Showing posts with label Tripura. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tripura. Show all posts
16 May 2014

Last Of The True Communist Posts

Agartala, May 16 : Manik Sarkar of Tripura, one of India’s last Communists, is a fine specimen of this disappearing species.

Tripura, this finger of land wrapped around Bangladesh is the last refuge for many of India’s most endangered species, including the pygmy hog, the white-bellied heron and, perhaps most critically, the dyed-in-the-wool Communist. Chief Minister Manik Sarkar of Tripura state is one of India’s last Communists with political power, and he is a fine specimen of this disappearing species. He wears simple cotton tunics, leads blood donation drives and has a nearly empty personal bank account. His wife, perhaps even more beloved than he, goes to market by rickshaw.

But Sarkar’s isolation will probably become even more acute after the votes are counted in India’s national elections. For the first time, Communists are likely to win fewer than 16 seats in the national Parliament, possibly as few as 10. That would be a showing so disastrous in a body of 543 elected seats that many analysts are predicting their eventual extinction in a land that has been such fertile ground for Marx, Lenin and Stalin that these were once popular first names.

“Left-wing politics are alive and well in India, but true Communism will soon die out,” said Dilip Simeon, an author and former Maoist guerrilla. “And they have only themselves to blame.” Communism’s looming disappearance stems from Indians’ deep attachment to parliamentary democracy, the Communist Party’s failure to embrace Indian nationalism and a culture that distrusts dogma, said Ramachandra Guha, a prominent Indian historian.

But some also blame India’s failure to create a large industrial sector, the natural wellspring for Communist organizing efforts. Nearly 90 percent of workers toil in the cash-based informal sector, where enterprises are small and jobs so fitful that unionization drives are nearly impossible. “The one big reason for Communism’s decline is the irrelevance of the industrial working class as a political factor,” said Ajoy Bose, an author and commentator. “Indian manufacturing is in a terrible state.”

Robust enthusiasm

Communism’s redoubt here in Tripura, however, remains robust. The road into Agartala, the capital, from the airport is lined with red Soviet hammer-and-sickle flags planted every 15 feet. The party has 50 of 60 seats in Tripura’s Legislative Assembly, and it has controlled the state government for 31 of the last 36 years — including an unbroken streak of victories since 1993.

Part of Communism’s success in Tripura has to do with the fecklessness of its opposition, a branch of the Indian National Congress party whose corruption and incompetence from 1988 to 1993 were so profound that people speak about it like survivors of a shipwreck. “The opposition here is discredited, disorganized and so corrupt that it has no trust amongst the people,” said Sekhar Datta, the longtime Tripura correspondent for The Telegraph, a newspaper in Kolkata, formerly Calcutta.

But Sarkar’s efficient administration and unimpeachable honesty have also been important factors. In just one example, Tripura ranked first last year among Indian states in its implementation of a national rural jobs programme. The state has done such a good job exploiting its natural gas reserves that Tripura now sells surplus power, and residents are almost never without electricity, a rarity in India. Roads are surprisingly good, many city landmarks have been rebuilt, and literacy levels are among the nation’s highest.

Sarkar surrenders his salary to the party, which recently raised his monthly stipend to $117 from $83. He lives in a modest house provided by the state and lists a shelf stuffed with books as his most valuable possession. In a country awash in political corruption, Sarkar’s monkish existence is remarkable. “My party has taught me to lead a simple life, and I have followed that credo since the beginning,” Sarkar said in an interview.

Other critics say that while Sarkar is genuinely poor, he has ensured that almost everyone else in the state is as well. “They believe if people get rich, they won’t be Communists anymore,” said Jayanta Debnath, managing editor of a widely read local news website. Sarkar agreed that great wealth is not a communist interest. “We don’t like to create millionaires or billionaires,” he said. But he denied that he wanted to keep anyone impoverished. “We want to see that people do not starve.”

On a steamy evening with just a ceiling fan to cool him, Sarkar showed no sign of discomfort. His white kurta appeared freshly pressed, and a gold pen sparkled in a shirt pocket. He blamed Communism’s looming collapse in India on multinational corporations, which he said have used media companies to sully the reputation of Communists. “India’s market is important, and they want in,” Sarkar said. “So they have attacked the party in its last bastions.” But he vowed to depend upon the party until the end. After all, it still pays him $117 a month.
04 March 2014

Tribunal starts hearing on extremist groups in Tripura

By Syed Sajjad Ali

Agartala, Mar 4 : The central government tribunal has started its hearing in Agartala on Monday to scrutiny legal locus standi over decision of the union government to declare two extremist groups unlawful. The proceedings chaired by Delhi Court Judge Justice Veena Birbal would continue till Wednesday before delivering a judgment.

The union government declared National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) and the All Tripura Tiger Force (ATTF) outlawed under unlawful activities (prevention) act almost 15 years ago and renews the ban every year. The state police officials earlier said the ATTF has completely lost its strength to carry on subversive activities following arrest of its chief Ranjit Debbarma and NLFT also lost its ground except some pockets in state's Dhalai district.

However, the CPI(M) led Left Front government is in favour of continuation of the ban order till the extremist groups are completely wiped out. The extremists had taken lives of thousands, kidnapped huge no. of people and displaced a few lakhs in two decade-long insurgency in the state which often triggered bloody strife between tribal and non-tribal communities.

Justice Ms Birbal and 12 other officials including Additional Solicitor General Rajiva Mehra and union government standing counsel Sumit Pushkaran arrived and joined in the first hearing at Tripura state guest house in the afternoon. Tripura government appointed lawyer Gopal Sinha also came from Delhi to represent state in tribunal.

Senior police officials and some witnesses deposed before the tribunal which had issued notices to all concerned parties in November last year to submit representation in person or through representative. However NLFT and ATTF are unlikely to be represented in the hearings.
14 February 2014

Tripura Looks to achieve 100% voter enrolment

AGARTALA: Tripura has set itself a target of enlisting 100 per cent of the eligible voters in the electoral rolls ahead of the general elections through massive campaigning and by approaching voters through booth-level officers (BLOs), said state chief electoral officer (CEO), Ashutosh Jindal, on Thursday.

The state achieved 100 per cent Electoral Photo Identity Card (EPIC) coverage and enlisted 30,099 new voters in the 18-plus age group recently. President Pranab Mukherjee awarded Tripura for conducting 100 per cent error-free elections in the state assembly polls last year and for motivating eligible voters through Systematic Voters' Education and Electoral Participation programme.

In order to meet the target, Jindal opened a counter at the 32nd Agartala Book Fair that began on Thursday, to facilitate on-spot enrolment of voters. Since enrolment and updating of electoral rolls is a continuous process, the entire state election machinery has been involved in the work.

Jindal observed that a small portion of youths and shifting voters did not show much interest in meeting election officials and filling forms. It was impossible to adopt the census method for enrolment of all eligible voters, he added.

"Apart from continuous campaigns through mass media, we can facilitate voter-enrolment at major public functions in Tripura. Hence we chose the book fair. If we are successful here, the department will participate in all fairs and festivals to enroll voters and address their queries," Jindal said. He added that the facilitation centre at the book fair comprises competent officers who can begin the registration process on spot, apart from making corrections, if any.
24 October 2013

Tripura CPM Leader Slept on Cash Bed

Samar Acharjee on a bed of cash

Agartala, Oct 24
: The claim of CPI-M party that the earnings of expelled local committee member Samar Acharjee of Bankumari in Agartala who slept on cash bed last week has been voided by Agartala Municipal Council (AMC) yesterday.

Earlier, in a statement CPI-M Dukli divisional committee secretary Subrata Chakraborty said that the act of Samar Acharjee was against communist ideology and principles but made it clear that Samar Acharjee had constructed low cost sanitary toilets in the locality and earned a substantial amount. He termed it as 'misdeeds' on the part of Acharjee, which had badly affected the image of the party.

Hence, he was expelled from the party and removed from all posts. Meanwhile, in a separate statement, AMC Chief Executive Officer said, "AMC does not give any such construction work to Samar Acharjee and they do not know him even."

It claimed that the work order for construction of sanitary toilets for the poor urban dwellers were given after collecting proper quotation from the local entrepreneurs and non-government organisations where Samar does not had any entity.

Meanwhile, former leader of the opposition and sitting MLA of Congress Ratan Lal Nath alleged that AMC's statement clearly indicated that Samar Acherjee's earnings were illegal and CPI-M party tactfully trying to save the party leaders from corruption charges by expelling him.

"Now it is a clear case of corruption and administration is yet to file any case against him rather a very planned manner party members are criticising Samar Acherjee's act of sleeping on full of cash not questioning his source of earnings," Mr Nath alleged.

He also demanded legal action against Samar Acharjee and institute proper investigation to find out the source of his earnings besides, making the asset details and their source of earning of all leaders from Panchayat Chief to CPI-M state committee members to public.

A local television channel last aired a footage where 42-years-old Samar, contractor by profession was seen sleeping on cash worth of Rs 20 lakh at his residence in Jogendranagar, outskirts of Agartala with an audio narration. Samar was heard to stated on camera, "I have been given work of Rs 2.5 CR for construction of 2400 low cost sanitary toilets in a few wards of Agartala Municipal Council (AMC) area and I earned Rs 70 lakh out of that and I cherish my dream of sleeping on hard cash because I am not hypocrite like other comrades."
09 September 2013

Tripura Beats Kerala in Literacy

By Sujit Chakraborty

Agartala, Sep 9 : India's northeastern state of Tripura achieved the first position in literacy with 94.65 percent, beating Kerala (93.91 percent), Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar announced here Sunday.

"Tripura jumped to first position among the states of the country in literacy from the 12th position in the 2001 census and the fourth position in the 2011 census," Sarkar said at a function on the occasion of International Literacy Day.

Sarkar said that after Tripura attained 87.75 percent literacy in the 2011 census, a government survey was conducted by the eight district magistrates in August 2012 which found that only 131,634 people of the state's 37 lakh people, including those aged 50 and above, were illiterate.

"Over 8,254 voluntary literacy workers (VLW) have worked tremendously with full dedication under 8,152 adult literacy centres to make the leftover (131,634 people) unlettered people literate," the chief minister said.

Over 85 master trainers have supervised the work of the VLWs, who have worked at the village and habitation levels. Anganwadi workers under the social welfare department have also assisted the VLWs in their endeavour.

"The final evaluation of the neo-literate people was conducted across the state August 10-25 under the supervision of the (Kolkata-based) Indian Statistical Institution (ISI)," the chief minister said, adding that the state's literacy had now risen to 94.65 percent from the 87.75 percent in the 2011 census.

The state government felt, Sarkar said, that after the final report of the ISI, the state's literacy would cross 96 percent.

According to the 2011 census, literacy level is 93.91 percent in Kerala and 91.58 percent in Mizoram, among the most literate states in the country. The national literacy rate, according to the 2011 census, is 74.04 percent.

The Tripura success story is attributed to the involvement of local government bodies, including gram panchayats, NGOs and local clubs under the close supervision of the State Literacy Mission Authority (SLMA) headed by the chief minister.

Former census director Dilip Acherjee, who has also held the post of school education department secretary in the state, told IANS: "In Tripura, increase of female literacy is better than their male counterparts."

"The literacy rate of females during the period of 2001 and 2011 census rose from 64.91 to 83.15 percent, with an increase of 18.24 percent, while in the case of men the increase was just 11.18 percent -- from 81 to 92.18 percent," Acherjee said. It was under Acherjee's supervision that the 2011 census was conducted in Tripura.

While Mizoram and Tripura are among the toppers in literacy in India, another northeastern state, Arunachal Pradesh (66.95 percent), is placed second-lowest in literacy in the country, just above Bihar, which recorded the least literacy of 63.82 percent.
02 September 2013

Justice For Assaulted Tripura Doctor After 15 Years

Agartala, Sep 2 : After waiting for 15 years, a doctor from Tripura, who was picked up by two police officers and tortured in police custody has finally got justice. The Tripura high court on Thursday held the two police officers guilty of human rights violation and slapped a fine of Rs 50,000 on each of them.

The case was pending for judgment with the Agartala bench of the Guwahati high court ever since Sanjit Reang filed his writ petition in 1998, alleging that the then deputy superintendent of police, Arindam Nath, who is at present the SP (traffic), and the officer in charge of West Agartala police station, Rupak Chakraborty, who has retired now, beat him up in police custody without any valid reason.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Deepak Gupta and justice Subhashis Talapatra observed that the incident was a gross violation of human rights because Reang was arrested and tortured in police custody without proper evidence.

Reang, who was posted in a remote location at that time, had come to his home in the Bijoy Kumar Chowmuhani area the city when one night a police team led by Nath and Chakraborty stormed the house and picked him up.

"Branding me as a collaborator of a banned militant outfit, they took me into custody and beat me up severely, which resulted in irreparable damage to my body. However, ultimately, they could not prove any of the allegations levelled against me," Reang said.

Reang's counsel, Chandrasekha Sinha said, "This was a clear case of violation of human rights by the policemen. The verdict has established the high-handedness of police in the name of raids and anti-insurgency operations in Tripura."

Government advocate Abhijit Ghosh said, "The incident occurred during such a period when militancy was at its peak and there was panic and tension among the civilians. We argued that it was difficult for police to immediately establish Reang's association with the militants." He added that the state government will take the decision as per the high court's direction and if the accused officers so desire, they may move the Supreme Court.

Police said the raid had been conducted on specific information of militant movement in the house. Later, it turned out that before the policemen could reach, the militants had fled.
13 August 2013

India's First Cyber Forensic Lab set up in Tripura

India's first Cyber Forensic Lab set up in Tripura Agartala, Aug 13 : India's first Cyber Forensic Laboratory (CFL) has been set up in Tripura, an official said Monday.

The lab, established at the Tripura High Court will provide court case related information.

"From the CFL, automatic SMS alert would go to both lawyers and the litigant about the fate of the court case. If any lawyer or the petitioner remains absent on the day of trial, the SMS alert would go to all concerned," a law department official told IANS.

Supreme Court judge Justice Madan B. Lokur, who was earlier the chief justice of the Gauhati High Court, inaugurated the CFL on Sunday.

"We want decentralisation of legal services across the country. It is difficult to control everything from Delhi. High courts in the states would look after the lower courts to dispose the pending cases in the quickest possible time," Lokur said.

"A National Judicial Data Grid (NJDG) is being developed under the Supreme Court's supervision. All information about legal services, court cases and judicial actions would be available from the NJDG," Lokur said.

The NJDG would be fully operational by January 2014.

"So far, 13,000 judicial officers, including judges, have been trained about the e-court system and to equip them with the ongoing modernisation of legal services. Several thousand judicial officers would be given training about this new system," Lokur said.

To conduct an online trial, video conferencing systems are being expanded across the country, he said.

"Under this system, any judge or lawyer sitting in the court can talk to the accused lodged in jails".

Lokur first introduced the e-court programme in India when he was a judge in the Delhi High Court. He was a pioneer in introducing video conferencing systems between the Delhi High Court and Tihar jail in 2007.

Of the 620 district courts in India, 140 have created their own websites to provide case related information, he said.

"All e-court schemes would help judges take appropriate action for quick disposal of pending cases in various courts," he said.

"With this new system of trial and administrative works, the litigants will be immensely benefited. It will save both time and money to get quick justice and prompt disposal of cases," Lokur added.

Tripura High Court Chief Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Subhashish Talapatra also spoke about the lab.

Separate high courts were set up in Tripura, Meghalaya and Manipur in March.

The seven northeastern states - Assam, Tripura, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh - were earlier under the Gauhati High Court with benches in the state capitals. Sikkim had a separate high court.
29 July 2013

Agartala To Become Slum-Free

Agartala, Jul 29
: Agartala, the 175-year-old capital of princely Tripura, is all set to be free from slums within the next five years.

The Union ministry of urban development has approved a project sent by the state’s urban development department for removal of slums and rehabilitation of the residents under government housing schemes.

According to the latest information available from the urban development department, the Centre has sanctioned Rs 216 crore in the first phase under Rajiv Gandhi Awas Yojana to dismantle slums and rehabilitate bona fide residents in government’s housing complexes to be built with central funds.

Disclosing this during an interaction with the media, the chief executive member of Agartala Municipal Council, Milind Ramteke, said the council had conducted a survey in and around Agartala to gather detailed information about the slums.

According to the survey, 163 slums exist within the council areas with a population of more than 2.5 lakh. “Most of the slums exist on the banks of Hawra and Katakhal that trifurcate Agartala town. The people living in these slums also continue to pollute the rivers which are the main sources of drinking water for residents of Agartala.

“Now that the Union ministry of urban development has sanctioned our plan, we will commence work in right earnest to build housing complexes where the slum-dwellers will be given accommodation. All slums will be dismantled to keep the rivers clean and unpolluted. Apart from the slums on river banks, there are many others and steps will be taken to have them removed by making provisions for housing, water and electricity for the dwellers there,” Ramteke said.

He said recently, the council had been forced to hike property and water tax for residents within its areas, but it had no other alternative in the face of sustained pressure from the Centre and particularly from the Union urban welfare ministry for mobilising additional resources.

“The council is also trying for a ADB loan for which there are conditions that include absence of slums and appropriate measures to keep air and water clean and pollution-free. This is the reason for tax hike and other measures,” Ramteke said.
15 July 2013

Northeast India's first IIIT to open next year in Tripura

Agartala, Jul 15 : An Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) will be set up for Rs.128 crore in the northeastern state of Tripura next year to boost the growth of the domestic IT market, an official said here Friday.

The IIIT will be set up in Bodhjungnagar, one of the northeastern region's biggest industrial hubs, 25 km north of state capital Agartala. It will be the first such institute in the northeast and will start functioning from the 2014-15 academic year.

"Two state-owned companies, ONGC (Oil and Natural Gas Corporation) and NEEPCO (Northeastern Electric Power Corporation), and a private industrial house from West Bengal have expressed willingness to partner for the Tripura IIIT," Higher Education Department Secretary Kishore Ambuly told reporters here.

"Of the Rs.128 crore, the union Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) would give Rs.119 crore and the remaining amount would be shared by ONGC, NEEPCO and the private organisation," he added.

He said that the state government had allotted 50 acres of land for the institute.

Besides Tripura, the MHRD had last year given its approval to the setting up of IIITs in Assam and Rajasthan.

"The human resource development ministry has planned to establish 20 IIITs on a not-for-profit public-private partnership (N-PPP) basis in the country," the official said.

So far, 11 state governments have identified land and are in the process of identifying industry partners and fulfilling other criteria.

Currently, there are four IIITs in India at Allahabad, Gwalior, Jabalpur and Kanchipuram. These autonomous institutions provide undergraduate as well as postgraduate technical education.

The major objective in establishing IIITs is to set up a model of education which can produce best-in-class human resources in IT and harness the multi-dimensional facets of IT in various domains.

These institutions are conceived to be self-sustaining, research-led institutions contributing significantly to the global competitiveness of key sectors of the Indian economy and industry with the application of IT in selected domain areas.
29 May 2013

Tripura Explores Bamboo Shoots Business

Agartala, May 29 : The Tripura Bamboo Mission (TBM) has undertaken packaging of shoots for a palatable dish in star hotels of India and abroad.

In the integrated development of the bamboo sector to ensure employment generation and economic development based on available resources, the business of bamboo shoots has great potential, TBM officials said on Monday.

Referring to market opportunity for bamboo shoots, industries and commerce minister Jitendra Chowdhury said the mission is in the process of putting in place an effective collection mechanism from the field and linking it to a storage and bulk packaging facility can open up market opportunities.

To begin with, a small-scale production facility may be set up that calls for an investment of Rs 35,000 towards equipment that can function from a room at a home location. This system of production will deploy basic cleaning, cutting, and bulk packaging facility.

"These bulk packs can be shipped out to food processing units in other parts of the country through a consolidator's intervention assuming a margin of Rs 5-6 a kg that can be achieved through this route," added Chowdhury.

The second production mechanism could be a scaled up facility capable of processing 40 MT of shoots given the 90-day duration for the harvesting season where processing of other fruits would help justify a larger investment.

A bamboo shoot processing unit is already operational in Agartala and is selling products under a brand name in which NERAMAC is also involved through its distribution efforts. In any case, it makes sense to establish a formalized collection system to feed the existing unit in Agartala. This would call for storage and a network system of procurement at the community level connected to a manufacturer.
15 April 2013

Tripura To Be Declared Fully Literate

Agartala, Apr 15 : Tripura will be declared fully literate in September this year, state finance minister Badal Choudhury said here on Friday.

"On the occasion of World Literacy Day (Sep 8), Tripura will be declared a totally literate state. All our efforts to attain this goal have now borne fruit," Tripura Finance Minister Badal Choudhury told IANS, after a meeting of the State Literacy Mission Authority (SLMA).

"The SLMA meeting, chaired by chief minister Manik Sarkar also decided that the final evaluation of the remaining illiterate people in the state would be complete by August this year," Choudhury said.

According to a government survey conducted by the eight district magistrates in August last year, there are only 1,47,261 people of the state's 3.7 million people, including those aged 50 and above, who are illiterate.

As per the adult literacy guidelines of the union ministry of human resource development, people aged between 15 to 45 years would be targeted under the literacy mission.

"The Tripura government has taken efforts to make people in the 15-50 age group literate, instead of the upper age of 45. Over 8,250 voluntary literacy workers (VLW) are working through 8,152 adult literacy centres to make the leftover unlettered people literate," the finance minister said.

Over 85 master trainers are supervising the work of the VLWs, who are at work at the village and habitation levels. Anganwadi Workers under the social welfare department are also assisting the VLWs in their endeavour.

"Tripura jumped to third position among the states of the country in literacy in the 2011 census, from the 12th position in the 2001 census. Our all out efforts are on to achieve 100 per cent literacy in Tripura," Choudhury added.

He said Tripura would have attained 100 per cent literacy long back had there been no terrorism and their (militants') violent activities.

"The work on literacy programmes had slowed down also due to the recent Feb 14 assembly polls," the minister said.

"Education, developmental activities and agricultural expansion have been affected due to terrorism in the state until 2009," he pointed out.

According to the 2001 census, Tripura was the 12th most literate state in India with 73.19 per cent literacy and the second most literate state in the northeast region after Mizoram, where the literacy rate was 88.80 per cent.

As per the provisional data for the 2011 census, literacy level is 91.58 per cent in Mizoram and 87.75 per cent in Tripura.

The two northeastern states are only behind Kerala (93.91 percent), which continues to occupy the top position in the literacy chart.

The national literacy rate is 74.04 percent.

The Tripura success story is attributed to the involvement of local government bodies, including gram panchayats, NGOs and clubs.

Former census director and incumbent school education department secretary Dilip Acherjee said: "In Tripura, increase of female literacy is better than their male counterparts."

"The literacy rate of females during the period of 2001 and 2011 census rose from 64.91 to 83.15 per cent with an increase of 18.24 per cent, while in the case of men the increase was just 11.18 per cent -- from 81 to 92.18 per cent," Acherjee said.

While Mizoram and Tripura are among the toppers in literacy in India, another northeastern state, Arunachal Pradesh (66.95 per cent), is placed second-lowest in literacy in the country, just above Bihar (63.82 per cent).
27 March 2013

Tripura HC opens after 30-year wait

Agartala, Mar 27 :  Tripura High Court was opened by Chief Justice of India Altamas Kabir here on Tuesday, ending a 30-year-old struggle for an independent high court in the state.

With this, the total number of high courts in the country increased from 21 to 24. Justice Kabir had inaugurated the Meghalaya High Court and the Manipur High Court on Monday.

“The over 30-year-old struggle of the people of Tripura has ended with the setting up of a separate high court,” Chief Minister Manik Sarkar told reporters.

Sarkar said: “We strongly believe that with the setting up of the new high court, democracy in Tripura would be stronger, consolidated and vibrant.”

Earlier Saturday, Justice Deepak Gupta, who is from Himachal Pradesh, took over as the first chief justice of the Tripura High Court while Justice Utpalendu Bikash Saha, Justice Swapan Chandra Das and Justice Subhashish Talapatra - all from Tripura - assumed office as judges.

They were earlier associated with the Gauhati High Court. “In Tripura alone, over 52,000 cases are pending in lower courts and 5,500 cases are awaiting disposal in the high court,” Tripura law department secretary Datamohan Jamatia said.

“Cases and litigations of the state were earlier dealt at Gauhati High Court or at the Agartala bench of the high court, resulting in slow trials. Now, they would be taken up at the Tripura High Court which will make the process of pending cases much faster,” Jamatia said.

The mandatory amendment to the North-Eastern Areas (Re-organisation) Act, 1971 - the North-Eastern Areas (Re-organisation) and Other Related Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2012 - was passed by the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha in May 2012, paving the way for the creation of separate high courts in Tripura, Meghalaya and Manipur.

The seven northeastern states -- Assam, Tripura, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh -- have been under the Gauhati High Court with benches in the respective state capitals. Sikkim has a separate high court.

Lok Sabha member from Tripura Khagen Das, who had moved a private member’s bill earlier for amending the necessary act to set up the high courts, said: “The 30-year-long struggle for a separate high court in Tripura has finally yielded expected results.” 
07 March 2013

Fifth Left Govt Takes Oath in Tripura

Agartala, Mar 7 : Mr Manik Sarkar was today sworn in by Governor D Y Patil for a fourth straight term as Chief Minister to head the fifth consecutive Left Front government in Tripura along with 11 ministers.

The other ministers who took the oath of office and secrecy at the Raj Bhavan were Aghore Debbarma, Badal Chowdhury, Tapan Chakraborty, Manik De, Jitendra Chowdhury, Khagendra Jamatiya, Manindra Reang, Bijita Nath, Shahid Chowdhury, Bhanu Lal Saha and Ratan Bhowmick. Saha, who was the deputy speaker and Bhowmick, were the two new faces in the ministry.

Information and Higher Education minister in the earlier government, Anil Sarkar, who was elected uninterruptedly since Tripura was declared a full fledged state in 1972, was dropped this time because he will be made the vice-president of the planning department of the state.

CPI-M Politburo members Sitaram Yechury and Surjya Kanta Mishra, who is also the Leader of the Opposition in West Bengal were present at the swearing-in ceremony. The chief minister told reporters later that the portfolios will be distributed after a meeting of the council of ministers tonight.

Congratulating the people for the victory of the Left Front, Sarkar said, “There will be no wall between the people and the government. “The Left Front government will be a people's government,” he said, adding he expected cooperation from the Opposition.
14 February 2013

Battle Lines Drawn Tripura Goes To Polls Today

Of the 3,041 booths, 409 have been identified as very sensitive. APOf the 3,041 booths, 409 have been identified as very sensitive.

Battle lines have been drawn up for today’s polls to the 60-member Tripura Assembly where
heavyweights Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, TPCC president Sudip Ray Barman and president of Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura Bijay Hrankhwal are among 249 candidates in the fray.

The Left Front is hoping to script history by returning to power for a fifth consecutive time.

The main contest will be between the Left Front and its allies and the Congress and its partners.
The CPI-M, the dominant partner in the Left Front, is contesting 56 seats, RSP two and CPI and Forward Block one each.

The Congress is contesting 48 seats and its alliance partners INPT in 11 and National Conference of Tripura in one.

The candidates include 14 women, who are four less than those who had contested in the 2008 elections.

An electorate of 23,52,505 including 11,64,656 women are expected to exercise their franchise in the election contested by a total of 16 political parties and independents.

The CPI(M), which has taken credit for ending the four-decade-old insurgency in the state and ensuring peace and communal harmony, is projecting Tripura as a model state in terms of good governance having topped the list in the implementation of MNREGA.

The CPI(M) has also highlighted the 15 awards it received from the Centre for successful implementation of various schemes.

The Congress-INPT-NCT alliance has made “bad governance” of the Manik Sarkar-led government a poll issue, alleging that despite availability of central funds, employees, unemployed and farmers remained deprived during the 20-year LF regime.

Corruption and nepotism by party leaders and partisan behaviour of the government are also important issues for the alliance.

Prominent leaders who campaigned in the run-up to the election include Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi, Union minister Deepa Das Munshi, Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Nabam Tuki, Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram, CPI-M leaders Prakash Karat, Sitaram Yechury, Surya Kanta Mishra and Brinda Karat.

Of the 3,041 booths, 409 have been identified as very sensitive (A+), 535 booths as very sensitive (A) and 726 booths as sensitive.

Altogether 250 companies of central paramilitary forces have been deployed in the state to maintain law and order.

The Border Security Force has sealed the 856 km border with Bangladesh and deployed additional forces to prevent infiltration.

The Election Commission has formed flying squads and Static Surveillance Teams to combat the menace of cash doles and bribes and carrying of illegal arms.

Static Surveillance Teams and Flying squads have been set up in all 60 constituencies with police and government officials headed by a magistrate.
05 February 2013

He is the POOREST CM in India, But He Donates His Salary

NextTripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar can arguably be dubbed 'the cleanest and poorest' chief minister in the country with personal property, movable and immovable, valued at less than Rs 2.5 lakh.

According to the affidavit submitted by the 64-year-old Sarkar during filing of nomination in Dhanpur constituency for the upcoming assembly elections, he had Rs 1,080 cash in hand and his bank balance stood at Rs 9,720.

The Communist Party of India-Marxist leader is aiming for a fourth consecutive term in the northeastern state.

He inherited a home of 432 sq ft with a tin-shed house from his deceased mother Anjali Sarkar whose present market value was Rs 2,20,000.
However, his wife Panchali Bhattacharya, who is a retired officer of the Central government has a cash fixed deposit of Rs 23,58,380 and jewellery worth 20 gm of gold, the present market value of which is Rs 72,000. She has cash of Rs 22,015 in hand.
Her family sources said she had got the money as part of her retirement benefits. The couple has no movable property and the total value of immovable property and cash is Rs 24,52,395.

A state Committee member of the ruling CPI-M, Haripada Das, who looks after the accounts of the party said, like other party members, Sarkar donates his full salary and subsidiary allowances to the party and instead the party pays him Rs 5,000 as subsistence allowances.
According to official sources, the chief minister's monthly salary is Rs 9,200 which, perhaps, is the lowest in the country. When contacted, State Party Secretary Bijan Dhar said, "I can only say that he has no leaning for increasing his own personal property. He has dedicated his entire life for the party and people."
Even his bitter critics do not blame him for any kind of corruption.

19 October 2012

Micro-ATM using Aadhaar Data Delivers Cash To Tripura Villagers

Burakha (Tripura), Oct 19 : Rampati Debbarma, a 71-year-old tribal woman of Burakha village in West Tripura district on Thursday pressed her finger on an Aadhaar-enabled micro-ATM to get her old-age pension in cash.

Rampati is not alone, but hundreds of old-age pensioners of this village collected their pensions in the same way with the help of Aadhaar-enabled payment system introduced here on Thursday.

“Earlier, I used to walk about 10 km from my village to Mandwi Block headquarters for withdrawal of my pension from Gramin Bank, but today I got it at my doorstep,” she said.

The Unique ID Authority of India in collaboration with United Bank of India and Tripura Grameen Bank on Thursday undertook the field trial of Aadhaar-enabled payment system with online authentication of biometric of the beneficiaries in Mandwi Block.

“Our endeavour was successful today,” Dinesh Mushahary, Chairman of Gramin Bank Tripura, who was present during cash transfer, said.

Mushahary appealed to the people to register their Aadhaar numbers with the banks so that people could get their money directly.
02 October 2012

Agartala-Dhaka Bus Service Resumes

Agartala, Oct 2 : The Agartala-Dhaka bus service, which was temporarily suspended in the wake of torching of the 'Moitree' bus of Tripura Road Transport Corporation (TRTC) by a mob at Narsingdi in Bangladesh on September 21 last resumed on Monday, official sources said.

Another bus left for Dhaka from Agartala international bus terminus today, the sources said.

The 'Moitree' bus had faced mob wrath during a political clash in the area.

A two-member team of TRTC visited Narsingdi, 70 km from Agartala, on September 25 to lodge a formal complaint with the police there and to conduct an inquiry into the incident, sources said.
'Moitree' is insured and an inquiry was necessary to make a claim for the insurance.

The team brought back the damaged bus.

'Moitree' plies from Agartala to Dhaka on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, while 'Shyamoli' from Bangladesh side, shuttles during rest of the week, excepting Sundays.

The authorities had to discontinue the service of 'Moitree' due to lack of spare parts as the only other spare bus was being  repaired, the sources said.

Moitree, with 12 Indians and 10 Bangladeshis on board, was torched by a mob who could not make out it was the bus from the neighbouring country, Indian High Commissioner in Dhaka Pankaj Saran had informed Tripura Chief Secretary Sanjoy Kumar Panda.

The Agartala-Dhaka bus service started in September 2003.
10 September 2012

Tripura Govt Extends AFSPA Act For 6 Months To Fight Militancy

Agartala, Sep 10 : Tripura Government has extended Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) for another six months to take stringent actions against militancy in the state, official sources said on Sunday.

The decision to extend the act (AFSPA) for another six months was taken in the recently held

meeting of the state-level coordination committee (SLCC) on security affairs headed by Chief Secretary SK Panda, an official of the state home department said.

The act is in force fully in 34 police stations and partly in six police station areas out of the total 70 police station areas in the state.

The act was first introduced in the state in 1997 when the state was at the peak of insurgency.

The act provides sweeping power to the paramilitary forces and army to conduct raids or arrest any person in the area without arrest warrant.

The Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (INPT), a tribal based political party in the state had long been demanding for repeal of the act on the plea that innocent tribal people were being harassed by the security forces in the name of curbing insurgency.

Even as four decade old insurgency was tamed in Tripura considerably, two outlawed outfits have their camps in neighbouring Chittagong Hill Tract and Syllhet region of Bangladesh and occasionally sneaks into the state for subversive activities, officials said.
06 September 2012

Tourism Hope For Tripura’s Valley Of Tears

Dumbur lake to be transformed from hydel power reservoir to birdwatchers’ paradise

Agartala, Sep 6 : Long reviled as the vale of tears, Tripura’s lush green Raima valley, crisscrossed by the sprawling 42 square km Dumbur lake, now holds out the hope of emerging as the crucible of hope for the impoverished indigenous people inhabiting the valley.
Thirty-eight years ago, power starved Tripura — then ruled by the Congress — decided to go ahead with a hydroelectric project, which required a huge water reservoir.
The government turned a blind eye to the plight of more than 27,000 indigenous farmers who lived and worked on the valley floor. It engineered an artificial confluence of the Raima and Sarama rivers, which had been glorified in indigenous folklore and mythology like the Ganga and Saraswati, to submerge the fertile valley.
More than 27,000 indigenous people lost their traditional homes and livelihood to pave the way for the water reservoir of the hydroelectric project. But very few got compensation because they did not possess the official title deeds required by the government.
This insensitivity and cynical approach of the state government had sparked protests: the CPM, together with the then Tripura Upajati Juba Samity (TUJS) and CPI, formed a joint action committee to protest the forced eviction. But, nothing worked in the face of the persecution of the Congress government, headed by then chief minister Sukhamay Sengupta.
Pakhi Tripura, a senior CPM leader, was jailed during the protest movement and returned home after two years to find his wife and children missing. They were never found.
The Dumbur hydroelectric project was commissioned in 1976 with an installed capacity of generating 10MW from its two units. A third unit of 5MW was subsequently installed in 1984 as a standby.
But the project has been jinxed from the start: It never generated power to capacity and during the last five years, the project has become unviable because of heavy siltation of the lake owing to largescale soil erosion from two surrounding hill ranges that have been heavily deforested.
During the protracted dry spells every year, the project comes to a grinding halt as the water level in the lake dips and the turbines do not get sufficient water to generate power.
Considering the unviability of the project, the state government has decided to abandon it and convert the 44 islands in Dumbur lake as well as land close to indigenous hamlets into tourist spots.
“There was a time when 40 of the 42 square km of the lake was an expanse of water but now the water level cannot be retained beyond 20 square km. So, while the task of restoring the lake will continue, we will try to turn the lake, its 44 islands as well as its picturesque environs into tourist spots,” said A.K. Dhar, a senior tourism department official.
He pointed out that the Dumbur lake area and nearby Gomati wildlife sanctuary are favourite haunts of migratory birds from Arunachal Pradesh and other parts of the country that will attract people.
“A project has been sent to the DoNER ministry for converting the project site, including the lake and its environs, into tourist spots; hopefully it will be sanctioned soon,” he added.

source:  Telegraph India
09 August 2012

Tripura To Have Separate Directorate For Tribal Languages

Agartala, Aug 9 : Tripura government will form a separate directorate for developing tribal languages in vogue in the state, official sources said today.

There are 23 tribes in Tipura and majority of them speak Kokborok, which is the main tribal language in the state. Tribes like Chakma, Kuki, Hmar, Hrangkhol and Halam residing in the state have their own languages.

The directorate would be named ‘Kokborok and Minority Language Development Directorate’ and would be headed by an IAS officer, the sources said.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the council of ministers chaired by the Chief Minister Manik Sarkar here on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, following suggestions by educationists from Chakma tribe, the state government has decided to introduce Chakma script instead of Bengali for the Chakma students.

There are 943 schools where Kokborok is the medium of instruction, 28 where Meitei (Manipuri) is the medium of instruction, 36 schools where Bishnupriya Manipuri language is used and 49 others where Kuki-Halam language is the medium of instructions.

The tribals in Tripura constitute one third of the population, which is slightly more than 37 lakhs.