Thursday, November 6, 2008

MANIREDA gifts wind power hybrid project to Kotlen

Imphal, Nov 6 : For the third time, MANIREDA has successfully installed an environmentally friendly Wind-Power Hybrid Power Project having the capacity of generating 10 Kilowatt of power along with the co-operation of the villagers at Kotlen in Sadar Hills of Senapati district.

The power project was officially inaugurated and dedicated to the villagers by Power Minister Phungzathang Tonsing during a function today.The installation of the power project at Kotlen had started in November 2007 and it was completed in May this year.

Since then it has been put to trial run successfully along with supplying electricity to each and every household.

Expressing happiness over the inauguration of the power plant, chief of Kotlen village Dongyang Haokip informed that at the time of installing the power plant the villagers had provided the required land and also extended labour.

He further informed that in order to ensure smooth implementation and effective maintenance of the power plant, MANIREDA has constituted a Village Energy Committee and training imparted to two of the villagers.

Each of the household is being supplied 3 units of power and the Village Energy Committee has discussed collection taxes at the rate of Rs 50 every month from each of the household, the village chief added.

Addressing the gathering as chief guest after inaugurating the power plant, Power Minister Phungzathang Tonsing congratulated MANIREDA on completion of various projects taken up within such a short time while power projects like Khuga and Maphou Dam have not been able to be completed even after so many years.

Stating that the power project which has been inaugurated from today in the village has become the property of the villagers, Phungzathang Tonsing , who is also in charge of the Science and Technology, appealed to the villagers to take care of the project as their own personal belonging.

Chairman of MANIREDA PL Thanga who presided over the inaugural function pointed out that renewable energy is the only answer to the problem of power shortage in a State like Manipur.

Director MANIREDA L Manglem, who was also present at the occasion, said that though the Government of India has already announced to ensure power supply to all the villages in rural area within the next year, whether it would be possible in Manipur is questionable.

The power project which has been inaugurated today would remain as an invaluable asset of the village, he added.

Ex-Minister Ngamthang Haokip was also present at the function.

Prior to the inauguration of the power project, Minister Phungzathang Tonsing also visited to inspect the site for construction of a 40 Kilowatt capacity Micro Hydel Power Project at Sehjang village.

Misrepresented identity of NE women

The gruesome murder of Ch Alena in her Mumbai hostel was unfortunate and has sent a shockwave among the North-eastern community. The incident showcased the appalling negligence and the unco-operativeness of the hostel authorities.

It also highlighted the indifference and the insensitivity of the Mumbai Police in dealing with the issue. The dismissive approach adopted by the police is not co-incidental. The North-easterners have always been subjected to ridicule on the ground of ethnicity by the people and the authorities alike.

So it is not surprising to learn that the police has ruled out any foul play. When looking from every angle the case presented a sinister twist. They didn’t take into account the injury marks on her body.

The fact that they brushed off the case as a mere suicide was disrespectful to the life and memory of Alena. The half hearted treatment of the case left a big question mark on the integrity and the law enforcing power of the system.

An innocent life has been snuffed out mercilessly for no reason in a place which was supposed to provide security and protection. This brought to light the safety of the North-easterners living in big metropolitan cities whose pleas and complaints against sexual harassments, ethnic prejudices are swatted aside like nothing.

This incident has certainly rekindled some issues which are waiting to be resolved in the political realm. Is the so-called political disparity shown by the Indian Government to the NE States visible in this event? Are the big States thrusting its political and cultural supremacy on the minorities by overlooking their predicaments?

Because of its poor track record on account of low convicting rate, is the police intentionally opting for a cover-up of the case so as to salvage its pride?

Is the general misrepresentation of the identity of NE women the reason behind the lackadaisical attitude of the Mumbai Police in dealing with the case?

In Delhi itself, many cases of molestation, rape and murder of NE women have been reported and in more than half of the instances reported, the police refused to register the case until the media intervened.

Some of the related cases:

* Dhaula Kuan rape case, May 2005: A 19 year old Mizo girl was gangrapped by four men in a moving car. The next day, the vice-principal of Kirori Mal College made a press release that the NE girls should wear salwar-kameez to avoid any such happening in the future.

* Chanakyapuri Incident, Nov 2005: A Manipuri girl was molested and mishandled in Chanakyapuri.

* Nehru Vihar case, Nov 2005: One girl was molested by dragging her in a deserted alley, the police refused to take timely action. When a complaint was lodged the police asked the girls to take it easy. They replied action would be taken when she identified the culprits.

* Vijay Nagar case, January 2007: A Manipuri girl was rapped and murdered in her rented room in Vijyanagar. The girl was alleged to be immoral.

* Mahipalpur case, Oct 2007: One girl was molested by a tenant in Mahipalpur. The duty officr of Vasant Kunj Police Station refused to register the case until the mdia intervened. The accused was arrested but the police failed to book a case under SC/ST Prevention of Atrocity Act though the victim belongs to scheduled tribe community.

* Gandhi Vihar case: Jan 2008: Two sisters from Manipur, aged 24 and 18, were beaten and molested by 25 roudies in Gandhi Vihar on 5th Jan 2008. The police registered the case only 2 days after the media intervened. The goons were released on bail after few days. The siblings left the place owing to threats and apprehension surrounding their lives from the thugs.It is generally theorised that the whole NE community has a laid back attitude towards sex, drug and violence by the mainstream society. The women especially are being misconstrued as being immoral and liberal minded enough to give up their virtue without any hesitation.

Racial discrimination and sexual harassment is rampant due to this misconception and mispresentation of the identity of the NE women.

The mainstream society is wrapped up in its conservative ideal and are oblivious of the freedom that the NE women enjoy in their native land, so any kind of freedom shown in their attire or demeanour are strongly identified and they become easy targets of sexual overtures and harassment.

Study shows that 50% of the cases of sexual assault are targeted at women from the North East. The police turns a deaf ear to the complaints filed by the victims against the atrocities. As we can see in the Gandhi Vihar case, the complainants were victimised even more and protesting by the goons.

The death of Lucy Kashung on 16th Dec 2006 at Roop Nagar Delhi questioned the ethics and the authenticity of the media and the authorities in dealing with the case. Lucy was brought dead to the Hindu Rao Hospital at Malka Ganj on the Saturday morning.

The accused Ajay Luthra and his friends tried to flee after leaving the dead body. The police denied any foul play.

The Pioneer on Dec 17 stated that Lucy was found dead under mysterious circumstances at Roop Nagar in Delhi. She was reported as a resident of Meghalaya staying at Mukherjee Nagar.

The Hindustan Times of Dec 18 stated that a murder case has been registered against Ajay Luthara for the death of Lucy Kashung. According to the police Lucy consumed a lot of liquor with Luthra at a party.

It further stated that the accused took Lucy to Hindu Rao Hospital on Saturday morning after her condition worsened. The Pioneer reported that she was in Murkherjee Nagar which was not true. She was staying at Vijay Nagar.

The erroneous conclusions draw by the media were due to the recognition given to the informations provided by the accused and the those known to the accused only.

The opinions of the deceased family and friends were not given due weightage. The question is: can we trust the media for its supplication? The Northeastern women are believed to be easy prey and can be seduced quickly.

Two women from Nagaland aged 23 employed at Accurate BPO in Green Park Extensions, New Delhi were suspended by the Manager when they resisted his sexual advances.

They were sacked from their job without any payments. The police and the authorities took all these issues nonchatenthy and adequate measures to punish the culprits are not issued.

The NE women are made out to be booze-guzzlers party animals, fast and what not. The identity of the NE women is constructed within a stereotypical framework. The misconstrued identity needs to be tackled as it exposes them to the worst forms of sexual harassments.

Not all NE women are saintly. Some of them are being blamed for dragging the names of the NE women in the muck by their untoward and disgraceful behaviours.

Indian ranks 144 in a list of 128 countries in the Global Gender gap Report of the World Economic Forum (WEF) Agreed, discrimination of any kind is highly prevalent in present day India irrespective of caste, race, gender and culture.

But perpetual negligence towards the plight of the NE women can’t be ignored for long. We need to resist the misrepresented identity for covering to it, would encourage further victimisation of them.

A couple of years back, just a day after the gang rape of a NE girl, the vice principal of a reputed college in Delhi University announced dress code for the girl students from the region.

In the press release issued by the vice-principal it was alleged that the NE girls were sent by militants to be molested and seduced so as to promote anti Indian sentiment.

The police men also alleged that the complaints on sexual harassments are dramas and said that there is no smoke without fire.

Is our own Manipur Government having a blind eye to the escalating crimes against its own people residing in alien places? Is it going to only verbally condemn the issue or is it contemplating asking its Mumbai counterpart for a conclusive inquiries into Ch Alena’s murder?

When some migrant workers were shot dead at Hayel in Imphal district and Takhel, the Manipur Govt took swift action and lost no time back then to bring the real culprits to book. The Govt even went to the length of pleading to the immigrants not to leave the State.

It seems that our Government is only interested in pursuing its hypocritical and opportunistic policies and completely disregarding its accountability to the people of Manipur.

In order to eradicate this menace, social work interventions, concrete measures to fight discrimination and enhance Socio-cultural exchange between the communities are needed.

Law enforcement agencies are not enough to prevent the crimes but local people’s co-operation is a must to uproot this problem.

1,704 hamlets to be electrified through non-conventional sources

Agartala, Nov 6 : The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has agreed to provide financial support to 8,719 remote villages of 10 states, including 1,704 hamlets in the Northeast in the current fiscal.

State Science and Technology Minister Joy Gobinda Debroy told UNI here today that the ministry will support to develop infrastructure for facilitating electrification through non-conventional sources of energy.

According to plan, renewable energy technologies used for this purpose include solar photovoltaic home-lighting systems and decentralised small hydro and biomass gasification systems.Besides, 1,485 villages in Asom and 14 in Manipur, 205 villages of remote villages of Tripura will be electrified under the programme. It was estimated that around 31.7 billion units of electrical energy will be generated annually for feeding into the grid through 13,450 MW of power generation capacity from various renewable energy sources in the 10 states.

Debroy attributed that under Remote Village Electrification (RVE) programme, proposals were received from the state governments, for financial support for creation of facilities for lighting/basic electricity through renewable energy sources in eligible remote un-electrified villages and hamlets including tribal villages.

Implementation of renewable energy programme is routinely monitored at different levels and will be carried out by the officers implementing the programme themselves, or, through other independent agencies, he added.

Great Indian Rock pulls crowd

Shillong, Nov 6 : Integral in the contemporary explosion of innovative and original music in the country, the Great Indian Rock Festival held in ‘rock-city’ Shillong saw a huge turnout of music lovers today.

The Shillong crowd went frenzy with live acts from Delhi, Mumbai and Norway performing for the first time in ‘music-savvy’ Shillong. Enthralling original rock numbers from bands – Lucid Recess from Guwahati, Scribe and Undying Inc. from New Delhi and Bhayanak Maut from Mumbai had Shillongiites overwhelmed.

First timers – Sahg, a Norwegian classic melodic metal band, wooed the audience with its songs mostly based on mystic and mythical themes. “Our songs also deal with issues of racial discrimination and other political problems prevalent in Norway,” said vocalist Olav.
The band was impressed with the ‘exotic’ nature of Shillong and the clean air which they felt was just like back home in Norway.

The Great Indian Rock festival which began 13 years ago was always organized in the capital – New Delhi.

However, with organizational support from Seagram’s Royal Stag Mega Music, this year, the festival has branched out to seven major cities namely, Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Pune, Hyderabad and Shillong. The festival also has three international acts performing in the festival.

Since its inception in 1995, the Great Indian Rock Festival has over the years provided a launch pad for some of the biggest bands in the country and helped them get noticed. Over the years, it has gradually developed as a platform for musicians to showcase their skills and talent, with a large number of Indian rock bands going abroad to participate in concerts.