Monday, 13 July 2020 - Imphal Times

IT News

Imphal, July 13:

mcpcr scandal exposedA malicious attempt to ruin the functioning of the Manipur Commission for Protection of Child Rights (MCPCR) has finally come to the public domain with not only more irregularities in Financial management being traced but also by appointing a consultant in complete violation of rule 4 (1) of the Central Civil Service (Conduct) Rule, reformed by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in July 2016.

The BJP led coalition Government of Manipur under Chief Minister N. Biren Singh either is ignorant or is intentionally taking no action to MCPCR Chairperson Sumatibala Ningthoujam for not only disregarding but also violating the service rule reformed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In a rejoinder, sent to Imphal Times, in connection with a news published regarding the payment of vehicles hiring charges for the commission, the MCPCR Chairperson Sumatibala lied saying that the total amount paid for hiring of the two four-wheeler vehicles for eighteen months is Rs. 7,20,000/-. This is a blatant lie by a chairperson who has been appointed to do welfare for the children of the society, as Imphal Times have a bank statement details regarding the payment for the hiring of those vehicles, which has been officially issued by member secretary Lalrobul Fimate. This newspaper has the cheque details and date of the transaction of Rs. 9,10,000/- which has been reportedly paid to Ibomcha Ningthoujam, the husband of the Chairperson Sumatibala, whom she appointed as a consultant in violation of the Prime Minister’s reformed service rule. 

In addition to this, a total sum of Rs. 6,07,000/- has also been handed over to Ibomcha Ningthoujam in the form of six different cheques after he no longer relates with the MCPCR. The reason for handing over the cheques has been given to him for the shortage of staff and runners. Details on this matter will be revealed soon.  

What is more interesting is that the Chairperson seems to have no idea of how salaries are paid to the government employees. In the rejoinder in connection with the news item published in this newspaper dated July 11, 2020, the Chairperson wrote, “It is a well-known fact that the state government salaries are received in lump sum amount every 3-5 months”.

If what the Chairperson had stated is right, then naturally people wanted to know if the N. Biren Singh government has an agenda of tarnishing the image of MCPCR as well as his government. N. Biren Singh’s government should clarify whether the salary of government employees is paid in a lump sum amount or not.

The Chairperson of the MCPCR also stated that her husband Ibomcha Ningthoujam has been appointed as the consultant under section 20(7) of the MCPCR Rule 2011 for a period of three months (April 26, 2018 to July 25, 2018). As per record, Ibomcha Ningthoujam is the husband of the Chairperson Sumatibala Ningthoujam. She appointed her husband as a consultant using her position in the office without giving regards or by violating the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s reform to the CCS(Conduct) Rule 1964, in July 2016 to check nepotism and corruption.  What is more interesting is that, two order had been issued by Chairperson for appointment of Ibomcha Ningthoujam as Consultant. In one order Ibomcha was appointed for 3 months (from 26/04/2018 to 25/07/2018). However, at another order issued on the same day (April 26, 2018), Ibomcha has been appointed as consultant for six months (from 26/04/2018 to 25/10/2018).

An office memorandum issued by the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Department of Personnel and Training dated July 20, 2016, it is stated that as per Rule 4(3) of the CCS(Conduct) Rules - “No government servant shall in the discharge of his official duties deal with any matter or give or sanction any contract to any company or firm or any other person if any member of his family is employed in that company or firm or under that person or if he or any member of his family is interested in such matter or contract in any other manner and the government servant shall refer every such matter or contract to his official superior and the matter or contract shall thereafter be disposed of according to the instructions of the authority to whom the reference is made.”

One more interesting part of the rejoinder is that the Chairperson could not hire vehicles as various car rental agents could not be paid their hiring charge in time as the Government release a lump sum amount. Her rejoinder also stated that it was the Social Welfare Department that advised her to find somebody to provide the vehicle which she did it from her husband. As per official records available, the MCPCR had never published any advertisement for the hiring of vehicles for official use.

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IT News
Imphal, July 13:

Decrying utter and prolong negligence of NH-2 conditions, many has expressed resentment over the pathetic conditions of the highway stretch between Motbung and Sapermeina. Concerned citizens including locals, truck drivers, ambulance drivers, officials on duty for different departments and COVID-19 along with citizens passing through the stretch everday has raised serious question over the non-development of the most depended which is considered as “lifeline of the State” highway. Recently, Transport organizations and concerned NGOs has also called for urgent attention of the State  Government and the PWD department. 
 Sanjeev Bir Singh a truck driver ferrying essential commodities to Manipur complained that, the poor condition of the said stretch of road is worsening each day with no signs of repairing. Another local K. Haopu resident decried that, some months back few workers from Imphal were seen dropping mud and stones but suddenly stopped the work and disappeared from the work site for reasons unknown. Ambulance driver on request for anonymity stated that, transporting patients between Motbung and Sapermeina stretch is stressful and time consuming.
 Moses Ambii from Senapati questioned as to why the developmental works on such small areas on NH-2 has been neglected for so long by the concerned PWD department and the company despite completing all process of tender and awarding the work. Some Office goers to Kangpokpi & Senapati supplemented that, “Most of the places between this said areas are now filled with knee deep pitches making the road unmotorable but compelled to use in necessity”. The said stretch is only some 10 kms but at its worst, another added.
Another Student’s leader noted that, repeated appeal and reminders has been delivered to State Government in the past since last year but the grievance has never been addressed till today. However, the highway stretch between Koubru Leikha and Maram undertaken by BIPL has been completed. It questioned as to how despite good condition, repeated black-topping works were executed especially in greater Imphal areas between Koreingei and Airport while the main lifeline highway rots in total negligence. Such attitude of the concerned department and work agency is only provoking the People’s sentiments, it added. 

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“The decision of UGC is irrational, irresponsible and undemocratic.” – AIFUCTO

IT News

Imphal, July 13:

The Ministry on Human Resources Development (MHRD), the apex body on Higher education in the country released fresh SOPs for examinations to be conducted by Universities keeping in line with the University Grant Commission (UGC) earlier stand on compulsory term examination for various undergraduate and Post-Graduate courses under these Universities by September end. The Ministry released 31 SOPs yesterday including compulsory use of face masks, sanitizers, maintenance of proper sanitation and physical distancing inside the examination hall etc.

The decision of the UGC and the HRD Ministry meanwhile have been condemned by student community who are running various campaigns on social media platform. #StudentLivesMatter was trending on twitter and facebook. Meanwhile, the All India Federation of University & College Teachers’ Organisation (AIFUCTO), have termed the decision of the Commission to conduct term examination amidst the rising Corona pandemic as symbolic of experts in an ivory tower taking decision with short sightedness and divorced from ground reality. AIFUCTO has already presented memorandum to MHRD and UGC to immediately withdraw the UGG guidelines of 6th July, 2020. The Federation further urged the UGC to come up with an alternative and credible method of evaluation of students based on marks obtained in the internal/assignment/ practical in the semester.

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IT News
Guwahati, July 13:

Journalists’ Forum Assam (JFA) expresses profound grief over the demise of a media corona-warrior from Orissa, who breathed his last on 11 July 2020 at KIMS Covid hospital in Bhubaneswar.

Priyadarshi Patnaik (46), who used to work for Oriya (Odia)  daily newspaper Dainik Samaj as a correspondent from Hinjili area under Ganjam district, tested positive for  Covid-19 few days back.

Days back, a New Delhi based scribe (Tarun Sisodia of Dainik Bhaskar) killed himself undergoing treatment at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). Tested positive for novel corona virus infection, the young scribe succumbed to injuries on 6 July. The married scribe was under tremendous stress because of losing job as the pandemic continues to hit the media industry.

Earlier, the printer-publisher of Asomiya Khabar (Rantu Das) died of heart-failure at a Guwahati based hospital on 3 July, who later tested positive for Covid-19.  Chennai based news videographer E Velmurugan, Hyderabad based television scribe Manoj Kumar, Agra based print journalist Pankaj Kulashrestha and Kolkata based photojournalist Ronny Roy succumbed to Covid-19  complications.

Now over one hundred Guwahati based media employees, working for various news papers, news channels and news portals, are reportedly infected with the virus as they continue working as corona-warriors after the doctors, nurses, sanitation workers, police personnel, etc to contain the outbreak of Covid-19.  As the worrisome development is not properly reported by the mainstream media outlets, JFA urges everyone to be cautious and careful in safeguarding themselves.

“A compulsory Covid-19 screening of all media employees by the respective managements becomes the need of the hour to prevent the pandemic outbreak,” said a statement issued by JFA president Rupam Barua and secretary Nava Thakuria adding that State chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal and health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma should support the initiative at the earliest.

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By IT Correspondent
Mumbai/Delhi, July 13:

The Drug Controller General (India) (DGCI) has directed all state licensing authorities (SLAs) to urgently grant permission to manufacturers of industrial oxygen to manufacture medical oxygen in the light of COVID-19 outbreak. 
DCGA has made it clear that the license to manufacture oxygen for medical use should be granted within 24 hours of the submission of application by the manufacturers after paying requisite fees as per the Drugs and Cosmetics (D&C) Act 1940. The manufacturers are required to furnish an undertaking in writing to manufacture medical oxygen in compliance with standards prescribed in Indian Pharmacopoeia (IP) and labelling requirement as per the D&C Act and Rules. 
Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) (under the union commerce ministry) has also asked the manufacturers to provide information concerning the daily stock position (in tons), daily installed capacity (in tons) and daily actual production (in tons), market share, along with their contact details and date of verification of the claim of venting. All this information is required to be furnished daily before 05.00 pm. 
A list of major medical oxygen manufacturers from the Union commerce ministry has been  received by DCGI, which includes the manufacturers from Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Orissa Gujarat, Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab and Uttarakhand. 
Supplemental oxygen therapy is a part of the clinical management of COVID-19. It is the use of oxygen as a medical treatment. This also includes supplementing oxygen for low blood oxygen, carbon monoxide toxicity, cluster headaches and to maintain enough oxygen while inhaled anaesthetics are given. Oxygen therapy is the single most effective supportive measure in COVID-19 patients. Children with emergency signs (obstructed or absent breathing, severe respiratory distress, central cyanosis, shock, coma or convulsions) should also receive oxygen therapy during resuscitation. 
By a large a 200-bed hospital needs at least 180 oxygen cylinders a day. In a hospital, Jumbo sized cylinders are commonly used in manifold room, which are capable of holding 6800 litres of oxygen. 
Union ministry of commerce and industry and the Central Drug Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) regulate the medical gases in India. The Directorate General of Health Services (Government of India), enables manufacturers of industrial oxygen to obtain a license to sell the product for medical use. 
In the meanwhile Maharashtra, nearly 80 manufacturers have been permitted by DCGI, to  produce medical oxygen. The state produces nearly 3,000 tons of medical oxygen and accounts monthly sale of over 2,300 tons of medical oxygen. As of today, the state has over 65 tons of surplus medical gas. 
In Maharashtra major industrial oxygen manufacturers include “Lynde India”, “Taiyo Nippon Sanso India”, “Kolhapur Oxygen Acetylene” and “Inox India”. “Lynde India” has production capacity of 31.45 ton per day, “Kolhapur Oxygen Acetylene” has production capacity of 31 ton per day and “Inox India” has the capacity of 100 ton production per day.

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Monday, 13 July 2020 16:34

COVID-19 and the way forward

With the alarming rise in the number of COVID-19 positive cases and new local transmission in Manipur, a new question arises “Are we prepare for the worst case scenario?”. A female doctor of JNIMS and an orderly of RIMS testing positive and the ever increasing number of new cases with each day is raising is alarming. Now a driver and his associate is reported to have been tested positive. Earlier, the new cases were all from the returnees returning to Manipur lodged at Quarantine centers. Now the scene is changing in Manipur, with the government acknowledging local transmission of the pandemic. Is the government not doing enough or we the people not being responsible, is a question worth pondering upon.
The day will not be far when there will be community transmission until and unless we are careful now. It will be disastrous if such a thing happens because our community is very close-knit and it will be difficult to contain or control the disease. Also the recent formal acknowledgment by World Health Organisation that “the Novel Coronavirus can remain in the air in crowded indoor spaces, where “short-range aerosol transmission… cannot be ruled out” is more of like a whole new game changer as compared to the earlier perception of the way COVID-19 is spread.
It can be mention that there was much panic among the people when the first-ever case was detected in Manipur. People went up to the extent of putting up barricades in their locality as a means to prevent others from entering their locality and not to mention, notices being put up in many individual gates advising others not to enter their respective abode. These acts may be due to the fear of the pandemic, although a rather silly one. So where has all these prevention gone into now? It is high time that we start getting responsible and careful about how we act. Or, has the people started to ignore the pandemic altogether and get on with their daily lives? No one knows. But it is evident from the number of commuters and traffic in the major roads of Manipur today that the people are no longer scared or skeptical of it as compared to when the first case was detected. The long way forward is to learn to live with COVID-19 by following all the protocols laid down by the competent authorities like wearing masks, maintaining social distance, and proper personal hygiene, as we would not be seeing a proper vaccine anytime sooner. Also, the government needs to harden its stance in fighting this virus, as it is going to stay with us for a long time and is not going away sooner.

Published in Editorial
Monday, 13 July 2020 16:30

The ravages of flood

By Kamal Baruah

Over the centuries people have learnt to live with rivers. The catastrophic floodsof river killed people from the remotest ages. There were incidents of man-made flood from the Huayuankou event in 1938 when China used flood to protect from the invasion of Japanese that killed a million of Chinese citizen and Japanese soldiers from catastrophic floods. Thereby Huang-he was China’s sorrow. In 1955, China has successfully controlled the Huang-he by building overflow channels and increasingly taller dikes from its ambitious 50-year construction plan and flood-control program. This included extensive dike construction, repair and reinforcement, reforestation and the construction of a series of dams to control the river’s flow, produce electricity and supply water for irrigation. 

Like the yellow river, the Brahmaputra has been Assam’s sorrow. The river has another terrifying story of annual flooding that eats away the entire economy of Assam. The 2,900 km-long trans-boundary river originates as the Yarlung Tsangpo from the Manasarovar, the highest body of freshwater lake in the world. It is fed by the Kailash Glaciers near Mount Kailash in Tibet. Besides Brahmaputra, it’s the sources of great rivers namely the Ghaghara (tributary of Gangas), Sindhu and Sutlej (tributaries of Indus).

It flows 2,840 km in Tibet with tributaries Nyangchu, Lhasa, Nyang and Parlung. In Arunachal it’s called the Siang, finally appears as Dihangin plains and gathered the tributaries Dibang and Lohit, it becomes the Brahmaputra in Assam. The rain fed Brahmaputra gathers the bulk of its volume from its tributaries from Arunachal (Subansiri, Kameng), Assam (Ranga Nadi, Jia Bhareli, Puthimari, Bhutan (Manas, Gangadhar), Patkai Hills of Myanmar (BuriDihing), Nagaland(Dhansiri), Meghalaya(Kopili) and Sikkim(Teesta).In Bangladesh, it’s Jamuna from the Ganges (Padma in Bangladesh) and Meghna and forming the world’s largest delta into the Bay of Bengal.

Understanding the Brahmaputra has yet to be resolved. Ancient Assam witnessed flood only in the north bank of river Brahmaputra. After the great earthquake 1950, innumerable timber logs clogged the river, carried sulphurous material and fish died. The river beds raised as sediments blocked causing tremendous changes of riverine topography. As landslides blocked rivers in the mountain, the channels shifted and erosion took place. The river shifted laterally from Pasighat to Goalpara. And flood started occurring every year for both the banks. Being brought up in a riverine village since childhood, we saw the flood levels going high every year which might be the cause of sand-banks impeded at the mouth of stream.

Brahmaputra isn’t just a river, it’s a huge sea. It has vastness of water landscape amazingly 15 km wide. Assam flood is singularly different in terms of duration and magnitude of erosion. It can’t be controlled merely by strengthening embankment and anti-erosion measures. Let Brahmaputra flows, people have to live with water and explore new avenues. Besides sorrows they can raise the economic potential by growing crops in water. Mr SM Huq, a former Chairman of Central Water Commission quoted above while visiting Palasbari in late 60s.

The woes continue as the river is part of their lives while huge water swept away their village. There are no embankments to protect them. Villagers learnt to live in their stride even it wreaked havoc to their crops. The river people are always under threat. The nature of flood in Assam takes a quantum leap every year. It killed hundreds of human lives (40 this year)and threatened endangered species. Rhinoceros flee to Karbi Hills for high ground. Onlookers see herds of elephants blocking the National Highway. Helpless deer wanders for safety. Floods damage their total kharif crops. The rural economy has gone negative. The Brahmaputra has age-old tendency towards southward shifting its channels and traverse its valleythat emerged Majuli as a riverine island during first half of the 18th century.

Breaches of embankment due to bank erosion have become a common phenomenon. The heavy silt charge and flash floods of north bank tributaries are pushing the bank of the Brahmaputra southward.  Lakhs of Hectares of land was eroded away by the river and its tributaries. Highly erosion-prone landmass Majuli thereby got reduced to half from its origin. The new channels have deteriorated in lower Assam. Palasbari town experienced the threat of severe bank erosion in 1954 that merged into the river. Two thirds of Dibrugarh town has merged into the river.

Assam is geographically situated in the foothills. The tributaries of the surroundings hills carry huge water to plain and large quantity of sediments to its beds. The Brahmaputra can’t contain excessive rain water and it’s seen dangerous for erosion and channel shifting.  With the onset of monsoon, flood woe begins and devastation reminded every year. It remained unresolved and survival of people is under threat.

Dredging of Brahmaputra was undertaken during 1975. The task was unconvincing since sediments get deposited very fast. The traditional sand embankment can’t protect Assam. The cost of such undertaking would be enormous but it has significance for the loss of human life, damage to property, destruction of crops, loss of livestock and deterioration of waterborne health diseases.

When flood recede its bank, the silt / sediment carry by the river remains that fertilise the soil and create arable land. It brings changes to pond and fisheries. Could flooding turn a harbinger of life to its farmers? There is no way to stop this abundant water. Let water spills over the plains. Rather they follow what their forefather practiced. They live by the river.

 

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