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BJP calls off gherao of Tripura CM, Ministers' residence


Agartala, July 18, 2017: City dwellers in Agartala city received a sigh of relief after BJP called off gherao stir of residence of Chief Minister and other ministers.

Party supporters launched squatting stir outside ministers’ residences since 5AM to protest state government’s reluctance to end ongoing national highway and railway blockade agitation of the Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura (IPFT) began on July 10.

IPT is demanding Tipraland or a state of tribal that constitutes 33 percent from 4million population in Tripura.

BJP announced decision at 7.40PM after a meeting of senior leaders following a request from Governor Tathagata Roy. 

IPFT's highway blockade impact, BJP supporters gherao CM’s residence


Special Correspondent

Agartala, July 18, 2017: Hundreds of BJP supporters are staging squatting stir at different directions around official residences of Chief Minister Manik Sarkar and other ministers in Agartala on Tuesday to protest their alleged apathy to end ongoing national highway and railway blockade agitation of the Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura (IPFT). State BJP President Biplab Kumar Deb and central observer (Pravari) Sunil Deodhar are leading the protests since 5AM.

The main opposition party in Tripura earlier set 48 hours deadline to clear the blockades of IPFT, else it warned to disrupt movement of Chief Minister without specifying time and place. After expiry of deadline BJP announced it will start agitation against Manik Sarkar from Tuesday.

It complained the ruling CPI(M) and Chief Minister have clandestine nexus with the IPFT leadership to linger the blockade to press demand for ‘Tripraland’ or a separate state for 33 percent indigenous population of the state. CPI(M) countered with a reverse allegation against BJP and even went to extent to blame the PMO for instigating unrest in state ahead of assembly elections in February 2018.

Paramilitary troops have been deployed in strength at scenes of stirs and other areas in city. Chief Minister Manik Sarkar and some of his cabinet colleagues could not move out of their respective residences since morning due to gherao.

Some government offices and a few schools could not function due to protests while vehicular traffic was disrupted. Top leaders of BJP are leading their supporters to continue Gherao till a specific announcement is made on clearing blockade agitation of IPFT which is demanding ‘Tipraland’.

The highway blockade agitation has entered 9th day on Tuesday. Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju would hold talks with IPFT representatives in the afternoon.

Chief Minister Sarkar earlier requested Home Minister Rajnath Singh to intervene as IPFT leaders insisted on talks with the MHA. They rejected requests of state government to call off blockade agitation launched since July 10. 

Tripura govt, BJP create confusion on Delhi meeting with IPFT


Agartala, July 17, 2017: Tripura’s left front government and state’s main opposition party BJP are busy to confuse media and general public through their rhetoric aiming at extracting political mileage on continuing highway and rail blockade agitation of the IPFT. 

A day after Chief Minister Manik Sarkar sought intervention of Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh after a meeting between senior state officials and IPFT leaders failed, the state government issued a statement to inform that union state minister for MHA Kiren Rijiju would discuss with issue with leaders of the tribal party in New Delhi.

IPFT is demanding a separate state or Tipraland, for state’s 33 percent tribal population.

The statement claimed Rijiju called up Chief Minister on Monday morning to let the latter know about Rajnath Singh’s advice to take up the issue with visiting leaders of IPFT.

The meeting will take place on Tuesday afternoon, the statement added.

But BJP’s central observer for Tripura Sunil Deodhar called a press conference in party office here to claim none from MHA would sit with IPFT till it calls off the blockade. He even said he and state party president Biplab Kumar Deb discussed the matter with Rijiju and PMO’s state minister Jitendra Singh and both were convinced to stay away from talks in present situation.

Deodhar also warned off blocking movement of Chief Minister Manik Sarkar for his failure to restore normalcy on Assam Agartala national highway and railway. BJP earlier set 48horus for Chief Minister for action. 

59 Nagaland MLAs vote for Presidential election


Kohima, July 17, 2017: Elections to vote India's 14th President took place on Monday at the Nagaland Assembly Secretariat, Kohima. Facing off candidates are the BJP-led NDA's candidate Ram Nath Kovind and the joint Opposition candidate Meira Kumar.

Members of the Nagaland Legislative Assembly participated in the electoral process at the Nagaland Legislative Assembly from 10:00 AM onwards. The election process was carried out smoothly in accordance with the norms and procedures laid down by the Constitution of India

In general, the total strength of the electoral college is 10,98, 903 votes, with each Parliamentarian carrying a vote value of 708. The vote weight of a member of a State Assembly is calculated keeping in mind the population of the state he or she represents. A candidate needs 50 per cent-plus votes to win the poll which translates to 5,49,452 votes.

The counting of votes will take place on July 20 in Delhi. President Pranab Mukherjee's term is expiring on July 25. 

IPFT rejects CM’s appeal to end blockade agitation, meeting fails


Agartala, July 16, 2017: IPFT has rejected appeal of Chief Minister Manik Sarkar to end the highway and railway blockade agitation and suggested the union home ministry can only settle their separate state demand. The tribal party has been paralyzing Assam Agartala national highway and the railway services since morning of July 10 to press demand for Tipraland or land of tribal. 

Manik Sarkar broke his silence on Sunday to speak on indefinite agitation and its usual consequences. He said the IPFT should withdraw the protests as its causing sufferings for people of the state.

Sarkar informed he had a talk with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to apprise him about the situation. Earlier on Sunday top leaders of IPFT including President Narendra Chandra Debbarma joined a meeting at civil secretariat where Chief Secretary and Director General of Police requested them to end the blockade.

IPFT said they would not relent to Chief Minister’s advice or approach of state officials as the separate state demand is very much genuine, legitimate and justified to protect 33 percent minority tribal of the state. It informed two senior leaders of the party are in Delhi to discuss the issue with junior home minister Kiren Rijiju on Monday. 

NF Railway offers help for flood affected areas


Maligaon, July 15, 2017:  In view of ongoing flood situation in Northeast region especially Assam, Ministry of Railways under the guidance of Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu has offered all sorts of possible help to the affected State Governments. A special meeting was held on the flood situation of Assam at Railway Board which was attended by Railway Board members apart from Director General (Health) and Director General (RPF).

After having talks with the Chief Ministers of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, Railway Minister instructed officials to ensure that drinking water supply, food grains, medicines, healthcare facilities and food grain movement for North East should be given priority transportation by Railways. He also directed the officials to extend possible assistance in repairing roads so that smooth connectivity may be provided for rescue & relief.

Prabhu also emphasised upon coordination with the National Disaster Management teams working in Assam. Chahatey Ram General Manager, N.F.Railway alongwith other senior officials of NF Railway is also monitoring the situation closely. It may be mentioned here that, Additional General Manager of N.F.Railway along with other senior already have had discussion with the Commissioner and Secretary (Revenue & Disaster Management), Assam and offered all sorts of help from NF Railway including relief and restoration apart from food items, drinking water bottles and cattle feed.

NF Railway has also deputed Doctors and Medical staff with materials at North Lakhimpur and Dhemaji. 

Nagaland crisis, Governor requests CM to prove majority


Kohima, July 14, 2017: Governor of Nagaland PB Acharya has once again requested Chief Minister of Nagaland, Dr Shurhozuelie Lieziesu to positively prove his majority on the floor of the Nagaland Legislative Assembly on or before July 15. 

In a letter addressed to the Chief Minister the Governor stated that reply of Chief Minister wherein he refused to summon an Emergent Session of the Twelfth Nagaland Legislative Assembly did not seem justified. Governor Acharya stated that the Chief Minister did not refute the claims of Shri TR Zeliang that he enjoys the support of 44 MLAs in a house of 59. 

The Governor said that the question was not of ‘this issue’ being an internal party matter of NPF but whether the Chief Minister enjoyed the support of the majority of the members of the House or not.

The Governor further mentioned that from the material available to him it prima facie appeared that the Chief Minister had lost the support of the majority of the Members of the House and therefore requested the Chief Minister to call for Emergent Session of the Twelfth Nagaland Legislative Assembly to prove his majority on the floor of the House as early as possible.

The Governor was also of the view that as far as the By Election was concerned, it was for only one constituency and therefore by no stretch of imagination it can be presumed that because of this the Council of Ministers cannot recommend the summoning of a special session of the State Assembly. 

Rijiju leads central team to review floods in NE


Guwahati, July 14, 2017: The Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju who is leading a high-level Central Team to review the flood situation in the North-East Region (NER), visited the flood affected districts of Lakhimpur and Dhemaji in Assam.

The District Administration pointed out that the release of large volume of water from the NEEPCO dam in Yazuli, Arunachal Pradesh caused the flood crisis in Lakhimpur. Rijiju assured that the NEEPCO in-charge would be directed to hold talks with the Deputy Commissioner, Lakhimpur, to solve the issue of excess release of water from the dam and the resultant flooding of riverine areas of Lakhimpur. 

Rijiju, accompanied by the State Ministers and district officials, then inspected the breached Ranganadi embankment which was washed away due to the release of excess water by NEEPCO and interacted with the displaced people of Changmai village to take stock of their plight. He assured the early repair and completion of the damaged embankment.

He expressed concern over the damage caused to the crop and loss of human lives. He directed the PWD Roads Department to take immediate steps for temporary repair of the damaged roads. The Deputy Commissioner, Lakhimpur assured the Union Minister that a detailed damage assessment report would be sent soon. The DC said that the Chief Minister was deeply seized with the problems arising out of the prevailing flood in the district. 

IPFT’s highway blockade to end soon, leaders in Delhi


Agartala, July 13, 2017: The central government has finally intervened to end stalemate over indefinite national highway and railway blockade agitation of the IPFT pressing demand for Tipraland – a separate state for 33percent tribals in Tripura. Two senior leaders of the party left for New Delhi on Thursday to hold talks with representatives of the centre.

Sources said the central government summoned the leaders for talks after examining report of Tripura Governor Tathagata Roy who earlier met IPFT ranks. They added the centre might propose an autonomous state council replacing present tribal autonomous district council which was constituted under 6th schedule of constitution.

IPFT has been demanding conversion of the tribal district council which has jurisdiction over three fourth of total geographical area of Tripura into a separate state called Tipraland. The current blockade agitation – second in past two years – commenced on July 10.

PM expresses anguish over the flood situation in NE


New Delhi, July 12, 2017: Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his anguish over the situation arising due to floods in various parts of the Northeast. 

“I am anguished by the situation arising due to floods in various parts of the Northeast. I share the pain of all those affected by floods.

The entire nation stands with the people of Northeast during this time. Centre assures all possible help to normalise the situation.

I have spoken to Arunachal Pradesh CM Pema Khandu and other officials both in Delhi and the states on the flood situation

I have also asked my colleague Kiren Rijiju to personally supervise the rescue, relief operations and facilitate all possible help needed.”, the Prime Minister said.