Government claims Manipur on way to becoming self sufficient in fish production by 2022. This comes in a week marked by the start of the festive season. Kut opened the season on November 1, followed by Diwali and then Ningol Chakouba. Below are some snippets from developments in the state during the past one week.
Ningol Chakkouba celebrated
Ningol Chakkouba was celebrated on November 6 within and without Manipur where Manipuris live.
Every year Ningol Chakkouba is celebrated on the second day of Meitei lunar month of Hiyanggei. Ningol Chakkouba is an annual feast hosted by brothers and fathers for their married sisters and daughters. It is an annual festival of reunion of married women with their parental family to strengthen the familial bonding.
Though Ningol Chakkouba is believed to be started from the mythological time, Ningol Chakkouba has its origin during the reign of King Pakhangba where a feast was hosted by Queen Laisana for her brother Poireiton. In the course of time, Ningol Chakkouba has its transformation from sisters hosting to brothers hosting the annual feast.
In the 1990s Civil society organisations expedited hosting Ningol Chakkouba for the women of the other Manipuri ethnic groups to strengthen the social cohesiveness between the different ethnic groups of Manipur from a familial event to a societal level.
Manipur Self-reliant in Fish Production
Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren on announced that the government is targeting to make Manipur become a fully self-reliant state in fish production by 2022 to 2023. He said rigorous efforts will be given to achieve this and to save the money that is flowing out from the state to others to the tune of Rs 400 crore annually in importing fishes. He made the announcement during the launching of annual fish fair cum fish crop competition, 2021 organised by the department of Fishery at Mapal Kangjeibung Imphal on November 5.
“The state requires 56,000 MT of fish every year. After many efforts, the state could produce 23,000 MT of fishes in 2020 while it was 20,000 MT in 2017. The state is extending all possible efforts to meet the required amount of fish in the state without importing it from outside the state by 2022-2023,” Chief Minister Biren said.
Encouraging the fish farmers for their hard work and dedication to increase fish production, he also advised to put more efforts in promotion and conservation of local Sareng (Wallago attus) as it is considered a favourite by the people, reports added.
Chief Minister Hosts Ningol Chakkouba for All Communities
Though the actual Ningol Chakkouba falls on November 6, second day of Meitei lunar month of Hiyanggei, Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren hosted a feast for females belonging to various ethnic groups of Manipur on November 3 at Chief Minister’s bungalow in Imphal.
Chief Minister Biren called for peace and harmony among the different ethnic groups of Manipur on the early celebration of Ningol Chakkouba festival held at his bungalow attended by thousands of people, especially females in their traditional attires belonging to various ethnic groups of Manipur.
Speaking on the occasion, Biren expressed his happiness to witness the womenfolk from all communities coming together to attend the occasion with smiling faces in their respective traditional attires, reports added.
Comparing the various communities of Manipur as different varieties of roses, he said, “Let us bloom together happily in one garden as Manipuris.”
The womenfolk who attended the Ningol Chakkouba festival also expressed their heartfelt gratitude to the chief minister for inviting them to such a festival, which reflects the bonds between brothers and sisters, reports said.
‘Go to Village 2.0’ Launched in Thoubal District
The second edition of Manipur Government’s initiative to deliver governance at doorstep and bring inclusive development in the state, ‘Go to Village 2.0’ has been launched on November 2 at Moijing Public Playground in Thoubal district by Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren. The programme was organised by Thoubal District Administration.
Reports said, during the programme, Chief Minister Biren distributed assistances under various schemes, including smartphones under CM e-Support Scheme, textbooks, uniforms, sports equipments under Education department, Manipur Start Up Scheme, Cards under Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) and Chief Minister-gi Hakshelgi Tengbang (CMHT), Widows’ Pension Scheme, pensions, aids and appliances for physically challenged people, Prime Minister Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) and Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) among others.
Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Minister said that Go to Village 2.0 is launched to continue village to village visits by government officials making sure that governance reaches every corner of the state. Due to COVID-19 pandemic, the earlier initiative of taking governance to the doorstep of people was on hold for some period.
He informed that the government has brought a new scheme ‘CM Widow Pension Scheme’ to provide monetary support of Rs 500 every month to the widows. He further briefed about benefits under different schemes of the government. He also said that the state has been able to maintain peace due to the prevalence of work culture in the minds of the people.
The government has covered around 2,669 villages in the first edition Go to Village mission and many more villages would be covered under the Go to Village 2.0, Biren said.
Most Did Not Get Benefits of Govt Schemes
Ninety per cent of the needy person in Manipur did not avail the benefits of the 220 government schemes introduced for the welfare of the public, claimed Northeast Co-in-charge of RSS Sangathan Laisangthem Suresh.
He was delivering the chief guest speech during a “One day awareness programme on development scheme as an instrument for social protect” held on November 3 at Sagolband Tera, Imphal West.
Suresh pointed out that many eligible beneficiaries of the state had applied for various schemes of the government but only a few get the benefits. In regards to it, the RSS Sangathan is working tirelessly to deliver the schemes to the needy public regardless of their cast or ethnic groups, he added. He also assured that RSS Sangathan will take every possible steps to deliver the various schemes till the last eligible person, reports added.
Manipur Cop Aspirants Set Deadline
Cop aspirants under the aegis of ‘All Manipur 10th and 11th Vice-Voce Completed IRB Rifleman and Written Completed Jemadar Candidates, 2019’ have set November 10 as deadline to the government to declare their results and threatened to launch strong agitations, including blockades.
Reports said, speaking in a press meet held at Manipur Press Club on November 2, secretary of the aspirants group Ng Chingkhei said that the recruitment rallies for appointment of riflemen and jemadars for the proposed establishment of 10th and 11th Indian Reserve Battalion started way back in 2018.
Even as the process for appointment of jemadars was put on hold after the written test was completed, only the declaration of the final result was pending for the riflemen, he said. The candidates have been pressing the state government to complete the recruitment processed for the past few months. They have even submitted a memorandum to the chief minister by giving an October 27 deadline to complete the recruitment process, he said.
The candidates have been demanding the results of the recruitment rallies which were held three years ago, reports added.
12 NPF Executive Members from Chandel AC Join BJP
As the 12the State Assembly election is likely to be held in February/March next year, politicians leaving their old parties and joining another continues. 12 executive members of Naga People’s Front (NPF), a coalition partner of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of Chandel Assembly Constituency have joined the BJP on November 2.
Reports said, speaking to the media persons during a reception programme of the NPF members at Chief Minister’s Secretariat, Nongthombam Biren said that NPF is an alliance with the BJP government. The relationship between BJP and NPF is still good and there will be no grudges between the two parties.
Chief Minister Biren further said the reason for joining BJP by NPF executive members is mainly due to the sound leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and changes brought by the party in the state and country.
The NPF executive members who joined BJP on Tuesday are former MLA candidate, Ts Warngam; former ADC member candidates, Ts Molarshing, Sk Shemy and D Anthony; Farmer Wing Chandel Division Unit former vice-president, Th Angthung; Chandel AC Area Unit former working president, Asem Kom; Chandel AC Area Unit former vice-president, Sn Semler; Chandel Divisional Unit former secretary, Hopson Saka; Youth Wing Chandel Divisional Unit former vice-president, KC Anthony; Chandel Area Unit former advisor, Hb Lawrence; Youth Wing Chandel Area Unit former vice-president, SK Lovingson; and Youth Wing Chandel Area Unit former general secretary, Thungamdem Poel.
It may be mentioned that Ts Warngam was an active executive member of NPF. However, he had contested the last 2017 Manipur Legislative Assembly election as an independent candidate as he did not get an NPF ticket, reports added.
Female Electors More than Male in Manipur’s Draft Electoral Roll
Female population in Manipur are more proactive in registering themselves in the electoral roll as the number of females turns out to be more than male in the Draft Electoral Roll, 2021, said chief electoral officer (CEO) of Manipur Rajesh Agrawal.
The Draft Photo Electoral Roll of the 60 Assembly constituencies of Manipur was published on Monday at the concerned Electoral Registration Office, as per the schedule fixed by the Election Commission of India (ECI).
Electors as per the draft roll with respect to January 1, 2022 as the qualifying date, the total number of voters is 19,68,476 of which 9,55,657 are male, 10,12,655 are female and 164 are third gender, said Rajesh while speaking to the media at the office of Chief Electoral Officer in Imphal.
The elector to population (EP) ratio as per the draft is 55.81 which is below the national healthy ratio, he said adding the national healthy EP ratio is 62 to 64.
The EP ratio in the valley districts is 62.75, however it is lower in the hill districts such as Senapati and Kangpokpi which is less than 40, he added.
With the publication of the draft electoral roll, a special summary revision will be held from November 2 till November 30, he said adding during this period, one can enrol, delete from, make corrections and apply for transposition of his or her name in the electoral roll.
As per the draft electoral roll, the total number of polling stations in Manipur is 2,959 with the creation of 65 new polling stations, he informed.
Chavang Kut Celebrated Across the State
Chavang Kut, the autumn post harvest festival of the Chin-Kuki-Mizo tribes of Manipur was at different places on November 1.
Among others the Chavang Kut festival was celebrated with great enthusiasm at Indo-Myanmar border village S Moljol in Tengnoupal district. The festival was celebrated under the theme ‘My Culture My Identity’.
One of the main attractions of the festival was the cultural dance performed by the troupe of various localities and tribes. S Moljol Thadou Cultural troupe, Mate Cultural troupe, Mission Veng, Moreh Cultural troupe performed various cultural dances during the celebratory function.
Meanwhile, Hill Tribal Council (HTC), Moreh observed a symbolic observation of ‘Kut’ at Moreh town. The observance was attended by leaders of HTC, Kuki Women Union for Human Rights, Moreh Youth Club, Kuki Students’ Organisation, Kuki Khanglai Lompi, Moreh Pastor Fellowship, village chiefs and locals at HTC conference hall, Moreh.
In Churachandpur district, the Chavang Kut festival 2021 was held at Khumunnom playground, Singngat sub-division, Churachandpur district, organised by the Kuki Students’ Organisation (KSO) Singngat.
Reports said the festival of peace and unity was held in two sessions. The first was daytime Kut festival and the second session was held in the evening as Chavang Night. The night session was a musical programme where more than 15 artistes performed at the same village playground.
MLA Ginsuanhau, who was the chairman of state level Kut festival, said that the state no longer celebrates Kut at state level due to COVID-19 pandemic and so it was organised in the district.
Mentioning the song ‘We Are Not Separable By Any Means‘, he said, “what has divided us in the past, should end with Kut.”
Kut festival is not meant for a particular single community but it is for all, he added while lauding KSO Singngat for involving different communities like Zou, Paige, Meitei, Naga, Kuki and others as the distinguished guests of the event, reports added.
Manipur Forest Department Celebrates 90th Foundation Day
The Department of Forest celebrated its 90th foundation day at its head office at Sanjenthong, Imphal West on November 1.
Attending the function as Chief Guest, Forest Minister Awangbow Newmai said that the Forest department is one of the most important departments in saving nature and humans, however, people usually neglected its importance, reports said.
He said that due to various interferences in the society and ignorance of forest laws and acts, the staffs of the department often face numerous challenges in performing their duties. However, they should deal with such cases boldly.
Act East Policy Discussed at Moreh
A one-day public discussion on Act East Policy and Manipur on the theme ‘Our People’s Future’ was organised by the All Manipur Students Union (AMSU), Tengnoupal District Committee at Ima Kondong Lairembi Haraobung, Moreh on October 31.
Reports said during the programme, AMSU Tengnoupal District Committee president N Tomba highlighted the importance of border trade that exists in Moreh town. He said that Myanmar being the neighbouring country has a vital role in the context of trade between India and South East Asian countries.
Moreh town has a vital role in the context of trade and economy of the state and in the global context, the town is located in an important place of India’s Act East Policy and it has the strategic role in the economy of the state, he added.
As a resource person, professor of Economics department, Manipur University, Ch Priyoranjan said that after the opening of ‘Look East Policy’ by former Union Minister, P Chidambaram in the year 1995, what is the merit and demerit of the policy are the questions of the area. Is it the failure of the nation or a failure of the trade community? He questioned.
He further said that some of the northeast states lack Act East Policy, so there is always a backward or slow process in the implementation of this policy.
He continued that Manipur and Mizoram should take special vision on this policy to implement it in the larger interest. Traders and the government of these two states should keep more vision on this policy, reports added.
Government Reduces Petrol, Diesel Prices as Diwali Gift
Just after two days of hike in fuel prices, the Manipur government has reduced value added tax (VAT) on petrol and diesel each by Rs 7 with effect from November 4 as the central government reduced excise duty on petrol and diesel.
According to a notification issued by the Ministry of Finance on November 3, the excise duty on petrol will be reduced by Rs 5 and that of diesel by Rs 10 across the country effectively from November 4.
In Manipur, a release issued by the state finance department (expenditure department) stated that in close cooperation and coordination with the central government, the state government had also reduced its VAT by Rs 7 per litre for both petrol and diesel with effect from November 4. After additional deduction with domestic VAT the current price on petrol and diesel will be reduced by Rs 12 and Rs 17 per litre on petrol and diesel respectively.
It stated that the price of petrol on November 3 was Rs 111.35 per litre which will be reduced to Rs 99.38 per litre and diesel on November 3 was Rs. 99.39 per litre which will be reduced to Rs 82.51. The order became effective from November 4.
Another notification issued from the same department stated that in exercise of the power conferred under Section-22 of the Manipur Value Added Tax Act, 2004, the state government has modified VAT rates on High Speed Diesel (HSD) and Motor Spirits (MS)- petrol excluding aviation turbine fuel, spirit and gasoline.
The new VAT rate for HSD and MS will be 13.50 per cent and 25 per cent respectively with effect from November 4, the release stated.
Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren tweeted: “Heartily welcome PM @narendramodi Ji’s decision to reduce excise duty on petrol & diesel as a gift to the people of this Nation on this Diwali.
I’m also pleased to announce that the Government of Manipur will also reduce VAT on petrol and diesel each by Rs 7/- with immediate effect.”
Petrol price in the state had increased for eight consecutive days. On October 26 the price of petrol was marked at Rs 108.89 per litre, however with continuous increase, its price was marked Rs 111.41 on November 2.
Meanwhile, the price of diesel also increased for seven consecutive days starting from October 26. Its price was Rs 97.17 on October 25 but was increased to Rs 99.39 on November 1.
AMPFA Demands Formulation of State Agricultural Policy
Highlighting various challenges faced by farmers of the state owing to lack of many facilities coupled with climate change impact, All Manipur Progressive Farmers Association (AMPFA) demanded the authority concerned to formulate agricultural policy of the state.
In a press conference held at Manipur Press Club on November 4, one of the members of AMPFA Sapam Lukhoi said that though agriculture is the main source of income of the state, farmers have been facing many untold problems in their agricultural activities. Considering this, it is high time for the state government to formulate agricultural policy otherwise the state may lead to a hunger crisis in future.
He continued that many farmers had been shifting their paddy cultivation to vegetables based agricultural practices due to less profit. Apart from this, farmers do not have a proper market to sell their rice. This has compelled them to opt for a substitute for rice cultivation. The government should take up steps to procure the rice harvested by the farmers, reports added.
Public Consultative Meeting on ADC Bill Held
A public consultative meeting on Hill Areas Committee (HAC) recommended Manipur (Hill Areas) ADC Bill, 2021 was held at Japhou Community Hall Chandel on November 2. The meeting was organised by Naga Students’ Union Chandel (NSUC) under the aegis of the All Tribal Students’ Union Manipur (ATSUM).
Reports said the leaders and presidents of Naga hohos, ADC members, civil bodies, women leaders, village authorities, surrounding chief associations and student community attended the consultative meeting.
ATSUM president Paotinthang Lupheng in his keynote address emphasised the importance of the ADC Bill 2021 and the need to be tabled in the Manipur Legislative Assembly Session. Leaders who advocate the bill should be re-elected, he stated. He urged the tribal community to stand united until the tabling of the bill in the assembly is achieved, reports said.
Reports further said, CNPO president David Boyes mentioned that deprivation at times unites people. “Let our objectives be cleared and strive forward to achieve our goals. Let us understand the ADC Bill matter seriously and support our leaders,” he mentioned.
ANSAM president Wanglar Thiirtung appealed to all the tribal communities to support the leaders collectively to achieve their demands. KSO general headquarters general secretary Stony Seiboi expressed their full support and cooperation for ADC Bill 2021 to be tabled in the Manipur assembly. MLA and HAC member Alfred Kanngam Arthur highlighted the many inadequacies and injustice the tribal communities have been facing, reports added.
MPRFM Appeals to HAC to Not Mislead Public
The Movement for People’s Rights Forum, Manipur (MPRFM) on November 5 appealed to the leaders of Hill Areas Committee (HAC) to not mislead the public on proposed Manipur (Hill Areas) District Council Bill, 2021.
MPRFM stated in a release that it is constrained to make the appeal to clear doubts created by the “ill-motivated” campaign by some political leaders and organisations regarding the proposed District Council Bill.
The forum stated that the District Councils Bill 2021 recommended by HAC is less about devolution of powers to ADC and more about granting powers, especially, executive powers to Hill Areas Committee.
Granting more powers to HAC can be done by Parliament alone and not by the Manipur Legislative Assembly and the Indian Constitution has given a constitutional status to HAC, it said.
“Whether we like it or not, it has to be accepted that HAC is a standing committee of the Manipur Legislative Assembly with a constitutional protection,” it added.
The release further said by going through the Manipur Legislative Assembly (HAC) Order, 1972, it is well understood that HAC is a recommending body just like any other standing committee of the Legislative Assembly.
The impression is that the proposed bill is about more powers to HAC than devolution of powers to ADCs and the more suitable name of the bill is “The Manipur (Hill Areas Committee) Bill, 2021”, it added.
The release also questioned, “Why did HAC proposed a bill which is not within the powers of the state legislation? Why did not the proponents of the bill inform all these issues to the public? Is this bill not an election gimmick to mislead the public for getting votes in the upcoming election?”
The MPRFM made an appeal to the public not to succumb to such kind of “cheap political propaganda” and remain united to defeat such “evil machinations”, the release added.