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09/19/2005: "Pranab to visit Nagaland on Sep 20"

Pranab to visit Nagaland on Sep 20 Newmai News Network

Kohima, Sep 18: Union defence minister Pranab Mukherjee is scheduled to arrive in Nagaland on September 20 on a day`s visit to the state. According to reports, the Union minister is coming to Nagaland on an official visit and will fly directly to 3 Corps headquarters at Rangapahar, Dimapur.

However, the state government seems to be completely in the dark about Mukherjee`s proposed visit to the state. When contacted, home minister Thenucho, expressed ignorance about the visit of the defence minister. Similarly, some top bureaucrats were also ignorant about the visit although they did not rule out the possibility of such visit from past experiences. Although Mukherjee`s proposed visit is yet to be known, it is being speculated that he is coming to the state in view of the possible breakdown of the ongoing ceasefire between the Centre and the NSCN (IM). Another section of the people are speculating that the visit could be related to an Indo-Myanmar meeting.
Defence Minister to visit State Kuknalim com
KOHIMA, Sept. 18: Union defence minister Pranab Mukherjee is scheduled to arrive in Nagaland on September 20 on a day`s visit to the state. According to reports, the Union minister is coming to Nagaland on an official visit and will fly directly to 3 Corps headquarters at Rangapahar, Dimapur.

However, the state government seems to be completely in the dark about Mukherjee`s proposed visit to the state. When contacted, home minister Thenucho, expressed ignorance about the visit of the defence minister. Similarly, some top bureaucrats were also ignorant about the visit although they did not rule out the possibility of such visit from past experiences. Although Mukherjee`s proposed visit is yet to be known, it is being speculated that he is coming to the state in view of the possible breakdown of the ongoing ceasefire between the Centre and the NSCN (IM). Another section of the people are speculating that the visit could be related to an Indo-Myanmar meeting. (NNN)
FGN worker abducted Sangai Express
Kohima, Sept 18: A major of Federal Govt of Naga-land (FGN) was reportedly abducted by NSCN (IM)’s Kohima town command from new NST bus station in Kohima in broad day-light on Saturday, accor-ding to delayed reports recieved here. According to reports, the FGN cadre, identified as one Wezhepe Chakhesang, was also armed with a small weapon at the time of the incident but he was over-powered by the NSCN (IM) cadres. The NSCN (IM) town command reportedly claimed that the abduction was made as per order issued by NSCN (IM)’s GHQ. Police and the Cha-khesang Public Organiza-tion made efforts to res-cue the cadre but without any success. Infor- mation received late eve-ning said, the cadre was taken to NSCN (IM)’s GHQ. NNN
Disaster Management gets a boost Kuknalim com
DIMAPUR, Sept. 18: Non-routine and extraordinary events require non-routine and extraordinary responses, said Bidhu Shekhar, Superintendent of Police, Dimapur. The response to such events requires special skill and attitude, he said. The IPS officer was explaining types of disasters, the nature of impact and measures to tackle such disasters at the inaugural session of the 3 day-long training programme on Disaster Management Course on fire, first aid, search and rescue operation at Central Training Institute, Civil Defence and Home Guards, Toluvi near here.

Success in tackling such eventualities would depend on the quick response with special skills of preparedness of the government and administration, he said. Emphasizing that quick and professional response, which he said, are the most vital components in disaster response and disaster mitigation, would differentiate between life and death. According to Shekhar, about 60 per cent of landmass is prone to earthquakes of various intensities, while over 40 million hectares is prone to floods and 68 per cent of the total area is susceptible to droughts. In the last decade, on an average 4500 people lost their lives and about 30 million people were affected by disasters every year, the SP said, adding, that the loss in terms of private, community and public assets has been astronomical.

He said Government of India’s latest approach to disaster has been translated into national disaster framework covering institutional mechanism, disaster prevention strategies, early warning system, disaster mitigation, preparedness, response and human resource development. As part of the Government’s approach, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has been constituted at the national level as the apex agency for disaster management and that State Governments have been asked to constitute State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), he informed. The department of Relief and Rehabilitation has been designated as the department of disaster management at the state level. The SP advised the 94 trainees, representing various departments of Dimapur district, to undertake the training seriously and to generate awareness to others in the community to achieve the ultimate goal. Besides training, rehearsals and mock drills— considered as important aspects of disaster preparedness—would also be held during the three day-long training. Hekali Zhimomi, Deputy Commissioner Dimapur, who is the chairperson of Dimapur District Disaster Management Cell emphasized on the need to re-activate the Cell and make it functional.
NSCN cadre arrested Security forces encounter militants Newmai News Network September 18 Imphal: A combined team of the Manipur’s Thoubal district police commandos and Assam Rifles today had an encounter with militants near Nongpok Sekmai under Yairipok police station in Thoubal disitrict. The encounter began at about 9 am and continued till noon. However, there is no report of any casualty on either side. A search operation was launched. Police said some unknown persons shot dead a youth in Imphal West last night. The gunmen entered the house of Konthoujam dhamen (25) at Mutum Phibou Mayai Leikai at about 6.30 pm and shot him dead in his own bed. The identity of the killer is not known. In stepped out vigil in Imphal city police yesterday arrested a cadre of the NSCN (IM) identified as S.K. Samson from Paona Bazar, according to police source Police claimed to have recovered demand notes from his posession.
Burmese Import: A Shot in the Arm for Wood-based Industry Hrishikesh Saikia Mizzima News ( Guwahati, September 19, 2005
In a trade initiative that is expected to give a fresh lease of life to the struggling plywood industry of Assam and the North-east India besides providing a new impetus to formal business transactions between India and Burma, the Government of India has given the nod for import of soft Burmese wood. The move comes in the wake of hectic lobbying by the soft-wood industry of India and subsequent approval by the high-powered committee of the north-eastern region to allow import from Burma. Kitply Industries of India has signed an agreement with Myanmar Timber Enterprise, Ahlone, Yangon, for import of teak and Gurjan. Consignments of soft wood, mostly teak and Gurjan have already left for India and some of them are currently at the Moreh (Manipur) border trade point.
A highly-placed source in the Plant Quarantine Division, Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India, told this correspondent that one lakh cubic feet (CFT) of soft wood from Burma, the quarantine verification for which has already been completed, is scheduled to reach the North-east later this week.
Following the Supreme Court's ban on timber felling in 1996 in view of the grave threat it posed to the North-east's forests and environment, the thriving plywood mills of the region had to down their shutters. Most of the 70-odd factories were located in the states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Meghalaya, which used to account for about 60 per cent of India's total plywood production. As the new agreement covers all the six wood-based industries in the region, they will be in a position to meet their demand for wood from Burma. The new initiative should boost the wood-based industries in the region, given the name that Burmese teak has all over the world for its quality.

ZU election Source: The Sangai Express
Imphal, September 18: The election of the Zeliangrong Union, Senapati Zone would be conducted on September 20 at ZU Senapati office at 11 am, judicial secretary of ZU (Assam, Manipur and Nagaland) K Poushinglung informed in a statement and asked all the concerned village chairmen/chiefs to be present at the occasion.

Jamboree details: Persons willing to participate in the Bharat Scouts and Guides’ 15th national Jamboree at Haridwar of Uttaranchal are informed to obtain further details from the office of Manipur State Bharat Scouts and Guides within September 20. Teachers’ meet: A get-together cum conference of the primary school teachers serving under District Council, Tamenglong would be held on February 23 at 8 am at the office complex of the Council. Chief Executive Officer of District Council, Tamenglong RK Ragaisin has asked all the teachers concerned to attend the said conference without fail.
NCLM official to visit NE The Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL, Sept 18: As a part of his field tour of the country`s east and north-east to survey linguistic minority institutions and academies in India, the commissioner, national commission for linguistic minorities under the ministry of social justice and empowerment, government of India, KK Sethi, retired IAS, is scheduled to arrive at the state capital on October 1 for a three day visit of the state.
During his visit to the state he will hold meetings with the state chief secretary, education secretary and concerned officials of the minorities and other backward classes to discuss the development and welfare of linguistic minorities in the state.
According to a tentative programme received by the state government regarding his visit, the commissioner will reach Allahabad by train on September 21 and then Ranchi on September 22.
He will then go to Jamshedpur and after that he will proceed to Itanagar in Tripura on September 24. After holding meetings with the concerned officials of the linguistic minorities of Tripura he will proceed to Kolkata for his onward journey to the north east India. On September 28 he will arrive at Aizawl, Mizoram by air from Kolkata. After holding meetings with the related officials of the Mizoram state government, he is scheduled to arrive at Silchar, Assam by road from Aizawl.

After staying two days at Silchar he will arrive at Imphal on October 1. He is scheduled to leave Imphal on October 3 for his further visit to Kohima, Nagaland for holding a series of meetings with the concerned officials of the Nagaland state government. His official tour will conclude at Kohima.
During the three day stay at Imphal, the commissioner KK Sethi apart from his official meeting with the state`s related officials, will go to Moreh and Churachandpur for sightseeing. After getting an intimation from the Union ministry of social justice and empowerment to the state chief secretary, the state government is likely to declare him a state guest during his stay at Imphal and provide adequate security and accommodation. It may be noted that KK Sethi was appointed as the commissioner of the National Commission for Linguistic Minorities (NCLM) by the president of India, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam after initiation of the said commission in the parliament.
Indo-Bangla border fence work moves at snail's pace by Pramod Kumar Singh
Monday September 19, 2005, New Delhi: Delay in land acquisition by the West Bengal Government on the Indo-Bangla border, has slowed down border fencing project being carried out by the Central Public Works Department (CPWD). The delay has led to cost escalation and pushed the completion of the fencing work by at least one year.
The project, vital to check the unhindered infiltration by the illegal Bangladeshi immigrants, was to be completed by March 2006. "With this rate, even 2007 is not a realistic target," said a senior Home Ministry official. Central agencies are involved in erecting barbed wire fencing of the Phase-II project in the West Bengal sector involving nine bordering districts. According to the statistics available with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), the West Bengal Government has provided only 8 km of land at or more than 150 yards from the International Border. Further acquisition of 65 kms more land in nine bordering districts of the North 24 Pargana, Nadia, Murshidabad, Malda, Dakshin Dinajpur, Uttar Dinajpur, Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri and Coochbehar districts is moving at a snails pace.

If that was not enough, the fencing work has left a lot to be desired. Over 463-km long area passing through the bordering districts is yet to be fenced. Though a total of 108.3 km falls under difficult terrain and riverine which can not be fenced. Although, India has already fenced 1,948 km and has set an ambitious target to complete fencing 3,286 km of the 4,096 km-long border by March 2006. The Government had decided to erect fences within 150 yards (135 Metres) of the zeroline along certain stretches of the International Border between India and Bangladesh. It was necessitated in the wake of renewed concerns about the influx of ultras from Bangladesh and Myanmar into the North-Eastern part of the country which recently saw an upsurge in extremist violence in Assam and Nagaland.

Though Bangladesh has been assuring New Delhi that it will not allow terrorist groups to use its territory for launching subversive activities against India but the facts available with the Indian security agencies speak otherwise. Begum Khaleda Zia's Government has done precious little in this regard. New Delhi favours fencing as a good defence mechanism to prevent infiltration of the Bangladesh nationals. Dhaka has been crying hoarse about violation of the 1975 Joint India-Bangladesh Guidelines for Border Authorities. Delhi, on it's part, has been asserting that there has been no violation in this regard. To the contrary, the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) have been consistently misinterpreting a paragraph in it to oppose erection of fence on the border. The BDR is misinterpreting para 8 (e) of the guidelines to emphasis that fence is a structure having defence potential. The BDR has also been indulging in unprovoked firing to prevent fencing work within 150 yards of the International Border by the Indian authorities to push in Bangladeshis and gangs of smugglers
This issue has been discussed with the Bangladesh Government at various levels including meetings between home secretaries and director generals of the two border guards, a MHA official said.
(Source : Press Trust of India)

India to import soft wood from Myanmar Morung Express
IMPHAL, SEPT 18 (MExN): India has decided to import soft wood from Myanmar for revival of the crisis-hit plywood industry in the North East. The Centre’s move came following approval of the High Power Committee of the north-eastern region. A huge consignment of soft wood (Teak and Gurjan) comprising one lakh cubic feet (CFT) is supposed to reach this region within this week. The Ministry of Agriculture Plant Quarantine Division has already cleared the consignment after quarantine verification. It may be recalled that after the Supreme Court ban on cutting of trees in the North East, the wood based industries scattered in various parts of the region have been facing serious problems. But the new agreement is likely to give a boost to the industries in the region. According to available information the six wood- based industries in the State have been covered under the new pact. Now all these industries will be able to import teak and Gurjan wood from Myanmar to meet their requirement.
Mrinal Sarma, senior officer of Ministry of Agriculture Plant Quarantine Division, said that the new agreement would give a new life to the crisis-hit plywood industries which remained closed for the last couple years due to shortage of raw materials. "According to the agreement another consignment of 2500 CFT will reach the region very soon", he said. In this context, he informed that now-a-days plant quarantine certificate is mandatory for export and import of forest products and therefore all the consignments have to undergo plant quarantine test. Immediately after the ASEAN car rally, trade relations between India and Myanmar have been improving. To keep the momentum going, the Indian Commerce Ministry has taken a slew of measures to boost export and import. Sarma informed that ‘Burmese’ teak has a good demand across the world for its quality and therefore the industries in the region would be able to woo the customers. "We are optimistic that lot of wood based industries would come up in the North East after the new development", he added. Meanwhile, M/S Kitply Industries have signed a pact No-01/ 2004/2005 (D) (BT) with the Myanmar Timber Enterprise Ahlone, Yangon to import of teak and Gurjan from Myanmar.
Assam bodies against insurgency operations Newmai News Network Guwahati: The All Assam students’ Union (AASU), Assam Unnati Sabha, Manab Adhikar Sangram Samity (MASS), Moran Students’ Union and a host of other organizations have warned the state and central governments to stop the ongoing counter insurgency operations against the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) in Dibru Saikhowa National Park.
"The people of Assam are peace loving and want the ULFA problem to be solved peacefully at the earliest", said AASU general secretary Tapan Gogoi. "If a terrorist outfit like the ULFA could show its willingness for a peaceful solution by forming the people’s consultative group, why was the chief minister, ‘like Dhritarashtra’, maintaining double standards while on one hand welcoming the PCG and on the other hand allowing the army operations to continue", Gogoi asked. Speaking on the issue, chief minister Tarun Gogoi said that he had already appealed to the centre to propose ceasefire to the ULFA. "The ceasefire needs to be from both sides and only then we can expect some positive result", Gogoi said. Meanwhile, representatives of the Moran Students’ Union and the Motok Yuba Chatra Parishad yesterday after acquiring permission from the army went into the nearby Laikasamua village and had discussions with the villagers. Entry into nearby villages has been restricted since August 31. The villagers have reported nine youths who have been taken in by the army for enquiry missing.
34 AR busts KYKL camp at Kharan hills The Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL, Sept 18 : Troops of the 34th Assam Rifles busted a temporary camp of the proscribed KYKL located at Kharan hills in Senapati district under Yairipok police station this morning at around 8.30 am. While fleeing from site the cadres of the outfit were involved in a brief encounter with the Army which ended with no casualties on either sides. According to the villagers of the Kharan hills, this morning a column of the army was seen proceeding from the Satta Khambi hill located north east of the Kharan village. On seeing the army marching towards the village, the cadres of the KYKL who were taking shelter in a house at the eastern side of the village for the last nearly one month came out and opened fire towards the army column resulting in a brief exchange of fire between the two sides.

As most of the villagers were gathered at a house of a person said to be the pastor of the village who had died, there were only a few people near the UG camp site. After the cadres of the outfit shouted to the villagers to leave the vicinity, the villagers ran from the site and took shelter at the houses located on the outskirts of the village. After the brief encounter, the UGs left the place for the thick forests surrounding the village and escaped in an unknown direction. The Army thereafter entered the village and conducted a house to house search operation. The army also searched the house where the KYKL cadres had taken shelter but found only cooked food and utensils there. According to a villager since the last nearly one month around 30 cadres of the KYKL had been camping at a house located at the far eastern corner of the village which was abandoned by the house owner since a long time.

During the UGs` stay in the village, they remained inside the house in the night time and in the daytime they were not in the village. The UGs never demanded anything other than utensils for preparing thier food. Except for the villagers near their shelter, others did not even know that some UGs were taking shelter there. This morning suddenly the army troops intruded and the encounter happened. On seeing the army coming, the armed cadres of the outfit warned the villagers to shift from there, the villagers disclosed. The cadres then started firing towards the army and had an exchange of fire with them for about 30 minutes. An elder of the village namely Nungam recalling earlier incidents of encounter between the security forces and the UGs said that this time they were lucky as the villagers were not tortured or harassed by the security personnel.

In the earlier incidents, villagers were assaulted by the security forces on the charge of giving shelter to the underground outfits in the aftermath of the exchange of fire. It may be noted that this is the third time the security forces clashed with UGs in this village. In all the clashes many houses were damaged by the gun shots. The security forces also destroyed properties belonging of the villagers and houses were ransacked. But this time all such incidents did not take place and the security personnel were also very cool to the villagers. However, the security personnel were still at the village and one could not say what would happen next, the villagers said. When mediapersons left the village heavy re-enforcements of the Assam Rifles including DIG AR were marching towards the village and the helpless villagers were waiting with fear. Earlier, when media teams were moving towards the village personnel of Thoubal police commando were seen on the way waiting for a green signal to enter the village. They had however turned back leaving the mediapersons to proceed to the spot on foot.

Assam oil fire still burns, OIL reprimanded By Syed Zarir Hussain, Indo-Asian News Service
Guwahati, Sep 19 (IANS) Anti-pollution experts Monday said the five-day oil well fire in Assam that continues to rage would not pose major health risks, but warned Oil India Limited (OIL) that it had to revamp its disaster management mechanism. A 20-member team of the Assam State Pollution Control Board visited the fire site at the well near Dikom, 520 km east of Assam's main city Guwahati.
The well, owned by OIL, India's main exploration firm, was damaged last Tuesday, causing oil and natural gas to escape from the site in a remote tea-growing area of Assam. The gas ignited Thursday afternoon. The cause of the oil spill that led to the fire is not known as firefighters are yet to douse the blaze with the intense heat preventing them from moving closer to the area.
'We do not see any major health risks or environmental degradation as a result of the oil well fire. There are layers of carbon soot on trees and nearby tea bushes and any loss caused by the fire would have to be compensated by OIL authorities,' said Jawaharlal Dutta, chairperson of the Assam State Pollution Control Board. The expert team, however, warned OIL not to take the fire as a routine happening in oil fields. 'We are not going to take things lightly and OIL authorities need to immediately strengthen their surveillance mechanism and have a thorough re-look at their disaster management drills to avoid recurrence of such fires in the future,' Dutta told IANS from the fire site.
An OIL spokesperson said two more experts from the Texas-based Boots and Coots International Well Control reached the fire site late Sunday to assist two of their counterparts already working in the area.
'The fire is continuing to leap and is generating intense heat preventing us from going near the well to cap the spill that has been fuelling the fire,' OIL group general manager J.K. Talukdar said over the phone from the company headquarters in Duliajan in eastern Assam.
The four-member experts from Boots and Coots were unable to start work as they require more equipment to douse the blaze. 'We are expecting some major heavy equipment transported by road to arrive at the fire site by this week,' Talukdar said. Some 5,000 people, most of them tea plantation workers, were evacuated soon after the oil spill as a precautionary measure, but are now returning home, the OIL spokesperson said. The well blowout Tuesday had forced OIL authorities to shut down operations at the Dikom oilfield that produces about 1,200 kilolitres (6,000 barrels) of crude daily.
A barrel of oil in the international market sells at $70 dollars. India produces about 30 million tonnes of crude annually, with Assam accounting for five million tonnes of the total.
Gunning down of 8 Karbis KRA denies hand, dares police to unearth truth
GUWAHATI, Sept 18: The Kuki Revolutionary Army (KRA) has strongly opposed the news reports published in all local and metropolitan newspapers blaming it for gunning down eight Karbis, including four women on September 14. The KRA has said that the allegation was baseless and was intended to tarnish the image of Kuki Revolutionary Army, said a press release. The outfit has said that the KRA was not formed to kill innocent Karbis since it believed that solution to the Kuki problem does not lie in murder and mayhem. The KRA said that the organization was formed to work for the settlement of Kuki problem with New Delhi. It said that KRA would never resort to killing of innocent people no matter what the circumstances were.
It dared the Bokoliahat police to unearth the truth for the public and the media on who the actual perpetrators of such heinous crime were. The KRA release said that rumours like this would fan an already suspicious ethnic climate in Assam. It said that the Kuki people living in Karbi Anglong want peace between the Kukis and the Karbis. It warned that for any untoward incident arising as a consequences of this incident, the Bokoliahat police would have to bear responsibility.
Goreswar people resent class boycott by teachers From our Correspondent
GORESWAR, Sept 18: Strong resentment persists among the guardians and the public in Goreswar due to boycott of classes by the teachers of Betna MV school since August 29. Almost 200 guardians and teachers of the area gathered in the school premises on August 30 and requested the teachers to stop the class boycott programme in the greater interest of the students. However, teachers representatives like Rameshwar Das, Biren Sarma, Phanidhar Deka, Jogen Daimary, Paren Boro, Ananda Ram Boro, Hari Chandra Boro, Prafulla Swargiary and Sachi Prabha Deka rejected their overtures which infuriated the guardians. They in turn locked the door of the school office. Later, the same day, a general meeting was convened with Binay Kumar Deka, president of the managing body, in the chair in the presence of more than 200 people.
The meeting decided to accept some key proposals. Among them, a temporary office for the head master and others. The meeting also decided to use the help of educated unemployed youths of the region to continue the classes temporarily. The public meet has also given full power to the authorities concerned and the SDO of Rangiya subdivision over the matter.

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