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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.

30,000 NE manuscripts digitised, micro-filmed

GUWAHATI, April 30, 2011 - In all, 30,000 manuscripts from the NE region have been digitised and micro-filmed by the Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts (IGNCA). The IGNCA has also digitally photo-documented both the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) protected and non-protected monuments in the NE States of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Tripura, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Nagaland.

This was disclosed by Dr Ramesh C Gaur, Librarian and Head of the Kalanidhi Division of the IGNCA. He was speaking to this newspaper on the sidelines of a three-day seminar on status of digitisation, digital preservation and access to libraries and archives in the NE India that got under way here today.

Dr Gaur said that most of the manuscripts digitised in the NE region belong to the States of Manipur and Assam. About 82 of them also belong to the Kamarupa Anusandhana Samiti (KAS). The IGNCA has also digitised the materials available with the Assam Directorate of Historical and Antiquarian Studies.

The IGNCA has also received the personal library of eminent Sankardeva scholar Prof Maheswar Neog. It has been donated by Prof Neog's son Pranabswarup Neog. The IGNCA will be happy to receive such personal libraries of the renowned scholars of the region and these will be preserved under the names of the scholars concerned or the donors concerned, Dr Gaur said.

Both public and private libraries and archives can avail the help of the IGNCA in digitization and digitally preserving their collections on condition that one digitized copy of each of the materials should be made available to IGNCA Kalanidhi reference library for access by the scholars world over.

The IGNCA is also making microfilm copies of the rare manuscripts, books, etc., considering the fact that microfilm is the best media for long-term preservation of such materials.

Source: Assam Tribune, Guwahati

People fury over minor's rape

A Correspondent
Phek (Nagaland), April 29, 2011: More than 10,000 people gathered at Phek Clock Tower in the middle of the town protesting against Ravohü who is reported to have committed an odious crime by raping a 4 (four) year old girl recently. The protest rally was organized by NGOs and various civil society bodies in Phek.  

A brief programme was held before the rally start off to Deputy Commissioner's office where various public leaders including the Presidents of Chakhesang Mothers' Association, Phek Area Public Organisation, Phek Town Puchuri Union, Phek Town Chakhesang Students Union and Ex-woman President, Avolu Chizo spoke to the gathering and calls for public awareness during such anti- social element occurrence.

Later, the rally proceeded to DC's Office with banners and play-cards and submitted a memorandum to Deputy Commissioner demanding early action and timely arrest of the culprit where the Deputy Commissioner Phek, Mikha Lomi assured the public to take up the case in the earliest and would award befitting punishment to the culprit as per the nature of crime.  

Senior police officers also strongly condemned the heinous crime and further called upon all sections of people to cooperate during any anti social element occurrence.

Massive power turbine arrives through Bangladesh

Agartala, April 18, 2011: Enthusiastic crowds cheered and clapped as first mammoth turbine crossed the border into Agartala Monday to take journey to site of 726MW thermal power project at Palatana in

Read more: Massive power turbine arrives through Bangladesh

Inferno claims 21 in Tripura tribe refugee camp

A Correspondent
Agartala, March 19, 2011: In a terrible incident at least 21 inmates of Mizoram Reang refugee camps in north Tripura district killed in a devastating fire Saturday. The death toll could be more as search is underway in the debris at Naishingpara camp in Kanchanpur subdivision, some 170km northeast of Agartala.  

The flames completed gutted the camp, one of six in the area, in the incident around 11.15AM. The incident that left some one hundred people wounded occurred amidst repatriation of the Reangs or Bru refugees in phases to Mizoram.  

Deputy inspector general of police (Operation) Nepal Das confirmed the toll include men, women and children. He could not say immediately say exact cause behind the inferno that destroyed about one thousand huts.

“We are also not sure about source of fire, but it could be from a kitchen”, refugee leader Suibanga Bru told newsmen over phone. Eyewitnesses said the fire immediately gripped the bamboo and plastic made shelters mainly due to the dry spell.   

16 refugees died at the scene and five succumbed in or on way to the hospitals. The injured are admitted in five different hospitals in north Tripura district and some critically wounded are being sent to Agartala by helicopter for treatment at G.B. Panth hospital.

Fire fighting teams could not do much as there was shortage of water and equipments.  

All senior civil and police officers as well as leaders of the apex body of the evacuees are camping in Naishingpara. North Tripura district magistrate Soumya Gupta and district superintendent of police are supervising rescue and relief operations.  

Naishingpara alone accommodates 14,528 of 34,000 refugees from northeast India's most primitive tribe. They left Mizoram state in October 1997 to escape large scale ethnic violence and alleged persecution by the majority Mizos.

After years of efforts, negotiations and interventions at different level the Mizoram government conceded to arrange return of the evacuees in December last, but the repatriation has been extremely slow as Mizoram authorities despite objections are carrying out complicated verification process to ascertain citizenship status of the refugee families.  

Last year on March 15, about 1800 people became homeless after fire razed entire Reang refugee camp at Hamshapara, near Naishingpara.  

Latest reports said forensic experts have reached the incident spot to investigate certain aspects including a possible conspiracy at Naishingpara. Officials said the homeless people have been given shelter in school and government office building in close by areas.

Milei-Ngyi festival held in fanfare

A Correspondent
Kohima, March 16, 2011: The Zeliangrong community celebrated the Milei-Ngyi festival at District Headquarter New Peren with Chief Minister, Neiphiu Rio as the Chief celebrant.

Read more: Milei-Ngyi festival held in fanfare

ONGC's new discovery in Tripura

New Delhi, March 14, 2011: The ONGC has recently made another significant gas discovery in the north eastern state of Tripura.  

Read more: ONGC's new discovery in Tripura

Kamdhenu Steel pioneering launch in Agartala

Agartala, March 11, 2011: Kamdhenu Steel, leaders in Indian steel market, when it comes to producing TMT steel bars used in public and private construction, also known as 'Saria' in Hindi have come out with hybrid variety of TMT bars, that is the best quality, in terms, of the variety the company has had to offer, so far.  

Read more: Kamdhenu Steel pioneering launch in Agartala

Reangs Ready for 3rd Phase Repatriation

A Correspondent
Agartala, March 7, 2011: Mizoram would embrace third batch of Reang tribe refugees slated to return home from makeshift camps in Tripura on March 8. Officials said preparations are underway to resettle returnee families in Mamith district, which is Reang or Bru infested in the state.

They informed 450 Bru families hailing from six camps in Kanchanpur subdivision on edge of border with Mizoram have been selected for the upcoming repatriation. The Mizoram government is armed with a rehabilitation package completely funded by the union home ministry to resettle the returnee families in Sihthiang, Tumpanglui, Tuipuibari, Khanthuam, Damparengpui and Damdiai villages

The home ministry has so far sanctioned Rs 9.97 crore with an assurance to disburse the expense in phases for complete settlement of the refugees languishing in makeshift camps in Tripura. About 35,000 men, women and children of northeast India's primitive tribe made an exodus to escape ethnic tension and persecution in Mizoram in September 1997.

The vexed refugee problem saw jolts one after another with Mizoram government bowing to pressure to some social groups in Mizoram who opposed anything to work out reconciliation with state's minority Reangs. Even now the Mizoram government adding fret by voicing that only 'bona fide' Reangs would be taken back.

On the other apex body of refugees saw split with one section preferring to stay back till Mizoram government concedes to their political demands like an autonomous council and reservation in government jobs and education. The Mizoram government has virtually accorded them nothing except that of a moderate rehabilitation package that too at behest of the union home ministry after a long persuasion and mediation at different levels to end the humanitarian problem.

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