Wednesday, 29 January 2020 - Imphal Times

IT News

Imphal, Jan 29

Health Director Dr. K Rajo today said that there is no need to be panic over the spread of Coronavirus as there is no confirm case of any such infection in the state.

“Those under investigation in India are suspected case only and has not been confirmed of carrying the virus” Dr. Rajo said. He further said that even as the people need not panic, the state department is taking up measures to prevent spread of such virus.

Meanwhile community worker Rajit Sharma who recently went to Myanmar said that it will be wise for the government of Manipur to close the Border gate for some time until the matter about spread of Coronavirus is contained.

Myanmar being close to China and having less medical facilities may have people carrying the virus. Prevention is better than cure, he added.

Four person who returned from China suspected to be exposed to the virus are presently undergoing treatment at BMC run Kasturba Hospital in North Mumbai .

A Manipuri Lady who recently return back from Hong Kong has also been admitted at RIMS and is under observation after being suspected of infection. Total person under observation in India now reached 16. 3 are under observation in Hyderabad, 7 in Kerala, 4 in Mumbai and one in Bengaluru.

Wuhan along 12 other cities of China has been completely sealed by the Chinese authorities to stop the virus from spreading. The death toll has climbed to 80 with 2,744 confirmed cases. Over 250 to 300 Indian students are reportedly stuck in Wuhan triggering concerns over their well-being.

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By Raju Vernekar
Mumbai, Jan 29

Taking inspiration from the women’s agitation at Shaheen Bagh in New Delhi, hundreds of Muslim women continued staged anti-CAA agitations, whereas lawyers came in support of CAA, NRC and NPR in Mumbai on Tuesday.
A large number of lawyers affiliated to the Bombay High Court Advocates’ Bar Association and the Advocates Association of Western India, held a march outside the Bombay high court in support of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). The lawyers marched from one gate of the high court to another shouting slogans such as “We support CAA”, “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” and “Vande Mataram”. They insisted that the support to CAA is not against any Indian.
Among those who participated in the march were senior counsel Ram Apte, advocate Uday Warunjikar and Subhash Ghadge and Anjali Helekar – members of the Advocates Association of Western India.
“There is a presumption that every law is constitutionally valid and the CAA is not an exception. Unless any act is declared as invalid, the law continues, and hence we held a march in support of the CAA,” Advocate Warunjikar told the media.
Whereas on January 20, a bunch of lawyers-including Gayatri Singh, Mihir Desai and Agasti Vibhute, had gathered outside the high court and read out the preamble of the Constitution of India to protest the CAA.
In another development, hundreds of women continued their anti-CAA/NRC/NPR agitation on a road in south Mumbai’s Nagpada area, which they had started on Republic Day night. The protestors holding placards carrying the slogans like “We stand against CAA, NRC, NPR”, “They tried to divide us, Respect my existence or expect my resistance”, sat down on the Morland road outside Arabia Hotel and raised anti-CAA slogans. Many were seen also holding Indian flag and shouting slogans hailing Hindu-Muslim unity and brotherhood.
Most of the protestors are residents of nearby Muslim-dominated Madanpura, Jhoola Maidan, Apripada, and Mumbai Central areas. They have not withdrawn their agitation despite senior officers of the Mumbai Police urging them to do so. Senior Nagpada police station inspector Shalini Sharma said that she had requested the protesters to take a prior permission from the police, but the women refused to budge and continued to occupy the road.
The movement has surprised many because women along with their children spent an entire night on the road holding placards and raising slogans against the new law. Social activist and former student of Jawaharlal Nehru University Umar Khalid also addressed the gathering.
Protests are underway in different parts of the country against the new law, which grants Indian citizenship who entered India on or before December 31, 2014 due to religious persecution in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

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IT News
Imphal, Jan 29

UNLF made a press release signed by M. Sak-hen, Director, Department of Publicity, saying that the Lamhei Maheikol scheme was not properly implemented and the ZEO and AI of Wangoi should pay up, further stating that they will punish corruption in educational institutions. The government had announced various schemes in the name of betterment of education system, but the ministers, MLAs, and officials used up all the money for their own benefits. The press release further added that they received a complain that the “Lamjing Maheikol” scheme introduced by SSA Manipur State Mission under the central sponsorship of MHRD was not properly implemented and the officials had used up all the money of the scheme allotted for Wangoi zone for 2017-18. On receiving the complain, they said, their special investigation team did the digging up and found the following:
1. SSA State Mission selected 90 schools from 17 different blocks for LM scheme, 2017-18. The sanction amount for each school was Rs. 2,15,300, but the issue emerged because of non allocation of the sanction amount and corruption.
2.For ZEO Wangoi Block, SSA State Mission selected 10 schools under the recommendation of the ZEO of Wangoi, namely: i) Chajing Mairenkhong UPS ii) Haoreibi Jr. HS iii) Phoubakchao HS iv) Shamusang Shantipur UPS v) Yumnam Huidrom HS vi) Langthabal Phuramakhong UPS vii) Sekmaijin HS viii) Khagemba Jr. HS ix) Malon Megha HS x) Irom Meijrao New PS. The total amount sanction for these 10 schools was Rs, 21,53,000.
3.As the implementation agency of Wangoi Zone, ZEO formed a committee with him as the nodal officer and chairman, and the responsibility for the scheme was handed to Ojah Brojen.
4.When investigated, the expenditure statement submitted by Wangoi ZEO did not match with the statements of the school Head. The activities and expenditure were not consistent.
5.There was no transparency in the whole process.
6.AI Brojen had only verbally communicated without any documents, keeping the school authority in the dark.
7.After admitting that there were mishandling in the expenditure statement furnished by AI Brojen, a new statement was submitted, but it also had a lot of wrongdoings. For example -
a)It added that out of the Rs 21,53,000 sanctioned for 10 schools, Rs. 5,38,000 was assigned to Ojah Ranbir for supervising the implementation of the scheme.
b)An expenditure statement for allocation of Rs. 50,000 to MLA Lukhoi for ground leveling of Yumnam Huidrom HS.
c)Another expenditure statement of extra expenses on the “Go To Village” program from the sanction money of this scheme.
d)Allocation of Rs. 100,00 for regular meetings that never happened.
The press release said that if ZEO Hemchandra and AI Brojen did not pay up the amount in the given time, they should be responsible for the further consequences.

Published in News
Wednesday, 29 January 2020 17:10

AMAND launches voluntary coaching ASHA

IT News
Pune,  Jan 29

The Association of Manipuri Diaspora (AMAND) Pune, formally launched a voluntary coaching of needy students, ASHA (AMAND Shiksha Abhiyan) at the premises of Golwalkar Guruji 54b English Medium High School, Aundh (PMC School) today.
The inaugural function was graced by Mrs Archana Musale, Corporator, Pune Municipal Corporation as the Chief Guest, Vijay Shewale, Corporator, PMC along with Advocate (Dr.) Madukar Musale as guests of honors. Since its inception, members of AMAND are taking voluntary coaching classes for the students of the said school till date. The program has been widely accepted by the school teachers, students and their parents.

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By -Wisdom K.
Only a day after the Nation celebrates the enactment of the constitution of India, which made the country Republic as well as guaranteed hosts of rights to its citizens including Right to Freedom and Right to life, the security forces reportedly thrashed a man to death in Kangpokpi, making a complete mockery of human rights and our Constitution.
The Armed forces special power act, a draconian colonial law still in vogue in the Hills of Manipur robbed the people of their rights given by the Constitution of India. Many had earlier voiced their concerns to this outdated special power, which the Britishers used to contained our Freedom fighters. Custodial deaths and fake encounter deaths are the two synonyms of AFSPA  in Manipur. Why is a statute which has obnoxious clauses to take people’s lives easily be given a place in 21st century? Is it because we are tribals and our blood less-precious?
On that fateful day i.e 27th January 2020, Mr Thangboi Lhouvum, an unarmed cadre of KRA, which is a signatory of SOO with Government, was nabbed by the Assam Rifles Kangpokpi and after reportedly beating the victim black and blue, the AR handed over the victim to Kangpokpi Police, where the victim succumbed to his injurious and died in the police station. The public is furious on two counts; why is the victim mercilessly beaten by the AR and in what condition was he handed over to the Police. Why was not the victim taken to hospital by the police? Was there too many to hide? Mention may be made here that the Assam Rifle has hundreds of cases on custodial deaths and fake encounters labelled against them and the Force has recently received flaks from all counters over their alleged mishandling and molestation of a Lady IPS officer. It is no surprise that the Manipur Cabinet has passed a resolution to replace all Assam Rifle checkpost with state security forces.
Taking nothing away from the gross human right vilolations and record inhumane treatment meted out to the Hill people by the the Assam Rifles, it will be a little far-fetched to hope that public agony from security forces will end with the replacement of Assam Rifles by Manipur Police. The latter, especially its commando unit has been regarded as a trigger-happy bunch of personnels, whose presence only adds sense of insecurity to the public. Together with the Assam Rifle, the Manipur Police commando has tormented the people of Manipur  for decades now, even after Suspension of operation / cease-fire is signed by the Government with various militant groups.
It is high time concerned authority look into the prevailing law and order situation in Manipur especially in the Hills, where security forces boldened by inhumane colonial acts like AFSPA has only caused more tears to the people. That we have lost yet another precious live to custodial death in 2020 should be an eye opener as to how security forces value the lives of the tribals in General and the Kuki people in particular. It is time the Government looks into the concerned of the Kuki people and their aspirations for a rightful self governance and end their long pending political issue.

Published in Guest Column
Wednesday, 29 January 2020 17:07

72nd Kapam Day Celebrated

IT News
Chandel, Jan.29

Kapam Village in Chandel district also known as Komlathabi Village today celebrated 72nd Kapam Day at Kapam Public Ground commemorating the first settlement in the village.
The celebration was attended by Minister for Tribal Affairs & Hills N.Kayisii, MLA D. Korungthang and former MLA W.Morung Makunga as dignitaries.
Minister N.Kayisii while speaking on the occasion said that Komlathabi Village which is known for having better school and college have not change much.  
He said that villagers have full responsibility of making Kapam village as a model village.
As a part of the celebration, a two minute silence was observed as a mark of respect to the departed villagers.
Cultural programme and narration of the origin of Kapam village were the highlight of the festival.

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A good initiative sometimes brings bad name to the government if the policy frame for implementation of any good programme is not properly framed. We can take the example of CMHT, a scheme that the Chief Minister of Manipur N. Biren Singh launched on January 21, 2018 with great enthusiasm to help the poor people who cannot afford medical expenses at time of illness. Among the CMHT card holders, except some near and dear one of influential people, there are many who felt unhappy while going to government hospitals or any other empanelled private hospital as don’t meet the expectation that they assumed as per the facilities announced by the Chief Minister. As per a statement by Chief Minister N. Biren Singh , a total of 3,68,684 people of the state have been enrolled and distributed CMHT card. Among this a total of 12,624 CMHT card holders have been treated with an expense of Rs. 16 crore. The Chief Minister announced this during a press conference held on December 27, 2019.
Hardly, no person underwent treatment with CMHT card complaint, but this does not mean that the patient undergone treatment using CMHT cards are satisfied. The reason obviously is the fear of the patient party that they may not be treated properly if any complaints are made to them. Above these most CMHT beneficiaries are poor people who have no knowledge about the benefit of CMHT.
Imphal Times had reported regarding this matter about a patient holding CMHT card on Jan 12, 2020 under the heading “Fooled by CMHT At JNIMS - CMHT card holder patients cannot spent more than Rs. 1500/- a day; Consultants sent patient to private clinic for KFT, LFT and Eco test. The news report states that CMHT’s counter in JNIMS informed the patient that there is a cap of one thousand five hundred rupees per day. She was informed that she could not buy the medicine as the cost of the medicine was way more than the per day cap. The patient later informed Imphal Times that the concerned doctor even requested that the medicine should be given to the patient. But, CMHT’s counter denied it. It is quite surprising that information on the per day cap is not mentioned in the government website for this scheme.  It does not seem to be publicly and readily available information.  Furthermore, there should be a health coordinator to help the patient in the whole process of treatment and coordinate with the medical officer for the good of the patient. However, it is quite evident that such assistance was not offered to the patient, as per the recent report on CMHT in Imphal Times.
The matter was enquired by the CMHT implementing agencies and found that there is serious loophole in the implementation of the CMHT.
Following this incident Medical Superintend of the JN Hospital circulated an order to Arogya Mitra and MEDCOs , that is implementing the CMHT to visit the hospital wards twice everyday at morning and evening preferably at 9.30 am and 5.00 pm. The JNIMS authority also circulated another notice to ensure maximum benefit to the CMHT/AB-PMJAY card holder patients. The initiative needs to be appreciated. And every hospitals needs to take this matter seriously as incidents of this kind may bring bad name to the auspicious CMHT programme.
As some loopholes in the implementation of the CMHT is notice it is time the Chief Minister review meeting of the implementation of this auspicious scheme to make sure that the poor gets the benefit of CMHT.

Published in Editorial
Wednesday, 29 January 2020 17:02

Causes & Effects of Soil pollution

Soil contamination or soil pollution as part of land degradation is caused by the presence of Xenobiotic (human-made) chemicals or other alteration in the natural soil environment. It is typically caused by industrial activity, agricultural chemicals, and improper disposal of waste. The most common chemicals involved are petroleum hydrocarbons, poly-nuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (such as Naphthalene and Benzo (a) pyrene), solvents, pesticides, Lead and other heavy metals. Contamination is correlated with the degree of industrialization and intensity of chemicals substance.Mapping of contaminated soil sites and resulting cleanup are time consuming and expensive task, requiring extensive amounts of geology, hydrology, and chemistry, computer modelling skills and GIS in environmental contamination as well as an appreciation of the history of industrial chemistry.
Soil pollution can be caused by oil spills, Mining and activity by other heavy industries, corrosion of underground storage tanks, Acid rain, intensive farming, Agrochemicals such as pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers, industrial accidents, road debris, drainage of contaminated surface water into the soil. Ammunitions, chemical agents, waste disposal, oil and fuel dumping, nuclear waste to the soil, discharge of sewage, landfills and illegal dumping, coal ash and electronic waste also help to contaminate the soil. The most common chemicals involved are petroleum hydrocarbons, solvents, pesticides, Lead and other heavy metals. Any activity that leads to other forms of soil degradation (erosion compaction etc.) may directly worsen the contamination effects in that soil remediation become more tedious. Historical deposition of coal ash used for residential heating as well as for industrial process such as ore smelting  were a common source of contamination in areas that were industrialized before about 1960. Coal, naturally concentrates Lead and Zinc during its formation as well as other heavy metals to a lesser degree. When coal is burned ,most of these metals become concentrated in the ash( the principal exception being Mercury) coal ash and slag may contain sufficient Lead to quality as a characteristic hazardous waste ,defined in the U.S.A as containing more than 5mg/l of extractable Lead using the TCLP procedure. In addition to Lead, coal ash typically contains variable but significant concentration of poly-nuclear aromatic hydrocarbon (PAHs,). These PAHs are known human carcinogens and acceptable concentration of them in soil are typically around 1mg/kg. Coal ash and slag can be recognized by the presence of off-white grains in soil, grey heterogeneous soil or (coal slag) bubbly, vesicular pebble-sized grains. Treated sewage sludge, known in the Industry as bio solids has become controversial as fertilizers. As it is the by-product of sewage treatment, it generally contains more contaminants such as organisms, pesticides and heavy metals than other soil.
A pesticide is a substance or mixture of substance used to kill a pest.A pesticide may be a chemical substance, biological agent (such as a virus or bacteria), antimicrobial, disinfectant or device used against any pest. Pest include;  insects, plant pathogens, weeds, mollusks, birds, mammals, fish, nematodes(round worm) and microbes that compete with humans for food, destroy property, spread or are a vector for diseases or cause nuisance. Although there are benefits to the use of pesticides, here are also drawbacks, such as potential toxicity to humans and other organisms. Herbicides are used to kill weeds especially on pavements and railways. They are similar to auxins and most are biodegradable by soil bacteria. However, one group derived from trinitrotoluene (2:4 D and 2:4:5 T) have impurity dioxin, which is very toxic and causes fatality even low concentrations. Another herbicide is Parquet. It is highly toxic but it rapidly degrades in soil due to the action of bacteria and does not kill soil fauna. Insecticides are used to rid farms of pests which damage crops. The insects damage not only standing crops but also stored ones and in the tropics it is reckoned that only third of the total production is lost during food storage. As with fungicides, the first insecticides used in 19th century were inorganic e.g Paris green and other compounds of arsenic. Nicotine has also been used since the late 18th century. Organochlorine include DDT, Aldrin, Dildine and BHC. They are cheap to produce, potent and persistent. DDT was used on a massive scale from 1930s with a peak for 72,000 tons used in 1970. The usage fell as the harmful environment effect were realized. It was found worldwide in fish and birds and was even discovered in the snow of Antarctica. It is only slightly soluble in water but is very soluble in the blood stream. It affects and cause the eggshells of birds to lack calcium causing them to be easily breakable. It is thought to be responsible for the decline of the numbers of birds preys like Ospreys and peregrine falcons in the 1950s- they are now recovering. As well as increased concentration via the food chain, it is known to enter via permeable membrane, so fish get it through their gills. As it has low water solubility, it tends to stay at the water surface, so organisms that live there are most affected. DDT found in fish that formed part of human food chain caused concern. Organophosphates e.g parathion, methyl parathion and about 40 other insecticides are available nationally. Parathion is highly toxic, methyl-parathion is less so and Malathion is generally considered safe as it has low toxicity and rapidly broken down in mammalian liver. This group works by preventing normal nerve transmission as cholinesterase is prevented from breaking down the transmitter substance acetylcholine, resulting uncontrolled muscle movement.
Contaminated or polluted soil directly affects human health through direct contact with soil or via inhalation of soil contaminants which vaporized; potentially greater threats are posed by the infiltration of soil contaminants into ground water, aquifers used for human consumption, sometimes apparently far removed from any apparent source of above ground contamination. This tends to result in the development of pollution related diseases. Health consequences from exposure to soil contamination vary greatly depending on pollutant type, pathway of attack and vulnerability of the exposed population. Chronic exposure to chromium, Lead and other metals, petroleum, solvents and many pesticides and herbicide formulation can be carcinogenic can cause other chronic health conditions. Industrial or man-made concentrations of naturally occurring substances such as nitrate and ammonia associated with livestock manure from agricultural operations have also been identified as health hazards in soil and ground water.  Chronic exposure to Benzene at sufficient concentrations is known to be associated with higher incidence of Leukemia. Mercury and cyclodiens are known to induce higher incidence of kidney damage and some irreversible diseases.  Not unexpectedly, soil contaminants have significant deleterious consequences for ecosystem. There are radical soil chemistry changes which can arise from the presence of many hazardous chemicals even at low concentration of the contaminants species. These changes can manifest in the alteration of metabolism of endemic microorganisms and arthropods resident in a given soil environment. The result can be virtual eradication of some of the primary food chain which in turn could have major consequences for predators or consumer species. Even if the chemical effect on lower life form is small, the lower pyramid levels of the food chain may ingest alien chemicals which normally become more concentrated for each consuming rung of the food chain. Many of these effects are now well known, such as the concentration of persistent DDT materials for avian consumers, leading to weakening egg shells, increased chick mortality and potential extinction of species. Effects occur to agricultural land which have certain type of contamination. Contaminants typically alter plant metabolism, often causing a reduction in crop yields. This has a secondary effect upon soil conservation, since the languishing crops cannot shield the Earths soil from erosion. Some of these chemicals contaminants have long half- lives and in other case derivative chemicals are formed from decay of primary soil contaminants.

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