Wednesday, 08 January 2020 - Imphal Times

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Imphal, Jan 9

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has given its approval of 60% Capital Grant for setting up the North East Natural Gas Pipeline Grid to the Indradhanush Gas Grid Limited.

A report by Press Information Bureau said that the North East Gas Grid project of Indradhanush Gas Grid Limited with viability Gap Funding/ Capital Grant at 60% of the estimated cost of Rs 9265 crore (Including interest during construction). Quantum of VGF would be capped at 60% of estimated project cost and would not be linked with upward capital cost variation. MoPNG shall identify milestones for major activities for this project and link the same for releases of capital grant of the project.

The report added that for effective monitoring of the project implementation, a Committee comprising of officials from Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas, Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Development of North East Region, Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, and Department of Fertilizers, may be formed, which would periodically review the progress in implementation of the project and take steps to smoothen out any issues in execution.

Total length of pipeline is 1656 KM and tentative project cost is Rs 9265 crore.As per the plan, Gas Pipeline Grid would be developed in the eight states of the North-Eastern region i.e. Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura.

The Capital Grant will provide natural gas supplies to various types of consumers viz. Industrial, PNG(Domestic),  CNG  (Transport)   etc.   and   would   immensely help   in substituting the liquid fuels. The pipeline grid would ensure reliability and uninterrupted natural gas supplies to the consumers which otherwise gets severely affected due to various reasons in this part of the country.

Availability of Natural gas across the region is expected to boost industrial growth without impacting the environment and would offer better quality of life to the people in general due to use of cleaner and green fuel.

The project will Reduce usage of kerosene, wood etc. due to increased usage of environment friendly fuel natural gas thereby improving the environment in the region north-eastern region i.e. Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura, thereby improving the standard of living of peoples living in the region.

The PIB report said that this project will boost Exploration & Production activities and connect regional gas sources with pipeline network for early monetisation of natural resources in the region.

Possibility of installing bottling plants for LPG can be explored for reducing transportation cost. Uninterrupted supply of LPG and other value added products can be ensured in the region which will bring energy security to the people in the area.

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IT News
Mumbai/Imphal, Jan 8

The all India strike organised by 10 Central trade unions, six bank unions, 60 teachers’ organisations and nearly 175 farmers’ organisations, as a protest against the “anti-worker, anti-people and anti-national policies” of the Modi-II Government brought activities to screeching halt in several parts of the country including Manipur, Assam, Odisha, Puducherry, Kerala, Telangana, Punjab, when banking services took a hit and roadway services were affected, on Wednesday.
The call for the strike was given by the Central trade and bank unions after their meeting with the Central Labour Minister Santosh Gangwar, held last week to resolve multiple issues related to PSU mergers and disinvestment proved futile. This was the fourth nationwide strike called by the trade unions since the Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government came to power in 2014.
While a bus was vandalised in Cooch Behar in West Bengal, some Congress and CPI leaders were taken into custody for taking part in the “Bandh” in Andhra Pradesh.
The strike was near total in Kerala with vehicles, including state-owned KSRTC and private buses keeping off the roads. Very few private vehicles and autorickshaws were seen plying on roads.
In Manipur, the bandh has affected normalcy in the state crippling all sort of business sectors, including Khwairambandh Keithel. Almost all shops and private entrepreneurs remain closed at Paona Bazar and Thangal Bazar in Imphal. Commercial vehicles stay off the roads except some few.
In Andhra Pradesh, the rallies were taken out by the Left parties and trade unions in major towns and cities. In Vijayawada, a rally was taken out from Radham Centre to Lenin Centre.
Banking services such as ATMs and branch services were affected, but online transactions such as NEFT, IIMPS remained unaffected. The bank workers were protesting against the merger of public sector banks.  
In Mumbai in Maharashtra, employees of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation held protest demonstration at Azad Maidan whereas college teachers wore black band while on duty.
The employees of the Bharat Petroleum Corporation staged demonstrations outside its headquarter in South Mumbai as a protest against proposed disinvestment despite the corporation is being running in huge profit.  
The local transport services were by and large unaffected since autos, taxis, BEST buses operated normally in Mumbai.
The street corner meetings were held in many districts in Maharashtra including Kolhapur and Sangli. Addressing the gathering former MP Raju Shetty lambasted the Union Government for its policy to import food grains affecting livelihood of farmers. 

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IT News
Imphal, Jan 8

Armed rebel group Revolutionary People’s Front (RPF) and the Manipur Naga people’s front (MNPF) in a joint statement today claimed attack to 4 Assam Rifles camp at Khongtal Village in Chandel district at around 6.30 am yesterday.
A statement signed by Bangkim, Assistance Secretary, Publicity of the RPF and Thomas Numai , Assistance Publicity Secretary , MNPF said that the attack carried out by PLA (army wing of RPF) and MNPA (Army wing of MNPF) cause many casualty to the AR side. It further added that 252 Mobile battalion of the PLA and the MNPA, on the other hand had also attack column of Indian army reinforced from  Sajik Tampak side using bomb trap. The joint statement claimed casualty and injury to the side of the AR troop.
The statement further added that the place where the attack was carried out is being dominated by the Indian army and because of their presence the villagers of the area in between Sajik Tampak till Myanmar border are being harassed by the army present there. It said that the rights of the villagers are being suppressed by the army by not allowing free movement even for earning day today livelihood. They were compelled to take passed from the army authority for going out of their village. These army always look upon the villagers as rebel group or those supporting the rebel movement. The villagers felt that their rights have been suppressed under a colonial rule and have been waiting for a day when they could restore their freedom.
The joint statement also alleged the army for using the villagers posing as armed rebel group and force them poppy plantation at the area. The rebel group also question the government to spell out the reason for not destroying the poppy plantation being carried out saying that the government might have afraid of the asrmy.
The statement while calling upon the people for freedom struggle said that armed struggle is the only means to restore the freedom of this region.

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IT News
Imphal, Jan 8

Youth’s Forum for Protection of Human Rights (YFPHR) urged the the Department of Environment and Ecology Wing, Government of Manipur and Department of Forest, Government of Manipur for the urgent intervention with regard to the Illegal Mining of Stone at Tingtong Lajang, Kangpokpi (near Kotland Area before reaching Tupul), Filling up of rivers and streams along the Imphal-Jiribam Road and Imphal Moreh road, in Manipur.
A statement said that the Illegal mining of stone and mud from the hills has tremendously decreased the Greenery Hills and large scale deforestation has contributing to rapid increase on climate change which will have a serious impact on the living creature on earth. In other words Right to life is under threat due to uncheck unsustainable developmental projects.
“Environment and Life are interrelated. The existence of life on earth depends on the harmonious relationship between ecosystem and environment. Human beings are at the centre of concerns for sustainable development and that they are entitled to healthy and productive life in harmony with nature,” the statement said.  
Large scale Unsustainable Development Projects like (Road Expansion, Railway Projects, Power Grid Lines, Construction of Dams) being initiated in the state are observed to be major factors of deforestation, water pollution, air pollution, destruction of environment at large scale, displacement etc which further contribute to climate change and need a serious consideration immediately by the people and the aforementioned departments.
The YFPHR demanded to take up immediate measure to stop illegal mining of stone and mud immediately across the state; to stop polluting water bodies, air and environment; to adopt proper sustainable planning before initiating any so called developmental projects in the state; to save and protect river, streams, forest and hills for sustainable wellbeing of civilization and to conduct a thorough assessment on illegal mining of stone and mud, Filling up of rivers and streams and large scale deforestation.

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IT News
Mumbai Jan.8

Mumbai police on Tuesday registered 4 FIRs against 350 persons, including 31 named  students, activists and members of public, who took part in the Gateway of India protest to  denounce the JNU violence on Monday.
The FIRs included the FIR registered at Colaba police station against Mahek Mirza Prabhu, a Mumbai-based storyteller and performer, for holding “Free Kashmir” placard during the protest. “We have filed case against Prabhu under Section 153b (Imputation, assertions prejudicial to national interest) under IPC. We are trying to get in touch with her, when needed we will call her for statement,” a police officer said.
The opposition parties, including BJP, in Maharashtra alleged that the poster connoted  support to separatists in Kashmir and as such the action was “anti national”. However Mahek said that “she was residing in Mumbai and not in Kashmir. All that she was protesting was suspension of internet services and disruption of communication in Kashmir for nearly 150 days. I intend to communicate that the people of Kashmir should be able to enjoy freedom like us.  But I was trolled for simply talking about Internet freedom in Kashmir”.
Two FIRs each were registered at Colaba and Mata Ramabai police stations, both located in South Mumbai. The police evicted all the protestors from Gateway of India and asked them to protest at Azad Maidan (3 kms away from Gateway of India), which is designated protest site as per a court order. Besides the agitation was causing traffic jams near Hotel Taj Intercontinental accommodating national and international tourists.
The protestors were booked for unlawful assembly since they had no permission to stage agitation at Gateway of India. The 31 protestors against whom the FIRs were lodged included former student of JNU Umar Khalid, Suvarva Salve and Feroze Mithiborwala and ateacher from Tata Institute of Social Science (TISS). Later the protestors in Mumbai called off their agitation. The FIR was lodged also against ABVP activists who held protest demonstrations at Hutatma Chowk in South Mumbai.
In significant development, students and teachers held a protest meeting at IIT,Bombay Campus at Powai in North East Mumbai and decided to continue to meet daily in the evening for 10 days to take a stock of the JNU developments.
As of now two FIRs stand filed by Delhi police against 20 JNU students for allegedly vandalising the server room of the college and attacking staff members. The FIRs were filed against JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh and others on 5 January, which is when the violence broke out, when masked armed men reportedly attacked students and some of the teachers. d. Those named in the FIR include: Ghosh, Geeta Kumari, Vivek Kumar Pandey, Surya Prakash, Satish Chandra Yadav, Saket Moon, Sarika Chaudhary and Ameksha Priyadarshini.
According to the JNU security department, on 1 January, a group of students wearing masks on their faces forcibly entered the office of the centre for information system located in a building near the Administration Building. “They switched off the power supply and evicted all the technical staff working there and made servers dysfunctional. They obstructed and stopped the public servants from doing the duties. They pushed, threatened, abused, and chased the staff out of the office ad server room. Subsequently, they locked the room and squatted at the door and did not let the staff enter the server room,” the university officials alleged in the complaint.
In the complaint filed by the JNU administration, the university alleged that the accused were involved in physical violence and pushed the women guards, verbally abused them and threatened them of dire consequences if they opened the lock of university’s communication and information (CIS) office.
In yet another incident on Tuesday, 10 activists were injured when activists of NSUI and ABVP clashed during protest against campus violence in Ahmedabad. They included Gujarat NSUI General Secretary Nikhil Savani and others. In the meanwhile Hindu Raksha Dal has claimed the responsibility for the JNU assault.

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In the beginning of the 19th Century, different forces swept Manipur. The fear that forces which had swept Manipur would destroy the very foundation of the civilisation started to grow. The seven year devastation which occurred between 1819-1826 damaged the political as well as the socio political structure of Manipur and significantly depleted the population. This severely affected Manipur Nation and its nationalism which was developed during the 18th century. Manipur faced the domination of Awa and it started feeling the heat of British colonialism during this time. Large number of people from Manipur were taken as war captives and many ran to the neighbouring countries to take refugee as the Burmese wrecked havoc in Manipur. Manipur lost its pride and political status during this time. For the first time in the history we see that wars, which were fought historically to defend the kings, transformed into wars to defend the country in the 19th century. The war fought to restore the political order during the seven years devastation, the revolt under the leadership of King Chinglen Nongdren Khomba (Ghambir Singh and the guerrilla warfare waged by Herachandra became the foundation of modern national liberation movement. These wars fought against colonialism inspired the people of Manipur. This is the first time the conception that the nation belongs to the people and people should participate in struggle for the country and for their freedom started emerging.  
Chinglen Nongdren khomba (Gambhir singh) and Nar Singh built a people’s movement by bringing in various ethnic communities together at this dire juncture. Their contribution is significant in the history of Manipur. They are the leaders who fought for a free Manipur and inspired not just a new ideal but dispel the fears that people had at that time. As a significant achievement, the feuds between princes were resolved during this time. A new thinking that we should be proud people of a free nation was developed at this crucial juncture. This thinking gave a new understanding on war in this country. Given this, this very day in January has been remembered as the day of seven years devastation as on this day 186 years ago Iningthou Chinglen Nongdrenkhomba passed away. On this day, a treaty was signed between Awa and British on Kabo Valley. Manipur was ignored at this treaty and people felt that it was a humiliation to the erstwhile country of Manipur.
Manipur is now wrecked by storms today. The storm we face now is different from what we saw in the 19th century. The enemy is also different. The disunity which we have now is different from the disunity that existed in the 19th century. The only similarity if we do not get united, we would be unable to contain the challenges. So the path we must take is difficult. We must face the challenges as we are the majority community. We should not sell the interest of the whole at the behest of others and we must remember this.
The most important matter is which path the Meiteis should take given the present situation in Manipur. We should not ignore the responsibilities Meities have taken in building a united Manipur. Ignoring this historic responsibility of Meiteis is what our enemies want. The encouragement that Meiteis should give up the idea of united Manipur and only think about its own community is part of a big political game. Given this, inserting the agenda of just the Meiteis is similar to selling the foundation of the movement which is based on the idea of a united Manipur. We should remember and learn from Chinglen Nongdren Khomba that we will not listen to anything which sells the prestige of united Manipur.
We should never agree to live a degraded existence under India for some benefits. Some Meiteis are trying to pull down the Meiteis at the level of ST for some benefits of the community. This should be looked at keeping in the political game plan mentioned above. Meities have not been part of the tribal politics since two thousand years.  We must face and challenge everything which restricts the development of Manipur.
Writer- Sh. Ajit

Published in Editorial
Wednesday, 08 January 2020 17:12

The Present health of Loktak Lake

Loktak is the largest fresh water lake in Northeast India and is famous for phumdis (heterogeneous mass of vegetation, soil and organic matter at various stages of decomposition) floating over it.The lake is located at Moirang(Bishnupur District) around 40km from the capital city,Imphal of Manipur. Theetymology of Loktak is Lok= stream and tak=the end. The largest of all the phumdis covers an area of 40 sq. km and is situated on the southern shore of the lake. Located on this phumdi, KeibulLamjao National park is the only floating national park in the world. The park is the last natural refuge of the endangered Sangai( State animal) the brow-antlered deer( Cervuseldieldi).This ancient lake play an important role to maintain the mild climatic condition  and hydrological cycle as well as economy of Manipur. It also serves a source of water for hydropower generation, irrigation and drinking water supply. The lake is also a source of livelihood for the rural fisherman who live in the surrounding areas and on phumdis, also known as phumsangs. Human activities has led to serve pressure on the lake ecosystem. 55 rural and urban hamlets around the lake have a population of about 100,000 people. Considering the ecological status and biodiversity values, the lake was initially designated as wetland of International importance under Ramsar Convention on 23rd March 1990. It was also listed under the Montreux Record on 16th June 1993, a record of Ramsar where changes in ecological character have occurred, are occurring or likely to occur.  
 At the Ithai barrage outlet of the lake, the direct catchment area draining into to the lake is 980 out of which 430 is under paddy cultivation, 150 habitation and under forest cover. The area of the lake is comprising large pockets of open water and marshy land formed at the southern part of the Imphal valley up to the confluence of Manipur River and Khuga River. The lake is divided into two zones, namely the “Core Zones”, which is the no development zone or totally protected zone comprising 70.3 and balance area is called the “Buffer Zone”. Within the lake and on its periphery there are 14 hills of varying size and elevation. In the southern part of the lake are the Sendra,Ithing, Thanga and Karang Islands. Geographically, in terms of biodiversity and human activities pressure, the lake is broadly divided into northern, central and southern zones. The northern zone extends from eastern side of Nambol river near NgaikhongKhunou to Phoubakchao, including MaibamPhumlok, has five main steams/ rivers i.e Manipur, Nambul,Yangoi,Nambol and Thongjaorok rivers flowing into the lake. The zone is separated from the central zone by large Phumdis (varying thickness of 0.4 to 4.5 m) that stretches from northwest to the southeast. During January to March Phumdis in this area are usually burnt for construction of fish cum paddy farms; many large fish farms with raised levees have been built. The central zone extending from AwangLaisoi Pat (western part of Nambol river near NgaikhongKullen) to Laphupat( between Khordak Channel and Imphal river) encloses prominent Islands of Thanga, Karang and Ithing. It has some sub-zones vizLaisoi, Awangsoi, Yennapat, Thorapat etc. It is the main open water zone of the lake which was relatively free from phumdis in the past  but over the years athaphums ( artificially created phumdis for fishing) constructed by the villagers for fishing have proliferated choking the entire lake. The state fisheries Department has established a fisheries center within this at Takmu pat for fisheries development. The southern zone encompasses the Keibullamjao National park,Ungamel and Kumbi Pat at the southern part of the lake and the zone is linked with Khuga River by the Ungamel channel. The Imphal River is also linked with this zone by the Khordak channel. The western catchment drained by KangsoibiRiver flows into this zone. Proliferation of phumdis has been observed near the mouth of Ungamel channel, Kumbi Pat, Nongmaikhong and Khordak area. LoktakLake is fed by the Manipur River and several tributaries and UngamelChannel (IthaiBarrage) is the only outlet now. The origin of the Manipur river system and its tributaries which flows in a north-south direction and drains into the lake is from the hill ranges immediately to the west of the lake. Five major rivers with indirect catchment area 7157 are the Imphal( also called Manipur river),the Iril, the Thoubal, the Sekmai and Khuga. The other major steams which drains into the Lake and which bring in lot of silt are the Thongjaorok, the Nambol, the Nambul, the AwangKhujairok, the AwangKharok, the Ningthoukhong, the Potsangbam, the Oinam , the Keinou and Irulok. The Lake located on the southern side of the Manipur river basin is at the lowest elevation in the valley and other major river flows into the lake except a few rivulets. Several water resources development projects have been developed in the Manipur river basin to meet the growing demands for irrigation and drinking water. The most discussed project is the Loktak Multipurpose project which provides hydropower, irrigation and water supply benefits but has attracted adverse criticism for the drastic alteration caused by the project to the hydrological regime of the LoktakLake and associated wetlands.
A rich biodiversity with habitat heterogeneity has been recorded during a scientific survey carried out between January 2000 and December 2002 in different habitat patches of the Lake. The lake’s rich biological diversity comprises 233 species of aquatic macrophyts of emergent, sub emergent free floating and rooted leaf types. But declining trend of vegetation and important flora are recorded. 57 species of water birds and another 14 species of wetland associated birds have been noted in the lake including 28 spices of migratory water fowl. Also recorded were 425 species of animals-249 vertebrates and 176 invertebrates. The list includes rare animals such as the Indian Python, Sambhar and barking deer. KeibulLamjao national Park is the natural habitat of one of the most endangered deer the brow –antlered deer (Sangai) which was once thought to be extinct. The avifauna recorded in different habitats of the Lake is reported to be declining. In the central part of the Lake water fowl including dabbling duck and diving ducks are reported but their numbers are declining due to proliferation of phumdis. In the habitat part of the rooted plants and others were reported abundant but now show a declining trend. Small hillock( though showing degraded condition) in the lake show big trees and birds of prey such as Milvus migransLineatus and Circus aeruginosus have been recorded on these trees. Fish yield from the Lake is reported to be about 1500 tones every year. Natural capture without the requirement of any lease or license was also in vague in the Lake. The lake fishing is now a mixture of capture and culture system. The old varieties of the local fishes like Ngamu,Ukabi,ngaril, Pangba ,tharak and ngasep  stated to be under serious decline and some of them appeared to be extinct in the lake.
The Loktak Lake and its precincts faced serious problem due to loss of vegetal cover in the catchment area and construction of Ithai barrage at the outlet of the lake for multipurpose development of water resources. The degradation of the catchment area has occurred. Deforestation and shifting cultivation in the catchment areas have accelerated the process of soil erosion resulting in the lake’s shrinkage due to siltation. The annual silt flow into the lake is estimated to be 336,350 tons. The nutrients from the catchment area and domestic sewage from Imphal City carried by Nambul River are discharged into the lake affecting its water quality thus encouraging the growth of water hyacinth and phumdis. All these activities have direct bearing on the ecological stability of the lake. Interfere in navigation and overall aesthetic value of the lake are other reported adverse effects.

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Imphal Jan 8

Mantripukhri Battalion of 9 Sector Assam Rifles under the aegis of HQ IGAR(S) organised a Career Guidance Programme under Ek Bharat Shreshth Bharat for the youth and locals of Leikinthabi village in Imphal East District on 06th January 2020.
The aim of Awareness Programme was to generate awareness about the Indian Armed Forces. The event commenced with comprehensive brief on “Indian Armed Forces” which was followed by an interactive session. The gathering was informed about the glorious history and the timeless traditions of the Indian Army and the Assam Rifles as well as the types of entries to enroll and obtain commission in the Indian Armed Forces.
The team of the Battalion shared their experiences and gave details of the upcoming recruitment rallies. The youth were highly inspired by the life style, thrill, adventure, job security as well respect of the Forces. Having enthused by the glorious history of the Indian Armed Forces, students were highly motivated to join the Forces and serve the motherland. The event concluded with tea and refreshments for all the attendees.The event provided a platform for reaching out to the youth of the area and maintain the bond of mutual trust and understanding.

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