Saturday, March 20, 2010

Congress calls for six hr bandh in Nagaland tomorrow

Opposition Congress in Nagaland has called a six-hour bandh tomorrow in all district headquarter towns of the state protesting alleged corruption, nepotism and gross irregularities in several sectors in the DAN government.

NPCC leaders said the bandh would be observed from 6 am since the state government had "failed" to stop corruption in various levels of administration.

Besides, the party alleged that a former "tainted" minister in the DAN government had been nominated as Rajya sabha candidate for the March 26 RS election.

There were also gross irregularities in appointments of school teachers and misuse of central funds for various rural development schemes, including NREGA.

Arunachal house passes education bill

The Arunachal Pradesh assembly today passed the education bill seeking planned development of institutions mushrooming in the state.

Education minister Bosiram Siram said there are innumerable government and privately-run educational institutions in the state without a well-defined mechanism for their regulation and control.

In this backdrop there was the need to bring a bill for maintenance and improvement of the standard of education.

Earlier duing the discussion members cutting across party line decried the present 'declining' standard of education and compared it with the their school days when they were taught by dedicated teachers from outside the state.

Pointing to the present practice of appointing teachers on the basis of certificates and not merit, the members said people, who somehow manage certificates from open schools, get appointed as teachers.

Trinamool Congress member Layta Umbre said during his visit to schools in his constituency, he had found though the medium was English, students seldom could speak in that language. He suggesed instead of English the medium should be changed to Hindi.

Tapen Siga (BJP) said the state government should take stern action aganst teachers who refused to go to remote areas and wanted to stay in urban areas only.

Cong, ally go for limited contest in council polls

The Congress and its ruling ally in Assam have parted ways “amicably” for the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) polls, slated for April 9.

The party shares power in the state with the Bodoland Peoples’ Front. At least 30 people have been killed since November 8 last year in internecine clashes in the four districts under the jurisdiction of the council.

Most of the victims were supporters of either the Bodoland Peoples’ Front (BPF) or the rival Bodoland Peoples’ Progressive Front (BPPF). The BPF is in power in the council.

But the past couple of days saw violent fights among BPF supporters, who torched party offices and burnt effigies of their leaders. The eruption followed the BPF’s decision to leave 12 of the council’s 40 seats to the Congress.

However, on Thursday, BPF chief Hagrama Mohilary – he heads the council also – “gave in” to popular demand and buried the seat-sharing agreement. “We will now field candidates in all the 40 seats in the council,” he said.

The BPPF and its regional ally, Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), were quick to point to a ‘rift’ between the Congress and the BPF. But Congress spokesman Haren Das denied that.

“We have now opted for a friendly contest. And our party will put up candidates in only 15 seats, and not contest in the seats in which the top five BPF leaders are in the fray,” Das told Hindustan Times.

The BPPF, on the other hand, has inked a seat-sharing pact with the AGP.

The details of this arrangement are awaited.

The first elections to the BTC were held in 2005, two years the council was formed after an amendment to the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.

The BPF, led mostly by former militants, won the council’s elections.

Normal life hit in six-hr shut down in Nagaland

Normal life was hit in the Nagaland capital and its district headquarter towns in the 6-hour shut down by the opposition Congress in the pre-lunch hours on Sunday.

The shut down, which began at 6 am and ended at 12 pm, forced offices, banks, post offices and other establishments and shops to down shutters.

Only in Kohima the shutdown lasted for three hours due to a public function organised by the apec Naga Students Federation.

There was no untoward incident reported from anywhere in the state and work resumed after the end of the shut down.

Congress had called for the shut down to protest against alleged corruption, nepotism and gross irregularities in several sectors in the Neiphiu Rio DAN government.

There were gross irregularities in appointments of schoolteachers and misuse of central funds for various rural development schemes, including NREGA, the party alleged.

Surrender policy to bring militants to mainstream: Governor

Arunachal government is actively considering a surrender policy for militants, even as 51 activists of various underground organisations surrendered in Tirap district in the past one year, Governor General (Retd) J J Singh said in his address at the assembly today.

The policy aims towards making misguided boys and girls relinquish guns and join the mainstream, the Governor said.

Speaking on the implementation of development projects, he asked the members to ensure that these projects do not harm the environment.

"While we embark on mega-infrastructure projects, it is our duty to compensate for any loss of forest cover," the Governor said while referring to the fact that Arunachal has the second large forest cover in the country and is a mega biodiversity hotspot in the world.

"For reclaiming abandoned lands after 'jhum', government is promoting the unique 'Apna Van' plantation scheme by providing Rs 1,200 subsidy per hectare," he said.

During the current year the government proposes to re-generate almost 7095 hectares of forest under various schemes, he said.