Monday, 14 October 2019 - Imphal Times

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Imphal, Oct 14

Chief Minister N. Biren Singh said that the Pradhan Mantri Van Dhan Vikas Yojana will transform the tribal economy of the State. This was stated by him at the inauguration ceremony of Van Dhan Vikas Karyakram and State Level Advocacy Workshop at Classic Grande, Imphal today.
Speaking as Chief Guest of the function, Chief Minister announced that altogether 75 Van Dhan Vikas Kendras would be opened in the State. Under the Van Dhan Vikas Yojana, the State government will be focussing on collection, processing and value addition of eight Non-timber forest products such as hill broom, gooseberry, wild honey, mushroom, wild apple, bamboo shoot, Indian Olive (chorphon) and turmeric.
Chief Minister mentioned that it is indeed great that Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has initiated various welfare programmes and schemes for the NorthEast and tribal people of the region. The Hill Areas Development Programme (HADP) has been introduced for hilly states like Manipur to bring equal development in both hill and valley of the State. Tamenglong district would be getting 90 lakhs under the programme, he added. Chief Minister said that Cold chain systems would be constructed in five hill districts of the State. Tamenglong and Noney would be covered under HADP. The three other districts viz. Imphal West, Imphal East and Pherzawl will be covered under the State plan.
On the occasion, Chief Minister maintained that in last two and half years, peace has prevailed in the state. With the support and cooperation of the people, the growth rate of Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) has doubled from four per cent in 2016-17 to eight per cent in 2018-19, he added. Manipur has topped in terms of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) businesses registration among the NorthEastern States of the country. He also stated that Manipur has also topped in women ownership in MSME businesses. Manipur women owned 50 percent of MSME businesses, he added. 
Chief Minister stated that the State Cabinet recently approved the ‘Stand Up Manipur’ scheme under the existing Start Up Manipur Scheme to provide subsidy and soft loans to Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe, OBC, Women and Minorities of the State for setting up business.
Stating that Manipur is facing menace of drug abuse and there is mass plantation of poppy in hill areas, Chief Minister said that the government has declared ‘War against drugs’ and mass destruction of poppy plantation is taking place in various parts of the State. The Government is actively providing alternative livelihood to the poppy farmers. Chief Minister hoped that Van Dhan Vikas Yojana would also help such farmers by improving their livelihood and income.
The inaugural function is jointly organised by TRIFED, Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Government of India and Forest Department, Government of Manipur.
Minister for PHED Losii Dikho, Chairman, TRIFED (Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India)   R.C Meena, Chairman of Manipur Tribal Development Corporation Vungzagin Valte, MLAs Shri Khasim Vashum, O. Lukhoi, H. Dingo, Vice Chairperson TRIFED Pratibha Brahma, Chief Secretary Dr. J. Suresh Babu, PCCF and Head of Forest Force K. Angami, Managing Director TRIFED Pravir Krishna, officials of Ministry of Tribal Affairs and others attended the function.

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Imphal, Oct 14

Normal life was severely affected in Thangmeiband Assembly Constituency today after the JAC formed against the mysterious death of Ningthoujam Babysana re-launched its agitations by shutting all kinds of everyday activities in the constituency demanding justice for the deceased minor girl by handing over the case to CBI.

Since early morning today volunteers of the JAC burnt tyres at the Manipur State Legislative Assembly area to prevent any movement along the route. Shops and all business establishments remain close in the assembly constituency and the street looks deserted.

At around noon large number of people came out and gathered at DM College gate area and started enforcing the complete shut down by forcing all movements along the road. A large number of police force which rushed the spot dispersed the agitators by firing mock bomb and tear gas shell. Later, the police re-enforced and put the situation under control. The police also allow resuming vehicular moments on the street. 

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Imphal, Oct. 14

Chief Minister N. Biren Singh inaugurated the Neurosurgery Ward of Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences (JNIMS) and laid the foundation stone for the construction of 18 Private Wards of JNIMS at JNIMS, Imphal today.
Speaking as Chief Guest of the function, Chief Minister said that we need to work from micro level so as to bring inclusive development in the State. It is our collective responsibility to find out the loopholes in the system so that we could move forward in the path of development, he added.
Mentioning that the present government is trying its best to improve the health sector in the State, he maintained that the government was keen to expand Neurosurgery department of JNIMS so that poor and needy people could avail the healthcare facility at affordable rates. He said that huge money is being incurred for treatment of Neurosurgery related cases in private hospitals.
Stating that JNIMS has well qualified specialist Neurosurgeons, he appreciated the Neurosurgeons of JNIMS for successfully operating various critical patients in the hospitals during the last 3-4 months. He announced that 5-6 Medical Ventilators would be procured for JNIMS soon. He said that JNIMS will soon have 18 Private wards.  
Citing the frequent road accidents in the State, Chief Minister said that more than 70 people have died in road accidents in last four months in the State. Some of the factors for such road accidents are violation of traffic rules and regulations, corruption while issuing driving licence etc., he added.  On the occasion, Chief Minister appealed the people of the State to keep their surroundings neat and clean by organising routine cleanliness drive. He maintained that the construction work of the Private Wards have been awarded to the Manipur Police Housing Corporation (MPHC) and hope that it would be completed on time.
While delivering his Presidential address, Minister for Health and Family Welfare L. Jayantakumar Singh appealed the doctors to serve the people with sincerity, integrity and to maintain professional ethics. He said that health is the most important sector among all the sectors. The government has introduced various health schemes such as PMJAY, CMHT etc. to provide affordable healthcare in the country.
Chairman of Loktak Development Authority and MLA L. Susindro, Principal Secretary (Health V. Vumlunmang, Managing Director MPHC C. Doungel, Director JNIMS Prof. Th. Bhimo, teaching and Non teaching staffs and students of JNIMS attended the function.

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Imphal, Oct. 14

Manipur State Women’s Development Corporation (MSWDC), Government of Manipur has inaugurated a weaving cum embroidery training center today at Potsangbam Tomal Hall Singjamei Chingamakha Ningthoujam Leikai.

Speaking to mediapersons at the sideline of the inaugural function, Chairperson of  MSWDC, S. Satyabhama Devi said that the Corporation has started the training center for Imphal West District and Imphal East District. Women of this district would get free training on weaving, embroidery and tailoring for 6 months. After the completion of the training, all the trainees would get a certificate along with a set of equipment so as to enable them to start their own enterprise. who are not having any other source of income to maintain their family. This is a very beneficial program and during the course of the training all the trainees would be getting a monthly stipend also. In this function of 1st Batch vocational training for Handloom weaving for Destitute women under Manipur State Women’s Development Co-Operation Ltd at Potsangbam Tomal Hall Singjamei Chingamakha Ningthoujam Leikai.

Today the Manipur State Women’s Development Co-Operation Ltd inaugurate 5 five centre in Imphal East and west at the  Imphal east Yorbung and Imphal West Potsangbam Tomal Hall Chingamakha, Yaiskul police lane, Sagolband Khamnam Leirak, Sagolband Tera.

The inaugural programme was also attended by Nikita Thangjam Asst. Director Manipur State Women’s Dev Co-Operation Ltd, P. Shyatabati Devi Retd Teacher and Rk Bidiyarani Devi, Training Instructor as dignitaries on the Dias.

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Thoubal, Oct.14

A one-day targeted intervention programme on mental health was held today at the IRE College of Teacher’s Education, Wangjing in Thoubal district.

The programme was organised by The National Health Mission Manipur and National Mental Health Programme. The aim of the programme is to create awareness on mental health, problem amongst adolescence and students and substance abuse amongst students.

The programme was attended by Thokchom Amitab Singh Councillor of Wangjing Lamding Municipal Council Ward no.4, N.Rajivkumar Singh Principal IRE College of Teacher’s Education and L.Premananda Singh Secretary Wangjing Women and Girls Society (WWAGS) as dias members.

Psychiatric Social Worker of District Mental Health Programme (DMHP) Thoubal M.Sushilkumar Singh delivered the welcome and Keynote address.

During the programme, the dais members spoke of how mental diseases are caused in humans; treatment methods for people suffering from mental illnesses and how to incorporate patients with mental diseases in social affairs.

In the Technical Session, Resource Persons Dr.H.Jina Devi Psychiatrist District Hospital Thoubal spoke on the Topic “Over View of Mental Disorder and Mental Health Promotion”, Psychiatrist and Nodal Officer, District Mental Health Programme, Chandel District Hospital, Dr. Kh. Robindro Singh spoke on “Suicide Prevention and Substance use Disorders” and M.Chandrakumar Singh Psychiatric Social Worker DMHP Thoubal Spoke on the Topic “Life Skill Education”.

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Kolkata, Oct 14

Manipuri in Kolkata (MIK) observed “Manipuri Poetry Day” in collaboration with the Poetry and Fiction club, Manipur, at Manipur Bhavan, Kolkata on Sunday.

The observance was attended by Vikram, Assistant Resident Deputy Commissioner, Manipur Bhavan, Kolkata as the Chief Guest while Dr. Sukham Munilkumar, Principal Scientists, ICAR- Indian Council of Agriculturat Research, Kolkata gracefully presided the occasion. N. Ranjita Sarkar, Awardee Nongthombam Kunjamohon Translation award, 2019, Poet Barja kumar Sarkar and Laishram Gopeshor also attended the observance as guests of honour respectively. 

In the open reading session 12 Manipuri eminent writers recited poems. 

The key note address was made by General Secretary, Roshan Khumukcham, MIK Kolkata. In his statement, he mentioned that MIK is taking this initiative to this literary event for the first time and it will continue observation in the years to come. 

In the words of President and chief guest, mentioned that it is a very good sing and achievement of the event happening in Kolkata, and it should be encouraged to all and is a very good example to the young people and children too. 

The function was concluded with a vote of thanks by the Women and child lead, Dr. Nunglekpam Premi Devi. 

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Imphal, Oct 14

Close on the heels of the successful apprehension of one ULFA(I) cadre in the area recently, troops of Indian Army and Assam Police in a joint operation apprehended another ULFA (I) cadre in Upper Assam on 11 October 19.
Based on the intelligence, the joint team launched number of simulations operations in the district of Upper Assam. During one such operation an active cadre of ULFA (I) identified as SS Sgt RiturajAsom was apprehended from area of Kathalguri Reserve forest. Recoveries from the operation included one AK 81 series rifle, 60 live bullets and two magazines.
The apprehended  individual and the recoveries have been handed over to police for further investigation.

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Monday, 14 October 2019 17:18

Harvesting the green gold

There have been innumerable workshops conducted on sustainable development of medicinal plant that showcased the rich potential of the state regarding the abundant availability of medicinal plants. Experts opined that of about six thousand varieties of plants containing medicinal properties, about one thousand two hundred varieties are found in the state, a staggering amount by any yardstick. The possibilities these revelations throws up would only be limited by one’s imagination. Such valuable information also presents a very positive prospect for the mushrooming entrepreneurs who are gearing up to make a mark in various fields, given the fact that employment generation rate by the state government is nothing to write about. And yet, if and when one decides to act on those possibilities, it takes much more than a fertile imagination, or even detailed knowhow and enthusiasm. One would certainly need a certain amount of investment. One would also require a support system from the government which is conducive to the initiative, hassle-free licensing and other formalities to speed up the activities. And above all, there would be a necessity of assisting the marketing of such products by the government so that the entire effort pays off. This is easier said than done, especially in as volatile and uncertain a state as ours. The government, to start with, could bring out a compendium on the available medicinal plants, their uses, local names as well as their natural places of occurrence which would give a very good idea of the significance of such medicinal plants to the general public. This will, in turn, enable them to help in the conservation and production of these valuable resources. There has been much talk on ushering of industrialization in Manipur, and yet precious little has been done for sustainable progress and economic development. Construction of a few sheds or buildings and labeling them as trade centers or business houses, without even the basic requirements and facilities for the proposed objectives does not count as contributing to development or industrialization, nor does the organizing of melas, fairs and festivals where the main emphasis has always been on displaying a few local products for the benefit and knowledge of the local people.
The world is waking up to the benefits and significance of natural and organic products, be it for food, cosmetic or medicinal purposes. There cannot be a better time to seize the opportunity to harness the yet untapped potential these vast resources of medicinal plants represent in terms of economic gains. In fact, it could prove to be the most profitable and sustainable means of income for the whole of the state. It only remains for the state government to draw up a roadmap to enlighten, encourage and ensure that such an opportunity to provide an easy, sustainable and limitless economic benefit to its people does not go wasted by setting up a Research & Development wing, an economic support system, an incubation unit to provide assistance regarding management and other administrative matters to the start-ups and a marketing cell to make sure the products are properly advertised and dispersed to every corner of the country and beyond. 
The farmers and potential entrepreneurs need to be shown the bigger picture and their role in the whole system as well as the benefits they stand to enjoy which is one of the biggest incentives for taking up such initiatives. Given the track record and the penchant of the state government for promoting itself, the task should not pose any problem if it applies the same enthusiasm and effort.         

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By -Rubani Yumkhaibam

Few civil society collectives in Manipur punishmen and womenfrom time to time for committing nattaba lamchat. What is nattaba lamchat? It does not have aname; we do not call the supposed “offender” a rapist, a murderer, a drug peddler, a hacker, and so forth. For the most part, nattaba lamchat is a vague attribution of immorality to people’s intimate concerns, especially sexual conduct. What is moral and immoral is defined by the norms of the particular society, here the Manipuri society, and it is not always associated with violation of law. More fundamentally, the construction of moral/immoral agenda is distinctly coded in the language of women’s sexual morality. In this context civil society collectives are playing a custodian part in preserving the morality of women.  The article is a reflection on the mobtrial and punishment (mostly violent and humiliating)of women accused of sexual immorality, framed in theconcept of nattaba lamchat. Men are also victimised by the construct of nattaba lamchat, however given the centrality of women in the culture of moral censorship in the Manipuri society, the article addresses the women’s question.
The 21st century Manipur is ridden with mob violence- lynching, punishing, trials - which is often projected as delivering “justice”.Whenever an unfortunateincident happens in the neighbourhood – it could be a petty instance of thievery, or a gruesome instance of inadvertent killing - people waste no time, and the self-made platoon of justice raises its fangs and sets on beating, humiliating and even killing the persons involved. In order for a fruitful critique of such a violent behaviour to emerge, it will be required to analyse the socio-psychological motifs of the people occupying an unstable political and economic zone. Given the festered bureaucracy of the land, deliverance of justice is often difficult and delayed. Such a frustration enthuses  people to take law and order in their hands. We live in a time in which we can rely on neither the governmental rationality nor the “mob justice”. (The moral decline of the revolutionary ideals of justice and liberty in the hands of the mob haspreviously been seen in many intellectual movements in human histories, like the French Revolution that ultimately descended into the Reign of Terror.) Can a frustrated society like ours handlemob justice? However, we are fed with many manifestations of mob trials.  That being said, nobody needs a telescope to see that theculture of dialogue and construction inthe Manipuri society is dead long ago! Many people in the mob brigade are driven by a misguided sense of justice, verging onto retaliation thereby ending in a complete disregard for humanity.It is in this violent culture of mob trial, which involves physical punishment and public humiliation, that we see women’s morality being monitored in the public domain.
In one of the most unfortunate incidents in the past few days (happened at Bishnupur district), a man and a woman became victimsof a mob “trial”,the crime being nattaba lamchat. There was a filming of the entire trial and the video became viral on the social media. Lame is the age deluged by smart phones, unemployed and frustrated youths looking for heroics! The law of the land intervened and the culprits, the locale mob, mostly women, were arrested by the police.Many such incidents of violent mob trials have happened in the past, but the public anger at the particular incident is almost unprecedented. What angers the public?  The anger rises from the beating, humiliation and the spectacle of the shameful trial to which the man and the woman were exposed. More critically the exposure of a child (of the woman being punished)  to the public humiliation of the mother, and the resultant abusive handling of the child was particularly distressing for the people. The culprits may legally bepunished in the days to come. But the lessons we learn are not just about the inhumanity  of the mobtrial and the punishment of the culprits; policing of women’s morality in the public domain is the critical issue at the core of the incident.
What fares as tenacious in such cases is civil societies’ taking on the role of moral guardians (not benign though), especially when women’s sexual morality is involved. We as a society believe that public morality will be kept intact if women’s sexuality is kept under control. From the dresses women wear to the tone of their voice, women’s presence in the society is sexualised and moralised, and is linked with the larger project of cultural cleanliness. Women are continuously projected as having potential for moral/sexual  offences. Subsequently women’s sexuality is channelised within the sanctity of marriage, the failure of which leads to the public (read mob) trial of the moralaberrance. So, when a married woman is found out to be engaging in an intimate relationship with another man, she is charged with nattaba lamchat. Such women are given speedy trialinfull vista of the public, by civil society organisations. Some regular proceedings of such trials are keina katpa, shaving off the women’s hair, slapping, and beating. What the moral league reads in these cases is the punishability of a woman’s sexual relationship with a man other than her sexual owner, the husband, and this act of punishment must be carried out of in the public. In the process,  a victimless crime is made, the one in which the supposed offender is victimised, much like the way rape victims are portrayed as inviting the rape upon themselves by wearing this and that, going here and there. Burqa donned women are also raped, so dress and outings cannot be considered as logically provened antecedents of rape crimes.  
The pivotal place of women’s sexuality in constructing women’s morality, and by extension morality of the society, is followed by the straitjacket classification of women into two constructs – virgin and whore. In the name of preserving the moral aesthetic of the society, the guardians are continually monitoring the private ecology of a woman as either a virgin/virtuous wife  or a “lamchat naidabi” whore. The virgin will extend into the ideal of a sexually loyal wife,we are continually creating an image of an ideal wife, an ideal mother, an ideal girl. On the other side, a whore is constructed as  maramhenbi, lamchatnaidabi, oktabi, all built around the notion of sexual “excesses” – adultery and  pre-marital intimacy. Women’s sexual conduct is looked upon as a taboo that has to kept hidden in the  polite society. Ironically when such an “excess” is detected, it is exposed to a chaotic degree. In this scenario, a woman earns the non-existent crime of “nattaba lamchat”, a fragile framework that strikes virgin-whore dichotomy. The virgin/whore dichotomy is a neurotic split that plagues the male perceptions  of women.
Is the punishment of the sexually immoral, lamchat naidabi woman in the public view enough? No, for the moral guardians, the public trial and the consequent punishment are  not enough. Shaving off the hair, slapping (an extremely insulting physical response), beating, complete with keina katpa (a form of saving grace after disgrace)  are acts of mutilation of the female body. These acts are a writing of a shameful history on the ecology of a female body. The informing ideology behind the mob trial of lamchat naidabi woman isa humiliating attrition, an inculcation of fear and stigma in women, just as much as cutting up the human body in a penal revenge, so that she will atone for all time to come. (Fear is a powerful weapon that is continually fed to women; the fear of rape and  the fear of public disgrace are two powerful breeders of sexual control over women.)   There is no legal and moral justification for keina katpa. Keina katpa  trials neither aimed at delivering justice to the injured parties  nor encouraged ethical order in the society. Such trials are a fascistic reaction born out of “moral panic” around the body and sexuality of women, the idea that if  women’s sexuality is not monitored, they are going to corrupt family, culture and tradition.  Infidelity and adultery are not claimed as virtues to be appreciated and cultivated, but our worldview towards such complex human decisions points to the misogyny of the Manipuri society. From a technical angle, it is meaningless to forcefully marry off a wife to another man, even if the man is a lover. It is no measure of sapient moral restoration. Has our society consented to polyandry? Patriarchy can have no liaison with polyandry.So, why are the vigilantes using keina katpa as a moral drive? Even when keina katpa is imposed onan unmarried woman, it is aimed at exposing and punishing the woman, the inscription of fear.
The fact that brigades of righteous women have taken up the torch of correcting other “deviant” women is continuously arresting the cause of women in our society. Such women have internalised the misogyny, and they are being exploited by the patriarchy as voice of morality in the Manipuri society today. The moral agenda implied in the crimeless crime and violent punishment of nattaba lamchat will not raise women beyond the subservient role they are playing today. There is no such crime as lamchat nattaba for which a woman can be punished in the public view. The collectives of civil society organisations run by women need to focus more on the problems Manipuri women face today, such as political effects  that affect the economic activities of women, spousal abandonment, domestic violence and the restraint on women not to speak against it, increasing instances of drug peddling among the economically-deprived women, etc. These are important ethical and social concerns that affect women’s lives. One can hope that the younger generation of women are sensitive to the critical issues of inequality and subjugation that have kept the false consciousness of nattaba lamchat enforced.

Thank you, Santa Khurai, for the potent outrage. 

Published in Guest Column
Monday, 14 October 2019 17:17

SheChef Season 2; Shirui Lily Festival 2019

IT News
Imphal, Oct 14

SheChef (earlier called ShiChef) is a cooking competition organised by the Exotic School of Cooking in collaboration with Popa Restaurantas part of the Shirui Lily Festival. In its second season this year, SheChef 2019 is being organised with an aim to carry forward the famous slogan of the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, “BetiBachao, BetiPadhao.” This platform aims to unearth the culinary skills of many women and help them turn their passion into profession. This is an attempt to facilitate financial independence and confidence for women in Manipur. The competitors will cook using locally produced ingredients which will also eventually help the farmers by adding value to their produce, while altogether promoting indigenous cuisine.
The competition will take place at TNL Ground, Ukhrul Town, during the entire duration of the Shirui Lily Festival, i.e. 16thto 19thOctober 2019. After a public call for interested participants, final six contestants have been selected for the competition through a process of screening. They are from the ages of 18 to 26 and their names are as under:
1. NimriMarchang
2. RinchuilaTuithung
3. YurrinchonKeishing
4. RumunhoiTubung
5. ZingyatphiHungyo
6. NeisoyangRangla
The competition will be held for 4 days with 4 different themes for cooking. The judges meticulously selected for the competition are Chingyo Shinglai, RupaliLongjam and Dr.ChangmeiShadang. The first two are qualified chefs while the third is an expert in nutrition. A unique feature of this season is that the entire organising team is made up by only women.
The winner will be awarded a cash prize of Rs. 30,000 while the second and third prize recipients will receive Rs. 20,000 and Rs.10,000 respectively. The consolation prize will be Rs. 2000 each.

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