in suspected areas, the S.P. added. He urged and appealed to the people of the area to extend cooperation in tracing and finding those culprits involved in this inhuman act.
While condemning this incident, K. Sobita asserted that the commission is alert and gathering time-to-time status of the case from the S.P. in this connection.
The minister also lauded the efficient work carried out by the team of state police led by Senapati S.P. so far in this case and is optimistic that the judiciary will deliver justice to the victim and the family at the earliest.
By A Staff Reporter
IMPHAL | Aug 7
Th Shyamkumar has instructed meat sellers particularly in Imphal town that they must procure vending license from authority concerned to continue with their business. He also instructed that meat seller must be careful not to hurt religious sentiment and to maintain proper hygiene.
The minister of MAHUD was speaking to the media at his official residence at Kangla Park. He said Manipur is a multi-ethnic state following different religions; in this regard meat sellers should not hurt the religious sentiments while selling the meat products.
He said people following different religious faith have been living together harmoniously and we must not hurt sentiments knowingly or unknowingly. “Meats are sold in open in places like Kongba keithel and Hatta, which could inadvertently hurt the religious sentiments of a particular community”, he said.
Shyamkumar said there is no prohibition in selling meat products, however if they fail to procure license MAHUD will enforce prohibition against the meat sellers. Selling of pork at Muslim area and beef at Hindu area in an awkward manner might create misunderstanding between the communities unnecessarily, he added.
Further he said there is no ban of selling meats but vendors must sell meat in a proper place by taking licence and the meat should be healthy to be consumed by public, he said. The minister also pointed out that concrete measures will be taken regarding the sale of meat after proper consultation with the chief minister when the latter comes back from Lao.
The minister will soon leave for Moreh for a two-day tour to the border town.
IMPHAL | Aug 7
Indian Municipal Corporation (IMC) has today clarified that the present BJP team has nothing to do with the auction of eight government vehicles but instead the previous Congress team led by the then mayor, Sunil is responsible.
Addressing media persons at its Kanglapat office, Oinam Romeo Singh, chairperson of Ward No.13, IMC Works said that the auction process was started while the Congress team was still in office of the corporation.
He said that eight previously used vehicles by the Congress leaders were auctioned and a legal tender was first notified on May 22 and the process ended on May 29 by former mayor Sunil. This case is of when the BJP was in opposition and was in fact on “no confidence motion” to this tender he added.
Indrajit and Gaidon Rongmei (now opposition leaders) were witnesses of that resolution taken regarding the auction, he pointed out.
Romeo reiterated that the new team of the corporation (BJP) assume office on June 9 and the notice tender was out before the present team assume office. There was no signature of any of the present team, he clarified.
The vehicles were delivered during by the BJP team took after taking charge of office according to rule and regulations, he continued.
Romeo was clarifying on the charges of misuse of public fund in works taken up by the IMC where an enquiry team was also set up by the MAHUD minister, Th. Shyamkumar. The enquiry team must submit its report within 15 days’ time from the date of issue of the order.