Saturday, 17 February 2018 - Imphal Times
Saturday, 17 February 2018 17:22

Impositions on information

Finally it has come down to this: for those of us who endeavoured to present the different sides of the same coin which, in all honesty, would have made for a more engaging and transparent society inasmuch as the news and the opinions together with the claims and counterclaims from diametrically opposite sides of the social spectrum that has been churned up, the dreaded gag has been brandished once again. Sad to say that the Damocles sword still hangs large over the journalistic fraternity of the state who are slogging day in and day out to present a balanced and impersonal view of the present social scenario to the public who will ultimately draw up an informed judgment of the powers that be at present. The foremost value of news is as a utility to empower the informed, and therein lies the purpose of journalism: to provide citizens with the information they need to make the best possible decisions about their lives, their communities, their societies and their government.
Cut to the present: numerous disgruntled ‘proscribed’ groups who have taken up arms to reinforce their claims are holding sway in the society and the general public, caught up as they are in the daily grind to make ends meet are left to fend for themselves given the most volatile and delicate nature of the society at present. While the state administrators claimed an improved law and order situation, the ground reality tells a different story. Those who are at the wrong end of the barrel still bear the brunt of the ire and whims of those whose itchy fingers controls the trigger.
This is the most crucial time when ideas and ideologies of both the conflicting sides need to be told for the general public to discuss and contemplate over. And the only party that can and does convey the unabridged versions of the parties on the extreme ends happened to be the journalists whose lives have been put to risks and tests with occasionally unfortunate conclusions. The right to free and open access to news and information should be universal, but threats to the press clearly persists, and it is rather unfortunate that the state government headed by a former journalist allows such obnoxious and high-handed treatment to be meted out to the press for as routine a thing as carrying a press release from one of the numerous proscribed armed groups in the state.
Freedom of the press is a prerequisite to the fulfillment of democratic ideologies. It is the press that upholds the freedom of self-assertion of its citizens and any attempts at suppressing or restricting its bounden duty by any force will only result in undesirable consequences.

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Imphal, Feb 17: Concerns for environment and rivers seem to growing among the people of the state as people today called 24 hour bandh in Thoubal district demanding the state authority to take up immediate effective measures to protect the Thoubal River which is dying due to high level of manmade pollution.
A committee formed for conservation of Thoubal River has been staging sit-in-protest at various places in Thoubal district drawing the attention of the government for protection of Thoubal River since February 13. As no effective measures was seen taken up the committee called 24 hour bandh since last midnight in Thoubal district. Response from the people to the bandh called have put halt normalcy in the district. Vehicular movement, shops, business establishment etc. remained shut during the bandh. Large number of people came out since early morning at Yairipok, Thoubal Kshetri Leikai, Thoubal Bazar, Haokha, Kiyam, Tangjeng, Moijing, Khekman, Leishangthem and Thoudam villages in Thoubal district and block roads. The bandh was however suspended at 2 pm after Deputy Commissioner of Thoubal district came and assured to take up measures for protection of the river.
The issue of pollution at Thoubal river was discussed many time during the ongoing Manipur state Assembly session.
MLA Meghachandra of Wangkhem Assembly constituency yesterday while moving cut motion to the passing for demand for grant of Forest and Environment yesterday had stated that the manmade pollution at Thoubal River has resulted serious threat to the people living in and around the river. He had stated that some people are dumping red clay using excavators from the nearby hills to the river for producing red sand which is highly demanded as construction materials. The MLA had also stated that due to the sand mining using excavators the river water has been highly polluted and is causing skin diseases to many people. The river was once source of water for people of the area.
In his reply Forest and Environment Minister Shaymkumar, who is also from Andro Assembly constituency had stated that he himself along with department staffs had inspected the condition of the river and found people polluting it at many places. The Minister also tabled a photo report of how the river is being polluted at many places. He however, thank the people for realising the importance of river (Thoubal).
AK Bishwajit, who is the chairman of the Committee for conservation of Thoubal River, while tlaking to media persons today said that 5 members of the committee met the Deputy Commissioner of Thoubal district Haobam Roshita ay around 10 am today. SP of Thoubal district Goutam and OC Rishikesh also present during the meeting.
He said that the bandh has been suspended from 2 pm after the Deputy Commissioner assured to take up immediate measures to protect the river at the earliest possible time.

Published in News

Imphal,Feb 17: 9th Death Anniversary of Dr. Kishan, Y. Token and A. Ranjan was observed today at the memorial site of the three at Mapari Ningsingkol near Cheirap Court,Uripok.
People including their family members offered floral tributes to the portraits of Dr. Th. Kishan, Y. Token and A. Rajen at the memorial function of the three organised by Mapari Ningsingkol Lup, MANIL.
The memorial function was attended by H Deleep Singh, IAS, Commissioner Social Welfare and Higher Education; M Lakshmikumar Singh, IAS, Commissioner Transport and Art and Culture and S Tekendrajit Singh, Chairman of MANIL.
Dr. Th. Kishan, Y. Token and A. Rajen were found brutally murdered on February 17 in 2009 at Lukhrabi Bridge in Senapati Distrcit by NSCN (IM) cadres after they were abducted from Ukhrul headquarters on February 13, 2009.
Dr. Th. Kishan was the Sub-Divisional Officer/Sub-Divisional Magistrate of Kasom Khullen Sub-Division, Ukhrul District.

Published in News
Saturday, 17 February 2018 17:20

Free Medical Camp

Imphal, Feb 17: A free medical camp, as part of the 9th Death Anniversary of Dr. Kishan, Y. Token and A. Ranjan was held today at the foot of Bir Tikendrajit Flyover near Cheirap Court, Uripok.
The medical camp was jointly organised by Directorate of Health Services, Regional Institute of Medical Science (RIMS), Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Science (JNIMS), North East Diabetic Society (NEDS) and Shija Hospital and Research Institute.
Doctors, nurses and teams from RIMS, JNIMS, Shija Hospital and Research Institute, Medical Directorate and NEDS attended those who came for check up at the medical camp.

Published in News
Saturday, 17 February 2018 17:19

5th Memorial Lecture

Imphal, Feb 17: 5th Memorial Lecture as a part of the 107 Birth Anniversary of MK Priyobarta was held today at Sanayaima Ching, Pheidinga, Imphal West.
Th Tombi Singh, Lalit Kala Awardee, President of Manipur Sahitya Parishad and A Biren Singh, Vice President of Maipur Cultural Integration Conference attended the lecture as Chief Guest and President respectively.
Dr T Kamkhenthang, Renown Scholar on Tribal Culture gave the memorial speech of the event held today.

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By: M. Brojendro Singh
This open letter is not intended to criticise you or your Government’s policies, but to just bring forward certain aspects that I felt needed to be spoken about. So much of developmental programmes and projects have been initiated over the past 11(eleven) months. But, the actual question here is, how much of them have actually been implemented in letter and spirit?
There are certain issues which hon’ble CM, Manipur needs to priorities with extreme urgency. First, break the continuity of re-engaging retired officers. Throw out the tradition of re-engaging retired officers after their superannuation in whatever forms and designations/capacity. This culture will soon become almost a birthright of every retiring officer in due course of time.
That, for quite sometimes we had seen that service extension of Government’s servants was done after the age of their retirements/superannuation in many Departments, Govt. of Manipur, especially during the last 10-15 years Congress Government led by Shri O.Ibobi Singh as a Chief Minister. This is one of the most severe signals of corruption, nepotism and poor-governance imprinted in Manipur’s history. Such poor-governance becomes a man-made disaster and harmful than the natural calamity in one sense.
However, the BJP led Government under your able leadership has taken a groundbreaking decision by the State Cabinet meeting held on 3 April, 2017 in principle, to do away with service extension/re-engagement of Government employees after their retirement. This comes as a great relief for the deserving officers for promotion after I and half decade or so. The people of Manipur welcome the new decision radically charted out by breaking away from old tradition.
Later, acting upon its cabinet decision a Committee chaired by Chief Secretary with Pr. Secy. (Finance) and Commissioner (DP) as members were constituted to identify the need based engagement in respect of technical posts. The Committee after thread bare discussion decided not to recommend for discontinuation of all re-engagements after retirement. The recommendation of the Committee for discontinuation with immediate effect giving 1 (one) month’s notice were approved by the State Cabinet again on 28th April 2017 and all other cases which are not brought to the Committee shall be deemed to be terminated w.e.f 31st May, 2017. Therefore, all Addl. Chief Secretaries, Commissioners, Secretaries are requested to report to the Finance Department, Government of Manipur by 20th May, 2017. But it is very doubtful as to how many concerned Department submitted the compliance report and how many officials were actually terminated as per the order. What action has been initiated by the Government for the non-compliance departments? Were the re-engaged officers really terminated? If such officers were found to be enjoying his office after their termination who is responsible and there is no reason that action shouldn’t be taken against such officers?
Unfortunately, this time too in the ongoing Assembly Session the same question of re-engagement of retired officer (Deputy Secretary in Works Department) even after termination order re-surfaced again. It is indeed a very serious issue as it not only block the line of promotion of junior officers but also against Fundamental Rule 56(d) which clearly provides that “no Government servant shall be granted extension in service beyond the age of retirement of sixty years”. Despite, the existing F/R and Government policy we are rather witnessing a slow pace in translating State Government’s Cabinet decisions into reality.
Unfortunately, many Government officers managed to be in service as we witnessed in newspaper every now and then, in almost all Department under Manipur Government such as Minor Irrigation, Work Department, CADA, TA/Hills/TRI, Power Department, Medical Directorate etc even after the termination order issued by Government. Most fascinatingly, three officers from TA & Hills and TRI were found re-engaged on contract basis since 2012. A very interesting write up regarding the officer was published in Imphal Times on 28 December, 2016 who, after his retirement in 2012 continuing to hold his post for more than 5 years and has even recruited number of staffs at his own level. This indeed is a very serious case. Firm and strong steps are needed to curb such menace in future.
Secondly, your Cabinet has approved new policy of transfer and posting of Government servants on 30th Nov. 2017 and accordingly, many transfer and posting of Govt. servants’ had been issued and enforced in all the Department, Govt. of Manipur including IAS, IPS, IFS, MCS, MFS, MSS officers etc. and employee under the Manipur Government. As per the policy, normal tenure of posting of an officer/employees will be two years at the minimum and five years at the maximum at a particular place of posting. Any Government servant who brings or attempts to bring any political or other external influence to bear upon any authority including transfers, shall be liable to be severely dealt with and action may be taken against him/her for violation of Rule 20 of the Civil Services Conduct Rules. But there are still some officers who have been posted without any interruption in secretariat alone for more than five/six years. A few months back,I came across in one local daily (Manipuri) regarding the need to streamline the said Department but till today some of the officers are still remain untouched so far. In this regard, the Chief Minister, Manipur and all the concerned Ministers are requested to look into it in the interest of the Government employees of Manipur in particular and for the sake of justice without bias and favouritism.
Interestingly, by the end of this month many Government servants will be retiring and no wonder many must be lobbying for re-engagement as in-charge, OSD, advisors etc. Will the Government allows despite State cabinet decision and which is against F/R 56(d)? Will the administrative Department bypass the Govt. orders? What we need in this hour is bold, justice-oriented and decisive decisions from CM, Manipur and all concerned Ministers of the present Govt. such lobbying from retiring and retired Government officers must be dealt with iron hand irrespective of their reasons, political influences or money power. Here, one thing that needs to be ensured is proper, impartial and unbiased use of various anti-social regulations to take strong, deterrent and timely legal action against such officers. There will be no meaning, no matter how many State Cabinet had taken its decisions for the welfare of the general people, if it is not implemented in letter and spirit. The difference will not be seen in BJP-led Government form the last 15 years Congress-led Govt.
I know that your Government is just 11 months old. It is still too young to make significant change. It is an unspoken trend of every Political Party to blame each other party for every malaise or the other in the State in particular and country in general. BJP-led Government came to power with the promise of bringing change and development in the State. If the BJP-led Government started working in contradictory to its promise and commit the same mistake which the Congress Party had committed over the past 15 years. People of Manipur will no longer have hope and confidence in BJP. There will be no different in all aspects. The promise of ‘Acche Din’, and slogan of ‘Meeyamgi Numit” and “Hill Peoples’ Day” was just another political gimmick. Let BJP-led Government under your dynamic leadership bring the change and development in our State which we are desperately waiting for. Let BJP be the harbinger of change. That will be the ultimate proof of your success.   

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