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Neepco wants Tipaimukh back.

A Correspondent
Agartala, July 7, 2011: Northeastern Electricity Power Corporation Limited (Neepco) would urge the central government to handover controversial Tipaimukh hydro electricity project in Manipur for its speedy installation. “We have capacity and ability to complete the project in four years”, Neepco CMD Prem Chand Pankaj told newsmen in Agartala adding that multi corner protects against ambitious 1500MW plant are somehow irrelevant as mere 74 families would be displaced from the site.

Pankaj said the project which ran into rough weather due to remonstrations from the local residents, NGOs and more from Bangladesh is actually beneficial in many terms and to diminish power scarcity in northeastern region. Neepco had made all ground and infrastructure for the project, but was later given away to a joint venture comprising two other companies and the Manipur government.  

The CMD was visiting the state mainly to oversee progress of work of a 100MW gas based power project at Monarchak, near Agartala. The second plant of the Neepco after 84MW Agartala Gas Turbine Plant which is operation and marked for expansion would be commissioned in January 2013.  

When asked whether Neepco with plans to double production of units in Tripura willing to do a 'power business' with Bangladesh he said no such proposal is on the card and this require agreements between the two countries. “Moreover Bangladesh frequency of electricity and the Higher Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) is different from ours. So in case of transmission to Bangladesh conversion of electricity mode would be required”,     
CMD informed.  

Meanwhile the ONGC has agreed to supply point five million cubic meter gas to the Monarchak project. Neepco officials are to approach the ONGC authority for allocating more gas to develop exiting power plants.  

The Neepco has now daily production capacity of 1130MW from three hydro and two thermal projects which is about 49percent of total capacity in northeast.

Handique opens NE Craft Museum

Agartala, July 4, 2011: The Union Minister of Development of North Eastern Region, B.K. Handique inaugurated the North East Craft Museum at Guwahati. On the occasion, he said that while preserving traditional motifs on handicrafts, we should modernise the designs to appeal to the urban consumers across the country by proper finishing and branding.  

He emphasised to involve National Institute of Design on a more long term and sustainable basis for increasing the income of artisan.

This is the only Handicrafts Museum in the North East which has artifacts from all the North Eastern States including Sikkim. Under the initiative of North East Handloom & Handicrafts Development Corporation (NEHHDC), the Museum has been financed by the Office of the Development Commissioner (Handicrafts) and set up in a 10000 Sq ft shed.  

Work on the Museum started in 2009 with the disposal of the old and heavy machinery and major repair works took up almost the entire year. Thereafter the works on the interiors were taken up and it took final shape in 2011. The Museum has a unique collection of basketries some of which are decades old.

Socio-Economic and Caste Census 2011 Begins

Agartala, June 29, 2011: The 1st ever post independence Socio-Economic and Caste Census 2011 today began from the Sankhola village of Hazemara block in West Tripura District. It is a door-to-door census in the entire country.

Read more: Socio-Economic and Caste Census 2011 Begins

India's poverty census to launch from Tripura

A Correspondent
Agartala, June 25, 2011: The national socio - economic and caste census, commonly attributed as BPL census, would commence from Tripura on June 29. The survey will kick off at Shankhola village in West Tripura district in presence of senior union and state government officials.  

An official of state's rural development department said that the inauguration would precede a seminar cum workshop at Agartala. “Secretary of Union Rural Development Ministry BK Sinha is arriving to attend basically an interactive session between various officials over the modalities of survey on June 28”, he stated.  

Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, Panchayat Minister Manik Dey, Rural Development Minister Jitendra Choudhury, Chief Secretary SK Panda and others would remain present at the programme prelude to launch of the survey in state chosen as starter in the entire country. The state government earlier formed a 20 member committee to monitor and oversee the survey in the state.  

Besides, four district level coordination committees have also been formed with concerned district magistrates as Chairman. The state government has demanded to the central government to ensure a proper survey based on factual records of the families.  

The central and state governments differ over strength of population living under below poverty line (BPL) in Tripura. The centre is proving assistance for 40percent BPL category people while state government puts the ratio at 66 percent.  

Panchayat Minister Manik Dey said they do not agree with the method of survey of the union government and it has been contentious issue.

NEC to support schools

A Correspondent
Shillong, June 22, 2011: North Eastern Council has taken up a very interesting pilot project to primarily help and assist the students of North Eastern Region in preparing for the various competitive entrance exams especially for engineering courses. As a pilot project, the proposed Innovative Teaching Practices will be imparted free of cost for two months to 100 students from Meghalaya.  

The programme was inaugurated by U.K. Sangma, Secretary, NEC on 21 June 2011. It is an online course to be imparted through AASANKA from Mumbai and depending on the successfulness of this pilot project the course will be replicated and made available to the students of other North Eastern States. The Secretary, NEC, is hopeful that the project will help the youngsters in their endeavour in successfully clearing exams and getting into top colleges.   

For the time being, following schools are included for this programme:

1.  St. Mary's College, Shillong

2.  Government Boy's Higher Secondary School, Jowai

3.  Government Boy's Higher Secondary School, Shillong

4.  Pine Mount School, Shillong

5.  St. Anthony's Higher Secondary School, Shillong

The Secretary, NEC also announced that a laptop with Internet connection would be given to the three (3) top ranked students from the participants.  

The programme in its present form will also be extended to 100 more students of class 11 to help them to seamlessly pursue their studies.

Bullet courier mystery deepens

A Correspondent
Agartala, June 15, 2011: Police are groping in dark into the investigation over finding live cartridges couriered to a nursing student in Agartala. Six bullets of 9mm pistol were sent to a 2nd year student in the government nursing institute housed in premises of GB Hospital.  

A senior police officer who is supervising the investigation said there has not been any major breakthrough in the case. “The sender's name and address found fake, but we are trying to crack the mystery”, he stated.    

A few days back nursing student Rabiya Begum received a parcel couriered from Dharmanagar in North Tripura district. When opened she found nine bullets that investigation later establish to be of 9mm pistol.  

She instantly became scared and panic stricken and fellow students informed the incident to police. The girl hails from Kailasahar, near Dharmanagar, giving police officials a clue that it could be a handiwork of a frustrated man who was unsuccessful to get her attention.  

Despite 'triangle love' or 'failed love' or 'act of revenge' theories which are doing the round, questions have been raised over availability of the bullets of a sophisticated small weapon.  

“If there are bullets, there must be one or more pistols. We have to track down the kingpins and hope to make a progress soon”, said the police officer. He added that the courier came through surface transport not by flight, so the bullets could not be detected before they reached the recipient.

60th plenary NEC meeting

A Correspondent
Agartala, June 10, 2011: The 60th NEC Council Meeting is slated to be held on June 16 and 17 at Delhi which is to be attended by among others, Chief Ministers, Governors, Chief Secretaries of all the North Eastern States including Sikkim. Various topic for over all development of North East including Power scenario, Education, Science and Technology, Railways, Air connectivity, Innovation for the North Eastern Region, Transport and Communication in the States, Agriculture, Sports etc. will be touch upon.

Special presentations will be made by (1) Ministry of Power on the Action Plan prepared for the NE Region based on the Vision NER 2020 and discussion thereon.  (2) Draft Master Plan prepared by the NEC on Tourism in the North Eastern Region as per the NER Vision 2020 (prepared by M/s Tata Consultancy Services Ltd., engaged by NEC) and discussion thereon.  (3) State Government of Mizoram on the Report prepared on Education Sector in the State. (4) Shri Sam Pitroda, Advisor to Prime Minister and Chairman, National Innovation Council on the Innovation for the North Eastern Region and discussions thereon. (5) Mission Director, Mission on Geo Spatial Applications, Ministry of Science and Technology on “GIS mapping of social infrastructure in Nagaland and Manipur using 3D terrain models”. (6) Ministry of Railways on the Action Plan prepared for North Eastern Region on the basis of NER Vision 2020 and discussion thereon.

Presentation of awards to the winners of the recently constituted North Eastern Council Chairman's Sports Award for Excellence will be held.  Gold Medalist in the recently held International events such as Common Wealth and Asian Games are being given Rs. 10.00 lakhs for Gold Medal, Rs. 5.00 lakhs for Silver and Rs. 3.00 lakhs for Bronze each.

As a body for planning and execution for over all development of the North East States, the meet is to chaired by Hon'ble Union Minister of DoNER and Chairman, NEC, Shri B.K Handique. Almost all the Hon'ble Governors, Chief Ministers, Chief Secretaries and senior officers have confirmed their participation in the Plenary so far.

NE talent hunt - reality show

A Correspondent
Agartala, May 28, 2011: The Programme Production Centre (North East) Doordarshan Guwahati will be organizing the first ever North East Reality Show for singers of the North East to give an opportunity to the young people to explore their talents and to give a common platform.  

Read more: NE talent hunt - reality show

HM returns Delhi sans Mizoram

A Correspondent
Agartala, May 18, 2011: Rough weather prevented Indian home minister P Chidambaram from visiting Mizoram Wednesday. He flew back to New Delhi at end of his visit to Agartala where he unveiled foundation stone for an ambitious integrated check post (ICP) at Akhaura border Tuesday.  

Chidambaram had important schedules in Mizoram including a visit to Mamith district in southwest Mizoram to assess firsthand rehabilitation of refugees Bru (Reang) tribe refugees currently getting repatriated from their makeshift camps at Kanchanpur in north of Tripura.  

In Agartala Home Minister appealed Bru refugees to return home and gave assurance that they would be resettled in their original localities. Over 30,000 tribesmen and women have been languishing in makeshift camps since they escaped ethnic unrest in Mizoram in 1997.  

The home ministry is spending roughly Rs 60 crore a month to take burden of the refugees housed in six makeshift camps near Mizoram border.  

The Embraer Legacy 600 flight took off from Agartala airport with home minister and his entourages.  

Heavy morning downpours disrupted normal life in the region.

Chidambaram see progress in talks with rebels

A Correspondent
Agartala, May 17, 2011: Indian home minister P Chidambaram has on Tuesday said that peace talks with the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) is imminent with the proceedings of assembly elections in Assam are over. He said senior ULFA leaders led by Arvind Rajkhowa pledged their endeavour for an honorable solution to the problem when they met Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh.

The union home minister was addressing newsmen after unveiling foundation stone for the construction of an integrated check post (ICP) at Akhaura border in presence of Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, Industry Minister Jitendra Choudhury and union border management secretary A. E. Ahmed. The ICP will brace bilateral trades between India and Bangladesh and also strengthen its historic, cultural and emotional.

He said he admired ULFA leaders for their resolve for restoration of complete peace in Assam. When asked about dissenter leader Paresh Barua, he replied, “He is not in India. I cannot speak about him, but chief minister Tarun Gogoi informed us he (Paresh) is also willing to talk”.  

Chidambaram informed the centre is in talks with Manipur rebel outfit United Naga Council (UNC) while deliberations with the NSCN (I-M) are taking place with satisfactory note. On insurgency in Tripura he said the menace has been contained to a large extent and the groups are left with small number of people.

He also touched issues pertaining insurgency in Tripura and bilateral trade with Bangladesh. He said efforts to restore peace in the state received support from all political parties and the centre extensively cooperated with the state. “They (extremist groups) must adjure violence for talks and we are very firm of tackling disturbances”, home minister warned.

He said he is connected with internal security matters to find a reason to praise present Bangladesh government led by Sheikh Hasina for their cooperation on wide range of issues, but did not specify. “There was a perception that India should not indulge Bangladesh to reduce massive trade imbalance. But I always have the impression of getting imports from Bangladesh”, he opined adding Bangladesh has a small economy and our support is important.  

India is working to create total 13 ICPs along Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Myanmar borders with an initial outlay of Rs 635crores. The ICP would have the infrastructures to house passenger terminal building, cargo inspection sheds, isolation bay and all others required facilities like warehouse, cold storage and quarantine laboratory.  

Chidambaram also visited Congress Bhavan where he addressed party leaders and workers after inspecting new secretariat, assembly and high court buildings.