Imphal Review of Arts and Politics

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on a visit to the state inaugurated a number of projects

Home Minister Amit Shah Visits Manipur, Lays Foundation Stones to Several Projects; MPCC Questions Delay in Local Body Polls; ADC Polls After Delimitation, Other Local Bodies in March, April; Emoinu Fish Festival Attracts Huge Buyers

Union Minister for Home and Cooperation Amit Shah arrived in Imphal on January 6 and the next day, January 7 he inaugurated and laid foundation stones of 21 development projects worth around Rs 1,311 crore at Moirang in Bishnupur district, Manipur.  The Union Home Minister laid the foundation stones of nine schemes worth Rs 1,060 crore and inaugurated 12 schemes worth Rs 300 crore.

Whenever a chance to attack the Congress the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders never miss it, addressing a gathering at Moirang in Manipur, Amit Shah took a jibe at the Congress, stating that the Congress coined the term ‘Look East’ and hence kept on looking.

Reports quoted Union Home Minister Amit Shah as saying “But the Modi government has adopted the Act East Policy and we are working day in and out to develop and bring about peace in Northeast India.”

Amit Shah said he laid the foundation of 29 projects worth Rs 2,450 crore in 2022. “This is the difference between the Congress and the BJP. In the last eight years, the Modi government spent Rs 3.45 lakh crore for Northeast India which is equal to what had been spent for the region in the 25 years before it,” he added.

The projects Amit Shah inaugurated and laid foundation stones include Churachandpur Medical College built at a cost of Rs 46 crore, Marjing Polo Statue built at a cost of Rs 39 crore, Manipur Olympian Park at Sangaithel, Manipur Exhibition Center in Imphal-East, District Youth Skilling and Employment Centres, Fruit Preservation Factory, Neelakuthi in five districts of the state. The Union Home Minister also unveiled the 165-feet tall tricolor at the historic ‘Azad Hind Fauj’ Headquarters at Moirang, which is the tallest national flag in the entire Northeast region. On this occasion, Union Minister of State for External Affairs and Education Dr. RK Ranjan and the Chief Minister of Manipur, Nongthombam Biren and many other dignitaries were present.

In his address, Amit Shah said that under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren, Manipur is marching ahead on the path of development, peace and prosperity and is now completely free from terrorism, bandh and blockade and as a result, the foundation stone of 29 projects worth Rs. 2450 crore was laid on 6th January, last year and today, 21 projects worth over Rs 1,300 crore have been inaugurated and foundation stone laid, a release of the Press Information Bureau (PIB) of the Ministry of Home Affairs said.

The Union Home Minister paid homage to the highly knowledgeable and talented King Shri Bhagya Chandra, Queen Mother, Maharaja Kulachandra and Pukhotinthang and said that Manipur has a glorious history of over 3000 years. He said that the people of Manipur helped Maharaja Kulachandra to free Manipur from the clutches of the British by giving full cooperation against the British. To make the country aware of this glorious history of Manipur, the government has renamed Mount Harriet, where Maharaja Kulachandra’s general secretary, the crown prince and 22 freedom fighters were imprisoned, to Mount Manipur. Amit Shah said that the tallest flag of the Northeast was hoisted today at Moirang in Manipur, the first place on India’s mainland to gain independence, the PIB release added.

The Union Home and Cooperation Minister said that under the leadership of great freedom fighter Subhash Chandra Bose, ‘Azad Hind Fauj’ fought against the British and freed Manipur from the clutches of the British. He said that the Manipur government has built a memorial for the martyrs of ‘Azad Hind Fauj’ by doing the restoration work of the houses destroyed during the shelling by British, and this memorial will not only inspire the youth of Manipur to devote their lives for the nation, but also help to develop this place into a big tourist spot.

Amit Shah said, over 100 children are studying medical science in the Churachandpur Medical College built at a cost of about Rs. 46 crores. He added that earlier children from Northeast had to go to bigger cities like Bengaluru, Delhi, Mumbai and Ahmedabad to study, but now children from various states of India are studying in Moirang, which is a great achievement. He said a 122-foot tall Marjing Polo statue has been inaugurated in Manipur and Manipur Central University should do research to tell the whole world that it is Manipur which has gifted the sports of Polo to the world. Amit Shah said that this place will become a centre of attraction for Polo enthusiasts from across the world, the PIB release added.

Amit Shah Unfurls Tallest Tricolour Flagpole in NE

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on January 7 unfurled the Tricolour atop the tallest flagpole in India’s Northeast. Amit Shah, who is on a visit to Manipur, unfurled the 165 feet-tall Tricolour installed at the Indian National Army (INA) Headquarter Complex, Moirang in Bishnupur district of Manipur.

It is said that on April 14, 1944, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s Indian National Army (INA), hoisted the INA’s tricolour Flag for the first time.

“After Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose hoisted the tricolor flag for the first time here at Moirang, Manipur in 1944, history has been scripted again today as Hon’ble Union Minister, Shri @AmitShah ji unfurled the flag on the 165 feet, tallest flagpole in North-East India,” Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren tweeted.

Chief Minister Biren expressed hope that the unfurling of the tallest National Flag by the Union Home Minister will renew the sense of patriotism among the youths.

The Chief Minister also tweeted, “Thank you, Hon’ble Union HM Shri @AmitShah Ji,for unfurling the tallest National Flag in the North-East. This will renew the sense of patriotism & educate the new generations about freedom fighters and their sacrifices.”

“The INA Headquarters was set up by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose himself. The flagpole has been erected at the INA, Advance Headquarters in Moirang to honor the Azad Hind Fauj’s struggle during India’s freedom movement and to keep the spirit of patriotism alive,” CM Biren tweeted.

MPCC Questions Delay in Local Body Polls

Questioning the delay in the election of local bodies of the State, the Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) January 3 expressed fear that the State Government is suppressing democracy with the adoption of dictatorship.

Congress MLA Okram Surjakumar, speaking to the media at the office of MPCC in Imphal, said that India is the largest democracy in the world and elections of local bodies are a must to preserve the status of the largest democracy, reports said.

He maintained that the recent appointment of administrators for various municipal councils after postponing the elections for two years on COVID-19 excuse is another attempt of the State Government to extend the election schedule.

He further said that elections are being conducted amidst COVID-19 by following the proper norms and protocols in states like UP and Maharashtra and conducting elections by the BJP government is not a difficult task.

He said it is unfortunate that the State Government is still resisting conducting even the ADC and Panchyat Raj elections even after the ending of its mandate, reports added.

ADC Polls After Delimitation, Other Local Bodies in March, April

The first state cabinet meeting of 2023 held on January 2 at the CM Secretariat in Imphal has decided to conduct urban and rural local body elections in the first week of March and April respectively while the autonomous district council (ADC) elections are also likely to be conducted during the same period after the delimitation process.

Information and Public Relations Minister Sapam Ranjan told media at his residence located at Lamphel on January 3 that the first state cabinet meeting of 2023 was held on January 2 late evening at state cabinet hall of CM’s Secretariat, Babupara in Imphal.

The minister informed that ADC elections will be conducted after the completion of the delimitation process which is likely to be completed in the months of February and March.

He said that till the local body elections are conducted, the concerned district commissioners will be take charge of administrative works.

He informed that the state cabinet also decided to summon the 3rd session of 12th Manipur Legislative Assembly on February 2 and the number of sittings for the session will be decided later by the Business Advisory Committee of Manipur Legislative Assembly, reports added.

Emoinu Fish Festival Attracts Huge Buyers

The first-ever Emoinu Fish Festival was held on the occasion of Emoinu Eratpa Numit at Hapta Kangjeibung (Weekly Pologround) at Palace Compund in Imphal East, Manipur on January 3. The festival organised by the Directorate of Fisheries with 90 fish stalls witnessed thousands of customers.

In the inaugural function, Fishery Minister Heikham Dingo said that the state government has been conducting an annual fish fair once a year since 1979 to encourage fish farmers of the state. The fair is also held during the Ningol Chakkouba festival.

Director of Fisheries department, H Balkrisna also informed the media about the various initiatives taken up by his department to support the fish farmers, to make the state self-sustainable in fish products.

The first Emoinu Fish Festival, 2023 organised by the state Fishery department at Hapta Kangjeibung, Imphal East as a part of the Emoinu Festival registered a sale of 51,362 kg of different species of fish, including 2,600 kg of homegrown Sareng.

Fish farmers of Bishnupur district contributed the highest production with 17,709 kg, followed by Imphal West district with 14,218 kg and Thoubal district with 9009 kg, a release of Fisheries Department stated.

The significant outcome of Emoinu Fish Festival 2023 is that the total proceeds accrued from the sale of fish accounted for Rs 1.30 crore which is a spectacular achievement for the fish farmers and the state Fishery department. Silver carp, which is not so popular in other festivities, made a strong presence in the fish mela and a total of 18,890 kg were sold, the release mentioned.

During the festival, 10,633 kg of Grass carp and 8073 kg of Catla, Rohu and Mrigal which is commonly known as Indian Major Carp were sold. Among the indigenous fish varieties, 3360 kg of Ngaton, 686 kg of Pengba and 246 kg of Khabak were sold out, it added.

The stalls where Meitei Sareng was made available to the public consequent upon the initiative of Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren and the State Fisheries department were thronged by thousands of consumers making a beeline for a first glance and grab an opportunity to purchase for offering to goddess Emoinu, the release said.

The hefty price fixed by the State Fisheries department did not hamper the spirit of the enthusiastic consumers, the release mentioned.

Unlike the annual Fish Festivals held on the eve of Ningol Chakkouba festival in the past, this year’s Emoinu Fish Festival witnessed departmental stalls of Agriculture, Horticulture, MOMA, Forest and various start-ups catering to agro and allied products like organic black rice, ginger, turmeric, fresh seasonal vegetables, value added local fruits, beverages, etc. which provided a shopping spree and extravaganza to the visitors, it stated. The total sale proceeds recorded by the departmental and start-up stalls are around Rs 3 lakh, the release added.

Swindler Arrested

A man who went into hiding after allegedly scamming clients with promises of providing loans and collecting more than Rupees one crore has been arrested by a team of Lamphel Police Station, Imphal West district.

Reports said the accused identified as one Salam Bijen aka Salam Boyai, 40, son of Salam Thoiba from Naransena Awang Leikai in Bishnupur district ran an organisation called ‘Avatar Solutions’ and its office was opened at a rented place located opposite Airport Army Camp at Changangei Makha Leikai in Imphal West.

By hiding his true identity, Bijen was running the organisation as its Managing Director by using a fake name i.e. Ksh Robindro Singh. From around 70 clients, he had collected more than Rs one crore with a business plan of letting them deposit only 25 per cent of a loan amount with the assurance that the total amount would be delivered after a period of 45 days. After collecting the hefty sum, he went into hiding, reports added.

The Manager of Avatar Solutions reported the matter to Lamphel Police Station and lodged a complaint. Following the complaint, a team led by sub inspector N Pravin arrested Salam Bijen allias Boyai from Nazareth Veng at L Sumoul Village in Churachandpur district on December 30. Bijen has been produced before the Duty Magistrate of CJM Imphal West and remanded in police custody till January 6 for smooth investigation of the case.

55 Acres of Poppy Plantation Destroyed

A combined team of Imphal East district police assisted by NAB, Forest department and BSF along with executive magistrate destroyed a total of 55 acres of poppy plantations during a two-day poppy destruction drive in Kamu Ching, Bongyang Hill range.

Reports said that on January 2 the combined team destroyed about 26 acres of poppy plantation. And on January 3, in continuation of the drive, the same team, which was stationed at Mapithel Dam police station, destroyed another 29 acres of poppy plantation at the same hill range.

The total poppy cultivated areas destroyed on January 2 and 3  is 55 acres, the police sources said adding that the Imphal East District Police will also continue to survey probable adjoining areas and effort will be made to arrest illegal poppy cultivators, reports added.

Govt’s War on Drugs a Flop Show: MPCC

The Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) on January 5 slammed the BJP government for its move to award former poppy farmers terming it an indirect support towards illegal activities and criminals. The party also termed the ‘War on Drugs’ mission a ‘flop show’.

It may be mentioned that the Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren stated recently that farmers who gave up poppy plantation for alternative means would be awarded by Union Home Minister Amit Shah when he visited the state on January 6, 2020.

Addressing the media at the office of MPCC in Imphal, senior spokesperson Harishwar Goswami slammed the BJP-led government in the state for being an “eye and brain washer”, making false promises and baseless propaganda in the last five years.

“Awarding of criminals (former poppy farmers) will be the first of its kind in the entire globe. It is indeed surprising. Is the government going to reward the other criminals of hideous crimes who have stopped committing it?” Harishwar questioned.

Pointing out that there have been reports for various drugs confiscated in other states which have been exported from Manipur, the Congress leader further questioned, “How is it possible when the state government is successfully carrying out war on drugs?”

Manipur being recognised on the global map as an illicit drug producing state during the BJP regime after the state was just a drug transit route is a big failure of the state government, he said, terming the “War on Drugs” mission as a “flop show”.

Harishwar Goswami also condemned and termed the arbitrary pick-up of senior journalist Hemanta Ningomba by police and treating him as a criminal on January 4 morning for giving a tentative suggestion to tackle the poppy plantation while a high-profile woman who took photos in a poppy farm was escort free, as unfortunate, reports added.

ANSAM Condemns GOI’s ‘Double Standard’

The All Naga Students’ Association, Manipur (ANSAM) on January 2 stated that it is appalled by the “double standard policy” of the Government of India concerning the Naga political issue, concerning the order seeking details on the property of the chief of Naga Army GPRN/NSCN.

Even after signing the Framework Agreement on August 3, 2015, the Indian Government continues to target the Naga political leaders to derail the hard earned peace process, ANSAM stated in a release.

This is seen from the NIA New Delhi, letter no. RC 01/2010/NIA/DLI/22635, which was an order seeking record of movable and immovable property of chief of the Naga Army GPRN/NSCN, Eno Anthony Shimray, who is also the coordinator for Naga Peace Talk on December 22, 2022 by the deputy commissioner of Ukhrul district, ANSAM stated in the release.

“This is a sinister policy designed to demoralise the Naga army and undermine the peace process in particular,” the release stated. The ANSAM seeks clarity about the sincerity of the Government of India regarding the peace process, the release added.

Centre Sanctions Rs 760.16 Crore For Widening of Imphal-Jiribam Road

The Government of India has sanctioned widening to 2-lane with paved shoulder of Imphal to Jiribam section of National Highway-37. The road stretch from near Nungkao village under Tamenglong district to near Jiribam Bridge under Jiribam district (PKG-7) in Manipur will be widened to 2-lane.

Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari made the announcement in a series of tweets on January 5. The Union Minister Gadkari on January 5 tweeted: “Widening to 2-Lane with paved shoulder of Imphal to Jiribam section of NH-37 Near Nungkao village under Tamenglong District to near Jiribam Bridge under Jiribam district (PKG-7).”

In another tweet, the Union Mminister also said that the project has been sanctioned on EPC mode with a budget of Rs.760.16 crore.

Final Photo Electoral Rolls 2023 Published

The final photo electoral rolls of all 60 Manipur Assembly Constituencies were published on January 5 at CEO, Manipur Office located at Lamphelpat.

Briefing the media, the additional Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Manipur, Naorem Praveen said the general public or electors and representatives of political parties are free to inspect or verify the final photo electoral rolls at the offices of the EROS/AEROS and with all the Booth Level Officers (BLOS). They may also visit Chief Electoral Officer Manipur’s website to inspect the Final Electoral Rolls – 2023, he informed.

Out of the 20,57,854 electorates, 995208 voters are males, 10,62,426 are females and 220 are transgenders. The total number of polling stations is 2,955. As per Final Roll 2023, the elector to Population Ratio (EP Ratio) is 57.35 per cent.

Out of 57.35 per cent of electoral ratio, 1.30 per cent are 18-19 years group, voters are 46586. Election commission of India sent 1.33 lakh electoral rolls to be verified across the state for which the verification is going on and 40.70 percent verification has been done, Praveen informed.

Out of 40.70 percent verification, 276 have a similar photo, 181 correct, 84 are absent, 11 are not matching. Qualifying dates of the election will be conducted four times in a year, additional CEO Manipur informed. He said that the projected population of the 18-20 years electorate is increasing though not achieving the figure. And, among 40-49 years voters, there is an issue of doubling, a similar entry. It will be solved after verification is completed. The number of polling stations in comparison to 2022 and 2023 is reduced due to one new polling station created in Imphal East and five polling stations amalgamated in Churachandpur.

NHRC Calls For Action Against Arbitrary Detention of Editor

The National Human Rights Defenders’ Alert (HRDA) – India, Tamil Nadu on January 5 made an urgent appeal to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), New Delhi for action against the alleged intimidation, harassment and arbitrary detention of a senior journalist by the Manipur police for expressing his opinion on TV.

A letter signed by national working secretary Henri Tiphagne expressed serious concerns regarding the “harassment, illegal house search, and arbitrary detention” of senior journalist, editor of Sanaleibak Daily Manipuri newspaper Hemantakumar Ningombam by police personnel of Imphal East, Manipur “for expressing his opinion on TV on the state government’s anti-drug policy.”

The HRDA appealed to the NHRC to treat the incident as a case of reprisal against a journalist and human rights defender for exercising his constitutionally guaranteed fundamental rights. It urged the NHRC to urgently direct the director general of police of Manipur to initiate an immediate, independent, thorough, transparent, effective and impartial investigation into the arbitrary detention of the journalist and submit a report to the NHRC within two weeks.

The HRDA further urged to provide security to Hemantakumar Ningombam as “he stands at further risk of reprisals and submit a report to the NHRC within two weeks,” the letter mentioned.

If journalists are muffled from their reporting on facts when they criticize politicians and public officials, seldom will they dare to take a stand and the fourth pillar of democracy will be crushed further, it stated. The protection of journalists and human rights defenders, and ending impunity for attacks against them, is a priority for safeguarding freedom of expression, it added.

The states are under an obligation to prevent, protect against, and prosecute attacks against journalists and human rights defenders, it further stated. A free press and active civil society are essential to ensure the public’s right to know so that governments and institutions can be held accountable, the HRDA added.

Drug Licenses of Two Pharmacies Suspended

The State Drugs Licensing and Controlling Authority Directorate of Health Services Manipur has suspended the drug licenses of two pharmacies and instructed them to close down their pharmacies with immediate effect until further orders.

N Rimotkumar of the State Drugs Licensing and Controlling Authority Directorate of Health Services Manipur on January 5 said in a press release that the licenses were suspended under rule 66 (1) of the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules 1945, resulting to the findings during the investigation process of one unauthorised drug Kaya-DSR (Rabeprazole IP 20 mg and Dompiridone IP 30 mg).

The two pharmacies are S S Enterprises and S S Parmacy. The S S Enterprises, BT Road, Rupmahal Tank, Imphal West, Manipur Licence No: 35/WS-IW/2014, 36/WS-IW/2014, 17-X (G)/DHS-2014, proprietor Prameshwar Prasad. Rupmahal Tank, Imphal West and SS Pharmacy, Lilong Bazar, Thoubal District, Manipur Licence No: 19/QP-TBL/2019, 20/QP-TBL/2019, 10-X(F)/DHS-2019, proprietor Md Kabir Ahamad Shah, Lilong Ushoipokpi, Thoubal District Qualified Person: Rahamani, Lilong Yangbi Leikai, Thoubal District, Manipur have been suspended until further orders by concerned authorities, the release said.

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