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Impasse ends on Reang refugee return

A Correspondent
Agartala / Aizawl, January 6, 2011: The government of India has achieved an important headway after die hard group of Mizoram tribal refugees stranded in north Tripura agreed to join repatriation. The return of remaining 30,000 Reang or Bru refugees got stalled after anti-repatriation leaders made fresh demands over security and rehabilitation of the returnees.  

The success came after the Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) mediated with the rival factions of the refugees to the number of 37,000 sheltered in Tripura's Kanchanpur subdivision in October 1997 when ethnic violence razed Mamith district of Mizoram. “We have done this (mediation) at request of the Ministry of Home Affairs. Both factions have agreed to return”, ACHR director Suhas Chakma said.

Chakma claimed that the MHA accepted legitimate demands of the group called Mizoram Bru Refugee Committee, the apex committee of the evacuees, which opposed the repatriation citing inadequate security and resettlement assurances.  

Completion of the repatriation of the indigenous men and women from officially recognised most primitive tribe would end a vexed problem remained unsolved for years despite numerous talks and initiatives at different level. Security and rehabilitation package were issues that remained bone of contention between the refugee leaders and Mizoram state officials.  

The progress in initiatives saw a success after visit of Union Home Minister P Chidambaram to Mizoram capital Aizawl where he advised the state officials to resolve the refugee crisis with support from the union government. Officials said the MHA has assured both Mizoram government and the refugees of taking burden of entire expenditure towards proper and complete rehabilitation of the returnee refugees in Mizoram.  

Pro return faction leader Elvis Chorky who was virtually forced to take shelter in Mizoram amid anger in the makeshift camps over his alleged nexus with the Mizoram government said the repatriation is expected to complete in two months time. “There was a deliberate attempt to block the repatriation. It was we struggled for years together to induce the governments at the centre and Mizoram to accept our conditions”, Chorky asserted over phone.

New 'Silk Route' through Bangladesh for the NE states

Agartala, December 28, 2010: ONGC Tripura Power Company (OTPC), an ONGC Group of joint venture, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the government of Bangladesh at Dhaka on November 30 last to open up a new transport corridor through Bangladesh to facilitate the transportation of heavy equipments of OTPC to the North-eastern state of Tripura.

The MoU was signed by Mr. R.K. Madan, Senior Adviser (Business Development, ONGC) & Director, OTPC on behalf of ONGC/OTPC and Mr. Azizur Rahman, Chief Engineer, Roads and Highways Deptt., representing the Government of People's Republic of Bangladesh.

Shahjahan Khan, Minister of Shipping, Government of Bangladesh, Abdul Mannan Howlader, Secretary Shipping, Mozammel Haque Khan, Secretary, Roads and Highways, other senior officials from the Government of Bangladesh witnessed the MoU signing ceremony. From the Indian side, Sushil Singhal, First Secretary, High Commission of India in Dhaka, A K Hazarika, Director (Onshore), ONGC, S K Dube, MD, OTPC were also present on this momentous occasion.

Pursuant to this MoU, Bangladesh authorities will, for the first time, allow the use of Ashuganj port on the mighty Meghna River and the connecting road network between Ashuganj-Sultanpur-Akhaura check post (around 48 km). This will facilitate the transportation of two Gas turbines, two steam turbines and about hundred ODC (Over Dimensional Cargo) items required for the OTPC's ambitious 726.6 MW Combined Cycle Gas based power plant at Palatana, Tripura.

The transit route through Bangladesh shall enable cutting down the commissioning time by around 7 to 8 months compared to the earlier plans of transporting the ODCs through a far challenging & complex route through Karimganj, Manu-Ambassa mountainous tracts and a large no of river crossings in Tripura.

“The other significant implication of this MOU is the opening up of the new and a much convenient route for the growth of trade between the two countries through an easy access between North-eastern states of India and Bangladesh. This will also usher in the development of closer ties between the people of two countries.” Mr. Sharma added.

Citing the fact that the commissioning of the above Power Plant will go a long way in mitigating the power shortages in the entire North Eastern Region, ushering in opportunities for the economic, social and holistic development of the region, Sharma also said that the commissioning of this Power Plant would be a landmark achievement in the logistically challenging and land locked State of Tripura.

Combined with the investments for drilling new wells, laying of gas pipelines as well as downstream transmission system, implementation of this project at an aggregated investments in excess of Rs. 8,000 crore, is going to be the largest ever investment for any single scheme in the entire North-Eastern region of India.

Post-commissioning, the project will help in monetizing the gas discoveries made by ONGC in Tripura during the last two decades, which have remained under-utilized thus far due to lack of appropriate customer demand. The implementation of this Power Project would enable ONGC to increase its gas production in the State from the current level of 1.7 million cubic meters a day to over 5.5 million cubic meters a day.

The first unit of the Project with 363.3 MW capacity is expected to be commissioned in the last quarter of calendar year 2011, i.e. within the XI Plan Period itself, as scheduled.  

Source: Corporate Communication, ONGC

Indian forces can enter Myanmar

Mithu Choudhury
Guwahati, December 25, 2010: Security forces can now enter Myanmar to hunt for terrorists after taking due permission from Myanmar authorities. The important decision was taken at recently held meeting in Aizawl between senior officials from the India's Home Ministry and Myanmar's Chin province.  

Myanmar's security officials have promised to learn English or Hindi to overcome communication problems which would also help them cracking down on Indian separatists hiding in Myanmar.

Both sides reached to agreement to curb cross border movement of extremists, arms smuggling and prevent drug trafficking.

“The meeting also decided to improve border security and share information on cross-border militancy”, a Mizoram Home Department official said. He said Myanmar authorities have agreed to allow Indian security forces to enter Myanmar territory along the border after getting permission from the (local) army post commander.

The Indian delegation was led by Home Ministry's Joint Secretary S Singh and the Myanmar officials headed by U Nay Wing, the Army Commander of Chin State. According to Indian officials, several militants from the Northeast have taken shelter in Myanmar and Bangladesh and have set up bases and training camps.

Arunachal scribes protest attack

A Correspondent
Itanagar, December 20, 2010: All the media houses in Arunachal Pradesh are on 'pen-down' strike in protest to the attack on two female journalists. They have resolved to continue stir till government ensures arrests of the culprits.  

Miscreants assaulted Appu Gapak and Nyapi Bomjen at around 8.15 pm at a place on national highway 52, between Naharlagun-Itanagar. Next day media organisations like Arunachal Press Club & Arunachal Pradesh Union of Working Journalists served ultimatum of 48 hours to the government to arrest the culprits.

They set December 18 as deadline for the authorities failing of which they warned of vigorous agitation including 'pen down strike'. Local newspapers also blacked out one third of the front page and journalists staged dharna dressed in black outfits in premises of office of deputy commissioner and the concerned police station.  

On 17 two third of front page and on 18 the entire front page of the newspapers were blacked. The press organisations after reviewing the entire issue resolved to commence indefinite pen-down strike.

They were adamant to decide to ignore all government press releases and functions for complete one month from the day when the indefinite pen down strike shall be called off. Further, during the period of ban on government releases and functions, the media fraternity decided to ignore the 'advertisement tariff' fixed by government information office and shall accept only at their respective terms and rates.

Huge turnout in Tripura civic polls

A Correspondent
Agartala, December 11, 2010: The trend of high voting percentage in Tripura continued with the 86 percent electorate exercising their franchise in the municipal elections to the Agartala municipal council and 15 Nagar Panchayats.

State's election commission Y.P. Singh even hinted that casting might see a little rise after total assessment is done by tonight. He said the elections were peaceful except some stray complaints like alluring voters and crowding reported from a couple of poll stations in Agartala which were immediately take care off.

Singh opined that more than 90 percent voting reported from six Nagar Panchayats in Dhalai and south Tripura districts. 4,34,512 electorate were eligible to exercise franchise to elect 35 councilors from 96 contesting candidates in Agartala municipal council and 195 from 421 candidates in Nagar Panchayats.

State's director general of police K. Salim Ali earlier announced huge security deployment in general and paramilitary forces in sensitive polling stations. He directed arrests of criminals ahead of elections.

State's ruling CPI(M) that is currently governing all civic bodies in the state congratulated the voters for turning out in huge number despite irritations from opposition Congress. The Congress has countered alleging manipulations at various levels including booth jamming and harassment of voters.

19 year old crowned Miss Nagaland

A Correspondent
Kohima, December 8, 2010: Miss Hattinneng Hangsing (19 years) from Peren district was crowned Miss Nagaland 2010 at the State Academy Hall, Kohima amidst cheers and pulsating music filling the jam-packed hall. Virieno Zakiesato and Tsukoli Kinimi were adjudged the 1st and 2nd Runners-up respectively.            

Responding to the question posed by the Home Commissioner Nagaland, Jane Alam, Miss Hattinneng expressed her wish to create awareness on Rights of Disabled People, orphans and HIV/AIDS patients stating that these sections of the society should not be discriminated, but rather the society needs to understand their place and who they are.            

In the sub-titles category, Mughali Kinimi was adjudged Miss Congeniality and Mary Kay Miss Beautiful Skin, K. Limei Phom as Miss Perfect 10, Alemla Chang as Miss Photogenic and Virieno Zakiesato as Eastern Mirror Viewers Choice.            

Altogether 18 contestants participated in the Miss Nagaland 2010, judged by Vesakholu as the Chief Judge, Commissioner & Secretary Art & Culture, Tourism, I. Himato Zhimomi, Home Commissioner, Jane Alam, President NMA, Abei-u Meru, Director Mother's Hope, Moamenla Tzudir and Miss Nagaland 1997 and 1998.  

Models in shimmering gowns and outfits showcased the designs of Akumnaro, while Seyiekhrietuo, Sharon, Noken, Andrew Phom enthralled the crowd with special numbers. Nicolas also performed a dance item. Miss Nagaland is an annual event organized by the Beauty & Aesthetic Society of Nagaland.

Northeast youth festival in Manipur

A Correspondent
Guwahati, December 7, 2010: The north east youth festival with the slogan "Peace through culture and Identity" is an all inclusive attempt not only to showcase the beautiful people of the North-East but also to find out the rich culture of the region and tap young talented youth in all aspect, and most importantly to lire the beauty and

Read more: Northeast youth festival in Manipur

Exciting chili eating competition in Nagaland

A Correspondent
Kohima, December 6, 2010: In continuation of the celebration of the Hornbill Festival at Naga Heritage village Kasima, highlights of both morning and afternoon session included folk dances, songs and ritual dramas showcasing the different significance of the Naga tribes of Rengma, Sumi, Chang, Kachari, Zeliang, Sangtam, Ao,

Read more: Exciting chili eating competition in Nagaland

Shillong film festival concludes

Abdul Gani
Guwahati, December 6, 2010: The three day Festival of Regional Films: India 2010 with the theme 'The Natives of A Nation' organized by the North East Film and TV Producers' Directors' Association (NEFTPDA) and with Riti Academy of Visual Arts came to an end on December 4, 2010.  

Read more: Shillong film festival concludes

Central agency gets custody of rebel chief

Mithu Choudhury
Guwahati, December 4, 2010: Arrested chairman of Manipur-based extremist group United National Liberation Front (UNLF), RK Meghen, was on Friday produced in a special court in Assam state capital Guwahati, which remanded him in custody of the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

Read more: Central agency gets custody of rebel chief