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Shanglakpam Nilakanta Sharma, in action

Manipur CM Congratulates State Hockey Players, People Elated by Tokyo Show by State Athletes, New Flight Route to Shillong Launched

Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren congratulated the Indian men’s hockey team and announced to provide team midfielder, Shanglakpam Nilakanta Sharma a suitable state government job along with a cash reward of Rs 75 lakhs as the team won bronze medal by defeating Germany in the Tokyo Olympics and winning an Olympic medal for India in men’s hockey after a long gap of 41 years.

While congratulating Nilakanta over a video call, Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren asked Nilakanta if there is anything that he wants from the government apart from the cash reward. Nilakanta responded that he needs a government job which is related to his athletic career.

“I am really proud of you and the team because after 41 years of gap, India has claimed a medal in hockey. Once again, I congratulate you and the Indian hockey team. I personally feel proud of myself for being you belonging to my constituency. I will definitely offer you a suitable job along with cash reward of Rs 75 lakh,” said Biren during the video call.

Moreover, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has announced a cash reward of Rs 1 crore each to Vivek Sagar and Shanglakpam Nilakanta of Indian Men’s Hockey team. Both Vivek and Nilakanta were trained at Madhya Pradesh Hockey Academy.

Residents of Kontha Ahallup, the hometown of Shanglakpam Nilakanta Sharma in Imphal East Manipur, celebrated the winning of India’s Men Hockey team. His presence in the Indian squad made not only his locals proud but also the sports lovers of Manipur. Many of the childhood friends of Nilakanta came out and shouted slogan saying, “Long Live India, Long Live Manipur, Long Live Nilakanta!”, reports added.

People thronged the residence of Nilakanta to celebrate and share the moment with his family members, who too were equally jubilant by the victory. The celebrations were frenzied at Kontha Ahallup as people of all ages came out, some bursting crackers, dancing and even took out the ‘Thabal Chongba’ dance to celebrate the success of Indian team in the Tokyo Olympic Games.

The 26-year-old Shanglakpam Nilakanta started out playing hockey from 2002 with Youth Club cum Information Centre (YCCIC) Kontha Ahallup and later joined Posterior Hockey Academy Manipur (PHAM) from 2003-10. In 2010, Nilakanta got picked up by YAS department to play JN Hockey Tournament and he was noticed. Later, he got selected to join as inmates of Bhopal Hockey Academy. Under the Academy wings, Nilakanta got to play many exposure matches including foreign tour at Belgium and played FIH Hockey Olympic qualifier at Bhubaneswar and emerged winners in 2019.

Nilakanta is the second son, among the three children of Sh Inaocha and Kunjarani of Kontha Ahallup, Imphal East. Nilakanta is currently employed with Railways.

The chief minister also spoke with Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, member of the Indian women hockey squad which put up a brave fight against England in the playoff for bronze medal but went down fighting to the last.

The chief minister also promised her a suitable job at home and reward for doing the state and country proud.

Manipur Congress Questions State’s Compensation Policy for COVID-19 Victims

The Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) on August 4 questioned the state government regarding compensation policies for COVID-19 victims and motive of curfew extension in the name of combating the pandemic.

The questions were raised during a joint meeting held at Congress Bhawan, BT Road Imphal on August 4 focussing on the present condition of COVID-19 pandemic and political developments within the Congress party, said a release issued by MPCC signed by its general secretary (Media), S Jeeten.

The meeting was chaired by MPCC president Nameirakpam Loken, CLP leader Okram Ibobi, Congress Working Committee member Gangmei Gaikhangam, MPCC former president, TN Haokip, MPCC former president, Moirangthem Okendro along with MLAs and former MLAs of the party except a few who had informed prior to the party president for their absence.

The release further said the MPCC would like to know from the BJP-led government about the compensation policies and programmes for COVID-19 victims taken up so far. As the condition is worsening in the state, the present government should answer the questions without fail.

The party also wanted to know the motive of the curfew extension as it has already proven that curfew is not the ultimate solution to combat the pandemic, it added.

Two Peddlers with Rs 5 Crore Worth Drugs Arrested

The Narcotics and Affairs of Border (NAB), Manipur arrested two drug peddlers, including one from Uttar Pradesh, on two different occasions and seized brown sugar worth about Rs 50 lakh in local market. The amount of brown sugar seized could cost about Rs 5 crore in the international market once it is refined.

Reports said that one drug peddler was held from the foothills along Imphal-Ukhrul road near Gwaltabi area on August 4. He was identified as one Vareihao Tinphei, 62, son of (Late) Zurrei Tinphei of Shangshak Phunghon village, Ukhrul district. The other was arrested from Mantripukhri area on August 5 and was identified as Anil Kumar Gupta, 49, son of Rain Gopal Gupta of 49 Rohiti Tola, Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh.

Tinphei was nabbed when two teams of NAB went towards the foothills along Imphal-Ukhrul road for surveillance of suspected poppy and ganja cultivation on August 4. During the surveillance, one Alto Car bearing registration number WB-02Q-7488 was seen coming towards Imphal at Gwaltabi foothill area. Due to suspicious nature, the vehicle was stopped and checked and a black polythene bag containing 10 packets of suspected brown sugar were found, reports added.

A Girl of 5 Years Flags off First Ever Imphal-Shillong Flight
Vahchoihoi Haokip from L Khengjang village, Leimatak in Churachandpur district, flagging off the new Imphal-Shillong flight

A five-year old girl flags off the first ever flight connecting the capital cities of Manipur and Meghalaya by air on August 3 from Bir Tikendrajit International Imphal Airport. The first direct flight Indigo 6E-7959 between Imphal and Shillong took off  at 9:55 am.

Reports said the direct flight service was launched after a little passenger girl from Churachandpur district cut the launching ribbon at a simple function. The five-year-old little girl, Vahchoihoi Haokip from L Khengjang village, Leimatak in Churachandpur district was with her parents to board the first-ever Imphal-Shillong flight when she was chosen for the ribbon cutting to mark the launching of Imphal-Shillong flight service by Indigo airlines.

A class I student of Loreto Convent, Shillong, Vahchoihoi Haokip also known as Eliana Haokip, her father Hengam Haokip, and her mother Jessy Kikim Haokip who is a nursing officer at NEIGRIHMS along with other passengers boarded the flight and landed at Barapani Airport at 10:55 am safe and sound, reports added.

42 Indian Workers Return from Myanmar

Forty two Indians who were engaged in construction work in Myanmar have returned to India and reached the border town of Moreh on August 5 following the recent political unrest and incidents of violence after the February 1 military coup in Myanmar.

Reports said all of them are workers of IMT Expressway Co Ltd engaged in construction work of Yagyi – Kalewa section (Milepost 40/0 to Milepost 115/5) in Myanmar. Superintendent, LCS SK Gangte; inspector, LCS Kenedy; and senior officer, Immigration department Anand along with SIs Rajiv and Tiken verified the documents of the 42 Indian workers at ICP Moreh.

A medical team from Moreh Hospital led by Dr Khwairakpam Pritam and Dr Isak Ali conducted COVID-19 tests of the 42 Indian workers, and one out of the 42 workers tested positive for the virus, reports added.

Sit-in-Protest Against Blast in Moreh, Organisations Condemn the Blast

Residents of Turel Wangma Leikai, Moreh Ward No VII held a sit-in-protest at the Community Hall of the locality on August 4 protesting the bomb attack that took place at the residence of Laishom Premjit on July 31.

Reports said the protesters displayed placards that read ‘Eikhoi Shanti Pammi (We want Peace)’, ‘we strongly condemn bomb attack on innocent public’, ‘Micham Prajabu Aki-akhang Pibiganu (Do not terrorise innocent public)’and ‘Yumlakta ta Bomb Langsinba Yaningde (We protest against the bomb attack in residential areas)’ among others.

It may be mentioned that the attackers lobbed a bomb and fired some rounds of bullets at the residence of second OC of Moreh Police Station L Premjit located at Turel Wangma, Moreh Ward No VII at around 7.50 pm on Saturday leaving his wife and minor son injured.

Meanwhile, Meetei Council Moreh (MCM) and All Community Development Organisation Moreh (ACODOM) in a joint statement strongly condemned the incident.  It stated that such irresponsible acts have caused panic and apprehension of animosity amongst the different communities of the town. Any organisation or individual responsible for the incident must issue public clarifications within 48-hour, failing which the two organisations along with other civil bodies and communities residing in Moreh will launch intense agitations, it warned.

Kuki Students’ Organization (KSO)-Moreh block in a release also condemned the incident terming it as an act of cowardice. “The people responsible for the bomb attack should be apprehended at the earliest,” the release added.

A release from president of Hill Tribal Council (HTC), Jangmang Haokip also condemned the bomb attack as another random display of barbaric madness. Such acts in public places are committed only by cowards who are not fit to live in a decent society, it stated. HTC further urged the various security agencies in Moreh to nab the culprits at the earliest and ensure such crimes do not recur in the border town.

CM Biren Meets Prime Minister, Home Minister, Defence Minister, Finance Minister and Tribal Affairs Minister
Manipur CM, N. Biren Singh with PM Narendra Modi

As a part of his brief tour of the National Capital to meet the central leaders, Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren met Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his official residence located at Lok Kalyan Marg, New Delhi on August 4.

During his meeting with Modi, Biren had a detailed discussion on a wide range of subjects in various sectors, including roads and bridges, water resources, drinking water supply, building infrastructure, airport development, livelihoods and law and order, among others. The prevailing situation of COVID-19 pandemic and the state’s efforts in tackling the same were also conveyed by the chief minister, a release said.

Further, Chief Minister Biren invited the Prime Minister for laying foundation stones and inauguration of several major projects in the state.

Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren also met Union Home Minister Amit Shah on August 3 to discuss various pressing issues of the state.

Biren stressed on the need to further strengthen border security along international boundaries in the state to effectively control anti-national activities such as the movement of insurgents, smuggling of drugs and arms, and illegal entry of foreigners in the region, stated a release. He was assured of complete support of Government of India towards further strengthening of the border security along the Indo-Myanmar border falling within the state of Manipur, a release said.

The chief minister also met Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and impressed upon the need to expedite the release of Koirengei Old Airfield which is presently under defence establishment. The release stated that he promised an equivalent area of land in contiguity to the existing Army Headquarters at Leimakhong, Imphal. The defence minister assured of early decision in the matter, it added.

It further stated that N Biren also met Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and requested her to expedite the sanction of the project for Rejuvenation of Lamphelpat Waterbody to Alleviate Urban Flooding, providing sustainable water sources for Imphal City and promoting eco-tourism as an externally aided project. He further requested her to expedite the release of funds for the ongoing water supply project for Manipur State which will enable early achievement of the vision of taped water supply to all households under the ‘Jal Jeevan Mission’, it stated.

The release mentioned that he also met tribal affairs minister Arjun Munda and impressed upon the need to expedite the release of funds towards development of tribal areas in Manipur at an early date.

Security Beefed Up in Imphal West District Ahead of Indian Independence Day

As usual and as part of preventive measures in connection with the upcoming occasion of Indian Independence Day on August 15, teams of Imphal West CDO led by DSP (Ops), Imphal West A Tomba Singh along with a team from City Police Station conducted cordon and search operations at three places on August 4.

Reports said search operations were conducted at Jalan crossing covering Kali Bari; Rupmahal Tank covering the temporary market; and Kasturi Crossing covering Allu Gali and Ngari Gali in the hearth of Imphal city.

In the course of the operation, around 230 individuals were detained and verified. And around seven individuals who could not produce their identity proofs were handed over to the City Police station team for further formalities, reports said.

Another combined team of Imphal Police Station personnel and Imphal West Commando led by Y Kishorchand Meetei conducted a house-to-house search operation of bailouts and criminals at Keishampat Thiyam Leikai, Imphal West. A total of about 100 houses were searched and 150 individuals verified. However, no individual was picked up during the operation, reports added.

Former Manipur Congress president Govindas Konthoujam Joins BJP

Former Manipur Congress president Govindas Konthoujam joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at a function held at its central party office in New Delhi on August 1 in the presence of Union Minister of State Dr. RK Ranjan, MP Rajya Sabha, Leishemba Sanajaoba, state BJP president Aribam Sarda, Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren, BJP Manipur in-charge Sambit Patra and others attended the function.

It may be mentioned that Govindas resigned as member of the state Legislative Assembly and from the Congress party’s primary membership on July 28 after he stepped down as the state Congress party president on July 20.

Govindas, elected six times from Bishnupur assembly constituency in Manipur, was a member of the All India Congress Committee and president of the Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) since December 2020.

Manipur Congress President Loken Confidents No More Party MLAs will join BJP
MPCC interim president Nameirakpam Loken Singh at the press conference

Interim president of Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC), Nameirakpam Loken on August 1 expressed confidence that no other Congress MLAs will join the BJP though there are reports circulating in media and social media that more Congress MLAs will be joining the BJP along with former Congress president Govindas Konthoujam.

Loken, briefing the media at Congress Bhavan Imphal hours after former MPCC president Govindas was given a reception at BJP headquarters in New Delhi, said that Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren’s statement during reception of Govindas in BJP headquarters in New Delhi that a few Congress MLAs will also be joining the BJP in days to come is just a figment of his imagination.

AMSU Urges to Resolve Mizoram-Assam Border Tensions by Political Dialogue

The All Manipur Students Union (AMSU) has blamed the Union government for the Mizoram-Assam border dispute and said it should call upon the organisations of both the states to resolve the issue by political dialogue.

AMSU alleged that the border dispute is the outcome of the Central government’s negligence and urged the Union Government in a release to make necessary arrangements to lift the economic blockade against Mizoram.

AMSU also claimed that the dispute happened due to the Centre’s lack of policy to bring an amicable solution to solve the various state border disputes for a long time, especially in the north-eastern states.

The release pointed out that some groups of people of Assam still continue to block every route leading to Mizoram and all essential items, including medicine and COVID aids drugs are stranded in Assam.  Such groups even threatened Tripura for helping Mizoram, the release stated, adding that such an act is inhuman and it will bring chaos between the states.

13th Manipur Legislative Assembly Session on August 20

Manipur Governor Najma Heptulla on August 3 summoned the 13th session of the 11th Manipur Legislative Assembly at 11 am on August 20.

The summon was made in exercise of the powers conferred by Clause (1) of Article 174 of the Constitution of India, said a summon order issued by secretary of Manipur Legislative Assembly K Meghajit.

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