27 April 2015

Economic Blockade on Mizoram

Our Thoughts: Every year the Assam groups strangle Mizoram for the slightest reason. The Mizo government should give thought on how it can avoid it. That is, integrating Hmar Areas in Southern Assam with Mizoram building roads that can connect from Assam Hmar areas into Mizoram. Think of Greater Mizoram - Southern Manipur, South Eastern Assam. Its time the term Mizo has "greater" meanings.
Aizawl, Apr 27 : Several groups in southern Assam’s Cachar and Hailakandi districts are planning an economic blockade on Mizoram from Monday morning over some Mizo groups’ recent crackdown on non-local traders they say are engaged in businesses within the state without proper permissions.

Police officials said several groups in the Barak Valley region plan to impose the blockade from 6 am Monday at Lailapur (Cachar district) and Jamira (Hailakandi district), effectively stopping traffic on national highways 54 and 154 respectively.

The two NHs are Mizoram’s lifeline and only link to the rest of India save smaller roads connecting it to Tripura and Manipur.

It is not clear exactly how many groups are involved in the planned blockade and how long it would last, but police officials said some politicians from Karimganj- where a large number of informal workers in Aizawl are generally from- are likely to be present at either of the two places the blockades are imposed at.

The Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP or Mizo Students’ Association) and some other organizations have in recent weeks been closing shutters of non-native traders who they accuse of conducting illegal businesses in the Mizoram state capital Aizawl.

The Inner Line Permit system in force in Mizoram bars non-locals from entering, staying and working in Mizoram without prior permission from the authorities.

Both Assam and Mizoram police are preparing for any untoward incident that may take place on either side, especially with the hundreds of vehicles (private, public transport and good carriers) that ply the two highways in every direction everyday.

Northeast Fails To Learn Quake Lessons

National Disaster Response Force personnel from India carry out rescue operations in Kathmandu on Sunday. (PTI)
Guwahati, Apr 27 : Vulnerability warnings seem to have not woken up authorities to the threat of earthquakes, though two tremors shook Assam and the Northeast in the past 48 hours.

The Assam State Disaster Management Authority today said many schools, hospitals and government buildings have neglected safety measures even after a joint survey by Assam Engineering College in July last year revealed structural vulnerability.

"Since Assam is located in the seismically active Zone V, we had surveyed 600 schools and 40 hospitals, mostly in Guwahati, and identified those having structural and non-structural vulnerability. Following the survey, we had issued notices and requested them to take up safety measures, including retrofitting solution for buildings with structural problem. But very few have taken measures suggested by civil engineers. We have seen the devastation in Nepal and must take measures necessary to reduce the impact in case of a disaster here," chief executive officer of the authority, P.K. Tiwari, said. Tiwari is also commissioner and secretary of the state revenue and disaster management department.

Some buildings in Guwahati, Kokrajhar, Bongaigaon and Majuli developed cracks following yesterday's quake that wrecked havoc in Nepal. A quake measuring 7.6 on Richter scale jolted the Northeast this afternoon as well. But no damage was reported till the filing of this report.

Tiwari said many earthquakes measuring over three on Richter scale had hit the state since February. "The survey found some hospitals blocking their balconies with an almirah or other furniture. How will the rescue personnel reach them in case a disaster strikes? Stocks of blood and medicine bottles are kept in the almirah and in case of a quake these items will get damaged. The emergency support equipment in the ICUs are kept without any strong protection, so if they stop functioning during a quake, imagine what will happen to the critically ill patients," Tiwari said.

"We had served many deadlines to the schools and hospitals and will carry out another inspection and issue notices to make sure they take necessary measures. We are repeatedly spreading the message of vulnerability but people must also understand and take necessary safety measures. Retrofitting solution is costly and time consuming but they can at least go for other non-structural safety measures," he said.

The survey report released in August last year revealed about 34 per cent of schools in Guwahati had major structural vulnerability, 10 per cent located on the hills are vulnerable to slope failure/landslide, 5 per cent are vulnerable to floods and 74 per cent schools have non-structural vulnerability.

"Twenty schools and five hospitals in other parts of the state surveyed were found with structural vulnerability to earthquake. Even many deputy commissioner offices in the districts were found having structural problems and lacking disaster management facilities," he said.

Tiwari said the government departments were yet to prepare their own disaster management plans, which is compulsory under Section 14 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005. "This issue was raised in the state executive committee meeting recently and each department was asked to make their disaster management plan within July this year," he said.

Kamrup (metro) deputy commissioner M. Angamuthu said they would issue showcause notices tomorrow to mobile companies on complaints of phone towers erected without following safety norms.

Before quake
Develop an emergency plan with a kit containing food, water, prescription medicines, first-aid, radio, flashlight, extra batteries, sturdy shoes and clothes
During quake
Remain calm.
If indoors, duck under sturdy furniture and hold onto it. If you can’t, move to a wall or archway and sit with your back to the wall, bring knees to your chest and cover your head
Stay away from mirrors and windows and don’t exit the building during quake
If outdoors, move to an open area away from structures such as bridges and power lines
If in a vehicle, stop in an open area away from all structures
After quake
Stay calm and count 60 seconds before moving
Move cautiously, check unstable objects and damaged buildings.
Anticipate aftershock
Listen to radio or TV for emergency information

50 Families From Mizoram Stuck in Nepal, Safe

50 Families From Mizoram Stuck in Nepal, Safe

Aizawl, Apr 27 : 
All families Mizoram living in Nepal, many of them missionaries and evangelist teachers, were reportedly safe, reports from Nepal said.

Major Sangliana of the Salvation Army, working with his wife in Kathmandu told PTI over phone that there were around 50 Mizo families in Nepal all of whom were safe.

Sources in the Presbyterian Church said that there were around 30 missionaries working under the church in Nepal while the Baptist Church of Mizoram sent one Pastor and a teacher who were living there with their family members.
25 April 2015

Mizo Govt Announces Rewards On The Heads of 6 Hmar Militants

Aizawl, Apr 25 : The Mizoram government has announced rewards on the heads of six militants belonging to Hmar People's Convention (Democrats) who ambushed the state Assembly committee on government assurances team on March 28 killing three policemen.

A notification issued by the government last evening said that anyone who can hand over the militants to the authorities or furnish information to the authorities leading to their arrest would be disbursed the amount placed on their heads.

The wanted militants were Biakliana, leader of the operation against the committee on government assurances team (Rs two lakh), Lalneihkunga (Rs two lakh), Malsawmkima alias Danny (Rs two lakh), Reuben Lalromawia (Rs one lakh), Lalninghaka (Rs one lakh) and Jehova (Rs one lakh).

Malsawmkima is a former constable of the state armed police who recently joined the HPC (D) after deserting the force with one AK-47 assault rifle and a few rounds of ammunition.
24 April 2015

Spread of H1N1 Contained in Mizoram

Aizawl, Apr 24 : With no fresh case of swine flu being detected in Mizoram in the last few weeks, H1N1 virus has now been contained although people entering into the state were being screened as a precaution, a senior health official said.

Of the 30 samples sent to Kolkata's National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases (NICED) in February, four were tested positive and all of them recovered completely a fortnight ago after being treated in the state, Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) nodal officer Dr Pachuau Lalmalsawma told news agency PTI.

However, as a precautionary measure screening of passengers arriving from outside the state was being conducted at the lone Lengpui airport near Aizawl and at Mizoram-Assam border town of Vairengte for people entering the state through NH-54, he said. The surveillance might be relaxed after this month unless fresh cases or threats are detected in the state, he said.

Sporting Events Help Budding Players Prove Their Talent in Northeast

Imphal, Apr 24 : Altogether 341 black belt holders including 180 girls and 161 boys participated in the 11th edition of the 'Governor's Taekwondo Cup' in Imphal.

The four-day long event was held under the aegis of All Manipur Taekwondo Association (AMTA) in different categories.

After a tough competition, Union Taekwondo Academy from Yumnam Leikai won the championship.

"We are organizing such championship for the welfare of the Taekwondo sports to encourage and improve the players. By organizing more Taekwondo championship will help the players to improve and also will promote the players," said Lamabam Toto Singh, Referee-in-Charge.

"I am happy to participate in the tournament. It will help to improve my skills," said Manichandra, a player.

In Guwahati, the 6th edition of Dr T. AO Memorial Football Championship is being held at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium.

All eight Northeastern states are participating in the tournament which is being organized by celebrity management group Private Limited in collaboration with SAI and Assam Football Association and sponsored by the North Eastern council (NEC).

Assam state Sports Minister Ajit Singh inaugurated the tournament.

A large number of football lovers are visiting the venues in Guwahati and Silchar to witness the thrilling championship.

"The basic objective of the tournament is to promote the local talents, only the son of the soil can take part the championship and it is funded by Northeast Council (NEC). Assam, Nagaland, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh will play in Guwahati while Tripura, Mizoram, Manipur and Meghalaya will play in Silchar," said Ankur Dutta, Secretary of Assam Football association.

"I'm confident that it will be a very successful tournament. This tournament will help young budding talents of the northeast and they will get a good exposure," he added.

"We get a good experience here. We do not have such kind of facility at home. Even we host games but there is no good infrastructure like they have here in Guwahati," said Talong, a player.

The Northeast region has produced many talented sportspersons, who have represented India at international tournaments.

Such competitions will help the national selectors to identify the talent in various sports.
23 April 2015

Mizoram Readies For Oil Drilling

A natural gas drilling rig
Aizawl, Apr 23: Mizoram is all set to become a part of the hydrocarbon map of the country as the Cachar-Mizoram exploratory outfit of the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC) is preparing to begin extraction of trapped natural gas in the state's Meidum drilling site in Kolosib district.

Natural gas was detected in Meidum's exploratory well in the middle of last year, after drilling for over two years, but ONGC had estimated only 2.2 billion cubic metres of natural gas at a depth of 3.85km, which made it not commercially feasible.

A senior official of the ONGC's Srikona headquarters today said an initiative named hydro-fracturing process was then used in Meidum well. In a hydro-fracturing module, hard rocks and tricky crevices are softened by heavy machines to extract more gas.

He said it is estimated that 3 billion cubic metres of gas would be extracted from Meidum after this hydro-fracturing drill.

In the last week of February this year, Mizoram's geology and mineral resources minister H. Rohluna, accompanied by M.C. Das, the general manager of Cachar-Mizoram project of the ONGCL, visited the drilling site and announced that work would soon start on an experimental basis.

The ONGC has started work on another well in Mizoram in a virgin drilling site in Zanlawn, 40km north of Aizawl, after NH54, connecting the village with Silchar, was further widened to make room to ferry heavy machinery.

He said in the course of time the corporation would also start drilling in Hortoki drilling site. The ONGC has so far identified two sites in that village, which he added, could be another hydrocarbon-bearing area in north Mizoram.

No Proposal To Ban Cow Slaughter in Northeast India: BJP

Shillong, Apr 23 : There is no proposal to ban cow slaughter in the eight northeastern states, BJP general secretary Ram Madhav said on Wednesday.

However, the Bharatiya Janata Party's government in other states will review the situation and take relevant decisions, he said.

"In some states, ban on cow slaughter has been there for several decades now. In a number of states, it is not there, including all the states of the northeast, because of the demographic situation here," the BJP leader, who is of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) background, told journalists here in the Meghalaya capital.

"We are not proposing any such ban (on cow slaughter) here," asserted Ram Madhav, who accompanied party president Amit Shah during his maiden visit to Meghalaya.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh and union Minister Maneka Gandhi recently favoured a complete ban on cow slaughter across India.

Meanwhile, Shillong-based civil society group Thma U Rangli-Juki (TUR) staged a protest near the Meghalaya BJP office over a reported proposal to ban beef and cow slaughter.

"We will not allow the government to impose such a drastic law. Beef is one of our delicacies and it has many nutrients for us hill people. We will not allow anyone to impose any law on us," TUR leader Kyrsoibor Pyrthuh said.

Acknowledging the protest, Ram Madhav said: "It is a democratic country. People can protest. But the reasons for their protest are misplaced. The BJP is committed to the unity and integrity of the country."

"India is a country of many religions. Pluralism is at the heart of this country. Every religious community will live in this country with utmost peace and safety and security. The government will ensure that," he said.

Asked about the plan to strengthen the party in the northeast where the BJP does not have much presence other than in Assam, he said: "We are attaching great importance in the development of this entire region."

"As a party also, we are supporting our government's initiatives to strengthen the economy of this region by supporting directly from the Centre as well as creating avenues with a number of neighbouring countries also."

Ram Madhav said: "We are committed to the development of the northeast and that is why our president (Shah) and our party are taking a lot of interest, and that is why we are here."

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