Tuesday, 12 May 2020 - Imphal Times

Do you think Shri N Biren is people’s Chief Minister? Do you know Manipur’s Chief Minister is one of the best politicians in India considering his endeavor to minimize the gaps between hill and plain people? Do you not take the BJP-led Government as the best Government delivering good governance, free from evils and corrupt practices? There may be hundred and one questions in some wild critic’s mind. There may crop up thousands of answers ranging from strong YESs to outright NOs. I would like to express my opinion that Shri N Biren speaks what he means. On the basis of this opinion of Shri N Biren who never tells lies and who has good heart to safeguard the ‘oneness of Manipur’, I am disappointed to note some challenges to Chief Minister’s personal endeavor.

One will not forget the central team that came to Manipur to inspect the boundary pillars of Manipur when there was tension between Manipur and Myanmar. DC Chandel reported to the people of Manipur that Myanmar crossed International boundary and erected a new boundary pillar on the soil of Manipur. The Government of Manipur could not do anything because of the fact that boundary issues are in the hands of the Central Government. The inspecting team after hearing arguments of political leaders, civil society leaders and some historians said it would come back to Manipur with necessary documents. The team changed their stands when they reached Imphal and again at Delhi. The Government of India said that there was no boundary dispute with Myanmar. Did people of Manipur believe what the messengers from Delhi said? Whatever people have in their minds about India’s stand on Manipur international boundary is against the Chief Minister’s agenda of oneness of Manipur. People’s memory may be short, as the popular saying goes, but they do not forget everything.

There were many instances of confusion over the outcome of so called Naga Peace Talk, practically the talk is between NSCN (IM) whom the GOI gave undue importance believing that taming NSCN (IM) would mean the End of Insurgent History in India and Government of India who consider insurgency in North East as manifestation of tribalism. When the Naga Peace Talk nearly comes to a logical conclusion, both the parties come to realize that the entire peace process has been based on certain logical fallacies. Respecting Uniqueness of the Naga as people is not equal to recognizing NSCN (IM) as sole representative of the group of people collectively called Naga whose identity is not defined historically, sociologically or culturally as evident from claims and counter-claims over the identities of smaller Manipuri tribes.

On the other hand, NSCN (IM) is, as India realized, not the mother of North East insurgent groups. Many North East insurgent groups are not even foster children of NSCN (IM) and so also in Nagaland. So the logical conclusion cannot be drawn easily as expected earlier. The road leading to Naga integration, in Muivah’s word Nagalim, is not smooth and is against the historical development of North East. Pan Naga Body and even the Naga Council in States outside Nagaland are bitterly opposed by neighboring States. Government of India, at the end point of Peace Talk, gives the responsibility of convincing the Naga neighbors for everything that had been agreed between GOI and NSCN (IM) and other Nagaland groups for that matter. To an ordinary Manipuri who loves Manipur and likes to see always oneness of Manipur that was shaped over a long periods of history, the belief is that People’s Chief Minister will represent his historical pride and aspiration.

So Chief Minister seemingly has a strong challenge in acting in the tune of ordinary Manipuri. Even the power brokers and opportunists who are loitering around the corridors of power in the State will not forgive any Chief Minister who acts against the historically evolved Manipuri interest. To the people of Manipur rapprochement does not mean rapprochement with NSCN (IM) who killed, tortured, humiliated the entire people of Manipur and they have a clear stand that anti-NSCN(IM) does not mean anti-Naga at any cost. In short, formation of Naga Territorial Council in Manipur, establishment of Pan Naga Body and any other arrangement that would lower the dignity of Manipur’s Assembly are challenges to a good Chief Minister who is in public mind.

The NSCN (IM) after getting sanction from GOI tried to talk with several individuals and CSOs of neighboring States to win their hearts. The collective leaders of NSCN (IM) now remember the cultural and historical relations with the Meitei while talking with some of CSO leaders from Manipur. They try to press the soft corner button as if the group is representative of all the hill peoples of Manipur. Government of Manipur should address the problems of the people for whom NSCN (IM) is not the sole representative. The problems of the people in Manipur which are social and economic in nature are different from those of NSCN (IM). To the people’s Chief Minister, the challenge is to differentiate these two sets of problems.

The Government of India sometimes recognizes the presence of NSCN (IM) legally or politically for getting certain political goals and denies saying anything about their presence. The two recent incidents around the issues of ‘undeclared’ NSCN (IM) camps in Manipur reminds the people of several such incidents right from the NSCN (IM) Captain’s misbehavior to the unconditional release of NSCN (IM) cadres. To those Manipuris who believe ethnic groups in the State cannot be neighbors of the State, Manipur’s neighbors are the States and countries. Ethnic groups are peoples living the State. The challenge to the Chief Minister’s idea of Oneness of Manipur is convincing these ethnic groups that they are but our citizens as much as Alimuddin, Saiza, Haokhongmang, Rishang, Koireng, Achou are.

Published in Articles

IT News
Shillong, May 12:

The Shillong Manipuri students Union (SMSU) have helped 152 stranded students and families from different parts of Shillong to return to Imphal, Manipur via Bus from NH2 (Dimapur – Imphal) road due to Covid-19 lockdown in Meghalaya.

A press statement released by Chongtham Thangamba Meetei- President, Shillong Manipuri students Union (SMSU) states that the Union has arranged Hand Sanitizers and drinking water bottles for all the students and the families including the bus drivers and the Conductors. The Union requested the Govt. officials of Manipur to arrange proper screening, testing and quarantine facilities with proper norms and procedures identified by the Government of India for all the individuals to prevent the State from being affected by the Covid-19 virus. The Union expresses unhappiness with the decisions of the Cabinet meeting held recently by the Government of Manipur about the issues of stranded people living outside the state. It can be noted that as the Government is not helping with the travelling expenses of the Students, the students have faced a huge amount of burden against the travelling fare that was charged by the private bus agencies. The Union appealed to the Government authorities to kindly check and also to fully reimburse the amount that the Students have spent on transportation. The Union further requested the Chief Minister of Manipur to take necessary action on the issue highlighted above.

Published in News

IT Correspondent
Mumbai/Delhi, May 12:

All the five Air India pilots who had tested positive for coronavirus on Sunday, have now tested negative, after re-test the results of which came on Monday evening, brining in a sense of great relief for the pilots.

Then the new results were obtained after a re-test was conducted on the positive cases under Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) of the airline. The re-test results of an engineer and a technician, who too had tested positive were awaited and as such they continue to be  isolated, pending test results.

The pilots had tested positive during the pre-flight COVID-19 test which is carried out 72 hours before they are roistered for flight duties. However, the Air India management as well as pilots’ association was not convinced with the first test results and therefore, a second test was conducted. The association had also opined that the faulty test kit might have created this confusion.

"These five pilots had flown last on April 18 to China and hadn't flown anywhere since then. Therefore, we had reasonable doubt over the first test results. Our questioning of these pilots further reaffirmed that the first positive test could be because of a faulty kit. Hence the second test was conducted," an AI official said.

Air India, which is operating special flights under the “Vande Baharat Mission” to evacuate Indians stranded in foreign countries, have asked its pilots to undertake coronavirus test before they operate such flights. Touted to be the largest evacuation exercise in the world, national carrier Air India is in the process of flying back nearly 15,000 citizens aboard 64 flights from 12 nations.

In another development, AI’s office in Delhi has been closed for two days after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19. As such everyone, including the Chairman and Managing Director Pradeep Singh Kharola, will work from home. Recently, the Aviation Ministry’s headquarter was also sealed after one of its employees who had attended office on April 15, tested positive for COVID-19.

On Monday, “Shram Shakti Bhawan” in Delhi, which houses- the Union Ministry of Power, was also sealed after an officer tested positive for Coronavirus on Sunday. On May 5, a floor of the “Shastri Bhawan”, a government building that houses several ministries, located in Delhi’s Rajpath area, was sealed after a senior law ministry official tested positive. Also the NITI Aayog building was sealed for two days after a director-level officer tested positive for COVID-19 late last month.

Published in News
Tuesday, 12 May 2020 17:31

One more passenger ship reaches Mumbai

By Raju Vernekar
Mumbai, May 12:

A passenger ship ” Seven Seas Voyager” reached Mumbai from Abu Dhabi, after voyage of 11 days, carrying 170 stranded Indian crew members and was anchored at inner anchorage of Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) on Monday.

On arrival in Mumbai, the crew members of ” Seven Seas Voyager” were welcomed by MbPT officials and office bearers of the  National Union of Seafarers of India (NSUI) by giving them floral bouquets.

The medical tests are being carried out on board the ship and the crew members will be allowed to sign off, after three days if they are asymptomatic to COVID- 19. They will stay put on board the vessel, till such time their reports are received. If they are asymptomatic, they will be issued e- passes by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, so that they can move anywhere in India and reach their homes. If they test positive they will be admitted to hospital as per routine practice.

 ” Seven Seas Voyager” built in 2003, sails under the flag of Bahamas. This is the second ship to land in Mumbai after “MS Marella Discovery” (with a flag of Malta), landed in Mumbai on 23 April carrying 146 Indian sailors.

Over 15,000 Indian seafarers onboard cargo vessels and another 25,000 sailors on cruise ships are still stranded across the globe. Those who have finished their contract, have been accommodated onboard their ships. Some of those who have signed off from their ships are held up in hotels abroad. Also some seafarers are stuck within India due to the lockdown.

The Union Ministry of Home Affairs has issued notification on 21 April, streamlining the standard operating procedure (SOP) for sign-on and sign-off for the Indian seafarers, paving the way for their repatriation. As per the notification, the seafarers are required to intimate their travel and contact history for the last 28 days to the ship owner/ Robotic Process Automation(RPA) agency by e mail as per the procedure laid down by the Director General of Shipping (DGS). Then they will be  examined by DGS approved medical examiner. They will also be screened based on their travel history for the last 28 days and if found asymptomatic, will be proceeded for sign-on. Similarly those whose contracts have expired and are due for sign-off, will have to go through the same procedure and the local authority will have to make arrangement to quarantine them as per prevailing system.

Published in News
Tuesday, 12 May 2020 17:30

Adversity to opportunity

Diversity of beliefs, religion, traditions, customs, language and cultures presents diverse opportunities and impediments the world over. What differentiates a progressive culture or government from one steeped in tradition and blind beliefs is the way difficulties and drawbacks are perceived, and addressed. The most developed countries in the world, at the best of times still have to grapple with myriad issues and internal conflicts which are social, political and fiscal in nature. The world has yet to witness or experience a perfect government, and indeed, governing is a thankless job. What keeps prominent personalities relentlessly pursuing the top posts of a country are the inducements and privileges in various forms that comes with the posts. It would be wishful thinking if we are to believe that leaders of the developed nations or states are above reproach; guided only by their altruistic beliefs and zeal. After certain permutations and combinations of the existing political and economic atmosphere, everything boils down to just a few basic factors that determines the level of efficacy of a government- readiness to usher in changes no matter how radical or unpopular such a move might appear initially, ability to reach out and stay connected with the masses through its various agencies, the political determination backed by action for curbing corruption, despotism and nepotism as well as the humility to respect and give space for other machineries such as the law and media to carry out their roles in the society without any restraint or suspicion of unwarranted influence.

China, the most populous country in the world beset with the accompanying problems of overpopulation and underemployment, after a long struggle, realised the opportunities presented by its inherent shortcomings and shifted focus from an agrarian economy to one with optimum utilization of the abundantly available manpower for production and manufacturing to become the largest economy, surpassing the USA in the process. Thailand, a small south-east Asian country has managed to utilize its agrarian economy to become the largest exporter of rice in the world, and coupled with the proactive development of tourist facilities, have managed to earn 10 percent of its GDP from the tourism sector alone, resulting in keeping rate of unemployment to less than 1 percent.

Cut to the present India, and by extension, our very state with the sobriquet “ mani gee leipak”- loosely translated as ‘land of jewels’. There is no denying that we are proud of our rich culture, customs and traditions and we would go to any length to protect and preserve them. We almost always refer to our ‘glorious’ past and ‘developed’ heritage at the drop of a hat. There is a sneaking feeling that we are becoming more than ‘proud’, that we have acquired a certain air of ‘haughtiness’ of a past we are unsure if we still deserve. It is time to introspect and reflect on the deviations, to own up our mistakes and review our moral and social standing. Everyone of us have a stake in making earnest efforts to make this state work and progress. It would be sheer foolishness to try and push each other off the boat as that will only result everybody getting capsized.

Published in Editorial

Marina Seyie Narendra
Dieze colony, Chumukedima, district Dimapur, Nagaland

A migrant worker is a person who either migrates within their home state or country to pursue work. Migrant workers usually do not have the intention to stay permanently in the region in which they work. In other words migrant workers is the movement of persons from their home State to another State for the purpose of employment.

Migrant workers are considered as one of the major forces of development in our country. They contribute to economic progress and development of both receiving and sending states. Young girls and women are singled out in families to be migrant workers because they don't have a viable alternative role to fulfil in the local village. If they go to work in the urban centres as domestic workers they can send home money to provide help for their younger siblings. There are different types of migration such as counter-urbanization, emigration, immigration, internal migration, international migration and rural-urban migration. 

Domestic migrant workers have been estimated to be about 4.2 million. These workers range from full-time to part-time workers, temporary or permanent workers. They are typically employed for remuneration in cash or kind in any household through any agency or directly to do the household work but do not include any member of the family of an employer. Rural-urban migration may be reduced by interventions which increase cultivatable land, equalize land or income distribution or decrease fertility. On the other hand, migration appears to be stimulated by interventions which increase access to cities, commercialize agriculture, strengthen rural-urban integration, raise education and skill levels or increase rural inequalities. However, in labour migration it is possible to identify two types of migrants: highly skilled labour and unskilled low wage labour (including illegal or forced immigrants).

Why is migration necessary?

-Migration is important for the transfer of manpower and skills and provides the needed knowledge and innovation for global growth.

What are the cause of migrant workers?

-Unemployment opportunities

-Uneven developments 

-Family debt


-Peer pressure

-Landholding system

-Fragmentations of land

-Large family size

-Natural calamities

What are the effects of labor migration in the community?

-Improved health and nutrition status

-Increased purchasing power

-diversified consumption capacity of family members

What are the benefits of migrant workers?

-Filling skills gaps: fulfiling existing contracts and taking on more work through new skills and talent.

-Knowledge sharing: increasing access to international knowledge and supporting the upskilling of co-workers.

-Expansion into new markets: strengthening contacts in international markets and local networks through new language skills and cultural awareness.

-Enrichment from different cultures: creating a more diverse workforce with varied experience and ways of working.


How can we improve migration of workers?

-Protect the human rights of all migrants.

-Reduce the costs of labour migration.

-Eliminate migrant exploitation including human trafficking.

-Address the plight of stranded migrants. 

-Improve public perceptions of migrants.

-Integrate migration into the development agenda.

Published in Guest Column

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