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Thursday, 19 December 2019 - Imphal Times

CM admits financial constraint, denies collapse of Finance dept.; assures salary for government employees before Christmas

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Imphal, Dec 19

Chief Minister N. Biren Singh who is also the leader of the House today admitted that the state government is facing financial constraint but he denies of report about collapse in the Finance Department.

Replying to a calling attention motion moved by two Congress MLAs – Khumukcham Joykishan and K. Meghachandra, in connection of a news report published in this newspaper under the heading State Finance Dept. Collapses; government may not be able to pay salary for contract, muster roll and contract employees,  on the 2nd day of the 9th session of the 11th  Manipur Legislative Assembly, the Chief Minister said that the government is managing for clearance of salaries for government employees before Christmas.

The Chief Minister did not say ‘Regular government employees’ and that naturally means all government employee , no matter whether they are regular, contract, muster roll or engaged.

MLA Joykishan, drawing the attention of the Finance Minister, while moving the calling attention motion said that a proof of collapse in the Finance Department is that he had seen no work programme being released at any of the government department for the year 2019-20. He even said that the MLAs are getting only half the total amount of the Local Area development which they could have taken up some development works in their respective constituencies. Joykishan further said that even some MLAs from the ruling and Ministers had openly stated developmental work could not be taken up due to non release of fund.

MLA K Meghachandra who jointly moved the calling attention motion said that the recent ban by the Reserve Bank of India is a clear indication that the state is in financial crisis. He questioned on how the state government will be able to pay the 7th Revise pay scale when the present pay scale to the government employee has been downgraded.

“As there are enough evidences to proof financial collapses, how can the people trust this government?”, MLA Meghachandra drew the attention of the Chief Minister while moving the calling attention motion.

The Chief Minister, who is also the leader of the house and in-charge of Finance department in his reply said that the government is taking up work programme in all respective department, while accepting that the state is facing financial constraints.

“We have prepared a Rs. 1405 crore deficit budget with the approval of all the members of this house, that means there will certainly be some sort of financial constraint to the state”, Chief Minister said.

He added that state have limited revenue resource to improve the financial position of the state and for that the government is working out to generate more revenue by increasing the Excise duty and License, Renewal of the liquor fees that are permissible to some exceptional category like Armed forces; increase in the VAT for petroleum and diesel by 10%.

The Chief Minister further said that the state will introduce Lottery soon and will introduce online system of tax payment to check and prevent misuse of State revenue.

The Chief Minister further said that due to obstruction and opposition from civil society the Local Liquor Legislation Bill is still pending and because of this prohibitions the state government lose around Rs. 600 crore to Rs. 700 crore annually. He also said that even legalization of Marijuana purely for use of medicinal value has been even opposed by some people.

Regarding the non release of CDA the Chief Minister said that it has been delayed due to the election code of conduct but will be release soon probably by January.  

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SDO Lamphel dishonours Manipur Information Commission’s order; Repeated notice to furnish information sought under RTI turn down

IT News

Imphal, Dec 19

May be a disregard, or perhaps for reason best known to her, Sub Divisional Officer (SDO) Lamphel Khumanthem Diana, has repeatedly failed to furnish information sought under Right to Information Act, 2005.

The SDO Lamphel did not turn up for the hearing of the case number 85 of 2019 twice, a source from the Manipur Information Commission said. The Commission has once more fixed the hearing of the case on January 14, 2020. The Commission may initiate action against the SDO if she again failed to furnish the information during the hearing,

An applicant, Yengkhom Praveena filed an RTI regarding the land records of a plot of land in Chinga Makha Village on July 30 2019. Deputy Commissioner, Imphal West instructed the SDO, Lamphel on August 5 to furnish the information sought by the applicant. However, the information was not given to the applicant. After that the applicant complained to the Appellate Authority/Commissioner (Revenue) on September 4. The authority again wrote to DC, Imphal West to provide the information which is sought on or before September 11.  Again, the concern department fails to furnish the information in time.

A second appeal was made on October 14 to the Chief Information Commissioner of Manipur Information Commission Imphal urging for necessary action on the matter. Manipur Information Commission summoned the DC, Imphal West for the hearing on November 11, 2019 as his office has failed to provide the information sought. SPIO/ DC Imphal West did not turn up for the hearing. Manipur Information Commission in its decision “directs the SPIO/DC, Imphal West to appear either in person or send duly authorised officer in the next hearing and further directs him/her to furnish the sought information to the appellant on or before the next hearing.” The next hearing took place on November 25.

The authorised person from DC Imphal West told the Manipur Information Commission in the hearing that the RTI has been transferred to SDO Lamphel and the said information could be sought from SDO, Lamphel and SK of SDC (C) Imphal West. The commission further directed the SDO Lamphal and SK, SDC(C) Imphal West to appear in person in the hearing scheduled on December 3rd.

In the third hearing, both SPIO/SDO Lamphel and SK, SDC (C), Imphal West did not turn up for the hearing. The commission, noticing their absence, issues show causes to these officials asking “as to why penal action should not be initiated against them for violation of the commission’s decision.” The commission sought the replies on or before December 18, which was also the date of the next hearing. 

On December 18, SK, SDC Imphal West furnished a reply to the show cause notice asked by the commission. However, SDO Lamphel Khumanthem Daina, did not turn up for the hearing again and no reply of the commission’s show cause notice was furnished from her side. Given this the representative of the appellant urged the commission to initiate penal action against the public authority under section 20(1) of the RTI Act for the failure in furnishing information and not obeying the decision of the commission. The appellant’s representative maintained during the hearing that “this is in total violation of the RTI Act, 2005.”

The commission, keeping in mind the principle of natural justice, decided that one cannot be punished without being heard. It again directed SDO Lamphel to appear in person in the next hearing and furnish a reply to the show cause notice. The commission further “directs him/her to furnish the sought information direct to the appellant on or before the next hearing. Failing which, the commission will initiate penal action u/s 20(1) of RTI, 2005 against the deemed SPIO/SDO, Lamphel for deliberately failing to furnish the information as well as non-compliance of the decision of the Commission as ex-parte or without further notice.” The next hearing is scheduled on January 14. 

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NRC will be implemented in Manipur

IT News

Imphal, Dec 19

Chief Minister N. Biren Singh today said that the National Registration for Citizen (NRC) will be implemented to Manipur. While answering to a question by opposition MLA Khumukcham Joykishan, Chief Minister N. Biren Singh said that the NRC will be implemented in the state after the Central government approves for its implementation however the schedule for the implementation is depended to the announcement of Central government.

Answering to supplementary question, N. Biren Singh said that a letter signed by him was sent to the Home Minister after discussing the matter at Cabinet informally. He however said that the base year will be decided in consultation with the people of the state after the Union government rectifies the NRC.

It may be mention that the Union Home Minister Amit Shah has announced that NRC will be implemented across the nation.

 

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3669 suspected illegal migrants prevented from entering Manipur from 2017 till Dec 15, 2019

IT News

Imphal, Dec 19

Chief Minister N. Biren Singh today said that a total of 3669 suspected illegal migrants who tried to enter the state without possessing valid documents for identification have been prevented from entering the state within the period of January 2017 till December 15, 2019.

Answering to a question by Congress MLA Surjakumar Okram during question hour of the 9th session of the 11th Manipur Legislative Assembly, Chief Minister N. Biren said that 9 persons along with 1 minor child were arrested for entering the state without valid documents in connection with 5 different cases.

He further added that measures taken up by the state government to check illegal migrants are checking, verification of documents of every travelers, passengers or tourists entering the state by state police department. 

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NSCN-K shows solidarity with the stand of the Naga People

IT News

Imphal, Dec 19

Armed Rebel group NSCN-K appreciated the unflinching stand of the Naga and the whole North- East people (WESEA) for coming together with one voice in denouncing the forcibly enacted India Citizenship Amendment Act 2019.

In a statement by Lt.Col.Joseph Lamkang, MIP in charge NSCN/GPRN, the outfit said that they share their solidarity and stand with all the oppressed peoples affected by the Indian totalitarian rule. The recently amended bill is bias and hostile in nature and it uncloak the hidden political ideology of the present government, it added.

“This bill was specially amended to sideline and target others based on religious ground which implies that Indian secularism is slowly dying. The CAA and other such similar Acts which are likely to be implemented in near future are bound to have adverse effect on our WESEA region in particular viz politically, economically, culturally and religiously. The bill will legalize and escalate the influx of illegal immigrants from neighboring countries, increasing the already overwhelming illegal population. The result will dramatically change our regional demography beyond repair.

As much as we opposed India’s hegemony over the Naga country, we opposed all her colonial policies and laws imposed on our people.

Some  of our elected Naga politicians has jump to conclusion by blindly supporting the bill without even consulting with the people they represent. They are exposing their political immaturity and short sightedness. They lost their credibility as elected leaders by trusting too much in the Modi government. They owe an explanation to the Naga people for their decisions.

On August 5 the GOI revoked the constitutional autonomy of Kashmir, the guardian which protected the historical rights of the Kashmirs. Tomorrow it could ne Nagas and the GOI will not hesitate to implement its tainted policies.

The reality cannot be denied as India’s long term fascist policy is to completely assimilate and subjugate the North East region and wipe out our joint freedom struggle.

Unless we are completely sovereign we will cease to exist as people. The present India laws will not protect our land our identity and right to live as free and honourable people.

For the last many decades, Indian intelligences and armed forces worked round the clock through their draconian laws and other black laws but failed to subdue our struggle.

The NSCN/GPRN being the legitimate torch bearer of the Naga struggle will go any length to defend our right, our land ad our people, and to implement that the Naga army and its combat units are duty bound and capable of striking anywhere and at anytime.

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Govt. serious about illegal Money lending business

IT News

Imphal, Dec 19

Government of Manipur is serious about the growing issues of the much talked about illegal money lending business but the problem in dealing with such issue is that no person has ever approached the government in connection with such case and no person had ever filed complaint about illegal money lending business

Replying to a question by MLA Surjakumar during question hour today Chief Minister N. Biren Singh said that in-order to check or deal with issues of money lending business the government is all set to establish a designated court. However, as no person had approached the government authority with complaint, the government could not issue any notification regarding the increase of illegal money lending business in the state. Answering to the question by MLA Surjakumar, N. Biren said that a state level Co-ordinating Committee (SLCC) has been convening regular review meeting of the issues in connection with non banking establishment. He said that the banning of Unregulated deposit Scheme Act, 2019 (No. 21 of 2019) which extends to all the states has already been enacted by the Government of India on July 31, 2019. The Commissioner has appointed Commissioner Revenue, Govt. of Manipur as the competent authority for the purpose of the act.

As on 16th December 2019, there are 301 registered money lenders in the state of Manipur.

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Journalism and activism in the time of decaying democracy

A journalist must seek the truth from facts, from the facts the truth is revealed. The truth sought would be then spoken to power. The fact now is the government is not allowing any democratic voice against its policies, at the same time claiming that peaceful protest is acceptable. The views from all sides must be heard, the principle of democracy, is being violated. The facts are peaceful protesters are stopped from protesting. These facts reveal the truth that there is a severe gag on democratic voices.  With a severe gag on democratic utterances from the public, it would be a myth that we are ruled by unbiased people.  When it comes to unbiased reporting, it is only possible when the rulers are unbiased, in a world where democracy is. Ours, as of now, is not the case. Many have lost their lives now protesting against CAB. The protests that erupted in Assam and Tripura have travelled far and wide in Indian campus where students are being brutally lathi charged.  What matters here for us is the facts and the facts matters because they reveal the truth. The truth is what has been said above.

Where does journalism end and activism begins? This question does not have a clear answer. The divide does not have a clear line. Much debates have happened amongst those who study journalism, as a profession. When we see objectively in the world of journalism, we find that it is also a world of political beings. We need to understand this crisscrossing of journalism and activism. We must remember the great political and social movements and the journalists who were involved in it. How can we forget the young Marx who was a journalist. We should remember John Reed, the American journalist  whose body is now buried in Kremlin as a respect to his service in  the great Russian revolution. On the one hand, we have journalist who laid the foundation of American invasion of Iraq by reporting wrongly that there are weapon of mass destruction in Iraq. On the other hand, we have journalist with strong political views against exploitation and oppression such as Amy Goodman persecuted by the American government.  When we look into India’s fight against British Colonialism, we see Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi and Bal Gangadhar Tilak becoming journalists. We should also remember our puwari. Lamyanba Irabot is the father of journalism in Manipur. These instances make us think about the crisscrossing that journalism and activism have and the blurring of boundaries between the two. Lamyanba Irabot was a journalist because Manipur at that time needed journalism and he saw it. It is tool of the people to seek the truth from the things that they see happening. Further, the profession though is the most important it should not take away our humanity.

Water Pollution: Causes & Effects

Water pollution is the contamination of water bodies usually as a result of human activities. Water bodies include lakes, rivers, oceans aquifers and ground water. Pollution results when contaminants are introduced into the natural environment. Introduction may be from releasing inadequately treated wastewater into natural water bodies which lead to degradation of aquatic ecosystems. In turn, this can lead to public health problems for people living downstream. They may use the same polluted river water for drinking or bathing or irrigation. Water pollution can be grouped into surface water pollution and ground water pollution. Sources of water pollution are either point sources or non-point sources. Point sources have one identifiable cause of pollution, such as a storm drain, wastewater treatment plant or stream. Non-point sources are more diffuse, such as agricultural runoff. Pollution is the result of cumulative effect over time. Water is typically referred to as polluted when it is impaired by anthropogenic contaminants. Due to these contaminants it either does not support a human use such as drinking water or undergoes a marked shift in its ability to support its biotic communities such as fish. Natural phenomena such as volcanos, algae blooms, storms and earthquakes also cause major changes in water quality and the ecological status of water. Water pollution is a major global problem. It requires ongoing evaluation and revision of water resources policy at all levels (International down to individual aquifers and wells).It has been suggested that water pollution is the leading worldwide cause of death and diseases. Water pollution accounted for the death of 1.8 million people in 2015. India and China are two countries with high levels of water pollution. An estimated 580 people in India die of water pollution related illness (including waterborne diseases) every day. About 90% of the water in the cities of China is polluted. As of 2007, half a billion Chinese had no access to safe drinking water. In addition to the acute problems of water pollution in developing countries, developed countries also continue to struggle with pollution problems. In a report on water quality in United States in 2009, 44% of assessed stream miles, 64% of assessed lake acres and 30% of assessed bays and estuaries square miles were classified as polluted.
          Surface water pollution includes pollution of rivers, lakes and oceans. A sub set of surface water pollution is marine pollution. One common path of entry by contaminants to the sea are rivers and also directly discharging sewage and industrial waste into the ocean. Pollution such as this occurs particularly in developing nations. In fact the ten largest emitters of oceanic plastic pollution worldwide are from the most to the least ,China, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Egypt, Malaysia, Nigeria and Bangladesh largely through the rivers Yangtze, Indus, Yellow, Hai, Niles, Ganges, Pearl, Amur, Niger and Mekong and accounting for 90% of all the plastic that reach the world’s ocean. Large gyres (vortexes) in the oceans trap floating plastic debris. Plastic debris can absorb toxic chemicals from ocean pollutions, potentially poisoning any creature that eats it. Many of these long lasting pieces end up in the stomach of marine birds and animals. This results obstruction of digestive pathways which leads to reduce appetite or even starvation. Causes of ground water pollution include: naturally occurring (geogenic), on-site sanitation system, sewage, fertilizers, and pesticides, commercial and industrial leaks, hydraulic fracturing, and landfill leachate. Surface water seeps through the soil and become ground water. Conversely, ground water can also feed surface water source. The specific contaminants leading to pollution in water include a wide spectrum of chemicals, pathogens and physical changes such as elevated temperature and discoloration. While many of the chemicals and substances that are regulated may be naturally occurring (Calcium, Sodium, Iron, manganese etc.) the concentration usually determines what is a natural contaminants. High concentration of naturally occurring substances can have negative impacts on aquatic flora and fauna. Oxygen depleting substances may be natural materials such as plant matter (e.g. leaves and grasses) as well as man-made chemicals. Other natural and anthropogenic substances may cause turbidity (cloudiness) which block light and disrupts plant growth and clogs the gills of some fish species. Pathogens or microorganisms found incontaminated  surface water that have caused human health problems include:Burkholderia,     Pseudo mallei, Cryptosporidium partum,   Giardialamblia,  Salmonella, Norovirus and other viruses ,parasitic worms including Schistosoma type. Organic water pollutants include: Detergents, disinfection by –product, food processing waste, insecticides and herbicides, petroleumhydrocarbons, volatile organic compounds, chlorinated solvents,perchlorate,various chemical compounds found in personal hygiene and cosmetic products, drug pollution involving pharmaceutical drugs and their metabolites. Inorganic water pollutants include: Sulphur dioxide from power plants, Ammonia from food processing waste, Chemical waste as industrial by-products, fertilizers containing nutrients-Nitrogen, Phosphates. Heavy metals from motor vehicle, secretion of cresol, preservative into the aquatic ecosystem, silt (sediments) in runoff from construction sites. Some of the waterborne diseases are-typhoid, cholera, paratyphoid fever, dysentery, jaundice, ameobiasis and malaria. Chemicals in water also have negative effects on our health. Pesticides- can damage the nervous system and cause cancer because of the carbonates and organophosphates that they contains. The main problem caused by water pollution is that it kills organisms that depends on these water bodies. Dead fish, crabs, birds and seagulls, dolphins and many other animals often wind up on beaches ,killed by pollutants in their habitats ( living environment).Water pollution disrupts the natural food chain as well.
    Down to our tiny land log state Manipur; are our water bodies (may be rivers, lakes or public ponds) pollution free? I don’t think so. We all see thehealth condition of Nambul River which falls in Loktak Lake. Then what can we say about the quality of water in Loktak Lake? Probably Loktak could have been badly polluted as seen from the health of Nambul River.Not only Loktak Lake,lake like lamphel pat is also highly polluted by the bio-medical waste of RIMS and other Hospitals. Very recently the problem of pollution in KongbaRiver was reported due to the medical waste from JNIMS.Rejuvenation and conservation works of Nambul River began at Thong Nambonbi from 23rd May 2019 which was inaugurated by the Hon’ble Chief Minister beforeParliament Election’s Model Code of Conduct was enforced but the progress of the initiated work is yet be seen and it looks like tiger on the paper.Nambul River as such, is one of the most polluted river in the world.If we are to maintain a healthy Manipur, we need to make Loktak and our water bodies healthy which in turn need to keep NambulRiver clean and our mindset clean. That’s the only solution else we are bound to extinct which no legality in this Universe can save us.

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Article 370: Testimony on Ground

By : Inamul Haq

On August 05, 2019, the state of Jammu and Kashmir was put into lockdown. On that fateful day, Indian Home Minister Amit Shah introduced in Parliament legislation to abrogate Article 370, 35(A) and reorganize the J&K state by bifurcating it into two Union Territories, Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh, with only the former having a legislative assembly. In a brief floor speech, Shah called Article 370 discriminatory on the basis of gender, class, caste, and place or origin, and contended that its repeal would spark investment, development and job creation in J&K. Next day, after the key legislation had passed both of Parliament’s chambers by large majorities and with limited debate and discussion, Prime Minister Modi lauded the legislation’s passage, declaring that &K is now free from their shackles and predicting that the changes will ensure integration and empowerment. All of his party’s National Democratic Alliance (NDA) coalition partners supported the legislation, as did many opposition parties (the main opposition Congress Party was opposed). The move also appears to be popular among the Indian public, possibly in part due to a post-Pulwama, post-election wave of nationalism that has been amplified by the country’s mainstream media.Proponents view the move as a long-overdue, master stroke righting of a historic wrong that left J&K underdeveloped and contributed to conflict there.
 Basically, Article 370 was the only agreement that holds the autonomy to the state of J&K within theUnion of India. Autonomy or self-rule empowers the state government to address governance and administrative challenges and weaknesses with a greater degree of self-determination. The spirit of autonomy dictates that since decision-making is a local process, there is a greater probability that the locally-formulated government programmes will cater to the particular needs of the local community. Autonomy also gives the local community the opportunity to make their leaders accountable. However, most of the provisions of the Article were taken away secretly. The most visible provision of it maintaining special status to the state and it was also taken unconstitutionally on 5th August 2019. After communication blockade, I spend 20 days in the university and finally, I planned to travel back home. On 25th August, when I stepped out of the airport, I feel that the city is burning. People were salient as they were mourning of their beloved ones.As soon as I came out from airport, I went to government established taxi stand to book the cab. After asking the fair detail to my destination, I was not in such a position to book the cab. So, I decided to comeout from the airport. I got success in coming out and I reached Dalgate Srinagar,where some other passengers were waving hands to the private vehicles for lift. I left from Srinagar from 11 am and my travel distance to my destination was only 45 minutes. However, I reached 3:30 to my destination. The vehicle, who gave me lift had to remain stranded on the main road, until army vehicles can pass. In the vehicle, there were other people and I hesitantly said, this is disgusting, and we are worse than slaves. What will happen, if there is patient in the vehicle. They remained tight-lipped and did not utter a word. I felt that they are scared and are not comfortable to discuss or debate the recent move of Indian authority. In Kashmir, I remained for at least two months. During this period, I analysed the anger, depression, anxiety and alienation among people towards Indian State and found more pro-Pakistani sentiments. On 27th August, when Modi and Imran Khan addressed the United Nations General Assembly, people were eagerly for Imran Khan’s Speech. After his speech, there were pro-Pakistani and pro-freedom marches in Kashmir.As, I was an attendant in bone and joint hospital Barzullah Srinagar. I felt people rejoicing and appreciating the speech of the Imran Khan and making mockery of Modi. Without communication, internet and basic facilities, I imagined how strong Kashmiri people are. They are adjusting their habitual according the environment. But there is a question to the rest of India: does Modi and Amit shah integrated Kashmir with India or they created a wall between Kashmir and India. the deep alienation among people will come out in one way or other way and it will be more destructive. Frantz Fanon argues that in the struggle for freedom from colonizers, the alienation comes among the colonized as they are forced to the wall and they are being tortured. All this force the colonized to take guns in their hands and to stand face to face with forces, who are on the edge to take his life. The youth who are getting more inclined towards militancy is increasing. Looking at the current figure, the rise of local militancy is constantly increasing. This shows that India failed to win the hearts and minds of the people of Kashmir and trying to supress them with blood and iron policy. The growing radicalisation reminds the great historian Kalhan, who wrote in Rajtarangi that Kashmir can be won by power of sprit, but not by the power of sword.

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