Showing posts with label Tripura. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tripura. Show all posts
29 April 2021

Tripura DM apologises for disrupting wedding ceremony that continued into curfew hours

In a video that went viral on social media, the District Magistrate was seen stopping a wedding ceremony at Manikya Court, a marriage hall at North Gate of the Palace Compound, supposedly after the 10 pm cutoff time for Covid-19 night curfew to come into force in the Agartala Municipal Council (AMC) areas.

By Debraj DebTripura, Covid-19Tripura West District Magistrate (DM) Dr Shailesh Kumar Yadav orders closure of two marriage halls for violating night curfew order in Agartala. (Photo: Twitter/@Pronamotweets)

Agartala: West Tripura District Magistrate Sailesh Kumar Yadav Tuesday apologised for disrupting a marriage at Manikya Court in Tripura, saying he didn’t intend to “hurt anyone’s sentiments”. Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb has asked Chief Secretary Manoj Kumar to submit a report on the events that transpired.

In a video that went viral on social media, the District Magistrate was seen stopping a wedding ceremony at Manikya Court, a marriage hall at North Gate of the Palace Compound, supposedly after the 10 pm cutoff time for Covid-19 night curfew to come into force in the Agartala Municipal Council (AMC) areas. The video showed him shoving out the bridegroom, arresting everyone present including the bride and groom’s family and tearing up a written permission for the wedding signed by himself.

Yadav said everyone who gathered at the site were in direct violation of prohibitory orders under Section 144 of thr CrPC and would be prosecuted. Over 30 people were arrested and released later.

Opposition leader Manik Sarkar and the CPIM termed the incident as ‘undesired’ and unbecoming of the District Magistrate. It sought proper action against the DM for his behavior.

West Tripura MP and BJP leader Pratima Bhowmik said she would visit the bride’s relatives and speak to them over the incident. “The administration is doing what’s needed to break the chain of transmission of coronavirus. But what happened last night is most undesired. It should not have happened,” the MP said.

Tripura royal scion Pradyot Kishore Manikya Debbarma and chief of TIPRA Motha, which recently won the tribal council elections here, is also the owner of Manikya Court, where the incident happened. In a Facebook post, he called for a complete investigation of the incident and said he will close down the marriage hall “as per the VERBAL direction of Honourable DM Sahib”.

Ruling BJP MLAs including Sudip Roy Barman, Ashish Kumar Saha and Sushanta Choudhury have written to Chief Secretary Manoj Kumar seeking removal of the DM.

After a day of severe criticism on social media, the DM apologised for what happened on Monday night. “All I did was done during the night curfew period last night and was for the benefit and wellbeing of the people. My intention was not to hurt or humiliate the sentiments of anyone,” Yadav told reporters.

Tripura imposed night curfew in Agartala municipal areas on April 22 with a new surge in Covid-19 cases. The state now has 793 active coronavirus patients and two deaths in the last 24 hours.

15 March 2021

Tripura Tribal Council Polls Deferred

Agartala, Mar 15 : The State Election Commission of Tripura has deferred the autonomous district council (ADC) polls by two days to April 6 following objections by some political parties and a body of the Christian community to the earlier date which coincided with Easter Sunday. The election to the 30-member Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) was earlier scheduled on April 4.

“Several representations were received from political parties and other organisations of the State, requesting the Commission to change the date of polling,” State Election Commission Secretary Prasenjit Bhattacharjee said in a notification issued on Friday.

He said it was brought to the notice of the poll panel that voting on April 4 would be inconvenient for a large section of people for whom this day holds special significance as it coincides with Easter Sunday.

Considering the local importance of Easter Sunday, polling for the autonomous tribal administrative body will be held on April 6, he said.

The results of the tribal council polls will be announced on April 10.

According to the 2011 Census report, Christians account for 4.35 per cent of Tripura’s population.

The United Christian Forum for Human Rights had objected to the council election date on April 4 and requested the Commission to change it.

The Opposition CPI(M) and the Congress had also protested against the State Election Commission’s decision to hold the polling on Easter Sunday.

Left body Ganamukti Parishad president Jitendra Chaudhury had posted on a social media site that Easter Sunday falls on April 4, which is a special day for Christians and the Commission should not have chosen the date for the ADC poll.

State Congress vice president Tapas Dey said the election date should be deferred as it coincided with a festival.

Altogether 8,65,041 voters are eligible to exercise their franchise across 1,244 polling stations in the district council election. Polling will begin at 7 am and continue till 9 pm.

Altogether 185 candidates of various parties, including the ruling BJP and its ally Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT), the Left Front, the Congress and the Indigenous Progressive Regional Alliance (TIPRA), have filed their nomination papers.

The last date of filing nominations was on Friday.

The scrutiny of the papers will be completed by March 15.

The TTAADC constitutes a two-third area of the State’s territory and is home to tribal people, who form one-third of Tripura’s estimated 40-lakh population. – PTI

25 August 2015

Bijoy Hrankhawl Wants To Act As 'Interlocutor' in Peace Talks

Agartala, Aug 25 : A former insurgent turned politician, Bijoy Hrankhawl, on Monday offered to be an "interlocutor" in the ongoing tripartite peace talks between the outlawed National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT), the state government and the Centre.

"We should always give peace a chance. I am ready to be an interlocutor to persuade the NLFT or any banned outfit to have a meaningful dialogue with the governments for restoring peace in the state," Hrankhawl told PTI over phone.

However, the former insurgent leader said he did not receive any communication from the Centre or the state government, but knew from media reports that the NLFT offered the Centre to appoint him, Mizo National Front (MNF) leader and former Mizoram chief minister Joramthanga to be the interlocutors.

Two rounds of tripartite talks were completed in Delhi and Shillong in the past six months.

Hrankhawl criticised Chief Minister Manik Sarkar for his comments that he had links with the NLFT.

"From the day I have come over ground, I have always remained a backer of peace and tranquillity. Obviously I know NLFT leaders; otherwise how will I act as an interlocutor? I do not know why the Chief Minister is annoyed at the proposal of the NLFT to appoint me as an interlocutor," he said.

Sarkar had said he was informed that Hrankhawl had links with the banned NLFT and that was proved when the NLFT named him to be the interlocutor.
07 July 2015

Tripura co plans piped gas supply to 10000 homes

By Biswendu Bhattacharjee

Agartala, Jul 7 : Aiming to ensure smokeless cooking gas to kitchens in Agartala, Tripura Natural Gas Company Ltd (TNGCL) has set a target of supplying piped natural gas (PNG) to 10,000 new households by March 2016.

TNGCL had already connected more than 20,000 households in Agartala with PNG.

"If we replace all Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) cylinders with PNG in the city, the cylinders can be distributed in the villages where women are still cooking with firewood," said Jitendra Choudhury, chairman of Tripura Industrial Development Corporation Ltd (TIDC) and Lok Sabha MP.

He added that TNGCL is a joint venture of TIDC, a government of Tripura undertaking, and AGCL is a government of Assam undertaking. Since 2005, Gas Authority of India Ltd (GAIL) is also a major shareholder to facilitate the implementation of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) in the transport sector of the state.

Agartala became the first city in eastern India in 2010 when conversion of vehicles to CNG was launched. It was targeted to convert all vehicles to CNG by 2013. But non-expansion of CNG filling stations is the reason why it did not happen yet, said Choudhury. He however, pointed out that besides PNG connection to kitchens, more than 5000 auto-rickshaws and over 1,500 other vehicles, including buses, were being fitted with CNG kits mostly in Agartala and Udaipur. "Due to insufficient flow of gas in northern and southern parts of the state, TNGCL is not being able to expand the network of CNG filling stations. ONGC is exploring new gas fields to enhance performance of the existing wells," added Choudhury.

Besides household connections, TNGCL has already provided PNG connection to 300 commercial business centers and 47 factory units in the Bodhjungnagar industrial area on the outskirts of Agartala. To cater to the increasing number of CNG vehicles, the company has set up a main CNG refilling station at Udaipur in South Tripura.
28 May 2015

Tripura Withdraws AFSPA

Tripura withdraws controversial AFSPAThe Tripura government had withdrawn the eighteen-year-old AFSPA from the state with immediate effect, said chief minister Manik Sarkar.

Agartala, May 28 : The Tripura cabinet withdrew the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) in a state cabinet meeting on Wednesday. The present six-month term of the Act will expire this month.

The Tripura government had withdrawn the eighteen-year-old AFSPA from the state with immediate effect, said chief minister Manik Sarkar. "Insurgency has come down to near zero in the state. The demand for withdrawing AFSPA had been made at various levels. But we could not take the final decision as the security forces did not give the final go ahead," the CM added.

AFSPA was promulgated in the state on February 16, 1997, owing to the relentless violence and bloodshed during the period. Following the provisions of the Act, it was reviewed and extended every six months for the past 18 years.

"Recently, when the proposal of further extension of AFSPA came up for discussion to the state government, we sought report from all concerned departments about the law and order and the militant's movement and activities. Finally, the security agencies have agreed to the proposal of withdrawing the Act," the CM said.

Initially, AFSPA was imposed across two-thirds of the police station areas in the state but gradually its extent was reduced with improving situation. At present, AFSPA is operational fully in 26 police station areas and partially in four police station areas out of 74 police stations and 36 outposts of Tripura.

"There has been a qualitative change in the law and order and the state is witnessing development. Peace loving people do not want violence anymore and rather look forward to all round development on a par with the rest of the country. We reviewed and found out that AFSPA need not be extended further," he added.

With the Act's withdrawal, the people of the state can freely travel on National Highway 44 till 12 midnight, which till recently was allowed till 10pm, the CM said.

On the issue of repatriation of Bru inmates from six camps of North Tripura to Mizoram, the CM maintained that the Centre had made several attempts to send them back to their homeland, but the Nagaland government was against it and even a section of self-styled Bru leaders had prevented it.

"The ministry of home affairs has initiated the process, following the apex court's direction, to repatriate them to Mizoram for their secure future. We are hoping that the Mizoram government, too, will cooperate in the process and ensure their safety and other basic needs," he said.
19 May 2015

'Tripura Tribal Council To Be Made Model Autonomous Body'

'Tripura tribal council to be made model autonomous body' There are 16 autonomous district councils (ADCs) in northeast India, facilitating the socio-economic development of tribals, who make up 28 percent of the region's total population of around 45.58 million.

Agartala, May 19 : The Tripura tribal council will be be made a model autonomous body in the northeast India, ensuring alround development of tribals, its new chief Radhacharan Debbarma said on Monday.

"TTAADC (Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council) would be made a model and best council in the northeastern region by achieving alround development of the tribals," the council's new Chief Executive Member (CEM) Radhacharan Debbarma told reporters.

"Already our council became one of the best tribal autonomous bodies in the northeast India," he said.

"The other tribal autonomous bodies of the northeastern region have earlier taken lessons from the TTAADC for their alround performances and welfare of the tribals."

There are 16 autonomous district councils (ADCs) in northeast India, facilitating the socio-economic development of tribals, who make up 28 percent of the region's total population of around 45.58 million.

Of the 16 ADCs, mostly formed under the Seventh or Sixth Schedule of the Indian Constitutions, six are in Manipur, three each in Assam, Meghalaya and Mizoram and one in Tripura.

Tripura's ruling Left Front led by the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) in the May 3 elections to the 30-member TTAADC retained the tribal autonomous body for the third consecutive term.

Elections were held for the 28 seats of the 30-member TTAADC, which has jurisdiction over two-thirds of Tripura's 10,491 square km territory. The government nominates the remaining two members.

All the 28 seats were won by Left candidates, with the CPI-M sweeping 25 seats. Its allies Communist Party of India, Revolutionary Socialist Party and Forward Bloc won one seat each.

Radhacharan Debbarma, a veteran tribal leader of the CPI-M, along with eight executive members on Monday assumed office at a colourful function at TTAADC headquarters in Khumulwng (25 km northeast of Agartala), where Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, his council of ministers, senior political leaders and top officials were present.

Tripura law department secretary Data Mohan Jamatia administered the oath of office and secrecy to the nine executive members, including 54-year-old Radhacharan Debbarma, a most vibrant face among CPI-M tribal leaders.

The CPI-M replaced Ranjit Debbarma, another veteran tribal leader, by Radhacharan Debbarma in the key post of CEM.

Debbarma would be the chairman (like speaker of the state assembly) of the council subsequently.

Since its formation in 1982, the Left Front has controlled the TTAADC except on two terms -- 1990-95 and 2000-05. In 1990-95, the Congress-Tripura Upajati Juba Samity, a tribal party now defunct, controlled the TTAADC.

The tribal-based local party Indigenous People's Front of Tripura ran it in 2000-05.

The CPI-M enjoys substantial support among the tribals and non-tribals in the state.

After the formation of The TTAADC 33 years ago under the seventh schedule of the constitution, its authority was upgraded in August 1984 to protect and safeguard the political, economic and cultural interests of tribals, who constitute one-third of Tripura's 3.7 million population.
30 April 2015

Kokborok in Tripura University

By Sekhar Datta

Agartala, Apr 30 : The Tripura Central University will introduce full-fledged MA course in Kokborok language.

Since the 1996, the university has been teaching Kokborok as a six-month certificate course but growing demand for development of the language persuaded governor P.B. Acharya to call for its study at the university level.

A final decision was taken at a recent meeting of the university and the course will be launched from the current academic year.

Disclosing this in an interaction with reporters yesterday, Tripura Central University vice-chancellor Anjan Kumar Ghosh said preparation for the launching of MA course in Kokborok was on.

"The syllabus has been finalised and now printing of books is on. We will hold an admission test for the course as well as for other courses between May 25 and 28. Leading experts in Kokborok, including poets and authors in the language will be inducted as teachers till final appointments are made," said Ghosh.

Tripura's leading poet Ratul Debbarma expressed his "joy and satisfaction" over the varsity's decision: "It will boost the study and process of learning of the language."

However, a script controversy - whether to use modified Bengali or Roman script - still remain unresolved.

Chief minister Manik Sarkar made it clear in a tribal literary conference in 2013 that the majority view of tribals on the script would be accepted by the government.

"Till finalisation of a single original script the language will be studied in modified Bengali script devised by late linguist Kumud Kundu Chowdhury," said Debbarman.
06 February 2015

Northeast Gets its First Solar Power Plant

By: Sujit Chakraborty

Monarchak (Tripura):
North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO) has commissioned a five-MW solar power plant at Monarchak in Tripura, which will be the biggest and the first of its kind in Northeast  India.

"We started generation of power from the solar power plant from Wednesday. The full (5-MW) commercial generation would start within a month after completing some technicalities," NEEPCO general manager SR Biswas said.

The solar power plant was commissioned at a cost of Rs.40 crore. The entire power from the plant would be transmitted to the Tripura power grid.

Biswas said NEEPCO will set up a 50-MW solar power plant in Madhya Pradesh and a two-MW plant in Lanka in Nagaon district of Assam. "As per the government policy, NEEPCO has initiated the process to set up more and more solar, non-conventional and renewable power plants in various parts of the country," he said.
Meanwhile, after a huge delay, the ONGC on Sunday night started supplying gas to NEEPCO's 101-MW capacity power plant in Monarchak, 70 km south of Tripura capital Agartala and just eight km from the Bangladesh border. NEEPCO, a mini-ratna company under the Union Power Ministry, has set up the Rs.9.5 billion (nearly $150 million) gas-based power plant in Monarchak.

Biswas said if the supply of gas from ONGC remains uninterrupted, the power project would start generation of electricity from March and the full commercial generation (101 MW) of power would start from August.

He said non-supply of gas by ONGC resulted in loss of Rs.5 crore a month. The foundation stone of the Monarchak power project was laid during the previous National Democratic Alliance government in March 2002 and the Tripura government allotted the required land to NEEPCO in 2003. By using the latest technology, the generation capacity of three existing power plants in Tripura will be augmented by around 70 MW without increasing fuel consumption.

23 October 2014

Mizo IAS Oficer Transferred Over Report Leak in Tripura

Agartala, Oct 23 : Tripura’s Left Front government has initiated efforts to save the officers and employees involved in the Rs 17-crore scam in Bishalgarh block.

In a move to punish those responsible for leaking out the special audit report that found gross irregularities in the 36 out of the 52 gram panchayats and village committees under the Bishalgarh block to the tune of Rs 17 crore, the state government yesterday transferred senior IAS officer and director of the state audit department, Lalnuna Rukhum, to the relatively less important post of officer on special duty (OSD) in state institute of personnel and rural development (SIPARD).

“This is virtually a demotion because a senior IAS officer cannot be posted as OSD, SIPARD. Perhaps the government suspects Rukhum for leaking the special audit report,” said a senior official in the state secretariat. He said apart from Bishlagarh block, the special audit report on national rural health mission (NRHM) scam has also reached the Opposition.

Even 33 days after the FIR was filed against 12 officers and employees of Bishalgarh, including former BDO Bimal Chakraborty, nobody has been arrested so far.

The police searched the houses of two junior engineers and a head clerk without a search warrant, three weeks after the filing of the FIR, but failed to recover anything related to the scam.
25 September 2014

Tripura High Court starts SMS Service

Agartala, Sep 25 : The high court of Tripura is now being recognized as an IT-enabled HC in the country.

According to reports, the Tripura HC has introduced SMS service for both litigants and respondents for the first time in the country. It has drawn the attention of the Supreme Court. Now, it is being replicated in other HCs of the country.

"Pull-based SMS system is working as client satisfaction tool in the HC. Immediately after filing a case, a litigant gets an SMS. But SMSs are of two types - if any error is found while filing, the system-generated SMS suggests specific correction in the petition. If the filing is error-free, the petitioner gets an SMS with case number and before every hearing, both the parties get SMS," a top official of HC said.

The auto-generated SMS, voluntarily sent by the high court, has increased the level of satisfaction of the litigants about the judiciary and also curtailed dependency of petitioners on advocates for basic information.

Though a few high courts like Bombay and Punjab have push-based SMS service, Tripura high court is the pioneer in introducing the system. In push-based SMS, the litigant or the respondent has to seek information about the case in the toll-free network and upon receiving the requisition, the court pushes the information.

But in case of pull-based system, the court sends information voluntarily and at the time of filing the case, the litigant has to give his contact details in the application.

The official pointed out that after setting up of separate high court in Tripura in March last year, about 7,500 cases have been disposed of so far.
26 August 2014

Central Team To visit Bru Refugee Camps in Tripura

Agartala/Aizawl, Aug 26 : A central team arrived here on Monday to take stock of the condition of Mizoram's displaced Reang tribals, locally called 'Bru', living in refugee camps in Tripura, an official said here.

About 35,000 Reang tribals are staying in seven camps in Tripura for about 17 years after they fled their villages in Mizoram following ethnic troubles after the killing of a Mizo forest official.

"The union home ministry has recently constituted a seven-member committee headed by Rajiv Gauba, the ministry's additional secretary, to oversee the condition of the refugees in the Tripura camps," Swapan Saha, Tripura's relief and revenue department secretary, told IANS.

"The central team arrived here today (Monday) and they would visit the refugee camps tomorrow (Tuesday)," Saha said.

He said the central team, also comprising officials of the human resource development ministry, social justice and empowerment ministry, Tripura government and representatives of three NGOs from New Delhi, West Bengal and Assam, will submit its report to the union home ministry and the Tripura High Court by Sep 12.

The central team was constituted following a directive from the Tripura High Court, which passed an order June 24 after a lawyer filed a petition on the alleged miserable conditions of the refugees and the camps they are living in.

"The central team would oversee the sanitation, health, educational and other facilities there," Saha added. Meanwhile, Tripura Governor Padmanabha Balakrishna Acharya visited the refugee camps Sunday and told them that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has sent him to see the conditions of the displaced people.

"Do not be upset, good days are ahead for you. Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre would resolve all the problems of all of you," the governor told the refugees while addressing gatherings of migrants in different camps.

Refugee leader and Mizoram Bru Displaced People's Forum (MBDPF) general secretary Bruno Mesha submitted a memorandum to the governor.

The memorandum contains 10 demands which included providing all facilities to the refugees like Kashmiri Pandits and Tamil refugees, allotment of lands to all the repatriated tribals, creation of model villages in Reang tribals' inhabited areas, ensure better security and sanitation, health and education to the tribals in Mizoram.

Acharya, who is the governor of Nagaland with additional charge of Tripura, promised the refugees to take up their matter with the central government.

The Mizoram government recently asked the union home ministry to take up with the Election Commission the issue of deleting from the electoral lists the names of those refugees, who are unwilling to leave Tripura camps and return to Mizoram.

"Mizoram Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla earlier this month held a meeting with Home Secretary Anil Goswami in New Delhi and requested him to take action over deleting the names of those refugees who are not willing to return to Mizoram," an official of the Mizoram government told IANS in Aizawl.

"Lal Thanhawla apprised Goswami that while the state government has done its best to take back the refugees from Tripura camps, the state government's efforts have often been opposed by a section of refugee leaders," the official said.

The Tripura government has been repeatedly asking the central government to take steps to repatriate the 35,000 tribal refugees to Mizoram.

Only about 5,000 Reang tribal refugees have returned to their homes in the past three-and-a-half years.
07 August 2014

Foodgrains for Tripura Reach Ashuganj Port

Photo: Reuters Agartala, Aug 7 :  The first consignment of food grains for landlocked northeast India’s Tripura state has reached the Ashuganj river port, a minister here said.

He said that in the next two days, the consignment will enter the state through the Akhaura integrated check post (ICP) by road.

Tripura is now bringing in 10000 MT of foodgrains through the Chittagong-Ashuganj route per month.

If this works, it may soon request Bangladesh for allowing it to bring in 35000 MT of foodgrains through this route.

The consignment started by sea from India’s southern state on Andhra Pradesh on July 3 last and had reached Ashuganj in 31 days.

“We have received the news that the first consignment of 5000 MT of rice reached Ashuganj port today (Wednesday) afternoon and transportation of the consignment to our state is likely to start from coming August 8. We thank Bangladesh for allowing us to use their ports and roads and not charging anything for it,” said Tripura’s food and civil supply minister Bhanulal Saha.

The Food Corporation of India (FCI) will ship 10,000 MT of rice to Tripura from its Vishakhapatnam silo via the Ashuganj port in the neighbouring country under the “Indo-Bangladesh protocol route”.

India has begun using a new trade route via a Bangladeshi port as well as land terrain to ship food grains to the North-east, as the NDA government steps up ties with the neighbour after foreign minister Sushma Swaraj’s recent successful visit to Dhaka.

Moreover, for around two years there shall be a major blockage of train route in Assam due to conversion from meter to broad-gauge between Lumding and Dharmanagar.

This is the lone train route for transporting food grains other than the lone national highway 44 that connects Tripura to mainland India.

“Bangladesh has been kind enough to move the Indian food grains to be transported through sea, river and its roads. Without their co-operation, it would not have been possible,” said B Tayeng, general manager of FCI northeast region.

“We are immediately trying for this route and going to reassess our difficulties after completion of the pilot project. We shall calculate the cost and time differences in transporting food grains on conventional land routes from Punjab to the northeast region by train and through the non-convention route through Bangladesh from Andhra Pradesh.”

The official informed that if the trial is successful then India will go for some permanent arrangement with Bangladesh for regional cooperation so that there is a win-win-situation for both the nations.

The new sea route reduces distance between some south Indian states and the Northeast by about 900 km, potentially cutting down transporters’ operating costs and opening up possibilities of greater commercial traffic.

From Ashuganj port, which is around 34 km from Tripura’s capital Agartala the consignment will be transported in Bangladesh lorries which will enter 7 km inside India up to Nandannagar FCI warehouse.

Tripura along with other northeastern states of India which suffer deficit in their staple food rice, try to make it up from northern surplus states like Punjab, Haryana or Chhattisgarh by train and roads which are often closed due to natural calamities and law and order problem within the region.

So the Indian government is exploring for an unconventional alternate route through Bangladesh.
05 August 2014

Tripura Shows Way To Regulate E-rickshaws

By Biswendu Bhattacharjee

Agartala, Aug 5 : While the Delhi high court on Monday agreed to review its decision to ban e-rickshaws in the capital, Tripura has long brought these vehicles within the ambit of legislation and is probably the first state to do so.

Replicating the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, the state framed the 'Tripura Battery Operated Rickshaws Rules 2014' to regulate the movement of battery-operated rickshaws in urban areas of the state.

The rules, notified in January, state that a driving licence is mandatory for e-rickshaw drivers, who must not be less than 20 years of age. It will be valid for three years, unless cancelled or suspended if the driver flouts rules.

The licence fee of the battery-operated rickshaws is Rs 300, renewal fee Rs 100, registration fee Rs 1,000 and trade certificate fee Rs 1,000. The operator has to pay Rs 100 as annual road tax.

The rules say engineers of urban local bodies of the rank of executive engineers must issue fitness certificates for the vehicles after a technical assessment.

Each battery-operated rickshaw will have to provide insurance cover to protect the riders. An e-rickshaw can seat four people at the most and can ply only within the jurisdiction of urban local bodies. Registration numbers will be provided once the applications are screened.

"We have notified 55 routes in which these rickshaws can operate. All fall within the Agartala Municipal Area. So far, we have received 531 applications from operators," said Agartala mayor Prafullajit Sinha.

For six months, these rickshaws had operated in Tripura cities without any registration and licence.
30 July 2014

Tripura Get Rice Via Bangladesh From Tomorrow

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Due to shortage of rail wagons, inadequate storage facilities and various other bottlenecks, the Northeastern States have been suffering from poor supply of food grain for most part of the year, especially during the monsoon (June to September),” Tripura’s Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Minister Bhanulal Saha said.
07 July 2014

Tripura Cut-Off By Road From Rest Of Country

Agartala, Jul 7 : The landlocked Tripura was cut-off from the rest of the country by road as a large portion of National Highway-44 (NH-44) was damaged in Assam due to the rains, a minister said here on Friday.

The National Highway got badly damaged in around 10 km in southern Assam's Karimganj district three days ago due to incessant monsoon rains.

The 630-km-long NH-44 is the only one that links Tripura by road with the rest of India via Shillong and Guwahati.

The Tripura government sought Assam and Border Roads Organisation's (BRO) help to urgently repair the road, described as the life line of Tripura.

The BRO under the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways maintains the National Highways in northeast India.

"Our transport secretary and chief engineer of PWD (Public Works Department) Thursday have taken up the matter with their Assam counterparts to take steps to urgently repair the national highway," Tripura Transport Minister Manik Dey told a news agency.

He said: "Our officials have requested the Assam government officials to urgently take up the matter with the BRO.”

"Senior engineers of PWD of both Assam and Tripura have visited the spot (225 km north of Agartala) Thursday. We have also requested the BRO to restore the damaged roads."

An official of the Tripura transport department told a news agency that over 2,000 goods laden trucks and other vehicles with passengers have been stranded for the past three days after the road was damaged.

"If the damaged road was not renovated on urgent basis, the situation would be further worsened and the crisis of essential commodities would be further aggravated," the official said.
30 June 2014

Work on Agartala-Akhaura Railway Link To Begin Next Year

Agartala, Jun 30 : The proposed 15-km long railway link from Agartala to Akhaura will bring economic prosperity and strengthen people to people contact between India and Bangladesh.

An eight-member delegation from Bangladesh recently met their Indian counterparts during the third meeting of the Agartala-Akhaurah railway Link Project Steering Committee in Agartala.

They did a field inspection and visited Agartala railway station and Nischintapur, the bordering village from where the proposed rail line will enter Bangladesh.

India will build 15-km railway tracks, coasting Rs. 252 crores, to link Tripura's capital Agartala with Bangladesh's southeastern city of Akhaurah, an important railway junction connected to Chittagong port, resource-rich Sylhet and Dhaka.

Joint Secretary in Bangladesh Railways, Sunil Chandra Pal, said, "We discussed the decisions taken in the earlier meetings. Both sides are satisfied with the progress. We will finalize the project documents and get approval from the appropriate authority and then start the work, may be by the end of this year or the 1st half of next year."

An agreement to implement the railway project was signed in 2010 between the Prime Ministers of India and Bangladesh.

With the new rail link, Northeast India would be connected to Chittagong international sea port in Bangladesh.

This will help in reducing the time consumed for transporting food grains and other essential commodities.

Joint Secretary in Ministry of External Affairs, Alok K.Sinha, said, "Cooperation in the railway sector between India and Bangladesh is an important component of our bilateral co-operation programme. Several projects have been undertaken. This project in particular when implemented will be greatly beneficial to the people in our two countries."

Surface connectivity is an important factor as India's northeastern states which are surrounded by Bangladesh, Myanmar, Bhutan and China.

The only land route to these states from within India is through Assam and West Bengal. But it passes through over 70 per cent hilly terrain with steep roads and multiple bends.

India has for long been seeking land, sea and rail access through Bangladesh for ferrying good and heavy machinery to its northeast from abroad and other parts of the country.
18 June 2014

Work on New India-Bangladesh Railway Link from 2015

Agartala, Jun 18
: The Indian and Bangladeshi governments will start work early next year on a new rail link to ease surface transport, officials said here Tuesday.

India will build a 15-km railway tracks linking Tripura's capital Agartala with Bangladesh's southeastern city of Akhaurah, an important railway junction connected to Chittagong port, resource-rich Sylhet and Dhaka.

An Indian delegation and a Bangladeshi team attended the third meeting of the Agartala-Akhaurah railway link project steering committee here Tuesday. They will Wednesday go for a field inspection on the Indian side.

"The work for new Agartala-Akhaurah railway link will start early next year. The DPR (detailed project report) will be finalised within a month or so," India's external affairs ministry's joint secretary Alok K.Sinha told reporters after the meeting.

Sinha, who led the Indian delegation, said: "... We will mutually sort out if any problem comes up... The fourth meeting of the project steering committee will be held in Dhaka in December."

The Bangladesh delegation was led by its railway ministry's joint secretary Sunil Chandra Pal.

Pal said: "With the setting up of the new railway connectivity between India and Bangladesh, people of two countries will benefit as they will come closer. Men and materials will be ferried very smoothly."

An agreement to implement the railway project was signed between India's former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Bangladesh Premier Sheikh Hasina during her visit to India in January 2010.

"Total cost of the proposed project is estimated at Rs.252 crore. The Indian Railway Construction Company (IRCON) would lay the new railway tracks on both sides of the border," a senior official (construction) of the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) told reporters.

Of the 15 km rail line, five km of tracks fall in the Indian territory.

The official said: "With the establishment of the new railway link, northeast India will be connected to the Chittagong international sea port by rail."

He said: "The proposed rail link will not only improve bilateral ties but also help in establishing connectivity with inaccessible areas in the northeast as journey from Kolkata to Tripura and other northeastern states via Bangladesh will save cost, time and distance travelled."

Surface connectivity is an important factor as India's northeastern states are surrounded by Bangladesh, Myanmar, Bhutan and China. The only land route to these states from within India is through Assam and West Bengal. But it passes through over 70 percent hilly terrain with steep roads and multiple hairpin bends.

India has for long been seeking land, sea and rail access through Bangladesh for ferrying goods and heavy machinery to its northeast from abroad and other parts of the country.

Agartala is 1,650 km from Kolkata and 2,637 km from New Delhi via Guwahati and West Bengal, whereas the distance between the Tripura capital and Kolkata through Bangladesh is just about 350 km.

The NFR is now laying tracks to connect Tripura's southern most border town Sabroom, 135 km south of here. From Sabroom, the Chittagong international sea port is just 72 km.
16 June 2014

AFSPA Extended in Tripura For 6 More Months

Agartala, Jun 16 : Tripura government has once again extended for six months the operation of AFSPA, the anti-terrorism law that gives full powers to the armed forces to take any steps to control terror, an official said here Saturday.

"Top security and civil officials of the state government recently assessed the prevailing law and order situation of the state and decided to extend the AFSPA (Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958) for another six months," a home department official told reporters.

He said: "A state-level coordination committee (SLCC) on security affairs led by Chief Secretary S.K. Panda periodically assesses the overall security situation in the state with top officials of the state and central security forces".

The SLCC is overseeing the counter insurgency operation in Tripura, which shares an 856-km border with Bangladesh.

Two separatist outfits - National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) and All Tripura Tiger Force (ATTF) - who operate in the state are also sheltering and availing arms training in the adjoining Bangladesh.

Both outfits have set up bases in Bangladesh and get support from other separatist outfits of the northeast India. They have been demanding secession of Tripura from India.

Bangladesh's Rapid Action Battalion earlier this month had recovered a huge cache of arms and ammunition in Satchhari jungles in the northeastern district of Habiganj, bordering India's western Tripura.

The arms and ammunition, belonging to ATTF, included anti-tank weapons, mortars and AF series rifles.

"Though the four-and-half-decade old terrorism has been tamed in Tripura, the state government is averse to taking any chances for some more time," the official added.

The northeastern state of Tripura has 72 police stations. The AFSPA has been in force in 30 police station areas; it is fully operational in 24 police station areas, and partially operational in six.

In view of the improvement of the situation and the lessening of terrorist activities, the Tripura government in June last year reduced operational areas of the AFSPA to 30 police station areas instead of the 40 earlier. The act was earlier fully operational in 34 police station areas, and partially in six.

The act was first enforced in Tripura in 1997, when terrorism was at its peak in the mountainous state.

The central act provides unlimited powers to security forces to shoot at sight, arrest anybody without a warrant, and carry out searches without obstacles and without any one's consent.

It also insulates the security forces from legal processes for any action undertaken under the act.

Local rights groups and political parties, specially the tribal-based Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (INPT), describe the act as "draconian" and want it repealed.

"Innocent people are victimised by the security forces in the name of anti-insurgency operations," said Nagendra Jamatia, former minister and a senior leader of the INPT, an electoral ally of the opposition Congress.

"Demand for repealing the AFSPA was one of the issues in our movement against the Left Front government," Jamatia said.

Besides Tripura, the AFSPA is also in force in Manipur (excluding the Imphal Municipal Council area), Assam and Nagaland, and in the Tirap and Changlang districts of Arunachal Pradesh.

Human rights activist Irom Chanu Sharmila of Manipur has been on an indefinite hunger strike for 14 years, demanding the withdrawal of the act.
11 June 2014

Hunt on for 25 Bangladeshi tribal families in Agartala

By Syed Sajjad Ali

Agartala, Jun 11 : Police and the civil administration have launched a search to track down Bangladeshi tribal families, who have evaded repatriation after around 300 people sneaked into Dhalai district of Tripura through unfenced border. An alert has been sounded for information about 25 families who got scattered after infiltration on June 1 and 2 under the Raisyabari police station limits.

The evacuees mostly from Chakma tribe alleged that they were driven out and their homes gutted by a Chakma group opposed to the PCJSS, which is controlling autonomous hill council meant for three districts in Chittagong hill tracts of southeast Bangladesh. Inter-faction clashes and targeted killings have also pushed tribal residents to the Indian side.

Dhalai district magistrate Dr. Milind Ramteke informed that some 25 families did not join repatriation on June 7 and got scattered to evade detection. “We have come to know they had moved to different locations through public transport,” he told The Hindu on Tuesday.

The families who arrived in Raisyabari were from 11 villages under Dighinala police station in Khagrachari district, where trouble broke out between armed community groups. Around 26-km-border stretch in Dhalai district is unfenced and Bangladeshis often take advantage of this porous border.

“Measures have been taken to fence the gap by March next year. The area is remote and inhospitable”, Dr Ramteke stated.

The district magistrate said efforts were under way to trace the missing families. When found they would be handed over to civil administration officials of Bangladesh, he added.
21 May 2014

Youth in Tripura Revives Bamboo Industry, Drive Ahead Employment

Katlamara (Tripura), May 21 : Youth in Tripura has revived bamboo industry, which once flourished under their forefathers, generating employment and driving ahead local economy.

A group of young entrepreneurs in border area in West Tripura district, Katlamara, have come together with an idea to encourage self-employment and work on locally available ‘kanakaich’ species of bamboo.

They have started handicraft workshops and community facility Centres (CFC) in the bordering area, which was once the den of militants, hoping to earn income with their skills.

“We were born here and the bamboo business has been revived by the third generation artisans. There was a time during insurgency, especially from 1995 to 2001, when our forefathers had to abandon this business and vacate this region. Our families were all displaced. But since 2002, the situation became stable and we, the third generation artisans, returned here and revived our traditional bamboo business,” said president, Bamboo Enterprises United, Manna Roy.

The demand is significantly rising in the area and artisans say reason behind this is shift from traditional bamboo decorative items to utility artistic household furniture that are durable, affordable and trendy.

In 2007, a team member from the industry had even participated in five-day long London Handicrafts Exhibition in Birmingham, where they received good response and started exporting their products to Europe and U.S.

“During the days of insurgency, bamboo might have been more important because that time things were not accessible to the people of Tripura so during insurgency days people might have used it more. Now it is used a bit less but in terms of business it has increased,” said scientist, R. N. Pandey.

After 2004, gradually with raising border fencing with Bangladesh, militant activities started decreasing and peace returned to Tripura and people also started returning back to their ancestral villages.

The state is also promoting revival of the industry and is hiring knowledge and technology from various countries like China, which are highly developed in bamboo technology, and has setup a Bamboo Mission and started a Bamboo Park, first of its kind in India.