31 July 2014

Mizoram Land Policy Extended

Aizawl, July 30: The Centre has agreed to extend Mizoram’s flagship economic development project, the New Land Use Policy.
The scheme aims to replace the traditional slash and burn cyclical jhum cultivation with horticulture and terrace farming. It also opens up new avenues of livelihood for the rural masses by promoting export of handicrafts and by inviting unemployed rural youths to branch out into unconventional business opportunities like mobile phone trade and opening computer training centres.
Mizoram chief minister Lal Thanhawla said in Aizawl today that the NLUP scheme had already started making waves in the state by registering a large numbers of Mizo villagers.
At the same time, he spelt out a cautionary note saying that political leaders and officials should not yet bask in the glory of the benefits of the scheme and should not become smug in self-satisfaction at its progress in the state. He said he had noticed a slack in efforts and lack of seriousness among the rural panchayat leaders and officials while implementing the third and fourth phases of the NLUP programmes.
The NLUP was started in January 11, 2011. In the past three years, the state recorded several achievements in the economic progress of its rural population by inducting 45,099 beneficiaries in the first phase and 45,070 beneficiaries in the second phase of development, particularly in agriculture.
The vice-chairman of the NLUP implementing board, P.L. Thanga, has recently said in a review meeting that the flagship programme had so far received central grant of Rs 1,524.92 crore.
NLUP nodal minister R. Lalzarliana, who is also the state’s home minister, said the “one crop one village” scheme under this project, which has formed a major development plank for Mizo villagers, should be toned up from time to time.
He said under the scheme, pre-selected villages would be persuaded to concentrate on tilling and raising a single crop, such as the summer and autumn rice, maize and other horticultural items. This scheme would be implemented in the state in phases.

Bacterial Contamination Found in Fermented Soyabean

Aizawl, Jul 31 : Bacterial contamination was the cause of food poisoning in fermented soyabean which was eaten by over 30 people in Aizawl recently and then taken ill, Mizoram health department sources today said.

'Non-lactose fermenting bacteria' was found in the samples of fermented soyabean, a delicacy of the north east.

A number of people working in the SCERT office in Aizawl purchased fermented soyabean from an employee on July 18.

Of them at least 30 were taken ill and 14 were hospitalised till date, the sources said.

The same bacteria was found in the fermented soyabean eaten in south Mizoram's Bungtlang south village in May where 90 people were taken ill, the sources added.

The bacteria could be created by unclean and unhealthy processing of the soybean while preparing for fermentation, said Dr Pachuau Lalmalsawma, Nodal Officer of the Integrated State Disease Surveillance Programme.

The sources said the bacteria could cause diarrhoea and other complications.

There is no escaping racism in India

A strange mix of prejudice, ignorance and centuries-old discriminatory practices make communities stick to regional taboos

By Archisman Dinda

It is an ugly, inexorable truth that Indians are guilty of racism. Though providentially not all of them, but sadly far too many of them — who distressingly reveal such traits more often than one had thought.

Racism, prejudice and xenophobia are rampant in India. It is a strange mixture of prejudice, ignorance and centuries-old discriminatory practices, when communities kept to themselves based on regional taboos. India never misses an opportunity to publicise its rich diversity, but the truth is that Indians are parochial: A large segment of people feel secure to live in their little worlds and protect its borders from any ‘external influence’. Their likes and dislikes for individuals too often have a direct correlation with their attitude towards skin colour and physical features, where even Indian citizens have to bear the brunt of such racist attitude. It extends to cover their language, culture, food, clothes and behaviour. They stereotype each other mercilessly and there are jokes galore about their food, clothes and accents. Colour consciousness permeates the way North Indians treat South Indians.

Indians contemptuously categorise all South Indians as “Madrasis”. Their attitude to their own citizens from the Northeast is no less racist. There, more than colour, it is the Mongoloid physical features of people from that region that attract the ridicule and disdain of those who love to consider themselves as part of the “mainstream”. Casual racism is commonplace. People from the Northeast are derided as “bahadurs” (a common term for Nepalese male servants in India). People ask them whether they are Japanese, Chinese or Korean. For most Indians, the Northeast is another country only accidentally and peripherally Indian. There is total ignorance in most parts of India about the culture and indeed about anything Northeastern. It may be geographically at an arm’s length from the mainland; connected to it by just a narrow strip of land known as the Siliguri Corridor. In terms of acceptance and integration, it may as well be another continent!

It is not just physical differences that make people from India’s Northeast stand out in a big city like the national capital of New Delhi. The fact that they hail from societies that are culturally more permissive than “mainstream” India highlights their “otherness” in the eyes of other Indians. A series of separatist insurgencies being waged by the indigenous people of the Northeast also exacerbates tensions.

As migration takes place, across state borders — with young people looking for better education and work opportunities — a kind of xenophobia begins, which sadly is not restricted to the North Indian heartland only. In Maharashtra, many poor, migrant labourers from Bihar are attacked, beaten up and threatened as they go about their daily grind, often working for a pittance. Last year, when two women of Chinese descent from Singapore were molested in Goa, the police delayed the registration of their complaint with the excuse that they thought the women were from the Northeast. Two years ago — triggered by an SMS hate campaign — many residents from Northeast were forced out of Karnataka and back to their home states fearing racist attacks. Only when the Rapid Action Force was deployed in Bangalore did the exodus stop. By then 30,000 people had already left the city.

Indians rarely perceive beauty in dark skin. In fact, most Indians look for pale-skinned brides for their sons. Bridal ads ask for “fair skinned” girls. So skin colour is important and you cannot be beautiful if you are not fair. There are very few countries, where skin whitening creams can do such roaring business, with such impunity. Yet, our celebrities have no compunction advertising the same.

However, racism outside the country elicits an altogether different response. When actor Shah Rukh Khan is frisked by American immigration authorities and detained for questioning, it is racial profiling at its worst and causes a diplomatic row. Four years ago, when Indian students were the targets of racist attacks in Australia, incensed and outraged protests were staged against Australians, both in India and abroad. Calls were made for diplomatic ostracism and proscribing of Australian universities.

As potential victims, Indians are very mindful of it. But as perpetrators, they are reluctant to accept it.

There is another side to Indians, though. The country has always been a haven for persecuted people all around its neighbourhood. India has given shelter to Jews, Parsis, Armenians, Chinese who ran away from the Revolution and Tibetans who fled the Chinese. These people kept their distinct, separate identities and yet they prospered and loved India. Indians in return provided them with physical and economic security to carry on with their lives. Psychologists would argue that an average Indian’s deep-seated inferiority is rooted in a past of subjugation — the colonial desolation of feeling like a second-class citizen in one’s own country. But a deeper resentment now emerges in the form of bipolar urbanism, where protection of self and the turf is paramount and always guarded against any invasion.

This new form of interstate urbanisation creates social tension, as it proposes a fear of cultural and ethnic contamination, giving rise to the fear of losing traditional customs that the society adheres to the core.

Unless, purity of the heart and intent is accepted as the dominant premise of Indian identity, enforcement of such stereotypes will continue as the society oscillates between modernity, tradition and barbarism.

Archisman Dinda is based in Kolkata, India.
30 July 2014

Manipur To Have Tallest Rail Bridge

Imphal, Jul 30 : The proposed bridge near Noney with pillar height up to 141 metres is slated to become the tallest in the world from the point of pillar height surpassing the existing tallest of Mala-Rijeka viaduct on Belgrade-Bar railway line in Europe where the height of pillars is 139 metre, said an N-F Railway spokesman.
The bridge in Manipur is part of the 111 km-long Jiribam-Tupul-Imphal railway line to connect the capital of Manipur with the broad gauge network of the country, the spokesman said.
The alignment of the railway line passes through steep rolling hills of Patkai region, eastern trail of the Himalayas, he said.
While Jiribam, a small town of Manipur near Assam-Manipur border, is situated 37 metres above mean sea level (MSL), Imphal is situated at 780 metres above MSL.
The alignment has to traverse through not only a number of deep gorges but over several rivers flowing at low ground levels necessitating construction of 46 tunnels measuring a total 54.5 km in length and tall bridges to maintain a suitable gradient for efficient operation of railway, he said.
The longest tunnel will be 4.9 km long between Jiribam-Tupul and 10.75 km between Tupul-Imphal section.

Northeast States Boundary Issues To Be Resolved

Aizawl, Jul 30 : The Modi Government has taken the initiative to resolve the long pending boundary disputes between the Northeastern States, officials said.

“Survey of India (SoI) officials at the behest of the Union Government has started talks with the officials of the Northeastern States to solve the border disputes among the Northeastern States,” an SoI official said.

The official, refusing to disclose his identity, said: “Based on our toposheet, we would talk to the officials of Northeastern States. Our officials accompanied by concerned officials of these States, if necessary, would conduct a joint survey along the disputed borders.”

‘Toposheet’ or ‘Topographic sheet’ essentially contains information about an area like roads, railways, settlements, canals, rivers, electric poles, various offices and installations.

Survey of India (SoI), India’s national survey and mapping organisation under the department of Science and Technology, maintains the toposheet.

Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Tripura, Nagaland and Manipur share disputed borders with one another and occasionally villagers, officials and security forces have engaged in skirmishes over this long pending issue.

Officials of Tripura and Mizoram in the presence of SoI officials met in Silchar, the main town of southern Assam, last week and discussed the border issues between the two States.

“The Mizoram Government has been claiming the Bethling hill at Fulldangsai village (along Tripura-Mizoram border) is their territory under the 1933 Assam Government gazette notification. We strongly rejected the claim,” Tripura revenue department secretary Swapan Saha said.

Saha, who led the Tripura delegation in the Silchar meeting, said: “In the toposheet of SoI, the strategically located hill falls in the Tripura territory. Around 50 Mizo families, residing in the hill, are not only Tripura residents, their names have been enrolled in various Tripura Government documents, including electoral lists, for many decades.”

SoI director SK Singh told the officials of Mizoram and Tripura that they would again meet after a few months and, if necessary, a joint visit would be conducted in the disputed site.

Tripura shares 109 km borders with Mizoram and 53 km borders with Assam.

Mizoram Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla has also sought Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s intervention to resolve the Assam-Mizoram boundary dispute.

“The Chief Minister recently met the Union Home Minister in New Delhi and requested him to intervene in the long pending boundary dispute with Assam,” said an official of the Mizoram Government, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Rajnath Singh (who was president of the Bharatiya Janata Party during an election campaign before the 2013 Assembly poll in Mizoram) said the border dispute would be resolved if the BJP came to power at the Centre.”

Occasionally, the border disputes between northern Mizoram and southern Assam have flared up among the people of the two Northeastern States, forcing the authorities and security forces to intervene.

Tripura Get Rice Via Bangladesh From Tomorrow

Agartala, Jul 30 : Rice from southern India to Tripura via Bangladesh is likely to reach here on Thursday, bringing to fruition a three-year-long diplomatic and strategical endeavour between New Delhi and Dhaka.

“The first consignment of 5,000 tonnes of rice in small ships from Kakinada port in Andhra Pradesh reached on Saturday at Ashuganj river port in (eastern) Bangladesh via Kolkata port,” Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Minister Bhanulal Saha told IANS here.

He said, “The rice, meant for Public Distribution System, would now be loaded on trucks from Wednesday or Thursday to take it at the FCI (Food Corporation of India) depots in Agartala.”

“Around 20 trucks are expected to arrive Agartala everyday for the next 12 to 13 days from Thursday.”

Ashuganj river port in eastern Bangladesh is around 40 km from here. The rice-loaded trucks would reach Agartala from Ashuganj (under Brahmanbaria district of Chittagong division of Bangladesh) within two hours.

Due to the Idd-ul Fitr festival in Bangladesh, unloading and loading of the rice from vessels to trucks was delayed for a few days.

Saha said in the next phase, another 5,000 tonnes of rice would be ferried to Tripura in the same manner and through the same route.

“In view of conversion of railway lines from metre gauge to broad gauge, the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) would stop train services in Tripura, Manipur, Mizoram and southern Assam from this year’s October to June next year,” the minister said.

“In view of this, carrying of food grain and other essentials from different parts of the country to Northeastern States of India via Bangladesh is very vital,” he added.

Saha said, “I had telephonic talks with Mizoram’s Food and Civil Supplies Minister John Rotluangliana a few days back and discussed about the possible problems of carrying food grain from different parts of the country after the closer of the train services to the region.”

The minister said after holding talks with the food and civil supplies ministers of other Northeastern States, he would approach the railway and Union Food and Civil Supply ministers to hold a meeting in Guwahati to ferry food grain and essentials via Bangladesh on a regular basis or as and when the situation arises.

The eight Northeastern States, including Sikkim, are largely dependent on the bigger States, especially northern Indian States, for food grain and essential commodities.

The Bangladesh Government following three-year-long diplomatic and strategic parleys has, under a special transit facility, agreed to transport 10,000 tonnes of food grain for Tripura across its territory.

“After getting a positive gesture from the Bangladesh Government, the FCI started the process three years back to transport food grain and essentials from southern India using the Ashuganj river port and the roadways connected to the Northeastern States,” FCI’s area manager Benugopal Bhuiya told IANS.

“The FCI had earlier floated tenders to select Bangladeshi transporters. After a series of diplomatic and administrative parleys involving various Bangladeshi ministries and India’s food, finance, shipping and external affairs ministries, the long-pending matter was settled recently,” Tripura’s Principal Secretary (Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs) BK Roy told IANS.

Earlier, in 2012, Bangladesh had allowed India’s state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) to ferry heavy machinery, turbines and cargo through Ashuganj port for the 726 MW Palatana mega power project in southern Tripura.

The Indian Government had spent several millions of rupees to develop the port and related infrastructure.

“After Tripura, food grain would likely be ferried through Bangladesh for other Northeastern States, including Mizoram, Manipur and southern Assam, to save time and costs, besides ensuring certainty,” the FCI official said.

“Due to shortage of rail wagons, inadequate storage facilities and various other bottlenecks, the Northeastern States have been suffering from poor supply of food grain for most part of the year, especially during the monsoon (June to September),” Tripura’s Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Minister Bhanulal Saha said.

Manipur May Miss Out on 'Mary Kom' Movie Screening

By Prasanta Mazumdar

Casting of Priyanka Chopra as Mary Kom triggered protests as there were demands that only a girl from the region should essay the role Mary Kom is a legend in Manipur and India. Yet a movie made on her life is unlikely to be screened in her home state where the militants gave banned the use of Hindi, specifically Hindi movies.

The makers of the film "Mary Kom" are optimistic about its screening in the state and learnt to have been in touch with the state government.

But, so far, there has been no official word on the matter. Calls made to Manipur chief secretary PC Lawmkunga's mobile went unattended.

"We are planning to screen it in Manipur. So, we are in touch with the Manipur government," Neerav Tomar, chief executive officer and managing director of IOS Sports and Entertainment, told dna. The company manages Mary.

The film is set in Manipur and highlights the rise of the five-time women's world boxing champion and Olympic bronze medalist. The biopic, produced by Sanjay Leela Bhansali and directed by Omung Kumar, is set for countrywide release on September 5.

The film stars actress Priyanka Chopra, who spent a lot of time with Mary to understand her and style of boxing. When she was cast, it triggered protests on the social networking sites with demands being raised that only a girl from the region should play the role.

The uncertainty on the screening of the movie in Manipur has saddened Mary and her family among others. "I will feel bad if the movie is not released in my state," Mary said. Her husband, Onler Kom, expressed a similar sentiment. "We will be very sad if it is not screened in Manipur. One must understand that the film is about Mary's life, family etc," he said.

Asked if the family will make an appeal to the militants, Onler said, "They have already learnt that we want the movie to be screened in Manipur".

The Manipur film industry is equally upset. "The people in Manipur are passionate about the film. They want to see it. But Hindi is the problem," said Epu, general secretary of Manipur Film Forum. "Why is the ban on the screening of Hindi movies in theatres when the satellite channels are beaming them in the state?" he argued.

"Whether it is screened in Manipur or not, I am sure copies of the movie will go viral in Manipur," said N Ibungochoubi, a writer.

Extremist group Revolutionary Peoples Front, fighting for the sovereignty of Manipur, had in 2000 issued a notice banning the use of Hindi and screening of Hindi movies for allegedly destroying Manipuri culture and language. Ever since then, movie theaters in the state have stopped screening Hindi movies.

Source: DNA

70 of the Most Useful Websites on the Internet

By Johnny Webber

1. netflixroulette.net 
— Find something random to watch on Netflix.
2. pintsinthesun.co.uk — Find somewhere to drink a pint in the sun.
3. gfycat.com — Upload your gifs.
4. youconvertit.com — Convert documents.
5. ninite.com — Download all the free software you want at the same time.
6. squirt.io — Speed read the web one word at a time.
7. shouldiremoveit.com — Find out which applications you should remove from your computer.
8. avoidhumans.com — Find places to go in public that are not crowded.
9. keybr.com — Practice your touch typing.
10. oldversion.com — Get old versions of software.
11. readability-score.com — Find out how readable text is.
12. deadmansswitch.net — Have emails sent when you die.
13. mint.com — Budget your money.
14. roadtrippers.com — Plan your route with the best lodging and attractions.
15. duckduckgo.com — A search engine that is not following you.
16. padmapper.com — Maps out possible apartments/homes that fit your criteria.
17. zillow.com — Another great source for finding your next home.
18. printfriendly.com — Make any webpage print friendly.
19. printwhatyoulike.com — Print precisely what you want from any webpage.
20. privnote.com — Write a note to someone that will self-destruct after they read it.
21. freecycle.org — A network of people giving away free stuff in their towns.
22. couchsurfing.org — Crash on someone’s couch anywhere in the world.
23. recipepuppy.com — Search for recipes based on the ingredients you have.
24. pipl.com — A search engine for finding people.
25. charitynavigator.org — Evaluates various charities.
26. newsmap.jp — Popular news headlines.
27. radioreference.com — Listen to radio channels across the nation.
28. jimmyr.com — Link aggregator.
29. wolframalpha.com — A computational knowledge engine.
30. heavens-above.com — Follow satellites and constellations.
31. whatismyip.com — Figure out you I.P. address.
32. spreeder.com — Improve reading speed and comprehension.
33. simplynoise.com — Listen to white noise.
34. camelcamelcamel.com — Tracks prices for any product.
35. ptable.com — An interactive periodic table.
36. retailmenot.com — Find coupons for just about anything.
37. searchtempest.com — Search all of craigslist with one search.
38. join.me — Peek in on somebody’s computer screen.
39. thistothat.com — Find out the best way to glue this to that.
40. woorank.com — Find out what your website is missing, how you can improve it, and how to make Google recognize it better.
41. scribblemaps.com — Draw on maps then share them with friends.
42. mailvu.com — Video email.
43. rhymer.com — Online rhyming dictionary.
44. homestyler.com — Design your dream home.
45. wetransfer.com — An easy way to send big files.
46. pastebin.com — A place to paste text.
47. idlekeyboard.com — Make it sound like you are hard at work.
48. dropbox.com — Backup your sensitive document online.
49. seatguru.com — Find out where the best seats are on your plane flight.
50. unlistmy.info — Find out which websites store data about you, and tell them to unlist your info.
51. twofoods.com — Compare two foods..
52. gasbuddy.com — Find local gas prices.
53. sleepyti.me — Plan out your sleep schedule better.
54. ripetrack.com — Find out when certain fruits are ripe .
55. compassionpit.com — Talk out your problems with others, or help others yourself.
56. paperbackswap.com — Swap books with others.
57. swole.me — Plan out your meals better.
58. weatherspark.com — A graphical look at the weather.
59. network-tools.com — Various network tools.
60. amazon.com — The best place to buy things online.
61. writecheck.com — Correct grammar and check for plagiarism.
62. wakerupper.com — Send yourself a wake-up call.
63. pcpartpicker.com — Plan out your next PC build.
64. nophonetrees.com — Talk to an actual person instead of a machine when you call customer service.
65. loads.in — Find out how long it takes websites to load.
66. calorieking.com — Find nutrition information on various foods.
67. manualslib.com — A database of PDF manuals for various products.
68. eatthismuch.com — Create meal plans to meet your nutrition targets.
69. keepmeout.com — Lock yourself out of time wasting websites.
70. glassdoor.com — Research what it is like to work with certain companies.

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