Saturday, 18 January 2020 - Imphal Times

IT News
Imphal, Jan 18

Popular Front of India National General Secretary M Mohamed Ali Jinnah has welcomed Chhattisgarh Government’s decision to challenge the constitutionality of the draconian NIA Act in the Supreme Court and urged other non-BJP State Governments also to approach apex court to strike down the act which is against the spirit of federalism.
The plea filed by the state government under Article 131 of the Constitution against the law expresses highly serious concerns that had already been raised by various political parties and civil rights groups since its introduction in 2008 and upon its amendment in 2019 by making it even more draconian. As, Chhattisgarh Government rightly pointed out, the law undermines the federal character of the country by conferring excessive powers to the centre to interfere in the prerogatives given to the states by the constitution.  As stated in the plea of the state government, there are no rules governing the exercise of these powers and no room for coordination with state in law, and it does not even require the consent of any form from the states. Besides, that fact that serious complaints in the past years regarding the misuse of the law by those in power at centre to hunt down its political opponents and to quell dissent only affirms the existing fears.
There is no denying the fact that our mainstream opposition parties played a major role in creating this situation. It was UPA government that first enacted the law in 2008, despite criticism from the human rights organizations and activists. It is , however, highly hopeful, that states government are finally waking up to the reality. Kerala government has set a good example by officially approaching the apex court against the discriminatory Citizenship Amendment Act. As a state where there are many instances of the misuse of the NIA Act and UAPA, Kerala state government can be in the forefront to follow the example of the Chhattisgarh government and challenge both the laws. Taking the seriousness of the situation into account, Popular Front appeals to other non-BJP state governments to align themselves with Chhattisgarh in raising this demand and to save the constitution and federal character of the country.

Published in News

IT News
Mumbai, Jan 18

In a major setback to telecom operators, the Supreme Court has directed “Bharti Airtel” and “Vodafone-Idea”, to pay Rs.1.47-lakh crore in past statutory dues of adjusted gross revenue (AGR) by January 23.
Apart from these two companies, about 15 companies in the telecom business need to pay to the government, towards licence fees and spectrum usage charges (SUC) calculated on the basis of AGR.  
The above directions were given by a bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra, S.Abdul Nazeer and M.R.Shah, while dismissing review petitions filed by these companies challenging SC’s earlier order on Thursday. Holding that interest and penalty have rightly been levied on the telecom companies, SC specified that there should not be any further litigation on the matter. The telecom companies had sought an open court hearing on their review petition, but the SC decided to stick to its convention of doing an in-chamber hearing.
For Bharti Airtel, dues are around Rs 35,586 crore(Rs 21,682 crore as license fee (LF) and Rs 13,904 crore as SUC) and for Vodafone Idea the dues amount to Rs 53,038 crore(Rs 28,309 crore in LF and Rs 24,730 crore in SUC). Tata Teleservices, which has sold its consumer mobility business to “Airtel”, faces dues of Rs.13,823 crore.
The SC order of October 24, had directed operators to pay up their dues by January 23 following which the operators had sought a limited review of the ruling, on recovery of past dues amounting to Rs.1.47-lakh crore. The SC had ruled that the statutory dues need to be calculated by including non-telecom revenues in what is known as AGR of telecom companies.  
The recovery of past dues by the government was based on AGR of around Rs.92,000 crore. The October 24 verdict had widened the definition of AGR to include non-core revenue, leaving telecom companies and even non-telecom companies facing hefty statutory dues.
The Telecom Ministry in November had told Parliament that telecom companies owe nearly Rs 1.47 lakh crore in LF and SUC. The total amount included- license fee of Rs 92,642 crore as of July 2019 and SUC of Rs 55,054 crore as of October 2019.
In an affidavit filed earlier in the SC, the Department of Telecom (DoT)  had said that Airtel owed Rs 21,682.13 crore as licence fee to the government and dues from Vodafone totalled Rs 19,823.71 crore, Reliance Communications owed Rs 16,456.47 crore, BSNL owed Rs 2,098.72 crore, and MTNL Rs 2,537.48 crore.
The telecom sector was liberalised under the National Telecom Policy 1994 after which licenses were issued to companies in return for a fixed license fee. In 1999, the government  gave an option to the licensees to migrate to the revenue sharing fee model, under which the   telephone operators were required to share a percentage of their AGR with the government as LF and SUC. AGR is computed after allowing for certain deductions spelt out in these license agreements. The LF and SUC were set at 8 per cent and between 3-5 per cent of AGR respectively, based on the agreement.
In 2005, the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) challenged the government’s definition for AGR calculation. In 2015, Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) stayed the case in favour of telecom companies and held that AGR includes all receipts, except capital receipts and revenue from non-core sources such as rent, profit on the sale of fixed assets, dividend, interest and miscellaneous income. However on 24 October, 2019, SC set aside TDSAT’s order and upheld the definition of AGR as stipulated by the DoT.
An Airtel spokesperson said the company was disappointed with the verdict and was evaluating whether to file a curative petition. The industry needs to continue investing in expanding networks, acquiring spectrum and introducing new technology such as 5G. The money now required to pay punitive interest, penalty and interest on penalty, which forms nearly 75 per cent of AGR dues, would have better served the digital mission of the country.

Published in News

IT News

Shillong, Jan18

Three persons from Manipur have been arrested with Heroin worth around Rs.2.5 crores in Meghalaya.

According to the press a joint team of ANTE, Khliehriat PS, Lumshnong PS & Umkiang PP intercepted a Maroon cloud Maruti Suzuki Swift Car (ML-05-L-8177) at Khliehriat around 10:45pm of 15 January.

On thorough search of the vehicle 430.01 gms Heroin (packed in 40 soap boxes) with street value for more than 2.5 Crores was recovered.

All the occupants of the vehicle were detained for interrogation and later arrested. Their particulars are: (1). Thangsiam Haokip @ Robinson (24 yrs) S/o Kamzathang Haokip R/o M Songgel (2). Shri. T. Sonlian (22 yrs) S/o Paupi Tonsing R/o Zogam Bazar Zenhang Lamka, Churachandpur 3).Hatneikim Kuki (21 yrs) D/o- Yanglet Kuki R/o- M Songgel, Churachandpur, Manipur.

A case vide Khliehriat PS Case No. 6(1)2020 u/s 8(c)/21(c)/29 NDPS Act has been registered and investigation is going on.

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By our correspondent
Jaipur, Jan. 18

While opposing the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), the Congress ruled  Rajasthan Govt has began giving land at cheaper rates to Pakistani migrants igniting a sharp discussion among political circles.
Barely a few weeks after taking out a Peace March in Jaipur against the CAA, the Ashok Gehlot Government has allotted plots at half their market price (50% discount) to Pakistani migrants in the state capital.
According to the Jaipur Development Authority (JDA), about a hundred people displaced from Pakistan were issued allotment letters in the Khushar Extension Housing Scheme by Zonal  Office-IX. This was a part of its effort to fulfil the public welfare announcements of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and the plan was executed in accordance with the instructions of the Minister of Urban Development, Shanti Dhariwal.
Allotment letters were issued by JDA Commissioner  T. Ravikant at 50 per cent concessional rates to Pak displaced Ramesh, Zaveri Lal, Baidan, Harpal and Hiralal early this week. After receiving the allotment letters, the happy Pakistani migrants thanked the state government and the JDA for offering them plots at discounted rates.
Zonal Deputy Commissioner Abu Sufiyan said that the process for allotment of plots to the Pakistani migrants was pending since 2014 and it was decided to allot the land to the eligible migrants. He also said that after scrutinizing their eligibility, the allotments are being done under the Khushar Extension Scheme.
However the opposition BJP accused the government of double standards. “ The Rajasthan government is standing against the CAA merely to oppose the Modi-led government at the Centre, while they themselves are providing land to Pakistani refugees at cheap rates, Rajasthan BJP President Satish Poonia said and added that ‘‘This is another U-turn by the Gehlot Government. The Chief Minister should tell us whether he supports or opposes CAA. Their words and actions contradict each other.’’
In contrast, the ruling Congress said that it was merely fulfilling the genuine needs of Pakistani migrants who have already been given Indian citizenship. Our opposition to the CAA- NRC will continue and they will not be implemented in Rajasthan.
The Congress Spokesperson Archana Sharma said ‘‘The identity of India is through its Constitution and we reject the CAA-NRC because those are opposed to our Constitution. Since we respect the Constitution, our government will not implement the divisive CAA-NRC in Rajasthan. But opposing CAA does not mean that we oppose Pakistani migrants who are in our state and have already got citizenship which they deserve.’’

Published in Guest Column

IT News

Imphal, Jan 18

5th Khundongbam Brojendro Theatre Festival kicks start today under the theme THEATRE CROSSING BOUNDARY. Theatre group from Bangladesh, Tripura, and Assam are taking part in this festival held at JN Manipur Dance Academy.

The inaugural function begins with a heart-throbbing fusion cultural performance “TAIREN”. Later, Theatre group Kanglei Living Arts, Uchiwa performed  Khundongbam Brojendro’s play ‘Karinungee Nupee Lonjaruba’. The play is directed by Th. Premjit.

Speaking on the inaugural festival, renowned theatre director Ratan Thiyam recalled on the contribution by late Playwright Khundongbam Brojendro.

"This festival is a great contribution for promoting art and culture" Ratan Thiyam begins his speech and expressed dissatisfaction to the attitude showed towards eminent playwright, artist and other cultural activists.

"Society always considers festival lightly. There is no place for leader and great men in our society" the internationally acclaimed theatre director said.

"This society has never recognized and done anything for our leaders and artist. I have been hearing politician praising culture but have never seen taken up anything for the art and culture lovers" , Ratan Thiyam said.

He further appealed the people and theatre lovers about the need to do more research on the work of Kh Brojendro.

To Ratan Thiyam the uniqueness of Khundongbam Brojendro's is that his plays are based on Naturalism naturalistic and realism realistic.

Mohan Rakesh was the first playwright to introduce reality play in India and for Manipur Khundongbam Brojendro was the first playwright to try on social play, Ratan said.

"Kh. Brojendro is the playwright which can write manipuriness realism" , Ratan said

Prof. N. TOMBI, noted theater critic and scholar who attended as guest of honor in the inaugural function said that Khundongbam Brojendro was an outstanding comedy playwright and dramatist after GC Tongbra.

Brojendro's views were always reflected in his play. He wanted to reform the corrupt society. His play depicts the social wrongs in a satirical way. He not only wrote satirical and comic play but also written serious tragic play. Prof. N.Tombi said.

Chairman of the festival committee Dr. RK Nimai highlighted the problems faced by theater performers and activist in the state.

Khundongbam Brojendro aka Momon was  born on January 18, 1946. He is the son of Khundongbam Itocha and Angom Ningol Ibaychoubi  and eight children he is second son. He completed his master Degree from Lucknow University. He served Co-operative society as an inspector and retired as Asst Register from the same office.   NINGAMHOUDRABA  a Sumang Leela play was his first work. He wrote many Leela some of the selected are BOR INTERVIEW 1977. At that time this plays (Sumang leela) performed over 150 times at different places particularly at Roop Mahal Hall. Some of the Drama he wrote are – Haigatlang 1977, Ei Mamani 1978,  Echasa Epa Lamboiraga 1980, Ema ge Mamou 1978,

Echa sa Epa Lamboiragay , one of his classic play was performed for around 160 times at  Rupmahal theatre and  still holds the record for maximum number of plays to be ever perform in Manipur.

After some year MGM theatre also plays his drama, some of the drama are Mou Mari 1977, Nonglei Nungsit 1982, Ngamkhei wathok 1985, Luhongba mathal 1997, Refugees 2000. Some of his leela were also played as teleplay and also broadcasted in the radio and were also made as a film.

Published in News

IT News

Imphal, Jan 18

Troops of Assam Rifles under the aegis of HQ IGAR (South) recovered contraband drugs worth more than Rs 8.58 Cores along Indo-Myanmar Border on January 16.

Based on specific input, troops of Assam Rifles challenged a person crossing Indo-Myanmar border on an unregistered two wheeler near Moreh. The two wheeler was loaded with three gunny bags. The individual on being challenged by the troops, dropped the two wheeler along with the load and fled towards Myanmar. On thorough search of the bags and two wheeler, troops recovered 4.290 Kgs of suspected Brown Sugar approximately valued at Rs. 8.58 Crores in the international market.

The recovered contraband items along with the two wheeler have been handed over to Moreh Police Station for further investigation

Published in News

IT News
Imphal, Jan 18

As part of the continued endeavor of the Assam Rifles towards improving health care, Sajik Battalion of 28 Sector Assam Rifles under the aegis of HQ IGAR (South)  organised a Medical Camp in remote area of Chandel District  on 17th Jan 2020. Keeping in mind the problems faced by the villager due to the prevalent socio-economic conditions and remoteness of the location, a complete checkup of every individual was carried out.
Sajik Battalion provided free medical treatment and distributed free medicine to the people of adjoining villages. A total of 98 patients (53 male, 22 female and 23 children) were provided treatment. Apart from providing necessary medical attention, basic knowledge on health education, hygiene and sanitation was also imparted.

Published in News
Saturday, 18 January 2020 17:21

Of the highway brave hearts

A disturbing video, circulated at social media, at which a police officer inhumanly assaulted a driver drew the attention of the general public as well as the government. The government took no time to take action against the police personnel and put him under suspension. There are a group of people who are not satisfied with the suspension and demanded termination. Well, he did deserve termination but there are certain procedures for termination of government employees. And hope the government will not spare such an inhuman indiscipline nature of a police officer. Let it be left to the government but matter wanted to remind is the role being taken by the drivers risking their life for the cause of the people of the state.
Well, every year, drivers and transport workers are honored with the observation of “Driver’s Day” with unfailing regularity, which is always a motley affair with various ministers and dignitaries attending the functions being held in different parts of the state by various organizations and associations. This is a welcome sign for the drivers of this state who have been braving various hardships and difficulties in performing their duties. The participating dignitaries and officials of the associations in their speeches have expressed their respect and concerns for the welfare and safety of the drivers while praising their bravery, determination, and dedication in their duty, not to mention the loud assurances and promises of increased protection and prompt action against any element hindering their activities. It is indeed a remarkable feat of selfless sacrifice and bravery shown by these men in providing every essential commodity for our daily needs without the least concern for their own personal safety. But after much has been said and discussed, the plight of these brave souls is nothing to write home about. Almost every atrocity that has been perpetrated through the years with increasing impunity without any let-up has gone scot-free. Instead of harking on the deeds of the fearless drivers, it is now time to take concrete steps to alleviate the plight of these men so that they can perform their duties better, more efficiently and with a better sense of security and pride. These steps need to be in concert with various aspects of the government and the public as well
The public has endured atrocities on the highways, looting and extortion on these routes are a given and the burdens of highway blockades and bandhs are a way of life for the people of this state. The Government is reluctant to deal with the mushrooming groups posing as freedom fighters whose real and only intention is to collect their livelihood through the “taxes” levied forcibly on the vehicles plying on the two interstate highways. The solutions are evident to one and all, what is needed is willingness and the determination to implement them in earnest. As for those who drive on through the thick and thin without ever pausing to make our lives that little bit more comfortable- we can only salute them.

Published in Editorial

“He got more marks than me in exam”- Singhajit

By- Rinku Khumukcham

 

In 2016, around last week of June, I was curious to meet this person whom a friend of mine told me that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is his class mate during University days.  I was not sure, so I went, tried to meet him. His brother-in-law said he will not give the interview, but I insisted on him saying that it will do good not only for him but for the entire people of the state. Finally, he agreed to talk to me. The morning I received a call from a close friend about his willingness to talk to me, I canceled all-important assignments and drive to Thoubal from where chief minister Okram Ibobi represents as an MLA. It was raining and I have to take shelter at a shop near the house where I was going.

“Are you the journalist who is meeting my brother?”, asked a lady where I took shelter in front of a shop just in front of his residence. “Yes aunty, I don’t have an umbrella, so waiting for the rain to stop”, I answered.  She showed me her pleasant smile and provided me a plastic tool and asked me to wait for the rain to stop. After some time the downpour stopped. I proceeded to the house. The brother-in-law, an astrologer by profession, asked my identity. I told him every detail of me. He asked me to wait for some more time as his brother-in-law who helps Modi in MA is on the way. I was expecting this person in an air-conditioned car. But to my surprise, he came in a bicycle.

“I told my wife that the Prime Minister is a friend of mine whom I helped, but my wife made a mockery of me saying that Modi is everybody’s friend”, said Okram Singajit Singh, the close friend of Modi, the Prime Minister of India. Please don’t file any story that will affect the image of my friend - the first word I heard from Okram Singhajit. I assured him that nothing such will happen. “Over 1500 people were reported killed in fake encounters, as many as 100s including a youth has been detained under NSA, and people escaped from the custody are now  outlawed, and talking about my friendship with Modi is a risk at this hour”, said Singhajiit before I started drilling his link with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Well, after, completing graduation from Thoubal College in 1980, Okram Singhajit Singh went to Gujarat to continue his Master Degree at Gujarat University, Ahamedabad. During the first few days of his University life, he saw a man standing near the main gate with a bag. “He never talked, but on the third day he started asking where I am from?”, Singhajit told me.

Narendra was the name he introduced and they soon become friends. Singhajit himself was a member of the RSS and Narendra at that time was a Pracharak of RSS. I don’t have that knowledge about the difference between being a Pracharak and a member of RSS, so I asked him about it. “Pracharak are similar to group leaders, they are our guides, and members are just followers”, Singhajit said. As according to Singhajit, Narendra Modi and he shared together what is being taught in the class and sometimes portion missed out by Narendra were also helped. Being a Pracharak of RSS, those days Narendra Modi was more than a wanted man of the Indira Gandhi Government and he had hectic scheduled in organization matters.  Narendra, being from Ahmedabad that time understood Singhajit’s problem and most of the time he helped Singhajit with his requirement in studies like buying of notebooks, pen, etc. They studied together some times and argued about the topic to get better knowledge of the topic.

“I handed over the text to him and we studied together sometimes but he always scored more marks than me”, recounted Singhajit. In return for the service Narendra provided him blank sheets.

“During my stayed at Ahmedabad my brother use to send me around Rs 250/- per month. Every University students of that time were sent the same amount. Once as my brother was hospitalized he stopped sending me my monthly fee for two months”, Singhajit added. That time the mess fee was around Rs 70/- per month. The hostel warden sometimes asked him to clear the due as it was almost two months that he did not paid. At that time there were 30/40 Manipuri students studying at different institutions including Gujarat University. Singhajit asked his Manipuri friend to help him but nobody could help him as they too have their own problem. “It was one Saturday night, I spent a sleepless night, and I finally remembered him (Narendra), I made up my mind to ask him for help”, Singhajit said. Monday morning Singhajit went to university looking for Narendra. He used to wear khadi clothes most of the time and was always seen waiting near the university gate. “I was shocked as I didn’t see him at the place where we often met, but as I look around I found him standing on the second floor of the university building”, Singhajit recounted. As soon as he noticed him he went directly to him and said hello. Narendra replied with s smile. Greeted him. Before Singhajit could start, Narendra asked him to give his notes. Singhajit gave and reluctantly asked his favour as he was in need of money seriously. Narendra, that time didn’t have any money so told him to come to his residence.

“I went to Narendra’s place with a friend called Chabungbam Dhirendra, who later became a principal of Jiri College. We were received by his mother”, Singhajit said. They were served in the most courteous manner. As Narendra came out he asked Singhajit the required amount. “I need Rs. 400”, Singhjit said. Narendra gave him Rs. 800/- but Singhajit insisted saying that he only need Rs. 400. After a brief argument Singhajit was compelled to take Rs. 600 from him. After 10 days, Singhajit received a money order and went to Narendra’s house to pay back the money. Narendra refused to take the money saying that it was only a help from a friend but Singhajit insisted him to take it on the ground that he won’t be able to ask again if he didn’t take it.

“He was a very kind-hearted person and was very quick in learning. During exam time he will come to appear with beard covering his face and when the result was declared he will always score more marks than me”, Singhajit said.  Singhajit, completed his MA in 1983 from Gujarat University. His seat number was 494 and class roll number was 4 in the final year. That year itself he came back to Manipur and started working as a lecturer in Manipur University on a contract basis. The same time after seeing an advertisement for the post of Principal at Canchipur College, Imphal, he applied and he got the post. Canchipur College was a government college and he could not bear the increasing financial pressures on his personal front. Since then left the job. In 2013 he re-established a school called Thoubal Public School, at a hired room at Thoubal Okram. Years had gone and he never cared about the political scenario of the country even though he was a Political Science teacher.

In 1986, when Singhajit went to Delhi for some work, he accidentally lost his important diary where contacts of all his friends were noted. That was one reason why he could not contact any of his university friends. He never knew that his friend was the Chief Minister of Gujarat as it was Narendra Modi and not Narendra. He never expected and so left it aside. In July, 2014, when Singhajit was at his school, he came across a booklet called “News and events”, and in that he found the name of his friend with some pictures. He went back home hurriedly and checked his certificates to look if the same person is similar to the one who once helps him during the University days. Yes, he was the same person. Out of anxiety he called his wife to tell the story. “Narendra Modi is every body’s friend and it could be yours’ too”, Singhajit’s wife Sorodhoni told him in a mocking way. Even his three sons didn’t believe him. In 2015, Singhajit thought of meeting Narendra and through a BJP worker identified as Bimola he narrated his story and asked her help to meet Narendra. On January 13, 2015, Singhajit received a called from Bimola saying that the Prime Minister has given him an appointment. Out of Enthusiasm, Okram Singhajit fled to Delhi on February 28, 2015. He stayed at his nephew’s place. His nephew Ningthoujam Kenedy was working at a call center and staying at a rented house at that time. Singhajit along with his nephew approached to the PMO seeking appointment through some Manipuri BJP workers. They could not get an appointment due to the Prime Minister’s hectic schedule. They waited for around 2 months and as they didn’t receive any communication from the PMO, his nephew Kenedy took leave and both went to the PMO office in the last week of April. There, with the help of some Manipuri working in the PMO, he filled the formalities of taking an appointment to the Prime Minister.

On May 2, 2015, Singhajit received a called from the PMO office stating that his appointment might be on May 8 or 9. Prime Minister Narendra Modi that time was having hectic schedule. He was visiting Kolkata on May 9 and later to Beijing on May 15 of the same month, the official from the PMO told him. But all of a sudden, at around 3 pm on May 4, 2015, the official from the PMO called him up and said that he can meet Prime Minister May 6. Later again, at around 8 pm of the same day, the PMO official called him to enquire on who is companying him. “I am coming with my nephew”, Singhajit said and give the details of his nephew. They were told to meet the Prime Minister at Parliament at around 1 pm of May 6, 2015. Without much difficulty they met Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India, who is carrying the burden of the country. “It was only 10 minutes meeting, I took all my certificates, every documents to make him remembered that I am his old friend at Gujarat University”, Singhajit said. But I never know that the man who now runs the country will not be required such papers to recall or friendship. “I thought it was 30 years since we met the last time, but Narendra said we haven’t met for 32 years”, Singhajit said. They took picture together, talk about their days at the university and had tea together. Narendra Modi accidentally noticed Singhajit’s certificate tore at the border. He asked him to give and he himself tried to place it in good condition.

“It was just 10 minutes and the happiest moment of my life”, Singhajit said. Now my wife, children and some few relatives of mine who were skeptical of my friendship with Narendra Modi now has great respect for me. “It was ironic to find allegation and counter allegation about the degree certificate of Narendra Modi, who got more marks in exam than me even though I was the one who supplied him the teacher’s note”, Singhajit said.  

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