04 August 2015

Watching porn: Mizoram Tops List; Delhi at 2nd Spot, Maharashtra 4th

Watching porn: Mizoram tops list; Delhi at 2nd spot, Maharashtra 4th

New Delhi, Aug 4 : While most of us don't openly talk about porn and sex, the words itself attract the attention of almost everyone across the globe.

Condemning the culture, the government of India has recently ordered blocking of more than 800 porn websites in the country.

The government's move has been criticised harshly with some even calling it 'Talibanisation' of India.
According to a survey, the northeastern sate of Mizoram is marching ahead of other Indian states on internet porn access.

Delhi occupied the second spot whereas Maharashtra stood at number four in watching porn websites.

Apart from Mizoram, three other Northeastern states- Nagaland, Meghalaya and Assam are in the list that lead in watching porn sites.
On a world wide basis, it is said that India ranked at the fifth spot in number of visitors to the porn website.

India, Naga Rebels Ink Peace Deal To End Longest Insurgency


PM Narendra Modi with leaders of NSCN (IM) at the signing of peace accord at 7,RCR on Monday. (Photo credit: You Tube screen grab)

New Delhi, Aug 4 : The government on Monday evening signed a historic accord with a leading Naga group, NSCN (I-M), promising an end to India’s longest running insurgency that caps almost two decades of peace talks.

With National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah) leader Thuingaleng Muivah by his side at his 7, RCR residence, Modi praised the Naga leader and Isak Chishi Swu, who together founded the group, for their wisdom, courage and efforts that led to the pact.

“It is a lesson and an inspiration in our troubled world,” Modi said after the agreement was signed by the Centre’s interlocutor for Naga peace talks RN Ravi and the 79-year-old Muivah.

Swu, who was unwell and was not present at the ceremony, too, had signed the deal. His son Pasheto, however, was present at the ceremony.
It was not immediately clear how the agreement addresses NSCN (I-M) demand for the integration of all Naga-inhabited areas in the Northeast across Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam -- the biggest stumbling block in the protracted negotiations.

The details of the pact and the execution plan would be made public shortly, a government statement later said.

The agreement, said sources, had worked out a mechanism to guarantee Naga pride, their unique history and their ethos.

The signing of the pact is the culmination of over 80 rounds of negotiations, with first breakthrough in 1997 when leaders of the NSCN (I-M), then the most lethal insurgent group, agreed to a ceasefire.

“The Naga political issue had lingered for six decades, taking a huge toll on generations of our people,” Modi said about the insurgency that has cost over 3,200 lives.

Muivah was equally effusive in his praise of Modi. “Under Modi, we have come close to understanding each other and have worked out a new relation with the government,” the Naga leader said.

The negotiations received an impetus after Modi assumed power in 2014 when he pushed for a lasting solution and outlined the broad parameters for the pact.

The PM set the tone for the accord, which had been kept under the wraps, when at 6.15pm he tweeted about an “important and landmark event” minutes later at RCR.

Modi described the accord as “historic”. “Today, we mark not merely the end of a problem, but the beginning of a new future,” he said.

The government, however, still has to contend with another major Naga faction led by SS Khaplang that broke the ceasefire agreement earlier this year and was responsible for the Manipur attack in June that killed 18 soldiers.

National security adviser Ajit Doval and Ravi are believed to have been working overtime in the last few months to reach the accord.

A credible resolution is expected to provide a framework that will support stronger ties among Nagas across the region without substantially changing the jurisdictional and administrative authority of neighbouring states.

Besides Modi and home minister Rajnath Singh, many top government functionaries attended the ceremony, which was also witnessed by NSCN (I-M) leadership.

Mizoram plans for aid, charity events for flood-affected ethnic Zo communities in Myanmar

Some Mizo singers and musicians have also announced plans to hold a mobile charity concert in state capital Aizawl.

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Local residents wade through a flooded road in Bago, 80 kilometers (50 miles) northeast of Yangon, Myanmar, Saturday, Aug 1, 2015. (Source: AP)

Various organisations and political parties in Mizoram have appealed for aid and prayers for ethnic Zo communities affected by floods and heavy rains in Myanmar as well as in Manipur.

The Zofa Global Network and the Mizo Zaimi Insuihkhawm (MZI), a body of singers and musicians, have announced plans to hold a mobile charity concert in state capital Aizawl this week, proceeds from which would be sent to flood-affected ethnic Zo communities in the neighbouring country.

Both the Mizo National Front and the Mizoram People’s Conference have issued appeals to residents of the state to pray for and contribute to aid meant for ethnic Zos in Myanmar who have been affected by the heavy rains and winds in the wake of Cyclone Komen.

Various groups and political parties also met at the Zo Reunification Organisation’s offices on Monday to discuss how best to collect and send aid to the flood-affected regions, saying ethnic Zo communities have been severely affected by flooding in towns across Chin State and Sagaing Divisions such as Tahan, Falam, Kawlphai, Kalemiau and Halkha.

Other groups such as the central committee of the Young Mizo Association have also called meetings to take part in the aid effort as pictures and videos on social media and news reports from across the international border continue to inform Mizoram residents about the natural calamity.

Ethnic Zos are spread over Myanmar’s Sagaing Division, Chin State and the Arakan region.

Manipur Floods: Waters Receding But Life Hit

New Delhi, Aug 4
: Even as the central government rushed in the National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF), thousands of people in Manipur`s Thoubal and Chandels districts are trying to come to grips with life in relief camps after their houses were submerged by flood waters.

Water-filled paddy fields have been covered by sand and community and residential ponds have been rendered unusable.

"One person was killed while he was trying to protect his home at Serou village from the surging waters of the Sekmai river on Saturday evening," Robert Leisangthem, a resident of Kakching in Thoubal, told IANS on phone.

This takes the toll to 21 after 20 people were killed in a landslide at Joumul village in neighbouring Chandel district on Saturday.

"The water level of the Sekmai river is coming down but the impact of the floods is still being felt. Paddy fields are covered with sand and filth and community and residential ponds are filled with dirt," Leisangthem said.

It is the agricultural season and the over 600-sq km area, known as the rice bowl of Manipur and inhabited by over 500,000 people, has been hit badly.

According to reports, the entire Thoubal and many parts of Chandel district have been hit by the worst floods in the last 200 years.

The Asian Highway No 1 connecting Imphal with Moreh on the Myanmar border has been cut off.

The Chakpi river, known for its uncertain flow of water, has flooded the entire Serou region in the southern part of Thoubal district. Water is flowing near the danger mark of the the newly constructed Serou bridge.

"Though the water level is coming down, people whose homes were submerged by the flood waters are living in relief camps," Leisangthem said.

"The director of Manipur`s health services was seen distributing medicines. Doctors have been appointed in relief camps. Local people are distributing rice and other essentials among people affected by the floods."

The Sengvai and the Chakpi rivers have also been creating havoc.

"Waters are ceding. The bridge over Sengvai river, though not destroyed, has developed cracks on the side," Hechin Haokip, a resident of Pallel in Thoubal district bordering Chandel, told IANS.

"Another bridge over the Chakpi river collapsed on Friday," she said.

According to Haokip, as of Sunday evening, rescue teams were struggling to reach Joumul village in Chandel district as two more landslides occurred on the way to the disaster-hit area.

"Since communications have been disrupted, I am not very sure if the rescue teams have been able to reach the area," Haokip said.

Northeast India Varsities To Offer Skill Training

Northeast India varsities to offer skill training The National Skill Development Corporation and major universities in northeast India have inked deals to introduce skill-based training in undergraduate and postgraduate programmes of educational institutes

Kolkata, Aug 4 : The National Skill Development Corporation and major universities in northeast India have inked deals to introduce skill-based training in undergraduate and postgraduate programmes of educational institutes, a statement said on Monday.

The move is to introduce skill-based training in undergraduate as well as postgraduate programmes of colleges/institutes/departments in these universities in a phased manner, the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) said in a statement.

The universities' list comprises Krishna Kanta Handique State Open University, University of Guwahati, Dibrugarh University, Tezpur University (Assam), Sikkim Manipal University (Sikkim), Tripura University (Tripura) and Indra Gandhi Technological and Medical Sciences University (Arunachal Pradesh).

The courses will be introduced in the second year of undergraduate programmes and cover four semesters in the second and third year of undergraduate programmes. The courses will help boost India's recently launched 'Skill India Mission'.

"The students will be given a choice to select any one skill-based course from the identified sectors in addition to the regular academic subjects.

"However, it shall not be mandatory for a student to join such skill development courses. The choice is left to the student," the release said.

Dilip Chenoy, the managing director and chief executive officer, NSDC, said, "To link skill training to meaningful and fulfilling careers, we are also helping them in placements through Sector Skill Councils and Training Partners who will be participating in the implementation of the programme."

The NSDC will ensure 70 per cent placement of students post training.

Up to eight sectors will be made available initially for the participating colleges/institutions to choose from.

Before the commencement of every academic year, these universities will review the existing skill development programmes in the colleges/institutions with the NSDC.

These will consider introducing new sectors and courses as per the demand of the industry and the willingness of the participating institutions.

The fee of the courses will be mutually decided by each university and the NSDC in consultation with NSDC approved training partners and NSDC approved Sector Skill Councils, according to the statement.

Worried over competing land claims that mar infra projects, Mizoram govt has new arsenal

Mizoram government has circulated among top officials a recent High Court judgement nullifying a widely-issued land ownership document from being used to claim or allot compensation.

​Increasingly worried over conflicts and delays over compensation for land chosen as sites of various infrastructure projects, the Mizoram government has circulated among top officials a recent High Court judgement nullifying a widely-issued land ownership document from being used to claim or allot compensation.

The Aizawl Bench of the Gauhati High Court had towards the end of June passed a judgement saying Village Councils (the equivalent of panchayats) have no authority to issue “garden passes” (basically land ownership letters for agricultural purposes within the council’s territory) and that no one can claim compensation for land they own through these letters.

“The power to issue a Garden Pass or a pass for any agricultural purpose to any person by a Village Council is not traceable to any power in any land laws prevailing in Mizoram…” the judgement said while striking down a lower court’s order that awarded compensation to more than a hundred petitioners.

Their lands had been acquired by the government for the under-construction railway line from Assam to Aizawl as part of the North-East Frontier Railways’ plans to link all NE state capitals by 2022.

The petitioners had approached the Gauhati HC (Aizawl Bench) saying they had been compensated only for the crops on their agricultural land and not for the land itself.

“The issuance of the same for any agricultural purpose does not give any right to such pass holders to claim any land value. As such, persons having lands covered by Village Council pass for agricultural purposes cannot be entitled to compensation i.e. there cannot be any land valuation made in respect of those lands,” the judgement added.

The judgement was discussed at length during a meeting last week of various top officials to discuss the state’s strained finances and proposals to ease it.

Lalramthanga, Principal Secretary, Chief Minister’s Office, brought the judgment to the meeting’s notice. Copies of it have subsequently been circulated among heads of various departments that are and can be involved in infrastructure projects and accompanying acquisition processes, according to several officials who took part in the meeting.

Several infrastructure projects in Mizoram have been delayed and complicated by land compensation claims, prompting CM Lal Thanhawla to declare in a recent assembly session that “We are a compensation community”, leading to a heated exchange between him and opposition MLA Lalruatkima who demanded the CM’s speech be retracted and struck off the assembly records.

Lal Thanhawla refused and instead reiterated his statement.

Besides the railways project, another project that has been complicated by compensation claims have been the Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Project, which aims to connect the North-East to the rest of Indian through the Bay of Bengal via a sea-port at Sittwe in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.

Competing claims for compensation for land acquired for the project has prompted an Anti-Corruption Bureau investigation against the Lai Autonomous District authorities after investigators found out the total size of alleged landholdings along the 100 km highway within Mizoram, according to compensation claims, exceeds the total area of the state of Mizoram by almost 5,000 sq kms.

CM Lal Thanhawla has also said several times that claimants for land to be acquired for the extension of the Indian Army’s Counter-Insurgency and Jungle Warfare School (CIJWS), considered one of the best on the world, near Vairengte village have also submitted documents typed out in and printed from a computer although the documents date from the 1960s and 1970s.
03 August 2015

Mizoram Cabinet Nod for Closure of 3 PSUs, Downsizing 2 Others

The move to overhaul all state-owned enterprises in Mizoram has been prompted largely by an agreement between the state government and the Asian Development Bank.

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Chief Minister of Mizoram Pu Lal Thanhawla.

The state Cabinet has approved a proposal to close down three of Mizoram’s Public Sector Enterprises and restructure and downsize two others.

The move to overhaul all state-owned enterprises in Mizoram has been prompted largely by an agreement between the state government and the Asian Development Bank as part of a USD 100 million loan aimed at managing state finances better.

Another reason has been that successive CAG reports show the PSEs have been making losses year after year and contributing just a fraction of a percentage to the state’s coffers, according to documents accessed by The Indian Express.

The state Cabinet has approved the closure of the 27-year-old Zoram Handloom and Handicrafts Development Corporation Limited (ZOHANDCO), the 24-year-old Zoram Electronics Development Corporation Limited (ZENICS) and the 22-year-old Mizoram Agricultural Marketing Corporation Limited (MAMCO).

The government had earlier this month notified the Mizoram State Enterprises’ Early Retirement Rules 2015 for employees, and has also set in place a mechanism to absorb employees who do not opt for early retirement. This will be done though relaxation of the state’s Public Service Commission’s selection process, the documents show.

The Cabinet has also approved the “downsizing and restructuring” of two other PSEs — the 30-year-old Zoram Industrial Development Corporation Limited (ZIDCO) and the 26-year-old Mizoram Food and Allied Industries Corporation Limited (MIFCO).

All five PSEs have largely been headed by ruling MLAs for years and even decades, and all but one are currently headed by junior Congress MLAs except for MIFCO, which is headed by a senior Congress leader.

The PSEs together employ about 270 people.

The latest CAG report, tabled before the state assembly this month, shows that the PSEs overall incurred annual losses of between Rs 4.86 crore at its peak in 2010-11 and 1.70 crore at its lowest ebb in 2013-14.

There has been no year in the past six years they have not incurred losses as a group (except for ZIDCO, which registered profits once) even as their annual turnovers over the same period hovered between just 0.02% to 0.15% of the state’s GDP.

The PSEs’ loss-making nature has however been around even earlier. An Asian Development Bank assessment from July 2009 (a month prior to the approval of the USD 100 million loan for the state’s public sector financial reforms) had red-flagged the issue.

“The performance of state public sector enterprises (PSEs) has … affected the state budget. Currently, all of the five small PSEs in Mizoram are loss-making… The PSEs are in financial distress requiring huge amounts of budgetary support to sustain them…. In spite of a periodic infusion of equity capital and grants, the companies continue to report losses,” the ADB said in a report to its board of directors.

NDRF Leads Rescue Operations in Manipur

Assam Rifles finds three survivors in landslide-hit Chandel district

Imphal, Aug 3
: A team of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) rushed to Chandel district of Manipur where many people were buried alive following landslides triggered by heavy rain in the past three days.

Officials yesterday said landslides swept away all the 21 houses of Joumoul village - more than 200km south of Imphal under Khengjoy subdivision of Chandel which shares border with Myanmar - and 20 villagers were buried alive. Joumoul is under Khengjoy block.

The NDRF and the Assam Rifles recovered four bodies today.

The Assam Rifles today rescued three survivors, including Robert Hamlet Baite, 47, head of Joumoul village, Assam Rifles sources said.

Paite said the village has only 10 houses. Eighteen villagers were at home when the landslides struck. The total population of the village, according to him, is 74. The remaining villagers were in other places when the incident took place.

As of now, six survived the landslides. Three survivors reached safer places yesterday. Eight persons were still missing, the Assam Rifles said.

The Manipur government has announced Rs 5 lakh ex gratia for those killed in the landslides and floods. Government sources, however, could not give the exact number of deaths in the landslides till this evening.

President Pranab Mukherjee condoled the loss of lives in the landslides in Manipur.

In his message to Manipur governor Syed Ahmed, the President said: "I am sad to learn about the landslides triggered by heavy rain in Chandel district of Manipur which has resulted in the loss of a number of lives and injuries as well as damages to property. I understand some people are missing and thousands have been left homeless. Rescue as well as relief operations are currently under way."
He called upon the state government and other authorities to provide all possible aid to the bereaved families who have lost their members as well as medical assistance to the injured and shelter to the homeless.

Union minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju is expected to arrive here tomorrow to take stock of the flood situation.

A 20-member NDRF team landed in Imphal last night and they were airlifted to Joumoul to lead the rescue and relief operations there and other flood-affected areas of the Chandel.

"The NDRF is assisting the district administration in rescue and relief operations in Chandel district. They are also trying to recover the bodies. The exact number of casualties is yet to be ascertained," an official source said here.

The operation to retrieve the bodies continued till late afternoon. Another team of the NDRF are expected to arrive tonight or early morning tomorrow. Two air force choppers are pressed into service in relief and rescue operations.

Khengjoy block development officer Mary Memi said rescue operations were hampered by landslides at many places in Chandel district.

The president of the Kuki Students' Organisation in Tengnoupal, Daniel Mate, said because of incessant rain, landslides took place at many places in and around Tengnoupal villages in Chandel district. These places have been cut off from rest of the state.

The state government also deployed state disaster response teams to the flood-affected areas.
The floods caused landslides in many places and inundated houses in Chandel, Tamenglong and Ukhrul districts in the hills and also in the four valley districts. Five bridges were swept away by swelling river water in Chandel district alone.

Road communication between Imphal and the some of the hill districts has been snapped because of landslides. About 300 loaded Imphal-bound trucks were stranded along the Imphal-Jiribam stretch (National Highway 2).

Government sources said the exact number of people left homeless by floods is yet to be ascertained. They added that relief camps were opened for the displaced people.

The floods also submerged vast tracts of standing crops in the four valley districts of Manipur and other low-lying areas in the hills.

According to official sources, floods and landslides blocking roads are regular features during monsoon in Manipur, but the scale of landslides is massive this time.

Experts said landslides were extensive this year because of hill deforestation.

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