Daily sale slumps at Khwairamband Keithel

IMPHAL, Feb 3 : Wedding season is considered as a boon for the women vendors of Khwairamband Keithel since people from near and far throng the market to shop for the weddings.
However, the recent demonetisation move of the Centre and UNC’s ongoing economic blockade have severely affected the business of women vendors in Khwairamband Keithel.
Despite the wedding season, not much people have turned up to shop, stated Sinam Ashangbi (42) of Khurai Puthiba Leikai while speaking to The Sangai Express.
Ashangbi, who has been selling Rani Phi at Khwairamband Keithel for over 15 years, said that the price of Rani Phi ranged between Rs 700 and Rs 2000 when she started selling particular variety of garment.
“Now, Rani Phi worn by brides starts from Rs 7000. Before demonetisation, I used to sell a number of Rani Phi worth Rs 50,000 in a day. Ever since the Centre announced the note ban, the sale has dipped,” she added.
Not only that, yarns from outside the State could not be transported into the State due to the economic blockade.
A such, weavers can no longer weave Rani Phi in tune to the demands, Ashangbi further informed.
Stating that the note ban and the economic blockade have severely affected the women vendors, she said that hardship faced by the people should be resolved at the earliest.
Another women vendor Maisnam Ningol Mangsatabam(O) Seityabati (62) of Kongpal Maisnam Leikai said that she has been selling mosquito nets in Khwairamband Keithel since 1985.
“In the ’80s, mosquito net would cost just Rs 90. Slowly, the price increased from Rs 90 to Rs 250 and Rs 500. At present, starting price of small mosquito nets for daily use is between Rs 1000 to Rs 2000 while the big ones cost between Rs 1500 and Rs 3000. Starting price of mosquito nets that are specially designed for the newlyweds is Rs 6000,” she informed. Seityabati used to sell mosquito nets worth more than Rs 30,000 in a day. Though some customers do turn up to purchase mosquito nets for wedding, they prefer to buy the less expensive ones.
“Despite the wedding season and other occasions, sales have dropped drastically in Khwairamband Keithel due to the note ban and the UNC’s economic blockade”, she added.

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Five day session on Syam Sharma’s films concludes

IMPHAL, Sep 12: Celebrated filmmaker Aribam Syam Sharma has stressed on the importance of engaging deeply with the state of filmmaking in Manipur.
He said that all films should be deeply studied by the filmmakers with the audience after screening of the same so as to discover its strength and weakness.
Syam Sharma was speaking at the closing function of the five-day retrospective on his films and masterclass organised by Chingleipak Cine Club, Bishnupur and Chingkhurakpa Art, Chingkhu at the community centre of Bishnupur Municipal Council today.
The ace filmmaker stated that since the people of Manipur have their own unique cultural expression, all the efforts to imitate the culture and tradition of other bigger Indian communities would not bear the expected fruit.
Pointing out the differences between Manipuri performative tradition and mainstream Indian tradition of performance which is guided by Natya Shastra, Syam Sharma said that those who are engaging in performing and visual arts should rediscover the strength of Manipuri culture which has its own unique features.
Commenting on how he has managed to showcase the intricacies of Manipuri culture worldwide through his works, Syam emphasised on the need to nurture young talents in the art of filmmaking.
During his speech, he also made a fine distinction between what he called ‘movies’ and ‘cinematic arts’ arguing that ‘movies’ have the tendency to distance itself from the finer aspects of filmmaking.
Government Consultant RK Nimai, who attended the function as the chief guest, said that Aribam Syam Sharma had made extraordinary efforts to showcase the Manipuri way of life to the world.
He appreciated the organisers for holding the five-day retrospective session pointing out that the works of Aribam Syam Sharma are worth such a deep reflection.
Natasha Elangbam, delegate and faculty member of Department of Mass Communication, Manipur University, gave a general feedback of all the delegates, students and participants.
She said that Aribam Syam Sharma’s films have the strength to portray the Manipuri way of life in a truthful and subtle way without exaggeration or without being loud.
Syam Sharma and RK Nimai later distributed certificates to all the participants of the retrospective session.
Earlier in the day, an open forum was held in which all the participants expressed their deep satisfaction with the event and their experience with the world of films.
Those who led the deliberation in the open forum included National film awardees Oinam Doren and Meena Longjam and Natasha Elangbam and Dhiren Sadokpam as moderators.
It may be mentioned that the 5-day session dissected and analysed award winning and commendable works of the ‘jewels of Manipuri cinema’ including Saphabee (1976), Imagi Ningthem (1981), Ishanou (1990), Sanabi (1995), Ashangba Nongjabi (2003), Leipaklei (2012) etc.

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Naga forum says fresh Bill ‘highly questionable’ Draft Bill old wine in new bottle : MTFD

IMPHAL, Aug 22:  Referring to the Draft Bill which has been made public by the State Government to regulate the entry of non-local people into Manipur, the Manipur Tribals’ Forum, Delhi (MTFD) has today asserted that it is not different from the earlier Bill which has been rejected by the President and declared that it is nothing but ‘old wine in new bottle’.
Claiming that the Draft Bill christened Manipur Regulation of Non-Local People Bill, 2016, has the same ‘anti-tribal’ motives, MTFD said that the bodies of the nine people killed in the protest at Churachandpur are still lying at the morgue and added that the attempt to push through the fresh Bill which affects the hill areas is a slap on the face of the tribal people.
Keeping aside the unresolved issue of the nine people killed at Churachandpur and trying to introduce a new Bill is tantamount to the collective humiliation of all the tribal people, it added.
The tribal people will oppose any Bill that affects the hill areas, asserted MTFD and added that they cannot expect the State Assembly to be democratic when the tribal people are hugely unrepresented in the House. This is in violation of Article 332, it claimed.
The root cause of many problems in the State lies in the fact that the value of vote in the valley is equivalent to three tribal votes, it said and added that the Government of India must rectify this.
Stating that the JAC Against the Anti-Tribal Bills and other tribal bodies have submitted their demands for a resolution to the present crisis and for honourable burial of the nine killed at Churachandpur, the statement said that till date none of the Ministers, including the Chief Minister, have visited the morgue to pay respect to the departed souls.
Until and unless the issues arising out of the three Bills passed year are addressed, the tribals cannot participate in the discussion of any Bill which affect that hill areas of Manipur.
The Government should first take steps to address the conditions laid down for the burial of the nine people which include justice in terms of punishing those responsible for their deaths as per the law, provide protection for the hill areas of Manipur in the same way as in other tribal areas of the region.
Naga Political Leaders’ Forum Manipur (NPLFM) has also said the State Government’s ‘hasty decision’ to introduce a Bill aimed at safeguarding indigenous people’s interests is ‘highly questionable’  in view of the unresolved plight of tribal people in Manipur.
“The intention of the State Government is highly questionable. We want the Government to resolve the issue pertaining to the ‘nine tribal martyrs’ before taking any decision which lack logic,” NPLFM secretary Athuan Abonmai told Newmai News Network on Monday.
The stand of the NPLFM comes close on the heels of the State Government’s preparation to introduce a fresh Bill to regulate the entry of non-local people into the State in the coming Assembly session.
The Manipur Regulation of Non-Local People Bill, 2016  was drafted after the earlier Protection of Manipur People (PMP) Bill, 2015 was rejected by the President in the backdrop of widespread protest staged by the tribal people.
Abonmai said, “Two Bills are hibernating. The tribal people in the hills want cancellation of all the three anti-tribal Bills.”
He criticised Manipur Deputy Chief Minister Gaikhangam for his repeated statement in public that the “anti-tribal Bills have been withdrawn.”  The Bills were passed in August last year.
The forum secretary said everybody will accept any agreeable Bill but any step taken up before settling the issue on killing of tribal people will bear no fruit. The nine bodies are still lying at the mortuary of Churachandpur district hospital. They were killed during the protest that broke out in Churachandpur following the passing of the three Bills.
Abonmai said the Government should stop belittling the issue and the sacrifices made by the nine protesters for the cause of the tribal people. He suggested that the State Government leave the entire responsibility to the Centre to ensure speedy justice to the ‘martyrs.’
“Their families and relatives are anxiously waiting for justice to be delivered. The Government should understand our plight. All stakeholders will be ready for consultation only after the issue is addressed,” he said.

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Rio Games open with ‘Samba’, global warming taking center stag

Rio de Janeiro, Aug 6: Brazil showcased its rich history and cultural heritage, combined with Rio’s famous ‘Samba’ dance, as the 31st Olympic Games was officially launched with a subtle yet powerful message of global warming plaguing the world in a simple but passionate opening ceremony here.
Brazil organisers put their passion for football aside and made climate change and depletion of natural resources as the central theme in a thought-provoking nearly four-hour long ceremony to signal the opening of the 17-day extravaganza which will be competed by more than 11,000 athletes from 209 countries, including India, and a refugee Olympic team.
Brazil’s Acting President Michel Temer declared open the Games, the first to be held in South America, in the presence of International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach, who gave a lengthy speech, and United Nations head, Ban-Ki Moon.
“I declare the Rio Olympics open, and celebrate the 31st Olympic Games of the modern era,” Temer said to formally signal the commencement of competitions as the Rio night sky was lit with fireworks emanating from Maracana Stadium.
After the formal declaration of the Games, Brazilian 2004 Athens Olympics marathon bronze winner Vanderlei de Lima lit the Olympic cauldron after former tennis world number one and three-time French Open winner Gustavo Kuerten brought the torch into the arena to the thunderous applause of spectators.
Having witnessed many memorable clashes on its pitch, the 78,000-capacity Maracana Stadium today bore testimony to Brazil’s effort to make the world a better place, and how!
It was, in a way, putting aside the trouble-torn build up that the host city faced from a Zika virus threat, to slumping economy and cost over-runs.
“It is not enough to stop harming the planet, it’s time to begin healing it. This will be our Olympic message : Earthlings, let’s replant, let’s save the planet,” said the creators of the opening ceremony.
Following the tradition, Greece, the birthplace of ancient Olympics, led the athletes’ parade with the hosts country Brazil coming last. The countries marched in alphabetical order based on the spelling of their names in Portuguese.
Led by its only individual gold medallist Abhinav Bindra, who is in his swansong Olympics, as the flag bearer, the Indian contingent entered the stadium as 95th country.
Around 70 Indian athletes (out of 118) and 24 officials took part in the march past with the male athletes wearing navy blue colour blazer and trousers and their female counterparts donning blue blazer and traditional Saree.
In his record seventh Olympic appearance, tennis ace Leander Paes was seen waving at the crowd, while the spotlight among the female members fell on the likes of shuttlers Jwala Gutta, Ashwini Ponappa and gymnast Dipa Karmakar.
Among the officials who were part of the march past were chef-de-mission Rakesh Gupta and his deputy Anandeswar Pandey.
The men’s hockey players skipped

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JCILPS urges to expedite consultation process

IMPHAL, Jul 13: While welcoming the State Govern-ment’s initiative to pass a new Bill in place of the PMP Bill 2015, the JCILPS has expre-ssed keen desire to expedite the process of consulting all stake holders including the Hill Areas Committee and the JAC Against Anti-Tribal Bills.
Pressing the demand to pass a new Bill in place of the PMP Bill 2015 and fulfilment of the points agreed between the State Government and the JCILPS, a memorandum was submitted to Chief Minister O Ibobi today.
Briefing media persons at their Sega Road, Konjeng Hazari Leikai office today after submitting the memoran- dum, JCILPS convenor in-charge BK Moirangcha said that the State Government should expert pressure upon the Government of India to give assent to the Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms (7th Amendment) Bill 2015 and the Manipur Shops and Establishments (2nd Amendment) Bill 2015.
The State Government should also translate into action the seven-point agreement it signed with JCILPS on August 25 last year. The agreement included constitution of the Manipur State Population Commission and the Manipur Land Reforms Commission.
Declaration of former JCILPS convenor Khomdram Ratan as a wanted man and the counter affidavit filed by the Government which listed 75 FIRs registered against Ratan are unacceptable to the JCILPS, BK Moirangcha said.
Another agreement signed between JCILPS and the State Government on September 1 last year categorically stated the State Government would not re-arrest or victimise all the people who were arrested in the months of June, July and August last year in the course of the popular movement for enforcement of ILPS or a similar mechanism in the State.
As a part of the ongoing mass movement, JCILPS would start checking non-local people who do not possess valid identification documents along Imphal-Dimapur highway and Imphal-Jiribam highway from July 15.
Staging different forms of protest demonstration including shouting of various slogans would also be resumed, BK Moirangcha informed.
He further informed that Ng Deva has been appointed JCILPS co-convenor (finance) and Sh Ajit as publicity affairs committee assistant.

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250 Chinese troopers intrude into Ar P

NEW DELHI, Jun 13: Top defence officials have confirmed yet another transgression by the Chinese army in Arunachal Pradesh’s Yangtse region last week, around the same time that India’s bid for the membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) was blocked by Beijing.
Authorities in the Defence Ministry and the Intelligence Bureau have told India Today TV that the transgression by nearly 250 soldiers of the Peoples’ Liberation Army divided into four groups hap- pened on June 9 in Aruna-chal’s East Kameng district.
This was the first transgression by the Chinese army this year in the region, which China claims is part of its territory.
The Chinese soldiers spent nearly three hours on this side of the border before going back to their side.
The Indian Army has decided to lodge a complaint with the Chinese government, which is already in India’s crosshairs following its aggressive blocking of India’s application for the membership of the elite nuclear club (NSG).
Both India and Pakistan had applied in May to join the elite 48-member group that regulates global nuclear trade.
India has secured crucial backing for its membership from Mexico, Italy and Switzerland and the US, even as Pakistan has been lobbying hard to scuttle India’s bid.
A transgression is for a short period, unlike an incursion where the troops remain stationed in an attempt to dominate the area, like the three week stand off between the Indian and Chinese troops in Dault Beg Oldi area.
As per figures available with MHA, there are cases of transgression due to difference in perception of Line of Actual Control (LAC) which separates India and China.
Recurring incidents of incursions, implementation of an agreement to reduce tensions between border patrols and Sino-India strategic concerns were among the issues that figured in Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s visit to China in April.
Courtesy India Today

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MUC’s maiden session from July

IMPHAL, Jun 13: Newly established Manipur Univer-sity of Culture (MUC) would commence its maiden academic session from mid-July and all necessary preparations have been completed, said MUC Vice-Chancellor N Khagendra.
Speaking to media persons at his Konung Mamang chamber today, Khagendra said that compilation of syllabi for MUC has been comp- leted in consultation with scholars and experts.
As no proper campus has been constructed for MUC, its classes would be done at Imphal Art College, Dance College and Music College for the time being.
In the first phase, MUC would have only Graduate courses. But eventually different courses for Masters Degree would be added.
There will be different courses for Visual Arts, Dance, Music, Thang-Ta, Language and Culture.
MUC can certainly take the rich cultural heritage of Mani- pur to a higher status, Kha-gendra exuded.
The age-old tradition of Lai Haraoba would also be included in the university’s syllabi under cultural study programme.
He further confided that MUC may become a central university after some years. There will be three-year courses for Dance, Music and Thang-Ta and a four-year course for Visual Arts.
Students who have completed Class XII in general education or diploma in a relevant field from a recognised institute can apply for different Graduate courses in MUC.
The concerned authority has already sanctioned appointment of two Manipur language teachers, two English teachers, one controller of examinations and one Librarian, Khagendra said.
He said that Chief Minister O Ibobi, Art and Culture Director K Sushila and Art and Culture Commissioner K Radhakumar have been taking pro-active roles towards making MUC fully functional.

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Naga Hoho slams GoI over AFSPA

IMPHAL,  June 7: The Naga Hoho has expressed anguish over the callous atti-tude of the Government of India towards the demand for annul-ment of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act 1958 (AFSPA) in the North East, particularly the Naga areas, despite repeated appeals by Naga civil societies and other human rights activists.
The Naga Hoho also extended its unconditional sup- port to Irom Chanu Sharmila, also known as the “Iron Lady of Manipur”, a civil rights and political activist of Manipur who has been on a continuous hunger-strike since November 2, 2000 demanding the annulment of AFSPA from Manipur.
Her demand for the repeal of AFSPA from the State, however, is still as distant as it was sixteen years ago when she began her hunger strike.
The Indian Government irrespective of what political party is in power, always chooses to remain a mute spectator when it comes to the annulment of AFSPA from North East, the Naga Hoho said in a statement.
It took the Naga people by surprise when RSS openly declared their support for the extension/continuation of AFSPA in North East and Jammu and Kashmir, it stated adding that there is no space for such draconian law in a civilized society.
The policy of the RSS in supporting the decision speaks volumes of their hatred toward the genuine cause of the Naga people. The RSS should remember that the Naga’s struggle for self determination cannot be equated with terrorism or secessionism as the Government of India has recognized the uniqueness of Naga political history and further recognizes the universal principle that in a democracy sovereignty lies with the people. On top of these, the Government of India and the Naga people had agreed on a settlement to respect the wishes of the people sharing the sovereign power and to establish a new relationship for an enduring and lasting relationship between the Government of India and the Nagas.
RSS and the leaders from the Centre must understand the fact that the Indian Armies have been terrorizing the Naga people for over six decades. Children and students are no exception in the eye of the Indian armies, the Naga Hoho stated. In recent incidents, school going students were mercilessly shot dead and innocent children and public were tortured by the Assam Rifles.
The Naga Hoho pointed out that there is an ongoing political negotiation and peace process between GoI and the Naga people which can be testified by the signing of Framework Agreement signed on  August 3 last year. It said it strongly feels that there is peaceful atmosphere in Naga areas as of now and therefore any policy that harms the atmosphere of trust and confidence would be dear to all stakeholders and therefore AFSPA should be immediately repealed from the land at the earliest.
The Naga Hoho has further urged the public to understand the impact of the Armed Forces Act and support the call for the annulment of the Act for a secure future.

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JICA backs out of highway projects

IMPHAL, Apr 28: Citing security reasons, the Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA) has made it clear that they would not be able to make any investment for development of the two highways connecting Manipur with other parts of the country.
Earlier, there were plans to develop Imphal-Kohima and Imphal-Jiribam highways as four-lane highways.
According to a PWD source, JICA has informed the Government that they are not in a position to invest any money for development of the two highways in view of the State’s prevailing law and order situation.
Notably, the National Highway Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL) of the Ministry of Road and Transport and Highways (MoRTH) was planning to develop Imphal-Kohima and Imphal-Jiribam highways as four-lane highways with funds from JICA.
Nonetheless, JICA is still interested in investing necessary fund for development of Imphal-Moreh road as this highway has become a part of Asian Highway-I.
For development of the two highways to the level of four-lane highways, JICA was supposed to give a loan of Rs 4000 crore and the loan should be repaid 100 per cent by the Government of India.
JICA officials had inspected the two National Highways.
They also hired a security consultant firm which functions under the Government of India and assessed security situation as they were informed about frequent disturbances on National projects, abduction of officials and labourers and even destruction of machinery by armed groups which are under different forms of understanding with the Government.
After assessment of the security situation, the consultant firm submitted a report which categorically stated that the atmosphere was not conducive for investment.
Based on the report, JICA sent an official letter to the State Government informing that they would not be able to invest any money for development of the two highways, conveyed the official source.
JICA teams took extreme care when they made field inspection of the two National Highways in view of the disruptive elements operating along the highways. They were willing to invest necessary fund if there was conducive atmosphere. Although necessary fund has been sanctioned by MoRTH for development of Imphal-Dimapur highway from Tendongyang to Koubru Leikha, the same work could not be initiated due to frequent disturbances by armed groups, informed the official.

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