25 June 2015

Classical swine fever, PRRS surface in Mizoram

Classical swine fever, PRRS surface in Mizoram The outbreak of classical swine fever has been a yearly affair during the pre-monsoon season in Mizoram, according an official. 
 
Aizawl, Jun 25 : Classical swine fever and Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) have surfaced in Mizoram with blood samples of dead pigs testing positive, state veterinary officials said.

Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Director Dr L B Sailo told PTI that blood samples of the pigs which died in Aizawl and surrounding areas were tested at the laboratory in the Veterinary Science College in Selesih near here and it was found that some of the pigs died of classical swine fever and some due to PRRS.

The outbreak of classical swine fever has been a yearly affair during the pre-monsoon season, Sailo said.

"Change of weather usually results in outbreak of swine fever in the state," he said, adding that there was no reason to panic and the situation would soon normalise.

Thousands of swine died during March-April in 2013 in the state, the officials said.

Though the PRRS outbreak was thought to be contained, it continued to be present as many cases of infection in pigs were not reported and the infected pigs not culled, the officials said.

PRISM Accuses Cong for failing to keep its promises in Mizo

Aizawl, Jun 25 : The People's Right to Information and Development Society of Mizoram (PRISM) today said the Congress government led by Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla has not fulfilled any promise made in the manifesto before the 2013 state Assembly elections.

A press statement issued by the PRISM after holding the 17th Mizoram Watch program at Aizawl today said the state government, during the last two years, failed to deliver all its promises.

"Despite continuation of ongoing projects including its flagship program, the New Land Use Policy (NLUP), the government has not initiated any new project as proposed in the election manifesto," the statement said.

A point-wise deliberation on the Congress manifesto were held in the consultation, the statement added.

24 June 2015

Aizawl To Be On Railway Map in 3 years

Hilly Mizoram's capital city will be on India's railway map ​in the next three years as line construction between Bairabi, a village on the Assam-Mizoram border and Sairang, a village 27 kms by road west of Aizawl, is set to be completed by then, a senior railway official said Tuesday.

By Adam Halliday


Aizawl, Jun 24 : Hilly Mizoram’s capital city will be on India’s railway map ​in the next three years as line construction between Bairabi, a village on the Assam-Mizoram border and Sairang, a village 27 kms by road west of Aizawl, is set to be completed by then, a senior railway official said Tuesday.

The Bairabi-Sairang broad-gauge line, a 51 km stretch that will include seven bridges and 23 tunnels, is currently under construction with a completion target of March 2018, North-East Frontier Railways General Manager (Construction) R S Virdi said. He is on a visit to Aizawl to oversee the progress of the ongoing work.

Virdi said the NEF Railways is also surveying a possible route between Sairang and Hmawngbuchhuah, a settlement neighbouring Zochachhuah.

Zochachhuah stands at Mizoram’s southern tip bordering Myanmar’s Rakhine state. The under-construction Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Project (KMMTTP) passes through it.

The KMMTTP is one of India’s largest infrastructure projects within the Look/Act East Policy.

It will join Mizoram with Sittwe port in Myanmar by road and inland waterway, cutting down distance between Mizoram and Kolkata’s Haldia port by almost 1000 kms to become an alternative trade route between the North-East and the rest of the country.

It will also be the NE’s first gateway to the sea since partition, which kept Bangladesh’s Chittagong port out of reach for the region’s population.

The movement of goods between the NE and the rest of India is currently through the Chicken’s Neck corridor in northern West Bengal, a narrow strip of land (just 23 kms wide in some places) that connects the North-East to the rest of the country.

The Bairabi-Sairang-Hmangbuchhuah railway line will cut through the north-south length of Mizoram and bring Indian Railways at Myanmar’s doorstep, meaning it will likely supplement the upcoming trade route on the Kaladan river.
22 June 2015

Trust Thy Neighbour: An Indigenous Marketing Technique in Mizoram is About Honesty and Goodwill

It is a unique way to buy and sell, a novel kind of grassroots commerce, an indigenously developed small-scale agricultural marketing technique even.

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Vegetables and fruit on display at a shop without a shopkeeper between Keifang and Kawlkulh towns in eastern Mizoram

By Adam Halliday

New Delhi, Jun 22 : Along Mizoram’s narrrow, winding hillside roads to the east, south and north of capital Aizawl, stand strange sights — thatch huts that double up as shops displaying an array of vegetables, fruits and the occasional bottle of fruit juice, small dried fish, even freshwater snails, a local delicacy in many Asian (particularly southeast Asian) cuisines.

Nothing too out of the ordinary at first sight, except, there are no shopkeepers.

Instead, small cardboard sheets erected or hung on one of the bamboo beams act as rate cards where the names and prices of the wares on display are marked using, in most cases, a piece of charcoal.
The wares are hung nearby in small bundles inside transparent polythene bags or wrapped neatly with plantain leaves that sit on ledges under the beams.

Sometimes, numbers are also written on the plastic bags, or on the plaintain leaves, or in case of juice, on plastic bottles, to designate the price of each.

And always, just near the cardboard sheet hangs a small plastic container with the words “Pawisa Bawm” or “Pawisa Dahna” where customers (mostly, travellers passing through) deposit money for the things they have bought and, if need be, from which they retrieve whatever change is due to them.
It is a unique way to buy and sell, a novel kind of grassroots commerce, an indigenously developed small-scale agricultural marketing technique even. But more than anything else, it is an enduring symbol of honesty and trust.

“People are good,” says Pi Khumi. “Nothing has ever been lost from our shop.”

The 55-year-old had just climbed up a small dirt path from her family’s small jhum farm down by the Tuivawl river, which flows between the ridges where the towns of Keifang and Kawlkulh are perched upon.

She had climbed up the hillside with a cane-basket full of sweet corn to display at her shopkeeper-less shop and prepare and eat a lunch of boiled rice and lentils with chilly and salt, a simple meal.

Her husband Rothuama and two adult sons were also on the way up, she said, and would arrive with some freshwater snails they would have with the food, but most of which they would display for sale at Rs 100 for half a polythene bag, the most expensive of all their wares.

The family from Dulte village, which is located about seven km down the road and up the other side of the river, have had their hut-cum-shop here for more than two years.

With farmhands few and expensive, they can’t afford to spare any member to stay at the hut and mind the wares, and any money that trickles into the plastic bag of a cash register is a big bonus.

Weekdays are usually spent at their small farm and nights sleeping in the roadside hut. After waking up at dawn and a quick meal later, they climb down to their sloping field by 6 am, only to return well past 10 am for lunch, and then again at the farm from 1 pm till darkness falls on the land, which in this eastern corner of the country, is around 6 pm even during the summer.

All the while they are at the farm, they leave the hut and whatever vegetables and fruits they have harvested there for passing travellers to buy — absent traders entrusting their business to the honesty of their faceless customers.

Although cases of theft are not rare in the state and urbanity has brought with it certain vices, it is not all that uncommon to entrust luggage and other things with shopkeepers, even in the capital, Aizawl.
For example, shops near bus terminals or maxicab stands often host several bags that arriving or departing travellers leave there because it is not convenient to lug them around. They simply return to take it at the end of their journey.

This has been a longstanding tradition from the time chiefs ruled over individual villages in the region; and what is now known as Mizoram was unexplored by the rest of the world, as recent as just a century-and-a-half ago. In those days, anyone who stole even something as small as an egg from a neighbour’s houses would

be ostracised to the extent that the person and their relatives would find it unpleasant to continue living in the village and would simply migrate elsewhere. The same spirit seems to live on in Rothuama’s hut.

Further down the road stands another shopkeeper-less shop. It’s almost midday and Chawngthanzama, 47, sits on his haunches, eating his lunch from a steel plate in the darkened coolness the thatch-roofed bamboo-hut offers on a warm, humid day.

The resident of Ruallung village, which lies about a three km (as the crow flies) climb up the forested hillside, where he has a small farm, has the same story as Rothuama’s family.

None of his wares have ever gone missing. Neither has the handful of Rs 10 or Rs 20 notes he tends to keep in the plastic container-cum-cash register in case customers might not have change.

“Usually, I pack the lemons and other things that do not get stale easily before I sleep. I start for my farm early, most days by 4 am, and I come back to quickly put some freshly picked leafy vegetables and then head back to the farm. That way they are still fresh when the maxicabs and buses pass by,” he says.

For many travellers, the trust that is involved in the transactions with shopkeeper-less shops such as these is enough to make them want to buy from them.

“Whenever I pass such shops, I make it a point to buy at least one item. But when I buy something, it makes me happy, like I’ve contributed something to something beautiful,” says Vanlalmuanpuii, a school teacher in Aizawl.

Mizoram: Another Attempt At Mob Justice


By Nilotpal Bhattacharjee


Vairengte, Jun 22 : Hundreds of protesters from Thingdawl and its neighbouring villages in Kolasib district of Mizoram tried to drag out a man accused of attempted rape from Saipum Mizo India Reserve Battalion camp last night, forcing the police to resort to blank firing to disperse the mob.

The incident was reminiscent of the one at Dimapur in Nagaland when an angry mob dragged a rape accused out of jail and lynched him.

Sources said the mob left the camp around 1 this morning, following a meeting with the police officers who assured them of justice.

A tense atmosphere prevailed today at Saipum after the incident. Security personnel from Kolasib and Mualvum were sent to Saipum to prevent any kind of untoward incident.

Police officials today told The Telegraph that Lalhimpuia, 42, had allegedly attempted to rape a girl at Thingdawl on June 18. He managed to escape after the girl's family members arrived on hearing her screams. He left the area and took shelter at Thintel village, from where he was arrested by Kolasib police last afternoon, the police said.

Lalhimpuia is the son of R. Lalremsiama, a resident of Thingdawl.

Kolasib superintendent of police C. Lalzahngoa told this correspondent that when people from Thingdawl and neighbouring villages came to know about Lalhimpuia's arrest from Thintel, they started chasing the police.

"Sensing trouble, the police took the accused to Saipum Mizo IRB camp instead of Kolasib police station. It is difficult to determine the total number of people gathered in front of the camp, but they were many," Lalzahngoa said.

The mob gheraoed the camp, demanding that the accused should be handed over to them. When they tried to enter the camp to drag out the accused, the policemen deployed at the site sounded a warning and then resorted to blank firing to disperse the mob.

Kolasib town, the headquarters of Kolasib district, is around 35km from Vairengte town and 83km from Aizawl.

Vairengte, bordering Lailapur in Cachar district, is a town under Kolasib district.

A meeting was later held near the battalion camp last night.

The protesters agreed to leave the area after the police assured them that a probe would be conducted and stern action would be taken against the guilty.

Vanlalruata, the general secretary of the Young Mizo Association, the largest NGO of the Mizo people, told The Telegraph this evening from Aizawl that such incidents should be condemned.

"Women should be respected. Any kind of violence against women is not acceptable in any civil society. The judicial system must take up such cases very seriously and justice should be delivered as early as possible," he said.

Vanlalruata, who came to know about the incident through media reports, demanded stern action against the guilty.

On March 5, a rape accused, who was from Bosla village in Karimganj district, was dragged out of prison in Dimapur by a mob, taken to the clock tower, 7km away, and lynched.

Villages Near Manipur Ambush Site Still Deserted as Residents Put Off Return

By
Villages Near Manipur Ambush Site Still Deserted as Residents Put Off Return
Indian Army personnel patrol the area close to the site of the recent ambush attack by militants that killed 18 soldiers.

Chandel, Manipur:  Life is yet to return to normalcy for the villages in Chandel, where 18 Indian soldiers were killed in a deadly ambush two weeks ago. At least three villages located a few kilometres near the ambush site are still deserted; villagers fear for their lives and are reluctant to return home.

Paraolon village is home to more than 400 people, but their huts remain empty even after two weeks. Insurgents of the NSCN (K) group had ambushed a party of Indian soldiers about 3 kilometres away from this village.

Since then the army has cleared most signs of the ambush from the spot. The debris of two burnt army trucks has been placed at this village. Army claims to have eliminated insurgents on the Indo-Myanmar border after the ambush.
But for most people who live in villages in this area, life may not be the same anytime soon. Most are still living with their relatives in Chandel town, and very few have chosen to stay on as they are subjected to rigorous scrutiny by the Indian Army and the Assam Rifles.

The Multuk village, is one of those where some villagers chose to stay back. It is also home to a camp of the army's 6 Dogra Regiment, the same that was targeted in the Manipur ambush. For most villagers, getting back their normal lives seems distant.

Marginal farmers like Mr Konkhotong say, "It's difficult to survive. We need to eat. If we can't work how will we eat? Even the politicians have not come here post the incident. We should be given something to eat. We are not permitted to go anywhere".

The Indian Army maintains it does not want to trouble civilians living in the area during its operations, but for now, the ground realities are somewhat different. The locals here seem to have become unwitting pawns in the conflict.

Manipur Ambush Achitect Niki Sumi back in India

Indian special forces, backed by troops from the Assam Rifles, had attacked Sumi’s base at the village of Ponyo on June 9, the sources said, but the intelligence on his whereabouts was not precise

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Few details have emerged on the circumstances under which Sumi succeeded in escaping the Ponyo camp, the key target of the raids conducted by the 21 Paracommando regiment on June 9.


By Praveen Swami

New Delhi | Published on:June 22, 2015 2:33 am
The insurgent commander alleged to be responsible for the ambush that killed 18 soldiers earlier this month has returned to Nagaland after escaping an Indian Army cross-border raid into Myanmar, government sources said.

Niki Sumi, chief of military operations of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang), was sighted by intelligence services last week in the forests running along the border with Myanmar in Nagaland’s Phek, Kiphire and Tuensang districts.

Indian special forces, backed by troops from the Assam Rifles, had attacked Sumi’s base at the village of Ponyo on June 9, the sources said, but the intelligence on his whereabouts was not precise

“The government has been seeking the cooperation of Naga insurgent groups committed to the ceasefire with India to track down Sumi and his cadre,” a Ministry of Home Affairs official said. “We are confident that he will be found.”

Sumi, a one-time resident of Naharbari in Dimapur, was named by the Indian government as the key figure in the June 4 ambush, along with the finance chief of the NSCN (K), Starson Lamkang, and ‘Major General’ Neymlang.

Numbering an estimated 1,500 personnel, Sumi’s units are active in the eastern parts of Nagaland, as well as in the Tirap and Changlang districts of neighbouring Arunachal Pradesh. Its cadre are drawn from a welter of Naga clans — the Konyaks of both India and Myanmar, the Aos of Mokokchung district, the Phoms and Yimchungers of Tuensang district, the Angamis, the Semas, the Lothas, and the Pangmeis of Myanmar.

Few details have emerged on the circumstances under which Sumi succeeded in escaping the Ponyo camp, the key target of the raids conducted by the 21 Paracommando regiment on June 9. Based on briefings from Home Ministry officials, media accounts have claimed dozens — perhaps even over 100 — insurgents were killed.

However, subsequent assessments carried out by the Intelligence Bureau suggest actual fatalities in the two insurgent sites targeted by the Army may have been as few as seven, with a dozen injured.

The Indian government has made no official claim on fatalities, nor released photographs.

Photographs released by the NSCN (K) purport to show that the group responsible for the June 4 ambush returned to its base at Ponyo, though it suffered two fatalities in the course of the operation. The insurgent group has denied suffering fatalities in the cross-border operation.
19 June 2015

2 Elephants in an Assam Court in Cross-Border Custody Battle

2 Elephants in an Assam Court in Cross-Border Custody Battle

Hailakandi, Assam:  An elephant and her calf spent a morning in a court in Assam this week, where a judge was asked to decide on their custody.

The judge had to make a short field trip to the court's lawns to inspect the jumbo duo in Assam's remote Hailakandi district which borders Bangladesh.

They were found on the Indian side of the border by the police on Monday. A local resident claims to be their owner - he says the female elephant was stolen from him eight years ago.

But a Bangladeshi man has made a rival claim. "They went missing a few days ago. I looked everywhere and then went to local cops in Bangladesh. They spoke to the Border Security Force and told me my elephants were in Hailakandi. So I got them to arrange travel and here I am to stake claim," says Mojibul Islam.

For now, custody of the elephants has been granted to a local forest official. The case will be heard next week. "We will take care of them as long as we have to, and ensure they are well fed and looked after," said Gunin Saikia, Divisional Forest Officer of Hailakandi.

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