Monday, 06 July 2020 - Imphal Times

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Imphal, July 6:

The crack between the state BJP and the state NPP seems to be finally stitched with Chief Minister N. Biren Singh government re-allocating the stripped off portfolios to NPP legislature wing leader Yumnam Joykumar Singh, who is also the Deputy Chief Minister under BJP led coalition government of Manipur.

On June 13, 2019, Chief Minister N. Biren Singh government stripped off the Finance portfolio from the Deputy Chief Minister Yumnam Joykumar igniting souring relationship between the BJP and its ally partner NPP. Later on April 10, 2020, the crack between the ally came to limelight after all portfolios allotted to Yumnam Joykumar has been stripped off. Yumnam Joykumar Singh, the Deputy Chief Minister without any portfolio in the N. Biren Singh government finally revolted following which all the 4 (four) NPP MLAs who are ministers in the government tendering resignation ahead of the Rajya Sabha Election held on June 19. The drama then continued to haunt the state political theatre for quite some times until the matter was settled with the interference of Central leadership of both BJP and NPP.

The four NPP Ministers including Deputy CM Y. Joykumar, who had tendered resignation on June 17 from the ministers, were however not accepted by the government. And hence, they continue to be the ministers in the government and no change of portfolio has been made, as per source.

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Imphal, July 6:

Deputy Commissioner, Imphal West, Naorem Praveen declared Thangmeiband Polem leikai area as a containment zone yesterday after a minor girl who was on home quarantine tested positive. The area has been sealed off with prohibitions on entry and exit of population. Schools, Offices and other institutions have been closed with public gathering of any type banned with immediate effect. Shops and other commercial establishments have also been barred from opening.

The new development came on the backdrop of a minor girl who was on home quarantine at her Thangmeiband residence tested positive last night. She along with her parents had returned from Delhi by flight on the 22nd of last month, and put up at a paid quarantine centre in Imphal. While her parents tested positive on 28th, and undergoing treatment, she tested negative and was put on home quarantine. Unfortunately another Covid-19 test conducted on the minor girl yesterday came out as positive. Four family members of the household including the minor have been picked up by the medical team for treatment. Meanwhile, district administration is trying to trace the two mistries from Yumnam Patlou, Imphal East, who worked at their Thangmeiband Polem leikai residence.

In the meantime Jiribam district administration has continued imposition of Lockdown after 28 police and Village Defence Force (VDF) personnel have been tested positive with novel Coronavirus. In Jiribam district total persons tested positive with novel Coronavirus. Five have been recovered so far leaving the number of active positive cases to 31 .

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Imphal, July 6:

Rural Development and Panchayati Raj department has procured large number of sub standard protective mask and sanitizers for distribution to the MGNREGA workers.

As per official source, 2 lakhs piece of protective masks has been unloaded for Imphal East district today afternoon. Interestingly the face masks that have been unloaded at the office of the Imphal East Zilla Parishad turns out to be sub standard one which has no trademark,to ensure protection from COVID-19. What is more surprising is that the price of each mask is tagged as Rs. 25/-. The so call mask is half the size of a common handkerchief sold at ordinary shops.

The source further said that the total amount for the procured mask, sanitizers and other protective gears for MGNREGA workers is around Rs. 2 Crore and 32 lakhs. As for the mask unloaded at Imphal East today payment should be made to one M/S Romabati Handloom and Handicraft Production centre, Kongba Kshetri leikai.

The amount for procurement of the face masks and other protective gears is to be spent from the Administrative cost of MGNREGA.

The source further added that no tender notice has been issued for procurement of such a huge quantity of products that cost over Rs. 2 crores.

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Imphal, July 6:

Kangleipak Student’s Federation in a press release sought a cautious approach from the public and not to take hasty decisions with regards to efforts to include Manipuri script in the Indian currency. The student body urged the people to clarify through various public debates and discussions regarding the uncertainty of script to be used in the currency, as the Manipur Official Language Act of 1979 list “Manipuri” language with Bengali script as the official language of the state. It further warned that, on the eventuality of the use of Bengali script as Manipuri script on the currency due to indecisions regarding the script and failure to reach to a general consensus over the number of alphabets of Meetei/Meitei Mayek script, may mark a black letter day in annals of Manipuri History.

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Imphal, July 6:

Reception of Manipur University COVID-19 volunteers was held at the court hall, Manipur University today. The function was attended by Jarnail Singh, VC Manipur University as the Chief Guest with Prof. Amar Yumnam (senior most professor of the University) and Prof. G.A. Shantibala Devi (Dean School of Life Science, Manipur University) as the other dignitaries of the event. Certificates were distributed to the volunteers of the health communication campaign.

The volunteers were part of a pilot project initiated by the Department of Botany & Zoology, “What can you do for your society regarding Covid-19?” campaign held from 14th May till 30th June 2020. During the campaign about 4000 2/3 layered cotton masks manufactured and funded by the two departments were distributed across 102 places in association with clubs and local bodies.

Speaking on the occasion, the Vice chancellor lauded the efforts of the faculty and students of the two departments who did not only perform their duties towards the society by donating money but also being actively involved during the campaign.

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Imphal, July 6:

Recounting her boat ride at Nambul River, Mrs Ethel ST Grimwood in her book “My Three Years in Manipur” published in 1892 wrote Nambul River waterway as a short cut way to reach Loktak Lake.

“I don’t think I shall ever forget the first time I saw the lake”, Mrs. Grimwood wrote.  Perhaps the Nambul River was extraordinarily clean those days as Mrs. Grimwood prefer boat ride to get a glimpse of Loktak Lake.

The story of Nambul waterway 128 years later is not the same. The condition of the River after Manipur restored its Independence keeps on deteriorating days after another. Until the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, no persons including those in the Government’s Environment department had ever expected that people will someday use the river either for commercial transportation or for site seeing rides. Perhaps, the more than three-month-long lockdowns has somehow relieved the suffocating river making the dream for many to have a boat ride on the river possible.

On July 2, the All Manipur Working Journalists’ Union (AMWJU) in collaboration with Directorate of Environment and Climate Change, Government of Manipur organized a one-day media campaign on saving Nambul river on riding on modified traditional Manipuri Canoe on the river from Thong Nambonbi to Yangoi Karong area, which starts Loktak lake.

When we reached Yangon Karong area, we were not lucky enough to see the moon shedding a glorious silvery light on the broad expanse of waters, and making the islands, each one a small mountain in itself, that appear shadowy and far off as written by Mrs. Grimwood, as the sun was facing towards us in slanting manners. 

Had Mrs. Grimwood wrote her “My Three Years in Manipur” in these days, she would have pen-pictured the murky banks with waste plastic bottles and waste garbage at all the Riverbanks starting from Thong Nambonbi to Yangoi Karong area by not leaving aside the stinking odour that may cause a more ferocious disease than COVID-19.  

In olden days Nambul River is used as waterway transportation. The Nambul water start from Kangchup hill range around 3 small streams from Kangchup felled and meet at Iroisamba and start Nambul River. Besides waterways, the river water is mainly used by the peoples for irrigation and drinking. But today Nambul water is found unsuitable for human consumption. The river is hit by worse water pollution. People of the riverbank area need to keep the Nambul River clean for a healthy environment.

The portion between Iroishemba to Heirangoitong of the Nambul which is around 9.14 km long is the most polluted part as seen during the boat ride.

Experts say that the high pollution in Nambul River is due to urbanism. The urban area of this river from Iroisamba to Heirangoithong of the river bank both sides covers 12 Municipality ward. These 12 municipal ward areas contribute a lot of solid and liquid pollutants. This urban area has 72 drains falling to Nambul River so the BOD level and COD level are very high. The Nambul River is one of the main perennial sources of water for the Loktak Lake which is a designated Ramsar site since 23rd March 1990 under the Ramsar Convention, to which India is a state party.

Besides Manipur Government affords to combat water pollution, the peoples on the both sides, especially of urban area, should take extra care in shaping the river pollution free. The Nambul River, a key river in the maintenance of the micro climatic and ecological health of the Manipur Valley, is kept free of all encroachments by any human activities.

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Monday, 06 July 2020 17:29

COVID 19 pandemic and Nambul River

Many people who are critiques of crime against nature, the COVID 19 pandemic indeed is a blessing in disguise. For some time, when the pandemic first emerges, the world witnessed the worst panicky life. Almost all major countries take up immediate measures to fight the spread of the virus. Some countries imposed total lockdown crippling all forms of normalcy. Forget about the multinational companies, even those living on daily wages were forced to stop live. Television, newspaper, social media, traditional media – all discuss and relay issues related to COVID 19 pandemic. A new word call ‘social distancing’ which perhaps is an antithesis to sociology has been made mandatory by many governments running different countries across the world. The majority of the world was put too near standstill. When human activities were put to hold for a few months, an air of freedom seems to be blowing on the lap of the mother earth. Environmentalists say they had never seen River Ganga as clean as they see during the lockdown. It was just around thirty days that such comments were heard. Imagine the condition of the river had the lockdown been a little longer.
Back here in Imphal, the most polluted river or perhaps the dirtiest in the entire country, sees clean water flowing these days. Time and again some concern ministers or bureaucrats or social workers had initiated several work programmes or campaigns to keep the Nambul river clean and free from pollution. None of the efforts has so far been succeeded in making the River that runs through the middle of the Imphal city pollution free river. The dream about making Nambul another river Thames of the United Kingdom never comes true besides all effort.
For over sixty days, Manipur has been put into partial lockdown without allowing the Manipur’s commercial hubs Khwairamband keithel, Paona, and Thangal market to open. Almost all commercial activities in these commercial hubs have been put to halt for around three months by now and because of this the one time most crowded commercial hubs that gave headache to municipality workers in cleaning the garbage have been somehow relieved. Because, people have stopped visiting the commercial zone, garbage products from this section of the area have been reduced to almost zero levels. The Nambul river that flows next to the commercial hubs has been a dumping zone of the garbage produced from Khwairamband area and that is perhaps the reason for the failure in every effort to make Nambul – free from pollution. Maybe those concerned departments especially assigned to use all their skill and wisdom by paying huge amounts of salary are not efficient enough to find a solution to deliver what they have been assigned for. But then nature is not so cruel, when some concern humans were left helpless in rendering their service to the environment, it showed some form of extra natural phenomenon that sometimes took the entire human race to surprise. The COVID pandemic may be term as another phenomenon leaving aside the scientific theory.
Perhaps it is because of the COVID 19 pandemic that the long-cherished desires of Imphalites to see Nambul river clean comes true. Part and partial credit should be given to the state Environmental department. The enthusiasm of the environmental department to show their credentials in rendering their services is well noted when the department organized a boat rally for media persons at the Nambul river. It was not merely a boat ride rally but was a rally to create awareness to the people on the importance of keeping the Nambul river clean and tidy.
Nature had done its part, it is now up to the people particularly those working in the environment sector to formulate a lasting mechanism of keeping Nambul river another Thames of the United Kingdom.

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Monday, 06 July 2020 17:27

Pro-Khalistan group websites blocked

By IT Correspondent
New Delhi, July 6:

As many as 40 websites belonging to the Sikh For Justice (SFJ), an outlawed pro-Khalistan group, based in the US, were blocked on Sunday, by the Union government for supporting secessionist activities. 
SFJ, an unlawful organisation, banned under the Unlawful Activities Prevention (UAPA) 1967, in July 2019, had launched a campaign for registering supporters for its cause. The SFJ was accused of pushing for Sikh Referendum 2020 as part of its separatist agenda and  espousing the cause of “Khalistan”, challenging the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India. SFJ was accused of arousing anti-India sentiment across the world and enticing Sikh youth to join militancy. 
SFJ, formed in 2007, is a US-based human rights advocacy group that supports freedom of Punjab from India through a referendum. The forum has been funded and headed by lawyer Gurpatwant Singh Pannu, who was booked under sedition charges by Punjab police in April this year. 
On recommendation of the Union Ministry for Home Affairs (MHA), the Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology ( MEITY) issued orders under Sec. 69 A of the I.T. Act, 2000, for blocking 40 websites of SFJ, a home ministry spokesperson said. MEITY is the nodal authority for monitoring the cyber space in India. 
A gazette notification issued while banning SFJ stated that the outfit is involved in anti-national and subversive activities in Punjab and elsewhere, intended to disrupt the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India. 
Both MHA and IT ministry refused to divulge the details of websites that have been blocked. One of the key websites associated widely with the group –www.referendum2020.org— through which support from Sikh youth for a separate Khalistani state is sought by SFJ, could not be accessed since it was blocked by the Union department of telecommunications. 
The ban on SFJ was upheld by the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Tribunal headed by Delhi High Court chief justice DN Patel earlier. In its judgment issued on 6, 2020,
the tribunal said, “The notification dated 10 July, 2019 issued by the Union of India under the UAPA, declaring SFJ  to be an unlawful association is hereby confirmed. The reference is answered in the affirmative”. 
In the meanwhile Indian intelligence agencies are trying to get an Interpol red corner notice issued against Pannu, who has been designated an individual terrorist. He is said to be getting support from Pakistan for his anti-India activities.

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Mumbai, July 6:

An offence was registered against over 50 BJP office bearers and workers for organising a function to felicitate new executive committee members of the party, in BJP office in Wardha in Vidarbha region of Maharashtra, in violation of lock down regulations, on Sunday. 
The function was organised to felicitate office bearers including BJP MLA Pankaj Bhoyar,  district secretary Rajesh Bakane and others, by BJP Pulgaon Yuva Morcha and Wardha city BJP unit, without seeking required police permission. 
Wardha Municipal Council Vice President Pradip Singh Thakur, Prashant Ingle Tigaonkar, Prashant Burle, Sridhar Deshmukh, Pawan Pariyal, Bharat Nagpal, Ali Saifi, Guddu Kawale, Sunita Dhawle, Manjusha Dudhbade, Sheetal Thakre, Viru Pande, Nilesh Kite, Girish Kamble, Ashok Kalode and others were present. 
The offence under section 37(1) (3) of the Maharashtra Police Act was registered for violating lock down regulations and organising public function without seeking required permission, at Ram Nagar Police station against Pawan Pariyal and others, for arranging a mass gathering. 
Those named in the FIR included: Pradip Singh Thakur, Prashant Ingle, Guddu Kawale, Sunita Dhawle, Manjusha Dudhbade, Sheetal Thakre, Prashant Burle, Viru Pande, Nilesh Kite, Sridhar Deshmukh, Girish Kamble, Ashok Kalode and 40 other BJP workers. 
The police reached the venue no sooner the information about the function in BJP office was received and stopped the programme. Although the office bearers wore face masks, they did not seem to maintain required social distance from each other. 
In a similar incident BJP MLA Dadarao Keche from Arvi assembly constituency in the same  district, was booked for gathering over 200 people for distributing free rations to them on his birthday at his residence, in violation of lock down norms, in April. However Keche had maintained that like every year, he had planned to distribute food grains only to 21 families.  However his opponents conspired and spread the message that he was distributing free ration to everyone, which resulted in confusion.

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Imphal, July 6:

The five days social service camp conducted by the Torban Kshetri Leikai Development Committee concluded today.

A closing function was organised today in connection with the social service camp. Zilla Parishad member Seram Neken attended as chief guest.

The Committee organised the cleanliness works from July 1 with around 100 volunteers of the locality. The closing function was also attended by Ex Pradhan Longjam Sunil, Committee Advisor Ksh Bhubon Singh, Manipur State Scouts Union Secretary Longjam Tondon Singh and  Committee President Athokpam Somo. In this closing function sideline , Seram Neken assured the gathering to install street solar lamps for the Singjamei Wangma Kshetri Leikai road. He further sought for cooperation from all concerned in taking up development works it added. 

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