Showing posts with label Northeast. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Northeast. Show all posts
30 April 2015

Naga Girl Working in Gurgaon Guesthouse Alleges Rape

By Shilpy Arora

Gurgaon, Apr 30 : A 19-year-old girl from Assam was allegedly raped on Wednesday morning. She works as a support staff in a DLF 1 guesthouse and was on duty around 8.30am when the incident is reported to have taken place.

The girl was at work in the guest house when one of her male colleagues forced himself upon her.

The accused hails from Nepal and works as a cook and support staff at the facility. The girl is reportedly a Naga, hailing from Dima Hasao district of Assam. She has been working in the guesthouse for the past two months, and has alleged that the accused had proposed her for a relationship last month, which she had refused.

According to a representative of a northeast students' centre, the girl initially approached her manager, who after consulting the senior management, requested her to settle the matter mutually with the accused. She refused, but by then, around 12.30pm, the accused had run away. The girl decided to call up the northeast student helpline number, which sent a team of representatives to her help. She was immediately taken to the DLF 1 police station, and then to Civil Hospital for a medical examination.

"She is traumatized. It is shocking that the guest house management did not inform the police, and the accused managed to flee," said Chumbemo M Patton, representing Nagaland at Delhi Police's northeast cell, who helped the girl lodge her complaint.

Representatives of the Naga students union (Delhi) and Zeliangrong students union (Delhi) reached Gurgaon in the afternoon to assist the victim. "We want Gurgaon Police to nab the accused immediately," said a representative from the northeast.

The girl's family, which has been informed about the incident, did not wish to speak to the media. "The matter was reported to the police at around 5pm. The accused had fled by then. We filed an FIR under Section 376 (punishment for rape) of the IPC, and will arrest the accused soon," said ACP (crime) Rajesh Kumar.
27 April 2015

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
24 April 2015

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

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."
22 April 2015

Northeast Students Racially Abused in Bangalore

By Mohit M. Rao

Two journalism students from Arunachal Pradesh were racially abused by four people at Shantinagar Bus Stand on Tuesday evening.
While the youth was also allegedly assaulted, his cousin sister was sexually harassed. The two, who migrated to the city two years ago for their undergraduate studies, were returning home when they were accosted by two people around 8.45 p.m..
“They started sexually harassing me. They were smelling of alcohol, and shouting out dirty comments in broken English,” said the girl who was riding pillion on the two-wheeler. When her cousin stopped the vehicle and removed the helmet, the abuse turned racial.
“They pushed him around and slapped him for no reason. Two others joined them, with one of them claiming to be the son of the commissioner. ‘I am very powerful, you don’t know what I can do,’ he started to say,” the girl told The Hindu .
The duo then called the police, and when no policeman turned up, they took to Twitter to register their complaint on Police Commissioner M.N. Reddi’s handle, @CPBLR.
While advising the two to contact the divisional Deputy Commissioner of Police, Mr. Reddi tweeted, “It is utterly false [the claim of an assaulter that he is the Commissioner’s son]. Somebody has told lies… Whoever they are, will be duly punished.”
The students then orally informed the Ashoknagar police about the incident.
The two are now fearing a backlash. “The assaulters are barely a few metres from our house. We do not know what they will do when they find out we have complained,” they said.
This isn’t the first time the two have faced racial abuse in the city. Persistent harassment has seen them change four houses in nearly two years.
While the youth was also allegedly assaulted, his cousin was sexually harassed

Indian Tourism Minister Travels To Northeast India

Dr Mahesh SharmaDr Mahesh Sharma
India’s Minister for Tourism, Culture and Civil Aviation, Dr Mahesh Sharma, has completed a trip to the country’s remote northeast.

Dr Sharma visited Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Nagaland on the two-day trip, to discuss new and potential tourism projects in the states.

On the first day of his visit on 17 April, the minister held a meeting with Shri Nabam Tuki, the Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh, to discuss his plans for the state’s tourism industry, including a the development of a new regional tourism circuit.  Dr Sharma also pledged the government’s support to develop the infrastructure and facilities required for tourism in the region.

He also paid a visit to the Adventure Camping site and Tourist Lodge in Bhalukpong, Arunachal Pradesh – a project sponsored by Ministry of Tourism as a part of its focus on sports and adventure tourism.

The official trip continued to visit Nagaland and Manipur on 18 April, where Dr Sharma laid the foundation stone for the new Regional Convention Centre of North-East Zonal Cultural Centre (NEZCC) at Dimapur.
21 April 2015

Northeast Militant Group Eyes Tambola Funding

By Rahul Karmakar

Guwahati, Apr 21 : From highway robbery and ‘revolutionary’ taxes to plain old extortion, militants in the northeast have tried every trick in the book to fund their secessionist activities. One group in Meghalaya, however, has now turned to gambling.

A breakaway outfit of the militant A’chik National Volunteers’ Council (ANVC-B) in Meghalaya is raising funds for ‘sustenance’ by organising Bawil-Dawil, a tribal version of tambola or housie – a game of probability played by betting on numbers.

“This is our initiative to sustain members and keep them engaged so they aren’t distracted or forced to return to the jungle out of frustration,” an ANVC-B statement said.

It attributed the novel move to a failure by Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma’s government in providing a rehabilitation package promised during the signing of a peace pact last year. The ANVC-B, headed by Rimpu Marak, insisted the outfit has given up extortion and Bawil-Dawil was the only option to generate funds for the time being.

The police in five districts under Garo Hills – where A’chik National Volunteers’ Council -B and rival outfits operate – said they were not sure if action could be taken against a traditional gambling game.

“Everything’s fine as long as they are not harassing people or causing law and order problems,” a senior officer from Tura, the nerve centre of the Garo Hills districts 284 km southwest of Guwahati, said.

Years ago, Meghalaya had legalised Thoh Kyntip, a traditional archery-based gambling sport popularly known as Teer that entails betting on any number between 1 and 100.

Teams of archers shoot up to 3,000 arrows on a cylindrical target made of hay. The number of successful arrows that remain after eliminating 100 at a time is the lucky number.

Teer, though, is illegal in the Northeast beyond Meghalaya but police say several outfits such as the United Liberation Front of Assam and National Socialist Council of Nagaland make money from illegal Teer counters across the region.
31 March 2015

9 Northeast India Products Gets Geographical Indication Registry

Guwahati, Mar 31 : The organic and exotic agricultural produce of Northeast India got leg up with as many as nine products accorded geographical indication (GI) registry.

These products included Assam Karbi Anglong Ginger, Assam Tezpur Litchi, Meghalaya Khasi Mandarin, Sikkim Large Cardamom, Mizoram Bird Eye Chilly, Manipur Kachai Lemon, Tripura Queen Pineapple, Arunachal Orange and Nagaland Tree Tomato.

Government owned North Eastern Regional Agricultural Marketing Corporation Limited (Neramac) took the initiative to get GI registry to protect exclusive, special local crops of Northeast India four years back. North Eastern Council gave financial support to the initiative.

According to NERAMAC this will pave way for better branding and marketing of these products both in domestic and international Market besides protecting local crops. This will also help to showcase exclusivity of these products. "Process of arranging registration was never easy, as in Northeastern Region very less documentation of products is available which is need for application process."

Govt Allows Prepaid Mobile For 2 More Years in Northeast India

New Delhi, Mar 31 : Pre-paid mobile services in northeast states will be allowed to continue for two more years from Wednesday, in a decision today by the government that will benefit the existing 33 million subscribers there, reports PTI.

The licence of the telecom operators for providing pre-paid services in these areas expires tomorrow.

A high-level committee headed by Union Home Secretary LC Goyal discussed the matter, after which it was decided to give the nod for continuance of these pre-paid services, official sources said.

The Home Ministry, while granting permission, reiterated to the service providers that they would have to maintain utmost precaution in issuing SIM cards and ensure proper verification.

J and K shares borders with Pakistan, while most of the north-eastern states share international borders with countries like China, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Bhutan.

Of the roughly 35 million telecom subscribers in the three circles of J and K, Assam and the North-east, about 33 million have opted for pre-paid services.

Telecom companies offering services on the GSM and CDMA technology platform had permission to continue the same in these sensitive regions till March 31.

In 2009, the Department of Telecom had banned pre-paid mobile phone services in these regions on grounds of national security.

The ban was withdrawn the next year but the department tightened the verification process for new customers and ordered re-verification of existing subscribers.

Pre-paid SIM cards issued in these three regions will, however, continue to remain non-operational outside their telecom circles and, similarly, pre-paid numbers issued outside these circles will not be operational in these areas.
30 March 2015

Northeast India Prepaid Mobile Services Decision Today

New Delhi, Mar 30 : Doubts persist over continuance of pre-paid mobile phone services in Assam  and other Northeastern states beyond March 31 as government is yet to take a decision on extending permission to telecom service providers for the facility in these sensitive regions.

If a decision is not taken within the next two days, about 33 million subscribers may be affected.

A high-level committee headed by Union Home Secretary LC Goyal will deliberate on the issue today where a final decision on whether to continue the pre-paid service in these regions will be taken, highly placed sources informed.

The Home Ministry is expected to give its nod to continue the pre-paid mobile services in the three telecom circles - Assam and Northeast -with some riders that include restrictions on some frontier pockets and sensitive areas where there is presence of militant groups.

A few norms could also be added in the existing subscriber verification process.

It was in March, 2013 when the last decision was taken allowing the telecom service providers to offer the pre-paid mobile phone services in these three telecom circles for two years.
27 March 2015

Audi inaugurates first dealership in North-East India

audi-northeast, Audi showroom in Northeast, Audi India, Audi Guwahati, Audi in Assam
The new venture was inaugurated by Audi India’s head Joe King, in the presence of Pulak Goswami, Chairman, Audi Guwahati.

Audi has inaugurated its first dealership in the North-East region of the country as it opened a new showroom in Guwahati, Assam. Located at the NH37, Lalmati, the new outlet will run under the banner of ‘Audi Guwahati’. The new venture was inaugurated by Audi India’s head Joe King, in the presence of Pulak Goswami, Chairman, Audi Guwahati.

Spread across over 15,000 sq.ft. of area, the new facility incorporates the showroom area for the display of vehicles, an exclusive arena for merchandise and a service facility, which is spread over an area of 7,600 sq. ft. The service floor includes a dedicated body and paint shop. The aftersales facility is capable of carrying out service of six cars in a single day.

With the new dealership kick-starting its operation, Audi is aiming to sell close to 150-200 units per year from its Guwahati outlet. Further, Audi Guwahati claims that it has already received bookings for around 50 units in the region, which going forward is forecasted to get even better. Also, apart from serving customers from seven states of North-East, the Audi Guwahati will also cater to prospective customers in West Bengal, Orissa, Jharkhand and Bihar.

Commenting on the inauguration of this new dealership, Joe King said, “We enter a new place only when we see there is a market for us. We expect to sell a minimum of 150-200 units in the first year.

We are the first luxury car maker to enter this market and we will definitely get the first mover’s advantage.”
19 March 2015

FCI To Ferry Another 10,000 Tonne Rice for Tripura via Bangladesh

Agartala, Mar 19 : The Food Corporation of India (FCI) has taken initiative to transport another 10,000 tonnes of rice for Tripura by using the water and land routes of neighbouring Bangladesh, the state government said today.

"Our rail line from Lumding to Badarpur in Assam is closed in view of gauge conversion. It would be completed next year only. So, we urged the central government for ferrying the granules by using the Ashuganj port. FCI informed us that transportation would be started after March 22," Tripura Food and Civil Supplies Minister Bhanulal Saha told reporters.

Train services in Tripura, Manipur, Mizoram and Cachhar and Karimganj districts of Assam were closed since last October for conversion of railway tracks from narrow gauge to broad gauge, which is likely to be operational in March 2016.

Saha said, it was necessary to create a buffer stock of food grain in the state before the monsoon sets in June.

The Ashuganj port on the river Meghna in Brahmanbaria district of Bangladesh is about 50 km from here.

The minister said rice would be uploaded from Kolkata port and would be unloaded in the Ashuganj port from where it would be carried to Agartala by using the Bangladeshi trucks.

The distance between Agartala and Kolkata is reduced to 650 km from 1,700 km if not traveled through 'chicken neck area' or Siliguri Corridor.
17 March 2015

Railways To Connect All Northeastern State Capitals by 2020

Railways to connect all northeastern state capitals by 2020

Silchar, Mar 17 : The Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR), which is building rail infrastructure in the region, has targeted to connect all its eight state capitals by 2020, a senior official has said.

"We would connect all the state capitals of the eight northeastern states by railway link within 2020," NFR general manager (construction) Rakesh Kumar Singh told reporters here.

He said: "Mizoram capital Aizawl and Manipur capital Imphal would be connected by railway network by 2018 and 2019 respectively. The capitals of the remaining states would be linked by 2020 and the works are on to achieve the target."

Tripura's capital Agartala already connected by railway networks, even though line between Assam's Silchar-Agartala is meter gauge.

Agartala came up on the country's rail map in 2008. Currently, northeastern states have around 2,700 km railway line comprising meter gauge and broad gauge (BG) lines, officials said.

Singh, who was leading a 45-member NFR team, arrived in Silchar railway station from Guwahati on Sunday afternoon with the first nine-bogie railway trial inspection train, which left for Guwahati on Monday.

On Friday, the team said it successfully carried out trial run of a diesel engine from Lumding to Silchar on the newly-converted broad gauge (BG) line. The regular train service on the new BG line would be conducted from April after the clearance of Railway Safety Commissioner.

The total length of Lumding-Silchar BG line is 220 km and it consists of 17 tunnels (with longest one being 3.235 km long), 79 major bridges, 340 minor bridges, 28 railway stations and four halt stations.
The NFR general manager (construction) said now the Silchar-Agartala railway track would be converted from meter gauge to BG by March next year.

The foundation of the much-delayed gauge conversion project -- Lumding to Silchar and Silchar to Agartala -- was laid by the then prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda in Silchar in 1996.

In 2004, the then prime minister Manmohan Singh declared the project a national one.

The railways faced severe criticism for the delay in completing the Rs.5,185-crore project that is considered to be a lifeline for southern Assam, Tripura, Mizoram and Manipur.

Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu, during his budget speech in the parliament on February 26, said the Indian Railways was committed to provide rail connectivity to all the northeastern states.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Nov 29, 2014 flagged off a train between Meghalaya's Mendipathar and Guwahati, a distance of 131 km, and laid the foundation stone for a 51.38 km-long new broad gauge railway line between Bhairabi and Sairang in Mizoram.

On February 20, Modi flag off the first weekly air-conditioned express train service between Delhi and Arunachal Pradesh in Itanagar.
16 March 2015

Jessica Marbaniang from Meghalaya Crowned as Sunsilk Mega Miss Northeast 2015

Guwahati, Mar 16
: In  front  of  an audience  of  approximately  900 spectators from all across the north eastern region, Jessica Marbaniang from Meghalaya was  crowned  Sunsilk Mega Miss North East 2015  at  the  ITA Cultural Complex, Machkhowa.  The contestants travelled to Guwahati for almost a week of activities, grooming and training sessions conducted by Mega Entertainment, followed by rehearsals, leading up to the Grand Finale of the pageant.

The pageant has been supported by Fashion Partner Reliance Trends, Styling Partner Lakme and Telecom Partner Vodafone. ​​Jessica Marbaniang is the fourth young woman to take home the Sunsilk Mega Miss North East crown from Meghalaya.  20 year old Jessica is a 2nd year B. Music student of St. Anthony’s College, Shillong. She stays with her parents and little sister in Shillong.

Jessica has won a custom American diamond tiara, cash prize, and gifts from pageant sponsors, travel opportunities, professional representation by Mega Entertainment, and opportunity to walk for Reliance Trends in the biggest fashion event of the country, Lakmé Fashion Week in Mumbai.

The three winners will be offered a professional grooming session, which would guide them further on how to carry themselves forward in the professional sphere. Besides, they will also get the opportunity to be a part of various regional and national assignments.

The organizers of the event, Mega Entertainment, had shortlisted 31 women, who vied for the coveted title of Sunsilk Mega Miss North East 2015. The pageant is inspired by Designer/ Fashion Choreographer and the powerhouse of fashion & pageant industry Abhijit Singha.
​​Abhijit Singha, Founder of Mega Entertainment and Managing Director of Sunsilk Mega Miss North East 2015, spoke during the crowning ceremony, “Through Sunsilk Mega Miss North East we look for a young and aspiring talent that is fit, intelligent and driven to be a role model – using her attributes to make a difference in the society. The pageant will not culminate with mere crowning of the winners. We also make it a mission to give them an international platform from where their dreams can take flight. Today’s ​​winner Jessica Marbaniang will walk for Reliance Trends at the Lakmé Fashion Week, which in itself is a dream-come-true for various well established models too.”

Vedika Mohan and  former Mega Mr. North East Piyush Sharma joined  forces  to  host  this  year’s  show  for  the  first  time  as  co‐hosts. During the strong competition the contestants were judged in four segments: traditional wear, cocktail designer wear, evening gown presentation and personality interview as they vied for the coveted title of Sunsilk Mega Miss North East 2015. The reigning beauty queens Leni Ralte from Mizoram – 2nd Runner-up 2014, Archana Barman from Assam – 1st Runner-up 2014 and on behalf of Natasha Wahlang from Meghalaya who was Mega Miss North East 2014, Juhi Gogoi – Sunsilk Mega Miss North East 2013 crowned their respective successors at the conclusion of the pageant.

The  judges  who  sealed  the  fate  of  this  year’s  winner  included: Monika Devi, Committee Member of Mega Entertainment;  Neelotpal Deka, the first Cyber Crime Lawyer of North East and Radhika Radia, AVP Operations & Channel Relations – GRACENOTE (Tribune Media Services).

The pageant organizers were also judged for a series of sub-awards. The results were as under- Rinki Chakma from Tripura was awarded Sunsilk Miss Beautiful Hair; Linita Thounajam from Manipur was awarded Lakme Perfect Radiance Diva; Reliance Trends Miss Trendy was given to Jessica Marbaniang from Meghalaya; Priyanka Baishya from Assam won Miss Photogenic award; and Vodafone Most Popular Female award, which is selected on the basis of highest number of votes received and allows direct entry into the semi-final, was given away to Shivangi Baheti from Assam.

Besides the regular sub-awards, Sonia Marak from Shillong (Meghalaya) won a wildcard entry to the pageant through the Lakme Perfect Radiance Ticket to Fame contest.

Centre To Launch ‘Make in Northeas’ Drive

New Delhi, Mar 16 : Taking a leaf out of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s book, the Ministry of DoNER is planning to launch a ‘Make in Northeast’ initiative.

Addressing the first meeting of the Parliamentary Consultative Committee attached to his Ministry, DoNER Minister Dr Jitendra Singh informed the members that the ministry will take up the ‘Make in North-East’ project in the lines of the ‘Make in India’ campaign announced by the Prime Minister.

The consultative committee discussed the issues of promotion of tourism, development of connectivity and other infrastructure projects in the region. The meeting was attended by Union Ministers of State, Sarbananda Sonowal and Kiren Rijiju.

Dr Singh said that the ministry is also arranging a Mega Festival in Delhi by involving NEC and the North Eastern States shortly. He also informed the members that the hostel facilities for NE students in Delhi are also being increased by constructing two more new hostels for them. There is also a proposal to set up a study centre in the Jawaharlal Nehru University for the students from the region.

The ministry has also decided to appoint boxing champion MC Mary Kom as the brand ambassador of the North-East, Dr Singh told newsmen.

Meanwhile, the Minister of State for Sports and Youth Affairs, Sarbananda Sonowal, told the meeting that the main concern of the States is connectivity and infrastructure development. He, however, suggested that the projects in the region should be taken up as per the requirements of the States and should not be decided unilaterally.

The Minister of State for Home Affairs, Kiren Rijiju, highlighting the issue of organic farming in the region said that his ministry is implementing the Bezbaruah Committee report, which has also recommended the setting up of a world-class convention centre in Delhi for the North-Eastern States. He mentioned that the problems of the power sector, tourism and civil aviation are required to be coordinated with the concerned ministries by the Ministry of DoNER.

The members highlighted the issues of the region, ranging from tourism, power, roads, civil aviation, organic farming, horticulture development, processing and packaging of fruits.

Mary Kom To Be Brand Ambassador Of Northeast India To Promote Region

New Delhi, Mar 16 : The central government will appoint Olympic medallist boxer M.C. Mary Kom as the brand ambassador for north-east India to promote the region in the rest of the country and abroad, officials said on Sunday.

"Under the leadership of DoNER (Development of North Eastern Region) Minister Jitendra Singh, a committee earlier shortlisted the names of some famous personalities before selecting the brand ambassador for the north-eastern region."

"Finally, the DoNER ministry decided to appoint Mary Kom as the brand ambassador of the region," a Tripura sports department official said.

He said: "Mary Kom as brand ambassador of the north-east India would promote the region to the rest of India and abroad, and highlight the issues of the region comprising eight states."

Mary, 32, who hails from Manipur, is a five-time world amateur boxing champion and the only woman boxer to have won a medal in each of the six world championships.

Also a mother of three, Mary Kom recently announced in Imphal that she would quit the sport after the Rio de Janeiro Olympics next year.

The cultural tradition of Manipur is sports-oriented and the state, as a result, has produced many athletes. Mary Kom cemented the north-eastern state's position as a powerhouse of talent with her 2012 Olympic bronze.

Winning medals in many international and national meets, the Hindi film industry made a movie based on her life, starring actor Priyanka Chopra.

Addressing the 10th North East Business Summit on Friday in New Delhi, Singh said: "The government wanted a person who would showcase various aspects of the region, including life, culture and business. A person who was not only an icon locally but also a source of motivation for the youth of the north-east in the country and abroad."

An official announcement in this regard would be made soon, Singh said.

According to a global consultancy report, north-east India offers business opportunities worth Rs.2.4 trillion among various sectors.
13 March 2015

Northeast Study Programme in Delhi School


New Delhi, Mar 13 : As a special initiative to conduct comparative and collaborative research on the Northeast that informs public policy away from the rhetorical categories that see the Northeast as a problem, the Delhi School of Economics has started a “Northeast India Studies Programme.”

In the last few years, the Northeast region has hit the national headlines for reasons ranging from the Armed Forces Special Powers Act to the insurgency problem to illegal migration from Bangladesh to being victims of violence in metropolitan cities due to their culture and lifestyle, Dr Kamei Aphun, the convenor of the programme, said as he explained its objective.

“This programme aims to have exchange with the Northeast, accelerate social science research by attracting the best PhD scholars and leverage the strengths of the department in comparative research along with closely collaborating with other academic and policy-research institutions such as the Asian Dialogue Society, Singapore; Jawaharlal Nehru University, Jamia Millia University, print and digital media. This will be the first such programme in the country,” added Dr Aphun.

Appreciating the effort, Robin Hibu, joint commissioner of police and Northeast nodal officer, Delhi police, said, “As a policeman and nodal officer for the Northeast, I feel that such scholarly work should reach out to as large an audience as possible, let your research be available to all, share it with us, policy makers, the youth and give solutions.

I am connected to over 18 lakh Northeast youth from around the world through our FB page and receive hundreds of complaints, suggestions and comments everyday. I feel these youth feel left out somewhere or the other. The benefits of developmental policies have not reached equitably.”

Speaking on what the youth from the Northeastern states feel, Mr Hibu said, “They say they are made to feel like outsiders, like ‘exotic’ people, who are different from others. They want the academia to change perceptions, trap the potential and hope of the youth through their research. Every tribe in the Northeast has its own way of life and we have to accept those differences.”
11 March 2015

North East region is our land bridge to South East Asia: MEA Delhi, Mar 11 : The Chief Ministers of North Eastern States have been invited to participate in the inaugural session of the Delhi dialogue with ASEAN states commencing tomorrow as the North East region is India's 'land bridge' to South East Asia, a vital component of the country's 'Act East' policy, disclosed Secretary East of the Ministry of External Affairs, Wadhwa to the media here today.

"The North East region is our land bridge to South East Asia. As in the previous years, as a step to integrate North East India with the ASEAN region, as envisioned in India's Look East/Act East Policy, the Chief Ministers of North Eastern states have been invited to be part of the inaugural session of the Delhi Dialogue VII to share their vision of participating in the ASEAN-India strategic partnership," MEA Secretary (East) Anil Wadhwa told the media here today , ahead of the seventh edition of the Delhi Dialogue 'ASEAN-India: Shaping the post 2015 Agenda'.

Wadhwa further said that the 2015 edition of the Delhi Dialogue has come at a crucial time for strengthening the partnership between India and the ASEAN nations.

"This year's Delhi Dialogue assumes even more salience on two accounts. One, it comes in an year which is a milestone in the history of ASEAN, as it moves towards the ASEAN Economic Community which is the culmination of decades-old economic integration efforts to create a free market for goods, services, investment, capital, and skilled labour. Secondly, it comes at a time when our own foreign policy has entered an era of new vigour and dynamism as our erstwhile 'Look East Policy' transforms into an 'Act East Policy'," he said.

The Delhi Dialogue VII, which will start tomorrow , will see participation of Thailand Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister; Cambodia Minister of Education, Indonesia Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Myanmar Deputy Foreign Minister and ASEAN Deputy Secretary General .
10 March 2015

India Begins To Play Official Role in Myanmar Peace Process: Zoramthanga

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The upcoming visit would be Narendra Modi's second visit to Myanmar in seven months.

By Adam Halliday

Aizawl, Mar 10 : As New Delhi begins to play an official role in peace talks between Naypyitaw and Myanmar’s ethnic rebel armies, the neighbouring country is gearing up to host Prime Minister Narendra Modi in May (which would be Modi’s second visit there in seven months), said peace envoy and former Mizoram CM Zoramthanga on Monday.
The former rebel leader and current supremo of the Mizo National Front, which waged a two decade insurgency for an independent country for ethnic Zos, also said New Delhi has agreed to facilitate visits by Myanmar’s rebel leaders to India to study the processes that led to the Mizo Accord of 1986, often hailed as one of the most successful peace deals between a government and an armed insurgency.

“I found that both sides really wanted to have peace but were unable to find a way towards it. In my view they are like an aged bachelor and spinster who really want to marry but just do not know how to set the ball rolling,” he had said earlier, stressing the two sides appeared not to know how to achieve lasting peace in spite of years of negotiations and often failed ceasefires.
Zoramthanga has travelled to Thailand and Myanmar twice this year to meet both Minister Aung Min (who is in charge of Myanmar’s efforts to establish peace with some 16 ethnic armies) and N’ban La (chairman of the United Nationalities Federation Council or UNFC, a grouping of ethnic armies who have fought for autonomy, and earlier independence, since the late 1940s) and other senior leaders from both camps.

The man often called “Vajpayee’s right hand man in the North-East” for his roles in trying to broker peace between NE rebels and New Delhi said he was first contacted by Kachin leaders about four years ago to act as an envoy between Myanmar’s ethnic armies and central government.
His involvement picked up pace when the BJP swept to power last year (the MNF is an NDA constituent) and Ajit Doval, who was instrumental in the Mizo Accord, was appointed National Security Adviser to PM Modi.

Although his first visit to Thailand and Myanmar in mid-January was with the knowledge of the PMO but not it’s official sanction, as he put it (New Delhi had been wary of taking part in Myanmar’s internal affairs), the second trip late last month was more official.

Aung Min, the Myanmar Minister, had written to NSA Ajit Doval on February 26 asking the Indian government to take an active role in helping Myanmar reach a peace deal with the ethnic armies.
The PMO soon afterward assigned a senior official (Zoramthanga has declined to name the official, who he said wishes to remain anonymous) to travel with Zoramthanga and two colleagues to Thailand to meet with rebel leaders holed up there, and later with Myanmar government leaders.

Zoramthanga said the team reached Bangkok on February 27 and in the following days met three UNFC leaders who arrived there from Chiang Mai, the council’s headquarters, and another who was stationed in Bangkok to discuss the way forward.

He said the Indian team then flew to Yangon on March 2, and soon afterwards met Aung Min and other senior leaders in Naypyitaw.

Zoramthanga told The Indian Express the two most important things the two sides agreed on was to host PM Modi in Myanmar as part of this peace process, and for India to facilitate the visits of ethnic army leaders to India to study the processes that led to the Mizo Accord.

“India knows that if there is finally peace in Myanmar, there will be an end to all the different insurgencies in the North-East because most of the rebel’s safe havens would be dismantled. So India needs this peace process to succeed almost as much as Myanmar does,” Zoramthanga said.

My Mizo Restaurant Is Where Hip-Hop Meets Smoked Pork in Delhi

By David Lalrammawia

When I came to Delhi, I was one of those kids wearing my pants low. I’m Mizo—from Mizoram, North Eastern India, which isn’t really mainstream India, so I was exposed to a lot of different things than the people in Delhi were. Back then, no one understood what the fuck I was wearing, even in school. Pants came in standard sizes, so I asked my mom to widen the waist—and she did!

I think it is important to have representation, a presence in society. I opened Mizo Diner because I wanted that kind of representation.

At the time, there wasn’t a single Mizo restaurant in Delhi. None. Other North Eastern states have restaurants, but even at Dilli Haat, a government-run market with food stalls from all over India, there is not a single Mizo restaurant.

I came to Delhi in 2001, from Shillong. I got into graffiti and started doing commercial work, but I decided I couldn’t sustain it. Graffiti is something I love, and I didn’t only want to do it commercially. I wanted to figure out how to make money regularly, and I did not want to work in an office.

"A lot of people in Delhi, and the rest of India, don’t even know what the North East is."

My original idea was to open a cafe in Mizoram. I went and did my homework, but I realized that there’s no culture of people sitting and having coffee there. So I came back to Delhi and my friends, girlfriend, and I said, “Why don’t we open a restaurant here?”

Then we found this space. It was a restaurant, but it was really bad. It was one of those North-Indian/Chinese restaurants, which are everywhere in Delhi. Initially, the four of us were going to run it, but that was too much, so I took it over. It’s been a year now. Management is tough, though. I call up my mom sometimes and say, “I don’t know what I’m going to do! How did you handle us?”

In addition to doing graffiti, I used to be a part of this all-Indian hip-hop crew called Slum Dogs. The b-boys used to hang out at the restaurant in the beginning, and suddenly Mizo Diner became the spot where we all met. Everything started falling into place. Then GQ India wrote about us, calling us “Delhi’s secret hip-hop hangout.” But I don’t want to keep it just a restaurant-restaurant. We’ve had film screenings and music in the past, and maybe we’ll do stand-up comedy soon.

The interesting part is the people who come to Mizo Diner. We’re catering to so many audiences without really aiming—we just put our food out there. Delhiites also come: the pork-eaters. A lot of them like the food but it isn’t something that they’ve tried before.

In the North East, we eat a lot of pork—a lot of pork. Mizo food is often boiled, fermented, or smoked, so on the menu we have smoked pork, and fermented pork with chili and chutney. We also eat beef, but since you can’t really get or sell beef in Delhi, we serve buff (buffalo meat). Since we don’t have a noodle culture, it’s mostly rice and meat, with some boiled vegetables. We have something called changkha bawl: fresh bitter gourd boiled in shrimp paste.

We also mix in Burmese flavors because our cook is Mizo but he’s from Myanmar. There is a big community there. One of our house favorites is tauh—Burmese cabbage salad with peanuts. Of course we use ginger, onion, and a bit of spice, but Mizo food is generally not spicy. We don’t have spices or masala, but we do use herbs.

A lot of people in Delhi, and the rest of India, don’t even know what the North East is, but this area—Humayunpur in Safdarjung Enclave—is a bit North East-centric, with call center workers and students living here because the rent is affordable. People don’t expect to have a restaurant in an area like this.

Besides Mizo Diner, there’s Majnu-ka-tilla (MT), a Tibetan colony in North Delhi. It’s all Tibetans and basic Tibetan food. It is amazing to go there, for us especially, because we kind of look alike. The momos, or dumplings, are really good—the noodles, too. We also have Wangchuk’s Ladakhi Kitchen in Gurgaon. It serves authentic Ladkhaki food. You can even bring your own booze, at least for now.

We don’t have alcohol at Mizo Diner because we’re in a village area. It’s not officially dry, but you can’t get an alcohol license. You need to pay off the authorities, off the record. Everything is under the table.

But the energy in Delhi is negative in a lot of ways. People are deceptive and they fucking lie to you. You have to haggle, but you deal with it. It’s what you make of it.

"People are so fucking horny in Delhi. They can’t get a grip on their sexuality."

We deal with racism, too. Sometimes we go out to Hauz Khas village, and bars and clubs won’t let us in because of what we look like. The word “chinky” is now outlawed—there’s jail time and a fine. It is a bit much, but we used to hear it a lot, like “look at that chinky guy” when we’d walk down the street.

Delhi is rougher than other Indian cities. In Mumbai, you see girls wearing skirts and people don’t stare. Here, everyone is like, “What is she wearing?” To put it bluntly, people are so fucking horny in Delhi. They can’t get a grip on their sexuality.

In Mizoram, though, we have a tribal community; everyone knows everyone, even today. From way back, our thinking was different. We don’t have a caste system. Everyone is more equal. And now we’re all Christians (87 percent), so we have gospel music. My father grew up listening to rock and roll. Now there’s even rap.

The Guardian wrote about Mizo Diner in January as one of four of “Delhi’s new breed of independent restaurants, bars, and clubs.” I don’t really think that what we’re doing is too much of a change, but it is definitely kind of new.

When more and more North Easterners, or Mizos, come to the rest of India and stake their claim in whatever they’re good at, I think people will become more aware of who we are.

As told to Sasha Gora