27 January 2015

Mizoram To Curb Corruption At All Levels

Aizawl, Jan 27 : Mizoram is fully committed to root out corruption in all its forms and at all levels, and this has been the main agenda to achieve good governance, Governor Aziz Qureshi said here Monday.

"The state government is devoted to eliminate corruption at all levels. The Lokayukta Bill, 2014, has been passed by the state assembly in line with the central Lokpal after holding a number of talks with many NGOs, intellectuals and various stakeholders," the governor said after hoisting the national flag at the Assam Rifles ground here.

He said : "To ensure equality of gender in Mizo society and marriages, the Divorce and Inheritance of Property Bill, 2014, has also been passed by the state assembly in November last year, in line with customs and traditions prevailing amongst the Mizos."

Qureshi said that KG-I and KG-II classes would be introduced in government primary schools from the next academic session (2015-2016) and 148 primary schools were selected, to start with, as a pilot project.

"The food department has undertaken the computerisation of the Targeted Public Distribution System operations in the state and currently 215,463 out of 241,272 ration cards (89.30 percent) have been digitised."

He said that with the view to promote Indo-Myanmar border trade, the land customs station at Zokhawthar in Champhai district (in eastern Mizoram) has been completed and is ready for formal inauguration.

The governor said that a 50-seat Mizoram medical college is also being set up at Falkawn, near Aizawl, and would start its classes from August this year.

"Mizoram has a vast potential for generating hydroelectricity. The power department is taking up construction of two hydel power projects of a total capacity of 9 MW and this is likely to be commissioned during 2015-17," he added.

Republic Day was celebrated across Mizoram, with numerous functions and programmes, including sports and cultural events.

Northeast Woman Treated Like Alien At Parade

By Vishnu Sukumaran

New Delhi, Jan 27 : Couple reports her to police, frisked again

“Do I look like a terrorist or a Chinese?” said a 32-year-old lawyer from Arunachal Pradesh who claimed to have faced racial discrimination when she went to watch the Republic Day parade at Rajpath on Monday.

Liyi Noshi said a couple sitting next to her in an enclosure thought that she was not Indian, and they went to security personnel to find out how she entered the area.

Security personnel then questioned her and she had to undergo frisking in the enclosure despite being frisked three times before reaching there.

Liyi, who hails from East Siang district in Arunachal Pradesh, lives in a rented house at Pushp Vihar in Saket, and practices at Saket court.

She had reached enclosure number 23 in Rajpath at 7.30 am after standing in long queues for 90 minutes.

As it was raining, she was wearing a raincoat and was carrying nothing other than an ID card, a spectacle case, some keys and a couple of hundred rupees in cash.

She said that a couple and two men were sitting next to her.

 “I was reading a booklet distributed in the enclosure about the two-hour-long procession when the man sitting next to me came there with a security personnel. The cop told me that the couple had complained about me being a security threat,” Liyi says.

Liyi was shocked to hear the allegations, and said no women security personnel were even called to attend to the complaint.

“The policeman asked for my ID card to prove my nationality and then told me to empty my jacket’s pockets. I told the policeman that I had crossed several layers of security to reach there, but he refused to listen. I was treated as if I was a terrorist or some Chinese spy,” she added.

Pockets emptied

On being left with no other option, Liyi emptied her pockets to prove her innocence.

As no incriminating material was found with her, the policeman apologised to Liyi, but did not take any action against the couple.

“I was racially discriminated and humiliated in front of a packed enclosure. I felt so disrespected as an Indian that I tore the invite and left the enclosure,” Noshi said.

“I cried on the way back, but was not able to seek help from people known to me as I was not carrying my mobile phone,” she added.

The matter was reported to Robin Hibu, Joint Commissioner of Delhi Police (Training), who is in charge of north-east affairs.

Liyi has decided against taking legal action.

“This is not the first time that I faced racial discrimination in this city. Being a woman from the north-east community, we are routinely treated like outsiders who can be mistreated and humiliated,” she added.

Deadly Japanese Encephalitis Surges in Northeast India

By Amarjyoti Borah

Guwahati, Jan 27 : Cases of deadly mosquito-borne Japanese encephalitis have risen nearly five-fold in five years in India's northeast Assam state as a result of warming weather and changing rainfall, health experts say.

Between 2010 and 2014, the number of annual cases rose from 154 to 744, with deaths rising from 41 to 160, according to data from the Assam health department. The disease, which in 2009 was recorded in only half of the state's districts, now is seen in all of them.

Doctors say climate change has played a major role in the spread of the disease, which once appear largely from May to July, but now is seen as late in the year as November, as mosquitoes survive longer in warmer conditions.

Japanese encephalitis is characterised by inflammation of the brain and high fever.

"Now the temperature ... which is ideal for breeding of the Culex mosquito is present almost until October or so, and as a result of this the cases of the disease are increasing," said Rabindra Nath Talukdar, a senior official of the Assam health department.

"Initially it was only an upper Assam disease ... but now it has also been detected in lower Assam districts, and (now) cases have been reported from all the 27 districts in Assam," Talukdar said.


Health department officials said changes in agricultural patterns may be affecting the rise in encephalitis cases. Warmer conditions have allowed farmers to grow more crops of rice each year, which means rice paddies with standing water offer a breeding ground for mosquitoes for a larger part of each year.

"The Culex mosquito breeds on water in the agricultural land, and now since there is water on the field for several more months than before, it gives more time and space for the mosquito to breed," Talukdar said.

Faced with a surge in Japanese encephalitis cases, the Assam government has announced measures to tackle the problem, including more careful monitoring of cases.

Assam Health Minister Nazrul Islam described the situation as "a huge concern".

"I have asked the senior officials of the health department to monitor the situation carefully and to report to me on a regular basis," he said.


Faced with a growing public outcry over the disease's rapid spread, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has ordered officials of the Assam health department to develop a plan to control the disease.

Plans should include "setting up of an intensive care unit in each district hospital for treatment of emergency cases, along with laboratory testing units," Gogoi said.

As well, "I have already asked the health department to procure laboratory testing kits for quick diagnosis of the disease, adequate vaccines and medicines for the hospitals, and also to carry out intensive fogging in the affected areas," he said.

Civil society groups and activists have however questioned why such steps were not taken earlier.

"The data from the state health department itself shows that the disease has taken a deadly turn over the years in the state. Unfortunately the state machinery waited for the disease to go out of control, whereas it should have taken steps to control the disease much earlier," said Sankar Prasad Rai, of the All Assam Students Union (AASU).

Several influential student groups of the state, including the All Assam Students Union and the Assam Jatiyatibadi Yuva Chatra Parishad (AJYCP), have staged protests over the government's failure to control the spread of Japanese encephalitis.
26 January 2015

Mizo Women Body Hails Women Reservation in Local Bodies

Aizawl, Jan 26 : The All Mizoram Women Federation (AMWF) hailed amendment to the 62-year-old village councils act that envisages reservation of seats for women in the local bodies elections.

Addressing a news conference here yesterday, AMWF president Dr Jane Ralte hailed the Lushai Hills District (Village Councils) Act, 2014 as a major milestone in regards to political empowerment of women in the patriarchal Mizo society.

As per the amended Act, one seat will be reserved for women in a village council having three seats to five seats, two seats for women in a village council having seven seats, and three women seats in a village council having nine seats.

The State Election Com-mission is gearing up to conduct elections to village councils in Mizoram, with the exception of the three autonomous district councils, during February. This will be the first time that seats are reserved for women in Mizoram village polls.

Addressing a press conference in Aizawl, AMWF President Dr Jane R Ralte said the Mizo Marriage, Divorce and Inheritance of Property Act 2014 was enacted by the State Legislature on November 12, 2014, but was yet to be in force.

Arunachal Woman Inspires Farmers to Ditch Opium

By Prasanta Mazumdar

Guwahati, Sep 26
: A revolution is brewing in an Arunachal Pradesh district and fanning the flames of the energising change is ‘Tea Lady’ Basamlu Krisikro.

A post-graduate from the Delhi University, Basamlu took to tea cultivation to give her cancer-afflicted mother her daily dose of green tea, but the venture soon mushroomed into a thriving business.

Within a few years, her success story inspired several locals, who traditionally grew opium, to switch to tea crops. It is extracted from the poppy plant, which is illegally cultivated in Lohit, Anjaw, Tirap and Changlang districts in Eastern Arunachal, bordering China. Wakro alone has 12,000 to 13,000 opium cultivators.

The land here was once famous for its oranges, but the yield fell drastically over the last decade, leaving the farmers high and dry. Concerned at this, Basamlu and a medical practitioner, Nayil, took it upon themselves to convince the affected ryots that tea cultivation could be an alternative source of sustainable income.

They also encouraged opium farmers to replace their fields with small-scale tea plantations. And their hard work paid off. Within a year, at least a dozen of them turned into small-time tea growers.

“The sudden decline in yield of oranges perplexed farmers, who consulted experts and agencies in vain. Worried about their livelihood, they began cultivating opium. As a result, the local consumption of opium increased alarmingly. Opium gave them a source of income and got them hooked on to it as well,” Basamlu told Express.

“The consumption of the drug, especially among the youth, is increasing. The situation made some of us explore an alternative source of income. It was then that I got into tea cultivation. I approached some opium growers and advised them that they should opt for tea. I volunteered to provide them with technical and financial support,” Basamlu said.

Last year, her plantation spread across five hectares of land, produced 2,000 kg of orthodox and organic green tea.

Songelum, 40, is among those who gave up opium cultivation. “It is like an ATM. You will instantly get a buyer. Work hard from December to March and you will earn enough for a year. If you have a land measuring one hectare, you can get a produce of six to seven kg a year. Around `7,000 is all you will need to invest,” he said.

EC Bars Mizoram AAP Candidate, Two Others From Elections

Aizawl, Jan 26 : The Election Commission has barred Michael Lalmanzuala, who contested to the lone Mizoram Lok Sabha seat as an Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate, from contesting any elections for three years.

The punitive action against Lalmanzuala came after he allegedly did not submit his expenditure statement to the EC, sources in the state election department today said.

State Joint Chief Electoral Officer F J Liantluanga told PTI that the EC had conveyed its decision to the state election department.

"The EC issued show cause notices to Lalmanzuala and to two other candidates in the state Assembly polls held during the last part of 2013," Liantluanga said adding the explanations offered by Lalmanzuala and the two contestants - Lalthlahlova and Biakmawia - were not accepted and the two Assembly election candidates were also awarded the same punishment.

Lalmanzuala, when contacted, said he was not involved in any electoral malpractices but was punished as he did not have sufficient time to give detailed expenditure statements.

"The EC's requirements were too complicated to be followed to the letter," he added.

Manipuri Officer To Unfurl Tricolor

Imphal, Jan 26 : A young Manipuri woman officer, Lieutenant Haobam Bella Devi, will conduct one of the most important and prestigious activities during the Republic Day parade — unfurling the national flag — at Rajpath in New Delhi on Monday.

The act will be done in the presence of President Pranab Mukherjee, PM Narendra Modi and the chief guest on the occasion, US President Barak Obama, among other distinguished personalities.

"When the President along with chief guest has been seated, the CO of the President's bodyguard gives command for salute. Right after that, the national flag is unfurled and national anthem is played along with a 21-gun salute," said a defence statement.

"Lieutenant Haobam Bella Devi of Ordnance Corps has been assigned the duty this year. Lt Haobam Bella Devi, a second generation army officer, is the daughter of Col H G Singh (Retd), of Top Leikei, Singjamei, Imphal," said the statement issued by Lt Col Ajay Sharma, PRO defence (Imphal).

Another Manipur officer Colonel Nameirakpam Romeo Singh, will be awarded the coveted Sena Medal (Distinguished) on Republic Day for his devotion to duty and successful command of Unit 2 Rajput (Kalichindi) in counter insurgency operations. tnn
23 January 2015

New Land Act: Cautious Mizoram looks to Nagaland, decides to consult constitutional expert, before implementing

http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQdnrLyJ30QwtXjOH8b_CcCDIJGoHQDSfQXnxUqNacJzKsksj6nAizawl, Jan 22 : As controversy hits the NDA government’s modification to the new land acquisition act through an ordinance, a cautious Mizoram government has set up a committee to look into whether the new law is even applicable for the state to implement given the autonomy granted to it by the Indian Constitution.

The committee met for the first time on Thursday to examine whether The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act 2013 passes the autonomy granted to the state by article 371(G) of the Constitution.

“No Act of President,” the article states, “in respect of….ownership and transfer of land, shall apply to the State of Mizoram unless the Legislative Assembly of the State of Mizoram by a resolution so decides.”

At Thursday’s meeting, Revenue Minister R Romawia said the government needs to “carefully examine the law and see whether this or something else may be considered for the state.”

The committee decided that as a first step it will examine how Nagaland, which is also granted considerable autonomy over land and its resources by the Constitution, deals with the new law.

It also decided that a constitutional expert should be consulted before the government starts considering the matter.

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