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Grant citizenship to Chakma, Hajong tribals in 3 months: SC

The Supreme Court has directed the Centre and Arunachal Pradesh government to grant citizenship within three months to Chakma and Hajong tribals who had migrated from Bangladesh in 1964-69, saying they cannot be discriminated in any manner,

"It is well known that the Chakmas and Hajongs were displaced from the area which became part of East Pakistan (now in Bangladesh) on construction of Kaptai Dam and were allowed to be rehabilitated under the decision of the Government of India...

"They could not be discriminated against in any manner pending formal conferment of rights of citizenship. Their status also stands duly acknowledged in the guidelines of the Election Commission of India," a bench of Justices Anil R Dave and Adarsh K Goel said.

The apex court said that Chakmas have a right to be granted citizenship and it is even "recognised by judicial decisions that they cannot be required to obtain any Inner Line permit as they are settled in Arunachal Pradesh."

The court passed the order on a petition filed by Committee for Citizenship Rights of the Chakmas (CCRC) seeking direction to grant citizenship to the Chakma and Hajong tribals who migrated to India in 1964-1969 and were settled in the Arunachal Pradesh.

"As earlier held by this Court, the Delhi High Court and Gauhati High Court, they need to be protected and their claims of citizenship need to be considered as per applicable procedure," the court said.
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Tuki reviews disaster mgmt preparedness in Arunachal Pradesh

Concerned over continuous rains for the last couple of days in Arunachal Pradesh, Chief Minister Nabam Tuki today reviewed the preparedness with officers of the disaster management department here.

Secretary, Disaster Management, Khapa Kholie and Director D M Yeshi Wangmu Ringu were present during the meeting, an official release said.

Directions were issued to the Deputy Commissioners (DCs) and other senior officials to be extra vigilant and provide immediate relief assistance to the victims in need.

They were asked to be proactive in the preparedness and response measures so that there was no loss of any human lives and minimal damages in case of any eventuality, the release said.

The Chief Minister called upon all citizens to remain alert and cooperate with the administration so that there was no loss of life and property due to floods and landslides.

Tuki also wrote to the Union Minister of Home about the damages suffered by the state and sought for assistance, the release added.
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First all-women bank branch in Arunachal

ITANAGAR, Aug 20 - The first ever all-women banking institution – the women branch of the state-owned Co-operative Apex Bank – has been opened in Arunachal Pradesh.

Chief Minister Nabam Tuki has inaugurated the new facility at Naharlagun on Tuesday.

The fully computerised branch of Arunachal’s lone banking institution came two years after the state’s first women police station was set up at Itanagar in 2013. The bank branch will be manned only by women employees.

Besides other banking facilities, the branch would also offer lockers to women customers for safe custody of their valuable assets like ornaments, documents, traditional belongings, etc.

Congratulating the Apex Bank, the Chief Minister termed it as another stepping stone towards empowerment of women of the state. He called upon the officers and staff of the bank to ensure efficient and friendly customer services to boost its popularity and strength.

Calling the bank as ‘People’s Bank’, he called for establishing more women branches and extend loans to women as they are more sincere in loan repayment.

“Women self-help groups should be mobilised all over the state with the support of NABARD (National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development) so that the women folks who are the backbone of the society are encouraged,” Tuki said.

He lauded the Apex Bank for successfully facilitating implementation of state government’s flagship programmes such as Chief Minister’s Paryatan Vikas Yojana, Chief Minister’s Agri-Mechanisation Programme, etc. through subsidies. To the cheers of the bank employees, he announced that various subsidies cum loan schemes of the state government aimed at generating employment for youths would be routed through the Apex Bank.

Emphasising on the bank’s role in offering banking solutions to the people, the Chief Minister said that the government will continue to support by providing guarantee to National Scheduled Tribes Finance and Development Corporation (NSTFDC) for mobilisation of resources at lower interest for the BPL families and the weaker section.

Tuki also lauded the state-owned bank for introducing the micro ATM, which he observed would be a game changer as even illiterate customers would be able to avail facilities like withdrawal, depositing and transfer of funds from remote places. To mark the occasion, Tuki also opened a savings account for his mother with the newly opened branch, besides launching the bank’s website.
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Government won't reduce central forces in northeast

New Delhi: There is no plan to reduce the deployment of central security forces in the northeast, Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said on Tuesday.

The minister also told the Lok Sabha that the central government was supplementing the efforts of state governments in the region by deploying central armed police forces (CAPF) to fight insurgency.

He said in a written reply that the CAPFs were providing security to vulnerable installations and infrastructure projects based on threat assessment.

Stating that there was no proposal to reduce the deployment of central forces in the northeast, he said state governments were reimbursed security-related expenditure.

The other measures taken by the government were sanctioning of India Reserve Battalions, banning unlawful associations, declaration of "disturbed areas" under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, and issue of notifications for unified command structure.

According to the minister, three factions of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) were observing a ceasefire with the central government.

"The NSCN-Khaplang had unilaterally abrogated the ceasefire in March and indulged in violence.

"However, the ceasefire with the NSCN-IM, NSCN-Khole Kitovi and NSCN-Reformation "are in force", he said.

The central government signed a peace accord with the NSCN-I-M here on Monday.

"In Assam, tripartite talks with the United Liberation Front of Assam (pro-talk), National Democratic Front of Bodoland-Progressive, the NDFB (of) Ranjan Daimary and the Karbi Longri NC Hills Liberation Front are continuing," Rijiju said.

He said at a meeting with the chief ministers of the northeastern states held on July 11 in Guwahati, the security situation in the region was discussed.

Also discussed were effective guarding of the India-Myanmar, India-Bangladesh and India-Bhutan borders, readiness to deal with natural calamities and development-related issues.
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Pranab express grief over Manipur calamity

Appeals to make all relief materials and assistances available to the flood affected and displaced persons.

President Pranab Mukherjee has conveyed his grief over the deaths and destructions of properties at several places in Manipur which was hit by floods. In a message to Governor Syed Ahmed on Sunday Mr. Mukherjee appealed to make all relief materials and assistances available to the flood affected and displaced persons.

Meanwhile Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that the centre is monitoring the flood situation in Manipur. All assistances would be given to the people, he said. The Manipur government has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh each to the dead persons.

Though most villages were affected by the current floods, the educational institutes which were shut down from July 9 following agitations by the students who are demanding implementation of the inner line permit were reopened from Monday. Riot police and paramilitary personnel armed with tear gas canisters were deployed near most of the major institutes to ensure that the students do not take out processions. On July 8, a student was gunned down and many others wounded in the police crackdowns.

Meanwhile sit in protests were held across Imphal on Monday on the ILP issue. On Sunday, hundreds of women took out torchlight processions at many places demanding implementation of the ILP. Following the agitations the government had withdrawn a bill on July 15 and plans to introduce another bill with more teeth August 15.
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Arunachal Pradesh government takes U-Turn on land bill

In a volte face, the Congress-led government in Arunachal Pradesh on Sunday said it opposes the contentious land bill of the BJP-led NDA Government and backs the UPA law, barely a month after it had — in a letter to Rural Development Ministry — found fault with the 2013 Act and suggested that it be “revisited”.
“The view of the Arunachal Government stands clear on the contentious land law being pursued by the Central government in the Parliament by bringing changes to the 2013 law passed by the UPA, which is that of the “Opposition.” In fact, chief minister of Arunachal Pradesh Nabam Tuki had written a letter to the Prime Minister on July 13, clarifying the stand of the state government on the land law, as pushed by the present government at the Centre,” the media cell of the Chief Minister’s Office said, as reported by agencies.
Referring to a letter written by the CM on July 13, 2015, his office said that Mr Tuki had then clearly written, “We believe that the amendments go against the interest of farmers and livelihood losers and take away the rights of tribal communities and Gram Sabhas”.
Further, the CM had endorsed the 2013 Act of the UPA saying, “It was passed unanimously by the Parliament in September 2013 after over two years of nationwide consultations and debate.”
It also added that the CM requested Mr Modi to reconsider the whole issue and resolve the avoidable controversy.
Sunday’s statement by Mr Tuki’s office is in complete contrast to a communique to Additional Secretary K.P. Krishnan of Department of Land Resources in Rural Development Ministry, sent on June 22 this year, where Arunachal Government Commissioner and Secretary B Pertin had said that the 2013 land act is “too lengthy, time-consuming and complicated process.”
This letter had been circulated to members of the Joint Committee of Parliament on land headed by BJP MP SS Ahluwalia, which is looking into the vexed legislation, as per agency reports.
The state government had said in the June 22 letter that the 2013 Act required to be “revisited and reviewed to obviate, minimise and to reduce complications like involvement of external expert group for social impact assessment” and that there is “difficulty in acquiring land under the 2013 land Act”.
Noting that no land was acquired under the 2013 Act so far, the state government had said in the reply, “The government of Arunachal Pradesh is taking necessary steps for proper implementation of the Act as required under the relevant provision of the Act.”
Earlier the Joint Committee of Parliament, after its first meeting on May 29, had asked the states to submit their views on the proposed legislation in writing.
While the Government has no hope of support from Congress on the contentious land bill, Left and Trinamool Congress, it has still not given up on parties like SP, BJD, AIADMK, NCP and a few others by bringing in some changes in the draft bill.
BJD however in its reply to the panel, refrained from commenting on key clauses of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Second Amendment Bill, 2015).
While the AIADMK Government of Tamil Nadu has opposed provisions of the section 3 of the proposed bill on exemption from the requirement of consent for private sector and PPP projects and provisions of section 5 relating to exemption from social impact assessment (SIA).
The Parliamentary panel is yet to get a response from Samajwadi Party-ruled Uttar Pradesh. Senior party leader Ramgopal Yadav had some time back talked of the need for some give and take from both sides—- the ruling alliance and the Opposition—to break the logjam over the issue.
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NE states owe crores to Neepco

Agartala, Jul 31 : At a time when Neepco is trying to mobilise funds from the people, all the eight states of Northeast collectively owe the PSU an amount of Rs 1,187.58 crore.

Assam and Meghalaya top the list of defaulters in payment to Neepco. "We are giving reminders as we are facing a funds crunch now and hopefully the states will clear our dues," said a senior-most official of Neepco's Tripura project at Ramchandra Nagar, 12km east of Agartala.

The official said Assam owes Rs 536.64crore, followed by Meghalaya - Rs 429.4 crore. Among other states, Tripura's unpaid dues are Rs 89.74 crore, Manipur's are Rs 68.14 crore, Mizoram's Rs 37 crore while Arunachal Pra-desh's dues stand at Rs 26.16 crore. Nagaland owes the least amount - only Rs 5 lakh. "From the overall dues the states' surcharges will be deducted." He said the centrally owned PSU was facing a funds crunch and realising the outstanding dues from states was important. "We are trying to mobilise about Rs 2,500 crore from the market during this financial year (2015-16), down by about Rs 600 crore from the last fiscal (2014-15) when Neepco raised Rs 3,100 crore from the market."

He said Neepco currently has an installed capacity of 1,130MW, which is 47 per cent of the total installed capacity of all the power projects in the Northeast.

"Within two years, Neepco will commission five power projects in various northeastern states with an installed capacity of 927MW," said the official.

Neepco has set up 101MW-capacity gas-based power plant in western Tripura's Monarchak. But the project, despite being complete, is yet to be commissioned and become operational because of absence of guaranteed supply of natural gas by the ONGC.

"When this thermal power project was launched in 2002, we had assurance of the requisite natural gas supply from the ONGC. The project got inordinately delayed before final sanction was accorded by the Centre, and now natural gas supply from the ONGC is uncertain. Once the ONGC does so, we will commission the project," said the official.
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Hues of life, beyond turmoil

Jahnavi Barua from Assam, Khasi writer Streamlet D. Kahar, Mizo writer Malsawmi Jacob, and Rita Krocha from Nagaland—all participants of the South India Writers’ Ensemble at Chengannur. Jahnavi Barua from Assam, Khasi writer Streamlet D. Kahar, Mizo writer Malsawmi Jacob, and Rita Krocha from Nagaland—all participants of the South India Writers’ Ensemble at Chengannur.

  • Writings from the North East are not just about conflicts

    The almost impenetrable iron curtain that has ostracised mainland India from its vibrant North Eastern (NE) region also ensconced it in a one-dimensional political enclosure of conflicts.
    To think that writers hailing from the NE only have political conflicts and insurgencies to talk about is being reactionary. “There’s the centrality of life, of human condition and interpersonal relations,” says fiction writer Jahnavi Barua, an Assamese writer based in Bengaluru.
    Ms. Barua insists that life in the region goes on unhindered amidst, or despite, the insurgency and the political turmoil it spawns.
    At the South India Writers’ Ensemble (SIWE) at Chengannur on Saturday, Malasawmi Jacob, author of arguably the third Mizo novel in English, puts it in perspective: “Regional writing in Manipuri and Assamese is tremendously rich; both these languages are older, richer and with a protracted history compared to ours. We, the people of the hills, have a fairly young tradition of writing. Our oral literatures and folk traditions have been there, though.” Mizoram’s written tradition is only 130 years old and the regional writers use the Roman script, Ms. Jacob, based in Bengaluru, tells The Hindu . Her novel, ‘Zorami: A Redemption Song,’ published in May this year, takes a dispassionate view of the Mizo insurgency, its aftermath, and the psychological impact on the people. Zorami is her seventh book.
    Bilingual Khasi writer Streamlet D. Kahar has her collection of poems, ‘Clouds of Emotions,’ translated into several Indian languages and Italian. Aware of the intrinsic oral tradition of the Khasi tribe and its matrilineal system, she says ‘Phawar,’ the traditional poetry of Khasis that is customarily sung in varied forms on occasions in life, has also assimilated contemporary modes of expression.
    Ms. Kahar has written English and Khasi poems, four dramas and a Khasi novel. Khasi language is studied at the PhD level at the North Eastern Hill University at Shillong, she says.
    Rita Krocha from Nagaland, too, writes stories and poems – her first collection was published with a foreword by author Ruskin Bond. She writes primarily on relationships, nature and environment, and thinks there is a lot of catching up that writers from Nagaland have to do.
    “The government extended a bit of support when they introduced a day-long lit fest as part of the Hornbill Festival. A whole new world of experiences opens up when writers from different regions of North East put pen to paper.
    READ MORE - Hues of life, beyond turmoil

    Centre tightens norms for NE projects

    NEW DELHI, July 24  - Tightening norms to overcome the deficiencies in new projects, the Centre has asked the North Eastern States to introduce the Global Positioning System (GPS) for proper gap analysis before the prioritisation of projects.

    The Centre has also asked the States to make electronic presentations before the Empowered Committee during the clearance of new projects. E-mail and message alerts of releases and utilisation of funds have been introduced, the Minister of State for Development of North Eastern Region, Dr Jitendra Singh said in reply to a Rajya Sabha question.

    State Governments have also been sensitised to release funds to the implementing agency on time and submit complete and proper information to the Ministry for getting subsequent instalments for ongoing projects. Nodal officers have been designated to inspect and monitor the progress of the projects periodically.

    The Ministry has initiated the fresh moves to overcome deficiencies like preparation of priority lists without proper and scientific gap analysis, delay in submission of priority lists, concept papers and detailed project reports, release of funds by State Governments to the executive agency and delay in the finalisation of tenders with regard to new projects. Non-submission of utilisation certificates, quarterly progress reports, inspection reports, etc., and the release of the matching State share on time were found to be the main areas of concern in the case of ongoing projects.

    Dr Singh said the review of projects sanctioned under the schemes of the Non-Lapsable Central Pool of Resources (NLCPR), Social and Infrastructure Development Fund (SIDF) and the North Eastern Council (NEC) is a continuous process.

    Meanwhile, in a separate reply, Dr Singh said so far 63 projects at an approved cost of Rs 741.93 crore have been sanctioned under the Bodoland packages and an amount of Rs 603.88 crore has been released over the years.

    The State Government has reported the completion of 43 projects and 20 remaining projects are yet to be completed. No new project has been sanctioned during the last three years. The delay in the completion of the projects is mainly due to non-submission of utilisation certificates in time by the State Governments, problems related to land acquisition and forest clearance, prevailing law and order situation and limited working season due to high rainfall.

    The Government of India agreed, under a Memorandum of Settlement executed between the Government of India, Government of Assam and Bodo Liberation Tigers in 2003, to provide financial assistance of Rs 100 crore per annum for five years for projects to develop the socio-economic infrastructure of the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) areas over and above the normal plan assistance given to the Assam Government. An additional package of Rs 250 crore was announced by the then Prime Minister during his visit to Assam in August, 2008.
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    Nagaland, Mizoram, AP has no record of death sentences

    While India remains one of the few countries in the world that retain capital punishment on its statute books, Nagaland is among the few states in the country where a person is least likely to receive the death sentence.

    According to a report by Venkatesh Nayak, while citing statistics from the National Crime Records Bureau, the North Eastern states of Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram have not recorded a single instance of capital punishment.

    The report further informed that the North East region accounts for the least number of death sentences at 42.

    Assam accounted for 85 per cent (29) of these figures (all handed between 2001-2013) followed by Meghalaya (6), Tripura (4) and Manipur (3).

    The Union Territories of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Lakshadweep are also among the places where the death sentences have been least recorded, with no such instances during the 16-year period.

    This is despite the fact that as many as 2,052 individuals were awarded capital punishment by courts in India between 1998 and 2013, the report said.
    READ MORE - Nagaland, Mizoram, AP has no record of death sentences