Amidst the mounting election fever in the state, there were also plenty of other startling news during the week. In one case, PDS rice reached a village only after six months of agitation by the villagers. In another case, 3000 acres of poppy plantation on a hillside not far from Kangpokpi were destroyed by the state law enforcement; and yet another, a well known film star is under the scanner for a minor kidnapping case. There were positive news too. For one Manipuri film Eigi Kona (Stallone My Pony) is awarded the prestigious Rajat Kamal Award. Here are the gist of these news culled from local dailies.
160 bags of PDS rice reached Tokpaching village on October 29 morning after six months of struggle by the locals to receive their entitled five kilograms of PDS rice. Human Rights Alert (HRA) lauded the people of Tokpaching for their tireless struggle to meet their basic need.
In a release, HRA executive director Babloo Loitongbam stated that villagers of Tokpaching Laimang Chandon Pokpi Leikai (Ward No 9/1) and Heidroipokpi Leikai (Ward No 9/2) of Arong Nongmaikhong Gram Panchayat, Kakch-ing district, never got their full entitled quantity of 5 kg rice under the National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013 nor similar quantity under the Prime Minister’s Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY).
When they started demanding the full quantity, the supply was totally stopped since April 2021.
Thereafter, the villagers came together under the banner of Joint Action Committee (JAC) Tokpaching and put up a brave fight for their right, the release added.
HRA further stated that as per the Manipur Food Security Rules, 2019 a formal complaint was filed to the deputy commissioner (DC), Kakching on July 5. But as no action was taken, on July 8, the JAC petitioned the MHRC.
Following the MHRC questioning, the DC Kakching submitted an illegible and fabricated enquiry report on July 31, listing 110 beneficiaries.
Notably, the petitioner promptly identified the errors in the official report and submitted the correct number of beneficiaries, it said.
HRA mentioned that on September 13 MHRC made a visit to the DC Kakching where the officials claimed that the irregularity was due to non-linking of Aadhaar card and Priority Household card-holders.
Thereafter the MHRC passed an order directing the DC and district supply officer, Kakching to ensure that the required rice be distributed to all the illegible beneficiaries as per the requirement of NFSA and PMGKAY and to submit the compliance report to MHRC on October 7. The petitioner again promptly submitted the list of Aadhaar linked beneficiaries who have not yet received the PDS items from April 2021.The DC and DSO did not distribute the PDS items nor did they submit the compliance report to MHRC. On September 11, the JAC submitted an application for initiating legal proceedings against wilful disobedience of MHRC’s recommendation.
However, the MHRC, instead of taking action against the authorities, caved in to their pressure and liberally allowed the compliance report to be filed on October 29, HRA alleged.
HRA claimed that the villagers had done everything to satisfy the MHRC at considerable cost of the poor villagers, but the slow progress and its overall insensitive attitude had tested the patience of villagers.
Consequently, the JAC organised a press conference at Tokpaching on October 22, but even as the press conference was progressing, a police team led by the officer-in-charge of Arong Nongmaikhong police station dispersed that gathering on the pretext that it violates Covid protocol, it stated.
HRA further stated that the incident clearly infuriated the already indignant villagers, whose sentiment was widely reflected in the local media, including the social media, causing much embarrassment to the authorities concerned.
Hectic negotiation followed where the JAC stood firm for their rights and entitlement. Finally, on October 29 morning the villages’ struggle bore fruit and rightfully their PDS rice has been given to them, HRA said.
Governor Visits Moreh
Manipur Governor La Ganesan visited Tengnoupal district and Manipur’s border town Moreh along Indo-Myanmar Border on October 25 and Tengnoupal District administration welcome him in a reception programme held at Tengnoupal Community Hall.
Reports said the reception programme was attended by leaders of different CVOs, student leaders and chiefs of different villages of the district. The governor was presented with traditional shawls from various chiefs and heads of villages. Different cultural dances were also showcased as a part of the programme.
During the meeting, different village chiefs submitted memorandums to the governor highlighting frequent transfer of DC from the district which caused hindrance in the development of the district. They also highlighted the lack of infrastructures such as district secretariat office, district hospital and proper drinking water facilities, reports added.
Later, the governor visited the Indo-Myanmar border town Moreh. Soon after reaching Moreh town, La Ganesan visited Sri Angla Parmeshwori and Muneshwori temple. After performing prayers and a blessing ceremony, a public meeting with all communities of the town was held at the conference hall of Tamil Sangam Moreh.
Chief Minister’s appeal
Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren on October 25 exhorted the drug traffickers or peddlers to get the benefits of ‘Start Up Manipur’ scheme as their source of livelihood instead of continuing the illegal drug business in the state.
Addressing the function as chief guest in the Start Up Conclave 2021 held at City Convention Centre, Palace Compound, Imphal East, Biren claimed that the Start Up scheme launched in 2017 is playing a significant role in generating employment in the state. As such, social unrest that existed at one point of time has been reduced drastically.
Reports said that since the launch of this scheme, Rs 114 crore has been sanctioned with a subsidy of Rs 76 crore. Out of this total subsidy amount, Rs 56 crore has been released. For 2021, 40 beneficiaries were selected in the Idea Stage-Innovative category and 4,500 beneficiaries under Idea Stage as a special COVID pandemic economic support to the existing small business or traders. Sanction order and release order were distributed to the said selected beneficiaries of the scheme. Another 72 beneficiaries were also shortlisted under revenue stage and 46 beneficiaries under stand up of the scheme. However, the transaction of money from the bank is yet to undergo.
It may be mentioned that under Idea Stage (COVID-19 Economic Package) Rs 1 lakh each with Rs 30,000 subsidy will be provided. The amount may increase to Rs 3 lakh according to the performance of the beneficiary. On the other hand, under the Idea Stage-Innovative category, Rs 3 lakh each will be provided to 40 selected beneficiaries, reports added.
3,000 Acres 0f Poppy Plants Destroyed
A combined team of Manipur police along with Assam Rifles and Indian Reserve Battalion on October 25 destroyed about 3,000 acres of poppy plants at K Hengjang hill range, located around 2 km away from B Gamnom village, Kangpokpi district.
Narcotics and Affairs of Border (NAB) SP K Meghachandra told the media on the spot of poppy destruction through a video clip that the police department has been calculating that about 4,000 to 5,000 acres of poppy plants are cultivated in a year. However, as per the poppy plants destruction drive conducted at K Henjang hill range, the areas of poppy plantations may have been even larger and it could be about 15,000 to 20,000 acres in a year.
He said that a survey of the drive was started earlier in September in almost the entire areas of Saikul and Kangpokpi. If the momentum of the poppy drive continues then almost the entire poppy plantation in the state could be destroyed.
About 10 acres of poppy plants were found to be in full bloom and others are yet to be in flowering stage. As most of the plants are in a small stage, another operation will be conducted at the same spot so that no poppy plants are left out, said Meghachandra.
Govt Urged to Check Myanmar Influx
The Federation of Haomee demanded the Manipur Government to properly identify and take up necessary action regarding the influx of Myanmarese in Manipur, following the military coup which took place in Myanmar on February 1 this year.
The state government needs to give necessary attention and publicly address the influx of Myanmarese, Federation of Haomee stated on October 26 in a release.
“The Mizoram government had already taken up actions to identify and aid the foreign refugees, but our state government is yet to address the issue even after there have been records of the illegal immigrants using fake Aadhaar cards to travel,” the release said.
The Federation stated that the recent event of Tengnoupal police and Assam Rifles detaining 14 Myanmarese attempting to travel to Delhi via Imphal Airport using fake Aadhaar cards hints on the possibility of many more Myanmarese hiding in the state using fake Aadhaar cards.
Citing that according to the 1881 census, total numbers of Meitei villages were 121, Kuki/Chin/Mizo villages were 72, Muslims villages were 2 and other indigenous hill villages of 275, but the 2019 census indicates the total number of indigenous hill villages as 849 while the Kuki/Chin/Mizo villages rose to 1700, the release asserted that the data indicates that unless the government does not take up immediate action the indigenous people will be extinct soon.
‘Eigi Kona’ Receives Rajat Kamal Award
Eigi Kona (Stallone My Pony) has been conferred the Rajat Kamal for the best regional Manipuri Feature Film at 67th National Film Awards held at Bigyan Bhavan on October 25.
The film is produced by former director of Arts and Culture Department of Manipur, K Sushila and directed by Maipaksana Haorongbam and Bobby Wahengbam. K Sushila and Maipaksana received the prestigious awards from the vice president of India.
The film highlights the sorry state of ponies and polo players in the birthplace of polo. It tells the story of Thawai, a young promising polo player who is from a poor family. The immense poverty makes him bear the brunt and pangs of separation from his pony, a family lineage.
K Sushila Leima, the producer is a retired director of department of Art and Culture Manipur. She ventures into this film as a second production having produced a commercial entitled, ‘Emoinu’.
Maipaksan Haorongbam works for Directorate of Information and Public Relation (DIPR), Manipur as video editor and has won the national award Rajat Kamal, earlier with his feature film, ‘Eibusu Yaohanbiyu’ at the 63rd National Film Awards.
Bobby Wahengbam has also won the national award, Swarna Kamal for the best book at the 65th National Film Awards earlier. The film is cinematographed by another national award winning cameraman Irom Maipak who passed away last year and edited by Rajkumar Lalmani.
The film has earlier made itself strongly felt in the reputed festivals such as Indian Panorama, 51st International Film Festival of India (IFFI) at Goa, 4th Ottawa Indian Film Festival Awards (OIFFA), Canada, Indica Film Utsav 2020 and Trissur International Film Festival 2021 among others.
Three Firing Incident Arrested
Three cadres of proscribed outfit KNF (N) were arrested by a combined team of Imphal West district commando and a column of 15 Assam Rifles, in connection with the firing incident at the residence of chief of B Gamnom village on October 12 at around 11.30 am that killed three civilians including one minor and injuring two other persons.
Reports said the arrested persons have been identified as one Seigoulun Singsit, 20, son of (Late) Paokhomang Singsit of Phoipi, Motbung; Henminlun Misao, 29, alias Kevin, son of (Late) Luminthang Misao of Kangchup Ponlen village; and Hentinseh Singsit alias SP, 30, son of Janglam Singsit of Motbung Phoipi Veng. All of them are from Kangpokpi district.
Speaking to the media persons at his office conference hall of Babupara, Imphal West SP S Ibomcha said that Seigoulun was arrested by the combined team led by officer-in-charge, Imphal West, P Achouba under the command of additional superintendent of police of the district, Amarjit Lamabam at around 9:30 pm on October 24 from the adjoining area of Moidangpok and New Keithelmanbi, Kangpokpi district near Korouhanba Oil Pump.
On preliminary examination, Seigoulun further revealed that he along with six cadres of KNF (N) under the command of chairman of the said outfit, James Kipgen of Gangpijang village, Kangpokpi district and Mangsat of N Boljang village, Kangpokpi district opened fired at the residence of village chief of B Gamnom village on October 12, the SP added.
Reports said that the combined team along with the arrested person rushed to Motbung and Sapermeina area to arrest his associates involved in the crime. During the operation another Henminlun and Hentinseh were arrested from their respective residence on October 25 early morning.
One 9 mm pistol and one magazine loaded with five 9 mm ammunitions; one 0.32 pistol and one magazine loaded with three 0.32 calibre ammunition and one mobile phone were recovered from the possession of Henminlun and Hentinseh respectively, reports added.
Protest Against Dry Cleaning Units in Residential Areas
Children and womenfolk of Mayaikoibi Ningthoujam Leikai, Imphal West on October 24 protested against the ongoing move to convert the abandoned LP School at their locality as dry cleaning and multi-laundry industry unit allegedly without the consultation and consent of villagers.
Reports quoted a protester as saying that the villagers of Mayaikoibi are worried that the opening of a dry cleaning unit in school and residential areas will pollute the surrounding area and affect the health of the locals.
The protester pointed out that the unit will be a ‘public health concern’ and ‘public nuisance’ in the locality due to potential risk of emission and discharge of toxic chemicals and waste into the air, water and soil in residential areas including the community pond.
On the other hand, the ground has been used as a playground for children, besides usage for social events of the community and constructing such buildings will hinder free play of children and the use of the ground by the locality.
“We do not have any objections in utilising the school ground for educational and sport uses. However, we will not accept the use of the ground for establishing industrial units which will affect the health of the surrounding villagers,” the protester said.
Manipur Congress Demands Govt to Declare Results of IRB Recruitment
The Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) on October 29 demanded the state government to declare the results of the IRB (Indian Reserve Battalion) recruitment which process started in the early part of 2019 in the state.
As the state government has stalled the Manipur IRB recruitment process for more than two years, the career of as many as 7,165 youths are left in uncertainties, said MPCC general secretary (organisation) L Tilotama while speaking to the media at the office of MPCC in Imphal.
The MPCC general secretary said that though the state government made certain affirmation to declare the IRB recruitment results within a month, the government is still keeping the recruitment process pending.
The candidates had apprised the government for the declaration of the result in the form of submitting memorandums and seeking appointments to meet the chief minister. However, the government turned deaf ear to their genuine demands, she added.
The general secretary informed that as a part of the police modernisation, the state government made a proposal to set up four new IRB battalions to the Union Home ministry, to which the then union home minister Rajnath in 2018 gave the approval for setting up the two battalions.
Likewise, the recruitment process was also conducted for four other Northeast states in 2018-19. Fortunately, the result is already declared for those other states, she added.
The IRB recruitment process in Manipur started in early 2019. A total of 415 candidates were selected in the written test for the Jamadar post; however, their viva voce has not been conducted till date.
As many as 6,750 riflemen candidates were selected in the written test and had already given their viva voce examination; however, the result of the viva voce is not declared so far.
Manipur Wushu Team Crowned National Junior Wushu Overall Team Champion
Manipur Wushu Team has been crowned the Overall Team Champion Trophy in the 20th Junior National Wushu (Boys -Girls) Championships held in Jalandhar, Punjab with 25 gold, 19 silver, 15 bronze in Taolu category and 4 gold, 3 silver, 6 bronze in Sanda category.
The national championship held from October 20 to 25 was organised by the Wushu Association of Punjab under the aegis of Wushu Association of India, stated a release issued by Wushu Association of Manipur (WAM).