Monday, July 11, 2011


In an attempt to reach out to young voters in Manipur prior to the upcoming Manipur Assembly election scheduled in February next, the Chief Electoral Officer of Manipur has opened a facebook account to entertain enquiries and complains from voters in Manipur. The opening of the facebook account was a part of the mass campaign of the election office to reach out to voters and educate them about the electoral process. As part of the mass campaign adopted by the Election department of Manipur to encourage more electorates’ participation, the Chief Electoral Officer of Manipur has opened a facebook account. The facebook account under the user ID Ceo was opened by the Chief Electoral Officer of Manipur at a simple function on Monday held at the CEO office in Imphal. Opening the facebook account at, the Chief Electoral Officer of Manipur, PC Lawmkunga informed that the facebook account will be used as an interactive forum with young voters and educate them of the electoral process by putting up easy to learn materials on enrolment in photo electoral rolls, electors photo identity card, use of EVMs. Monday’s facebook account opening is said to a part of an endeavor from the election department of Manipur called Systematic Voters Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) which is aimed at inducing more voters’ participation and to educate voters about electoral process. Apart from social networking, the Election department will also be launching a call centre for addressing and redressing voter’s queries and grievances. On the otherhand, SVEEP which consist of a series of programs including, public rally, seminars and panel discussions will soon be implemented in various parts of Manipur in view of boosting voters’ cast in the upcoming February 2012 Assembly poll.


With a view to highlight the horrors of the AFSPA, the 7th Death Anniversary of Thangjam Manorama Devi was held on Monday which also demanded the complete repeal of the Armed Forces Special Power act from Manipur and other parts of India. Thangjam Manorama Devi, who was raped and killed by a troop of 17th Assam Rifles on 11 July 2004, was remembered at her 7th Death Anniversary function organized by Thangjam Manorama Memorial Trust alongwith the Apunba Lup, held on Monday. At the function held at Bamongampu under Imphal West district of Manipur, the atrocities and crimes committed by the security forces under the Armed Forces Special Power Act, 1958 were highlighted and condemned. While strongly condemning the GOI for imposing the draconian AFSPA in Manipur despite recommendation from the Jeevan Reddy Commission for the repeal of AFSPA, the Manorama Memorial Trusts has demanded the complete repeal of AFSPA from Manipur and elsewhere in India. As part of the function, a floral tribute was paid to Thangjam Manorama Devi by those who attended including Manorama’s family members. Speaking to NETV, Manorama’s mother said only the complete removal of AFSPA from Manipur will do justice for the brutal murder of her daughter. It may be mentioned that Thangjam Manorama Devi who was an alleged PLA cadre was picked up from her resident at Bamongampu under Imphal east district on the night of 10 July, 2004 by troop of 17 Assam Rifles, the next morning her death body which was badly mutilated was recovered. The incident caused a mass public outcry and intense agitations demanding justice for the raping and killing Manorama Devi by security personnel. Later, a judicial inquiry commission to the killing of Manorama headed by retd Supreme Court Judge, Jeevan Reddy recommended that AFSPA be removed from Manipur but no response came from both the GOI and Government of Manipur.


Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi, who also holds the finance portfolio, today presented a populist Budget with several new schemes and tax proposals. As he announced earlier, the chief minister waived off a tax of Rs 14 on LPG cylinders to give the much needed respite to the common men. His Rs 1542.71 cr deficit Budget also proposed to hike taxes on tobacco and alcohol products. Keeping the Congress manifesto promises, Gogoi made several new announcements for welfare of the people. In keeping with his pre-election promises, Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi on Monday presented a populist budget with no new tax proposals on essential items. Gogoi presented the Budget soon after the Question Hour on the first day of the 10-day Budget session. Presenting the Rs 1542.71 crore deficit budget for the next 8 months, Gogoi spoke about the improvement of the state’s financial position. He announced a slew of new schemes for the welfare of various communities. In his Budget, the chief minister, who also holds the finance portfolio, announced to set up Assam Employment Generation Corporation to facilitate self-employment of educated unemployed and a Skill Development Initiative Society to assist vocational training providers and new it is in all uncovered blocks. His budget also has a proposal to set up an Assam State Civil Supplies Corporation. Gogoi said that the government will replace APL/BPL cards by bio-metric ration cards. The govt also has a proposal for Reticulated LPG gas bank in all multistoried apartments in Guwahati. On the internal security, he said that 12 new police stations and 10 Out Posts will be opened in the next year besides opening a Counter-insurgency Jungle Warfare school, 15 Fire stations and one regional forensic laboratory. The Budget also proposes to install CCTVs in jails. It also proposes to formulate a State Litigation Policy. For the welfare of the Scheduled Caste people, an SC Devp Council will be set up while a separate directorate for OBC will also be created. The CM also announced a special package for the Barak Valley. Bringing good news for those seeking to open a career in teaching, the Budge announced to recruit 40,000 teachers on both regular and contractual basis. However, the govt said that no further provincialisation of schools would be done. It also made it clear that Plus 2 will be delinked from colleges from next academic year. There are also proposals for opening of 12 new Govt colleges, 21 new polytechnics and upgrading the Cotton College to a non-affiliated University. For the Sportspersons, there are good news. The scholarship for young players has been enhanced while a State Youth Development Council will be set up. The Govt also announced to give preference to NCC and Scout&Guide cadets in govt jobs. Under the 13th Planning Commission, Rs 5 crore has been sanctioned for Majuli Sattra preservation. The CM announced to set up a State central library in Guwahati. The artist and literary pension have also been increased. Ion the health sector, the Budget proposed to create an Assam Arogya Nidhi with 6 cr Corpus fund for poor patients. Beside, it proposed Rs 22 cr for upgrading Kamrup Civil to super speciality hospital and opening of a special care home for HIV children and a new Medical College at Nagaon in PPP mode. The Budget also announced a new AYUSH directorate, an Assam Medical Development Corporation to streamline construction, maintenance, procurement and distribution activities and upgrading MMC hospital to Associate Hospital of Srimanta Sankardeva University, Gogoi, who hasd given women and child welfare top priority in his last term, continued to do so in the Budget too. He announced to open a Women Entrepreneur Development Council for empowering women, opening Women’s Club in each block, Women Development authority to monitor and guide women empowerment programmes, Child Development Council and state commission for children, and a new programme Sabala for empowering adolescent girls. He also announced to hike the salary of anganwadi workers. A Senior Citizens Council was also announced. To boost the agriculture sector, he announced a Farmers Council and an Agricultural Commission to advise govt on appropriate technology and other technical issues. He announced Land Reclamation Project to be launched at Dibrugarh, Sibsagar and Guwahati. As he announced two days ago, the CM also proposed a Water Commission to advise govt on management of water resources. He announced Bypasses in Silchar, Tinsukia, Chabua, Makum and N Lakhimpur and an alternate route to Silchar from Guwahati. Mentioning about the power crisis, he said that presently, the state has only 800 MW against a peak hour demand of 1100 MW. He hoped that with the commissioning of some new projects, the scenario will improve soon. Gogoi said that the state would get 208 MW from Lower Subansiri Hydel Project once it is commissioned. To meet the power shortage, he announced to start construction of Lowr Kopilii Hydel Project. In the industry sector, he announced to open Tea Park, Jute Park, Banan park, Textile Park, Food Processing farm, Pharmaceutical Hub, Agri Hub, Agri processing zone and chemical zone. To expedite the Gas Cracker Project, the govt also proposes to release Rs 20 crore to it. The chief minister also has proposals for science and technology sector too. He announced to open a Science and Technology University in the state and a Science City in Guwahati. On the transport sector, he announced that CNG taxis will start operation in Guwahati soon. He also announced to construct Assam Bhawans at Bangalore, Kolkata, Vellore and Chennai while renovate and expand the existing Assam Bhawans at Shillong, Delhi and Mumbai. Meanwhile, to counter the negative publicity by the private TV channels, the government proposed to launch a state-run Cable/Satelite TV channel and Community Radio besides opening a Mass Communication and Printing Institute. In order to face and emergency situation during natural disasters, an Earthquake Risk Mitigation Centre under NIDM will also be opened in the state. Under fire for its land policy, the government announced to set up a Rehabilitation authority for rehabilitation of erosion-hit families also setting up a Land bank for preservation of future use of govt land. The government made several tax proposals in the budget. The most important was the proposal to waive off Rs 14 cess on LPG cylinders. The step was taken to provide relief to the common people aftr the recent hike of LPG cylinder price by Rs 50. The Budget also announced to increase the rate of VAT on tobacco and tobacco products and alcohol products. The number of new proposals decreased compared to the previous budgets as a means to reduce the deficit amount.