Thursday, 02 July 2020 - Imphal Times

IT News

Imphal, July 2:

Manipur Human Rights Commission (MHRC) has directed the Director General of Police (DGP) to instruct concern officer in charge of Heingang Police Station to submit reports and all relevant documents for arrest of advocate Chongtham Victor on June 20 evening by July 10 of this year.

Acting Chairperson of the MHRC Khaidem Mani took up the case following a complaint filed by Chongtham Victor stating that he have apprehension of being arrested on false ground once more. In his complaint to the MHRC, Chongtham Victor stated that he was arrested by a team of Heingang Police Station in connection with an FIR No. 39(06)HNG-PS/2020 under section 186/465/468/471/120-B of Indian Penal Code and Section 84(C) IT Act. However he was released on bail by the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Imphal East on the ground that there is no prima facie evidence against him.

After receiving the complaint, the Commission considered the view that the complainant’s complaint has made out a prima facie case of inquiry under section 12 of the protection of Human Rights Act 1993.

It may be mention that  Advocate Chongtham Victor, who had raised his voice against corruption by an official of the Custom Division Imphal and later received serious life threatening mobile calls from person who identified himself as an official of the Custom division was arrested by a team of Heingang Police at around 10.30 pm on June 20. He was however released on bail by the Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Imphal East on the ground that the charges leveled against him are unfounded.

Chongtham Victor was arrested in connection with a complaint by a staff of the Custom Division Imphal, by the Heingang Police under section 186, 465, 471 and 120 B of the Indian Penal Code and also under section 84(B) and 84(C) of the IT Act. A similar FIR under the same sections of the IPC and the IT Act was also filed against advocate Amom Malemsana, however, he was yet to be picked up till today. Both Victor and Malemsana had exposed the corrupt practice being underway at Custom Division Office after capturing an official of the Custom Division asking money for refund of deposited money using cell phone through this newspaper and social media. 

Heingang police today produced advocate Victor at the residence of the CJM Imphal East Ningthoujam Lanleima. The police team pray for custodial remand of Victor however, after the CJM I/E heard the counsels of Victor, the CJM released Victor on the ground that she did not find any sufficient ground for remanding Victor. 

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IT News
Imphal, July 2:

Forest, Environment and Climate Change Minister Awangbow Newmai today flagged off a one day media campaign ‘Save Nambul River’ at Thong Nambonbi, Imphal West organised by the All Manipur Working Journalists’ Union (AMWJU) in collaboration with the Directorate of Environment and Climate Change.
Addressing the gathering, Minister Awangbow Newmai said the historically relevant Nambul river has been immensely polluted in the last 40-50 years. He reminded that Chief Minister Shri N. Biren Singh on March last year had launched the ‘Rejuvenation and Conservation of Nambul River’ project under the National River Conservation Plan of the Ministry. Opining that the project will succeed with the support from the general public, he appealed for cooperation from public in all the projects initiated by the Government.
Stating that he was surprised to learn that the participants of the ‘Save Nambul River’ media campaign will visit upto Loktak using boats, he said it is indeed a great initiative taken up for mass awareness for rejuvenation and conservation effort of the Nambul river. He expressed his happiness on learning upon from his department officers that the local clubs and people residing near the river bank have been cooperating with the Government officials in the initiatives undertaken for the environmental conservation.
He stressed on the need for preservation and conservation of nature’s gift and appreciated the role of media for spreading wide awareness among the masses regarding environmental conservation in the State. Stating that it is the responsibility of all to safeguard our environment, he said that joint awareness campaign among various stakeholders will help in building a social relationship and also bring economic and political development in the State.
Speaking regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, he appreciated and lauded the people of the State and all the stakeholders for cooperating and helping the returnee citizens of Manipur from outside the state at various quarantine centres. Stating that around 50,000 out of the 80,000 registered stranded persons from the State have returned back, he appealed for continuous support from public to avoid unwanted incidents and work towards containing the COVID 19 pandemic including the threat of community spread.
Stating that the Government under the leadership of CM N. Biren Singh have successfully overcame various challenges in the past, he appealed for full support from the public so that Government can continue developmental work for better future of the State.
M. Joy, Commissioner, Information and Public Relations (IPR) opined that saving environment needs cooperation from all sections of the society. He said the success of ‘Save Nambul River’ media campaign will definitely open a way for reviving the Nambul river and restore the waterway which was once used for the purpose of trade and commerce in the State.
Dr T. Brajakumar, Deputy Director, Directorate of Environment and Climate Change said during 1960’s the Nambul river was a big waterway used for commercial activities, however in last 10-20 years the quality of the river degraded. The Directorate along with other stakeholders have been carrying out conservation efforts to restore to its former glory.
Regarding the origin of the Nambul river, he informed that three streams flowing from Kangchup Hills with distance of 47 km, 27 km and 18 km respectively joins at Iroishemba to form the Nambul river. Informing that the river flowing from Iroishemba to Heirangoithong at a stretch of 9.14 km is the most polluted zone, he said the river from Heirangoithong flows to drain into Loktak Lake at Yangoi Karong which is around 26 km.
Stating that the rejuvenation of the river is a big challenge, he said the media campaign is a trial method and the success of the campaign will give a great boost to their mission.
It may be mentioned that the Rejuvenation and Conservation of Nambul River is a project under the National River Conservation Plan of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change with project cost of Rs 97.72 crore to be completed in three years in phase wise manner. Directorate of Environment and Climate Change will implement the project with line departments Water Resources, Public Health Engineering, MAHUD (IMC) and Manipur State Pollution Control Board.
Dr Y Nabachandra, Director, Directorate of Environment and Climate Change, Khogendra Khomdram, President Editors Guild Manipur, Bijoy Kakchingtabam, President, AMWJU among others attended the flag-off ceremony.

Published in News
Thursday, 02 July 2020 17:00

ACOAM-Lup celebrates 20th Foundation day

IT News

Imphal, July 2:

The All Club Organisation, Association and Meira Paibi Lup , popularly known as ACOAM –Lup , a civil body that has been spearheading various movement of public concerns, today celebrated its 20th foundation day at its office premises at Laishram Leirak. Unlike yesteryears, the organization could not celebrate the occasion in a grand way with participation of people from all wakes of life due to the ongoing lockdown being imposed by the authority to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. ACOAM –Lup expressed regrets for the organization could not celebrate with the people of the region. The organization wishes a better days in the coming days.

To mark the 20th foundation day, the ACOAM lup distributed edible items to aged home and along with that the organization also distributed  note books, pen pencils etc. at Children homes.

ACOAM –Lup extended its gratitude to all frontline workers who have been fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and wish them for success. 

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By IT Correspondent
Mumbai/Delhi, July 2:

The Chinese smartphones — from companies such as Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo and RealMe — will continue to work and not be immediately affected by the government action against 59 Chinese apps. 
The ban will not functionality of device since users can switch to new apps which are available aplenty. However now the pre-installed apps will not be available. But the app ban may impact the strong grip that phone makers from across the border have on Indian markets. Chinese brands accounted for 81 per cent of the market till end March 
While there has been an anti-Chinese goods sentiment in recent days, the government’s decision to block popular apps such as “TikTok”, “CamScanner” and “UC Browser” may create some fear among buyers who have traditionally opted for these smart phones as they are lighter on the pocket. In fact many “Tik Tok” users opted for these phones because they are high on features but are much cheaper compared to phones from “Samsung” or “Nokia”. Besides the “Tik Tok” users bought Chinese phones since they could be used to make good videos. The 59 banned apps include two apps used by “Xiaomi”. 
With uncertainty around Chinese companies, in view of the recent government moves over scanning investments or import consignments from across the border — buyers may opt for “safer bets”, an executive with a mobile company said. However he agreed that most of the products were sourced from China. 
The banned apps were present on the Android (Google) or iOS (Apple) app stores, but would be unavailable once the government diktat is implemented.  They will also stop functioning on phones where they have already been down loaded. However this will not hamper functioning of devices, which will continue to work as usual. Customers can switch to new apps. 
 ”There will definitely be a negative sentiment as people will ask twice before buying a Chinese product,” Neil Shah, Vice President of the “Counter Point Technology Market Research” based in Mumbai, said and added that non-Chinese brands, such as “Samsung” and “Apple” and even some of the home grown makers, may get to see a traction in demand. ”Counterpoint”, is a global industry analysis firm headquartered in Hong Kong. 
In the meanwhile live streaming app “Bigo Live” has decided to unlist from the Google and Apple app stores in India. Both “Bigo Live” and “Likee”, owned by “Bigo Technologies”, have been named in the government’s list of banned mobile apps. “Bigo Live is under the Singapore-based Bigo Technology. 
In another development, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has signed out of his Chinese Twitter like social media “Weibo” account with his photo, posts and comments removed from the handle set up five years ago before his first visit to China as prime minister. Modi had 115 posts on Weibo, which had to be manually deleted because of a complex procedure for deleting VIP accounts. Modi had more than 2,44,000 followers on “Weibo”.  ”Hello China! Looking forward to interacting with Chinese friends through Weibo,” was his first post on the Chinese microblogging site.

Published in News
Thursday, 02 July 2020 16:58

NEFIS demands subsidy for fertilizers

IT News
Imphal, July 2:

North-East Forum for International Solidarity (NEFIS) has released a North-East People’s Charter of Demands to tackle the sharp increase in Corona Cases in North-East states. The Charter of demands was sent to the Prime Minister’s Office and to Chief Ministers of eight North East States (Assam, Sikkim, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Nagaland, Mizoram, Tripura).
Through the Demand Charter, NEFIS demands immediate action on the most pressing issues of the people from the Central Government and governments of the states of the North-East. Timely action on issues related to life, livelihood and liberty would help the people, especially those in the North-East, to tide over the present crisis.

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Twenty-six more people were tested positive with novel coronavirus as per an official report from the state Health Department. What is alarming is the contraction of the virus to one police officer, who has been fighting to contain the spread of the virus as front line warrior. Thankfully the remaining positive cases are from among those returnees from outside the state who were on quarantine. As per the official report released yesterday, the total figures of people tested positive with the novel coronavirus have reached 1260. The number is expected to rise today, and this time there may likely be reports of COVID-19 positive cases from among the community with no travel history, particularly from Jiribam area.
Till 4 pm today, reports about new cases have not been made available to media houses, for reason best known to the State health department authority. In the war against the invisible enemy, disseminating information is also a tool if desires to win. However, despite knowing it the state health departments take almost all possible time to delay the release of the updated report, and for that reason evening, daily newspapers are always deprived of getting the report. The state DIPR should inform the Health directorate authority that there are around half dozen evening daily newspapers that are registered with the registrar for New Paper of India (RNI).
By delaying or perhaps concealing the report in connection with the development of COVID-19 crisis there seems like something fishy going on. The way things are practicing indicated that these people may have fear of letting the public knew the loopholes in tackling the pandemic. Already there has been a lot of criticisms to the way that the Quarantine centers are being run in the state. After a report about the bulk of people tested positive from the same quarantine center, there has been a lot of apprehension among the people on the probable conversion of quarantine centers as a “hot spot “ for the spread of the virus.
It is pertinent to note that 26 persons including a frontline warrior have been tested positive yesterday. However, an official release said that Thirty Two (32) people affected by the virus have been admitted at various COVID care facility (Isolation wards) on the same day. The report showed that six (6) persons who had been tested positive with the coronavirus had spent at least a day at the quarantine center that they have been staying with other inmates. It is not hard-saying that these other inmates who have been staying with the 6 persons tested positive are put in extreme risk.
Interestingly, when the state health Department authority released an updated report for COVID-19 , no reason has been mentioned on why the 6 persons who were tested with the virus have not been shifted to the isolation wards. Besides, there has not been any mention of the police officer from Jiribam who have been tested positive.
The war against the unseen enemy will only be won by a collective effort from all sections of the community. This was often stated by the Chief Minister as well as other top-ranking government officials. If that is so why there is no transparency on the side of the state health department to the kind of various measures that they had been taking up to fight the pandemic. It is worth mentioning that there has never been a press briefing session to let the media relay on what has been taken up by the health department authority to contain the pandemic or providing treatment.
As per the released from the state Health Department on Wednesday late hours all together six hundred eighty-one (681) people who have been tested with the virus have been lodged at different COVID care facilities (Isolation ward).
One wander, why the state health department authority has not revealed the conditions of those in the isolation ward. How many of these are symptomatic and how many are asymptomatic? How many ventilators have been utilized so far? How many health workers are being assigned at all COVID care centers? Who are these health workers assigned, Are they contractual workers or regular workers?
Who are the people working at VRDLs of RIMS and JNIMS? If they are contract workers, what is the benefit assured to them? Many questions which the people need to know are being concealed for reason best known to them
The state health department has never released or brief the media on the number of doctors, nurses, paramedics, helper etc. engaging at COVID care centers.
What is more surprising is the notification by the Principal Secy. health at which he stated that doctors who are mandatory for quarantine after duty should bear their expenses.
This is a clear indication of insincerity towards the side of the health department in fighting the dreaded virus.
– OR IS THERE A HIDDEN AGENDA.

Published in Editorial
Thursday, 02 July 2020 16:56

Impact of COVID-19 on students

While the spread of the untamed-pandemic stroke and quiver all over the world, hampering people’s lives in a total pandemonium, with profuse news- both certitude and forgery, fluttering in from copious angles. And the innumerous number of proliferating confirmed and active cases reported everyday in the television news shows, social media’s goes without saying- with graveyards flooded like the ‘Khwairamband market’ in a hustle-bustle manner as was always, devaluing the value or worth of life. The world is at stake- wherever, whoever and whatever it may be, we are at stake. But amidst all these various issues, what in my opinion effecs the mos- not necessarily in the present but for the time to come, is the future and career of the young learners in our country, particularly here in our state, Manipur.
The COVID -19 pandemic has affected the educational system worldwide, leading the closure of schools, universities and colleges. The closure of these educational institutions not only interrupts the teaching for students;the closure also coincides with a key assessment period and many exams have been postponed or cancelled. Internal assessment are perhaps thought to be less important and may have been cancelled. It is also possible that some students career might be benefit from the interruption. The global lockdown of educational institutions is going to cause major(and likely unequal) interruption in students’ learning; disruptions, internal assessments and the cancellation of public assessment for qualifications or their replacement by an inferior alternative. It has been estimated to affect around 600 million learners across the world- the school going students in particular.
The big question here is- What can be done to mitigate these negative impacts faced by the students? Despite where thousands of competitive minded students in most part of the country, accepting this so called ‘lockdown’, a bane to a boon, preparing themselves thoroughly for their lessons and various competitive exams coming ahead, precisely and wisely managing their time during these untolerable crisis, which gives them the maximum time more than needed due to extension of lockdown, providing the best environment for students to sit down on their table , utilizing various digitalised and computerised electronic gadgets to acquire more than what is supposed to be learn, joining online classes and what not.
But how painful it is to see the other side-a total contrast to what had just been pointed out, do we see in our context.Some exceptional students who have the will and quest to learn might perhaps be aware of the valuable time the lockdown had provided to prepare themselves at home for their own, despite the numerous ill-effects and impacts it cause to the people. But it is hurting and discouraging as well as helpless to see tons of groups of youngsters and students in thei mid-schooling days are craving to fill their thirst- a thirst which is not meant to satisfy a thirst, one which does not keep oiling the engine of their life-a thirst that will thirst them for more. They gave their precious but fruitless time to needless things, as such- playing online game, gone away with the fairies with social medias and what not when thousands as them out there, are reasonably and judiciously acquiring all feasible cognition from all possible and attainable ways, by hook or crook. This part, for an instance, is what I endured which is really demoralizing as a yound learned man.
I, for one, had tackled this predicament issue with a Lilliputian step towards ‘India’s leaning won’t stop’ amidst this pandemic with nebulous lockdown, had took up a home tuition for few eighth and tenth standard pupils, which according to my view is the only possible step and remedy for students living in the hills and remote places, when many good-to-do families in the cities nourished and supplement their children with online classes and so on. The Information Service Television Network (ISTV), Imphal had launched and produced a series of educational videos based on online teaching, telecast a local network channel - ISTV Nongin, for students to learn through online and through television free of cost, where reputed and highly qualified teachers from various institutionse voluntered to teach on various topics, mainly for college students pursuing MSc and BSc, in particular. This has been one of the steps taken by the state to compensate students who are adversely affected by the lockdown.
The state government, particularly the Educational department should therefore, look over this current trending challenging issues by acting accordingly as needed in the swiftest possible means , as an investment in knowledge pays the best interest. As Nelson Mandela, the first president of South Africa who was also an anti-apartheid revolutionary, rightly quoted, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”.

Published in Guest Column

By - Dr. Ch. Basudha

The pandemic has created in an unprecedented economic, social and health crisis from COVID- 19 caused by a SARS-CoV-2 virus. Both lives and livelihoods are at risk from this pandemic. The coronavirus pandemic may likely have an extensive and long-term influence on the agriculture sector in Manipur.
The Government implemented lockdown to control the spread of the COVID-19. On 24th march a 21-day lockdown was announced in India including Manipur. Agriculture was exempted and over the following weeks guidelines were published that exempted related activities, such as inputs in fisheries and food processing. The lockdown and closure of public transport led to an exodus of labourers. This lockdown period coincided with the harvesting season of the winter-planted crops, vegetables like tomatoes, potatoes, watermelon etc in the state which faced a record good harvest after a good monsoon. However, wholesale markets were closed and there was a shortage of farm labourers.
It has resulted in logistic difficulties in food production and supply chains, especially in the high value commodities such as fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, milk etc. Shortage of fish seed, feed, fertilizers, medicines and other inputs could affect fish production. Closures of markets, restaurants and less frequent grocery diminish demand for fresh meat, fish, poultry and their products affecting producers and suppliers Covid19 reduces demand & supply: The lockdown immediately led to a drop in domestic demand and trade. Some farmers growing high value fruits and vegetables for upmarket. Though, dairy sector showed a mixed picture. Just after the lockdown follows consumers initially crowded milk parlour to stock up. However, within a week milk prices started collapsing as office canteens, restaurants and sweet shops remained closed.
In fishery sector, during February and March normally prepared fish ponds on a normal supply of fish seeds. However, the official COVID-19 lockdown at the end of March significantly impacted the supply of fish seeds and the subsequent stocking of ponds, which resulted in a drastic fall in fish seed production and prices. Because of the resulting uncertainty in markets and also disease outbreaks, farmers carried out emergency harvests of ponds and marketed at low prices. Normally, most farmers that stocked their ponds between March to early April,
have been stocked late and could not stock till today due to non-availability of fish seeds.
Strategies for facing the pandemic in the state through Agriculture
There should be a provision of quality seeds to farmers by the seed sector— both public and private.
Amidst the current tensions, good seeds and other farm inputs must reach farmers in time for kharif season. Adoption of superior cultivars also demand higher usage of resources like water and fertilizer. Increased water use efficiency and fertilizer use efficiency is essential to derive maximum production per unit quantity of resources used. Short duration or less water requiring crops, (e.g. rapeseed & mustard, lentil, etc) should be encouraged. Such crops have better cost benefit ratio and help farmers obtained highest possible return on their investments. Automated machines should be introduced for the planting of seeds which need only a machine driver for sowing and harvesting. Indigenous manufacturing of automated machines should be promoted by the government to cut down the overall cost. Subsidies should be provided to the manufacturers of such machines so that farmers can buy them at economical prices. High yielding variety seed is another way of contributing to food and nutrition benefits while boosting agricultural production besides reducing a post-harvest loss. Synchronized efforts should be made for conservation practices such as crop diversification, zero soil tillage. An increase in the availability of nano nutrients to boost crop production will be an added
advantage. Efforts should be made to grow more crops that rely less on nitrogen as it proves to be good for acclimating with climate and resolving malnutrition at the same time. Organic production, packaging and processing of Ginger, Chilli, King chilli, vegetables, etc. Mushroom cultivation especially Oyster and Shiitake integrated with spawn production, processing and packaging. Bee keeping integrated with Honey processing and agro-forestry plantationSmooth livestock farming is accomplished of advancing nutrition both by raising producer and consuming high protein animal sources of food. Aquaculture farming is another accessible, affordable option in some regions of the state. The amalgamation of farming is required to improve the status of food security and nutrition in the state.
The government also has announced number of packages to protect the vulnerable sections including farmers from any adverse impacts of this COVID 19 pandemic viz., advance release of Rs 2000/- to bank accounts of farmers as income support under PM Kissan Scheme; Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana etc. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has also announced specific measures that address the “burden of debt servicing” due to COVID19 pandemic. Agricultural term and crop loans have been granted a moratorium of three months (till May 31) by banking institutions with 3 percent concession on the interest rate of crop loans up to INR 300,000 for borrowers with good repayment behaviour.
The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has also issued state-wise guidelines for farmers to be followed during the lockdown period. The advisory mentions specific practices during harvest and threshing of various rabi (winter sown) crops as well as post-harvest, storage and marketing of the farm produce including fisheries and animal husbandry.
Conclusion :
The ongoing lockdown in the state needs to be reviewed and replaced with cluster specified restrictions (as required) based on epidemiological assessment, as there is no conceivable scenario of control or elimination in a short period. An interdisciplinary team of public health specialists and social scientists, along with grassroots political and social leaderships and volunteers, should continue raising awareness about the COVID-19 modes of transmission and methods of prevention in the community. There should be a proper implication of digital technologies to directly sell the produce (E-Commerce) so that farmers can sell their product directly to the consumer. The time demands to actively activate social safety nets (in form of cash or in-kind transfers) to protect the worst affected and most vulnerable ones to keep up their production. Simultaneously, it would be important to prepare trainers at government institutions to train farmers about the changing farming methods and aware them about the safety measures they need to take even after COVID-19 like social distancing, use of masks, regular washing of hands through behaviour change ommunication. Dissemination the right awareness through the right channels is important at present. Since the prevention is always better than cure. All need to bring out changes in lifestyle, dietary and behavioral modifications.

(***The writer is a Senior Scientist of ICAR Research Complex for NEH Region Manipur Centre, Lamphelpat, Imphal-795004,
Manipur.)

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