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Assam CM urges PM for oil royalty

Correspondent

Guwahati, June 30, 2014: Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi Monday requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ensure payment of oil royalty at prevailing market prices as Assam has incurred a loss of nearly Rs10,000 crore since 2008 because of disbursement of oil royalty at highly discounted price to Central Government PSUs.

Raising the issue of underpayment of royalty in a letter to the Prime Minister, Chief Minister Gogoi said, “A special category and resource-constrained State like Assam cannot afford such a huge loss of revenue. Oil producing States like Assam should not be denied the benefits of its natural resources and made to compensate for the under-recoveries of the Central oil marketing PSUs.”

Referring to the verdict by Gujarat High Court on a petition filed by the Government of Gujarat that royalty on crude oil be made on fair market price and not on discounted price as well as the Supreme Court order that royalty be made by ONGC to Government of Gujarat on pre-discounted price of crude oil with effect from 1st February, 2014.

Gogoi said, “In view of the developments, I would request you to advise the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas to give appropriate instructions to ONGC and OIL to pay royalty on crude oil at 20% of the wellhead price, in addition to VAT at 5% and other State taxes at pre-discounted price to Government of Assam with effect from 1st February, 2014.”

Ruling left ahead of opposition in Tripura rural polls

Correspondent

Agartala, July 30, 2014: CPI(M) led left front is set to restage its huge victory in three tier panchayat elections on July 15. It already won 961 of 6646 seats as opposition parties including Congress failed to put up candidates in all seats.

The picture over possible outcome of poll has become quite clear after completion of nomination submission and withdrawal process. Except 961, remaining 5684 seats in Village Panchayat, Panchayat Samiti and the Zilla Parishad will face multi corner contest.

Political analysts say there is a clear chance for left front to win at least 90 percent seats, even its performance this time would be better than the past rural elections. The massive victory of the left is expected as differ political parties would eat opposition vote share.

State election officials say 13,274 candidates are in the race. Election schedule will be separately declared for village committee in areas under Tripura tribal areas autonomous district council. 

Malaria alert in Mizoram

Correspondent

Aizawl, June 27, 2014: Malaria which has created havoc in Tripura has now lashed neighbouring Mizoram state. Several cases of malaria have been reported from Lawngtlai district on edge of Bangladesh border.

Mizoram health directorate has sent medical teams of affected area in south western side of the state. Officials said a large number of people were diagnosed and provided necessary treatment.

Most of villages are remotely located and residents have serious problems to access to medical facilities. The officials said no death occurred so far in the state.

In Tripura malaria epidemic has claimed 50 lives and over 20,000 sick as five districts declared malaria prone. A central government team of experts just concluded visit to affected areas where they studied pattern of disease and gave advisory to state health officials to contain the outbreak. 

“Songs of the Blue Hills” invited to film fests in Italy

Agencies

New Delhi / Guwahati, June 26: Some mesmerizing Naga music will reverberate in a castle on a rocky island off the coast of Italy and the heights of the Himalayas around the same time this month end as filmmaker-critic Utpal Borpujari’s documentary “Songs of the Blue Hills” has been invited to three more international film festivals.

The film has been selected to the 12th Ischia Film Festival held under the patronage of the President of Italy in the medieval Aragonese Castle located on the Mediterranean Sea, the 7th International Documentary and Short Film Festival of Kerala (IDSFFK) and the Ladakh International Film Festival after having already earned high appreciation in six international film festivals.

Produced by Centre for Cultural Resources and Training (CCRT), an organisation under the Union Ministry of Culture, the film features an eclectic range of Naga musicians who are practising the folk music of various Naga tribes in their pure and contemporary forms.

The 96-minute film earlier got invited to the Doc Outlook International Market of the Visions du Reel Film Festival (Nyon, Switzerland), Gothenburg Independent Film Festival (Sweden), New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF), Eyes & Lenses Ethnographic Film Festival (Warsaw, Poland), the World Music & Independent Film Festival (Washington) and Signs 2014 Documentary Film Festival, Kochi.

It has now been invited for the “Documentari fuori concorso” section of the Ischia Film Festival which, complementing its unique venue, focuses on the importance of reflecting cultures and locations in audiovisual works.

NEC to formulate regional development policy

PR 

Shillong, June 25, 2014: A meeting at the Northeastern Council (NEC) Secretariat under the Chairmanship of Prof Ashoke K. Dutta, Member, NEC on Tuesday was held with the purpose of providing inputs for formulating the Regional Development Plan for Skill Development and Training of the Youths from North Eastern States. NEC will involve the agencies working in the field of skill development for employment and self employment and coaching for entrance exams in engineering, medical, law etc. as well as for jobs in government like UPSC, SSC, CPO, Banks, Public Sector Undertakings and other private sector organizations.

Imparting training for this purpose would be done by inviting expression of interest. This initiative will provide the advantage to the youth of the North Eastern States to upgrade their skills and open
opportunities for gainful employment and social upliftment. The meeting was attended by Sh. Ameising Luikham, Secretary, NEC, NEC Officials and officials from the State Governments, Kaziranga University, Sahaj-E-Village Limited, NEITCO, SICB of Sikkim, Donbosco technical School-Guwahati, NIELIT, NERLP, NERCOMP, NSIC, SIRD-Assam, NIRD-Guwahati, NSE, IHM-Shillong and other private sector training institutes.

Discussing the NEC’s strategy, Ameising Luikham, Secretary, NEC highlighted the various aspects on the issue of skill development and the need for various kinds of training programmes which include the Skill Development Initiative Scheme of the Ministry of Labour and stressed the need for review of the various courses in ITIs, introduction of new courses, upgrade existing infrastructure and machineries etc with special focus on job availability within the region and also outside the region. The need to strengthen the institutional mechanism for skill development in States on the lines of the Sikkim Institute of Capacity Building, which also covers trades for persons with class V qualifications was also discussed and stressed upon for other States to replicate the same model.

Nagaland moves centre for special funding

Correspondent

Kohima, June 24, 2014: Nagaland government has approached the NDA government at the centre for a special grant to tackle state’s dismal financial condition. The state argued that the funding is necessary to take away development activities in the state.

Chief Minister T R Zeliang informed that he and accompanying ministers made the request to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley during their recent visit in New Delhi. According to him Nagaland is running a deficit of Rs 1234 crore and is facing serious fund crunch.

Chief Minister opined unless the centre supports the state with extra grant it would be difficult to implement development activities. He blamed unfavourable recommendations of 13th Finance Commission for the current situation.

The commission had recommended a limit of 35 per cent expenditure on salaries to government employees out of the total revenue expected though state crossed 62 per cent.

NCC to create an academy in Arunachal

Correspondent

Itanagar, June 23, 2014: The National Cadets Corps (NCC) would set up an academy and raise a new battalion in strategically located Arunachal Pradesh. Brigadier NK Dabas, group commander of the NCC with its regional headquarters at Tezpur in Assam, announced decision during his visit to the state bordering China.

He met Chief Minister Nabam Tuki to brief him about activities of the army cadet force and its functioning in Arunachal. During this meeting Brigadier Dabas informed of move to upgrade the 22(I) Coy at Pasighat to a full-fledged battalion.

The NCC also contemplates to set up separate group headquarters for Arunachal Pradesh to motivate more youths and connect with it. Some other infrastructure and facilities are on the card.

Brigadier NK Dabas was accompanied by Col S A Patil, commanding officer of Naharlagun based battalion. Brigadier visited the Naharlagun battalion and met the army staff, ANOs and cadets and appraised them on latest developments in NCC.

BSF learning Bangla in eastern frontier

Correspondent

Agartala, June 21, 2014: Officers and jawans of the Border Security Force (BSF) are learning Bangla (Bengali) for better communication with the border population and even to deal with Bangladeshis. BD Sharma, the Special Director General of the force, said the initiative that was launched last year is getting good result on the ground.

“Most of BSF jawans hail from other states where Bengali is not spoken and there had been odd situations arose out of communication problem. We have prepared learning kit to teach selected Bangla sentences that can help communicate with people better way”, he told newsmen on sideline of a programme at BSF’s Tripura frontier headquarters in Agartala

India shares 4000km border with Bangladesh and people living in both sides of the border are largely Bengali speaking except some areas of Tripura, Mizoram and Meghalaya. Sharma said the idea has been beneficial in ways of communication and accomplishment of assignments of the BSF personnel.

Sources said main purpose of the initiative is to bring the BSF closer to the border residents and drive out misgivings often arise due to language barrier. Misinterpretation between villagers and BSF personnel often result in tension in border villages.

High drama over Mizoram Reang repatriation

Correspondent

Agartala, June 20, 2014: High drama surfaced over resumption of repatriation of Reang or Bru refugees to their home in Mizoram. The sixth phase repatriation was slated for Tuesday and Wednesday, and an estimated 550 camp inmate families in Tripura were enlisted.

However protests spearheaded by the committee of displaced Reangs halted the process on first day though north Tripura district administration arranged transports to ferry them to Mizoram. Refugee leaders declared they will not allow repatriation to happen till Mizoram government accepts their list of demands.

Around 35,000 Reang refugees are languishing in seven camps in north Tripura district after they left Mizoram amid ethnic strife with majority Mizos. Earlier past five repatriations did not yield much and only few hundred went back.

While the refugee leaders claim no registered refugee member returned in the latest move, Mizoram government has a different story. It claimed so far 227 Reang of 44 families returned to Mizoram.

Tripura government officials said some did return, but took a different route. They said number would be less than the claim made by Mizoram government.

Mizoram government has refused to accept any demand except that on rehabilitation of returnees under a central government sponsored rehabilitation package. Each repatriated family would get free ration for a year. 

Nagaland Governor refutes ‘political vendetta’ report

 Correspondent

Kohima, June 19, 2014: Nagaland Governor Dr. Ashwani Kumar has refuted reports in Times of India and Outlookindia.com which said the former has alleged that the move to replace the Governors appointed during the UPA rule has a political vendetta. He termed the reports concocted and absolutely false.

The public relations officer of the Governor Dominic Yazokie has in a statement claimed Dr Kumar has not made any such statement anywhere, to any person or representative of media. The statement appeals all media organizations are requested to immediately stop publicity of this mischievous and controversial statement attributed to the Governor of Nagaland.

“The totally unfounded quote appears to be in violation of the primary ethics of journalism. It may be an attempt of vested interests to malign and sully reputations and create conflict between democratic
structures of Government”, the statement added. 

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