SHILLONG, Oct 09: The Government of India has expressed keen interest in promoting film industry in the North East by setting up a regional center of National School of Drama (NSD) in the region.
This was revealed by the Committee on Government Assurances, Rajya Sabha which held marathon meetings with a delegation of state officials led by the Chief Secretary PBO Warjri, at Hotel Polo Towers in the city here on Friday.
The Committee was led by four sitting MPs which include Husain Dalwai, from Maharashtra, Dilipbhai Pandya of Gujarat, Md Nadimul Haque of West Bengal and Lal Sinh Vadodia of Gujarat.
TURA, Oct 09: In another shocker for the region, miscreants have turned the ongoing MDC election campaign into another way of collecting easy money.
Miscreant(s) acted as supporters for Congress candidate Septerwin R Sangma, who is fighting a pitched battle for the seat against sitting MDC, Roynath D Sangma and another Goera Marak for the Batabari seat under West Garo Hills. The battle is still evenly poised for the constituency and is expected to be close finish.
SHILLONG: Ending the uncertainty that lingered for over a fortnight, the State Law department on Thursday notified the Prevention of Disqualification (Members of the Legislative Assembly of Meghalaya) Amendment Bill, 2015, to disallow MLAs from hold dual elected posts after Governor V. Shanmuganathan gave his assent to the Bill on the same day.
The development comes on the eve of the hearing on the PIL on dual posts by the High Court of Meghalaya on Friday.
Though the Bill was notified on Thursday, it will have retrospective effect from October 1.
According to official sources, letters intimating about the assent of the Governor on the Amendment Bill was sent to KHADC Chairman Manstudy Nongrem and also to the Secretary of the Council.
When contacted, KHADC Chief Executive Member cum MLA, Pynshngain N Syiem, who is yet to resign as MDC unlike other seven MLAs, said he would keep a ‘close watch’ on the next step to be taken by the State Government.
“The State Government will have to make its next move with the Amendment Bill now becoming an Act with the assent of the Governor. It will also be interesting to see the response of Assembly Speaker A.T. Mondal on this,” Syiem said, while reminding about the PIL to be taken up on Friday.
“The court might have its own interpretation on this matter. This is not the end since as many things might unfold in the next few days,” the KHADC CEM said.
Asked whether he will approach the Court to seek redress on the matter, Syiem said he was yet to decide on his next move. “I would take a call at an appropriate time. At the moment, I would just keep a close watch on the various developments,” Syiem asserted.
Earlier, the KHADC CEM had decided not to relinquish either of his dual posts despite the Prevention of Disqualification (Members of the Legislative Assembly of Meghalaya) Amendment Bill, 2015, being passed by the Assembly on September 24.
The seven MLAs who submitted their resignations as MDCs include H.D.R. Lyngdoh (Congress), Ardent Miller Basaiawmoit (HSPDP), Sanbor Shullai (NCP), Metbah Lyngdoh (UDP), H.B. Nongsiej (UDP), K.P. Pangniang (HSPDP) and Stephanson Mukhim (Independent).
SHILLONG: The Division Bench of the High Court of Meghalaya comprising Justice T.N.K. Singh and Justice S.R. Sen will hear the PIL on dual posts listed as serial no.1 on Friday in the Court.
While the petitioner Agnes Kharshiing, who filed the PIL in October last year, will be represented by advocates N. Syngkon, R.N. Marbaniang, I. Nongkynrih and P.K. Rai (Amicus Curiae), as many as 18 lawyers are representing the State Government, KHADC and JHADC (respondents) including Advocate General K.S. Kynjing, senior government advocate N.D. Chullai, senior counsel H.S. Thangkhiew (for JHADC), senior counsel S. Nongbri (for KHADC), senior advocate V.G.K. Kynta (for the seven MDCs except Metbah Lyngdoh) and senior advocate G.S. Massar, among others.
The Court is likely to give a final verdict on the matter after the Governor’s Secretariat had filed an additional affidavit on the issue on Thursday on the eve of the crucial hearing on the PIL.
The Raj Bhavan has filed an additional affidavit stating that even before the PIL came up and prior to the 2014 elections in the KHADC and the JHADC, the former Governor K.K. Paul had taken up the matter with the Chief Minister on January 8 last year.
Later, the former Governor had referred the matter to the Home Minister on February 14 last year much before any petition was received from the petitioner Agnes Kharshiing, the affidavit said.) “Hence the petition dated 18-7-2014 of Agnes Kharshiing was not acted upon,” Deputy Secretary to the Governor’s Secretariat, N.K. Arjun, said in the affidavit.
Moreover, the deputy secretary while referring to the Prevention of Disqualification (Members of the Legislative Assembly of Meghalaya) Act, 1972, and “inapplicability of Rule 17(1) (a) of the Assam and Meghalaya Autonomous Districts (Constitution of District Councils) Rule, 1951, in the instant case, said that her (Kharshiing) petition cannot be considered.
However, the deputy secretary has enclosed a letter of Principal Secretary to the Governor, M.S. Rao, addressed to the advocate general on September 22 this year which mentioned the need to amend the Prevention of Disqualification (Members of the Legislative Assembly of Meghalaya) Act, 1972, which accordingly was amended by the Assembly on September 24 barring MLAs from holding the posts of MDCs.
Rao wrote to the advocate general with reference to the direction of the High Court during the last hearing on August 25 that the Governor should take a decision on the pending PIL on dual posts.
In the letter, Rao said the reply of Chief Minister Mukul Sangma in response to the letter of former Governor K.K. Paul on January 8, 2014 regarding the issue of dual posts was that in view of the specific exemption provided under the Prevention of Disqualification (Members of the Legislative Assembly of Meghalaya) Act, 1972, the members of Meghalaya Legislative Assembly could simultaneously hold membership of the Autonomous District Councils.
The letter of the former Governor also referred to the conflict of interest in terms of Para 12 (a) of the Sixth Schedule which provides that if any law framed by the district council is repugnant to any provision of law made by the State Legislature, than the latter shall prevail. In response, the Union Home Ministry had proposed an amendment to the Sixth Schedule by providing that if an elected member of the District Council is chosen as the member of the House of Parliament or Legislature of the State, his seat in the District Council shall remain vacant.
Rao’s letter also mentions that the present Governor (V. Shanmuganathan) holds the same view as that of former Governor K.K. Paul on the matter.
SHILLONG: The Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by SP (City) Vivek Syiem has reached the conclusion that pressure was exerted on Sub Inspector (late) P.J. Marbaniang after he detained 32 coal-laden trucks in Patharkhmah. The SIT also arrested five persons on Wednesday including a Block Development Officer and members of the FKJGP Western Zone on charge of abetment to suicide.
Addressing a press conference in the city on Thursday, Syiem who is heading the probe into the sensational suicide case said the SIT during its course of investigation examined as many as 123 people.
Stating that the five people who have been arrested are influential people in the area, Syiem said police has submitted a 974-page charge sheet under Section 306 of the IPC before the Court in Ri Bhoi.
“The detaining of coal trucks affected these people and they exerted pressure on P.J. Marbaniang which led him to take his own life,” he said, adding that the arrested people were produced before the CJM Court, Ri Bhoi and they have been remanded in 14-day judicial custody.
The arrested people have been identified as Granvill Harly Passah (39), who is the Block Development Officer of Jirang C&RD Block, Centrewell Dolloi, president of FKJGP, Western Zone, Shemphang Nongtrai, member, FKJGP Western zone, Lawyer Syngkli, working president, FKJGP, Western Zone and Coming Star Kharbani, who is a government contractor.
The SIT will also submit a report of its investigation to the High Court of Meghalaya before October 17.
Syiem also asserted that the SIT has filed as many as six FIRs with Nongpoh police against 30 people including government officials and police personnel from Patharkhmah police outpost and the Jirang BDO for illegal collection of money from coal trucks.
The SIT was first given ninety days to complete its investigation and the timeline was subsequently extended by 45 days.
It may be reminded that Marbaniang’s body was found with bullet wounds on his head on the night of January 24 less than 24 hours after he detained 32 coal-laden trucks which were illegally transporting coal.
Discrepancies in the medical and post-mortem reports and the version of the doctor had compelled the State Home department to set up the SIT.
SHILLONG: Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment, Krishan Pal Gurjar, has taken exception to the reports of the failure of the Meghalaya Government to implement the reservation policy for people with disability, and stated that he would seek a report from the State Government on the issue.
“We will seek a clarification from the Meghalaya Government on the reports about the poor implementation of the reservation policy for the people with disability,” Gurjar said while talking to news persons after distributing kits, books and other items to disabled students at the Bethany Society here on Thursday.
It may be mentioned that as per RTI findings, just 15 persons with disability have been recruited by the Meghalaya Government since the Persons with Disabilities (PWD) Act was implemented in 1995.
This is a clear reflection of the failure of the State Government to provide employment to persons with disabilities since under the Act, at least 3 per cent of all Government jobs must be reserved for them.
The Union MoS also informed that a new Bill would be introduced in the winter session of Parliament to hike the 3 per cent reservation for the disabled to 5 per cent.
Gurjar advised the State Government to create a separate department for the disabled to ensure that the benefits provided by the Centre could be streamlined.
Informing that as per the 2011 census, there are 2.68 crore persons with disabilities in the country, the minister said just 49 per cent of this population have received their disability certificates.
“I would urge the State Government to conduct a special drive so that all persons with disabilities get their certificates,” he said.
SHILLONG: The CBI has seized papers from Meghalaya Urban Development Authority (MUDA) in line with the order of High Court of Meghalaya to initiate probe against the officials who had granted permission to owners to construct buildings in violation of the MUDA Building Byelaws.
Though the Supreme Court had given relief to owners of as many as 13 high rise buildings by way of a stay to the demolition of additional floors of the buildings, the apex court, however, has not stayed the CBI inquiry as ordered by the High Court on September 28.
An official source said that the CBI had on Tuesday seized the documents related to the permission granted to the 24 buildings which were under the scanner of the High Court.
Besides the 24 buildings, the High Court, in its September 28 order, had directed the CBI to scan MUDA records any ascertain details of the number of cases in which building owners have been benefitted by the acts of commission and omission on the part of officers of MUDA.
The High Court had asked the investigating agency to submit the report on October 15 to find out as to whether the erring officers of MUDA and building owners and builders are required to be prosecuted in the interest of justice.
SHILLONG: BJP national spokesperson and in charge of Meghalaya, Nalin Kohli, recently met UDP leader Paul Lyngdoh here to discuss the political situation in the State and elsewhere in the North East.
There was speculation that either Lyngdoh or the UDP had plans to tie up with the BJP in the run up to the Assembly polls in 2018 which, however, was denied by the Shillong West legislator.
When contacted on Thursday, Lyngdoh said he exchanged notes with the BJP leader on the overall political situation in the North East and added that nothing specific had emerged in the meeting with Kohli.
“I have known him for the last 10 years and we are old friends. The meeting did not have any specific agenda,” Lyngdoh said.
The meeting also discussed the state of affairs in Meghalaya which is governed by the Congress-led MUA-II Government under the leadership of Chief Minister Mukul Sangma.
Asked whether the UDP will have any pre-poll alliance with the Congress in 2018, Lyngdoh replied, “The UDP’s primary concern is to strengthen the party base and we have started various initiatives in this regard.”
According to Lyngdoh, the UDP should be seen as the only state party amidst the presence of national parties and district parties in the state.
TURA: Two suspected members of a kidnappers’ gang alleged to be involved in a string of cases have been executed by Garo militants in Chi A’ding area and their bodies dumped on the road connecting Jengjal with Williamnagar on Wednesday night.
The bodies of the two victims were spotted by passersby travelling on the new highway during the morning hours of Thursday.
Both victims, wearing jeans and dark t-shirts, had multiple bullet wounds on their bodies and police later recovered as many as seven empty shells of AK ammunition from the spot. The banned GNLA outfit which has a history of killing dacoits and kidnappers trespassing into their territory remains the prime suspect in this case also.
One of the victims, identified as Ambar N Marak of Songsak, was the prime accused in the kidnapping of a local trader, Dilip Marak, over two weeks ago.
TURA: Attempts by political parties to woo voters ahead of the electoral battle for the 29 seats of the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council (GHADC) scheduled on October 12 is turning out to be a herculean task even for veteran State politicians.
A recent election meeting of NPP chief and Lok Sabha member from Tura, Purno A Sangma, was disrupted by protesters wielding black flags and banners, another election meeting of former Chief Minister and MPCC president D.D. Lapang failed to draw even a respectable crowd, and finally Chief Minister Mukul Sangma calling off a proposed campaign rally fearing a fate akin to his bête noire Purno Sangma.
Congress sources on Thursday revealed that the party had initially planned to hold the election rally by the chief minister on Tuesday which was postponed to Thursday. However, local party leaders with their ears to the ground appeared apprehensive after allegedly receiving inputs that some NGOs could be preparing to stage a protest which would have embarrassed the party and its leader.
Fearing a possible repeat of what took place in Dadenggre where the former Lok Sabha Speaker was greeted with black flags and banners by a group of NGOs for alleged unfulfilled promises made to the electorate, the Congress finally decided against holding the election rally at Williamnagar.
“There was apprehension that something similar in the lines of the Dadenggre episode could be played out at Williamnagar during the rally by the chief minister which could be an embarrassment to the party, so we decided against inviting him,” informed some Congress leaders from East Garo Hills.
The chief minister skipped Williamnagar and instead went on to campaign at Chi A’ding, Nangapa and Rongjeng on Thursday.
Social organizations and student bodies in East Garo Hills have been miffed with successive state governments for their failure to complete longstanding developmental projects in the district. The completion of the RCC bridge at Baiza, on the outskirts of Williamnagar town connecting the road to Tura, and more importantly the 31-year-old incomplete bridge over the Simsang river at Warima are some of the sore sights depicting the stagnation of development in the second most important town after Tura in Garo Hills.
Earlier on Tuesday, Meghalaya Congress chief and former Chief Minister D.D. Lapang who took part in a Congress election meeting at Tura market on Tuesday night failed to draw a crowd despite speaking for well over twenty minutes on the party’s developmental plank.
The seasoned leader spoke about the Congress government’s ‘achievements’ in Meghalaya and how it intended to bring further ‘development’ to the Garo Hills through the district council.
Appealing for support for the party candidate, Dulal Ch Sangma, Lapang said it was only the Congress that could provide stability and appealed to voters to repose faith in the oldest political party of the country.
Although the rally was organized by the party, many pinned the blame on local leaders for their failure to mobilize their supporters leading to the very low turnout on a busy market street in Tura and thereby embarrassing the ruling party.
TURA: As Garo Hills reaches the peak of campaigning for the GHADC polls this week, the political rivals-Congress and NPP– are hoping the voters repose faith on them for another tenure in the autonomous body.
Both parties are pulling out all the stops to present their case before the electorate and convince them to do the bidding in their favour when polling day arrives on October 12.
The Congress is banking on the time tested formula of development as its leaders and party workers tour the length and breadth of the 29 constituencies where polls are going to take place.
“We have always stressed on development agenda and our efforts to bring peace to the troubled region. The people have seen our good work. We are optimistic they will return us to the Council,” said working president of the Congress and Cabinet Minister, Deborah C Marak while speaking to The Shillong Times in Williamnagar.
The senior Congress minister has been overseeing the party election machinery in the East Garo Hills district, vigorously touring the villages to garner support for her candidates.
The opposition NPP, however, sees a different picture to the Council scenario and blames the Congress for the mess the autonomous body is currently neck deep in.
“There is an anti-incumbency factor prevailing in this elections on account of the widespread corruption perpetrated by the ruling MDCs from the Congress. People are witnessing everything. Do you think they will forgive the Congress for bringing the GHADC to such a state?” questioned working president of the NPP, Conrad K Sangma.
When it was pointed out that some of the current MDCs accused of misappropriation had been elected on a party ticket of P A Sangma in 2009, Conrad Sangma shot back, “Yes it’s true that they contested on a ticket from our previous party NCP but they parted ways when they realized that there is no room for corruption in our party.”
Revamping of the Council administration and putting a stop to the widespread corruption in the autonomous body are two issues both political opponents seem to agree upon this time.
“There is no doubt a complete overhauling of the Council is required and only the Congress can do that. We have always been in favour of improving the GHADC and if given a chance this time, we will do it. That is one of the main reasons why we have initiated many developmental projects through the district council to benefit the people living in the rural areas,” said Deborah Marak while adding that restoration of peace and improvement of the law and order situation in Garo Hills remains a core issue of the Congress.
The NPP is not buying into the Congress story as it sharpens the attack on its bitter rival.
“The law and order situation in Garo Hills has fallen so drastically that there are killings and kidnappings every single day. Isn’t the Congress to blame? After all they are running the state and were in control of the GHADC,” pointed out NPP leader Conrad Sangma.
He said that widespread corruption and an attempt at tabling the controversial codification of Garo customary laws to benefit the family of a particular politician had fueled resentment among the public and the voters.
“We are taking the core issues of corruption and the attempt by the last executive committee of GHADC to tamper with the Garo customary laws into the public domain. Voters are being made aware of the move to dilute the tribal laws to suit people who are not genuine tribal. People are angry about corruption because development from the district council side has failed to percolate into the most backward areas of Garo Hills despite crores of rupees being sanctioned by the Central Government to the MDC constituencies for development projects,” said the NPP working president.
As D-Day approaches both parties will be keeping their fingers crossed in the hope their messages have gone down well with the electorate.
SHILLONG, Oct 08: After a span of eight months, State police on Thursday arrest five persons including a Block Development Officer and NGO leaders for their alleged involvement in “exerting pressure” which led to the “suicide” of the former sub-inspector in-charge of Patharkmah Outpost (L) PJ Marbaniang in January this year.
According to the police, the investigation has also revealed that the reason that led to death of the officer was after he had detained as many as 32 illegal coal trucks.
SHILLONG, Oct 08: The Special Investigation Team (SIT) constituted to probe into the death of a former sub-inspector (L) PJ Marbaniang, has filed six separate FIRs against as many as 30 government officials including police for their alleged involvement in ‘corruption acts’.
During the course of its investigation, the SIT found out the involvement of government officials in illegal collection of money from coal trucks plying along route from Mairang – Rani Godown Road to West Khasi Hills.
SHILLONG, Oct 08: Meghalaya Governor V Shanmuganathan on Thursday granted his assent to the Prevention of Disqualification (Members of Legislative Assembly of Meghalaya) Bill, 2015, which was passed by the State Government, last month.
Sources in the government informed that the Bill against holding of dual post has got the assent from the Governor.
Confirming this, KHADC CEM PN Syiem said, “Yes, the Governor has granted his assent to the bill.”
GUWAHATI, Oct 08 (IANS): The vigilance and anti-corruption department has caught a government officer red-handed while accepting bribe at her office here on Thursday.
Nandita Konwar, an Assam Civil Service officer, is the project director of the District Rural Development Agency (DRDA) in Kamrup (Metropolitan) district.
She was caught red-handed by sleuths of the vigilance and anti-corruption department while accepting Rs.12,000 in cash for sanctioning an amount of Rs.1.2 lakh for a road in the city’s Durga Sarobar area under the MP Local Area Development fund.
SHILLONG, Oct 08: Prominent NGOs of Garo Hills have urged the residents of Garo Hills to abstain from exercising their franchise in the upcoming Garo Hills Autonomous District Council (GHADC) polls, scheduled for October 12.
In a joint press statement by FKJGP, GSU, AYWO, ADE and FAF, issued here on Thursday, the conglomerate said, “We the conglomerate NGOs hereby declare the 10th, 11th and 12th of October 2015 as days of mourning, and request all our fellow Tribal brethrens to express solidarity by mourning and abstaining from casting their votes in the GHADC polls. We request all Tribals to abstain from their daily routines/activities during these days. However, we may all pursue our religious rites and emergent activities. The 10th, 11th and 12th shall be termed as the “Mourning Days” or the ‘Kalimani Salrang’.”
The conglomerate of NGOs informed that they have toured throughout the whole of Garo Hills to ascertain whether the Garo community is in reality against the participation of non-tribals in the GHADC elections. According to them, as per the feedback, the Garo community is unanimously rejecting the participation of non-tribals in the GHADC.
SHILLONG, Oct 08: If the national capital is in the grip of the killer disease called dengue then viral fever is ruling the roost here in Shillong. Almost every school going students and adults are suffering from this fever, which has taken a new turn this year, according to doctors.
According to responses received from patients and their doctors, there are complaints about severe headache coupled with instant loss of weight. These symptoms, said doctors, are something new that is attached with viral fever this time around. Students comes in contact with the fever from their peers in classroom, either from sneezing or touching, as doctors in the city, homoeopathic or allopathic, are witnessing a spurt in their cases.
SHILLONG, Oct 08: The Deputy Commissioner of West Jaintia Hills on Thursday launched one of its kind public grievance redressal mechanism based on Whatsapp application in the District. The Whatsapp based public grievance redressal mechanism, an innovative e-governance system, has been launched for the public on the special BSNL number +91-9436394363 and can be lodged in any language - Pnar, Khasi or English.
Margao: Ten-man Atletico de Kolkata (ATK) defended dourly to grind out a 1-1 draw against hosts FC Goa in an India Super League (ISL) match at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on Wednesday.
Title holders ATK led 1-0 at half time. They were reduced to 10 man when striker Baljit Singh Sahni was given marching orders in the 62nd minute.
Indian midfielder Arata Izumi scored for ATK while Keenan Almeida equalised for the home team. Both teams now have four points from two matches.
ATK made three changes to the starting team that beat Chennaiyin FC in the tournament’s opening match on October 3. Izumi was named to replace injured marquee man Helder Postiga. Defenders Arnab Mondal and Rino Anto, away on international duty for India, was replaced by Tiri and Denzil Franco, respectively.
Goa, coached by Brazilian legend Zico, named an unchanged line-up that defeated Delhi Dynamos 2-0.
ATK took the lead early when Man-Of-The-Match Arata smartly side-volleyed a Javi Lara cross from the right flank in the 13th minute.
After conceding, Goa began to push men forward. They came up with several shots on goal, with Brazilian striker Reinaldo unleashing majority of them, but it didn’t quite serve their purpose.
Goa gradually began to take control as tried to spread the ball on the flanks, hoping their nippy Indian wingers Mandar Rao Dessai, on the left, and Romeo Franades, on the right, would create goal-scoring opportunities.
But their efforts lacked precision. Goa’s urgency to equalise increased after the break.
They came tantalisingly close to scoring in the 48th minute when towering Brazilian marquee defender Lucio rose above everyone to head a centre from the left. But his effort ricocheted off the post.
ATK’s were pushed on the defensive even further when a moment of hot-headedness left them with a man short on the ground.
Striker Baljit fouled defender Gregory Arnolin and then after a brief altercation head-butted him to receive a red card.
The red card aided Goa, as their cause was helped by the numerical supremacy.
They poured forward boldly and were rewarded when defender Almeida smashed a strong shot into the net on 81 minutes after being set up by Reinaldo.
Goa got seven minutes as additional time to score the match-winning goal but couldn’t pull it off. (IANS)
Margao: Unhappy with his team being shown a string of yellow cards and a marching order to midfielder Baljit Sahni, Atletico de Kolkata coach Antonio Lopez Habas on Wednesday said the referee’s harsh decisions affected their run of play and left them frustrated in the 1-1 draw against FC Goa.
“He showed seven (six) yellow and one red card which unsettled our rhythm. It was very frustrating,” said Habas in the post-match conference.
“Our opponent played well against us but we defended well and I am happy for having collected one point in the away match,” he added.
On the other hand, FC Goa neutralised ATK’s 13th minute advantage in the 81st minute during the ill-tempered encounter and home team coach Zico was happy with his team’s performance.
“They controlled the proceeding but played too many wrong passes than the last match which saw us not finding more goal. We created lot of goal scoring chances and finally found the equaliser in the 82nd minute (81st) to earn us a point. “We had played four times last season against the Kolkata team in the ISL and we have lost once and drawn three times and today we were looking to win in front of our fans but unfortunately we could not get the victory inspite of dominating the game,” said Zico. (PTI)