IMPHAL | Sep 1
The 8th Sirarakhong Hathei Phanit (Morok festival) will kicked off from September 6 till September 8 in the aim to promote tourism in Sirarakhong, Ukhrul district.
Speaking to media persons today at Manipur Press Club, Imphal, Sirarakhong Shanao Long, former president Tamsingphy Woleng said that the chilly which is cultivated in Sirarakhong is very unique when compared to other chilly in its size and taste and its adapted only in the village if Sirarakhong like the Siroy lily.
Every house of the village of Sirarakhong cultivates this chilly spwcies and is the main income of the village, she added.
The former president claimed that the village will produced more chilly compared to last year. The festival will also give the opportunity for sight seeing.
IMPHAL | Sept 1
Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Minister Thongam Biswajit Singh today inaugurated the Makokching Iril River Bailey Bridge spanning 190 feet over the Iril River and said the bridge has been completed two months ahead of its stipulated date of completion which is in October.
Dedicating the bridge to the people of the area in the presence of local MLA Yamthong Haokip, Minister Biswajit Singh also assured improvement of the road connecting Saikul Bazar to Makokching via the bailey bridge.
Addressing a formal function at the Makokching Baptist Church Minister Biswajit Singh also explained at length about the scheme and said the PMGSY was introduced on December 25, 2000 by the then Prime Minister of India Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
The Minister said that in Manipur, the scheme, meant to improve road connectivity, covers 80 villages/habitations having population of 1000 and above, 211 villages/habitations having population of 500 to 999 and another 363 villages/habitations having population of 250 to 499.
Clarifying to complaints of some villages in the interior part of the State being left out from the scheme, the Minister explained that earlier the scheme cannot cover villages or habitations which has less than 250 population, however, following pressures from certain State governments including from the Manipur government to include habitations with 100-249 populations under the scheme, the Centre is likely to approve the same.
Meanwhile, replying to the memorandum submitted by Kuki Inpi and KSO, Saikul, Sadar Hills East, Kangpokpi District, Manipur, the Minister assured to take up widening and black topping of the Saikul Bazar to Makokching Bailey Bridge to Makokching Village road under the Public Works Department.
On the demand for increase in number of transformers in Saikul, he said it is not an issue and urged the concerned to submit a formal application in this regard. Regarding demand for installation of 80 solar lamps in Saikul and Molkon Bazar areas, the Minister explained that there is no provision of the same under MANIREDA; however, Grid Connected Solar Plants could be installed. He continued the State government will bear 70 percent of the cost with the local authority bearing 30 percent.
He continued the concerned engineers have been instructed to look into the issue regarding improvement of the road stretch constructed under PMGSY from Makokching to Dolaithabi Barrage and that the stage I of the construction of link road from Holbung to Tusam under PMGSY via H. Jangnom, Maojang, Ng.Phainom, Songphelkholen has already been completed.
Biswajit Singh continued that the Centre has implemented more than 316 schemes for the welfare of the people.
Explaining the benefits of the welfare schemes including opening of Jan Dhan Joyana, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Gramin (PMAY-G), Unnat Jeevan by Affordable LEDs and Appliances for all (UJALA), Ujjwala, KISAN SAMPADA, he also urged the youth to conduct awareness campaigns to make the people aware of the provisions of the schemes.
Lauding the efforts of the department in the early completion of the construction of the bridge, the Minister announced that firms and contractors who maintain quality and complete their projects six months or three months ahead of the stipulated time will be awarded financial incentives.
Local MLA Yamthong Haokip thanked the Minister and the department for the early completion of the bridge and further appealed for the completion of the remaining portions including retaining walls and fencing of the river bank near the bridge.
The inaugural function was also attended by 17 Makokching DCC Thongjalun Mate and others.
By A Staff Reporter
IMPHAL | Sept 1
The call to scrap Ithai Dam intensifies as locals of Thanga protested today urging the state government to decommission the dam. The local fishing community along with other activists echoed that Ithai dam is more a “curse” rather than bringing development.
A community meet on merits and demerits of 105 megawatt Loktak Project was held at Thanga, Haorang Chingya today. The meet was organized by Citizens Concern for Dams and Development, North East Dialogue Forum, Centre for Research and Advocacy Manipur, Committee on Human Rights, Irabot Foudation, United Clubs of Thanga, All Thanga Meira Paibi Apunba Organization, Loktak Project Affected Areas Action Committee and Loktak Fisheries Welfare Association.
Among the speakers, Y. Maipakchao of Thanga and president of United Clubs of Thanga said that the project has brought only problems and instead of development. The indigenous fish and prawns, different edible water plants and paddy cultivated in the phumdis have also disappeared. It is high time that the public put pressure on the government to decommission the Ithai barrage, he said.
Leinungshi, secretary of ATMPAO said that the Loktak and the people surrounding the lake was self-sufficient before the dam came. “There was no need for getting rice when times were hard and we all depended on Heikrak and other water plants. The phumdis were cleared every six months and planted again and such was the exercise. Now, after the dam had been commissioned, all farm lands have been flooded and the catch has gone down,” she said. “They do know how to take care of the lake. They sit behind desks and do paperworks. We have been there since time immemorial and we know how to take care of the lake. The dam needs to go and the public need to rally to CM Biren’s initiative to decommission the project,” she said.
Ph. Deban, AMUCO president said that the lake has become a centre for contract works and some people are skimming huge profits. The indigenous fish, which are supposed to spawn at the lake has not been able to come. The electric supply, which was promished to the public, is a farce. The dam is also another main cause for flash floods in the state.
“We appeal to the government to open the dam when flooding occurs. The siltation in the rivers is also caused by the dam. Is the government remaining blind to the damage? This is a project for thieves and not for the welfare of the people,” he said, adding that the dam has made us dependent on other states.
“In 1939 rice was exported from here and led to the Nupi Lal. Now the tables have turned and our self-reliance has gone. The mineral resources of our state have been exploited and the lake is also exploited. The Loktak Development Authority needs to go and the useless dam needs to be de-commissioned,” he concluded.
Senior environmentalist RK Ranjan said before the dam was commissioned in 1983, the Iril, Imphal, Thoubal river, Chakpi and others flowed freely. The Khordak river brings the culminated water into the lake. The upstream and downstream flow of the rivers have been disturbed. The siltation has been brought to the lake and all of this is caused by the dam.The state has witnessed three floods in this year. Engineers of the Loktak project state that the siltation in rivers beds is the cause of flooding but this is false, he said.
Further, there is no memorandum of understanding between the state and the NHPC regarding the project. The chief secretary has intimated the Central Water Commission to give the MoU now. Even CM Biren had urged the ministry and the Prime Minister that the Ithai barrage needs to be decommissioned.
Sareng, Ngatin, Pengba Tharak etc. have all disappeared but the other species brought from outside have been thriving on the polluted water of the lake.This is another calamity for the future. Nearly 54,000 hectares have been devastated and ‘food soverignity’ has gone, he said. “How much rice would have been produced in the last 34 years,” he mentioned, adding that foreign breed of rice and chemicals have been used to supplement the shortage is a health hazard.
“NHPC is not producing electricity either now and the public purchase power supplied from the national power grid. Does our government know how much water was used during the last few months. We have no development but our culture is at stake. Our food source is diminishing. A fact finding report needs to be sought about dredging river beds. It will be a contract for some people only. Rather, trees should be planted in the riverbeds to be able to stop the force of the floods,” he said.
A rally was later taken out by the public demanding the decommissioning of the dam.
FIRs against ex-CM, 3 ex-CSs and ex-MDS chief
By A Staff Reporter
IMPHAL | Sept 1
As promised by the BJP to probe all irregularities during 15-year long rule of Okram Ibobi Singh the Imphal police station today registered an FIR against former chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh, three former chief secretaries, a former director of Manipur Development Society (MDS) and an official of the society.
The FIR was registered in connection with alleged financial irregularities in the functioning of MDS. They have been charged under Section 420/460/120-B of IPC and Section 13 (2) of Personal Libailities Act 1998.
The FIR charged the six with cheating, criminal conspiracy and breach of trust. The charge of breach of trust is non-bailable offence and liable to be punished with three years imprisonment with or without fine.
The other five are former project director of MDS, Y. Ningthem Singh, former chief secretary D. S. Ponia, former chief secretary P. C. Lawmkunga, former chief secretary O. Nabakishore Singh and administrative officer of MDS S. Ranjit Singh.
While Poonia and Lawmkunga are already retired, Nabakishore Singh is now director of State Academy of Training.
The FIR was registered after Th. Muhindro Singh, under joint secretary, state planning department directed the suprintendent of police Imphal West, Themgthing Ngashanva today, to register an FIR for investigation on the basis of the findings of an inquiry conducted by the State Vigilance Commission into alleged financial irregularities in the MDS.
Vigilance Commission report named the six persons, stating that they are required for examination for the investigation into financial irregularities in the MDS.
All the three former chief secretaries were chairman of the MDS by virtue of their posts (chief secretary) and Ibobi Singh was also a chairnman of the MDS from July 1, 2013 to August 31, 2014.
The vigilance report said being the then chairman of MDS Ibobi Singh is required to be examined and recording of his statement is required.
“The projects taken up under his (Ibobi) chairmanship and the transaction done by MDS for various project works of line departments during his tenure needs to be verified and studied that no procedural lapses are found and that the prescribed norms and extant rules for implementation of various projects by MDS and other line departments are scrupulously observed in public interest.”
The report further stated that officials and staff of the society had not observed prescribed procedures, established norms etc, thereby facilitating the misappropriation of government funds.
“The enquiry found that a large number of works had been entrusted to work agencies without work agreements and tender procedures. Payments had been made for such works, for which no such procedure had been followed also,” the findings said. The report further said the commission is of the highest opinion that certain persons who can be influential and diktat terms in the functioning of MDS should be included in the examination during the cource of examination.
The joint secretary in his letter to the superintendent of police said the total liabilities to MDS is Rs. 185.79 crore.
The vigilence findings further said measurement books, sanction orders, detailed project reports, cheque issue registers, utilisation certificates etc are not properly maintained by MDS.
“As such the officials and staff of the MDS did not furnish any relevant document leaving an impression to the commission of hatching a criminal conspiracy with common intention to misappropriate government funds for deposit works entrusted to MDS,” the report said.
The vigilance commission recommended for registering a regular FIR for a thorough investigation. The report further said officials of line departments ned to be examined.
The vigilance commission pointed that all the documents and relevant papers including measurement books, detailed project reports, sanction papers are not available at the MDS office at present. It said that all the papers are in possession of Ningthem and needs to be requisitioned from him. It said that his statement is very much required to be recorded to do justice to the case.
Moreover, the bank accounts particularly the saving accounts opened in the name of MDS was operated by him singly or with his staffs needs to be verified and investigated for the purpose of their needs and intentions, the commission submitted.
The Vigilance commission pointed out that a lot of transactions for MDS have been found to be conducted during the tenure of Poonia which is from 2009 till 2013. It said that Poonia is required to be examined and his statement recorded to check procedural lapses if any, and further for Poonia to give justification to the commission of the action done by the MDS during his chairmanship. This is to clear the commission’s doubt that government money has been misappropriated.
The vigilance commission pointed out that O. Ibobi by virtue of being the MDS chairman from 2013 to 2014 is the joint account holder and the joint signatory of MDS bank accounts. The project director Y. Ningthem is not competent to make any transaction without the knowledge of the chairman.
The vigilance commission pointed out that Ibobi is bound to have knowledge of all transactions of MDS during his tenure. It sought that Ibobi is required to be examined and also that his statement must be recorded.
Further that the projects taken up during his tenure and the transaction done by MDS for various project works of line departments during his tenure needs to be verified and studied that no procedural lapses are found and that the prescribed procedures,established norms and extant rules for implementation of various projects by MDS and other line department are scrupulously observed in public interest, the commission said.
Being the chief secretary and chairman of MDS from 2014 till 2015, the vigilance commission pointed out that Lawmkunga will have knowledge of all financial transactions. It said that he also should be examined and check if any procedural lapses,financial misappropriation,acts of omission and commission by the officials of MDS has occurred or not during his tenure.
He was the chairman from 2015 till 2017 and the commission urged that his statement must be recorded and examined, the projects taken up by MDS during his tenure needs to be studied. It said that there may be instances where cheques are countersigned by him being the chairman of MDS and the project director could not have made any transaction without his consent.
The Vigilance commission pointed out that all cheques of agriculture and general administration of MDS will be signed by the project director and administrative officer. It was learnt that cheques have been countersigned by Ranjit and Ningthem and doubts arose to the commission that certain procedure and extant norms have been overlooked with prefixed and predisposed mind causing loss to the government exchequer.
Everything that exist in this universe follow a certain rhythm which once disturbed in one small point, creates a huge difference in the whole flow. The rotation and revolution of the earth should always remain undisturbed and so the cycle of the four seasons too. In duration of 24 hours, activities of the whole population of world become one single process. These activities are only possible when we go out of our houses and connect with others. We walk, we ride and we drive to meet our daily requirements and everything happens on the roads. Good roads to be precise, which provide flexibility, mobility, opportunity and leisure.
While many countries are already developed, the quality of roads and its connectivity are not the big deal. Contrastingly, many other parts of world have only muds to pass through. Parts of them are the roads in Manipur, both in national highways which are going to be an international one soon and the roads within the towns. India speaks about smart cities in which Imphal is also included. A smart city requires smartness in citizenship, governance, healthcare, education, buildings, infrastructure, energy, technology and mobility. Here in mobility, good road quality and connectivity is a primary requirement. However, considering the present situation, it is doubtful whether Imphal will be a smart city or will remain just for the name sake, just like our Manipuri language remains in the 8th schedule. If the level of development of a country is determined by its road quality, then Manipur would be still in the lowest rug. The worst situation surfaced in monsoon. There are always numerous cases of landslides along national highways and uncountable puddles of mud or potholes in every towns of the state. The authority concerned never take up any initiatives to repair the roads filled with potholes. A good road should last for decades after being constructed but here it lasts only for one season. It is like monsoon is the golden season for the contractors who wait to fill their pockets in the name of road repairing.
In the last few years, roads in many parts of Imphal have been broaden as per requirements of transformation into a city and its strong the need due to increase in vehicles. Well, the traffic congestion never ends, and in fact it has become even worse. Few years ago, traffic signals were installed in some high traffic congested areas of Imphal West, at Keishampat, Singjamei, Kangla, Nityapat Chuthek and Post-office to name some. However, it is highly questionable that where is the rules. It seems like the traffic signal lights of Red, Yellow and Green are in coma. People make their own traffic rules. Moreover, CCTV cameras were also installed but cannot really say whether they are being utilised appropriately or not. And as usual of regular scams in the state, two engineers were suspended for CCTV scam in the month May this year. The issues related to roads in Manipur are never ending. The broaden roads again have created a big problem for the pedestrian to cross and the zebra crossings are occupied with vehicles which are tending to go in different directions. Even if the road is empty, it would not be easy for someone to cross it comfortably especially for the aged and the young. There is an urgent requirement of a subway or a footbridge which should have been planned or even started construction before the roads were broadened. Ironically, the city which is in the race among other cities to become smart city, Imphal has only one fly-over which is somewhat confusing to say whether it is really a fly-over or just a small inclination in the middle of the roads.
If Manipur wants to develop, good road should be the first priority. By good road we mean roads with no bumps, potholes, corrugation, depression, reflective cracking, swelling and weathering. In drivability, it should have high friction, perfect water drainage, less noise, strong visual contrast with center stripes and other markings. A good road is also one that does not obstruct with nature.
Leader Writer: Khogen Khoibam
By A Staff Reporter
IMPHAL | Sep 1
The contributions of Hijam Irabot, founder of CPI in Manipur cannot be covered and discussed in just one day so a month long celebration is arranged, said M. Nara, state secretary of Communist Party of India (CPI).
The inauguration programme was held today at Gandhi Memorial hall, Imphal and attended by many people which was organised by Irawat Celebration Committee. The month-long will end on September 30.
Nara said that this month is dedicated to Hijam Irabot and in this the contributions of Irabot, his thinking and ideology on how to function a society will be discussed. It is also an aim to strengthen the party and encourage the workers by studying and re-imposing his ideologies for better performance.
Nara continued by saying that Irabot was such a profound leader that he challenged the monarchic rule and raised his voice to opt for a true democracy where the governance is ‘for the people, by the people and of the people’.
Important members of CPI that took part in the celebration as podium members are president of ICC, Th. Tomba, deputy secretaries of CPI L. Thoiren and L. Sotinkumar and state secretariat members of CPI, L. Iboyaima, A. Lala and Kh. Surchand.
IMPHAL | Sept 1
Minister of MAHUD, Town Planning, Forest and Environment, Horticulture and Soil Conservation, Th. Shyamkumar has extended his greetings to the people of Manipur on the occasion of Id-Ul-Zuha and appealed the people to share and join the festival.
Meanwhile, minister of CAF and PD, Revenue, Relief and Rehabilitation, Karam Shyam greeted the people of Manipur on the occasion of Id-Ul-Zuha and wished the festival to bring peace, harmony and prosperity.
Moreover, Manipur Muslim Welfare Organisation MMWO has sent Eid-Ul-Zuha greetings saying the day is not only a precious festival but a day where the Muslims must offer “Qurbani” by distributing food.
The organisation has appealed to the public for no bandhs or blockades on the auspicious day, and urged the shopkeepers not to increase the prices of daily items, said a release.
The organisation will undertake its drive to check the increase of prices at markets. If any shopkeepers are found increasing the prices, they will have to face consequences, it added.
All Manipur Muslim Development Committee (AMMDC) have also sent greetings for Eid-Ul-Zuha saying all communities of the state that have been co-existing for eons must forget their self-interests and come together as one with love to create a prosperous future in the state.
Patsoi Kendra Developement Council also sent their Eid-Ul-Zuha greetings saying the day should bring love, peace and prosperity to all and provide strength to make sacrifices.
IMPHAL | Sept 1
The proscribed United National Liberation Front (UNLF) has informed that Salam Poireiton alias Dinachandra Meetie (39), son of (L) S. Naranbabu Meetie from Kiyam Mayai Leikai, Patsoi, who was arrested on August 30, was not related in any manner or form with UNLF and its military wing MPA.
Salam Poireiton joined the outfit by the end of 1997 and took training under the 13th BMT batch of Manipur People’s Army, said a release signed by director, department of publicity, M. Sak-hen. He worked as a soldier of MPA for a while and his army number was 640, it said. However, not having the characteristics and quality of a revolutionary, or the dignity to follow the revolutionary principles, he became a deserter and was staying as a runaway ever since, it further said. Therefore, Poireiton was not related with UNLF and its military wing MPA, it added.
Considering how a gun and a gypsy etc. were seized from his possession, one cannot help but wonder if these runaways have a formed a gang, hand in hand with the police and indulging in terrorism and committing extortions from the public, it continued.
UNLF will punish those who are trying to defame the organisation, it further said. The organisation has appealed to the family member of such individuals to timely prevent them from taking such wrong actions of trying to portray the organisation in a bad light, it continued. Those who are guilty of going against the public by doing such acts must surrender themselves to the outfit, it added.
By A Staff Reporter
IMPHAL | Sep 1
Supreme Court of Bangladesh, High Court Division, Dhaka, justice, Bhabani Prasad Singha said that the function of law is to give justice to all.
He was addressing a reception function organised in his hobnour today at the auditorium of the High Court of Manipur, Imphal.
He said that the judiciary is there for the people and the citizen to ensure that they get their rightful rights.
The function was attended by acting chief justice, N. Kotiswar, justice, Kh. Nobin, advocate general, N. Kumarjit, Bar Council of Manipur, chairman, O. Madhuchandra and All Manipur Bar Association, president, H. Chandrajit as presidium members. Earlier the acting chief justice , N. Kostiswar has launched the digital display of court cases at the lobby of the High Court of Manipur.
By A Staff Reporter
IMPHAL | Sep 1
Democratic Students’ Alliance of Manipur (DESAM) has demanded that the government should take legal action against the police personnel who allegedly committed third degree torture on civilians last year.
Speaking to the media today at DESAM head office located at Sagolband Moirang leirak DESAM president, Nameirakpam Edison said five students including DESAM president, Moirangthem Angamba Meitei were taken to police custody on October 29, 2016 and they were tortured and beaten up.
He said it has been already announced earlier that if the state government continues to delay in taking action against the police personnel till August 31, there will be an intense form of agitation from the next day. But with the positive response from chief minister, N. Biren during a meet with DESAM volunteers yesterday evening, the agitation has been postponed indefinitely and DESAM will wait the progress of the state, he added.
He claimed the issue cannot be supressed by suspending the three police personnel who were involved in the incident. The torture could not be meted out without the instruction of a high ranking police officer.
An order has been released yesterday by SP Imphal West, Themthing Ngashangva related with the issue. The case has been handed over under the enquiry officer, DSP S Ramesh to take up necessary reports at the earliest. He said the previous enquiry report made regarding the matter has been dumped and the memorandum submitted to the home minister of that time has no impact till date.
He said nevertheless DESAM appreciates the assurance given by chief minister yesterday. But if the enquiry report is not satisfactory DESAM will agitate, Edison asserted.