Chapter 9

Goal of festival is to promote work culture: Andro MLA
Imphal Free Press

IMPHAL, July 10: The 9th state-level pineapple festival cum seller and buyers meet and youth festival 2016 which was organised at Andro concluded today. According to information disseminated with regards to the festival, the quantity of pineapple and juice of the fruit produced at the 240 stalls of the fair this year was recorded at 7090 quintal and about 9000 litres. The festival was organised by the Development Organization Andro Kendra with assistance from Eastern Border Area Development Authority at Thambalnu Market Complex, Poiroupat Lamkhai under the sponsorship of NEC, Government of India.

NPP vexed over vacant seats in ADCsSangai Express

IMPHAL, July 10: The National People’s Party (NPP) has asked the state government why it has never conducted by-election for vacant seats of Autonomous District Councils (ADC) after the death of sitting members. Speaking to media person at its office located at MG Avenue, president of the party’s state unit Thangminlen Kipgen said a former member Nehkholam Chongloi who was elected to the ADC from Sadar Hills died on November 2012 but a by-election was not held for the constituency.

Cong slams Govt on separate passport, flag to NSCN-IM
The Sangai Express / IANS

New Delhi, July 10 2016: The Congress on Saturday attacked the Narendra Modi Government, questioning the Naga accord signed last year and wondered if the Centre had entered into an agreement with the NSCN(IM) “compromising India’s sovereignty and integrity” . The Congress also wanted to know if the Modi Government had promised the Nagas a separate flag other than the Tricolour and separate passports other than Indian passports.

The Congress attack follows an interview given by T Muivah (82), General Secretary of the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah), to The Hindu newspaper in which he said that the Nagas had not given up on their demand for sovereignty. In August 2015, the BJP Government signed a framework agreement for the peace accord with NSCN(IM).

Cong raps Centre on passport, flag to NSCN(I-M)
Assam Tribune

July 9: A major confrontation is on the cards between the government and the Congress, with the latter on Saturday opposing the government’s reported bid to give a separate passport and flag to Naga rebel outfit NSCN(I-M) as part of the draft peace agreement.

Addressing a press conference today, AICC media in-charge Randeep Singh Surjewala, who was also joined by AICC general secretary in charge of the North East CP Joshi, former Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Nabam Tuki and former Union Minister Vincent Pala, said: “India’s sovereignty and integrity has been an article of faith for the Indian National Congress. We have steadfastly fought against and sacrificed for upholding India’s territorial integrity and finding lasting peaceful solutions within our constitutional framework. Peace, prosperity and social harmony in the north-eastern States have always been an indelible conviction for the Congress party.”

BJP ticket aspirants strike accord
The Sangai Express

Imphal, July 10 2016: Non-Congress candidates who fought for Lamsang Assembly seat in earlier elections and who are now vying for BJP ticket for the forthcoming Assembly election have struck an agreement to support whoever gets the BJP ticket. The ex-candidates came to this understanding at a political conference held today at Khonghampat Awang Leikai community hall under the aegis of the BJP Lamsang Mandal.

They further resolved to fight collectively if the party’s authority gives party ticket to someone else other than from amongst them. Nonetheless, they agreed to strengthen BJP Lamsang Mandal. Addressing the conference, BJP Manipur Pradesh president Ksh Bhabananda compared Congress to an expired drug.
Hiyanglam BJP denies link with Dr Radheshyam
Imphal Free Press

IMPHAL, July 11: After enduring many hardships in strengthening BJP in Hiyanglam Assembly constituency since the by-poll was held, it is very unfortunate that Dr Y Radheshyam, who was the candidate of a rival party then, has surfaced out of nowhere to claim himself as an active BJP worker, after noticing a conspicuous improvement in the popularity of the party in the constituency.

This allegation was made in a press statement released by president of BJP, Hiyanglam Mandal, Ch Iboyaima Singh.

Khomdram Ratan slapped with 75 new charges
Imphal Free Press

IMPHAL, July 11: Khomdram Ratan, former convenor of Joint Action Committee on Inner Line Permit System (JCILPS) who was charged of having nexus with the proscribed United National Liberation Front (UNLF), was implicated in another 75 cases by the state police today.

The proceeding of the Writ Petition, civil case no. 426 of 2016, filed by Khomdram Ratan in the High Court of Manipur on June 30, was conducted today at the court.

BJP demands white paper on JNIMS
The Sangai Express

Imphal, July 11 2016: Saying that corrupted practices abound in JNIMS, BJP Manipur Pradesh vice-president M Asnikumar has asked the State Government to bring out a white paper on the dealings of the medical institute.

Speaking to media persons at their Nityaipat Chuthek office today, Asnikumar said that there is neither transparency nor accountability at JNIMS. JNIMS is run by a society and its president is the Chief Minister. The Health Minister is the vice-president and its secretary is the Health Commissioner.

The institute looked quite promising in the initial years but it has become quite corrupted over the years. Clarification issued by the JNIMS Director to media recently was disappointing and there are documents about the Medical Council of India (MCI) scrutinising JNIMS for submission of misleading reports.

CNPO decries govt apathy
Imphal Free Press

IMPHAL, July 13: The Chandel Naga Peoples’ Organisation (CNPO) has alleged that it has been cheated by the state government in collusion with the district administration on various issues.

In a statement the CNPO stated that the organisation had verbally appealed to the deputy commissioner to look into the fund sanctioned by the Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India for the flood and landslide affected people of Chandel in 2015.

Locals boycott minister Mirabai over NFSA
Imphal Free Press

IMPHAL, July 13: Meirapaibis of Takyel Khongbal Maning Leikai under polling station 19/11 have boycotted entry of local MLA Ak Mirabai who is minister of Social Welfare in their locality charging her of failing to deliver food grains and beneficiary cards of the National Food Security Act in the area.

Locals of the area today stated a sit in protest condemning the failure of the authorities to deliver the beneficiary cards and rice to the beneficiaries of the area.

BJP to blow poll bugle on Aug 12
Imphal Free Press

IMPHAL, July 13: State BJP chief K Bhabananda and his predecessor Th Chaoba discussed the upcoming state Assembly election with national president Amit Shah for more than one hour at Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport in Guwahati today.

A BJP leader from the state who is also in the capital city of Assam said Amit Shah along with other BJP leaders met them after attending the maiden meeting of the Northeastern Democratic Alliance there.

Nagaland accord is a botched deal; it promised 5,000 BSF jobs for NSCN cadre (Full article)
AjaySingh / Firstpost

Last year, the central government announced a “historic” breakthrough with the signing of the draft treaty of the Naga peace accord with the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM). It was projected as one of the biggest initiatives of the new NDA government for peace in the North East.
The draft accord was signed on 3 August by Thuingleng Muivah, the general secretary of the NSCN-IM and RN Ravi, the government’s interlocutor in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.

But after the initial brouhaha, the accord was quickly forgotten only to find passing mention on 28 June, with the death of Isak Chisi Swu, the 87-year-old chairman of NSCN-IM.

Upon his death, the prime minister tweeted his condolences: “My heartfelt condolences to the family and supporters of Mr Isak Chisi Swu on his demise. May his soul rest in peace... Mr Swu will be remembered for his historical role in bringing out the Framework Agreement for Naga peace.”

Ten days later, it was remembered again when The Hindu published an interview with Thuingleng Muivah. Muivah, unlike the prime minister, recalled the accord only to claim that the NSCN-IM had not given up the demand for sovereignty. Muivah, of course, couched it in niceties, praising the Union government for understanding the Naga problem in the right perspective, and for realigning its position in accordance with the Naga insurgents.

“That’s a blatant lie,” said an officer of the home ministry, involved in dealing with the Naga insurgency for years. “The sovereignty issue is long dead and gone,” he pointed out, referring to the peace accord of 2011, which clearly stipulated that the issue of sovereignty for each state is taken care of in the federal structure of India.

It might appear like the NSCN-IM’s insistence on sovereignty/autonomy explains the complete lack of progress on converting the “historic” draft accord into a full-fledged one.

But Muivah’s sovereignty claim is not the real impediment. The biggest sticky point in going ahead with the “framework” accord it seems; that the government’s interlocutor, Ravi, clearly over-promised the NSCN-IM on a crucial aspect of the accord: the rehabilitation of the NSCN insurgent cadres. In his eagerness to bring the NSCN-IM to the negotiating table, it is believed that the government interlocutor, Ravi, assured Muivah that about 5,000 cadres of the NSCN-IM would be drafted into the Border Security Force (BSF) as part of their rehabilitation process.

The practical difficulties in implementing this plan and the consequent deep differences within the various wings of the central government are what have held up the nearly-orphaned accord. These pre-conditions for clinching the framework have become a major sore point for various arms of the government — the Home Ministry, the Department of Personnel Administration and Training (DoPT), and the governments of Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Assam — the concept of greater Nagaland (Nagalim), as espoused by the NSCN-IM, is intended to be carved out of these very states.

Home Ministry sources say that the demand was quite absurd, and should have been dismissed right away, if not for anything else but for the fact that the NSCN’s cadre strength was hardly above 1,000. “I do not know why the interlocutor had to make such a promise,” said the above mentioned officer.
Two problems have cropped up because of this assurance. One, Muivah is insisting that the recruitment/qualification criterion for BSF be diluted to appoint his cadres and two, he has had to suddenly bump up his cadre strength to 5,000!

As of now, the DoPT has rejected the proposal to recruit 5,000 cadres of NSCN-IM because most of them are not fit to be inducted into a central paramilitary force (CPMF). This refusal of the DoPT is bound to upset Muivah who has mobilised over 4,000 additional cadres and is training them in various camps around Dimapur.

The second problem has the makings of a tragicomedy. Muivah may have quickly scrambled together 4,000 additional “cadres” because there is no dearth of unemployed youth, but he’s having a bit of a problem training them enough to qualify for recruitment into BSF. Muivah has raised nearly five battalions of “cadre” currently undergoing training in various camps around Dimapur. But he does not have the equipment to train such a large force that has emerged out of nowhere. As a result, he is procuring plastic replica of the American M16 assault rifles in large numbers from a toy maker in Noida, near New Delhi, to familiarise his just-born cadres with the weapon. 

This is a comical situation, but nobody is laughing. Because Muivah’s statement about making “Naga sovereignty” a non-negotiable issue carries an underlying tone of threat that if his cadres are not absorbed into the BSF, he will open old demands. A bigger concern for the central government arising out of this outlandish BSF job mela is this: The Naga secessionist group, which had become a dysfunctional, discredited and a moribund entity, has got a fresh lease of life since the “historic” accord last year. It’s ranks have suddenly swelled with the promise of thousands of jobs in the air and if those jobs do not come through, who knows what spurned unemployed youth can do. Even if they have only toy guns.

That’s why you don’t hear much about the Nagaland framework accord in New Delhi these days.

Govt deposited money in Ratan’s account: JAC
The Sangai Express

Imphal, July 12 2016: The JAC constituted against declaration of wanted tag on former JCILPS convenor Khomdram Ratan has said that the balance available in Ratan’s frozen bank account was not provided by any banned organisation but deposited by the State Govern-ment to help those who were injured in the pro-ILPS move-ment.

Speaking to reporters at Manipur Press Club, coordinator of the JAC Chandsana said that it was unfortunate to file a counter affidavit comprising 75 different cases by Imphal West SP against Khomdram Ratan at the High Court of Manipur.

MLA inspects river dredging work
The Sangai Express

Imphal, July 12 2016: MLA of Keirao AC Karam Thamarjit and Vice-Chancellor of Manipur University Prof HNK Sarma today inspected dredging work carried along Merakhong rivulet that passes through Manipur University campus.

No concrete solution to stop proxy voting: SEC
Imphal Free Press

IMPHAL, July 14: State Election Commission, Manipur has no concrete solution to stop proxy voting during local body elections. This was a statement by secretary of SEC, Radharani Mutum who brushed aside a series of questions from media persons on issues related to elections in the state with evasive responses while addressing a press conference of head of department being organised by DIPR at its campus.

State Election Commission, Manipur was constituted in 1994 in pursuance of section 98 of the Manipur Panchayati Raj Act 1994. The commission is concerned with the work of superintendence, direction and control of all works related to preparation of electoral rolls and conduct of election to all local bodies in the state under their respective relevant Acts and Rules.

MLA Irabot stops private construction in Tribal Colony
Imphal Free Press

IMPHAL, July 14: Wangkhei MLA Yumkham Irabot today stopped work on a private construction inside Tribal Colony in New Checkon asserting that the colony’s land is government property and no private party can encroach upon it. The MLA who was accompanied by representatives of Tribal Colony Welfare Association and New Checkon Meira Paibi inspected the particular plot this morning.

Tamenglong-Khongshang road CM reviews, re-tender held
The Sangai Express

Imphal, July 14 2016: Even as the National Highway Infra-structure Development Cor- poration Limited (NHIDCL) held re-tender for construction of Tamenglong-Khongshang road yesterday, Chief Minister O Ibobi held a review meeting about the road construction project today.

The review meeting which started at 1 pm and presided by the Chief Minister was attended by Deputy Chief Minister Gaikhangam, Tamenglong AC MLA Janghemlung Pamei, Chief Secretary O Nabakishore, Tamenglong DC and officials of BRO and NHIDCL, informed an official source.

Work order for construction of Tamenglong- Khong- shang road was earlier given to Ghaziabad based company Woodhills but the bank guarantee furnished by the company was found to be a forged one.

Subsequently, the entire tender process was cancelled and a fresh tender was held yesterday.

World Bank to help boost power supply in NE India
The Sangai Express / The Northeast Today

Guwahati, July 14 2016: The World Bank on June 24 approved a $470 million loan for the North Eastern Region Power System Improvement Project.

According to sources it said that the board, which sits in Washington DC, USA, cleared the project, which aims to increase the delivery of electricity in Northeast India. Onno Ruhl, World Bank Country Director in India said, “Despite being well-endowed with rich natural re- sources, the Northeastern region (NER) in India lags behind the rest of the country on growth and investment climate parameters.

No NSCN-IM cadre to be recruited in BSF: Govt
The Sangai Express / PTI

New Delhi, July 14 2016: The Government on Thursday dismissed the suggestion that 5,000 cadres of Naga militant group NSCN-IM would be inducted into Border Security Force (BSF) .

A Home Ministry spokesperson said there have been reports that interlocutor for Naga talks RN Ravi had assured NSCN-IM general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah that about 5,000 cadres of the militant group would be drafted into BSF as part of the rehabilitation process. “It is clarified that these reports are false and have no basis,” the spokesperson said.

P Somojit assumes charge as State BJYM chief
The Sangai Express

Imphal, July 14 2016: Pukhrambam Somojit , who was recently appointed as Manipur’s Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) president, today took charge at a reception cum handing over cer- emony held at the party head office in Nityaipat Chuthek. Somojit was handed over the charge by outgoing president O Malesh. P Somojit (38) s/o (L) P Punbum and P Angoubi of Chajing Pukhri Achouba of Langthabal con- stituency, started working for the BJP from 2005 onwards and had served in various ca- pacities in BJYM at National level.

CPI (M) organise rally against anti-people policy of govt
Imphal Free Press

IMPHAL, July 15: Cadres of state unit of Communist Party of India (Marxist) organised a rally in front of the offices of Food Corporation of India and Directorate of Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution from around 2 pm today, during which many slogans decrying anti-people activities were raised.

Excise commissioner unaware of liquor vendors in city
Imphal Free Press

IMPHAL, July 15: “I am not aware of illegal liquor vendors in the city,” asserted State Excise department commissioner Shailesh Kumar Chourasia before media persons today.

He was addressing today’s press conference of the DIPR conducted series of press conference at its complex. Chourasia said the department has collected revenue above Rs 9 crore consistently since the 2011-12 financial year and as during the financial year 2015-16 collected Rs 9.66 crore.

BJP leader asks TOI to rectify mistake on Sushila’s home state
IMPHAL, July 15: The vice-president of BJP Moirangthem Asnikumar has written a letter to Times of India requesting the national daily to correct the identity of P Sushila Devi, the captain of Indian women hockey team to Rio Olympics, who was wrongly mentioned as a person from Madhya Pradesh.

Asnikumar said in the letter that the report which claimed Sushila as a player and person from Madhya Pradesh is potent enough to cause unwarranted misunderstanding and inter-regional tension.

Virtual Governments
15-Jul-2016 Imphal Free Press editorial

 The urgency of issues on the home front still fail to bother those in charge of the government. Even though several time bombs of crises are ticking away in the backdrop, the our politicians seem to be concerned more about prospecting shortcuts to personal career enhancements. This is true in particular of those belonging to the new generation of politicians, who though new have had several switches of political loyalties already. Rumours now are, many in the ruling Congress legislators are lining up to align themselves with the party in power at the Centre, the BJP, in anticipation that the BJP’s clout at the Centre would influence voters in the state in the approaching Assembly election in February next year. Many of them now frequent Delhi, and some of the government’s top executives are even camping in New Delhi under different pretexts, but it is anybody’s guess what their actual mission in Delhi is. Perhaps it would save plenty of time and public money if the Manipur Bhavan in New Delhi were to be made the second administrative headquarters of the state. Jokes aside, the reality on the ground is, in government’s virtual absence, various NGOs and “civil society” bodies have taken virtual charge of day to day governance, beginning from excise control, education monitoring, moral policing, and for that matter even normal crime policing. Democratic governance they say is also about a public-private partnership, and perhaps in a skewed interpretation of this understanding, the government has seemingly left governance to private parties, so that those in government can concentrate full time to portfolio angling, contract distribution, lucrative transfers and in an election year, such as now, sniffing for opportunity to switch political loyalties. What a pity.

 Can the ruling party at least, if not all political parties, leave aside their differences and get down seriously to the job for which they were given the mandate by the Manipur electorate. For, as much as the elected government has been reduced to a virtual government, there are also a reciprocal mushrooming of other varieties of virtual governments. Indeed, if the government has been reduced to a virtual status for lack of initiative, these other shadow governments have emerged precisely as an alternative mechanism to fill in this initiative vacuum. Yes, we are not even referring to the underground governments, which have all along been parallel governments by their very ideological positions and the power they wield over public affairs. Instead, we are referring to a multiplying number of “civil society” organisations, the current fad are the various JACs, pushing their social agendas as per their vision of what an ideal society should be. While we appreciate these private initiatives at streamlining deviant social mores, we are disturbed, indeed perturbed by the almost total absence of the government in this overt social engineering process, for this role reversal ultimately will be dangerous for the society. This is also because the vacuum left by the government’s absence is also a hotly contested space between many “civil society” organisations. Surely even friendly matches can deteriorate into chaos if there are no rules, or a referee to monitor these rules are adhered to by all players.

 If citizen’s policing which is becoming an increasingly arresting reality in Manipur today is within the government’s scheme of things, then it must evolve the rules for the game, put strictures, and be the referee as well. What is even more confounding is, often MLAs for whatever their compulsions, have been approvingly flagging off many of these private governance campaigns. Does this mean these campaigns have the government’s blessing? This conflicting message also becomes all the more pronounced on the ban liquor question. On one hand the government had made it known on the floor of the Assembly that it was for lifting the two and half decades long ban on liquor sale and consumption in the state to augment its revenue. It is another matter that the ban has only managed to drive liquor vending underground. On the other hand, government functionaries are often seen participating, or at least pretending not to notice the significance of the drives for abolishing liquor by various organisations. Can the government come out with something clear cut on this matter and more? Again, whichever way it decides, let the government be the one that leads and not follow these campaigns. Have no doubt, this is one effective way for it not to self-destruct its own credibility before the eyes of the public.

Electoral roll revision, EVM preparations on: CS
The Sangai Express / DIPR

Imphal, July 15 2016 : Electoral exercises to prepare for the forthcoming State Assembly elections have begun, said Oinam Naba-kishore Singh, Chief Secretary, Government of Manipur who is also the Chief Electoral Officer while addressing a press conference organized by DIPR at its premises here today.

He said that electoral roll revision has started and the draft electoral roll would be published in September 2016.He further said the term of the present Assembly ends on March 18, 2017 and hence elections have to be done before that.So far there has been no announcement of dates for the elections, he added. Checking of EVMs will begin from tomorrow.

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