News

Miscreants assault Railway staff

Shillong Times - Tue, 2015-02-10 06:10

SHILLONG: Unidentified miscreants on Monday assaulted a railway official who was part of the railway team conducting survey work for the Byrnihat-Shillong project.
Confirming it, the East Khasi Hills Deputy Commissioner Sanjay Goyal said that the incident took place on the outskirts of Shillong. Details are awaited.
Goyal said that a team of railway officials is likely to meet him on Tuesday in this connection. “They should have informed us prior to conducting the survey and we will discuss the steps that need to be taken,” Goyal said.
Earlier too, attempts to conduct the survey for Byrnihat-Shillong railway project were halted by different pressure groups.

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Deadline to make probe report public

Shillong Times - Tue, 2015-02-10 06:10
Mookhep firing

SHILLONG: A joint delegation of six pressure groups from Jaintia Hills has served a week’s deadline to the state government to make the magisterial inquiry report into last year’s Mookhep firing incident public.
“If government fails to fulfil our demand we will be forced to take agitational path,” said HANM-Jaintia Hills Unit President Shaniahlang Suchen here on Monday.
The six pressure groups include JSU Ri Jaintia Youth Front (RJYF), Meghalaya People’s United Forum (MPUF), Hynniewtrep Achik National Movement (HANM-Jaintia Hills Unit), Ri Jaintia Unit, Hynniewtrep National Youth Front (HNYF-East Jaintia unit).
Suchen said that the Government should punish the guilty officials as per the findings of the inquiry.
“If the inquiry report is inconclusive then the State Government should hand over the investigation to CBI,” Suchen said.
It may be mentioned that two people were killed after shots were fired during a protest against the NGT ban on coal mining last year at Mookhep village, East Jaintia Hills.
The pressure groups also criticised all the seven MLAs from Jaintia Hills for maintaining a stoic silence on the issue.

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Shillong to host meet on NE water projects

Shillong Times - Tue, 2015-02-10 06:07

New Delhi: Interlinking of rivers and speedy implementation of projects in North East will be the thrust of a meeting to be chaired by Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti in Shillong later this week.
Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma along with Water Resources Ministers and Senior officers from the seven North-Eastern States, Sikkim and West Bengal will take part in the 7th High Powered Review B&B (Bramhaputra & Barak) Board meeting on February 11, an official statement said here on Monday.
“The meeting will discuss the restructuring and reshaping of Bramhputra-Barak Management Board, cutting of embankments by rivers in the north eastern region, importance of anti-erosion and flood management along the course of Brahmaputra, river linking and speedy implementation of all the Water Resources Ministry in the North-East,” it said.
The demand to declare Majuli near Jorhat as Water Heritage Island and develop it in an integrated manner will also be deliberated upon, the statement said. Bharti has already written a letter to all concerned states in this regard.
She is currently on a tour of the North Eastern states and has already met Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and Arunachal Chief Minister Nabam Tuki. Bharti will again visit Guwahati and meet Gogoi and other senior officials. (PTI)

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NCW member for timely investigation

Shillong Times - Tue, 2015-02-10 06:02
Crimes against women

SHILLONG: National Commission for Women (NCW) member Shamina Safiq has reiterated that crimes against women should be investigated in a time-bound manner. She said that she would impress upon Home Minister Roshan Warjri about this.
Safiq, who is here on a three-day visit, was addressing newspersons on Monday.
The NCW member rued the fact that there has been undue delay in the investigation of crimes against women.
“The State Government must ensure proper enforcement of law and convictions in women related crimes. Enforcement agencies should be instructed in unambiguous terms that enforcement of the rights of the weaker and vulnerable sections including women and children should not be compromised at any cost,” Safiq stated.
The NCW member also said that the district administration and police should play a more proactive role in detection and investigation of crimes against women and ensure that there is no under reporting.
She was also of the view that sensitivity on the part of the police to deal with cases of crime against women will also depend on the number of women police personnel in the force.
“Everyone will agree that women personnel will be more pro-active in dealing with crimes against women,” Safiq said.
The NCW member also feels that the representation of women in police at all levels should be increased through affirmative action so that they constitute about 33% of the police force.
She also exhorted the State Government to take concrete steps to increase awareness in the administration and police regarding crimes against women, and to take steps not only to tackle such crimes but also deal sensitively with the ensuing trauma.
Safiq also impressed that there is a need to create and provide adequate counseling centres for women who have been victimized, adding that mass awareness should be created on the effectiveness of schemes created for the welfare and rehabilitation of women who are victimized, with greater emphasis on income generation to make the women more independent and self-reliant.
She also said that the State Legal Service Authority (SLSA) needs to be questioned since they are responsible for providing the necessary compensation to rape victims.
“Sadly they are not doing their job as mandated,” the NCW member said.
Meanwhile, she also expressed concern that women have also been affected due to the problems of militancy in the State.
“We have taken cognizance of the murder of Josbina M Sangma. The Commission has been following up the case with the State Government very closely,” Safiq said.
Safiq also informed that the Commission has proposed the setting up of the Forensic Science Laboratory unit under the Nirbhaya Trust Fund.

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Village road row grounds airport expansion plans

Shillong Times - Tue, 2015-02-10 06:01

SHILLONG: At a time when the State is apparently looking to improve connectivity to give a boost to tourism, its lone functional airport is struggling to go ahead with the developmental works thanks to the row over a village road.
Though the State Government had acquired land for the expansion of the Umroi airport, its expansion work remains stalled owing to the controversy over the village road.
Speaking to The Shillong Times, NEC Principal Secretary, Transport, PHK Singh said that the problem started after the villagers opposed the construction of the boundary wall.
“Then the State Government intervened and urged that 20 metres of land should be left for the village road which crosses through the airport,” Singh said adding that the NEC later agreed to part with 10 metres of land for the village road but not before insisting that a dual wall be constructed and vehicles be permitted to ply on the road with walls on both sides. But the move was opposed by the villagers on grounds that bigger vehicles would not be able to pass through the road.
“If the road comes up in tactical area it will create a lot of problems,” Singh said.
It may be mentioned that the terminal of the airport was inaugurated four years ago but since then no developmental work has taken place there due to land acquisition hurdles and the controversy over the road.
At a time when airports across the Eastern region are getting “International status” Shillong’s airport only has a 48-seater flight operating between Shillong and Kolkata and most passengers prefer to flock to Guwahati to catch their flights.

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Swine flu claims six lives in Karnataka

Meghalaya Times - Mon, 2015-02-09 15:51

BENGALURU, Feb 08 (IANS): The dreaded swine flu has claimed six lives in Karnataka, including four in Bengaluru and one each in Bidar and Raichur districts in the northern region, a senior health official said Sunday.
"Though 95 people affected by the H1N1 influenza over the last two weeks have tested positive and have been under treatment, six of them have succumbed to the disease so far. We have stocked adequate number of Tamiflu tablets for distribution," state health department director H.C. Ramesh said.

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CEM’s apology fails to convince Judiciary

Meghalaya Times - Wed, 2015-01-28 04:00

Staff Reporter
SHILLONG, Jan 27: Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) Chief Executive Member (CEM) Adelbert Nongrum on Tuesday tendered his apology before the Meghalaya High Court for his alleged derogatory statement against the judiciary even as the single bench has referred the case to the Division Bench.
“The Court has put the case before the Division Bench in which the date for the hearing is yet to be fixed,” a senior advocate appearing for Nongrum, HS Thangkhiew told pressmen after the hearing here on Tuesday.
Refused to divulge the details on the hearing since the order of the court on Tuesday’s hearing is still awaited, he however said, the case against Nongrum will continue.

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Only Governor can disqualify elected representatives: KHADC

Meghalaya Times - Wed, 2015-01-28 04:00

Staff Reporter
SHILLONG, Jan 27: The Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) said that the Governor is the only ‘authority’ to disqualify members of the Legislative Assembly as well as the District Council.
“The question as to disqualification of a sitting member of the Legislative Assembly and disqualification of member of District Council (MDC) shall be referred for decision to the Governor, who shall give the final decision according to law,” Secretary to the Executive Committee (EC) of the KHADC Weljune Syiemlieh said in his reply submitted to the Meghalaya High Court.
His reply was to a PIL filed by the Civil Society Women’s Organization (CSWO) on October last year seeking the disqualification of eight legislators who are ‘dual post holders’.

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Mukul inaugurates ‘State of the Art’ Motor Vehicle Section of ITI

Meghalaya Times - Wed, 2015-01-28 04:00

Staff Reporter
SHILLONG, Jan 27: Meghalaya Chief Minister, Dr. Mukul Sangma on Tuesday inaugurated the ‘State of the Art’ Mechanic (Motor Vehicle) Section of Industrial Training Institute (ITI) here at Rynjah, which is a joint collaboration of Labour Department, Government of Meghalaya and Tata Motors Private Limited in a programme organized by the Directorate of Employment and Craftsmen Training, Labour Department, Shillong.

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India, US achieve 'breakthrough' in civil n-deal

Meghalaya Times - Mon, 2015-01-26 04:00

New Delhi, Jan 25 (IANS): India and the United States Sunday reached "a breakthrough" on issues holding up their civil nuclear cooperation and agreed to move towards commercial cooperation of their landmark civil nuclear deal that was initialled by the then leaders of the two countries on July 18, 2005.
US President Barack Obama said at his joint media interaction with Prime Minister Narendra Modi after their summit-level talks here that the two countries had reached breakthrough on two pending issues on the nuclear deal. Modi said that, six years after the deal was formallly signed, the two countries have were "moving towards commerical cooperation.."

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The Child Soldiers of Meghalaya

Meghalaya Times - Mon, 2015-01-26 04:00

Staff Reporter
TURA, Jan 25: The surrender of the three cadres of the Achik National Liberation Army (ANLA) on Saturday has once again raised the issue of the use of minors by various militant outfits. While all the outfits deny recruitment of underage people, ground reality points to their being used as rampant, with even hard core surrendered militants being barely out of their teens.
Two of the three militants that surrendered on Saturday in the East Garo Hills (EGH) region were 17 and 18 years of age and had joined the outfit more than a year ago, meaning they were below 18 when they joined. Even the third, allegedly 19 years of age, may have joined the outfit before he had turned 18.

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Old guard makes way as GNLA shuffles area comands

Meghalaya Times - Mon, 2015-01-26 04:00

Staff Reporter
TURA, Jan 25: The Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA), the biggest and the most potent of all the militant outfits operating out of the Garo Hills region seems to have undergone a transformation if police sources are to be believed with changes in the various commands in the region. While some of the commanders have only been shuffled, police sources claim that some of the old guard may have given way for others.
The GNLA is led by its commander in chief, Sohan D Shira and has been left without its chairman, Champion Sangma, who allegedly resigned recently.

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The Modi-Obama chemistry

Shillong Times - Mon, 2015-01-26 01:45

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is perhaps the first world leader who addressed the President of the United States by his first name. This shows the comfort level of the two leaders with each other. The tea diplomacy at Hyderabad House away from the public eye and the media is important to reinforce this personal relationship which the Indian Prime Minister says is important to cement the friendship between the two countries and its peoples. It is widely believed that Obama’s visit this time has pushed India and the US to reach a breakthrough on two issues holding up civil nuclear cooperation between the two countries. President Barack Obama has categorically stated that the two countries are moving towards full implementation of the civil nuclear energy deal. India and the US had signed a landmark civilian nuclear deal in 2008 but trade was stymied by India’s reluctance to pass legislation shielding suppliers from liability in the event of a nuclear accident, a deviation from international norms.

Prime Minister Modi has laid out India’s priorities in the area of climate change and global warming thereby making it very clear to the US that these are areas of no compromise when climate treatises are worked out. Modi has also categorically stated that India is committed to fighting terrorists and bringing them to justice. This should send a clear signal to Pakistan which has been unleashing its brand of terror on India. The US and India stand united in promoting democracy in Afghanistan which has been facing the brunt of terror from the Taliban, which is nurtured by Pakistan. Modi spoke of exchange of technology with the US to tackle global terror. In defence, the US will collaborate with India in strengthening maritime capabilities around the Indian Ocean which is a strategic region for Asia and the world.

For India, Obama’s visit is historic as he is the first Indian President to visit India twice in his presidency. India’s relationships with the US had touched the nadir after the Khobragade diplomatic fracas. Today the two countries look to forging ties in several areas of mutual growth.

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Security beefed up ahead of R-Day

Shillong Times - Sun, 2015-01-25 07:36

SHILLONG: Security measures have been tightened across Meghalaya in view of the Republic Day boycott called by the proscribed HNLC.
All police stations in different parts of the state have been sounded alert even as a regular coordination exercise with other security agencies including BSF has been made ahead of the celebration, official sources said.
Official sources said round-the-clock patrolling is being carried out in different parts of the Capital city. All passersby are being checked at different places to intercept the movement of insurgents, sources added.
The HNLC has issued a customary 24- hour bandh call in the Khasi- Jaintia Hills region from 6pm of January 25 to 6 pm of January 26.
Chief Minister Mukul Sangma will hoist the national flag and take the salute at Tura.
Meanwhile, East Khasi Hills district police chief M Kharkrang has said that HNLC is no longer a force to reckon with “but we are not taking anything lightly”.
Kharkrang said that the district police have made an elaborative security arrangement to make Republic Day celebration a big success.
Stating that police have taken all precautions,  Kharkrang informed that additional forces and as well as additional officers have been deployed in the  entire state capital.
Extension of HNLC ban : Meanwhile, the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Tribunal will soon conduct a hearing following the decision of the Central government to extend the ban on the Hynñiewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) of Meghalaya.
Sources on Saturday said that the tribunal will first conduct the hearing in this regard and if it felt that the ban on HNLC should continue, the Ministry of Home Affairs will issue a fresh notification regarding the extension of the ban period against the outfit.
Sources also informed that the Central government through the Ministry of Home Affairs had issued a notification dated, 16th November 2014 which extended the ban on HNLC under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.
It may be mentioned that the HNLC had expressed its desire last year to hold peace talks with the government. It had also stated that it was unwilling to just surrender and end up like other surrenderees who ‘snatched away employment opportunities from local youths’. (With inputs from UNI)

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Obama arrives in India today

Shillong Times - Sun, 2015-01-25 07:35

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government are all set to roll out red carpet welcome to US President Barack Obama on his three-day historic second visit to India that begins on Sunday.
Obama and his delegation have already taken off from Washington and would land in the capital here on Sunday morning at 10am.
The visit would see the US President attend the Republic Day parade as the chief guest. He would hold formal talks with Modi on Sunday itself.
However, his scheduled visit to Agra to see the Taj Mahal on January 27 has been cancelled and he would now fly to Saudi Arabia straight from New Delhi to express his condolences to King Salman over the death of King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz. (UNI)

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Cop bid to commit suicide

Shillong Times - Sun, 2015-01-25 07:34

Nongpoh: In a shocking incident, a senior police official tried to commit suicide by shooting himself with his service revolver at his official quarter on Saturday.
The official PJ Marbaniang, Sub-inspector in charge of Patharkhmah Police Outpost, was found lying in a pool of blood by police personnel who rushed to his quarter after hearing a gun shot. ) It is further learnt that the bullet pierced through Marbaniang’s skull. He has been shifted to Guwahati and his condition is stated to be critical.
The incident took place around 9pm, police sources said adding that Marbaniang was posted as the officer in charge of Patharkhmah Police Outpost under Nongpoh PS recently.

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DoNER to set up offices in eight states

Shillong Times - Sun, 2015-01-25 07:33

New Delhi: The DoNER ministry has decided to set up camp offices in each of the eight states in the northeast so that the people of the region do not have to travel to New Delhi for redressal of their grievances, it was announced on Saturday.
The DoNER Minister Jitendra Singh said the move will make the people of the northeast realise that his ministry has the capacity to reach out to the people of the region.
“This will send a reassuring message that the people of northeast do not need to travel to New Delhi for redressal of their grievances, but it is New Delhi which will, through the medium of DoNER, reach them at their destination,” he said in a statement.
The decision follows the central government’s decision to send eight union ministers by rotation every fortnight to the northeast so that one minister each shall be visiting one of the eight states every 15 days.
“As per the new order, the secretary of DoNER and other senior officers will be camping in each of the north-eastern states by rotation for 3-4 days every month,” the statement said.
It added that during the period, the officials in the camp will not confine their activities only to the state capital, but also tour various districts, as may be required. (IANS)

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3 ANLA cadres surrender

Shillong Times - Sun, 2015-01-25 07:33

TURA: Three militants belonging to the A’chik National Liberation Army (ANLA) based in the West Khasi Hills command surrendered with arms before East Garo Hills police at Nengkra outpost on Saturday.
The militants deposited one 9mm pistol with five live rounds and one 7.65mm pistol with two rounds of ammunition to the authorities. Two of the surrendered militants, Simon G Momin (18) and Heff G Momin (17), hail from Shallang Watregittim village of West Khasi Hills district. The third militant, Chonseng S Marak (19) is a resident of Samgong in Williamnagar town.
The three militants told police that they had joined the nascent ANLA outfit shortly after Easter, last year, and happened to be the first batch of recruits to the outfit.
They also revealed that their area commander Nengja G Momin was shot dead at Mahadeo in extreme south Garo Hills district bordering west Khasi Hills by their own cadres last year.

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Boulder stealing goes on unabated

Shillong Times - Sun, 2015-01-25 07:32
BSF seizes several Bangladeshi boats

SHILLONG: Smuggling of boulders by Bangladeshi anti-social elements from Indian side to that country has been going on unabated.
It is said that Bangladeshi anti-social elements often come in boats to Indian side to smuggle coal, boulders and even limestone.
BSF has seized several such Bangladeshi boats in the recent past.
Bangladeshi smugglers often cross over to Indian side through Jadukota river for illegal collection of boulders from Meghalaya side.
Earlier it was reported that the frequent collection of boulders by hundreds of Bangladeshi boatmen has changed the course of the Umngot river.
In fact, the state forest department had also expressed concerns over the smuggling of boulders from Umngot river by the Bangladeshis.
Meanwhile, some local residents admitted that Bangladeshi miscreants often cross over to Indian side and indulge in loot and other types of crimes.
“They (Bangladeshis) come to Indian side at night,” a resident said.
BSF Meghalaya Frontier IG Sudesh Kumar, meanwhile, said that the BSF has taken up this  matter  with Border Guard Bangladesh  on several occasions.
“BGB is taking steps to stop this stealing of boulders from the Indian side,” he told reporters at Ranikor recently.
Stating that India exports boulders to Bangladesh through the available waterways, Kumar  said that it is for the respective Deputy Commissioners and Superintendents of police to sort out the matter even as he said that BSF is doing its bid  to contain this illegal collection boulders.

Categories: News

Mobile connectivity woes: Ranikor residents ‘opting for B’deshi sim cards’

Shillong Times - Sun, 2015-01-25 07:30

SHILLONG: Poor cellular connectivity in several parts of the State continues to bring endless inconvenience to the residents of such areas that mostly lie along the international border with Bangladesh. Adding to the woes of the people is the alleged indifference of private telecommunication companies which refuse to venture into such areas.
A glaring example of such apathy is Ranikor in West Khasi Hills District. Villagers of the far flung border area complained that barring BSNL, no other service provider has ventured into the area which is well covered by Bangladeshi telecommunication companies like BD link and Grameen phone.
“Even with BSNL we have to go certain locations to avail the network,” a resident of the area, who is a contractor by profession, said.
Other residents said poor cellular connectivity almost cuts them off from the rest of the State.
Alarmingly, the poor cellular connectivity has reportedly forced some of the residents to use Bangladeshi sim cards. People are, however, reluctant to admit the same.
A resident on condition of anonymity said, “Bangladeshi sim cards are available here.”
Meanwhile, BSF Meghalaya Frontier IG, Sudesh Kumar said that most of the people in the area use Bangladeshi sim cards since their signal is very strong.
According to Kumar, at one point of time, signals of Bangladeshi service providers were available till Mawsynram but now the strength of the signal has been reduced.
He added that restricting the cellular connectivity provided by Bangladeshi companies to the international border will help in reducing the crime rate in the border areas as the communication lines of the criminals would be severed.
It may be mentioned that poor or zero mobile connectivity is not a new thing in Meghalaya and even now many of the far flung areas of the State are yet to be properly connected.
Last year, the Union Government approved a Rs 5,300 crore project to boost telecom infrastructure and connectivity in the North East Region since out of the 43,200 villages in the North East 9,190 (21 per cent) are not connected to any mobile network. The project is suppose to cover 8,621 villages.

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