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Items filtered by date: Monday, 20 November 2017 - Imphal Times - A Daily Eveninger

Stage sets for Sangai Festival; Works Minister reviews preparations

Imphal, Nov 20: Stage is set for Sangai Festival, which will be inaugurated by the President of India Ram Nath Govind at Hapta Kangjeibung.
To make sure nothing goes wrong, Works Minister Thongam Bishwajit today convened a high level meeting of PWD official to take stock of the progress of beautification works for the Sangai Festival.

Commissioner Works K.Radhakumar, Chief Engineer Kh. Temba and other engineers of the department attended the meeting and brief the progress being undertaken. The meeting was held at the Conference Hall of the Minister’s New Secretariat Office.
This time the Sangai festival will have three major venues- Hapta Kangjeibung in Imphal East, Lamboi Khongnangkhong in Imphal West and Sendra in Bishnupur district. Official source said that the Minister enquired the engineers of the status regarding washing and cleaning of roads especially near the Raj Bhavan, Sanjenthong, Palace Gate, Lamboi Khongnangkhong, Sendra, National Highways, Airport Road using water tenders of the department of Fire Service during the meeting. The Minister also instructed completion of washing and cleaning of the roads by this evening if anything is left.

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Challenges before media with special context to Manipur

By : Yumnam Rupachandra
(Editor-in-Chief: Impact TV)
Secretary General, Editors Guild Manipur

This year the Press Council of India has chosen “Challenges before Media” as the key topic of discussion on the Press Day on November 16, which is today. The challenge before media in not one of homogeneity as media practitioners and producers in different places face different challenges even as some challenges are commonly faced at global or country level. Again within a country, different regions face different challenges unique to that space depending on its location and political condition.
As journalists, across the globe we are govern by and defined by the role we have been assigned to carry out to give an output which has been predetermined in the in interest of the society within which we function. Our existence is justified by our role to provide information within the society in which we function so that the society may as a whole use that information to advance forward in manner which is just and equitable for all the members of the society. This also means we have to tell the truth and also suppress truth at the same time depending on how this truth will serve public. But this is a such a huge call of judgment and the line we walk is indeed very thin. We sand to be applause or condemned depending on which side of the line we walk. Yet both the contemporary applause and condemnation will have to stand the test of time before it gets written into history. You may be condemned today for a work done before its time only to be honoured later.
The challenge, therefore is functioning within that define roles amidst constraints that have been thrown before us by time and space.
The Challenges of present times are many and often goes beyond the realm of journalist practice and we need to encompass the method of production of the news that has seen huge change in last few decades.
Today different mediums of dissemination of information coexist side by side each trying to overshadow one another. News gathering and news sharing has changed so much since the advent of the internet and mobile technology, the big question of survival of, what was traditional media, hangs large. The question seems to be bearing towards not “if” but “when”.
The new media in form of social media, which has given the erstwhile consumers of media, a direct handle in creating and disseminating information has also posed a global issue necessitating several nations to enact laws and create specialize enforcing agencies for the new law. Cyber Crime is now the buzz word as nations are challenged with a burst of information flow that may not be functioning in realm of what we know as “journalistic ethinc”.
On the other side just as traditional “brick and mortar” retail outlets have come under unprecedented competition from the online e-commerce platforms, so have the “paper and ink” information platform we call news papers.

The Challenge, therefore, before both the journalists as well as those producing what the journalist bring in, is to change themselves to fit the new skill set and business model or risk being wiped out.
For remote place like Manipur, the challenge is acute and magnified in some areas. With circulation of some popular Manipuri language dailies crossing just a little bit over 50 thousand, the news paper industry in Manipur is can be relatively said to be very small scale. The raw material used to produce these dailies come at much higher price and publishers are hard pressed to find a fine balance. With many smaller news papers failing to get access to high value advertisement of multinationals and the new national tax regime bringing News papers under GST tax regime, many may be on the verge of close down. Over this, the requirements of the Majithia Wageboard to pay the journalists a higher pay scale has come as triple whammy for the newspaper industry in Manipur. Another future that stares news papers in Manipur is the fading away of the Bengali Script and the emerging of young consumers who now reads in Meitei/Meetei script. It may be transitional problem but it may be huge disruptive factor in an already rough sea. Also this factor is going to be and being played out not in matter of years but across a generation. Straddling two scripts for a long period may prove too costly for many publishers.
For the journalists, the challenge is one of continuity. Manipur having been in state of conflict for last seven decades, the toll on the journalists are heavy. The challenge to its freedom to do its duty is heavy and every journalist works with a different set of ‘do’s and don’ts’ in the back of his or her mind. This set has nothing to do with the set that defines our ethical boundary. We have been killed, bombed, threaten, attacked and all we can do is close our flanks and strike compromise. No party whether state or non state actor, can provide us a space where we are free to comment, criticize, write with only our “ethical beacon” as our guideline. The State is ever ready to use its “reasonable restriction” clause to hilt while other may chose “bare force”. With the winds of “either you are with us or you are against us” phenomena sweeping across the globe, being journalist in Manipur is no easy task. Vested interest are hell bent of labelling news as “fake news” while “fake news” are being churn out through social media to which we have sometimes fallen prey to. Today we have access to news sources like never before but verification of these sources have become a challenge and we must tread with utmost care. Steep completion has often compelled us to rush in to lap up the inputs without proper verification. This is a mine field we must negotiate from day to day basis.
The other challenge before us is defining “constructive” criticism. Every political and non political players who have made media their war field, welcomes what they call “constructive” criticism. But in reality they would rather bracket all criticism directed against it as “destructive”. In this atmosphere of intolerance, the media which should be “campaigning” media for public good have been reduced to “safe” reporting. This is not a healthy trend.
Another challenge before Manipur media is creating an “idea of Manipur”. In a state which has divided the media into valley base media and hill base media based on which linguistic group they cater to, this is a tough challenge and both the media in the valley and hills need to rise up to occasion and create a concrete idea that we can truly say is Manipur. Working amidst fractured polity is a huge challenge. Competing ideologies and identity when put in “black and white” can often be a harrowing experience when you have an atmosphere of intolerance. Accepting populous agenda and playing up to the gallery can be commercially advisable but will come at a price. Compelling media to conform to majority or brute force will also come at a price. Rising above these factor and commercially surviving is a challenge media in Manipur have been facing. There have been several instances of news papers having been banned or blocked by groups on basis of its output. And to my knowledge, till date we have not had a single case taken up by the government to ensure no news paper is banned or blocked. The onus of getting the ban revoked fell on the media house who often have to strike a compromise. True, the media in Manipur or elsewhere are prone to mistakes and misreporting. But banning it or forcing it out of circulation can hardly be said to be the remedy. There are means and ways within the law of the land and it is the responsibility of the government to ensure that the law of land is followed. That being not the case, the media in Manipur works with its hands tied.
Despite these challenges one two fronts, the scribes in Manipur and publishers continue their battle unrelentingly. The State can help without seeming to doling out favours to news papers and media house, but as a right of the industry to a level playing field. Government sponsored advertisement should not be taken as doles and government expect the media to treat it with kids globe for doing out advertisement. After all, why should it cost us more to produce same number of pages that our counterparts in Dimapur or Guwahati do? Why should have to pay more per kilo per kikometer for everything we bring here? State determined Mijithia Wageboard rate is good for us journalist. It can and will bring in more qualified journalists into the industry and improve the quality of media output. But state also must determine reasonable transport and raw material rates so that media houses can generate enough revenue so that it survive. From time taken to the price of transportation of a kilo per kilometre from Guwahati to Imphal for all printing materials far out weighs that of to Guwahati from any cities of India. Not only those running newspaper industries in Manipur but all manners of industries in Manipur operate at much disadvantage and this has been the story till date. There fore the challenge before us, to sum up, is one of existence not to think abut development.
After all it is in the interest of the public that a healthy, responsible, sober, vibrant, courageous, fair, accurate, unbiased, campaigning and most importantly, a credible media exists. The challenge and roadmap before us in very clear. The society, the government and the media practitioners must take collective responsibility and ownership to ensure such a media exist.    
( This write up is presented by the author in the seminar organised by DIPR, Govt. of Manipur on ocassion of the National Press Day Celebration at 1st MR Banquet Hall)

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AMSU protest over non-issuance of appointed order to MPSC recommended candidate for TRI

Imphal, Nov 20: Police today confronted volunteers of All Manipur Students’ Union (AMSU) as the later tried to storm at Chief Minister’s Bungalow this afternoon.
The student body has been demanding appointment order for one Ngasepam Pikeshwor Singh as Deputy Director Tribal Research Institute (TRI). AMSU alleged that the said person was recommended to the post by Manipur Public Service Commission.
Earlier, the volunteers of AMSU staged a sit-in-protest demonstration at Keishampat Lairembi Community Hall. At around noon today the students staged a protest rally starting from the place where they staged sit-in protest and proceeded towards Keishampat Nityapat Chuthek and later marched towards Chief Minister’s Bungalow. The students were however intervene by a team of state police in front of Nupi Lal Memorial Complex. As the police team tried to stop them from proceeding further a minor confrontation occurred between the two as the students too tried to march ahead forcible. Later, they were put to halt in front of Nupilal complex.
On November 4, a team of AMSU met Minister and Principal Secretary of TA&H regarding the matter. A statement of the AMSU said that matters related to victimisation of MPSC recommended candidate has been presented and urged the Minister to award penalty and exemplary punitive action to officials involved in the misdemeanour of victimising the recommended candidate. The TA & H Minister assured consideration of the demand but appealed to withhold any agitation till November, however, as no communication has been made regarding the issue the AMSU is left with no other choice but to resume agitation, the statement added.
It further threatens intense form of agitation if the demands are not fulfilled.  

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AR claims arrest of those involved on Nov.13 Chandel blast

Imphal, Nov 20: Assam Rifles today claims arrest of two persons who are responsible for the November 13 IED blast ay Mahamani Village in Chandel district.
A statement by PRO (IGAR-S) said that the two perpetrators were arrested in a combined effort by the AR and the Chandel Police in support of the Civil Society Organisations and community leaders of Chandel. Two AR personnel were killed, six other injured in the blast which was later claimed by armed rebel group PLA/RPF. Civil society organisations of the district had condemn the blast by staging series of protest against such attack.
“With the relentless joint efforts of 18 Assam Rifles, Chandel Police and local residents, the two individuals who executed the blast have been nabbed and are presently in police custody. Both have confessed to their crime. Items used to execute the said action have also been seized”, the PRO statement said.

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CM inaugurates Archaeological Museum at Kangla

Imphal, Nov. 20: Chief Minister N. Biren Singh today inaugurated Archaeological Museum at Kangla here in Imphal. A Battery Operated Vehicle service was also launched for service inside the fort by the Chief Minister to make Kangla premises free from pollution  
 Speaking at the occasion, N. Biren expressed hope that the newly launched Battery Operated Vehicle service would give convenience to visitors especially senior citizens and differently-abled persons, who wish to sightsee the historic fort.
The Chief Minister also expressed desire to have a coffee table book on Kangla, which has vital information about the sacred fort. Stating that he sometimes comes across instances of victimising helpless police personnel, the Chief Minister said that he would not tolerate any form of victimisation and unwanted ill-treatment meted out to police personnel/officer and Government employees.
Likewise, employees who indulge in any form of irregularity would also get action from the Government, he added.
 Art and Culture Minister L. Jayantakumar also attended the inaugural function.
Four Battery Operated Vehicles have been made operational inside Kangla Fort from today. Every vehicle will have a trained tour guide each.

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‘Cooperatives are the right choice for socio-economic development’

Imphal, Nov. 20: “Cooperatives are the right choice for self-employment, income generation for all walks of life to develop their socio-economic development,” stated Cooperation and Social Welfare Minister Smt. Nemcha Kipgen. This was expressed while delivering a Chief Guest speech during the celebration of the 7th Day of the 64thAll India Cooperative Week Celebration 2017 held today in the premises of the Institute of Cooperative Management, Cooperative Complex, Lamphelpat. It is organised by ICM, Imphal in collaboration with the Manipur State Cooperative Union.
Stressing on the topic “Cooperatives as Key Partner for Skill Development,” Minister Nemcha Kipgen felt that the topic is very appropriate to be addressed in this current scenario. She proclaimed that skills should serve as an integral part of employment and economic growth. She draws the attention of all concerned to identify the skill needed by various cooperatives for improving the quality of services and products. She highlighted that the facilities under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana and other flagship skill development programmes being implemented by the Government of India and State Government and other counterparts should be explored and used by the cooperatives. She further continued cooperative way of working hand in hand has been in existence in our state both in hill and plain areas since time immemorial. Till date, 9148 cooperative societies are registered with the total membership of 7,26,671 members in our State. These societies include different sectors such as agriculture, dairy, fisheries, livestock, urban and rural credit, housing, consumers, transport, labour, handloom & handicrafts, fruit processing, etc.
Cooperation Minister Nemcha felt that the functioning of such societies should be improved so as to enable to improve the economic and social status of the members. These societies need a skilled workforce for increasing their performance. The members and employees should acquire the required skills in their respective fields to contribute towards making cooperatives or successful movement, she added. She also believed that the cooperative movement in the state can serve the majority of the population with strong leadership, professionalism and skill development. As a part of this occasion, various meritorious awards were also distributed.
MLA, 43, Phungyar AC K. Leishiyo, Principal Secretary (Cooperation), J.C. Ramthanga, Principal Scientist CSIR-North East Institute of Science & Technology, Imphal, Dr. H. Birkumar Singh, Director, ICM, Imphal, Dr. N. Ranjana Devi graced the function as President and Guests of Honour respectively. The function was also attended by officials and staff of the Cooperative Department, Manipur State Cooperative Union, ICM, trainees and students of various programmes of ICM and Centre for Cooperative Education

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DFO Thoubal swings into action; bans sand mining at Thoubal River

Thoubal,  Nov.20:  Showing serious concerns to the degradation of the Thoubal River as well as its environment, a team of state police and Forest department officials led District Forest Officer (DFO) RK Amarjit today paid surprise visit at Moirang Purel and Itham area under Andro Assembly constituency where sand mining are being underway at mass scale.
During the inspection visit the government official saw illegal excavation of soil from nearby hills of the area and dump it at Thoubal River for extraction of red sand.
As the mining of sand not only endangered the forest area of the surroundings but also degrades the condition of the Thoubal River, the District Forest Officer put immediate ban on the sand mining as well as excavation at hills of the surroundings. The DFO also orders ban transportation of red sand in Thoubal and Kakching district with immediate effect from today.
Speaking to reporters at the inspection site DFO RK Amarjit seeks support from the general public to the initiative of the Forest Department.

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Combing operation

Imphal, Nov 20: State police continues search operation in and around Imphal area to assure full prove security during the visit of President Ram Nath Kovind to inaugurate the Manipur’s largest tourism festival, Sangai Festival, which is set to begin from tomorrow.
The last few days saw police team conducting series of combing operation at various places of Imphal areas including localities in the surroundings of Bheigyachandra Open Air Theatre (BOAT) where, the Sangai Festival is scheduled to be officially inaugurated.     Today too, a team of state police led by Thangkhochon Haokip, Deputy SP (Ops) of Imphal West under the supervision of Additional SP (Ops) N. Madhunimai, conducted house to house search operation at Thangmeiband Sinam Leikai from 5:30 am till 7:00 am. About 300 ppl were verified out of which two UG bailouts were pulled up for verification.

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Overlooking the obvious: need for a holistic approach to tourism development

IT Desk
Imphal, Nov 20: There is a sudden feel of anticipation in the air with the “Sangai Festival”- touted to be a showcase of the rich traditional and cultural heritage of the State .
The emphasis of the festival is admittedly to draw in tourists to Manipur. There has also been a marked increase in the spending by the State Government with an intense beautification drive of the Imphal city in this regard. Yet those at the helm of affairs apparently missed the whole point of the exercise as various countries have expressed their apprehensions in participating at the tourism extravaganza. A radical approach needs to be implemented- from the point of view of a tourist.
The starkly visible and seemingly omnipresent armed police personnel with their stern expressions and unapproachable attitude needs to be done away with urgent immediacy, even with the looming threat of violence and mindless mayhem from various quarters. That the Government and the police force are under tremendous pressure to prevent any untoward incidents would be an understatement- yet the fact remains that the sight of so many armed police and their “peculiar” style of dealing with the public leaves a lot to be desired and is proving to be a huge deterrent for the tourists- both domestic and foreign. A more people friendly and polite yet firm approach could definitely do a world of difference in the perception by the general public. More than the renovations and refurbishing of facades and roads, creating an atmosphere conducive to tourism should be given priority- a task easier said than done what with the worsening social and law and order conditions. Utilizing machines and other gadgets for security checks and reducing the presence or at least minimizing their utilization wherever possible would be a good start. Another often overlooked yet equally vital aspect that would make a huge difference in the efforts to make Manipur a tourist friendly state would be by improving the sanitation facilities existing in the state at present which is almost non-existent to say the least.
There had been a lot of complaints and negative feedbacks on the inadequate and haphazard sanitation facilities being provided in the festival premises in the last edition compounded by the dismal maintenance of the same. But then, even adequate arrangement inside the festival premises would not serve the purpose as the whole city needs to be adequately prepared in this regard as well as other places of tourist interest as the overall set up will be crucial for sustaining and improving the prospects of tourism taking off in the State.
That the State Government is sparing no efforts to make the Sangai Festival a resounding success is apparent, with the sudden spurt in beautification drives and renovation activities till the wee hours being witnessed by all and sundry- a far from the lethargic and often protracted working style the people of this small state has been used to, but nevertheless a welcome sight. One should extend support and cooperation in these efforts as the prospect for development of tourism in the small yet versatile state is immense. The Government and departmental heads responsible should take into confidence and consideration the suggestions and concerns of the public for a holistic development. Meanwhile, an open mind and a genuine smile should make for a great start to the whole momentum.

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