Showing posts with label Tripura. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tripura. Show all posts
18 July 2012

Just 4 People Keeps A Language Alive

Sukurthang Saimar, the oldest of the Saimar-speaking four, being felicitated at the 44th Foundation Day of the Central Institute of Indian Languages, Mysore, by its Director S. N. Barman on Tuesday. Looking on (from right) are Sahitya Akademi Secretary Agrahara Krishnamurthy, and former CIIL Directors O. N. Koul, Rajesh Sachdeva and D. P. Patnayak. Photo: M.A. Sriram
Sukurthang Saimar, the oldest of the Saimar-speaking four, being felicitated at the 44th Foundation Day of the Central Institute of Indian Languages, Mysore, by its Director S. N. Barman on Tuesday. Looking on (from right) are Sahitya Akademi Secretary Agrahara Krishnamurthy, and former CIIL Directors O. N. Koul, Rajesh Sachdeva and D. P. Patnayak. Photo: M.A. Sriram
Barely four people, the oldest among them a 70-year-old tribal, speak a language which is on the brink of extinction. Spoken in a tiny village in Tripura, ‘Saimar’ has been identified as a “severely” endangered language.
The old man, Sukurthang Saimar, who was the guest of honour at the 44th Foundation Day of the Central Institute of Indian Languages here, was overjoyed when he was honoured by eminent linguists on Tuesday.
Welcoming Mr. Saimar, CIIL Deputy Director, R. Subbukrishna, said: “This small group of Saimar-speaking people has sent Sukurthang to Mysore, as CIIL wanted to collect data from him [through a translator] on the language for its archive.”
According to CIIL, the four Saimar-speaking persons belong to an isolated tribe.
Nandakumar Deb Burman, president, Kokborok Sahitya Sabha, Tripura, who brought the septuagenarian, along with his grandson, to Mysore, said Mr. Saimar is one among the 18 groups of the Halam tribe.
Mr. Burman, who is involved in Bhasha Mandakini with CIIL, said he could understand the Saimar language, but couldn’t speak it. There is little dialectical difference in the languages spoken by the 18 Halam groups.
He said Saimar is spoken only at Gantachera village. The people speaking this language are agricultural labourers and farmers. “Saimar is hard to speak because some of the words are difficult to pronounce.”
In 2009, there were approximately 25 Saimar-speaking tribals, and today only four are remaining — Mr. Sukurthang Saimar, his wife, grandson and a senior lady.
Mr. Sukurthang Saimar became emotional when he was asked to address the gathering in his language. He came to the podium and spoke in a loud voice. Though he spoke a few words, the message (translated into English by Mr. Burman) was very strong.
“My language and community are in danger. I appeal to the people of this country to help protect and preserve my language,” he said.
07 June 2012

Is It Too Early To declare Tripura As An Insurgency Free State?

Rebel outfits collaborating to create a network for supply of arms and cadres in time for 2013 elections Ratnadip Choudhury

A picture of NFLT hit squad in the jungles of North Tripura bordering Mizoram and Bangladesh Photo: Papan Das

Tripura has been portrayed as a role model in the entire Northeast for its success in curbing insurgency. For past three years, Tripura has been one of the most peaceful states in Northeast. The fencing of the 856 km long Indo-Bangladesh border in Tripura, the mass surrenders by rebels and rural development has ensured peace. It is also speculated that the Union Home Ministry was even thinking about lifting the ban on National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) and declaring Tripura ‘insurgency free.’

However, TEHELKA has learned from sources that the NLFT, led by its chairman Bishwamohan Debbarma, is regrouping in Bangladesh and neighboring Mizoram. The group is planning a series of attacks in the state, ahead of the 2013 Assembly polls, that will decide the fate of the Left Front government that has been in power for 19 years.
The outfit is also part of the ‘United Front’ of Northeast rebel group, that is said to have been formed after United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) and Manipur’s United National Liberation Front (UNLF) leaders were nabbed in Dhaka and handed over to India in 2009. According to intelligence sources, the ‘United Front’ is being led by the supremo of National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang faction) SS Khaplang. It is NSCN (K) which is helping NLFT with arms procurement. The regrouping endeavour of NLFT suffered a major setback when Assam Rifles troopers nabbed NLFT finance department in-charge Utpal Debbarma from Mizoram’s capital city Aizawl.
While outfits like Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) and NSCN (K) have helped the rebel group recruit new members, around 30 rebels of NLFT who had earlier surrendered and joined the mainstream, have reportedly returned back to the NLFT bases in Bangladesh, sources added. Most of the rebels, who surrendered, have been beneficiaries of the rehabilitation packages by the government.
“Through NSCN (K), NLFT has procured a huge consignment of arms which was supplied near Sajeek area in Rangamati of Bangladesh. The rebel outfit maintains a base in that area. The consignment consists of sophisticated that include landmines, grenades, SLRs, INSAS rifles, LMGs, Swarovski Z3 rifles, pistols, ammunition, gelatin sticks and RDX, the military intelligence officer further added. Two trainers from NSCN (K) are in the base of NLFT, training its fresh recruits. GNLA is sending NLFT a trainer for handling explosives,” confirmed a senior military intelligence officer.
NLFT was formed in 1989, with an idea of Tripura’s secession from India. The outfit has suffered multiple splits over the years, with most of its leaders like Nayanbashi Jamatia, Kamini Debbarma and Montu Koloi surrendering under government rehabilitation packages. But its chairman Bishwamohan Debbarma is still at large, possibly in Bangladesh.
According to sources in the state home department, NLFT has abducted more than 30 people from remote tribal villages in 2012. Apart from Bangladesh, NLFT continues to maintain strategic hideouts in Mizoram. Recently, six workers of an Assam-based firm, who were working in a fencing site on the Mizoram-Bangladesh border, were abducted by NLFT rebels. NLFT had demanded a ransom of Rs 1.25 crores and later released the workers after the firm reportedly paid Rs 60 lakhs. “NLFT will be carrying on this extortion and kidnapping drive because it has sent its people in two small batches to Myanmar to get trained by NSCN (K). Khaplang is helping NLFT revive since he is leading the new ‘United Front’ but training and arms do not come for free,” the military intelligence officer added.
The estimated cadre strength of NLFT is around 130 and they have recruited nearly 50 new boys, apart from some young tribal girls. NLFT commanders Atahrababu Halam, Chatrabhanga Jamatia and Sachin Debbarma are in charge of this ‘revival mode’. They are also coordinating with NSCN (K) members in Bangladesh for arms and training and the link has been established through GNLA and National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB). According to sources in Assam Rifles that leads anti-insurgency operations in Tripura, NLFT is using its former cadres in recruitment drives. Some minor boys have also been lured into joining the outfit. “We have inputs that at least six minor boys in North Tripura have joined NLFT over the past four months. They have picked up the trick of recruiting minors from GNLA,” said an Assam Rifles commandant operating in Tripura on conditions of anonymity.
Although NLFT is carrying out extortion in the remote areas of Tripura, they plan to launch guerilla attacks in the state capital Agartala as the polls approach. NLFT has been asking for their share of the payment of MNREGA from the poor tribals. The rebel outfit is said to have sent notices to remote tribal villages in North Tripura and Dhalai district that every MNREGA card holder will have to give 10 percent of his/her earning through MNREGA as donation to the rebel outfit or face the consequences. The ruling Left Front has always accused NLFT of supporting the opposition forces during elections in the state.
Khaplang and ULFA commander-in-chief Paresh Barua have been instrumental in the formation of the new ‘United Front’. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of Manipur is also active in the front. The other groups who have come together are People’s Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (PREPAK), the Noyon group of Kangleipak Communist Party (KCP), Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup (KYKL), Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) and Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA). The coordination is mainly for supplying weapons, training and also providing safe haven to the cadres of various outfits.
The other rebel outfit – All Tripura Tiger Force (ATTF) – is now almost defunct and a large number of cadres of ATTF have in fact joined NLFT with a huge cache of arms. With the Issac–Muivah faction of NSCN not being a part of the newly formed ‘United Front’ of Northeast rebels, NLFT is now banking on NSCN (K) for its twin objectives – revival of cadre strength and carrying out attacks in Tipura’s capital Agartala ahead of the 2013 Assembly polls in the state.
Ratnadip Choudhury is a Principal Correspondent with Tehelka.
13 April 2012

Firms Keen To Partner ONGC For Tripura Fertilizer Plant

Agartala, Apr 13 : Six Indian firms have expressed their keenness to participate in the first gas-based fertilizer plant of the state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) in Tripura, a senior company official said here Thursday.

"ONGC has earlier sought 'expression of interest' from companies with relevant experience and track record to be a partner in the proposed project. Six companies, including a government-owned corporation have expressed their willingness to associate with the venture," K. Satyanarayana, group general manager, ONGC Tripura, told IANS.

ONGC has initiated the process to set up a Rs.5,000-crore, gas-based fertilizer plant in northern Tripura to meet the growing shortage of urea, the commonly used soil manure in the northeastern region.

The plant would be a joint venture between the ONGC, Tripura government and a fertilizer company.

"ONGC Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) Sudhir Vasudeva, would visit Tripura April 23 to review the progress of the 726 MW capacity Palatana power project. During his two-day tour he will also outline the fertilizer plant," said Satyanarayana.

The eight, predominantly agrarian, northeastern states have been facing an acute shortage of urea for the past many years. Large quantities of the fertilizer supplied from other parts of India to meet the demand get smuggled out to Bangladesh.

ONGC owns significant natural gas reserves in Tripura. Since 1972, it has drilled 164 wells in Tripura, of which 76 wells are yielding gas.

The Maharatna company has found huge deposits of natural gas at its Khubal structure, 145 km northeast of Agartala along the Assam-Agartala national highway (NH-44). Gas from the wells there would be supplied to the proposed fertilizer plant.

The company official said Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar had earlier requested the union ministry of chemicals and fertilizers and ONGC to explore the possibilities of setting up of the fertilizer plant, using the untapped natural gas.

"Responding to the Tripura government's request, ONGC has internally assessed that the urea unit can be set up in Tripura with the natural gas the company has abundantly found in the state," said the official.

Vasudeva, accompanied by top company officials, had visited Tripura last year to personally study the feasibility of the proposed plant.

Vasudeva had then said that ONGC had asked government-owned Projects and Development India Limited to conduct a detailed study on setting up the fertilizer plant and to prepare a detail project report.

The proposed fertilizer plant will be the first such ONGC project in India.

ONGC is now commissioning its Rs.5,000 crore thermal power plant (726 MW) in southern Tripura's Palatana, 60 km south of Agartala. It is the company's first mega commercial project which would start generating power by June this year.

According to Satyanarayana, the company's Tripura asset has posted a net profit of Rs.47 crore during 2011-12 fiscal. It had first registered a profit of Rs.24 crore during the previous year (2010-11).

"Exceeding all its targets during 2011-12, including gas production and sales, drilling of wells, the ONGC's Tripura asset has produced a record 643.9 Million Metric Standard Cubic Meters (MMSCM) of gas," Satyanarayana said.

There are ONGC's 11 gas fields in Tripura. The gas exploration success ratio in Tripura is 2:1 (after drilling of two wells gas found in one well) against the world success ratio of 5:1.
15 March 2012

Tripura Withdraws Imposing Mizo Language on Halam People

Agartala, Mar 15 : The Tripura state government has decided to withdraw the imposition of Mizo language on Halam communities following a protest from the latter saying that the Mizo language was forcibly imposed upon them since 2009 despite no plausible connection between Halam-Kuki linguistic group and the Mizos.

A delegation of the Halam-Kuki linguistic tribal stream spread across a wide stretch of land of Tripura today met Chief Minister Manik Sarkar in a deputation at the Civil Secretariat here today. The State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT) approves formation and functioning of advisory committees for tribal languages and dialects.

The Advisory Committee for Development of Mizo Language had suggested running educational courses of the tribes covered under Halam community through Mizo language way back in 2009. Since then, the state government has been paying for subsidies in purchasing books from Mizoram in Mizo dialect for students from the first till fifth standard. While most of the Halam communities are not actually linked with the Mizo dialect or script, they have finally rebelled against the practice.

Thomas Halam, Debthang Halam, Ganga Bahadur Halam, Bokhathang Halam and others who met the CM in the deputation today said, “The Halam community is shocked to see that the Advisory Committee for Development of Mizo language which is formed with the approval of higher authority vide no. 1.32/ MIN (SE)/ 09 dated December 31, 2009 had taken such a step”.

“The Halam has a culture, tradition and language different from the Mizos. The language of Halam and Mizos are not the same. Instead of developing the Halam language, the Committee imposed the Mizo language which is not the mother tongue of the Halam people”, added the delegation invoking rights provided under Article 350 A of the Indian Constitution.

Speaking to reporters at the Civil Secretariat here later this evening, Health Minister Tapan Chakraborty said, “The state government appreciates their protest against this practice. In fact, we presume that the protest has been much delayed than usual”.

“The Chief Minister has assured them that the practice of using Mizo dialect as medium of instruction for Halam-Kuki students would be revoked shortly. Principal Secretary of School Education Department Banamali Sinha has been asked to issue a notification declaring the practice withdrawn with immediate effect”, added the minister.

He also stated that a separate Advisory Committee for Development of Halam-Kuki language would be set up very soon to fulfill the gap in developing the language. It seems, good sense has prevailed at last; though in late!
11 December 2011

Tripura Provides Most Jobs Under NREGA

NGERAAgartala, Dec 11 : Tripura has once again topped all the states in implementing the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), which guarantees minimum job days to people in rural areas, a minister said here on Saturday.

State Rural Development Minister Jitendra Chaudhury, quoting a performance report of the union rural development ministry, told reporters: “Tripura stands at the top in terms of person-days generation of 45 so far in the current fiscal (2011-2012), followed by Andhra Pradesh (39.19 person-days) and Sikkim (38.39).”

Others in the top 10 list are Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Lakshwadeep, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh.

The MGNREGA guarantees 100 days of employment in a financial year to a rural household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work.

Tripura has also topped in getting per head fund allocation from the central government and providing wages to MGNREGA workers through banks, the report added.

The minister claimed that in 2010-11 and previous years too, Tripura secured the top position in the country by providing on an average of 67 man-days to people under rural job scheme.

22 November 2011

15 Injured in Tripura College Clashes

Clashes in tripura collegeAgartala, Nov 22 : Tension has gripped the colleges in Tripura after 15 students were injured in clashes between various groups following the announcement of students’ council polls slated to be held on Dec. 2.

“At least 15 students were injured in clashes between factions of students in several colleges during the past three days,” a state higher education department official told reporters here on Monday.

“Following the incidents of clashes, huge security forces have been deployed in and around all the colleges in different parts of Tripura,” the official said.

The state’s ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) backed Students Federation of India (SFI) and opposition Congress’ student wing National Students Union of India (NSUI) have filed complaints with police against each other.

The state higher education department Saturday announced elections to students’ councils in 15 colleges across Tripura.

“Polling would be held for altogether 527 seats in 15 students’ councils on Dec. 2 in Tripura. Necessary notification was issued on Nov 19 for the elections,” the official said.

Of the total of 527 seats in the 15 councils, the SFI had won 525 seats in 2010.

09 November 2011

1.22 Lakh People Court Arrest in Tripura

Agartala, Nov 9 : More than one 1.22 lakh people today courted arrest throughout Tripura in response to a 'jail bharo' agitation launched by 11 trade unions including CITU and INTUC, CITU sources said.

Among others, CPI-M spokesman Gautam Das, CITU leader Shankar Dutta and Pijush Nag, Forward Block leader Biswanath Saha were arrested and later freed by the police.

CITU sources said the working people demonstrated before central government offices and railway stations throughout the state.

Police said the movement was peaceful and there was no untoward incident.

Eleven central trade unions, backed by the Left parties, Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) called the country-wide 'jail bharo' movement to press for their six-point charter of demands.

The demands include rollback of petro product price hikes and check prices of essential commodities, and social security for the unorganised labourers.

02 November 2011

Quake Fault Line Touches Two Districts Of Tripura

Quake Fault LineAgartala, Nov 2 : Geologists today warned the Tripura Government that two hill-bound districts of North Tripura and Dhalai of the state have become more vulnerable as the fault line drawn after disastrous quake in Sikkim, intersects the entire area.

Talking to media here, state Revenue Minister Badal Choudhury said the latest National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) communiqu asked all the northeastern states to enhance the disaster management infrastructure especially the preparedness to tackle high magnitude earthquake.

Tripura has high probability of earthquake because sedimentary rock underneath and most area is under 1st order topography of marine origin besides, poor houses including government infrastructures.

Moreover, According to Vulnerability Atlas of India, 1997, Tripura comes under the very high earthquake damage risk-zone (category V, magnitude 7.0 to 7.5) and most of the existing houses were not able to stand high magnitude tremor. Mr Choudhury however, stated that the state government had identified as many as 2000 building mostly government houses including existing Raj Bhawan as vulnerable to earthquake, which required retrofitting but the state government could not manage the adequate fund to execute the plan.

He also demanded provision of additional funds for building of earthquake resistant public houses and constructions under the special housing schemes like Indira Awas Yajuna (IAY) and Sarva Sikhya Abhiyan (SSA) and the quality disaster management training infrastructure in the state.

Mr Choudhury blamed the Centre for awarding only Rs one crore in a year by the 13th finace commission for disaster management activities in Tripura despite identifying the state as one of the most earth quake prone areas and all other states were awarded five crore every year.

To sensitise the key players of disaster management in the state for strengthening the disaster management responsibilities and further effective implementation of required action, the state has organised a two-day workshop from today in Agartala, Mr Choudhury said, adding as part of the workshop, an exhibition on critical equipment and skills was organised to understand the use of the equipment for supplementing the existing resources for saving loss.

Earlier, Tripura Governor Dr Dnyandeo Yashwantrao Patil asked the state government to shift his residence from the 95-year-old Raj Bhawan building in Agartala to a safer place after reviewing the earthquake warning from the scientists.

But the state government assured him that necessary protection had already been given to the building and till the completion of new Raj Bhawan, there was no other suitable accommodation for the governor.

Keeping the experts opinion and the region s topographical status, the Ministry of Urban Development had asked the state government to follow the recommendations in the following areas: policy, strategy, action plan, technical guidance for new buildings and retrofitting existing buildings.

Quoting National Seismic Advisor A S Arya s warning, officals said between 1792 and 2003, about 42 moderate to high- magnitude earthquakes occurred along the state boundary and within a 100 km area of the state. So far as wind hazards go, the wind speed in the state is cyclonic.

The government had also begun to train villagers and civil officials in dealing with both man-made and natural disasters. The approach and management strategies had been incorporated into the school curriculum.

Disaster management was included in environment studies at school level and Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping of the state s residential status had alerady been done besides formulating separate regulation for buildings in urban areas.
31 October 2011

Tripura to Get Northeast's First Textile Park

textile Park TripuraAgartala, Oct 31 : Northeastern India's first textile park will be set up in Tripura, a minister said here Sunday.

"The proposed park in Tripura is part of the 21 new textile parks to be set up under the Scheme for Integrated Textile Parks (SITP)," Tripura Industries and Commerce Minister Jitendra Chowdhury told IANS.

Quoting a letter from union Minister for Commerce and Industry Anand Sharma, who also heads the textiles ministry, Chowdhury said that the parks would be set up at a cost of Rs.2,100 crore in Maharashtra (six parks), Rajasthan (four), Tamil Nadu (two), Andhra Pradesh (two) and one each in Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Tripura, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Jammu and Kashmir and West Bengal.

These parks would be set up over a period of three years on a public-private-partnership basis.

"A special purpose vehicle (SPV) would be formed to execute the project. The SPV would chanelised funds and supervise other aspects of the ambitious project.

"The Tripura government would extend all out support for setting up of the park. It would create new opportunities in the industry-starved northeastern region," he said.

22 September 2011

Floriculture Lifts Tripura Village Out Of Poverty

Floriculture in tripuraLaxmibil (Tripura), Sep 22 :  A poverty-stricken Tripura village has blossomed into an exporter of flowers after the villagers adopted floriculture with the assistance from Horticulture Department and Technology Mission.

Three years ago, Laxmibil village, in west Tripura district was like any other, wallowing in poverty and absence of gainful work till the the Horticulture Department and Technology Mission stepped in and motivated people to start floriculture.

As it stands, the village now not only supplies flowers to the home market, but also exports them abroad.

The story began when an unemployed youth Swapan Paul cultivated flower plants in his field on the suggestion of the Horticulture Department officials.

He was unemployed but now earns Rs 35,000 a month by selling flowers.

Soon other unemployed youth were inspired by Paul took up floriculture as a profession. Now their ranks have swelled to more than 250.

The favourable agro-climatic condition of the village has also helped script the success story.

Villagers are now cultivating different kinds of flowers and also experimenting with exotic varieties like Anthodium and orchids to earn good money.

Govt help

“In the beginning various government organisations came forward with technical assistance. Now the villagers are doing it with their own efforts,” an official of the Horticulture Department said.

Mr Paul said he had started with a financial assistance of Rs 3.5 lakh from the Technology Mission and constructed three high-tech greenhouses.

“I started with cultivation of Anthodium, Gerbera and Carnation flowers and also took up orchid cultivation on a 2.5 bigha land and started getting return within one and a half years. Now I also cultivate Chandramallika, Rose, Gladiolus, Rajanigandha and Lilia,” he said.

His flowers are sold in Delhi, Kolkata and Bangalore.

“A Delhi-based company is now marketing a part of our production in return for 10 per cent commission which fetches a good amount,” Mr Paul said.

He took part in the international floral exhibition in Delhi and Gangtok in 2007 and 2008 respectively.

Mr Rabi Das, another cultivator of the village said, “There is no person in our village who cannot earn a decent living now.”

24 July 2011

ONGC Exploring Fields For Uranium Mining in Tripura

uranium in tripuraAgartala, Jul 24 : The Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) is all charged up to take up the new challenge of uranium mining in Tripura.

ONGC Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) A. K. Hazarika told mediapersons that a pilot project is being launched to explore fields for uranium mining in the riverbed of rivers Krishna and Godavari.

“ONGC is looking for uranium in our fields, because we are drilling many wells for oil and gas, while drilling we encounter with minerals called uranium. But we were not having so many interests earlier,” said Hazarika.

“Now our energy center, which is created for looking different alternative energy, they are identifying these various logs taken long back earlier which were looking for oil and gas, but that logs are also now showing potential for uranium deposition in many of the places,” he added.

Hazarika further said that the ONGC is working towards revamping its ageing infrastructure and technology at the oil fields across the country especially one at Lakwa in Assam.

“For oil and gas business, yes, we have taken one project in Assam for repairing and revamping the assets of Assam for improving the surface bottle necking. So, that is called Assam renewal project,” said Hazarika.

“That will help us in improving the production as well as repairing, removing the surface bottle necking of our process complexes and pipelines, where we are spending around nearly 2400 crores, so already contracts are going on,” he added.

ONGC has signed a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) with Nuclear Corporation of India as they are looking forward to start a nuclear project in the near future.

Hazarika is presently on a two-day visit to Tripura, during which he would meet Chief Minister Manik Sarkar and Minister for Power and Transport Manik Dey with regard to the progress made in the 726 MW gas-based power project at Palatana.

19 June 2011

US Experts To Help ONGC Cap Gas Leak at Tripura Well

tripura gas leakExperts try to cap a gas-bearing well at ONGC ’s Konaban site in Tripura on Saturday. A huge quantity of gas has been gushing out of the well since June 14, and efforts to cap it are under way

Agartala,  Jun 19 : State-owned exploration giant ONGC has sought US experts' help to plug a leaking gas well in western Tripura from which natural gas continued to gush out on Saturday, five days after it was first detected, a top officials said here on Saturday.

"Experts from the US-based Boots and Coots will arrive in Tripura Monday to help the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) experts and engineers to cap the well at Konaban village," ONGC group general manager and head of the Tripura asset K. Satyanarayana told reporters.

"We expect that the gas leakage would be contained within a week," he added.

Boots and Coots have world class expertise in controlling such leaks. "The ONGC has a contract with the US company to provide assistance in the event of gas leakage or oil or exploration related eventualities," Satyanarayana said.

He said experts from Ahmedabad and Mumbai arrived here immediately after the accident and modern machineries from Assam's Shivsagar ONGC complex are being ferried to Tripura.

"There were no immediate hazards due to the outflow of natural gas, though it contained 96 percent methane. We have appealed to the local villagers not to be anxious," Satyanarayana said.
"There would be no environmental harm due to the gas leakage," he added.

According to the official, the ONGC has so far drilled 22 wells in the Konaban area and of them 19 are gas bearing wells.

"There is very little chance of ignition as we are constantly spraying water on the leakage gas," the official added.

After using water cannons to spray chemical mud to cap the leaking well, ONGC experts have now resorted to technical systems.

"The leakage started Tuesday evening when corporation personnel and engineers were engaged in routine maintenance work at the pipelines and gas well," Satyanarayana said.

"The outflow could not be sealed so far due to high pressure of the gas," he said, adding that now the pressure has reduced from 200 kg per square cm to 107 kg per square cm.

Meanwhile, Tripura State Rifles (TSR) troopers guarded the area to prevent entry of people in and around the gas drilling areas in Bishalgarh sub-division.

"We are also closely supervising the situation. At the moment, there is no need to evacuate the villagers residing near the ONGC drilling areas," Bishalgarh Sub-Divisional Magistrate Prashant Kumar Goel said after visiting the site.

29 May 2011

Tripura Bans Animal Slaughter in Open Places

animal-slaughter283rAgartala, May 29 :  The Tripura government Friday banned slaughtering of animals in open places and temples and threatened tough action against offendors following stringent ciriticism of the practice, officials here said.

"The government has issued a notification banning the slaughtering of animals in open places in Tripura. From now on stern legal action would be taken against violators," Agartala Municipal Council chairperson Prafullajit Sinha told reporters here.

"Animals were slaughtered openly in the markets, roadside stalls, on pavements and at temples throughout the state, which affected children's psychological make-up. These are unhygienic too," Sinha said.

A large number of animals, including buffalos, goats and pigeons are sacrificed in the Tripura temples. The state government has been unable to enforce any law to stop the slaughter in government sponsored temples.

People For Animals (PFA) chairperson Maneka Gandhi, a former union minister, had written letters to the district magistrates in Tripura asking them to stop the "cruel killing of animals in temples".

The erstwhile princely state of Tripura merged with India Oct 15, 1949, through an agreement signed between Kanchan Prabha Devi, then regent maharani, and the governor general.

The agreement made it obligatory for the Tripura government to continue the sponsorship of temples run earlier by Hindu rulers. It continues to this day.

The animal lovers and environmentalists have been condemning the state government for sponsoring animal sacrifice in temples.

26 Hurt in Acid Attack in Tripura, One Held


Agartala, May 29
: At least 26 people were seriously injured, four of them critically, in an acid attack in Tripura, police said here Sunday. One person was arrested.

Police arrested jeweler Ratan Sarkar who threw acid on a vegetable vendor and others Saturday night in North Tripura district's Kailashahar town, 175 km from here.

The jeweler had a quarrel with the vendor over the use of space in front of his shop.

Following the argument, he threw nitric acid on the vendor and on the on-lookers who had gathered near the shop, a police spokesman said.

The injured were shifted to hospital, where the condition of four was stated to be critical.

11 May 2011

48 People Fall Sick Due To Ammonia Gas Leakage in Tripura

(090805) -- HOHHOT, Aug. 5, 2009 (Xinhua) -- A fire fighter walks at the site where an ammonia gas leak occurred at Chifeng Pharmaceutical Factory in Chifeng City, north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, on Aug. 5, 2009. A total of 202 people fell ill after the ammonia gas leak here on Wednesday. The leak occurred at 8:40 a.m. when a truck carrying 30 tonnes of liquid ammonia was unloading at the factory of Chifeng Pharmaceutical Group, but was sealed in about 50 minutes, the government said. 
 (Xinhua) (lr)

Agartala, May 12
  :As many as 48 people have fallen ill, some of them critically, following leakage of ammonia gas inside a cold storage in Half-long flour mill and most of them had been hospitalized.

Sub-divisional magistrate, who issued closure of the mill, said two workers of the cold storage were shifted to hospital in critical condition, while seven employees of the Tripura Fire Service also fell ill while trying to rescue the victims.

He said there was no oxygen cylinder and sulpher dust which are mandatory for preventing ammonia contamination in the atmosphere and as a result sudden leakage of the gas went out of control.

The incident of ammonia gas leakage from a flour-mill of Dharmanagar under North Tripura on May 8 last pointed finger at the negligence of safety mechanism from Factories and Broilers authority of the state. 

29 April 2011

Tripura Governor, Kin Booked in Fraud Case

DY PatilPune, Apr 29 : The Pune rural police registered an FIR against Tripura Governor DY Patil and kin in connection with a fraud case following direction by a local court, police said on Thursday.

According to Talegaon Dabhade police, who registered the complaint filed by one Sampat Pawar on Tuesday, Patil, his wife Pushpalata and two sons - Ajinkya and Vijay, were booked under Sections 420 (cheating and dishonesty inducing delivery of property), 467 (forgery of valuable security, will etc), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating)and 471 (using as genuine a forged document or electronic record) of IPC.

The police move came after Wadgaon Maval court issued orders for the same.

"We are investigating the matter starting with scrutiny of the relevant documents and will proceed as per the law," Sanjay Nikam, a police inspector attached with Talegaon Dabhade police station told PTI.

The complainant alleged that the Patils, by forging the documents of the deal, dislodged him from the joint ownership of the trust for which the 40-acre plot of land was purchased by the families of Patil and Pawar for about Rs 4 crore.

The incumbent Governor of Tripura runs a huge network of educational institutions in Maharashtra.

18 April 2011

Tripura Governor Fears Earthquake

Dnyandeo Yashwantrao Patil Tripura Governor
Tripura Governor Dnyandeo Yashwantrao Patil (Left)
Fears Earthquake

Agartala, Apr 18
: Concerned over earthquakes hitting Tripura, Governor Dnyandeo Yashwantrao Patil has expressed his keenness to shift residence from the 95-year-old Raj Bhavan building in Agartala, according to officials.

The fear has also spread to the state's legislative assembly building, where lawmakers feel it's time they moved out from the 110-year-old structure.

"Tripura has occasionally been hit by quakes. The governor seriously expressed his wish to shift from the Raj Bhavan to a newly built state guest house," a top official, who did not want to be identified, told IANS.

The fear over quakes has increased in Tripura after the massive earthquake followed by tsunami that hit Japan March 11, claiming thousands of lives and causing all-round destruction.

The north-eastern region of India, that includes Tripura, falls in Zone V, the sixth worst quake-prone belt in the world, according to geological studies.

"We have already decided to built a new Raj Bhavan at Khejur Bagan, eight kilometres north of Agartala, and turn the present Raj Bhavan building into a Rabindra Museum," the official said.

He added: "As a tribute to the great Nobel laureate poet Rabindranath Tagore's 150th birth anniversary the state government would set up a museum and research centre at the Pushpavant Palace, currently the governor's residence (Raj Bhavan). Tagore had visited Tripura seven times between 1899 and 1926."

The Nobel laureate stayed in the palace during his last visit to the state in February 1926.

The Pushpavant Palace was constructed in early 1917 by the then king Maharaja Birendra Kishore Manikya (1909-1923).

The official, however, said that if the governor shifts from Raj Bhavan to the state guest house, it would be a problem for both officials and security personnel and the governor himself.

The Tripura government officials and ministers are trying to convince the governor to stay at the Raj Bhavan till the new building was constructed.

"The state government has asked the PWD (public works department) engineers to speed up the works on the construction of the new Raj Bhavan," the official said.

There is concern over the legislative assembly building as well.

Congress legislator Gopal Roy, voicing his worry, recently told Speaker Ramendra Chandra Debnath: "Sir, we should move away from this 110-year-old palace (currently the assembly house) because we may get killed if a quake hits the state."

Roy reminded the speaker that the north-eastern region has been frequently experiencing earthquakes.

The two-storeyed mansion Ujjayanta Palace, at present the Tripura legislative assembly, was built by then Maharaja Radhakishore Manikya Bahadur in 1899-1901. It was the command centre of the erstwhile princely rulers.

A major earthquake that struck Agartala in 1897 had caused substantial damage to the palace that was then under construction.

The Geological Survey of India had earlier notified that the mountainous north-eastern region could experience major earthquakes.

Assam experienced a massive tremor measuring 8.5 on the Richter scale Aug 15, 1950, that claimed some 1,500 lives.

The worst quake, measuring 8.7, was felt in the region in 1897. It killed 1,600 people.

06 April 2011

India's First Bamboo Park in Tripura

Bamboo park tripuraAgartala, Apr 6 : India's first bamboo park and second rubber industrial park are being set up in the northeastern state of Tripura to promote exports and to bring about a natural revolution in the elastic polymer industry, officials said here Wednesday.

The bamboo park, a joint venture between the Tripura Industrial Development Corporation (TIDC) and the Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services (IL and FS) limited, is being set up at a cost of Rs.25 crore.

With a project cost of Rs.23 crore, the rubber park, also a joint venture between the TIDC and the Rubber Board, is the second of its kind in the country after the one at Kerala's Irapuram.

Both the projects are being set up at the northeast India's biggest industrial zone located at western Tripura's Bodhjungnagar, some 25 km north of Tripura capital Agartala.

"An export promotion industrial park (EPIP) and a food park are also being set up in Bodhjungnagar at a cost of Rs.10 crore and Rs.7 crore respectively," TIDC chairman Pabitra Kar told reporters.

IL and FS, one of India's leading infrastructure development and finance companies promoted by various banks and financial institutions, is the project management agency of the rubber park, where at least 20 rubber-based industrial projects would be set up within the next three years.

Tripura is the second largest rubber producer in the country after Kerala, with 55,340 hectares of land so far brought under cultivation.

"In the bamboo park, the core focus would be on the development of specialised common facilities and support infrastructure to build the competitive strength of the various units and enable them to tap the global markets," the industrial corporation chief said.

He added: "The total turnover of the different enterprises expected to be set up in the bamboo park is estimated at Rs.65-70 crore. It is also estimated that at least 75 percent of the turnover will be generated from exports."

The TIDC, which has been making profit for the past five years, has also taken up infrastructure development for two more industrial zones - one at Dukli and another at Tulakona in western Tripura.

TIDC chairman also said that several Bangladeshi farms have also shown keen interest to set up joint venture projects at Bodhjunjnagar, where all basic facilities for the industrial units are now available.

31 March 2011

Agartala-Akhaura Rail Project Gaining Ground

tripuraAgartala, Mar 31 : The ball has started rolling in favour of the historic Indo-Bangla rail connectivity with the Railway Ministry contemplating to undertake topological survey for the extension work. The alignment for the proposed Agartala to Akhaura (Bangladesh) has already been accepted by the Bangladesh Government, the Assembly was informed here on Tuesday.

An amount of Rs 251 crore will be spent for commissioning the Indo-Bangla rail link and the project will be financed by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and DoNER, said Industries and Commerce Minister Jitendra Chowdhury in reply to a notice moved by MLAs Basudev Majumder and Rita Kar Chowdhury.

He said that the project is expected to get implemented within the next three to four years. The General Manager of Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR), Construction had visited Akhaura to oversee the alignment of the dream railway project.

Chowdhury informed the House that the Bangladesh Government is also seriously thinking of finalising a modality to allow India, Nepal and Bhutan to use Chittagong Sea Port. It may be noted that Chief Minister Manik Sarkar had urged the Bangaldesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to allow Tripura to use Chittagong Port during his visit to Dhaka in March last year. The issue also came up for discussion during the visit of Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dr Dipu Moni during his visit to Agartala in November last year.

On setting up of a bridge on river Feni, he said that a joint team had already visited the proposed site and an organisation has been asked to prepare a detailed project report at the earliest.

The bridge would connect Sabroom in South district with Bangladesh’s Ramgarh directly ushering a wide opportunity for bilateral trade. As part of goodwill gesture, the State Government would bear expenditure for setting up the bridge.

He further said the re-opening of waterway between Tripura and Bangladesh is also under active consideration of the Ministry of Shipping. The Centre has already incorporated it in the Northeast Vision 2020.

30 March 2011

Tripura-Bangladesh Business Recorded at Rs 300 Cr

tripura bangaladesh tradeAgartala, Mar 30 : Business between Tripura and Bangladesh was at recored at Rs 300 Crore in the current fiscal as against Rs 163 Crore in 2009-10, while export of eight items registered a five fold increase this year.

According to Tripura Commerce Minister Jitendra Chowdhury, in 2007-08 the export business of Tripura with Bangladesh was recorded at Rs 1.51 Crore and next two years it reduced to only Rs 32 Lakh and Rs 42 Lakh respectively but in 2009-10 it increased five fold to Rs two Crore.

The import business of seven items from Bangladesh has increased over the years, Mr Chowdhury said, adding that in 2010-11 Tripura imported goods of amounting Rs 294 Crore from Bangladesh, which was Rs 163 Crore in 2009-10, Rs 129 Crore in 2008-09 and Rs 84 Crore in 2007-08.

''The highest amount was spent for importing cement followed by small fish, broken stone and Hilsa fish, while the highest amount of export earnings was recorded from vulcanised rubber thread followed by heat resistant latex rubber thread and craft paper and paper board,'' Mr Chowdhury stated.

Tripura also exported flat rolled products of iron, woven fabrics of synthetic filament, raw hides and skin of bovine, dry fish and citrus fruits and imported bricks, flavour drinks and float glass besides, major import items.

He however, pointed out that the Union Home Ministry was considering the proposals of starting border huts to boost border trade between Tripura and Bangladesh, while launching of flight service on Agartala-Dhaka-Chittagong route was also on active consideration of the Ministry of Civil Aviation.

To enhance the connectivity, both sides have already finalised the alignment of Agartala-Akhaura railway link and technical survey would begin soon.

The Ministry of External Affairs would spent Rs 146 Crore for track laying work in Bangladesh side and Rs 105 Crore would be spent by DoNER for construction in Indian side, he added.