Thursday, August 19, 2010

Unsolicited SMSes rankle users in NE

GUWAHATI, Aug 17 – Quite frequently an irritant, at times it proves to be a honey trap. Fictitious and malicious texts or SMSes choking inboxes are becoming a worrying trend in Assam and parts of the Northeast raising questions which have no ready replies.One fact is now appreciated: the cell numbers of customers have become accessible to a large number of groups or individuals. They are in a position to use the numbers in any way they wish. The confidentiality of phone numbers is lost to a certain extent.This was found out in a bitter way by KK Das, a young professional based in Guwahati, after he was assured a gift by an American firm. Believing his good luck, he sent an email to the given address and was promptly asked to state his name and residence. Soon thereafter, he was asked to deposit a certain amount as freight charge. Months after that, Das is still waiting for his promised gift.There have been other cases where people may not have lost money, but after receiving hoax text messages have given out important personal details. It was only later they would learn that they had given out private information to parties they would never know about. They will never know to what use the information would be used.Gifts and lottery wins are the most common messages received by people in Guwahati. But there have been occasions when jobs were promised to people to work in UK and EU. The modus operandi was to ask for a certain payment, which some people made. As complaints about these deceptive text messages grew, the British High Commission had to issue a notice warning people about the scam that was taking place.Ranjinee Phukan, officer-in-charge of British Information Centre, Guwahati has had encounters with people who came in with SMS which assured them jobs in England. “The people who came in were young, some with good qualification, asking how to go about securing a job in England. Most of them belonged to the 25-30 age group,” she mentioned.In other cases, some customers have complained about the content of some text messages, which appear in bad taste. A few months back some BSNL subscribers actually received SMS messages which offered them female companions.On other occasions, some telemarketing agencies have been making unsolicited calls to customers and referred to their names in the conversations making it clear that the names along with the phone numbers were in the possession of third parties.When contacted, senior employees of a few cell network providers revealed their knowledge of the problems, but agreed that there was little that could be done to track down the servers from where the texts were sent, many of which were based beyond India’s borders. “We would like to block the offenders, but till now that is beyond the technology at our disposal,” said a manager from a major cell network.Another personnel said that some complaints about unwanted SMS messages have come in, to which customers have been asked to use the ‘do not disturb’ facility. Once that is activated then the cell number is logged on to a server that filters many unwanted calls or texts. However, some customers have complained that even after doing that, there is no respite from offending calls and text messages.

Chandel has maximum electrified villages

Imphal, August 17: Even though the state is experiencing heavy shortfall in power supply, the rural electrification programmes have covered 79.32 percent of the total number of villages located in both hill and valley districts as the programme is making rapid progress.Interestingly, the programmes are extensively covering villages in the hill districts. Five hill districts have recorded the largest number of electrified villages more than that of the valley districts.Chandel, Ukhrul, Senapati and Tamenglong districts were in the top four positions having the largest number of electrified villages, according to the latest data of electrified villages in the state available with the Hueiyen Lanpao.The official data indicates that the total number of villages upto January 2009 was 2524. Out of these villages, the Electricity Department has electrified 2002 villages till March of this current year, 2010. The data shows that 79.32% of the total villages in Manipur had been electrified till date.With 95.71% of the total villages electrified till date, Chandel district is in the top position in electrification of villages under rural electrification programmes. In this district, out of a total of 350 villages, 335 villages have been electrified as of date.Ukhrul district with 92.92 % of the total villages electrified closely follows Chandel district. Out of 198 villages in Ukhrul district, 184 villages, that is 92.92%, had been electrified. Tamenglong district with 83.63% (out of 171 villages, 143 electrified) is the third district having electrified villages.Senapati district, having 503 electrified villages out of total 612 villages, is in the fourth position with 82.19% of electrified villages. With 399 villages (73.15 %) out of total 553 villages electrified, Churachandpur district is in the fifth position.Even though Imphal East district with 75.58% of electrified villages is in the sixth position. Out of 258 villages in Imphal East district, 195 have been electrified.Bishnupur district has the lowest number of electrified villages with only 43 out of 74 villages representing only 58.11% so far electrified. Imphal West district also has only 113 electrified villages representing 61.41% out of 184 villages. In Thoubal district, 65.41% of electrified villages, that is 87 out of 133 villages electrified, as per the latest data prepared by the state Electricity Department.In Manipur, rural electrification programmes like Prime Minister’s Package under Non-lapsable Central Pool of Resources (NLCPR), Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY), Restructured Accelerated Power Development and Reform Programme (R-APDRP), State Rural Electrification, etc., are being implemented with the target of achieving cent percent village electrification.Manipur Renewal Energy Development Agency (MANIREDA), under the Manipur Science and Technology Department, is supporting electrification programmes in the remote areas with non-conventional energy sources like solar, wind, biomass, etc.In this year till now, 16 virgin villages have been electrified, the source maintained.The village electrification progammes are being taken up in the state amid the heavy shortfall in power supply. The demand of power has always surpassed the supply, disclosed the source adding that against the actual 170 Megawatt of power required in the peak hour, only 110 MW are available.Another factor of the shortfall in power supply is due to the transmission and distribution system. The system is very weak. As for instance, the original sub-transmission system of Greater Imphal was designed for 8 MW of power only while the present connected load of the same area is about 80 MW. It has not yet been augmented adequately. The transmission and distribution loss is therefore very high, the source pointed outThe energy injected to the system at present is 538.319 Mega Unit and 430.63 at 11 KV system while the energy available for sale is 467.979 MU. But only 285.03 MU is sold.The state purchased 489.594 MU of energy from the Central Sector Power Agencies at a total cost of Rs 107.64 crores (inclusive of arrears, etc.) and 44.786 MU of energy was received from the Loktak Project free of cost.But the outstanding due payable to the Central Sector Agencies for purchase of power as on March 31, 2010 was Rs 19.5848 crore including Rs 17.2632 crore with the Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd. (PGCIL) and Rs 2.3216 crore with Assam State Electricity Board (ASEB).

Chopper crash in Nagaland; 3 army officials killed; Dead officers are Col PK Pal, Major Nikhil Rana, Major Rakesh Sharma

In a tragic incident, three army officials died in a chopper crash in Nagaland on Wednesday morning. The three officials were on routine sortie to Leimakong of Manipur from 3 Corps headquarters at Rangapahar near Dimapur. The army has set up a court of inquiry into the crash. Three Army officials belonged to the Rangapahar-based 3 Corps Headquarters of the Indian Army were killed in a chopper crash Wednesday morning. The Cheetah chopper, on training sortie crashed while it was flying over Dzukou valley near Kohima in Nagaland. The chopper was on its way from Rangapahar to Leimakong. According to army sources, the chopper lost its contact at around 8.25 AM with its base. The youths from Viswema village first reported a large sound near the area. Immediately, rescue teams from the army’s Zakhama came were rushed. The joint operation of the army, police and local people led to the recovery of the wreckage and bodies of the ill-fated army officials. The three officers have been identified as Col PK Pal, Major Nikhil Rana and Major Rakesh Sharma. The bodies of the three officials were brought to Kohima for post mortem. The mortal remains of the three officials will be given a farewell at the Rangapahar Head Quarter on Thursday. The crash occurred apparently due to bad weather as incessant rain and fog led to very poor visibility in the area. According to the villagers, the chopper was flying very low and it is suspected that it hit the hill before it crashed. The army has already instituted a court of inquiry to find out the cause of the crash. Earlier, in a similar incident that took place in the late nineties, an Army Chopper carrying a Major General and his subordinates on its way to Laiemakong in Manipur also went missing while it was crossing over to Manipur and crashed near Porba village under Phek district of Nagaland. In another incident a Pawanhans chopper on its regular flight also crashed near Kohima in the early part of the nineties.