09/13/2005: "Dr Lotha asks youth to be specific for future"
Dr Lotha asks youth to be specific for future Asian Tribune
By Oken Jeet Sandham - Asian Tribune - Asian Tribune – Wokha, 13 September, (NEPS): Nagaland Minister for Health and Family Welfare and Excise, Dr TM Lotha called upon the youth to be specific of their future and for which they had to choose the correct path. Addressing 21st Annual Session cum Youth Conference here at Wokha Village Baptist Church, the Minister said the Christian youth in the State had great responsibilities as a believer because God wanted to use their "energetic, enthusiastic and intelligent assets" for the future younger generations. Dr Lotha referred to people's saying that the "youths are the future of the society and they are going to live for tomorrow and not the old men and women." If that was so, he further asked, "What type of life and what type of future you want to live in?"
"The answer lies with you," the Minister told the youth adding the God had opened everything for them. "Therefore the choice is yours," he pointed out. "If you want to become good men, that can be done or if you want to be bad men, the choice is yours," he said adding, "God has given you the liberty to choose and you cannot blame anybody."
Dr Lotha also said the Nagas lacked responsibility in many areas and further pointed out that they seemed to be one sided. "We only know how to claim our rights and are very assertive and never knowing that we have our responsibilities and duties towards the society," he stated. "This is the reason why our Naga society has faced many problems." Recalling of the past hard working cultures, the Minister regretted that present youth failed to inherit the qualities their forefathers left. Informing the gathering as to how Japanese, Korean, and Chinese people had advanced in various fronts due to their hard working, he called upon the youth to rethink and start afresh to compete themselves with the fast changing world. So that they could live and develop themselves as responsible citizens with dignity, he added.
State wide boycott of colleges today Kuknalim.com
KOHIMA, Sept 13: The All Nagaland College Students Union (ANCSU) has called for boycott of functioning of all colleges in Nagaland today in protest against the delay in disbursement of post-metric scholarships to college students by the central Govt. Another boycott would be called on Sept 16 if todays' boycott failed to yield positive results. Earlier Chichamo Ngullie, president ANCSU, had met the Chief Minister and said that the CM had assured that the disbursement of scholarships would be arranged. The president has asked all student leaders and head of institutions to extend their support for the cause.
Arrested African an insurgent kuknalim.com
KOHIMA, Sept 12: One of the three Africans arrested in Nagaland is a member of an insurgent group in Nigeria, police investigating the case have found. Nigerian Chedozie Martin has told the police that he is a leader of an outfit called Massob, which is fighting “for the actualisation of an independent homeland called Biafra”.
The trio had entered Nagaland without carrying Restricted Area Permits, mandatory for foreigners visiting the Northeast. They were found in possession of two fake passports, a small pouch containing brown sugar and a diary that mentioned three recent hawala transactions amounting to $15 million, $12 million and $11 million. Martin said he had come to India to set up a “Massob Asian network”, sources said. Dimapur police have informed the intelligence bureau as well as the ministry of external affairs about the development. The sources said investigating agencies in Delhi are finding it difficult to co-ordinate with the Nigerian embassy as “almost every other day there is a Nigerian apprehended somewhere in the country for drugs and money laundering”.
Two blank identity cards of the Massob outfit have also been seized from the accused. The police have also found that the arrested Nigerian had links with the international “419” gang, which operates through the Internet to extort and kidnap people.
Naga Integration Movement: A Historical Perspective By: U A Shimray pusbished in Kangla on line Before the free India formally induct her Constitution, Manipur has already drafted Manipur State Constitution Act, 1947. In Constitution drafting, Maharaja of Manipur, Bodh Chandra Singh, invited Hill representatives including Athiko Daiho and Tiankham however; they demanded to incorporate a clause- “the right of any section of the hill people to secede at the end of the five year period, should the conditions within the Constitution not be satisfactory.” The Chairman of the Constitution Making Committee F.F. Pearson drew the personal attention of the Manipuri Maharaja to the dissension of the Hill people. However, it was not followed accordingly. The Constitution introduce as- “extend to the whole Manipur State inclusive of the Hill Areas saving that it shall not apply in any matter where a specific reservation of powers is made to any Authority in the Hills under the provisions of the Manipur State Hill (Administration) Regulation, 1947 (Chapter I: 2)”.
The Naga National League (NNL) headed by Athiko Daiho, in September 1946, was organised to consolidate Nagas of Manipur in order to bring together Naga people separated by colonial boundaries. In colonial period, the political department of the British Crown administered Naga areas of Manipur. The Manipur Maharaja and his durbar administered the valley areas. The Naga league categorically assert that they will not remain in Manipur since the Manipuri Maharaja had never conquered Nagas and declared that it would be impossible for the Nagas to preserve the best of their culture, tradition, customary laws and political practices. The movement expressed their strong desire to merge with the Nagas Hill district of Assam (now the present Nagaland state) through the boycott of the preparation of the electoral rolls in the Naga areas and the election to the first Legislative Assembly of Manipur in 1948.
Nagas protest against the dissection of the Naga Hills and sullen to the political arrangement of Manipur. A campaign led by the Naga League was launched during the Chief Ministership of Capt. Priyabatra Singh. The symbolic expression was “No House Tax Payment” to the Government of Manipur, but they decided to pay the tax to the Deputy Commissioners of the Naga Hills District in Assam. The Manipur Government took severe action against the revolting people, in which three persons were killed, four others received serious bullet injuries and Athiko Daiho and N. Modoli were arrested and imprisoned at Dum Dum Central Jail, Calcutta on 27 August 1948. The United Naga Council and Mao Naga Council resolved to observe 27 August as “Martyrs’ Day”.
The Naga People’s Convention (NPC) held at Kohima in 1957 pressed for integration of Naga areas. This was followed by Mokokchung Convention held in 1959, wherein the Sixteen-Point memorandum was adopted. The Clause 13 of 16-Point Agreement stress for the consolidation of contiguous Naga areas. In support of the Naga unification, Nagaland State Legislative Assembly have passed Resolutions, first on 12 December 1964 as, “It is hereby unanimously resolved that the Government of India be urged for the integration of the Naga areas adjoining the State of Nagaland to fulfill the aspirations by the Naga peoples’ Convention held at Mokokching in 1959.” The second on 28 August, 1970, the third on 14 September, 1994 and the latest resolution re-affirmed on 18 December 2003.
The Naga Integration Committee (NIC) of Manipur made an effort to the cause. On 26th July 1968, the NIC submit a memorandum to Smt. Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister of India stating for the integration of Naga area of Manipur with the state of Nagaland. The NIC’s memo wishes to integrate of all Naga areas within one administrative unit. It further states that integration would definitely strengthen the hands of the administration of the state of Nagaland and the solution of the present trouble there would become much easier. First Convention of the Naga People of Manipur under the Sessional Chairman, James L. Kilakhe and Secretary Peter Pheiray was held at Mao (Gate) on 16th May 1970. The Convention unanimously resolved that, “the Naga people move to live together in one state has undoubtedly been motivated by genuine patriotic urge.” Convention acknowledges the Naga Peace Mission’s inclusion the Naga areas of Manipur into Ceasefire agreement is but recognition of the facts. The Convention outrageously condemns the delegation of few Nagas to New Delhi in demand of statehood for Manipur in the name of the Naga public. The resolution state that, “(T)he plain people and their Naga agents’ plea that on granting statehood to Manipur, the Nagas will cease their demand for integration into Nagaland State exposes only their political immaturity and utter incapability to measure the depth of Naga political mind. The talk of granting District Autonomy makes no sense at all. The Naga unilaterally uphold the sanctity of the16-Point Agreement.”
The Naga Integration Central Committee (NICC) under the leadership of Rev. Savino and T. Chuba, with its Headquarter at Kohima deliberated to work for early integration of all the contiguous Naga areas. The NICC meeting appointed Action Committee Members including Rani Guidiliu, Rishang et al. In the Executive Committee of the NICC on 21st October 1970 resolved to observe “Naga Integration Day” throughout Naga areas in the 20th November.
The NICC delegation including Chairman M. Savino, Rishang Keishing (Ex-MP, Gen. Secy, NICC), T. Haralu (Vice-Chairman, NICC), N. Theyo (Ex-Minister), Mason Riame (Joint Secretary, NICC), Kongsui Luithui (Joint Secretary, NICC), James L. Kilakhe (Joint Secretary, NICC)5, P. Shilu Ao (Ex-Chief Minister), K. Envey (Ex-Minister), NG Mono (Ex-MLA), D. Athuibo (Ex-MLA), TH Ngullie (MLA), Tokheho Sema (MLA) and M. Vero (MP) submitted Memorandum to Smt. Indira Gandhi on 9 November 1970. The memo says, “(T)he movement of the Naga integration of Naga territories, as a matter of fact, is nearly as old as the freedom movement in India. The movement gained momentum under the leadership of Rani Guidiliu which was in essence against the British Government who kept the Nagas divided into Naga Hills, Manipur and North Cachar of Assam…”
The General Meeting of the NICC was held at Shajaoba (Mao), Manipur on 22nd January 1972. The NICC emphasis and appeal to the Government of India and the Naga leaders to lose no time in resuming the negotiations, since protracted uncertainty and insecurity can only have the most harmful effect on the material, mental and moral well-being of the Nagas, as well as on the whole North Eastern region of India. Also, the resolution congratulates the Meiteis over their achievement of Statehood. And also appeal to lend their full support to the Nagas’ demand for the integration of all contiguous Naga areas.
What Went Wrong…
In spite of Nagas’ demand for integration, the state re-organisation upgraded Manipur into full-fledged state of the Indian Union in 1972. The upgradation strengthens the electoral politics in Manipur. NIC entered Manipur politics. This electoral politics bring new political paradigm vis-à-vis weakening the Naga integration movement. In other word, NIC entering into active politics of Manipur state eventually divert its aims and objectives.
The NICC also actively participate in the Nagaland State’s electoral politics. An eventual capitalisation of state politics deteriorate Naga integration movement resulting some members compelled to abandon NICC out of frustration whereas other continue their individual political game in the name of integration. The “intention” was clear in the NIC’s resolution of 23 March 1972 at Imphal, directing it’s MLAs to join the Ministry of United Legislative Party of Manipur and also to participate District Council election. This was followed by the political shift with the merger of some members of NIC to the All India Congress Party. The Joint Agreement for the merger on 4th August 1972 condition that, “the Congress Party does not oppose Naga Integration Movement and does not consider Naga Integration Movement as anti-party, anti- national, anti- state and unconstitutional activity.”
On the other hand, the 16-Point Agreement between the NPC and GoI (under the Ministry of External Affairs) open a new political corridor for the absorption to the Indian Constitution. With this agreement, the Nagaland Statehood Bill was introduced on 28 August 1962. The Bill entered as the Thirteenth Amendment of the Indian Constitution. The article was inserted namely 371(A)- Special Provision with respect to the State of Nagaland and accommodate many aspects of the 16- Points submitted by the Nagas delegations led by the Dr. Imkongliba. For instance, “no Act of Parliament in respect of- religious, social practices, customary law and procedure, ownership and transfer of land and its resources…” Unfortunately, the 16-Point Agreement was not adequately honour by the GoI. The important issues like “Naga areas under the Ministry of External Affairs”, “Consolidation of Contiguous Naga Areas” and “Transitional Period” are totally ignored by the government.
The Indian State has shown marked resilience in trying to accommodate the Naga revolt within the ambit of the Indian Constitution- for instance, creation of Nagaland State and the drawing of the Naga people into the democratic process being major success points. However, the pertinent issues raised by the Nagas remain unresolved. On the other hand, the success of creating Nagaland is eventual backlash political division among the Naga society. At the same time, encourage the Nagas to take part actively in the state’s electoral politics either in Manipur or Nagaland. The Indian policy to divide Nagas is crystal clear so that the unification movement is arrested and weakens the Naga insurgency. Another misfortune to the integration movement is upheaval of insurgency politics that took the Naga civil society movement for the Naga integration as pre-mature politics based on Indian Constitution. At that moment, the Naga political movement is totally overshadowed by the concept of “sovereignty”. Also, the wisdom of Naga civil societies and integration protagonist simply drown itself into the electoral politics.
Ongoing Naga ceasefire and political talks opened a new political dimension based on ethnic politics and hegemony in the region. The recent introduction of “territorial politics” and revivalism of Naga civil societies’ demand for the Naga integration now play significant role in region’s politics. In other words, the old map, which the British had introduced, has become a major bone of contention between the different ethnic groups.
Naga unification process has already originated when the British unilaterally divided Naga Hills into Manipur, Assam and Burma with a vile motive of dividing them so that they might not be able to revolt against the British. This was done at the time when the Nagas were politically weak and disunited to resist their will and power. Indeed, Naga integration movement is not recent construct politics but have long historical struggle. But the Indian policy to keep the Nagas divided is clear. On the other hand, Naga civil societies could not sustain to the best due to the internal differences. At the moment, the Meiteis’ factor to the Naga politics vis-à-vis Naga politics “conditioning” the Meitei community puzzles government of India. The fact is the “conditioning politics” threatens the ethnic-co-existence in the region.
Naga integration/unification is an “unkind” word at the moment. And this is grossly misinterpreted in the present ethnic conflicts. The historical facts of the integration movement initiated by the Naga civil societies are misread overwhelmedly in the modern media. For the Nagas, unification and peace process is indispensable political agenda. Indian recognition “uniqueness of the Naga history and political situation” is important political steps. It is understandable that “uniqueness” and integration is nothing to be anomaly but shares the same political statement. The 31 August 2005 Kohima rally for Naga integration is one historic moment for the Nagas. It again manifests the spirit of Naga to living together. If, the GoI is sincere enough to the Naga issue and Naga understand Indian commitment to the peace then the solution is not that far. However, one observation is that whenever, there is popular government in Nagaland and Manipur the word Naga integration can be troublesome.
Ukhrul `dry district` kangla John K. Kaping
Ukhrul, Sept 7: Ukhrul could be now be declared as a "dry district" under the NSCN slogan, "Nagaland for Christ". The Tangkhul Wung Region (WTR) in its code name "Operation for Nagas Peace" has almost controlled anti-social elements especially those involved In the sale and manufacture of liquor in Ukhrul town covering the areas Hundung, Ukhrul Rayo Tang locality, Ukhrul Phungcham and Ukhrul Meizailung where the highest sale and manufacturing of local liquor (Leiyi) is reported apart from being areas of highest proliferation. Viewing the condition at present in Ukhrul regarding alcohol consumption and sale, Ukhrul can be almost declared a, "dry district". The so called local made liquor (Leiyi) cannot be found anywhere as before due to the, "Operation for Nagas Peace" keeping strict vigil. Major H. Shadang and Abraham, caretaker (GPRN) and gaurd commander (NSCN) respectively when contacted by IFP somewhere in Ukhrul district disclosed that the main target and objective of the government of the GPRN is to stop the illegal sale of liqour as it ruined scores of promising upcoming younger generations.
A very old man who is very voracious drinker from his early life and accustomed to the traditionally used local liquor said that the controlling alcoholism in the district is a good step for the people in moulding the students who are the pillars of tomorrow. During the operation just in 40 days more than 70000 litres of local liquor and 15000 tins containing liquor were seized and destroyed, said the caretaker and guard commander adding that the task is an intensive war to stop any type of consumption of intoxicants amongst the people. To build a national goal all these things must be cleared up in the whole of Ukhrul district, they said assuring that within a short time it will be cleared. Meanwhile, the WTR has issued an order on September 5 to all the concerned Tangkhul villages and the house owners directing them to be very conscious and verify properly that all their tenants are not indulging in any illegal activities. The house owners must verify the tenants before accommodating them and prostitutes must be avoided, it said.
`Rs. 20 crores collected by UNLF this year` The Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL, Sep 12: The investigation of the arrested cadre of the UNLF who was nabbed by the Imphal east police commando unit yesterday, it was revealed that the outfit had collected a huge amount of more than Rs. 20 crores from almost all the government departments within the current year. The hard core activist of the UNLF identified as Maibam Sharat alias Suresh alias Chaoren Meitei, 40, son of late Shamu of Kongpal Kongkham Laikai was arrested yesterday. He is a self styled lieutenant of the UNLF and a member of central committee of the outfit. In an interaction with mediaperson at his office chamber, SP Imphal east L Kailun said that the police recovered one 128 mega byte pen drive from the arrested cadre. The drive stored all the data and information regarding the revenue statement of the outfit.
The SP said that some of the information stored in the pen drive is yet to be analysed as most of files were locked with passwords. Only some of them could be opened so far, he said adding the files so far opened were mostly related with the expenditure and money collected from the government departments. The police have found out a list of the amount the outfit had collected department wise from one of the files. Almost all the departments had provided monthly or yearly contributions according to the statements in the files. In one of the files which was displayed to mediapersons, a detailed statement of the arrangements made in the state food and civil supply department in connection with the transportations and appointment of contractors was contained. The money collected from the transporters as well as the names of the contractors and officials of the department were also found in the file.
The SP also said that another file stored in the drive clearly stated the internal expenditure of the revenue section of the unit the cadre belonged to. According to it the monthly statement in the unit was around Rs. 45,000 and said that as per police investigation, the unit under the arrested cadre had only around 10 cadres. He further observed that the statement shows that the UNLF had been providing maximum amount to its cadres for fooding, lodging and other required aid. L Kailun went on to say that the UNLF used e-mail, mobile phones and landline telephones while communicating among themselves, as revealed by the arrested cadre. In the meantime, two activists of the proscribed KCP were also arrested by the Imphal east police from Nongmeibung near Kusum oil pump this morning at around 10.30 am.
The police recovered two powerful hand grenades of Chinese and German make with one detonator from them. One Marvel brand scooter bearing registration number MN-1M/ 3740 was also seized from them. The scooter was hijacked by the two cadres for their use. According to the police, the two cadres were moving there with an intention to do something violent in the area. The two activists were identified as A Nnugshi Singh alias Ibomcha, 35, of Sekmaijin of Thoubal district and Haobijam John Singh alias James, 20, of Keibul Lamjao of Bishenpur district.
3 Nigerians arrested in Nagaland Assam Tribune
KOHIMA, Sept 12 – Three Nigerians have been arrested in Nagaland for travelling with ‘illegal’ travel documents and possessing brown sugar, the police said. The three were initially arrested for entering the state through the Chumukedima check gate yesterday without the Restricted Area Permit (RAP) and face deportation, police said.
Dimapur Superintendent of Police Bidhu Shekher on verification of their travel documents found that one of them was travelling on someone else’s passport. Two fake passports and 15 gram of brown sugar were recovered from their possession, the police said. The three claimed that they had come to meet someone in Kohima to hand over a “gift” (money), the police said adding investigation was on. –PTI
KYKL clarifies on MUSU president`s statement The Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL, Sep 12: Reacting sharply to the abducted MUSU president Kh Ashokumar`s video recorded statement made in the custody of RPF/PLA, which was broadcast in the local television channel ISTV, the underground Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup, KYKL has said that the statement was not made from his heart but under duress. A statement issued by the secretary, publicity and research, KYKL, Lanngamba Mangang, recalling the September 6 MUSU incident and chain of events in the aftermath of the incident, said Ashokumar`s statement could not be termed a substantial one as no established law courts accepted statements taken from culprits under custody. Although the entire event relating to the abduction of MUSU president could not be taken seriously, the outfit however is compelled to clarify on the matter as Ashokumar`s statement has relevance to KYKL and some of his statements were based on facts, the statement said. Responding point by point to what the MUSU president had said in the video statement, Lanngamba clarified that Ashokumar had no relation with the outfit. However, being a MUSU president and students leader, the outfit put forward some proposals to him related with quality education as the outfit`s Operation New Kangleipak has been actively working in this vital sector.
Admitting that the MUSU president shared ideas, met STFs of the ONK and established contact through telephone relating to bringing up of quality education, his relation with the outfit however was never a personal one nor was he asked to perform the outfit`s task. Ashokumar did inform the outfit that the RPF/PLA had approached MUSU to organize a literary meet on September 24 and 25 in connection with the raising day of the outfit and had asked what could be done on the matter, Lanngamba`s statement said adding that suggestion was given to the MUSU president that it would be better not to organize the function in Manipur University. Citing reasons, the statement said organizing a literary meet related with the raising day of the underground RPF/PLA would make the police keep an eye on innocent students and any faulty step could hold up the entire process of conversion of the dying Manipur University into a central University. Once MUSU started organizing such a function other underground organisations would also ask for the same and MUSU would not be able to organize all such functions. The outfit never took serious attention of celebrating raising days, and the KYKL always tried to organize it in lowest profile, it said adding that the outfit wants other fraternal organisations to do the same.
Making its stance clear, the statement said holding a literary meet on the raising day of an underground organisation is like organizing raising day of the organisation and every civil society or individual having linguistic competence will understand the term meaningfully. Using force on a student union, which indeed is no match to an underground organisation, for failing to organize a literary meet is violation of democratic rights of the students and is against quality education. Ashokumar in his video recorded statement said that MUSU could not organize literary meets as approached by RPF/PLA as KYKL imposed a ban on holding such functions, Lanngamba`s statement said and asked as to why harassment is being given to students. Asking as to what a MUSU president could do in the middle of PLA and KYKL, it went on to say that the matter is related to the relationship between the two outfits and does not concern the MUSU.
A PLA officer stationed outside Manipur did inform a KYKL functionary about holding a function in Manipur university, but due to lack of knowledge on the matter, our officer assured to respond after getting details from home, the statement. The statement went on to say that KYKL has no power to obstruct the organizing of raising day function of any underground organisation inside Manipur university campus. however, the outfit wants the students body to concentrate only on bringing up quality education rather than organizing functions for several underground organisations round the year. Asserting that the KYKL believes in the people`s verdict, the statement further said that final conclusion of the incident be left to MU, MUSU and the people. Such a conclusion should be arrived at in a free and fair manner and not at the behest of a particular organisation. if not the KYKL would stand tooth and nail against it.
ULFA talks team seeks people’s suggest ions
The 11-member People’s Consultative Group (PCG), which was nominated by the outlawed United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) last Thursday, has decided to seek suggestions from cross-section of people of the state to frame the ground rules for the proposed talks between the ULFA and the government. Eight members who met here last evening for the first time felt that the people’s opinion is ‘‘a basic necessity’’ for framing the ground rules. ‘‘Although we are yet to receive any guidelines from the ULFA or the government, seeking public opinion is a basic requirement at this stage,’’ Arup Borbora, a member of the group, said. Borbora said the group will soon meet Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and seek the state government’s cooperation in carrying forward the peace talks. The issues that are likely to come up during the discussions with the CM include asking the government to declare a ceasefire in consultation with the ULFA. Another member of the group and Guwahati-based editor Haider Hussain said the people of Assam have to play a crucial role in taking forward the much-awaited peace process. Three members — Indira Goswami, Ajit Kumar Bhuyan and Brajen Gogoi could not attend the meeting, because they were away from Guwahati.
Call to route gas pipeline from Myanmar through NE By A Staff Reporter Assam Tribune
GUWAHATI, Sept 12 – The proposed Indo-Myanmar gas pipeline should be routed through the NE region of the country instead of Bangladesh as had been proposed when the pipeline was conceived. This is a view expressed by several experts who took part in a recent seminar held at the Institution of Engineers here. Reiterating the view, Prof Tarakeswar Kataki, former head of the Department of Applied Geology, Dibrugarh University, said here that while the pipeline through Bangladesh would provide direct employment to about 1.3 lakh of persons in India, its diversion through the NE region would help generate 3.5 lakh of direct employment in the country. Besides, it will help the country earn revenue at the rate of around Rs 130 crore annually, while the Bangladesh route will make the country earn only an amount of Rs 60 crore per year as revenue, said Kataki. In its turn, the Indian Government will have to pay an amount of Rs 70 crore to Bangladesh Government per year for allowing the passage in case the pipeline is routed via the neighbouring country. Moreover, in that case, the pipeline will remain vulnerable to the saboteurs engaged by the forces inimical to India, he said. No doubt, the capital expenditure for laying the pipeline through the NE region will go up by around Rs 1,275 crore if it is laid via NE region. As, in that case, it will be two times longer than what it is proposed to be via Bangladesh.
However, the diversion will benefit the six NE States of Mizoram, Tripura, Manipur, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam, besides helping the growth of North Bengal and Kolkata in West Bengal. The point that the NE region of the country has several potential gas reserves also holds a perspective here. On the other hand, its alignment via Bangladesh will be benefiting only Kolkata and some other parts of West Bengal within the Indian territory, argued Prof Kataki. Reasoning, Kataki said, gas is an online business. It has the relevance to power, industry, domestic, agriculture and automobile sectors, among others. Bangladesh stands to benefit in case the pipeline is routed through it, in a number of ways like revenue earning, investment and royalty. But if the pipeline is routed through Arakan (Rakhine) province of Myanmar and then put through Mizoram, Tripura, Meghalaya, Assam and then through North Bengal before reaching Kolkata, it will have tremendous positive impact on the economy of the NE region of the country, he said. For, he reasoned, Myanmar is located south of Mizoram. The exit point of enormous reserves of the gas lies on the southern part of that State. Natural gas has now emerged as the most popular and economic fuel all over the globe. It is environmentally clean and economically cheap. It can be used directly on line without refining processes. India will have to import LPG to meet its domestic requirement of the fuel. The gap between supply and demand of natural gas in India is such that the deficit in supply will stand between 4MMT and 9 MMT in 2011-12. But the country has very prospective productive gas reserves in Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Tripura and Assam. These States are located just near the potential reserves of Myanmar and Bangladesh. The recent discovery of 20 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves in Myanmar off shore, south of Mizoram is significant. There is no other option left to Myanmar but to sell the produce of these reserves to India. India is planning to bring the gas thus procured to Kolkata via Bangladesh through an about 850 km-long pipeline. And this point needs to be deliberated by all the patriotic people of the country. Here is a chance to usher the NE region of the country into progress. Genuine steps to avail the chance effectively will help bringing an end to the feeling of alienation of the region’s people. Hence, this opportunity should not be missed, Kataki said.
Your time has come- be a part of ULFA-Government dialogue NET News Network Guwahati, Sept 13: The People’s Consultative Group (PCG) appointed by United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) to kick off peace process with Central government today announced its e-mail, Short Messaging Services (SMS) number and postal address where people can connect and submit their suggestions and opinions based on which a peace module would be designed by the group for the next month dialogue. PCG for the convenience of every segment of society has asked the net savvy citizens to mail their opinions in email@example.com whereas 9435061746 is the Cell number where suggestions can be sent through SMS. Others can drop their suggestions in the office of Parag Das Tathya Kendra, Jyoti Nagar, Bamunimaidan. Guwahati-21. Assam. India. PCG will continue receiving suggestions and opinions till September 25, 2005. The group which had its first brainstorming session on September 11 decided to build public opinion based on feedback ranging from common people to democratic organizations.
Indo-Myanmar border trade By Dr. A. Surenjit Singh Sangai
Informally from time immemorial, the people along the international border between India and Myan-mar (formerly, Burma) were always having some kind of trade relations between them. Myanmar is one of those countries which seem to have been favoured by nature. Its area is 6,76,552 sq km. It soils is rich, producing rice and other food crops in abundance. There are vast forests containing a large variety of trees from which valuable timber is extracted. The ground yields petroleum and many minerals and precious stones including rubies, saphires, jade etc. Therefore, Myan-mar has been beautifully described as an Eastern Paradise of immense riches. The Govt of India had already decided to have border trade with Myan-mar as a policy of establishing good economic relationship since 1994. The Indo-Myanmar Border trade agreement between India and Myanmar was signed on 21st January, 1994 to facilitates a congenial trade practice. The border trade at Moreh (India) and Tamu (Myanmar) was opened on 12th April, 1995. The trade is conducted in accordance with the laws, regulations and procedures in force in both countries. Necessary provisions are made available to enable the buyers of either country to inspect and take delivery of goods at the customs posts in the country of the sellers. Though the trade is to be conducted in freely convertible currencies or in currencies mutually agreed upon by the two countries under Article-III of the agreement, the trade is functioning mainly under barter trade mechanism.
The formalities in the trade: 1. An Import Export Code (IEC) number is to be obtained from the office of the Deputy Director General of Foreign Trade, RG Baruah Road, Guwahati. The sample application form is available with the Export Promotion Cell/ Commerce Cell of the State Directorate of Commerce and Industries. A sum of Rs 1,000 only in the shape of Demand Draft is to be accompanied with the application form and the amount should be drawn in favour of the Deputy Director General of Foreign Trade payable at Guwahati. 2. A contract is to be executed between Indian and Myanmarese traders specifying the items to be traded/ bartered along with the values. 3. Under the simplified norms of documentation system, the required documents for border trade are invoice, packing list, certificate of origin, phytosanttary certificate from the Plant Quarantine Office, Moreh in case of agricultural items. The Certificate of Origin is to be obtained from the Federation of All Manipur Importer Exporter Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Room No. 4 of Hotel Nataraj, near Central Bank of India, MG Avenue, Imphal or the Associated Manipur Chamber of Commerce near Dharmasala, MG Avenue, Imphal.
4. In case the items are under the Negative list of Export-Import Policy (1997-2002), licences are to be obtained from the office of the Director General of Foreign Trade, Govt of India, Ministry of Commerce, Udyok Bhavan, New Delhi. In order to carry on the border trade profitably by both countries, 22 items have been identified and declared as exchangeable items by the agreement. These items are:
1. Mustard/Rape seed, 2. Pulses and Beans, 3. Fresh vegetables, 4. Fruits, 5. Garlic, 6. Onion, 7. Chillies. 8. Spices (excluding nut-meg, mace, cloves and cassia), 9. Bamboo, 10. Minor forest produce (excluding teak), 11. Betal Nuts and leaves, 12. Food items for local consumption, 13. Tobacco, 14. Tomato, 15. Reed Broom, 16. Sesame, 17. Resin, 18. Coriander seeds, 19. Soya-bean, 20 Roasted Sunflower seeds, 21. Katha and 22. Ginger.
For free movements by the residents of the two sides, Indo-Myanmar Travel passes are issued for visit upto Kalewa/ Kalemyo in Myanmar and upto Imphal on Indian side. These passes on the Indian side are issued by DC Imphal/ DC Thoubal/ DC Chandel or SDO Moreh. Each travel pass entitles a person entry to both side for a maximum period of seven days allowing the holder to carry foreign exchange of $50 (US Dollar 50) per day. Under the Dawn to Dusk Entry pass system, the Indians have to pay Rs 10 or 60 kyats to the Myanmar authority as Entry fee for every individual while crossing the border but for entry on Indian side, no entry fee has been charged or asked by the State Govt considering the economic condition of the Myanma-rese residents along the border. In order to solve the problems of traders, the State Govt have constituted a Counselling-cum-Grievances Redressal Committee headed by the Secretary (Commerce & Industries), Govt of Manipur as chairman incorporating officials from Govt of India, Ministry of Commerce, Army, BSF, Police, Forests, Taxation, etc. The Deputy Commissioner, Chandel, SDO Moreh and SP/Chandel are also members of the committee. Complaints may be submitted to any of the committee-members. The volume of trade as per record from the Land Customs Station, Moreh with effect from 12th April, 1995 upto 15th September, 1997 was to the tune of Rs 99,06,32,896 of which the value of export of Indian items into Myanmar was Rs 56,78,88,009 and its corresponding import was Rs 42,27,44,887. The main items of exports were wheat-flour, bicycle and its parts, bleaching powder, fenugreek seeds, Ani seeds, Cumin, Soyabari, dry chillies, Agarbatti, Suman Rose Powder, Pea, Garlic, Stainless Steel etc. The main items of imports were Betal nuts, Turmeric, Red Kidney beans (Rajama), Kuth roots, Grams, Resin, Reed-brooms etc. Promotion of Indo-Myanmar Border Trade:
i). The State Govt will have to take positive steps to optimise the advantages offered by the opening of the border trade with Myanmar at Moreh in Chandel district.
ii) An Export Cell in the Directorate of Commerce and Industries will be the nodal agency which, interalia, will:
- educate, train and guide traders/entrepreneurs in international trading.
- conduct and export potential survey.
- undertake measures to promote trade-motivated industrial activity
- optimise use of agricultural/ horticultural/ forest resources across the border.
- facilitate setting up of trade centres with integrated and in-house basic facilities.
Suggestion for increasing the approved list of exchangeable items:
The officials as well as traders have suggested to increase the 22 items in the list of exchangeable commodities since most of these items except say five items are found to be viable and profitable on import of Myanmar's origin. The following items are proposed for inclusion, 1. Cardamon (small), 2. Coconut oil. 3. Ground nut seeds and oil, 4. Peanuts, 5. Rice, 6. Silk cocoons and yarns, 7. Teak (Raw cotton and mats), 9. Bamboo caps and bamboo bases household items, 10. Poppy seeds, 11. Plastic granules/ materials, 12. Paraffin wax, 13. Cashew nuts, Mace (Javitri), Nutmeg and Cinnamon, 14. Gems and Jewellery items, 15. Agar-wood, 16. Myanmar's origin stationary items, Toilet soap, washing powder, cosmetic etc. 17. Animal skin, skin hides and 18. Third country product/ items like blanket, dress materials, specified items of electronic goods etc.
Some suggestions for improvement:
1. Banking: As per Border Trade Agreement between India and Myan-mar the Border trade at Moreh would be serviced by UBI on the Indian side. On Myanmarese side, the banking arrangement at Tamu would be serviced by Myanmar Economic Bank (MEB). So, far, UBI's contributor in development of border trade is not upto the desired level and its needs improvement.
2. Road: Road is the golden path of the trade. The existing road between Imphal and Moreh needs major improvement. The road is too narrow and its should be double-lane road. It should be broadened and kept black top-ped throughout the year. Improvement of road communications from Pallel to Moreh particularly Teng-noupal to Khudengthabi is a must.
3. Communication: Improvement of telephone/Fax service at Moreh is required immediately. The plan for laying of optical fibre line between Imphal and Moreh may be taken up expeditiously to meet the urgent need of the traders. Fax services are required immediately. The present postal service at the border town of Moreh also requires strengthening or prompt delivery of documents. Speed-post facilities should be introduced.
4. Model town: Construction of a model town at Moreh is highly required in view of the development across the border in Tamu. Moreh town is required to improve the existing outdated market.
5. Transportation: At present, means of transportation is private carriers on the road like bus, trucks, Tata sumo, etc. Uninterrupted transport service is required for which proper security arrangement along the roads and proper maintenance of roads is a must. Construction of railways line upto Moreh may also be kept for long-term plan. The system for issuing of transport pass system by the Taxation Department is to be introduced for accelerating and improving the easy movement of import cargos.
6. Law and order: The law and order situation is highly unsatisfactory. Govt should put improvement of law and order problem as top priority. Insurgency problem and frequent looting of bus and trucks along the road between Imphal and Moreh and in the Moreh town itself should be effectively checked.
7. Black marketeers: Particularly black marke-teers should be checked and liquidated. Abundant quantities of Heroin no. 4 is smuggled and brought from Myanmar illegally by black-marketeers. It causes drug problem. Among the black-marketeers, many have contact with police personnel for this business. And all the police stations starting from Moreh to Imphal, collect huge amount of money from the smugglers and small traders particularly who are coming from Moreh by bus/ truck etc. The collected amount is entered in their own pockets. Therefore, all the black-marketeers as well as corrupt police personnel should be checked immediately.
The task before us Sangai Express
Manipur is passing through troubled times with different power players pulling in different directions and there have been times too when Government officials have been put to extreme pressure by two contending parties over a contract work or a supply order. The presence of so many armed groups, some matured enough to know its own ideologies and discipline its cadres, while others are nothing much more than a bunch of rag tag armies, invariably means immense pressure on all the institutes functioning in the State. The media too is no exception to this. However one status that the media enjoys is the freedom and the rights granted upon those engaged in the profession of disseminating information and at times guiding public opinion. During the last many years we have seen the media in Manipur having a say on many issues, ranging from the prolonged imposition of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, the corruption in the Government Department, the shenanigans enacted by the political netas, the social ills, such as drug smuggling and drug abuse etc. However as one underground outfit recently noted, the media has been keeping a safe distance from criticising or praising the acts of the armed groups, except on some occasions when someone is abducted for money along NH-39 or during such incidents as the Jiri massacre when passengers were fired upon and killed some years back. Or as in the case of The Sangai Express when Manoj Kumar Sethi was killed. Then too, the criticisms were of the more muted kind and hence there is a question that is lying in front of all of us engaged in the profession of journalism. Why is it that the media as a whole has been largely silent on the activities of the underground outfits ? Forget the armed groups, the media too hesitates to openly state its stand against any policies enunciated by the numerous student organisations and some pressure groups.
One reason why the media has been shying away from criticising the policies and actions of the armed groups is of course the all pervading fear that has enveloped the Manipuri society. At times it could be because of the belief that the truth is so precious that is has to be surrounded by a body guard of carefully moulded words. At other times the very term constructive criticism is an extremely subjective matter for what is constructive to some may be seen as detrimental by another. It is also true that the media in Manipur has allowed itself to become an extremely soft target. Remember the saying during the Emergency declared by the late Indira Gandhi. Today it is said that when the media was asked to kneel during the emergency it actually crawled. Maybe the media in Manipur is today going through such a phase, and what we need today is some brave stand. By brave stand we do not mean any confrontationist mood, but a bold stand that needs to be adopted. We have shown this stand when it came to the question of protecting the territorial integrity of Manipur. With a little determination and with conviction and a firm belief in our profession, perhaps the time has come for the Fourth Estate in Manipur to study inward and see where our weakness lies. Only when we realise our weaknesses can we operate from a position of strength and gather enough guts to call a spade a spade. Let a new beginning dawn. This is the message from The Sangai Express.
UPDS team meets George on ‘Karbi State’ From our Correspondent
DIPHU, Sept 12: A delegation of the United People’s Democratic Solidarity (UPDS) led by its general secretary Harensing Bey recently met former Union minister and present NDA convener George Fernandes, MP PA Sangma and some other Members of Parliament to mobilize support for their organization’s various demands particularly formation of a separate political unit under Article 3 of the Constitution, a press release of Somindar Karbi Amei informed. The UPDS team apprised him of the "failure" of the present political system under the autonomous council. "Powers vested on the autonomous council are not enough to protect and safeguard the interest of the indigenous people of Karbi Anglong. As such, the people of the district have been lagging behind in all aspects — educational, social and economic — of civilization leaving the people with no other choice but to demand a separate State", the UPDS told Mr Fernandes. The press release further alleged that continuous "exploitation, political discrimination and step-motherly attitude of successive State Governments towards Karbi Anglong are also behind the suffering of the people of the hill district." However, Fernandes, after a threadbare discussion with the UPDS leaders, assured them that he along with some other MPs would visit the district soon. He also promised to talk to various political and non-political organizations to get their opinions regarding the demand of a separate State.
Development a far cry in North Jamuguri From our Correspondent
ITAKHOLA, Sept 12: The people of the greater North Jamuguri area of Sonitpur district have been facing acute hardship due to various problems regarding development of the area. According to sources, the area wears an unkempt look owing to the apathy of the State Government. It has been alleged by the residents of North Jamuguri that the State Government has not taken any steps to facilitate proper communication in that area. The roads linking Chamdhar and Dhalaibill, Dhalaibill and Murhadol, Rangachakua and Chaibari via Halinga are in a dilapidated condition which restricts plying of any vehicle during the monsoons. According to sources, the deplorable condition of the roads which is evident through the presence of innumerable potholes makes it impossible for the travellers to commute. It has been further alleged that though the Centre has released funds under the DRDA scheme, yet no construction has taken place so far. In is to be mentioned here that the condition of the public auditoriums are worse than the roads. The Xahitya Xabha Bhavan here stand as a testimony to it. According to reports, the foundation stone of the Bhavan was laid in 1983, but due to alleged misappropriation of funds, it still lay incomplete. The members of the Axom Xahitya Xabha branch here have appealed to the administration to allot funds for completion of the auditorium. But no effective steps has been taken so far. Through the Government had declared that the construction of the NH-52 would be completed by the Border Roads Organization by March 31, 2004, yet the road lay incomplete which points at the lackadaisical attitude of the authorities concerned. However, a large number of signboards have been put up on the road, alarming the drivers about the unsafe condition of the road. It may be mentioned here that the residents of the area have approached the Government to take immediate action for the development of the area.