SHILLONG, Nov 17: Meghalaya Assembly Speaker AT Mondal has thought it wise to maintain stoic silence on whether he will entertain any discussion on the alleged nexus of Meghalaya Social Welfare Minister, Deborah C. Marak, with the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) during the upcoming Assembly Session.
However, the opposition United Democratic Party (UDP), is unfazed as it said it will find ways to raise the issue even if the Meghalaya Assembly rules prohibit discussing something that is already in the Court of Law and thereby sub-judice.
Ever since the East Garo Hills (EGH) police filed a charge-sheet against the sitting Meghalaya Minister, Deborah C. Marak, in the Williamnagar CJM court for allegedly using GNLA militants to intimidate voters to vote for her during the last assembly elections, the UDP has been bracing to take the Congress led coalition government of Dr Mukul Sangma head-on on the alleged link of its sitting Minister with militants during the upcoming assembly session.
SHILLONG, Nov 17: The Hynniewtrep National Council (HYC) on Monday questioned the motive of the state government for setting up of a private university - Techno Global University (TGU) - even as it demanded immediate probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into its style of functioning.
“The state government should take action to derecognize and dissolve this university from the state because there are a lot of questions raised on the way and manner that it is functioning,” HYC president Donboklang Kharlyngdoh said after an inspection conducted of the Techno Global University (TGU) at Mawlai Kynton Massar in the city.
NONGSTOIN, Nov 17: The police personnel of Nongstoin Police Station recently apprehended six trucks for violating the NGT order to stop transportation of coal within the state.
Police said that the truckers have been apprehended in the recent operation to check on violators of the NGT order and during the operation six trucks along with the drivers have been apprehended and ‘stern action’ has been taken.
The six trucks which were apprehended bear the registration numbers: ML 05J- 0241, AS 01DC 2331, AS 01BC- 8175, AS 01DO- 9139, ML06- 1738, ML10- 1824.
TURA, Nov 17: In an inspiring story of innovation within the Garo Hills region, a remote village in West Garo Hills (WGH), Rangmangre used the rich fruit diversity within the region to produce juice under its own brand ‘Chengga’ and bring about change in the lives of the people of the village.
Taking advantage of the rich variety of seasonal fruits and wild berries, the village since 2010 has been producing juices which have become the rage not only within the WGH district but also within the various markets of Garo Hills.
SHILLONG: With Parliament and Meghalaya Assembly sessions due soon, the All India Congress Committee (AICC) and the State Congress are in a quandary over how to come up with responses to likely queries from the Opposition members on the ‘sudden’ charge sheet filed by East Garo Hills Police against Congress Minister and working president of MPCC, Deborah Ch Marak.
Deborah was charge sheeted by the police for her alleged nexus with the outlawed GNLA during the 2013 Assembly elections in the State.
The Congress is presently ‘clueless’ on how to defend Deborah when the issue will be raised both in the Parliament and in the State Legislative Assembly in the upcoming sessions.
Lok Sabha member from Tura and NPP president, Purno A. Sangma, has already asserted that he would raise the issue of politician-militant nexus in Meghalaya in the Parliament.
Purno had recently informed media persons that his party (NPP) was in favour of entrusting all cases related to the politician-militant nexus in Meghalaya either to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) or the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
Congress sources revealed that the AICC was preparing the details to counter the attack from Purno when the matter is raised in the Parliament which is scheduled to sit from November 24.
The State Government will also be cornered during the upcoming Assembly session from November 21 as the Opposition is poised to raise the issue demanding action against the minister who has been charge sheeted.
Another worry for the State Government is the growing demand of Opposition parties – UDP and NPP – to have an investigation by CBI or NIA into the alleged politician-militant nexus issue.
Cabinet, CLP kept in
Meghalaya Cabinet ministers have acknowledged that they were in the dark about the charge-sheet filed against their colleague Deborah Ch Marak.
After senior party leaders including MPCC president D.D. Lapang and former Chief Minister S.C. Marak had said that they learnt of the charge sheet only from the newspapers, some more Cabinet ministers including Prestone Tynsong and A.L. Hek have also echoed the same views.
There are reports that even Home Minister Roshan Warjri was kept in the dark with regards to the charge sheet against Deborah Marak.
Incidentally, the charge sheet against the minister and working president of the party has neither been discussed at the CLP meeting nor any party forum.
SHILLONG: The burden of seeking the seized documents related to the infamous Education scam has, once again, fallen on the shoulders of the Meghalaya Police after the High Court of Meghalaya directed the State police to file a petition to get the necessary papers from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
Recently, the State Police had claimed that the CBI was yet to hand over the seized documents related to the Education scam.
However, a source close to the CBI said that after the verdict of the Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate in July this year asking the CBI to hand over the necessary papers to the police, the CBI had filed a petition in the Court.
The source added that the petition was filed by the CBI since it had begun investigation into the Education scam as per the directive of the High Court.
“Since the probe was ordered by the High Court, it was felt necessary to seek the intervention of the Court before handing over the seized papers related to the Education scam to the Meghalaya Police,” the source added.
In this context, the State Police will now have to file a petition before the High Court to obtain the necessary papers from the CBI to start the investigation.
Astonishingly, there has been inordinate delay in taking action against those named by the CBI in its report on the Education scam.
The 107-page report of the CBI had said, “It was felt necessary to examine J.D. Sangma, the then Director DEME.
“In course of his examination by the CBI, Sangma has stated that under the instruction of the then Minister of Education – Ampareen Lyngdoh – he had to change the score sheets as prepared by all the five boards duly applying white fluid on the original marks, as awarded by the members of the Board. Sangma also handed over a file containing the list received by the said Minister from different persons/ MLAs/ Ministers recommending the names of their own candidates for selection as teacher in LP schools in Meghalaya.”
TURA: Independent MLA from Rajabala and Parliamentary Secretary in charge of Irrigation in the Meghalaya Government, Ashahel D. Shira, has strongly objected to the late night ‘intrusion’ allegedly undertaken by Tura Police on Saturday night into his home without his information and has demanded a probe into the incident.
According to Shira, a police team paid a visit to his homes in two locations of Tura town in the dead of night claiming that they had reports about the movement of unknown people in the vicinity of his home.
“Some unknown person had complained to the main police station in Tura that unknown people were lingering around my house and the main station passed on the information to Chandmari beat house to check my house,” said Shira while lodging a strong protest against the police entry without prior knowledge given to him.
“They did not check one but two houses of mine and failed to find anything. What was the motive behind such a late night operation into an elected member’s house without his consent? Is this some kind of a political game to tarnish my image?” questioned Shira.
Following the arrival of the police team, the Rajabala MLA reportedly called up the officer in charge of the Tura police station for the late night intrusion but was informed that no order was given for a visit to the elected representative’s home.
“If the OC did not give any order to visit my home then who are the people who came to my place posing as policemen in the middle of the night? A thorough enquiry must be taken up and those behind this game should be found out and stern action taken against them,” demanded the Parliamentary Secretary.
Meanwhile, there was no response from the police side to queries posed by this newspaper on Sunday.
Chennai: Former Chief Justice of the High Court of Meghalaya, T. Meenakumari, has been appointed Chairperson of the Tamil Nadu State Human Rights Commission.
Governor K. Rosaiah appointed Meenakumari to the post, which was lying vacant, for a period of five years, a gazette notification said here on Sunday.
The post was lying vacant since 2011 and the Supreme Court had on September 16 asked the Tamil Nadu government to take appropriate steps to expeditiously fill it up.
It may be reminded that Meenakumari had, earlier, declined an offer from the Meghalaya Government to head the State Human Rights panel. (PTI)
SHILLONG: KHADC CEM Adelbert Nongrum on Sunday informed that he was awaiting the approval of Governor K.K. Paul to induct HSPDP MDC Morningstar Mawsor as an Executive Member in the Council.
“We are anticipating the approval by Monday,” Nongrum said, adding that the portfolio of the new EM would be decided only after the Governor’s approval.
Earlier, KHNAM MDC James Ban Basaiawmoit had resigned to pave way for induction of the HSPDP member in the EC to quell the growing rumblings within the ruling ARPA.
NONGSTOIN: Thousands flocked to Mawphanlur village in West Khasi Hills on Saturday to witness the Spring Break Fest that kicked off in this beautiful hamlet that lies beside the Mawthadraishan peak which is the highest point in West Khasi Hills.
Despite deplorable road conditions, people from all over the State and the North East and even from as far as England travelled to witness the event which drew a bigger crowd this year.
Organised by the District Arts & Culture Society in collaboration with the Registrar Cooperative Society, the District Administration and the Officer’s Club, West Khasi Hills, the one-day festival commenced with the flagging-off of the trekking event by Deputy Commissioner of West Khasi Hills, S.Kharlyngdoh at 7 am.
Later in the day, an array of events like water volleyball, motocross, kayaking, angling, rock climbing, photo and videography competitions etc., were organized.
The motocross and kayaking events turned out to be major attention drawers at the Fest.
Besides bikers from the State, those from Assam, Mizoram and Nagaland also took part in the motocross event where Kit Mawlong of East Khasi Hills emerged as the winner taking home a cash prize of 25,000.
While food stalls set up by Shillong Institute of Hotel Management had delicacies to offer to the hungry tourists, indigenous wine stalls at the venue added to the fervor of the event.
Local rock bands, singers from West Khasi Hills and DJs entertained the crowd in the evening session of the fest.
Speaking on the occasion, Kharlyngdoh who is also the Chairman of the District Arts & Culture Society said, “The Arts & Culture Society is attempting to create awareness among the people on the need to protect the environment through this year’s festival.”
The festival was also attended by Commissioner and Secretary to the Chief Minister, P Sampath Kumar, Ri Bhoi Deputy Commissioner Pooja Pandey, Head of the Registrar Cooperative Society, BDR Tiwari, Rambrai Jyrngam MLA, K.P.Pangniang among others.
Visitors complain about bad road conditions
Those visiting the Mawphanlur Autumn lake Fest felt that the event could have drawn a much bigger crowd if not for the “terrible” roads leading to the area.
The bad road conditions dampened the spirits of many who travelled to witness the fest.
Talking to The Shillong Times, a tourist from England said that there are a lot of tourist destinations in West Khasi Hills and the region has the potential to attract more visitors than Cherrapunjee and many other destinations in the State.
However, for that to be achieved, the road conditions need to be improved, he felt.
SHILLONG: With a plan to go for organic farming, the State Government has suddenly stopped supplying fertilizers and pesticides, affecting a large section of farmers, who were caught unawares with this sudden decision.
The move has also compelled the farmers to buy fertilizers at exorbitant rates.
Irked over the stand of the Government, the BJYM (BJP youth wing) has opposed the sudden decision of the Meghalaya government to discontinue supplying fertilizers and pesticides to the farmers of the State.
“As the government is imposing restriction without any prior notification or intimation to the farmers of the State, this has affected many existing farmers,” BJYM president Egenstar Kurkalang said in a statement issued here on Sunday.
Quoting the complaints of the farmers, the BJYM leader said, “It seems that the Government wants to implement its plan by force since there was no consultation with the farmers or with any farmers’ organization.”
According to BJYM, Meghalaya stopped to make allotment order of fertilizers and pesticides from the companies resulting in uncertainty on the part of farmers.
When the farmers approached the wholesaler at Iewduh and MECOFED, they were informed that the Meghalaya Government had issued a notification to discontinue the allotment order for fertilizers and pesticides as these will be replaced by organic manure.
Two companies – Brahmaputra Valley Fertilizer Corporation (BVFCL) and Indian Farmers’ Fertilizer Cooperative Society (IFFCO) – which have stopped supplying fertilizers and pesticides to Meghalaya after the Government did not make an allotment order and also the Department of Agriculture stopped giving lifting order to the wholesaler and dealers.
According to BJYM, it was found that there are dealers who take advantage of order of the Government and sell urea to the farmers at higher price of Rs.1100 per quintal instead of Rs.700 which is the normal rate, and this has brought undue hardships to the farmers.
The farmers also informed BJYM that they had approached the officers of Agriculture Department and the Director of Agriculture for clarification and also to request the Government to give an opportunity of choosing between organic manure and fertilizers, but no response or positive answer to their request was forthcoming.
The BJYM termed the stand of the Meghalaya Government as dictatorial and said that it infringed upon the rights of the farmers.
“The Government should have given enough time for the farmers for the transition and a policy should have been framed in a proper manner,” BJYM said. According to BJYM, by hurriedly deciding a policy, the Government has brought sufferings to the farmers as it affected their livelihood and food security.
The BJYM has decided to follow up the matter so that the Government would reconsider its decision which will ensure protection to the rights of farmers.
MAWRONG: Shillong MP Vincent H Pala on Saturday inaugurated the Area Employment Council (AEC) building at Mawrong village in Ri Bhoi.
The AEC building was constructed under the centrally sponsored Bharat Nirman Rajiv Gandhi Seva Kendra initiative at an estimated cost of Rs 10 lakh.
Mawhati legislator Julius Dorphang, MDC James Sylliang, Umsning legislator and parliamentary Secretary Celestine Lyngdoh, Mawsynram legislator PN Syiem were also present during the inauguration.
To the delight of the villagers, Pala used the occasion to announce a package of Rs 10 lakh for the construction of an auditorium in the village.
The local Dorbar Shnong, meanwhile, submitted a memorandum urging the MP to initiate steps to improve the approach road connecting the village and also upgrade the health sub centre to a PHC.
The Shillong MP assured the locals that he would look into the matter soon.
SHILLONG: On the occasion of 91st death anniversary of Babu Hajom Kissor Singh, founder of Khasi Unitarianism, the Unitarian Church, Madan Laban, on Sunday held a remebrance service where glowing tributes were paid to the founder.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr.Sylvanus Lamare recalled the invaluable contributions that U Hajom Kissor Singh who was not only the founder of the Unitarian Church in North East India, but also worked hard towards the growth and development of Khasi literature.
As a civil servant during the British rule, he was described as a “brilliant young man” and “a sincere and honest officer”, rising to occupy high positions by dint of his sincerity and hard work. A phillanthropic soul, and a social and religious reformer, Hajom Kissor Singh was a versatile person whose services in the society extended to the fields of homoeopathy, Lamare concluded.
Later, Dr.Lamare unveiled a memorial plaque to mark the inauguration of the one hundred and fiftieth birth anniversary celebrations of U Hajom Kissor Singh which will culminate on June 15, 2015.”
Brisbane, Nov 16 (IANS): Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi got an euphoric reception from the Indian community in this Australian city, with hundreds of expatriate members chanting "Modi, Modi" to welcome him when he went to unveil the statue of Mahatma Gandhi at Roma Street Parkland.
Modi later tweeted that he was "touched by enthusiasm of the Indian community!" and posted a picture of the venue where the statue was unveiled.
"Mahatma Gandhi is as relevant today as he was in his lifetime," Modi said at the function, beginning his bilateral engagements in Australia after the conclusion of the G20 summit.
New Delhi, Nov 16 (IANS): Al Qaeda, which has announced plans to target India, is keen on recruiting youth trained in computers or aeronautics for its terror designs and is taking the help of banned terror outfit SIMI for this, officials with access to intelligence inputs have revealed.
Sources said intelligence inputs shared by central agencies with the police in some major cities including Delhi, Bangalore, Kolkata and Mumbai talked of Al Qaeda not only planning to recruit disgruntled youth but had a target to pick up those familiar with use of computers or having knowledge about aeroplanes.
Agartala, Nov 15 (IANS): Security forces are keeping a strict vigil along India’s border with Bangladesh and Myanmar ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the northeast by November-end, an official said here Saturday.
“The Border Security Force (BSF) and Assam Rifles have been asked to maintain maximum alert along the borders...,” a top government official said.
The BSF guards the border with Bangladesh, while Assam Rifles personnel guard the border with Myanmar.
Guwahati, Nov 15 (IANS): The NIA, probing the blast in West Bengal’s Burdwan district, has arrested yet another person from Assam’s Nalbari district, police said here Saturday.
The central agency, which has been conducting raids in association with Assam Police since last week, raided the house of Suburuddin Ali in Boroliapara village Friday night and arrested him.
Many incriminating documents, leaflets and books related to jihadi activities, and a large quantity of medicines, which were buried underground, were seized.
Shillong, Nov 15 (IANS): North-eastern people are not “second class citizens” of India, former Lok Sabha Speaker Purno.A.Sangma said here Saturday.
“We are no less than others. How are we second class citizens? We are first class citizens. Many people from the region like M.C. Mary Kom and others are shining. You can shine too,” the veteran parliamentarian from India’s north-eastern state of Meghalaya said.
National Press Day celebrated in city
Shillong, Nov 15: Meghalaya Chief Minister Dr. Mukul Sangma stated that the Media and Government are inseparable and the very purpose that we have strong democracy is that we have a reliable and dynamic media in the State.
He was addressing the media persons as the chief guest during second session of the day-long National Press Day celebration organized by Meghalaya Information and Public Relations at Shillong Club in the city on Saturday.
Dr. Sangma said that news reports should be reflected in the truest sense without any bias; that the policies and policies being rolled out by the government should be scrutinized and reported, whether good or bad. “There is a tendency to report more of negative things in our media. If we do not acknowledge the positive things, one cannot be motivated to strive for better things,” he said, adding that in order to fully utilize the schemes there has to be transparency and it is the role of the press, the government and stakeholders.
SHILLONG, Nov 15: In an anti-infiltration and verification drive conducted on Saturday at Mawlonghat, Cantonment and Sweepers’ Colony, a total of 963 people were picked up out of which 873 had proper documents and released.
The remaining 90 people with no documents were handed over to known persons with a direction that they should be brought back to the Cantonment Beat House within 7 days with all valid documents.