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Durand Cup tournament coming to Manipur for the first time was opened to a rousing start before an overpacked stadium by the Union defence minister, Rajnath Singh

AMSU Joins NESO Protests; Durand Cup in Imphal; Railways to Reach Imphal; Pebam Chittaranjan Remembered; Somdal-Imphal Bus Service Launched; MPCC Salutes Freedom Martyrs

NESO representatives from seven Northeast States protest against CAA

Protests against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) resumed with the influential North East Students’ Organisations (NESO) staging protests across the capitals of Northeast states on August 17 in support of various demands including scrapping of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) 1958.

As part of the Northeast-Wide protest, the All Manipur Students’ Union (AMSU) under the aegis of North East Students’ Organisation (NESO) held a protest in front of its head office located at DM University campus in Imphal on August 17, demanding that its 12-point charter of demands be fulfilled immediately.

Besides scrapping CAA and AFSPA, the protest is also pertaining to issues related to floods, influx of migrants, providing constitutional safeguards to the indigenous communities including special constitutional status for the Northeast people with rights over land and natural resources, a separate time zone should be kept for the Northeast region as well, the enforcement of Inner Line Permit (ILP) to protect the indigenous people in all Northeast states and implementation of the Clause 6 of the Assam Accord, 1985, updating NRC, 1951 as base year, and solving the inter-state boundary as well as international border issues.

The student body also demanded to look into the issue of people from Myanmar crossing the border and coming into the Northeast to escape persecution, and help arrange provision of food and shelter and other welfare amenities till the situation improves so that they can return after the law and order situation in Myanmar becomes normal, reports added.

Rajnath Singh Kicks off Durand Cup in Imphal

Union Defense Minister Rajnath Singh on August 18 inaugurated the Durand Cup 2022 in Manipur amid fanfare and jam-packed stadium. This is the first time the Durand Cup is being played in Manipur which is considered the powerhouse of sports in the country. NEROCA FC defeated TRAU FC by 3-1 goals in the inaugural match held at Khuman Lampak main Stadium at Imphal.

Speaking on the occasion, Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said that the entire Northeast region has ushered in a new era of fast-paced development under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, reports said.

Besides, the Northeast has set new records in the fields of health, education, transport, agriculture and urban development in the last few years, which is a testament to the government’s unwavering commitment to ensure holistic development of the region, he said.

Rajnath went on to say that the first Durand Cup match in Manipur, at a time when the country is celebrating ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’, symbolises the rise of a ‘New India’, in which every region and state is moving forward hand-in-hand to take the country to greater heights.

He also voiced the Government’s resolve to encourage all kinds of sports, stating that due to the efforts in the last few years, India has scaled newer heights of success in major sporting events such as Olympics, Asian Games, and Commonwealth Games, reports added.

Railways to Reach Imphal This Year:RK Ranjan

Union Minister of State for External Affairs and Education RK Ranjan on August 18 announced that the government is targeting to make railways reach Imphal this year. RK Ranjan was speaking to the media on the sidelines of an event held to celebrate a breakthrough achieved by Northern Frontier Railway (Construction) after successfully completing excavation work of the safety tunnel of main tunnel-12.

Reports said the parallel tunnels, one main and one safety, are located at Saheibung village in Kangpokpi district along the Jiribam-Imphal railway line. The total length of the safety tunnel is 8.3 km. Safety tunnel is a safety requirement to be used for evacuation of the passengers in case of any emergency in the main tunnel.

This breakthrough will assist in easy access to the work sites for completing the remaining portion of the tunnel. The main Tunnel-12 has a total length of 10.275 km and this is the longest Tunnel of NF Railway. This tunnel is connecting hills to the Imphal valley and is most critical for completion of the Tupul-Imphal section. Of the main tunnel, a length of 7.742 km has been completed so far and work progress is above 70 per cent, according to NF Railway officials.

Ranjan appealed to businessmen to switch to railways as means of transporting goods and commodities from Guwahati to Khongsang and use trucks to transport the same to Imphal. Ranjan further said that the survey work and technical feasibility of Imphal-Moreh rail line have also been completed and this will facilitate Act East Policy, reports added.

Drugs Worth Over Rs 4,000 Crore Seized During the “War on Drugs”

Drugs worth Rs 4,030 crore in the international markets were seized during the ‘War on Drugs’ campaign, Chief Minister N Biren Singh said as he highlighted his government’s achievement.

Chief Minister Biren, in his Independence Day 2022 address at the 1st Manipur Rifle parade ground on August 15, said during the ‘War on Drugs 1.0’ which was launched in the first five years of the BJP-led government in the state, 1,647 cases related to drugs had been registered, 2,104 persons had been arrested and drugs amounting around Rs 3,212 crores in international markets had been seized.

He further said under the ‘War on Drugs 2.0’ poppy plantations of around 14,000 acres had been destroyed and the state police had arrested a total of 432 persons, 256 cases had been registered, drugs amounting Rs 818 crores and poppy plantations of 531 acres had been destroyed, reports added.

New Project to Restore Loktak Lake Ecosystem

The Manipur government is planning to launch a new project to restore the ecosystem of Loktak Lake in the effort to ensure sustainable development and improve livelihoods of people living in and around the lake area.

Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren on August 17 tweeted: “State Gov is working on a project – ‘Sustainable Loktak Lake Ecosystem Restoration and Livelihood Improvement Project’ and is planned with funding from ADB. The project will restore the ecosystem of the Loktak Lake, ensure sustainable development and improve livelihoods of people.”

It may be mentioned that recently, Loktak Lake was in the news for “Ghost Projects”. A local committee, the Champu Khangpok Floating Village Welfare Committee (CKFVWC) alleged that the Manipur government had created 110 ghost population of the Champu Khangpok Village in Bishnupur district and have taken up five ghost projects, including blacktopping works, in the middle of the Loktak Lake, the Champu Khangpok Floating Village Welfare Committee (CKFVWC) has alleged.

ADC Bill Contradicts Larger Interests of State, Alleges PAPPM

The People’s Alliance for Peace and Progress, Manipur (PAPPM) on August 17 stated that the HAC recommended ADC Bill, 2021 contradicts the larger interest of the state as a whole, and the purpose of the bill is to facilitate the existence of a state within the state of Manipur, leading to the balkanization of Manipur

In a release signed by M Bobby Meetei, President of PAPPM stated that the Chief Minister of Manipur Nongthombam Biren is right to state that the HAC recommended ADC Bill 2021 is an ill-conceived bill with the intention of “disintegrating Manipur”.

PAPPM, while expressing solidarity with the demand to give more powers and autonomy to the existing District Councils, stated that it is seriously concerned with the politics of All Tribals’ Students Union Manipur (ATSUM) “where they want creating of another state within the state leading to the balkanisation of Manipur by trying to force the HAC recommended ADC Bill 2021to the people of Manipur.”

PAPPM further stated that there is no mention of a separate scheme of administration for Hill Areas of Manipur in the Article 371C of the Indian Constitution or the derivative Presidential Order of 1972.

Somdal-Imphal Bus Service Launched

Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren on August 16 launched the state-run Somdal-Imphal Bus Service as a part of the state government’s effort to provide more efficient public transport for the people.

Chief Minister Biren on August 16 tweeted: “Happy to launch the Somdal-Imphal Bus Service by MST. The MST was revived after the BJP government in 2019, with 30 buses providing services to 12 routes at low fares for all. Looking forward to establishing more efficient public transport for the people of Manipur.”

The Chief Minister flagged off the Somdal–Imphal Manipur State Transport (MST) bus service from the MST Complex, Moirangkhom. Speaking on the occasion, the chief minister stated that the launching of a bus service might be a small programme but it could be taken as a big step towards filling the communication and developmental gaps between different areas of the state.

It may be mentioned that Somdal, located in the west of Ukhrul, is the birth place of NSCN-IM general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah.

Currently, the MST buses are plying on 21 different roads which will be increased to 22 including Somdal-Imphal bus service. The Somdal to Imphal bus will depart from Somdal village for Imphal at 7 am and will depart from ISBT, Imphal for Somdal at 1 pm on every working day. The bus fare is Rs 200, reports added.

MPCC Salutes Freedom Martyrs

Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) celebrated 76th Independence Day of India on August 15 at Congress Bhawan, BT Road attended by most of the MPCC leaders, MLAs and its members.

Addressing the function CLP leader Okram Ibobi said that August 15, 1947 is marked as one of the historic days for every Indian citizen. On this day, India got freedom from the clutches of British rulers and the country could make such an achievement due to the effort and sacrifice laid by numerous freedom fighters of the country. To commemorate all those leaders on this historic day is the responsibility of every citizen, the Congress leader added.

“Without the concerted effort of the then leaders and freedom fighters, India could not have reached the height as one of the developing nations in the world. What we are today is because of their effort. Hence, we should salute and pay the highest form of respect to those freedom fighters,” he stated while expressing his message of Independence Day.

Pebam Chittaranjan Remembered

The Manipur Students’ Federation (MSF) observed the 18th Students’ Martyrdom Day 2022 on August 16 in Imphal and Bishnupur, commemorating the supreme sacrifice made by Athouba Pebam Chittaranjan during the movement against AFSPA.

The 28-year-old student leader Chittaranjan immolated himself on the 58th Independence Day, August 15, 2004 at Bishnupur district while protesting against AFSPA. He succumbed to his injuries in a hospital at Imphal the following day.

Reports said playing of Yakairol at the MSF head office in Imphal West; paying of floral tributes to late Chittaranjan at TYC Ground, Takhellambam in Imphal West and at the Students’ Martyrdom Complex in Bishnupur marked the opening ceremony of the observance.

Later, hundreds of students from various schools and colleges took out silent marches from the TYC Ground to THAU Ground in Imphal West where a public convention was held along with a blood donation camp.

MSF president Khangembam Bidyasagar reaffirmed while speaking to the media that MSF with public support will continue to fight against the draconian law (AFSPA) until it is completely repealed from the entire state of Manipur.

While praising the courage of the late soul who made a supreme sacrifice for the rights of the people of Manipur MSF President further said Chittaranjan’s sacrifices will be fruitful only when AFSPA is completely lifted from the whole state, reports added.

Chief Minister Biren Flagged Off Motorbike Rally

Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren flagged off two motor bike rallies from Hapta Kangjeibung to Moirang and Mao on August 14, in celebration of 75 years of India’s Independence.

The Chief Minister welcomed the riders from different rider groups participating in the bike rally for Mao and he said that the riders will spread the message of India’s Independence and the people’s responsibility towards building unity in the country. He prayed for the safe return of the riders.

Welcoming the second group of riders participating in the Imphal-Moirang rally Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren said the second rally will ride till INA Martyrs’ Memorial complex at Moirang.

The rallies were organised by the Home department in celebration of the 75 years of Independence as a part of the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav. The flagging off ceremony was also attended by Ministers, MLAs, Chief Secretary Rajesh Kumar, high ranking Police officials, among others, reports added.

Fake Pesticide Stockist Issued Notice

The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Imphal West has, on August 17, issued notice to the proprietor of HP Singh Stockist, Paona Bazar for selling fake pesticide Val-Premium to a farmer. HP Singh Stockist stocks and sells products such as Plant Production Chemicals, Agri Implementation Horticulture Tools and Seeds.

Reports said the district commission registered the consumer case following a complaint lodged by a farmer, Leiphrakpam Ranjit of Moidangpokpi Khunou Awang Leikai, Imphal West district, that on July 7 he purchased a pesticide, namely Val-Premium, from HP Singh Stockist located at Keishampat Leimajam Leikai for his field as the crops in the field were infected.

The complainant alleged the Val-Premium was ineffective and did not cure the infections. Unsatisfied, the farmer enquired about any other pesticides to cure the infection of his paddy and was sold pesticide Val-Xtra by Eastern Agro and Chemical located at Uripok Panchi Maning which had better results than the Val-Premium.

The farmer alleged that Val-Premium was fake, using unauthorised patent of Val-Xtra in order to attract the confidence and trust of the farmers. The farmer also stated that while he went to purchase Val-Xtra at HP Singh Stockist on July 7, the stockist informed the farmer that Val-Premium has the same composition as Val-Xtra and sold Val-Premium to the farmer.

The district commission, after hearing the submission, found reasonable ground for admitting the case for adjudication and registered the case, reports added.

All Manipur Loumi Lup demands withdrawal of Electricity Bill 2022

All Manipur Loumi Lup on August 19 condemned Prime Minister Modi-led government for introducing the Electricity Amendment Bill, 2022 and demanded the government to withdraw the bill.  Manipur Loumi Lup accused the Modi-led government of attempting to privatise the electricity and power centres, and demanded the government to withdraw the contentious Electricity Amendment Bill, 2022.

In a release issued by its Secretary H Ibobi, Loumi Lup recalled that after the persistent protest of the farmers’ organisation of the nation against the three contentious farm laws, Modi in his Punjab visit on November 16 of 2021 had assured that three new farm laws will be implemented instead of the three contentious laws. The PM also added that the contentious electricity bill, 2020 will also be reviewed along with the various stakeholders, the release added.

Despite his promise, Modi reintroduced the contentious bill as the Electricity Amendment Bill, 2022 without consulting the stakeholders and relevant organisations of different sectors of the nation, including the Electricity Engineers and Employees Association, and Power Grid Supply Workers Union, etc, the release said.

31st Manipuri Language Day Celebrated

The 31st Manipuri Language Day was celebrated on August 20 at different places where Manipuris settle within India and abroad including Bangladesh. Every year August 20 is celebrated as Manipuri Language Day to commemorate the day Manipuri language was included in the 8th Schedule of the Indian constitution in 1992 after a long struggle of the Manipuris.

The state level celebration was held on August 20 at Maharaj Chandrakirti Memorial Auditorium, Palace Compound in Imphal and jointly organised by Manipuri Language Day State Level Celebration Committee along with Department of Art and Culture and Directorate of Language Planning and Implementation.

According to Committee convenor Leihaothabam Sharatchandra, the celebration was attended by Chief Minister Nongthomba Biren, Works Minister Govindas Konthoujam, Tribal Affairs and Hills Minister Letpao Haokip, Rajya Sabha MP Sanajaoba Leishemba and Education Minister Th Basanta, among others.

In Silhet, Bangladesh also Manipuri Language Day was celebrated and Prof Amar Yumnam former Vice-Chancellor-in-charge of Manipur University and Fellow of Centre for Economic and Social Studies, Hyderbad was the chief guest of the celebration function.

Wakhallon Mannaba Apunba (WAMA), Kangleipak also celebrated Manipuri Language Day at Manipur Press Club, reports added.

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