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Saturday, 01 December 2018 - Imphal Times

State Observes World AIDS Day

Imphal, Dec 1,

As in other parts of the world, the State also observed World AIDS Day under the theme, ‘Know your HIV status’ today. The State level observance was organised by Manipur State AIDS Control Society (MACS) at 1st Battalion Manipur Rifles ground with Governor Dr. Najma Heptulla, Chief Minister  N. Biren Singh and Health and Family Welfare Minister L. Jayantakumar Singh as the chief guest, functional president and guest of honour respectively.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Najma Heptulla said that it is imperative to make modifications and improvements in the State AIDS Policy statement so as to suit the changing circumstances and trend. She expressed hope that the experts and intellectuals in this field would give their suggestions which would be of immense help to the society in mitigating the bane of HIV/ AIDS. The Governor also appealed to the youths of the State to become more aware about HIV/AIDS issues and also to participate actively in the programmes and policies of the Government and NGOs in the fight against the disease.
Observing that the HIV/AIDS issue is no longer a mere health issue, the Governor said that it has covered all aspects of life - social, economic, legal, human rights and even political. The all-out and concerted efforts of the health officials and concerned activists of the State would not be sufficient in tackling this issue, she said while adding that civil societies have also to be actively involved. Stating that she would like to appreciate the role of NGOs and other agencies during the last two decades in providing preventive services and care to the people, Dr. Heptulla said that without the active role of the NGOs, the situation would have been worse.
The Governor urged the people living with HIV/AIDS not to indulge in high risk behaviour because they may contract the virus from their partners out of ignorance and negligence. She also said that she is in favour of promotion of voluntary HIV testing before marriage. Dr. Heptulla said that it is the responsibility of the society at large, particularly women, to have greater involvement in the fight against HIV/AIDS to safeguard the future of Manipur. HIV testing is a must for expanding treatment and ensuring that all people living with HIV can live a healthy and productive life, she opined.
Speaking on the occasion, Shri N. Biren Singh said that though the HIV/AIDS prevalence rate is declining in the State, there is still need for a collective hard work of public, NGOs and the Government to achieve the target of having no new HIV infection in Manipur by 2024. As per the records provided by the State Health Department, the HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in the State is 1.43 % against the all-India rate of .022%, he added.
He observed that people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIVs) should never be stigmatized and discriminated because they contracted the virus unknowingly. The disease can be tackled effectively only when PLHIVs are given the same respect and right as normal persons, he added. On the other hand, PLHIVs should also not get discouraged because many new inventions and medicines are coming up.
Regarding developmental issues of the State, the Chief Minister expressed serious concern that a large number of deserved people/households are not getting benefits under different Government schemes due to irregularities in data collection and dishonesty of the officials concerned. He said that many well-to-do individuals and families are found enjoying Government benefits meant for poor people, labour class and other weaker sections of the society. As such, those undeserved beneficiaries should surrender beneficiary cards before the Government takes action against them, he added.
It is a matter of concern that 36% of the population of the State is still under Below Poverty Line (BPL) though the per-head fund provided by the Centre to the State is three times higher as compared with the bigger States, the Chief Minister said. Shri N. Biren Singh said that if any well-to-do or Government employee is wrongfully enjoying benefit under a Government scheme, it can be well assumed that he/she has snatched away the right or benefit from a deserved poor person.
Speaking on the occasion, Shri L. Jayantakumar said that effective awareness is the only answer stigmatisation and discrimination of PLHIVs. Stating that HIV epidemic is a big challenge to the State, the Minister observed that there is need for a collective effort to eradicate the disease from the soil of the State.
CAF&PD Minister Karam Shyam, Forest and Environment Minister Shri Th. Shyamkumar, Tribal Affairs and Hills Minister N. Kayisii, Manipur Legislative Assembly Deputy Speaker K. Robindro, MLAs, Chief Secretary Dr. J. Suresh Babu, Principal Secretary (Health) Vumlunmang Vualnam and other high ranking officials of the State Government also attended the function.
Earlier at the function, the Governor administered MACS’s pledge of World AIDS Day to the gathering. The dignitaries also distributed prizes of written quiz and on-the-spot painting competitions held as part of the observance. They also feted the best performing NGOs and District AIDS Control Officers (DACOs) with certificates and prizes. The Governor also handed over tablets to 25 ANMs each of Thoubal and Imphal West districts.
Later, the dignitaries also visited the stalls opened by different partner NGOs of MACS. A rally taken part by the members of NGOs, PLHIVs, school children, NCC Cadets, MACS employees and general public was taken out from Hao Ground to 1st Battalion Manipur Rifles ground  as part of the observance.

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Series of Killing of Livestock is the impact of Destroying Natural Environment in the name of Developmental Projects –Eco Network

IT News
Imphal, Dec 1,

A statement by the Environment Conservation Network (Eco Network) today stated that the the series of attack on the livestock is the major impact of degrading the natural environment in the name of Developmental Project.
“As we can see large number of forest are deforested for the construction of Power Grid Lines, Railway Lines, Road Expansion, Construction of Mega Dams, natural resources exploration, etc, as a result the habitation of wildlife is seriously impacted and its natural food chain”, the statement said.
The statement also shows concern about the loss of livestock and appealed the government of Manipur to conduct a survey on how many livestock have been lost and to compensate the farmers.
The statement said that target to the domestic animal by the wild animals is an impact of the greediness of the Human Activities by destroying their natural forest where the wild animals are dependent upon are often destroyed in the name of developments or for the developmental projects.
The Eco Network statement appealed the people and the government of Manipur to restore the forest which were destroyed in the name of development. It also appealed the Government of Manipur and the people not to destroy the forest so as not to experience the present ongoing experience again in the future.

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2nd New Era Week Observed; Prize Distributed

IT News

 New Era Higher Secondary School, Thoubal today observed its Second New Era Week at its premises and published its Second ever school magazine.
Chairman, Council of Higher Secondary Education, Manipur, Lamabam Mahendra Singh, Secretary of COHSEM, Ch.Biren Singh and Zonal Education Officer, Thoubal Zone III, A.Anilkumar Singh attended the event as dignitaries.
A traditional dance competition was also conducted during the event and a prize distribution ceremony was also conducted in which Students who had achieved in the field of sports, culture and education were felicitated by presenting awards.
Cultural programme performed by the school students mark the New Era Week.
Speaking at the event, Chairman of COHSEM, L Mahendra Singh encouraged the students to have goals in life and pursue them with enthusiasm without wasting time.

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MSAD denounce detention of Kishorchand

IT News
Imphal, Dec 1,

Terming the detention of Wangkhemcha Kishorechand as a cowardly act, Manipuri Students; Association Delhi (MSAD) said that such arrest of dissenting voice should not be treated as isolation case.
The MSAD said that such an action is rather the continuation of a series of similar arrests made by the government since its rule. What lay before our eyes naked is a classic example of a true tyrannical government which does not allow different voices of any kind. It is Wangkhemcha Wangthoi today, tomorrow it could be any one of us. The government is generating a culture of silencing people’s voices through its use of arbitrary and draconian law – the detaining of WangkhemchaWangthoi under National Security Act (NSA) is an example, sthat statement said.
It further added that BJP government of Manipur led by its Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren is at a new low again. It has used all means at its disposal to curtail and shut down the voices of the people since it came to power in 2017. On 26th of this month journalist Wangkhemcha Wangthoi @Kishorchand, former sub-editor and anchor of Imphal based ISTV network was arrested by the police on seditious and obscene language charges under section 124-A/294/500 of the IPC after he uploaded a video in social media where he questioned the government’s agenda of celebrating Rani Jhansi on the occasion of Quami Ekta Diwas. He was released on bail after the Chief Judicial Magistrate L. Tonsing found that the video which he uploaded through social media did not attract section 124-A and that section 294 and 500 are bailable offences. He was rearrested on the same day of release without any arrest warrant, neither his family has been informed the reason of his arrest.
Mention may be made here that Wangkhemcha Wangthoi has been a harsh critic and an outspoken voice of the BJP government’s policies in Manipur, from the absurd and humiliating statement of the CM at the Madhavpur Mela in Gujarat on 29th March earlier this year, to the atrocities carried out by the BJP government during the Manipur University crisis. He was also earlier arrested on 9th August this year for similar act of questioning the BJP government.
The Nongthombam Biren led BJP Hindutva government in Manipur has nothing to hide nor nothing to offer to the people of Manipur. Scratch the surface and it reveals its fascist character now and then. The abrupt discontinuation of news analysis and discussion program that used to be aired at 7.30 am news everyday on All India Radio (AIR) under the direct order of the BJP government clearly reveals the utter distaste of any voice that does not speak the BJP language.  
The state government in a desperate measure to cover up its failure in building consensus on its governance in the last one and half year is ready tooth and nail to use any coercive means. However, it should be reminded that public consensus cannot be built by pouring in fear and terror to the collective psyche of the Manipuri population. We strongly condemn the action taken upon Wangkhemcha Wangthoi and he should be released unconditionally. We now ask the people of Manipur to come out and raise their voices against the despotic actions of the BJP government that is becoming fascist as days pass by.
The MSAD said the association stands in solidarity with all the people’s struggle for freedom and justice.

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Today is World AIDS Day

The world over, this day has been designated the World Aids Day and is celebrated since 1988 to raise the public awareness about AIDS (Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome), a pandemic disease caused due to the infection of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). World AIDS Day is important because it reminds the public and Government that HIV has not gone away – there is still a vital need to raise money, increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education. The day is celebrated by the government organizations, NGOs, civil society and other health officials by organizing the speeches or forums discussion related to the AIDS.
 According to a 2012 UNAIDS report, globally there are an estimated 34.4 million people living with HIV/AIDS and out of this 2.1 million are children while the rest are adults: males and females, and 2.5 million are newly infected with HIV as of December 2012. Despite the virus only being identified in 1984, more than 35 million people have died of HIV or AIDS, making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history. Today, scientific advances have been made in HIV treatment, there are laws to protect people living with HIV and we understand so much more about the condition. Despite this, people do not know the facts about how to protect themselves and others, and stigma and discrimination remain a reality for many people living with the condition.
Manipur is one of the six high prevalence states in India with HIV prevalence rate among pregnant women attending ANC being 1.4% (Sentinel Surveillance 2006). Manipur with hardly 0.2% of India’s population is contributing nearly 8% of India’s total HIV positive cases. More and more interior and hill areas are affected and are yet to be covered. Interestingly, while the State AIDS Policy was adopted by the State Government on 3rd October, 1996 and became the first State in India to have a State AIDS Policy, a slogan on the webpage of Manipur Aids Control Society (MACS) reads “Let’s aids each other to combat AIDS”. It is also evidently clear from the figures given on the website that it has been a few years since any significant update or studies have been made regarding the current status of the state vis-à-vis the dreaded affliction.
While the picture on the state front is not satisfactory or inspiring to say the least, there are positive developments elsewhere which indicate that there might very well be a new hope in the fight against AIDS. A new clinical trial has been launched in South Africa Wednesday on an experimental vaccine that could prevent HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. The latest trial is only the seventh full-scale human trial for a virus that infects more than 2 million people and kills over 1 million every year worldwide. According to a statement from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), HVTN 702 is the largest and most advanced HIV vaccine clinical trial to be undertaken in South Africa, where more than 1,000 people are infected with HIV in a day. The first participant of the new trial was enrolled on Oct. 26, and the results of the clinical trial are expected in 2020. The new study is based on an earlier trial — RV 144 — conducted in Thailand in 2009 which showed 31 percent drop in infections which , while not significant, paved the way for further investigations and improvements.
While the world is pressing forwards in the search for a cure to the dreaded disease, the best possible means for the public to stay safe is to be aware of HIV/AIDS, and to treat those living with the condition with understanding and empathy, for nothing works against the efforts to contain and control the spread of HIV/AIDS than to stigmatise and show them contempt. The state government and its implementing agency needs to monitor and update information and data regarding HIV/AIDS on a regular basis so that concerned public can get a better picture of the situation in the state.

Harnessing Solar & Wind Power, Strengthening Human Resource and Transparency of Accounting System Needed: N.K. Singh

Imphal, Dec 1
 Inspite of Manipur getting close to reasonably high rate of economic growth, it still has number of important steps that need to be taken up for putting  the State’s economy in better trajectory. The steps are like harnessing the solar and wind power, strengthening human resource and keeping transparency of accounting system, said Chairman of 15th Finance Commission, Shri N.K. Singh told media yesterday.
First step is harnessing Solar Power and it is now available in the state as renewable sources along with Wind Power, which can be gainfully utilized by Manipur. In pertain to strengthening of its rich human resource, particularly for increasing the quality of education sector, establishment of more medical, nurses training and paramedic institutions are required as there is still short supply of the same in India and other parts of the world. By improving the quality of technical education like engineering institutions, youths and people of Manipur does not have to travel long distance for securing educational opportunities, Shri N. K. added.
The Chairman of the 15th Finance Commission furthered that the third step is improving the overall matrix of its finances, moving away from the era of depositing to public accounts.  Making the accounting system more transparent and aligning the fiscal deficit management trajectory within a time frame, say the next five years is really needed. In this context, the Government of Manipur presented a detailed memorandum to the Finance Commission and also submitted 25 projects for State’s specific funding for infrastructure and social infrastructure.
The Chairman of the Finance Commission assured to the Government for double digit growth of the economy by improving the per capita income of the State and for decreasing the poverty number in the coming years and to make Manipur best among the special category states of the country. It is in view of the importance of State’s economy and the critical location for promoting the act east policy and also the overall profile of the place.
It may be mentioned that prior to the press conference, the 15th Finance Commission team led by its chairman, Shri N.K. Singh met and interacted with the Chief Minister, Deputy Chief Minister who is also the Finance Minister, Council of Ministers and Bureaucrats of the State. The Finance Commission team comprises its member, Secretary, Joint Secretary, Deputy Director, Assistant Director and Economic Officer.
The 15th Finance Commission team arrived in Imphal on 29th November, 2018 and met with the representatives of different political parties, representatives of rural and urban local bodies and representatives of trade and industries

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Manipur State still lacks transparency- RTI Activist

IT News
Imphal, Dec 1.

Human Rights and RTI Activist Wahengbam Joykumar Singh has asserted that Manipur State still lacks transparency.
Speaking to media persons at Manipur Press Club, Majorkhul, Imphal here on Thursday, Joykumar said no response has been given for the RTI he had sent to Ukhrul DC seeking detail information for the compensation sanction to the Mapithel Dam Affected Villagers (families), till date.
He said, he had filed the RTI on December 21 of 2015 to the SPIO/DC, Ukhrul seeking information on 7 points under Section – 6 (1) of the RTI Act, 2005.
However, the case was disposed without giving out the details information of the filed RTI stating the reason as due to threats from third party, he added.
So far no corrupted persons have been given befitting punishment by the law of the land in connection with corruption charges, what is the main reason behind?” Joykumar question.
 Joykumar said, countless number of complains have been file against those corrupted persons, however, no charge sheet has been taken up to punish those responsible of the corruption cases in the state.
Since, no punishment has been awarded to these corrupted persons, they continue to do corruption intentionally as in Manipur State they can do whatever they want due to no transparency, he added.
Questioning, when will Manipur become a transparency and corruption free state, Joykumar said, disposing information of a file RTI in the name of threats is against the RTI Act, these threats is not given to the RTI filer but to the one who is trying to hide and execute works in hidden and these threats should be face by the government or the concern department, not the RTI complainants.
Seeking the details information for the RTI he had sent to Ukhrul DC at the earliest, Joykumar said, the information commission needs to work sincerely with transparency.

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Curtains down on Manipur Sangai Festival, 2018

Imphal, Dec. 1

The 10-day annual Manipur Sangai Festival, 2018 organised by the State Government with a vision to promote tourism sector in the State came to an end with a glittering function held at Bhagyachandra Open Air Theatre (BOAT) yesterday.
Governor Dr. Najma Heptulla and Chief Minister N. Biren Singh graced the closing function as the chief guest and president respectively.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Heptulla said that tourism is considered the fastest growing sector in today’s development scenario anywhere in the world. Stating that tourism has become the economic lifeline of many countries without much natural resources, she opined that it has successfully transformed the economic landscape of these countries and helped in maintaining a vibrant economy. Tourism in the State also deserves due attention, she said while adding that tourism infrastructure such as accommodation, road and transport are prerequisites for attracting the tourists and these need to be engaged on priority particularly in the hill districts.
The Governor further opined that the issue of accommodation would automatically be addressed if there is a rise in tourists and for this, investment would be forthcoming. What a tourist needs is not a five star hotel but a basic clean, hygienic and affordable accommodation, she said. The concerned agencies of the State Government should inspect the hotels and other places of stay regularly to ensure that they are maintained at a minimum standard of hygiene and cleanliness, the Governor added.
Paying guest system needs to be encouraged as Manipur now has many private buildings which easily meet the standard. For this, training of the owners of these buildings needs to be carried out and inspection done regularly, she said. Further, the civic authorities and the people should make Manipur a much cleaner State, particularly the roads and other public places, the Governor added.
Stating that a number of places in the hill districts of the State can be developed into popular hill stations, Dr. Heptulla said that under the Act East Policy, steady increase in the tourism infrastructure like hotels and road and transport and specific initiatives taken up by the State Government like the Manipur Sangai Festival, things have started looking up in the tourism sector.
Speaking on the occasion, N. Biren Singh said that people of both the hill and valley districts extended equal co-operation to the Government in organising the 10-day festival this year. He said that the Manipur Cherry Blossom cum Flower Festival organised at Mao in Senapati District became a part of the Manipur Sangai Festival from this year onwards.
Princess of Thailand and US Ambassador to India attended the festival for the first time this year, he said while adding that Sumo wrestling events was organised in the North East region for the first time during the festival. N. Biren Singh said that the Princess of Thailand was impressed on having glimpses of the historic antique items showcased at Kangla Museum. Stating that the Thai Princess’ visit to the State was very positive, N. Biren Singh said that the Princess expressed her willingness to take up some joint venture activities with the State.
Regarding the arrest of some trekkers of Manipur Mountaineering and Trekking Association (MMTA), who went trekking to Dzuko, by Nagaland Police, the Chief Minister informed the gathering that he had talked to Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio regarding the incident. Public Health Engineering Minister Losii Dikho was sent to Kohima to meet the authorities concerned of the neighbouring State, the Chief Minister said that the matter had now been resolved and all the arrested trekkers would be released.
The Chief Minister also said that he had assured the 15th Finance Commission members that the new State Government would do the needful to reach the Government benefits and funds to the targeted people at the grassroots level. He opined that the ‘Go to Hill’ and the ‘Go to Village’ missions of the new State Government are the significant steps towards this end.
Stating that many deserved people and households are unable to get benefits under Government’s noble schemes like Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana - Ayushman Bharat and National Food Security Act (NFSA) due to faulty collection of datas during Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) compilation, N. Biren Singh said that he had instructed the Chief Secretary to constitute an enquiry committee to probe the reason for such irregularities.
Informing that some people had opined that the State Government has been giving too much emphasis to organising many festivals, the Chief Minister opined that festivals in different districts are organised to inculcate the sense of competition and hard work among farmers. Ginger, pineapple and orange productions had increased manifold after organising Ginger Festival, Pineapple Festival and Orange Festival, he observed.
Deputy Chief Minister Y. Joykumar, Manipur Legislative Assembly Deputy Speaker K. Robindro, Ministers, MLAs, high ranking civil, police and military officers and large number of people also attended the closing function.
The Chief Minister feted officials of different Government Departments, agencies and private companies for extending support and co-operation in successfully organising the biggest tourism festival of the State at the function. Colourful cultural programmes were also presented at the function.

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Assam Rifles organises free medical camp for girls

IT News
Imphal, Dec. 1
Keithelmanbi Battalion of 9 Sector Assam Rifles under the aegis of HQ IGAR (South) conducted a free Medical Camp for girls at Chaopok Ipham, Lilong on 30 November 2018. A dedicated medical team under the Unit Medical Officer provided medical assistance to over 260 girls in the camp.  
Various medical facilities were provided to the attendees which included screening of lifestyle diseases, routine health check up alongwith free dental checkup. A dispensary was established as part of the Camp to distribute free medicines and nutritional supplements.
Alongwith the Medical Camp a lecture was also conducted to generate awareness on various age related issues faced by adolescent girls. A comprehensive health talk on menstruation and hygiene was also conducted by the medical team.
The people of the area were extremely appreciative of the Assam Rifles for their sincere endeavour and requested for more such camps in the near future for the benefit of the entire community.

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Friendly Volleyball match between Indian Army and Myanmar Army at Tamu, Myanmar

IT News

Imphal, Dec. 1

In furtherance of strengthening the friendly ties with Myanmar a friendly volleyball match between Indian Army and Myanmar Army was conducted on the sidelines of Indo Myanmar Post Level Meeting (IMPLM) under the aegis of Headquarters 26 Sector Assam Rifles on 30 November 2018. This friendly match was held as part of Indo-Myanmar Sports Exchange in Myanmar for the year 2018-19. The aim of the Friendly Match was to instill and strengthen a spirit of healthy and friendly relations between Indian Army and Myanmar Army. The match was conducted at Indoor Volleyball Court, Tamu (Myanmar) on 30 November 2018 from 1000 hours to 1045 hours. The Indian Army and Myanmar Army players were divided into two teams ie Team A and Team B for the friendly match. The IMPLM delegation of Indian Army and Myanmar Army attended this event. The team members of both the teams were introduced to the Commandants of Indian Army and Myanmar Army and wished good luck at the onset on the match.

The match was of three sets. It was a well contested match played with sportsmanship and both the teams gave a tough fight to each other. Team A were the eventual winners, winning the second and third sets with a score of 25-27, 27-22, 27-24. The Commandant, 11 Assam Rifles and Commanding Officer, 50 Light Infantry Regiment met the players of both teams and congratulated them for their outstanding performance. The match culminated with prize distribution by Colonel R S Rawat, Commandant 11 Assam Rifles and Lieutenant Colonel Tin Tun Lin, Commanding Officer, 50 Light Infantry Regiment.The event concluded with tea and snacks for all participants and the spectators. This was the third time ever that a sports competition, ie friendly volleyball match was played between teams of Indian Army and Myanmar Army. Such events develop camaraderie and trust which further strengthens the friendly relations.


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