Monday, August 9, 2010

FCI sends fresh supply to Manipur

Even as the economic blockade launched by the United Naga Council continues on National Highway 39, at least 60 trucks loaded with rice and sugar left for Imphal from depot of the Food Corporation of India at Dimapur. This is the only second time that a large consignment of essential commodities has been supplied in the past nearly four months from Dimapur to Imphal. Earlier, 14 trucks could reach Imphal after the 60 odd days of economic blockade was lifted. Talking to NETV, a top FCI official said that 14 trucks reached Manipur earlier and on Sunday, 60 more trucks with rice and sugar left for Imphal. He said that the FCI has no problems in transporting essential commodities to Manipur but truckers have decided not to ply through NH-39 after the economic blockade was imposed by the Naga organizations. He said that security escorts are being provided to trucks from Dimapur to Imphal. He said due to blockade, they were not able to lift the goods and transfer to Imphal, but they have no problems of storage as FCI godown are allowed to a maximum of 150%. On a query about reduction of racks, he agreed that they have reduced the number of racks at present, but the allocation of 8000 MT required for Nagaland is always available. When asked whether there was food scarcity in the Northeastern region, the FCI official said that there was no question of food scarcity in the region, but the FCI is not able to push the stocks to the respective states. He said more than 7000 MT is transported through Railways and because of truckers decision not to carry goods on old rates; they are reluctant to transport goods from the FCI. He further said that Tripura has more than 12000 MT of rice stock while stocks are also sufficient in South Assam. After a decade, Railways have been in a position to position 22 wagons at Jiribam in Manipur, where there is a 2500 MT capacity FCI depot. When asked whether there is any problem of storage of commodities in Manipur, Gogoi said earlier infrastructure was not adequate, but once the system sets in, there would be no problem. He said their strategy is to keep the godown full. He further said that NH-53 is an important route for transport of goods, but road conditions are not at par with the National Highways.

Indian Navy, Coast Guard making frantic efforts as Mumbai oil slick spreads

umbai, Aug 9 (ANI): The Indian Navy and Coast Guard are making frantic efforts to contain the oil leak following the collision of two cargo ships off the Mumbai coast, which has entered its third day today, and is spreading fast and thick."Six ships and a helicopter with anti pollution disposal spray systems have been put on the job to contain the oil spill," said a Coast Guard official."Fishing associations have been also requested not to carry out any fishing activities till the oil spill is contained," he added.It has been reported that traffic at the harbour has been partially suspended as a precaution following the fall of around 200 oil containers from the MSC Chitra, an outbound merchant vessel from Navi Mumbai, after a collision with another vessel, the MV Khalijia-III on Saturday."MSC Chitra has tilted 80 degrees and the total oil spill is nearly 50 tonnes. So far, 300 containers carrying oil have tumbled into the water," said Arun Singh, Commandant (Operations), Coast Guard.There are reports that a high-level meeting has been called to assess the situation and discuss the steps that should be taken to bring the situation under control.Officials of Maharashtra Government Environment Department, National Disaster Response Force, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, Shipping Department, Mumbai Port Trust and other concerned agencies are expected to attend the meeting.The Directorate General of Shipping has initiated an investigation into the incident.Meanwhile, Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan expressing concern over the issue said all efforts are being made to contain the leak."This is a serious issue. We have already filed cases against the captains of the two ships, which are from abroad. Today, I am going to have an aerial look at the accident site. We are trying to contain the leak as far as possible," he added.Mumbai Port Trust chairman Rahul Asthana, however, said the spill was not major, but admitted that the position of the MSC Chitra was ''dangerous''. (ANI)

Dinakaran sworn in as Chief Justice of Sikkim

Justice Paul Daniel Dinakaran, facing impeachment proceedings in the Rajya Sabha, was on Monday sworn in as the Chief Justice of the Sikkim High Court after his transfer to the Himalayan state following allegations of corruption. Justice Dinakaran was sworn in by Sikkim Governor Balmiki Prasad Singh at the Ashirwad Bhavan in the Raj Bhavan complex.Chief Minister Pawan Chamling, cabinet ministers and top officials were present at the function.Justice Dinakaran had been directed to assume charge on or before August 13 following a decision by President Pratibha Patil after consultation with Chief Justice of India SH Kapadia.The 60-year-old Justice Dinakaran had been recommended for elevation to the Supreme Court by its Collegium in August, 2009.The government returned the recommendation to the Collegium in December, 2009 after several top jurists objected to his name citing allegations of corruption and land grabbing.In January, opposition parties had moved an impeachment motion against Justice Dinakaran in the Rajya Sabha.Allegations listed in the impeachment motion against the judge include possessing wealth disproportionate to his known sources of income, unlawfully securing five housing board plots in the name of his wife and two daughters and entering into benami transactions.The charges against him also include acquiring and possessing agricultural holdings beyond the ceiling limit. Justice Dinakaran has denied the allegations.In March this year, the Supreme Court Collegium had asked Justice Dinakaran to proceed on leave, but he did not do so. The Collegium then recommended his transfer to the Government.

Naga groups refuse to meet govt team

Leaders of the United Naga Council (UNC) and the All Naga Students Association (ANSAM) did not turn up for talks with a joint state and central government team on Saturday. The ministerial team comprising Information Minister T.N. Haokip, Sports Minister N. Biren and Tribal Development Minister D.D. Thaisii had visited Senapati district headquarters in Manipur to hold talks with the Naga groups."The state and central team expressed regret that the opportunity for a free dialogue was not made use of by the UNC," State Chief Secretary D.S. Poonia said.The joint team unanimously resolved to issue an appeal to the UNC to call off the economic blockade in the larger interest of all communities in the state."The state and Central governments are always open to a dialogue and the UNC is welcome to meet state government representatives," Poonia said.The UNC had presented a four-point charter to the central government, which included the issues of suppression of their rights by the state government, the withdrawal of Section 144 from Naga-inhabited areas and the issue of killing of Naga student during the protests.Disappointed with the central government's failure to address their demands, the UNC imposed a 20-day economic blockade since Wednesday.

HNLC calls for Meghalaya shut down on Aug 15

The banned Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) on Saturday called for a Meghalaya shutdown on Independence Day. HNLC publicity secretary Sainkupar Nongtraw, in a statement, called for night curfew on August 12 and 13 between 10 pm and 5 am. Following the night curfew, the outfit has called a 36-hour bandh from 6 pm of August 14 to 6 am of August 16."Should anyone be found to violate the organisation's announcement, we will not be held responsible," Nongtraw asserted.Essential services have been kept outside the purview of the bandh.