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Imphal Free Press - Imphal Free Press
Monday, 04 September 2017 00:00

Essay writing competition

BISHNUPUR | Sept 3

A district level essay writing competition with the theme ‘What can I do for a clean India’ was organised today by district water and sanitation committee, Bishnupur under Swachh Bharat Mission Gramin at Bishnupur Higher Secondary School.

The occasion was attended by AE Bishnupur PHED, K. Bishwajit, Zilla Prerak, N. Julia Devi, AE Nambol PHED, Kh. Ranbir, secretary, Swachh Bharat Mission Coordinating Committee, N. Nanao Singh, executive members of the committee and SOs of PHEDs.

Bishwajit expressed that students studying at grass root level i.e. school level should start keeping ideas about health and hygiene as it will help in keeping their homes, locality and villages clean. The essay writing competition was held today with that aim, he added.

Students from 14 school of Bishnupur district including four government schools took part in the competition. The competition was divided into two categories, A (Class V to VII) and B (Class IX to X). 244 students in took part in category A while 112 students took part in B. A total of 356 students took part in the competition.

Published in News

By A Staff Reporter

IMPHAL | Sept 3

Centre for Research and Advocacy Manipur, secretary, Jiten Yumnam said people might lose Loktak lake in some decades if proper action is not taken against the commissioning of Ithai barrage.

A public meeting was held today at Ningthoukhong bazar public community hall to demand decommissioning of Ithai barrage and Loktak project and investigation against NHPC. It was organised by Human Rights Forum Manipur (HRFM) and Youth Forum for Protection of Human Right (YFPHR).

Speaking on the occasion, Jiten as resource person said construction of Ithai barrage has caused more loss than good to the state and therefore the government should reconsider commissioning of Ithai barrage and Loktak power project.

He said the construction of Ithai barrage not only affected the upstream habitats but also the downstream. It was constructed as part of the Loktak hydroelectric project which submerged more than 80,000 hectres of agriculture land. It has brought a reverse picture in economic status of Manipur from a self-sufficient to borrower’s position with a large number of agricultural lands submerged underwater, Jiten added.

He said several indigenous fish have disappeared from Loktak lake such as Ngaton, Khabak, Pengba, Tharaak, Ngaaraa, Ngaatin, etc due to Ithai barrage. It has been observed that these fish migrated from the Chindwin river of Burma to the course of Manipur river towards Imphal river for breeding in the adjoining lakes and streams of Manipur valley.

Jiten further said Loktak project is also responsible for worsening climate change in Manipur by submerging the vegetation growth in Loktak wetlands. There are plans of National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) to renovate the Loktak power station to reap carbon credits from CDM of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which is a clear false solution to climate change.

He claimed compensation of affected people during the commission of Loktak project and construction of Ithai barrage. The main cause of flood in the state is due to the construction of Ithai barrage, at the time of flood the gates of the barrage were opened at the time of emergency. The barrage was constructed with the assurance of benefit for the people but it is happening in a reverse manner. The solution to save the natural habitat of the state is to remove the barrage, Jiten claimed.

United NGO Mission Manipur (UNMM) secretary, U. Nobokishore further said it has been confirmed that there is complete absence of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the NHPC and the government of Manipur on the operation and functioning of the 105 MW Loktak Multipurpose Hydroelectric Project, which was commissioned way back in 1984.

He said the non-existence of MOU on 105 MW Loktak Project has been confirmed by the NHPC on May 9, 2017 in response to an RTI filed by Joy Haobijam of Thanga. There is no regulation on the operation of Loktak Project which also indicates that the NHPC has been given a complete free hand without any monitoring, regulation and accountability mechanism.

Chairperson Ningthoukhong municipal council, Kangabam Mani Singh, Laishram Dwijamani Singh and president of Manipur Sahitya Parishad Bishnupur branch, Laishram Budhichandra Singh attended the meeting as chief guest, president and guest of honour.

The meeting resolved to appeal the central government to decommission the Loktak Hydro Electric Power Project immediately. NHPC should compensate all the destructions made since the commissioning of the project and it must be punished according to the rule of law.

After the public meeting a silent rally was taken ou in Ningthoukhong bazar area demanding decommissioning of Ithai barrage and Loktak project and to investigate against NHPC.

Published in News

By A Staff Reporter

IMPHAL | Sept 2

The chief minister N. Biren has been appraised that the state agricultural policy is not being implemented in totality and contradictory to central norms.

Moreover, the director of the department is keeping key charges to himself and the contractual staff of Agricultural Technology Mission Agency (ATMA) has been left high and dry.

The state has not paid out 10 months salary for the said staffs whereas the ATMA staffs are the ones which are tendering grassroot level work to aid the farmers and implementing various schemes commenced by the centre.

They have been sidelined from carrying out their duty as extension workers and contradictory to central norms, been taken over by the state Agriculture Department.

As per complaints of the ATMA staffs and a memorandum submitted to the chief minister, Manipur, in the regard, it mentions that filling up of vacant posts in ATMA and SAMETI is mandatory as per guidelines of 2010 for desired impact as activities performed by the additional charge by the officers of state department were not optimal below the block level but many higher posts are lying vacant and the current posts are being occupied by the staff of the agriculture department as in charge or additional charge.

The objective of the scheme “Support to State Extension Programmes for Extension Reforms” can be achieved only through strengthened institutional management, dedicated manpower and revamped strategies but there is at present weak institutional management and very less dedicated manpower of higher posts at district and state level.

The post of State Nodal Officer and SAMETI Director, is taken charge by the Agriculture Director and majority of the posts of Project Directors(PDs) are taken over by the District Agricultural Officers, whereas the Director and DAOs do not meet the essential criteria or qualified enough to take charge. Whereas, as per central guidelines Coordinator, Gender Coordinator shall be appointed as contractual, whereas, SAMETI Director, SAMETI Deputy Directors, Project Directors and Deputy Project Directors shall be appointed on deputation/appointment/secondment from the Agriculture & Allied Departments.

The Agriculture Department is directed by the centre to converge extension related works and various missions and schemes like MIDH, NFSM, RKVY, PMKSY, KVK under NMAET to act as an overarching umbrella at district level to oversee all extension related activities which should be performed by ATMA staffs but this has not happened in practice.

It was also envisaged in the ATMA scheme that manpower support under ATMA will also look after the work related to RKVY, NFSM, National Project on Soil Health and Fertility, etc. as mandated under respective scheme. However, while reviewing progress of implementation and feedback received from various states it was found that there is lacking of convergence between ATMA and Krishi Vigyan Kendras; and between ATMA and line department at district level.

Further, as per decision arrived to by the chief secretary, government of Manipur on August 18th last, it was decided among others that to review the implementation of major programmes of Agriculture Department – the District Agriculture Officer should be made Project Officer for ATMA in the districts to avoid redundancies in the form of separate Project Officer which is a gross violation of central norms.

Published in News

By Amar Yumnam

Facts can be devoid of truths but can be quite devilish. Many things have happened and continue to happen in connection with the so-called two National Highways – one via Dimapur and another via Jiribam - linking Manipur with the rest of India. Since the sustenance of these devilish facts is the only truth in the prevailing political economic scenario, we must necessarily apply our mind on why this is so; this examination has now become much more imperative than the demand for improvement of these two Low(High)ways. The renewed nuisance on these two links mandates a relook on what has been going on around these two ways (High or Low or Whatever). 

Now what are the truth-less facts? First, there have been voices for the improvement of these two land connectivity media since the mid-1970s. This has been very loud, making it almost look like vocal, since the mid-1990s. Second, since the beginning of the 1990s, there has been no player of consequence in the political arena of Manipur who has not sworn by these roads; the nuisance relating to the improvement of these two connections displayed rise in the level of decibels. Third, with the frequency of Economic Blockades becoming a norm rather than an exception in recent years, the nuisance became a focussed one emphasising the unavoidability of improving one connection while slowly side-lining the other. This has been visible in the covert political articulations, but became more open in the twenty-first century so far. Fourth, the otherwise emphatic current Prime Minister of India swore by this in the run-up to the parliamentary elections FOUR YEARS BACK. Fifth, some months back there was landing in the Tulihal Airport in Imphal delivering fuel for the pressing provincial requirements. This gave an impression of the appreciation of the significance of the two roads for the economy of Manipur, but unfortunately there does not seem to be any follow-up to the political hope generated by that solitary signal. At the end of another round of days, there are reports of some powerful organisations having given “ultimatum” to the government on the condition of the roads. So five decades down the line, we are back to the same square.

This being so, we have but to explore the political economy relating to the National Low(High)ways connecting Manipur with the rest of India: (a) Recently, Manipur has had a very hectic phase of investment on what is generally called Community Halls. What is the political economic reason for the multiplication of these despite the absence here of nuisance witnessed in connection with the improvement of the roads while nuisance-based Highways were left unattended? (b) Further, Manipur has not by any means been in a situation where the educated become very conscious of the personal losses consequent upon investment on transport infrastructure in so far as the two National Highways are concerned such that people start demanding Not in My Back Yard-ism or NIMBYism. The manner of maintenance and improvement of the National Highways in Manipur does not follow any of the visible international experiences in investment on transport improvement:

  1. While globally the attention has been to attend to the nuisance of the people and overinvest on transport development, what has been in the case of Manipur is ineffective investment and visible unaccountability.
  2. Physical downsides, particularly in the wake of heightened understanding of environmental issues, have been a constraint on investment on transport. But it has not been so in the case of Manipur. Manipur has not witnessed Weingast’s (1979) Law of 1/N.
  3. Population expansion and economic volume of trade have been major determinants of intensified investment on transport infrastructure. But this has not been so in the case of Manipur.
  4. With one of the hands of India continually emphasising widened linkages with South East Asia, the Border Policy norms would definitely have dictated meaningful investments on transport infrastructure in Manipur. But this has not been so.

Thus the absence of investment on meaningful provision of road-linkages between Manipur and rest of India must be based on Manipur-specific reasons founded solely on Indian interests. We can visualise some on this. First, India might still be imperfectly confident of Manipur being part of India. This naturally would couple the domestic and international reasons for underinvestment on the transport infrastructure. The international dimension is that if India loses the region due to foreign aggression, the investments would also not yield any fruits. The domestic reason could be of two types – (i) the region as of now does not yield economic benefits vis-à-vis the investments to be made, and (ii) politically the limited Indian mentality of exploiting the region to extract personal benefits while making it look like interested in development of the region continually; continual display of interest in the region while the motive is to garner benefits for certain agents from outside the region. Second, India might still be unsure of her ability to work with more developed population groups. So it serves her purpose well if the region is continually kept in a process of evolving but never allowing the region to evolve into a next phase; the canon of functioning is one of control and not one of facilitation and co-evolution. Third, India wants to sustain the divergence which started around the mid-1970s for the rest of India to continually leave Manipur behind in the race for advancement. Sportspersons are acceptable because they bring laurels for India collectively. But economic progress in situ would be only for Manipur and not for India as a whole – so goes the Indian logic; the part is only a dependent component of the whole but never an equal partner.  

Published in Articles
Monday, 04 September 2017 00:00

Immigration and tragedy

The tragedy that is unfolding in the Rakhine State in neighbouring Myanmar, it must be said would come across as almost premonitory for those of us in the Northeast, Manipur included. The Bengali speaking Muslim population who call themselves Rohingyas, but who other Myanmar people say are Bangladeshi immigrants, are now facing brutal aggression at the hands of the Myanmar’s Buddhist majority as well as the government, aimed at forcing them to leave the country and return to Bangladesh. Because Bangladesh is unwilling to accept them, the humanitarian crisis is getting complicated and acute. There can be no doubt that there has been a traditional community known as Rohingya in the Rakhine State (once Arakan) adjoining the Chittagong Hills Tract of Bangladesh, but the claim that recent Bengali Muslim immigrants have outnumbered the original Rohingya settlers is most likely true, and most regions in the Northeast, which have been faced with this Bangladeshi immigration problem, would vouch this as true. In Assam there are periodic violent ethnic clashes that have roots similar to what Myanmar is facing now, and if nothing is done to contain the situation, there can be no gainsaying that similar clashes may break out in other states as well, including Manipur. Like it or not, immigration is a reality, and this concern is better addressed and resolved before things go out of control. The ILP movement in Manipur, therefore should not be swept under the carpet just because overt trouble has subsided for the time being. In many ways, immigration regulation is about preventing bigger social crisis later.

This thought of an effective regulatory mechanism for immigration as a mechanism for conflict prevention should bring to mind an interesting exchange between some friends in the Irish novelist James Joyce’s “Ulysses”, a novel that spans just a single day in the life of a young school teacher, Stephen Dedalus, (in 933 pages) and one which has been voted by the best known critics of literature as the greatest Novel of the 20th Century. In this episode a casual interaction ended up bringing out a very subtle difference in the attitude to life between an Englishman and an Irishman. In it, Dedalus the Dubliner, has just collected his salary of two crowns and two shillings from one Mr. Deasy, a good-hearted Englishman. Deasy gives the young school teacher a lecture on money. He asks him what the greatest pride of the Englishman is. Stephen guesses it to be that the sun never sets on his empire. Deasy dismisses the suggestion saying that was coined by a French Celt. The proudest word from an Englishman’s mouth is “I paid my way” or “I owe no one”, Deasy says. The conversation on money and its powers invariably drifts to very pronounced anti-Semitism on the part of the Englishman, after all Jews are stereotyped for their mean pecuniary eccentricities. “Old England is dying”, Deasy declares, “the Jews have bought its vitals strengths and now controls its finances and the press all its high places. Wherever they are Jew merchants eat up the nations vitals and work up its destruction”, Deasy continues. With little inclination to raise any serious objections, but as a matter of a rhetorical query, Stephen questions if that was not the way of all merchants: to buy cheap and sell dear. Deasy disagrees saying there is darkness in the Jews’ eyes and that is why they are wanderers of the earth to this day. Deasy pours out his intense dislike for the Jews, and the monologue is only halted by the referee’s whistle from the school football ground a little distance away.  As Stephen leaves, Deasy comes running after him and in a jovial mood calls out: “do you know Ireland is the only nation which did not persecute the Jews, and you know why?” Stephen looks askance. “Because she never allowed them in”, Deasy provided the answer, bursting into a fit of phlegmatic laughter. The cruel irony is, it is the seemingly cruel act of preventing immigration which saved Ireland from descending into overt racism. Hark the warning, if our own authorities do not think of a way to regulate immigration, ugly racial hatred may ultimately come to be forced on a larger section of our own society too.

Although the inherent racism in the conversation makes one uneasy, it must be said Manipur is nowhere near either the hard working Englishman who takes pride in earnings from his work, or the innocent but blunt Irishman who as Deasy says do not have a problem because of his openness about his likes and dislikes at the very inception of any issue. Quite to the contrary of either attitude, Manipur today is marked by a lethargic work culture, love for easy money and extremely short vision. When worship of unearned money becomes the cult of the day, what is sacrificed is self-respect. We also end up creating problems where there need to be none. There can be no argument that there is something abnormal about the population growth in the state and the entire Northeast region on account of large scale immigration from outside. Like the Irishman’s reported famous wont, the challenge is how to nip this problem in bud when it can be done without causing too much bad blood or bloodshed.

Published in Editorial
Monday, 04 September 2017 00:00

Local body repairs roadway

BISHNUPUR | Sept 3

The roadway connecting from Nambol to Utlou, otherwise known as Phadibi Lamsang under Nambol assembly constituency, which was not maintained by the government for a long time, was repaired today by Mind Empowering Coaching cum Boarding Centre, Nambol Laintonjam. Repairing work was done at specific sports where the roadway was severely damaged.

Many large potholes began to appear on the roadway as a result of vehicles passing through it during the recent flood. The condition of the road had deteriorated badly, causing many difficulties and inconvenience to the travellers and passerby.

The repairing work was started by the centre, with a hope to repair the road, however little they can. The warden, staff and students of the centre took part altogether in filling up the potholes.

Published in News
Monday, 04 September 2017 00:00

Bangladesh SC judge visits Moreh

MOREH | Sept 3

As part of the India visit of High Court Division of Dhaka, judge of Supreme Court of Bangladesh, Justice Bhabani Prasad Singha visited Moreh town today.

Justice Bhabani did a small survey on the Integrated Check Post (ICP), JMIC Court Complex, Judges Residential Complex, Indo-Myanmar Friendship Bridge and Gate No. 2 which is bordering India and Myanmar. He was accompanied by deputy registrar (Administration), S. Joychand Singh and they were received at Moreh by ADC, Moreh, N. Gojendro and SDPO, Moreh, Lawrence.

Published in News
Monday, 04 September 2017 00:00

Yoga teachers’ training camp kicks off

By A Staff Reporter

IMPHAL | Sept 3

With an aim to give proper training for the assistant yoga teachers, a 100 hours yoga training camp kicks off today at Flash Mandap Complex, Wahengbam Leikai.

The programme was attended by Dr. A. Guneshwor Sharma, director of AYUSH as chief guest. The programme was jointly organised by Bharat Swabhiman (Trust), Patanjali Yog Samiti, Yuva Bharat and Patanjali Kisan Seva Samiti.

President of All Manipur Working Journalists’ Union (AMWJU),W. Shyamjai, additional director of AYUSH, Dr.Y. Lukhoi Singh, Kulachandra Singh, former principal of All India Management Training Centre Allahabad and Ksh. Gopendra Singh, rajya prabhari of Bharat Swabhiman Trust attended the function as guests of honour.

Approximately 50 assistant teachers came and participated for the training.

Published in News
Monday, 04 September 2017 00:00

MLAs pledge to donate eye

IMPHAL | Sept 3

Three MLAs of the state have pledged to donate their eyes to gift the sense of sight to those in need. This noble cause was promised by them while attending the eye donation campaign fortnight, organised by the SAKSHAM (Manipur Prant), Bishnupur unit today.

The observation was held at Moirang Khunou Mamang Sabal Mandop of Bishnupur district.

Speaking on the occasion, MLA P. Sarat stressed on the concept about attaining happiness and contentment when one helps and gives for the welfare of mankind. He also applauded the ‘Inclusion’ policy of the Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre, as a result of which such inclusive programmes of different section of the people have been taken up.

MLA Robindro and Bira also appealed to the public to know the importance and the need of gifting vision to the visually-impaired ones, and to pledge to donate their eyes. Later, the three MLAs along with many other dignitaries pledge to donate their eyes.

Moirang A/C MLA Pukhrem Sarat Singh, Thanga A/C MLA T Robindro and Kumbi A/C MLA Sanasam Bira Singh attended the function as the main dignitaries. Social workers and elected members of local self-governance were also seated in the dais.

Published in News
Monday, 04 September 2017 00:00

More cases Hydrocephalus in Manipur

From Our Correspondent

KANGPOKPI | Sept 3

Barely a month after Seiminsang alias Mimin Kipgen was brought to Imphal for treatment, two similar cases of Hydrocephalus have been reported from Tujang Waichong sub-division in Kangpokpi district and Henglep sub-division in Churachandpur district.

The only child of a farmer from Tujang Waichong in Kangpokpi district, Haosanglen Kipgen alias Malsom Kipgen has been suffering the rare condition of Hydrocephalus since he was in his mother’s womb.

The parents of the child, Ngamminthang Kipgen and Lhingneichin Kipgen have been into despondency after knowing that their child is suffering from hydrocephalus during an ultrasound test in the mid of August 2016 ahead of the delivery on September 6, 2016.

The child’s head was 70 centimetres in circumference but later reduced to 22 centimetres after three surgeries in a short interval of time but owing to financial shortage, the boy’s medical treatment could not be sustained and his head started to swell again upto 55 centimetres.

The boy’s mother, Lhingneichin Kipgen said that the medical treatment done so far had been with the help from their relatives, friends and kind hearted individuals but the treatment could not be sustained further as all the money has been used up. She has to stay helpless in her village Tujang Waichong, which is located 55 Km away from Kangpokpi district headquarters and around 100 Km away from Imphal, added Lhingneichin.

Meanwhile, another similar case has also been reported from Henglep sub-division in Churachandpur district.

Lamgousang alias Boisang Haokip, the second son of a cultivator Thangboi Haokip and Lhingneilam Lamshy Haokip has been suffering from Hydrocephalus when he was just 7 months.

Lamgousang was born on October 23, 2013 at a Private Hospital in Churachandpur. Earlier his mother ignored about the common sign on the baby but later confirmed to have suffered the fatal hydrocephalus.

The poor parents could not access any medical help for the child even if the child head was increasing abnormally large day by day. On August 25 Boisang’s parents and his aunt took him to Imphal and admitted at KCC Hospital on August 26.

Boisang’s head circumference is 75 centimetres. He is blind but can hear and sense things.

A non-profit organisation named Help People’s in Need [HELPIN] approached both the Hydrocephalus patients and expressed their willingness to help them for treatment outside the state in collaboration with Milaap, the India’s largest crowd funding platform.

HELPIN member, Jeffrey Hangshing said that the organisation have started raising funds. He continued that both the boys will be taken with their mothers to Fortis Hospital, Gurgoan, New Delhi for treatment, which is probably by September 5.

Meanwhile, the Kuki Students’ Organisation conveyed its enthusiasm to support and render all possible help towards HELPIN for treatment of the two boys.

Published in News
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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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