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NERAMAC endeavours NE Connect programmes

A Correspondent
Guwahati, February 14 2012: In order to boost the potential of north east in the sectors related to agriculture, horticulture, food processing, tourism qnd handicraft, NERAMAC, a Govt of India Enterprise under the Ministry of DoNER & National Skill Foundation of India is organising a series of North East Connect programs at different Metros in the Country with the support of North Eastern Council, Shillong.

These initiatives are being made to bring investment on the related potential of the region and to embark upon agro-horticulture value addition and processing. While two such programs have just been concluded at New Delhi & Mumbai, the subsequent destinations are at Bangaluru and Kolkata on February 24 and 25 and again on March 2 and 3 this year.

These programs are organised such that Exhibitions show casing the potential of NER are held for two days while a conference is held on the first day to have an impact on the potential investors on the subject.

Both the programs are in Pride Hotel, Richmond Road, Bangaluru & New Town, Kolkata. Interested professionals & business groups are welcome. No registration fee is charged for the event.

PCI demands prompt payment

A Correspondent
Imphal, February 7, 2012: In a letter addressed to Chief Secretaries of all State Governments and Union Territories Justice Markandey Katiju, Chairman of the Press Council of India, directed the Government departments in the Central and State Governments, Union Territories as well as statutory authorities to make prompt payments for the government advertisement and notices issued to various newspapers and news magazines.

The letter said that the Government and statutory authorities must behave as role model for the citizens and must make prompt payments for goods and services they receive.

Further the letter has directed them to make the payments within one month of the publication of the government advertisement and notice, to the management of the newspaper and the journal, failing which they will have to pay the same with interest thereon @12% per annum, from the date of payment.

The letter also cautioned that non-compliance of the directive would be taken very seriously.

Science exhibition attracts crowds

A Correspondent
Kottyam January 29, 2012: The Science and Technology Exhibition arranged at Mammen Mappillai Hall, Kottayam, in connection with the 24th Kerala Science Congress has got underway.  Prof. C.G Ramachandran Nair (Chairman, 24th Kerala Science Congress Committee) distributed prizes to the winners of the Science Quiz conducted for students in connection with the Expo.

Bhavans News Print Vidyalaya, Velloor and St. Peters H.S.S Kurumpanadom bagged first prizes in the High School and Higher Secondary sections respectively.  Santa Maria Public School, Kooroppada and Chavara C.M.I Public School, Pala won second and third positions in the High School section and S.F.S Public School, Ettumanoor and Kendriya Vidyalaya, Kottayam won second and third positions in the Higher Secondary section.

Dr. Ajith Prabhu (Convenor, Science Expo) gave a brief explanation of the Expo.  Dr. K.K Ramachandran (Member Secretary, Kerala State Council for Science Technology and Environment - K.S.C.S.T.E) and Dr. C. Anilkumar (Member Convenor, 24th Science Congress Committee) participated.

The exhibition will continue till January 31.

Culling begins to contain bird flu disease

A Correspondent
Agartala, January 28, 2012: Culling has begun at the Indian Council of Agricultural
Research (ICAR) complex and adjoining areas in West Tripura to contain bird flu. The ambitious poultry industry in Tripura has been seriously hit with fresh outbreak of bird flu at the ICAR farm in Lambucherra near Agartala.

Tripura has on past three occasions witnessed the epidemic and each time the culling occurred in an expanded area beyond the place of eruption. The killing of chicks to contain the disease also known as avian influenza takes place as per set guidelines of the animal husbandry department of union agriculture ministry. 

Officials of state's animal resource development department said that they received confirmation of the disease from the central government laboratory at Bhopal. Blood samples of some dead chicks were sent to the laboratory for confirmation. 

They said culling is undergoing at ICAR complex and adjoining 10 kilometer radius area. Meanwhile state government is coordinating with the union agriculture ministry to facilitate culling operation. 

Reports of eruption of bird flu have already affected the poultry business. Market price of poultry items have gone down

Tripura government earlier banned import of poultry items from Bangladesh, Assam and North Bengal in view of eruption of avian influenza.

Centre for North Eastern Culture at CCRT Inaugurated

New Delhi, January 26, 2012: The Minister of Culture & Minister of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, Kumari Selja; and the Minister of State (Independent Charge), Development of North East Region & Minister of State, Parliamentary Affairs, Paban Singh Ghatowar, has jointly inaugurated the Centre for North Eastern Culture, at Centre for Cultural Resources & Training (CCRT) at Dwarka in New Delhi.  

The setting up of Centre for North Eastern Culture is in line with the direction given by the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh after interacting with a group of Youth from the North Eastern Region in December 2009, to promote dissemination of the rich and diverse cultural heritage and tradition as well as modern expression of creativity of the North Eastern States.  

This Centre is as a result of collaborative efforts of CCRT, an autonomous body under Ministry of Culture & North Eastern Council, the Regional Planning body of the North Eastern Region. NEC and CCRT entered into a Memorandum of Understanding in December 2011 for the operation of the Centre for North East Culture. The Centre will work under the overall of management and control of the Director General, CCRT.  

Ministry of DoNER also released the Human Development Report of North East States prepared by it during the inaugural show. The Report is an attempt to evaluate performance of North Eastern States in recent times on sectors having direct impact on human development such as health, education and basic amenities like drinking water & sanitation. This will help in better targeting of schemes and projects in the NE States.

Source: PIB

Fresh bird flu epidemic in northeast India

A Correspondent
Agartala, January 25, 2012: The ambitious poultry industry in Tripura state has been seriously hit with fresh outbreak of bird flu at an Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) farm in Lambucherra near Agartala. Officials said preparations are underway to begin the culling at the firm Thursday.

Tripura has on past three occasions witnessed the epidemic and each time the culling occurred in an expanded area beyond the place of eruption. The killing of chicks to contain the disease also known as avian influenza takes place as per set guidelines of the animal husbandry department of union agriculture ministry.

Officials of the ICAR said Wednesday that they received confirmation of the disease from the central government laboratory at Bhopal. Blood samples of some dead chicks were sent to the laboratory for confirmation.

They said culling would begin in the ICAR farm and adjoining places Thursday. Meanwhile the animal resource department of the state government is coordinating with the ICAR to engage volunteers in the culling operation.

Reports of eruption of bird flu have already affected the poultry business Wednesday. Market price of poultry items have started going downwards.

Bangladesh guards kill Indian, kidnap farmers

A Correspondent
Agartala, January 20, 2012: Tension ran high in Dhanpur area of West Tripura after Border Guards, Bangladesh (BGB) killed an innocent Indian and kidnapped five farmers early hours of Friday. A flag meeting between BGB and the BSF at commandant level that continued for hours failed to ease tension with the former insisting on release of a soldier who shot dead the Indian farmer from point blank range.

The incidents occurred within a fortnight of historic visit of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina who was accorded an unprecedented and overwhelmed reception in Agartala. Home Ministry at New Delhi reportedly sought a detailed report on events of Friday morning at Dhanpur, also assembly constituency of Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar.

Reports said two armed BGB soldiers entered Indian territory at Tarapukur around 7AM chasing a few smugglers who skipped them without paying the negotiated bribe. As soon as they reached house of Shah Alam he started screaming out of fear inviting ire of the BGB men.

BGB soldier who was later identified as Lutfur Rahman opened fire from his assault rifle targeting Alam killing him at the scene. The deceased received three shots in his chest and other members of the house escaped stray bullets.

The firing invited huge gathering of villagers who turned onto the BGB soldiers as they started running back towards the border. Lutfur fell down, but the other solider managed to take away his service weapon.

Angry villagers caught Lutfur and roughed him up before the BSF soldiers arrived in his rescue and took him to a camp. The BGB soon started showing anger from other side of the border and refused to respond to repeated requests from the BSF for a flag meeting.

Soon BGB kidnapped five Indian farmers from Tarapur locality in Dhanpur in retaliation of detention of a BGB soldier. Around afternoon BGB agreed to attend flag meeting, but it failed even after deliberations between the two forces for hours on issue of unconditional release of detained BGB man and Indian farmers.

Meanwhile Tripura police have made requests to BSF to access to detained BGB soldier to book him under IPC sections on charge of trespass, threat and unprovoked firing on Indian nationals killing one.

Peace accord showing signs of breakdown

A Correspondent
Guwahati, January 16, 2012: Not even 3 months had passed since the signing of the historic tripartite peace accord between the militant outfit of Assam, the United People's Democratic Solidarity, and the central and the state government; it is already showing signs of a breakdown. After laying down arms on the December 14 following the signing of the treaty, the disbanded UPDS members partook of the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council elections in Karbi Anglong District, only to face a defeat, winning just 8 seats under the banner of Peoples' Alliance for Peace Agreement (PAPA).

As of now, the UPDS has alleged the accord to be a failure. As such, the ceasefire outfit has written to the Home Minister P Chidambaram, expressing dissatisfaction with the peace treaty.

According to them, none of the points taken up in the tripartite accord has been fulfilled by the government. However, following the signing, the outfit had laid down their arms on December 14, as per the agreement, and the state government had announced the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council polls the very next day. As a result, the disbanded members of the outfit, seeking to take part in the political scheme of things in Karbi Anglong had contested in the elections, though unexpectedly failing to get a majority. UPDS Secretary Haren Sing Bey says,

“The Home Minister promised us a neutral government in Karbi Anglong. But he is not keeping his words. The peace initiative is not a story of success. It's a failure.”

The letter sent accused the government of failing the outfit by not installing a “neutral administration” during the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council elections. Chidambaram has more than once cited the UPDS success story to say that the government is interested in a dialogue with whoever gives up violence. The “failure” will mean Chidambaram can no longer show the UPDS example to attract more outfits, particularly in the Northeast, to come for talks.

According to the UPDS, it has found much to its chagrin that there is no “appreciation” of either laying down arms or coming to the negotiating table. And they have now warned the Centre and the state against any such repeat of hollow agreements, which could be a potential threat to the peace of Karbi Anglong.

China dams worries APFEJ

A Correspondent
Guwahati, January 15: The Asia Pacific Forum of Environmental Journalists (APFEJ) has ventilated concern at the ongoing construction of a number of hydroelectric dams in Brahmaputra inside Tibetan region of China. 

The umbrella organization of environmental journalists based in Asia Pacific region argues that once the dams on the 2,900 km long trans-boundary river will be commissioned; there will be massive ecological affect in northeast India and also in Bangladesh. 

Moreover, if the government at Beijing diverts some volume of water from Brahmaputra, Bangladesh will be severely affected, as the saline water of Bay of Bengal will enter to south Bangladesh and destroy the aquatic life and agricultural field.

The APFEJ, whose head office is based in Dhaka, also appealed to the Chinese government to officially disclose all relevant information about their dams in Tsangpo and if any plan to divert the water to fertile  the barren agricultural land in southern part of China to feed their huge population.

“The people of Bangladesh and northeast India must not be taken as granted for suffering because of the hydroelectric projects in upper riparian country (read China),” said APFEJ secretary Nava Thakuria. In a statement, he also added that as the mighty Brahmaputra crossed through all these countries, the benefit should be shared by every nation concerned without any discrimination.

Emotional Hasina conferred Doctor of Literature

A Correspondent
Agartala (India), January 12, 2012: Bangladesh Prime Minister who was conferred honorary Doctor of Literature (Honoris Causa) by the Tripura University Thursday expressed gratitude to Prime Minister Indira Gandhi for giving her shelter at New Delhi after 1975 bloody coup in Dhaka. She said Indians gave refuge to Bangladeshis during country's war of liberation in 1971 and she and her younger sister Sheikh Hasina had to take asylum in India after assassination of her father Bangabandhu Mujibar Rahman and that of 18 close members of the family on August 15 1975.

“I take the opportunity to thank Indira Gandhi and India as a whole for giving me and sister shelter in New Delhi where we stayed till 1981”, she said. She spoke at the university's Maharaja Bir Bikram auditorium after receiving the D.Lit from Vice President Hamid Ansari to mark 9th Convocation of the university.

Vice President Ansari, Prime Minister Hasina, Union Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal, Governor Dinesh Nandan Sahay Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, Chancellor Prof Amiya Bagchi and Vice Chancellor Prof Arunodhoy Saha with others joined Academic Procession at the university campus.

Hasina became emotionally charged when she gave an added speech in Bengali at end of her written speech in English. She recalled how largest human exodus of the last millennium occurred after occupation forces cracked down on people on March 25 in 1971.

“Tripura state was flooded with refugees more than its own population. Our freedom fighters received training support on this side of the border and fought with our Indian friends to the final surrender of the occupation forces”, she stated adding “how can we not remember with gratitude our friends in need in Tripura and India?”

She said, “As we touched down Agartala airport last evening, a flush of emotions overwhelmed me as I recalled the tremendous sacrifices during our glorious struggle for independence and the interesting role of your city at that time”. Sheikh Hasina went on saying that Agartala was known to them for the infamous 'Agartala Conspiracy Case' slapped on her father by Pakistani regime in 1966.

Union Minister Kapil Sibal in his speech underscored need for a transit facility through Bangladesh to accelerate process of development in northeastern region. He said time has come for India and Bangladesh to join hands for sake of mutual benefits and combating poverty.

Sheikh Hasina was later accorded a civic reception by Agartala Municipal Council at Assam Rifles ground before her departure with accompanying 100 members by a special flight of Bangladesh's national airliner Biman. Vice President Hamid Ansari also left for New Delhi on the day.