Archive for the ‘Northeast’ Category

Manipur to Host Northeast Youth Festival

November 16, 2010

By Sobhapati Samom
Imphal, Nov 16 : Steps are on to organise the North East Youth Festival in Manipur’s Senapati district headquarters in mid-January next year.

The gala festival of youths will be held under the theme ‘Peace through culture and identity’, on January 18-19 next year. Dominic Chawang, convenor of the organising committee, announced this in a press conference at Hotel Classic in Imphal on Sunday.

“The main objective of the festival it to improve inter-societal amity and enhance cultural harmony amongst all the people of the Northeast through a cultural extravaganza showcasing the rich and diverse cultural heritage of the region thereby spreading the message of peace and brotherhood,” Chawang said.
Rewben Mashangva

The Northeast has been more than often been described as a ‘region of fear’ to the outside world.

But the organisers want to tell the outside world that “the region is a land of serenity as it radiates joy in its very being” through the forthcoming youth festival.

“The aim of our event is also to bring the youths of the region to a common platform so as to reason together collectively in enhancing the mission of brotherhood in the midst of differences”, he observed.

Highlighting the salient features of the mega event, the convenor said cultural programmes, including traditional dance competitions, talent search and beauty pageant will be held during the festival.

Food fest competitions, musical nites with noted Tangkhul folk singer Rewben Mashangva will be a feature of the festival.


Shillong Choir To Sing in Bangalore Soon

November 15, 2010

By Francis Sundar Singh

Shillong Chamber Choir meghalayaBangalore, Nov 15 : “I hope we have done justice to our country,” says Damon M Lyndem, coordinator and member of the Shillong Chamber Choir, who were given a chance to perform before US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle at a banquet hosted by President Pratibha Patil at the Rashtrapathi Bhavan during their recent visit to India.

Performing at a VVIP banquet is no easy task, especially in the presence of several dignitaries, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and other leaders.

The 16-member choir from Meghalaya sang three pieces, including a Khasi opera, composed by its choirmaster Neil Nongkynrih; a tribute to their motherland.

“The entire evening was just fabulous. It was a proud moment for us to sing for President Obama, and we are glad we could sing in our native language, Khasi,” Lyndem said.

“The Khasi opera was composed as a tribute to our beloved motherland. Khasi is one of the dying languages of the world. We thought it right to perform this opera before President Obama and also showcase our tradition,” added Lyndem.
The choir sang My tribute, an American song composed by songwriter Andrae Crouch and a medley of Hindi songs that ended with Ye dosti hum nahin todenge — the evergreen number from Sholay.

My Tribute was the icing on the cake during the evening as it was an apt song for the visiting dignitaries and also has a direct connect with the American world, said Lyndem.

The performance comes at a time when the entire North-East region is dealing with several violence-related issues. However, Lyndem said that the performance is not just for their region, but the entire country. “Our performance is not only for the North-East, but for the entire country to show the world that we are also a major power. Our choir itself is happy that it got an opportunity to present India to the world,” he said.

Though the members of the choir were not able to meet the Obamas in person, they did get a positive vibe from Sonia Gandhi.

“The evening would not have been complete without you,” the Congress president was quoted as saying, said Lyndem.

Congress scion Rahul Gandhi is said to have appreciated the choir from Shillong.

“We feel ecstatic. I had been to the Rashtrapathi Bhavan many times for performances, but this was a totally different experience,” said Neil Nongkynrih, without whose guidance, the choir wouldn’t have performed so well.

The Shillong Chamber Choir is now setting its sights on performing in Bangalore, if the opportunity comes through.

“We have been performing in several places both in India and abroad. But, we would love to perform in Bangalore since the city has got a good music-loving crowd. We are just waiting for the right time and opportunity,” Lyndem added.

The choir will now be performing in Malaysia, Kuwait and Chennai over the next few months.

NEZCC Organizes ‘NE Octave Festival’ From Nov 18

November 11, 2010

North East Zone Cultural CentreKohima, Nov 11 : The North East Zone Cultural Centre (NEZCC) has organized the North East Octave Festival 2010 in three cities of the country for a fortnight from November 18 with the participation of over 400 artistes from all the eight North Eastern States.

Official sources here today said that the ‘Curtain Raiser’ of the NE Octave Festival would be inaugurated by Director of NEZCC Anand Shukla at the NEZCC Complex at Dimapur tomorrow with a large number of artistes from the region.

The North East Octave Festival would be held from November 18 to December 5 in Aurangabad, Hyderabad and Bangalore.

The festival has been organized with an aim to bring the culture of the entire NE region to the attention of those outside.

North East Octave Festival started exhibiting a variety of artistic flavours, showcasing the rich tapestry of art, crafts, music, food and costumes to bridge the gap among the artistes and artisans in this part of of the country.

The festival is specially designed to introduce the cultural heritage of all the eight states of the region with Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura to other parts of the country, hence the festival christened as the NE Octave (eight) Festival.

The first Octave was held from March 8 to 14, 2006 at Delhi which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh.

Bangla Ports To Be Opened For India

November 11, 2010

By Prabir Sil

Chittagong-portAgartala, Nov 11 : Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dr Dipu Moni today made it clear that Chittagong and Mongla ports would be opened for neighbouring countries very shortly.

Dr Dipu Moni, who was speaking at a conference on the “Northeast India and Bangladesh: Strengthening Ties” at Prajna Bhavan here, said that the Sheikh Hasina-led government wants to bring prosperity not only in Bangladesh but also in the entire region – India, Nepal and Bhutan by opening its resources.

Referring to the joint declaration signed by the two countries during Bangladesh Prime Minister’s visit to Delhi in January, she said that the Bangladesh Government has been striving hard to implement it properly.

“Bangladesh will be equally benefited if Chittagong port, one of the biggest sea port in South East Asia is opened for neighbours”, she said adding that Tripura would get access to it very soon.

Opening of Chittagong and Mongla ports and rail connectivity between Agartala- Akhaura were among the major issues included in the joint declaration.

On the rail connectivity, Dr Dipu Moni pointed out that the rail network between Agartala and Akhaura was there but somehow it got snapped. “Now, we want to revive the rail connectivity for mutual benefit”, she said.

Terming poverty as main enemy like terrorism, Dr Moni said that disintegrity among the people living in the entire region is the root cause of the curse.

In turn, Bangladesh expects reciprocal response from India. She said that Bangladesh, which is reeling under severe power shortage, wants to buy power from the Palatana power project in South Tripura district. Dr Moni, who is heading a 45-member business delegation, also said that Bangladesh is looking for big Indian investment in power sector.

“Bangladesh desires to work with other nations to eradicate poverty from the entire region where 40 per cent people are still living below poverty line”, she said.

On the tariff and non-tariff barriers, Dr Moni said that there might be some problems in the bilateral trade but no problem is so big if there is a joint effort. “I hope all the problems will be removed in the days to come”, she said. Dr Moni, who arrived here on a two-day visit, also acknowledged Tripura’s contribution in the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971.

Northeast India Media Urged to Play Key Role in Tobacco Control

November 10, 2010

tobaccoGuwahati, Nov 10 :  Northeast India states should get serious about tobacco control if people are to be protected from a range of diseases related to its consumption. Concerted action with strong political will is needed to curb tobacco use if scores of lives are to be saved in a region where incidence of tobacco related illness is markedly high.

This was the message that emanated from a workshop for the media organized by several stakeholders including the National Rural Health Mission, Assam.

According to a report by International Institute for Population Sciences, Mumbai, almost 44 per cent of people in North-east India are tobacco users, compared to 35 per cent in the rest of the country. Nine per cent are smokers who do not use less smokeless tobacco, 10 per cent smoke as well as consume smokeless tobacco, but 25 per cent use only smokeless tobacco and do not smoke.

During the period 1009-2010 when the study was done it was found that the total number of tobacco consumers in the North-east was around 12.7 million, of which 9.9 million consumed smokeless tobacco.

Drawing attention to the worrying scene, Dr JB Ekka, Mission Director, NRHM Assam, mentioned that the media has to play an effective role to raise awareness on the issue that has serious implications for a large number of people, including women and children.

Dr Jagdish Kaur of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, expressed serious concern that tobacco continued to be part of the lifestyle for many people, and this social acceptance has acted as a real hurdle in the effort to restrict tobacco consumption.

She identified the strong tobacco lobby as a force that also made it difficult to build and implement laws to reduce tobacco use in the country. The lobby was financially strong, and was even in a position to fund elections.

In an interview to The Assam Tribune, Dr Kaur was clear in stating that the State governments of North-east must formulate and implement a strategy to combat the menace of tobacco use.

Specifically mentioning the issue of children’s access to tobacco products, she described it as a serious challenge.

Uranium Deposits in Northeast Found Only in Meghalaya

November 10, 2010

uranium meghalayaShillong, Nov 10 : Among the Northeastern states, uranium deposits are so far available only in Meghalaya, the Atomic Minerals Division (AMD) said today.

“Over 16,000 tonnes of uranium deposits have been located in the Mahadek basin of Meghalaya. Apart from Meghalaya, surveys in other states have found that there are no economic concentration of uranium anywhere else,” regional director of AMD R Mohanty said.

In other states, rock types found are not favourable for uranium mineralisation, but Arunachal Pradesh has the potential though no deposits have been found there so far, he said, adding that surveys were conducted on in Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh.

Meanwhile, scientists of BARC and officials of Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) and Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) today met state government officials, Chief Minister and his cabinet colleagues on the prospects of uranium mining and sought to allay apprehensions of health hazards expressed by some quarters.

Head of the Public Awareness Division of DAE S K Malhotra said the Centre is eager to start the mining project in the state which has been stalled due to protests from various organisations.

“Locals in the area where the mining is proposed are convinced, but some urban groups are opposing it. But there is no scientific reason for opposing the project,” Malhotra said.

Referring to the statutory environmental, forest and pollution clearances, Malhotra said the UCIL is awaiting the state government’s nod to start the Rs 1100 crore project that has hung fire for over one and half decades.

Tomorrow the scientists would meet the warring groups in yet another bid to break the stalemate.

The mining issue in Meghalaya has been suspended for over one and a half decade now with some prominent NGOs and political parties vehemently opposing the proposal on the grounds that it would lead to degradation of the environment besides opening the floodgates for outsiders into the tribal state.

Maggie Gyllenhaal Opens Orphanage in Northeast India

November 9, 2010

Maggie-GyllenhaalLondon, Nov 9 : Hollywood couple Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard have recently opened a village for orphaned and abandoned children in India.

The SOS Children’s Village set up in Alibaug village in northeast India, will accommodate 140 children, who will live in small groups in individual family houses and go to a nearby school.
The couple, which is the global brand ambassadors of SOS International, said they were overwhelmed by the response they received when they visited the village.

“I’ve never been greeted like this by anyone, I’ve never seen anything like this,” Sky News quoted Gyllenhaal as saying.

“I tried not to have any expectations… I have never been to India before so I didn’t know what to expect. It’s exceeded anything I could have imagined,” she added.

Sarsgaard said he is optimistic that the village will change the lives of those who live there.

“Everyone involved really believes in what they are doing. There is a real sense that this is different… the way everyone reacts and participates is ideal,” he said.

The couple toured the village and met the families living there before they were treated to a traditional dance at a dedication ceremony.

The village has been built in partnership with lifestyle brand Esprit.

Football Promotes Unity in Diversity in Northeast India

November 3, 2010

By Vaschipem Kamodang

football northeast IndiaJorhat, Nov 3 : Football is to Northeast India what cricket is to the rest for the country. The passion for football among the people of the north-east has led to opening of various football clubs here.

One of such football clubs is located in Jorhat. The buddying players are keen to learn the skills of the game.  

Jail Road Sports Club, established in 64 years ago in Jorhat, is a major draw among aspiring football players from all across the region.

At this football club there are over 200 students aged between 8 to 18 who enjoy playing football together with enthusiasm, regardless of their caste, creed or ethnicity.

Here it looks players belonging to different tribes like the Nagas, Meitei’s, Bodo, Mishing or even Bengali, all have associated themselves to one religion – football.

This club displays how oneness can be promoted through football.

“Sports can bring people together; I am from Nagaland and studying in Assam. I do not know what people talk about me, but I like to play football and through it I have got to know people of Assam well and I have made a lot of friends,” said Chuba Aier, one of the Naga players.

“Through sports we can promote brotherhood and friendship. When we play together at a tournament, we get to meet people from other areas,” said Ranjan Khangenbam of Manipur.

The youth in north-eastern states are passionate about football and most of them wish to emulate popular players like Baichung Bhutia, Sunil Chetri and Gaurmangi Singh.

Players from the north-east have a significant presence at the national level and they represent a variety of clubs.

The craze for football in north-east is growing. This is evident from the emergence of as Shillong-based Lajong Football Club that became the first club from the region to qualify for Indian football’s Elite I-League.

By visiting the north-east region, one learns that the players here have immense talent.
“People from north-east have capability and talent and they can do really well for their country,” said Chuba Aier, a Naga.

Sports has emerged as the best-career option
“Young students should focus on studies as well as sports because it keeps them healthy. It also translates into jobs for many who go on to play at state level or national level,” said Bhubon Borah, a technical coach.

But there is general feeling here that the region can bring out many players, provided, there is proper infrastructure to groom the available talent.

“Players do not have good infrastructure. During the national games that were held in Assam, there was some development in the infrastructure for sports but the facilities are still far from what they should have been,” says Nobin Borah, coach of the Jorhat Sports Club.

The State Governments are becoming conscious of the need to encourage sports and changes are taking place in the region.

Express Highway-Connection With NHs-39 And 53 At Haflong

November 3, 2010

Manipur State Govt floats novel idea for better connectivity

Imphal, Nov 3 : For improvement of road connectivity in Manipur, the State Government has submitted a proposal to the Centre for connecting the National Highways 39 and 53 with the proposed Express Highway (East-West corridor that would connect Saurastra with Silchar) at Haflong in Assam.

An official source said that as the Centre is not keen on the idea of extending the proposed Express Highway upto Imphal, the State Government has proposed that the existing National Highways 39 and 53 should be bifurcated as National Highway 39 (A) and National Highway 53 (A) so as to connect with the Express Highway at Haflong.

According to the State Government’s proposal, National Highway 39 (A) will run through Bishnupur connecting it with Haflong via Rengpang, Khongshang, Tamenglong and Tousem while National Highway 53 (A) should connect Kangpokpi with Haflong via Tamei and Tamenglong so as to link up with the Express Highway at Haflong.

East West Corridor in Assam
A part of the East West corridor between Gauhati and Silchar

The source explained that bifurcation would not only reduce the distance but would also resolve the transportation difficulties that are likely to be faced from submersion of some portion of National Highway-53 when construction work on the proposed Tipaimukh dam starts.
Moreover the realignment of the road and construction of bridges over Barak and Makru would take a lot of time.

Following the State Government’s proposal, the Chief Minister has also written to the Union Ministry of Surface Transport and Highways for development of the two National Highways so that they may be connected to the proposed Express Highway of the East-West corridor, the source disclosed, adding that the Ministry has also given some positive feedbacks to the proposal.

It may be noted here that during his recent visit to the State, Union Home Secretary GK Pillai had announced that a sum of Rs 300 crores released for development of National Highway 53 had already been handed over to the BRO.

via : The Sangai Express

DoT Sets Deadline For Subscriber Re-Verification in Northeast

November 2, 2010

india mobile phone Guwahati, Nov 2 : Mobile network operators offering services in the Assam and Northeast telecom circles have been called on by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to complete the re-verification of their subscribers by early next year before any unregistered customers are prevented from accessing their service.

According to India’s Economic Times, the regulator has said that after 19 January 2011 those subscribers in the two regions that have failed to re-provide their details to their respective operators will be disconnected.

Cellcos with a presence in Assam and the North East have, however, criticised the timeframe, with it understood that many believe they will be unable to process the subscriber data in time.

‘There are nearly 50,000 multi-brand mobile stores/distributors in the region and merely a few hundred have been security cleared by DoT’s telecom equipment resource monitoring wing.

As a result, it will be pretty difficult for these franchisees to conclude the customer re-verification exercise of 20 million existing mobile users by 19 January as part of the new security rules,’ noted an unnamed executive at state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL).