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2012
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January  09

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News Impact

Using Health  Info. Tech. to improve health care

NEW DELHI, Jan 8: Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Family Welfare, Food and Civil Supplies, Nido Pavitra has drawn the attention of investors and policy makers on the urgent need for dissemination of knowledge by interlinking primary, secondary and tertiary level health centres by IT applications.

Joining the panel discussion on ‘How to enhance technical services in NE and develop chances of employment’ in the 7th North East Business Summit here yesterday, Pavitra said that IT can enable health related information in the web, create PPP Model, help customer contact, allocate patient to different level of health care, provide electronic forum for patient interaction and build e-prescription system etc. He asserted that it was high time to explore how doctors and IT personnel can work together to reduce health care cost, deliver high quality service and cover rural mass.

“NE has an inherent handicap in form of communication bottlenecks with very challenging topography, adverse climate, lack of trained manpower and non-availability of specialized human resources. Under such circumstances, we must harness the potential of technological services, which is now at our doorstep with new promises and hope,” Pavitra said while adding that IT can be similarly used in PDS and issue and renewal of licenses by outsourcing in the PPP model that will even result in employment generation.  He viewed that to develop public sector portals or platforms, governments can take the assistance of forums like the Indian Chamber of Commerce (organizers of the Business Summit) to internally develop, outsource and provide such services to consumers and general public.

Another important aspect of technology, Pavitra pointed out was the Health Information Technology (HIT) that can provide an umbrella framework to describe comprehensive management of health information for secure exchange between consumers, service providers, government and insurers.

“It will be the most promising tool for improving the overall quality, safety and efficiency of the health delivery system and will improve health care quality, prevent medical errors, reduce health care costs, increase administrative efficiencies, decrease paperwork and expand access to affordable care,” he explained.

Citing IT sectors that can be beneficially utilized in the North East, particularly in Arunachal Pradesh, the Parliamentary Secretary emphasized on Telemedicine, which, he said, will help eliminate distance barriers and can improve access to medical services for rural communities. In the same line, he pointed Telemonitoring, Telenursing, Telepharmacy, Specialist care delivery such as Telecardiology, Telepsychiatry, teleradiology, Telepathology, Teledermatology, Teledentistry, Telesurgery, etc can be made available through video-conferencing and transmission of data for patients residing in underserved areas.

Incidentally, Telemedicine was introduced in Arunachal Pradesh after a tripartite agreement between ISRO, NEC and the state Government in 2006 under a project called ‘development of telemedicine network for the NE Region’ approved by NEC. Based on the agreement Telemedicine was introduced in State Hospital, Naharlagun, District Hospital, Pasighat, District Hospital, Tawang and R K Mission Hospital, Itanagar with plans to introduce in four more district hospitals at Aalo, Tezu, Changlang and Roing. Initially the facilities were functioning well with lots of tele-consultations and many CMEs with reputed hospitals outside the state. But slowly due to lack of trained manpower and maintenance of equipments besides lack of funds under the state budget these became non-functional.

Pavitra expressed concern over such lapses but assured that the government under Chief Minister Nabam Tuki was specially focusing on sealing the loopholes and improve the over-all health care system of the state. On behalf of the state government, he invited investors to venture into the state and invest in these sectors under the PPP model that was approved by the state Cabinet recently.

“Experts, investors and companies are welcome to implement and execute programmes and policies of the state government through the PPP model. We assure all cooperation and support to them in every step,” Pavitra asserted.

 

Tingkhatra tours Lohit, Tirap & Changlang

ITANAGAR, Jan 8: Minister for WRD,SW,W&CD  NewlaiTingkhatra conducted a whirlwind tour to three eastern districts of the state Lohit, Changlang and Tirap from January 3 to 7 last.

He inspected the construction works of  earthen exit road from Dharampur to Kherbari which will connect seven villages with a total population of around 4500. He also inspected the spurs built on Nohadihing river at Dharampur to protect Namsai area from further erosion.

The minister visited Anganwadi centre of Milanagar at Namsai and expressed his satisfaction over the performance of the Anganwadi workers.  Later,  he inaugurated an auditorium at Diyun and held public meeting alongwith C CSingpho, local MLA and Parliamentary Secretary, Finance & IT. He also attended the 9th Annual Day Function of Mahabodhi Higher Secondary School, Diyun on January four.  He has visited the Anganwadi Centre of Miao-II under Khagam ICDS Project, Changlang district and remarked that Anganwadi centres at Miao township were among the best Anganwadi centres in the entire state.

On January 6, Tingkhatra inaugurated CDPO office building at Kanubari and later in the day he laid the foundation stone for the office of EE (PWD) Kanubari in presence of CE (PWD) Eastern Zone ToliBasar, CE (WRD) LikarAngu and SE (PWD) Jairampur circle.

On the last part his visit, the minister attended the diagnostic camp cum free distribution of aids and appliances to the person with disabilities organised by the Department of Social Welfare in collaboration with Tirap district administration and distributed sticks, specks, tricycle and hearing aids to the most needy ones.

 

Dalai Lama confers main Kalachakra initiation

BODH GAYA, Jan 8: Buddhist spiritual leader  the 14th Dalai Lama conferred the main Kalachakra initiation for World Peace today at the preaching ground here. Dalai Lama is delivering discourse on Buddhism and the path towards enlightenment from the day one of his arrival in the holy land of Bodh Gaya on December 31, 2011 last.  

The Kalachakra initiation, also locally termed as “Dungyur Wangchen” symbolizes Time-Wheel which traditionally revolves around the concept of time and cycles; from the cycles of the planets, to the cycles of our breath and the practice of controlling the most subtle energies within one's body on the path to enlightenment. Conferment of Kalachakra Initiation would go on upto January 10 where blessing for life empowerment “Tse Wang” would also be conferred by His Holiness.

The 32nd Kalachakra initiation by Dalai Lama at Bodh Gaya till today recorded the highest number of devotees in any Kalachakra. The Kalachakra organizing committee under the chief patronage of Pema Khandu, Tourism and RWD Minister, Arunachal Pradesh is doing all-out effort to smoothly organize the mega event.

Earlier, on January 7, the Minister had a coordination meeting with the district administration and the Bodh Gaya Temple Management Committee in order to sort out problems faced by the pilgrims.

People from all walks of life, religious tourists from outside the country besides participants from Himalayan region thronged Bodh Gaya in lakhs to have a glimpse of Dalai Lama and to listen to his preaching.

Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Nabam Tuki and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar will be arriving here tomorrow to attend the puja.

 

SMS bags 2nd position in state level quiz

PASIGHAT, Jan 8: Siang Model School (SMS), Pasighat bagged second position in ‘Arunachal Maha Quiz Challenge Session-I held in Itanagar on December 29 last. The quiz team comprised of  Nitmem Padun, Pakpi Doye and Jaya Limbu students of class X.

The exciting and competitive event was based on general knowledge covering various fields like current affairs, science and technology etc. The SMS team received a trophy, medals and certificates along with cash prize.

Meanwhile, local MLA and Education Mnister Bosiram Siram while congratulating the students for bringing laurels to the school has also credited the teachers and parents for their medal winning performance..

The Deputy Commissioner Talem Tapok said that it is a reward to the quizzing culture inculcated in students in the school. ‘I am sure more recognition will follow’, he added.

The school authority also expressed  satisfaction over the students’ performance. DIPRO

 

Kargu Gamgi inaugurated

ITANAGAR, Jan 8: The  Donyi-Polo Kargu Gamgi was inaugurated at Zirdo village in Dari circle by reknowned priest-cum-orator Tabin Karlo on December 31 last.

While addressing the believers of Donyi-Polo the chief guest emphasised on preservation, protection and promotion of indigeneous faith in the society.

President Kargu Gamgi Committee Zirdo Kanya Rumi asked the members present to preserve their own rich cultural heritage for posterity.

ZPM Dari circle Bini Zirdo advised the gathering to maintain the age old tradition and culture and urged the women folk to play active role in educating the children to embrace the precious heritage in the form of belief and worship.

Momar Riba, Retd Principal, ASM Zirdo-Jime Boi Rumi appealed to the people to follow their ancestral religion.

The main attraction of the programmes were folk dance, folk song and unique internal decoration of the Gamgi by tying up bunches of paddy, millet etc.

Earlier, the day long programme started with inauguration of Kargu Gamgi followed by Donyi Polo prayer song and mass prayer.

Many priests, social activists and large number Donyi-Polo believers of Galo community from various villages including Dari, Jime, Chisi and Dali  attended the programme.

 

AoL’s YES course gets underway

WAKRO, Jan 8: A six days YES course of Art of Living (AoL) for the students of government secondary school, Wakro was inaugurated in presence of AoL Teacher Rama Maa today.

While inaugurating the programme, Ripunjoy Das, a senior correspondent of Assam based English daily exhorted all the students to make the most of the six days course saying that the Art of Living YES course is well known for success among the youths.  

Explaining the need to keep one-self physically fit through yoga practice and mentally balanced by proper training of the mind through meditation, he said the course will ensure your spiritual uplift. All the boarders of boy’s and girl’s hostel of the Govt seconday school have been invited to attend the program sponsored by ASSET with assistance from the 26 Maratha Light Infantry.

Col H.S.Chouhan, CO 26 MLI assured that all help and assistance will be provided for the successful conduct of the programme and further assured that the Army will always render all assistance for progress and development of the youths and general public.

ASSET was all praise for Capt Abhilash Panicker and Lt Col D N Mallick for providing assistance for grand success of the programme.

Viewing the condition of the govt school hostel mess ASSET also contributed sufficient ration items for the remaining months of the current academic session.

Das, accompanied by crew members N.N. Sharma, Pronib Das interacted with the Apnes  and  Girl’s of KGBV and explained them about the functioning and role of print media.

Chairman ASSET in a brief meeting later at Anugrah informed the media team in details about the unconditional tremendous support received from Itanagar based print media and the Army. The team was also informed about programmes and projects taken up by ASSET in gratitude to Media and Army.

The media team lauded ASSET saying, “It has been a wonderful experience visiting Apna Vidya Bhavan. The sincerity and dedication put in by the team is simply excellent and great. We assure to contribute our bit.”

Earlier Dr Tana Takum, SMO from WHO-NPSP also addressed the Wakro students and informed them about the functioning and role of World Health Organization in addition to highlighting the success achieved in arresting and eradicating small pox and polio from the world. He guided them saying there is no short cut to success and that the only way is persistent hard work.

Good gesture: ASSET decided to extend financial assistance to one Subodh Das of Tinsukia, whose wife Doli Das has been suffering from ovarian cancer.

It is worth mentioning here that Subodh, a taxi driver in profession, enjoys warm friendship with the  people of this part of Arunachal Pradesh for his generosity and helping attitude. Many patients from these remote and difficult areas who travel down to Tinsukia and Dibrugarh seek the assistance and services of Das who is always found willing to help such needy people.

Meanwhile, Chandralesh Chouhan, chief of Army Wives Welfare Association, visited Anugrah and appreciated ASSET for the welfare measures taken up with commitment for the needy especially for the education of the children in rural areas. Chandralesh, on behalf of ASSET, will hand over a sizable amount to Subodh in a simple function tomorrow for treatment of his ailing wife.

ASSET  also lauded filmmaker Kunal Verma (Gurgaon), Pushee Bhalla (Gurgaon), Eldho David, O.S.Chandran (Chennai), Bapenlu Kri, Er R.K. Singh, and friends who contributed generously for humanitarian activities.

 

EPS organizes cleanliness drive

Itanagar, Jan 8:  The Environment Protection Society (EPS) carried out a cleanliness drive at market places of Naharlagun township today.

The society members also shared few words with the vendors and the local people living around the markets area. They made them aware of the ill effects of living in an unhygienic surrounding.

Meanwhile, EPS appealed to the department concerned to build a good public toilet at Naharlagun market. It said that leakage in the present toilet has created a unhygienic atmosphere causing inconvenience to the public and  visiting tourists.

 

VKAJ organizes exhibition on ‘Samartha Bharat’

ITANAGAR, Jan 8: Vivekananda Kendra Arun Jyoti (VKAJ) orgnized an exhibition on “Samartha Bharat” on the occasion of “Samartha Bharat Parva” here recently.

Banner and posters reading the latest achievements and uniqueness of our country were put up in the exhibition stalls. Books based on Swami Vivekananda’s life and message, history and culture were also exhibited.

The motto of this “Samartha Bharat Parva” was to generate awareness among masses about the greatness of our motherland.

VKAJ, Itanagar also conducted one day personality development camp at Kali mandir, Naharlagun.

Students of Govt. Higher Sec. School, Polo Colony and Kendriya Vidyalaya No.-1, Nahar-lagun participated in this camp.

The main motto of the camp was to develop personality and to unfold the potential within them. The students were inspired by the ideas and thoughts of Swami Vivekananda.

The students were motivated through various programmes such as yoga, patriotic song, group discussion and an interactive session on “Concentration and discipline” by Dr. Mika Umpo.

 

Chakma-Hajong issue: Ball now in Centre’s court

Taba Ajum

ITANAGAR, Jan 8: The Diyun PS attack incident has once again brought Chakma-Hajong issue to the forefront. This issue has caught the imagination of large number of indigenous tribals of Arunachal Pradesh. The struggle between Chakma-Hajong refugees and tribal has led to lose of lives in both sides. A total of 2, 748 families of Chakma-Hajong refugees consisting of approximately 14, 888 persons settled in the then NEFA area between the year 1964-69. They were initially settled in 10, 799 acres of land in three districts of state.

Most of the refugees migrated to India from their place of origin, Chittagong Hill Tract, Bangladesh either because of religious persecution carried out by then East Pakistan govt and construction of Kaptai dam. At that time government of India without any consultation with indigenous tribal, let them settle in the then NEFA area. A letter written  to U. Chakma political officer, Pasighat on 7th July 1964 by PN Luthra the then advisor to Governor of Assam under whom NEFA area was governed, clearly shows that Chakmas came to Arunachal on their own even before approval of the local administration. The five-point letter was written by Luthra in response to earlier one written by U Chakma to Development Commissioner regarding the rehabilitation problems of Chakma refugees.

In the point number 4 of the letter, he wrote to U Chakma: “You have also referred to certain difficulties and sufferings of the refugees; I regret to point out that these would not have happened if action about the move of the refugees was taken strictly in accordance with our instructions. You will recall that the move of the first batch of 490 people was initiated entirely on your own and before the administration gave approval.” This letter clearly negates the claim by Chakmas that Govt of India under the then prime minister Indira Gandhi with consultation of local administration had allowed them to settle in Arunachal.

 Even though decades have passed still Govt of India is yet to come out with any solution to end this problem. The attitude of Govt of India whose policy to let the Chakma-Hajong refugee settle in Arunachal is quite dubious. One hand, they talks of preserving the rights of indigenous tribal of Arunachal and on the other hand, they are advocating for granting Arunachalee citizenship to these refugees. People familiar with this issue believe that Govt of India has soft corner towards the Chakma refugees. “After partition in then East Pakistan area (presently Bangladesh), Chakma played a major role in collecting information for Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), the external intelligence agency of India. Even during 1971 Bangladesh liberation war, they played a crucial role. Govt of India can never go against interest of Chakma,” stated one expert. The expert further added: “If Chakmas are not given their rights, Govt of India’s image will be tarnished at international politics. And if they start giving special attention to Chakma then indigenous tribals of Arunachal will feel alienated. The situation is quite complex and it will be interesting to see how Govt of India deal with this emotive issue.”

Also under Chin Hills Regulation Act 1896 and Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation Act 1873 the state of Arunachal has been given special protection. Under Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation Act 1873, non- APST people need inner line permit to enter the state and there is restriction in buying properties within the state. These are constitutional provisions and if Govt of India starts advocating for giving rights to Chakma-Hajong refugees on the line of local tribal, then it will be breach of Constitution.

The ball is now in the court of Govt of India and they needs to find a lasting solution acceptable to both people of Arunachal Pradesh and Chakma-Hajong refugees.

 

Woes of people of Nari

Prafulla Kaman

RUKSIN, Jan 8: Nari administrative sub-division under East Siang district appears to have grown from some perspectives in the last four decades, but in real sense, the very meaning of development has not yet touched the 30 villages spreading in four circles, namely Nari, Seren, Koyu and Kora.

Talking to this correspondent, some leading citizens of the area including some Gaon Burahs have alleged that the villagers are still deprived of basic amenities like link roads and other means of development. The ADC office at Nari is reportedly not functioning properly and the local people are suffering a lot in their official works.

“Though there is an office of Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC) here, it has still not benefitted the people. Our villagers are compelled to go to Pasighat, located at 80 km distance for obtaining documents like Permanent Resident Certificate (PRC) and Caste Certificate. We are not feeling that our area has got a full-fledged ADC headquarter as many departmental offices are yet to be established”, rued Goto Riba, Gaon Burah of Nari-I segment.

The people are frustrated because the state government is not paying attention towards the hardship faced by the villagers. Construction of approach road from Nari to Seren circle, establishment of a police check post, sub divisional office of agriculture and horticulture department, PWD division office at Nari are some of the long pending public demands. Tako Dabi, the local MLA, who has been representing the constituency for several consecutive terms has allegedly failed to serve the people with “good governance” during the past decades.

Additional Deputy Commissioner of Nari TS Mibang said: “The authority has not yet empowered/authorised me to issue documents like PRC or caste certificate.”

Moreover, he has not been conferred drawing and disbursement power to conduct financial management in the office. The ADC also pointed out towards vacancy of post of Extra Assistant Commissioner and a circle officer in the office.

It is worth mentioning here that Nari circle was established in 1972 which was subsequently upgraded to SDO headquarter in 1996. Later, on July 25, 2009, Nari Sub division was upgraded to ADC headquarter with up gradation of Koyu circle to EAC headquarter besides creation of a new circle at Kora.

 

Contingency workers of  NPT continue to strive without salary

Pisi Zauing

MIAO, Jan 8: The force of 64 contingency staff serving under Namdapha Project Tiger (NPT), Miao withdrew its indefinite tool down strike called in protest against non-payment of their hard earned salaries, revised arrears from October 2010- March 2011 and bonus of 2008-09 and 2009-10.

Since August, these 64 contingency workers were rendering their duties without salary. To add salt to their wounds the grocery shops in Miao township have denied giving rations to these workers as they could not clear their credits. Under such circumstances there were no options left but had to register their protest democratically through tool down strike. But Conservator of Forest-cum-Field Director S.J Jongsam on the initial day of the strike met the leaders of the agitating employees and APWU members and requested them to withdraw their strike keeping in view the peak season for tourists. He assured of taking up their demand with competent authority and to redress their grievances within a month.

Jongsam tried to escape salvos from his workforce by admitting that the National Tiger Conservation Authority under Centrally Sponsored Scheme had already released a sum of Rs. 75 lakh against the approved APO of Namdapha Tiger Reserve in November, 2011 vide letter No. 4-1(23)/2011-PT; dated 4-11-2011 as first installment of the total approved amount but the specific fund is yet to be released from Itanagar.  He further informed that no approved item of AOP could be taken up under this establishment owing to non-release of funds though mere couple of months is left for implementation of work in this financial year of 2011-12. The CF-cum-FD Office has however requested the competent authority through several letters to release the amount at the earliest so that salaries can be given to the suffering workers. Keeping in view the flood of tourists to Namdapha; the world acclaimed 15th Tiger Reserve of India, the contingency workers decided to withdraw their strike but were strictly clear about their decision of forging ahead with tool down in case 6 months of salary including January is not paid to them within the stipulated period announced by the Conservator of Forest-cum-Field Director.

Since Namdapha Project Tiger do not have any regular staff the entire affairs of the park is being managed by contingency workers that includes drivers, electricians, elephant mahouts, plumbers, boatmen, cooks, computer operators, wireless operators, patrolling camp helpers, elephant grass cutters, night chowkidars, sweepers, peons and protection staff. The entire safe keeping of elephant, ferry, vehicle and above all the tourist lies in the hospitable attitude of the contingency workforce who deserves better treatment, at least on humanitarian ground.

The general public of Miao Sub-Division have expressed deep pain at the state government for not being sincere towards protecting and developing Namdapha. The Singpho Development Society and Federation of Singpho Youths have urged the government to release the funds immediately so that the helpless contingency workers can be paid their hard earned salary and welfare works carried out.

Namdapha; the 15th Tiger Reserve of India and pride of the state spread over 1985 sq km has only two dozen frontal staff with 8 foresters, the number which cannot live up to the expectation of the state. In line with Pakke Wildlife Sanctuary, there have been announcements on several occasions pertaining to creation of Tiger Protection Force for Namdapha Tiger Reserve but regrettably nothing substantial has so far come to notice. If at all the State Government, National Tiger Conservation Authority and Project Tiger are in truth solemn about saving Namdapha, manpower ought to be multiplied. By doing so, the unemployed youths in the buffer zone will get lifetime opportunity to contribute in building Namdapha in its truest tradition. The splendid tiger reserve is not only known worldwide for co-existence of four species of big cats namely Tiger, Leopard, Clouded Leopard and Snow Leopard but it houses costly orchids in abundance. The tiger estimation exercise initiated last year confirmed existence of tigers which came as a blessing. But shockingly, the outcome of the exercise did not get the needed follow up action.

The 64 contingency workforces ensure the security and fashioning of Namdapha Tiger Reserve. Therefore, they need to be paid timely so that their family members at home are not starved and children can go to school. Their cries need to be heard. Justice needs to be delivered.

 

Chakma-Hajong refugee issue: An academic understanding

Nani Bath

An Emotive Issue

The issue of settlement of refugees in this protected territory has always been a challenge for the judiciary, policy makers and the researchers. This is a challenge as it involves the rights and status of both the contesting parties.  The Government of India accepts this as a highly emotive issue in the state of Arunachal Pradesh that is agitating the attention of various sections of the local people. The ‘emotive issue’, which gave rise to a paradoxical situation, has political, legal, social and demographic ramifications. Invocation of international legal protections and covenants by the refugees is contested by the natives, who claim to have equal legal protections as the indigenous people of the area.

India’s lack of a specific legislation pertaining to refugee protection adds another twist to this situation. The natives perceive that ‘transporting’ of the refugees, particularly the Chakmas and Hajongs in this protected territory is a deliberate policy of the government with an aim to assimilate local culture with mainstream India by diluting the population composition. On more than one occasions, leaders of All Arunachal Pradesh Students Union, the apex students’ body of the State, had exhibited what can be termed as ‘anti-Indian tendency’ by seeking to look beyond ‘Mac Mohan Line’ in search of ‘lost brothers’. For the Chakmas, it is the question of their life and liberty, and their ability or inability to share fully in the benefits of the community in which they reside.

Refugees’ Claim

The Committee for Citizenship Rights of the Chakmas of Arunachal Pradesh claims that the Chakmas and Hajongs of Arunachal Pradesh are constantly being denied the citizenship rights by the Government of Arunachal Pradesh in defiance of the order of the Supreme Court and the Central Government. The State government has failed to establish the rule of law and provide constitutional protection to the Chakmas and Hajongs, who remained stateless for more than 30 years without a country.  The Government of India argues that around 35,000 Chakmas and 1,000 Hajongs were given valid migration certificates, which were indicative of “legal entry into Indian and willingness of the government to accept the Chakmas as future citizens”. The Indira-Mujib Agreement of 1972 determined that India and not Bangladesh would be responsible for all migrants who entered India before 25 March 1971.

Many question the logic of granting citizenship to ninety ‘Tibetan refuge’ families of Shyo village living in Tawang district of Arunachal Pradesh in 2002 even when the Chakmas and Hajongs refugees, who “were taken to the North East Frontier Agency (NEFA, present Arunachal Pradesh) by the Central Government with a view to permanently settle them there”, are yet to be provided with Indian citizenship.

The Supreme Court of India, by a writ of mandamus, ordered the state of Arunachal Pradesh that the application made for registration as citizen of India by the Chakma or Chakmas shall be entered in the register maintained for the purpose and shall be forwarded by the Collector or DC who receives them under the relevant rule, to the Central Government for its consideration.

Counter Claim

It has been argued that throughout the course of administrative and political events Arunachal Pradesh has been enjoying a special status under which no person or persons other than the indigenous people have the right to settle in Arunacjhal Pradesh permanently.

Under the Constitution of India, Arunachal Pradesh has been given special status and the ethnicity of the State had been protected by declaring the entirety of the area of the State as Scheduled area to be administered under Part X read with the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution of India. Jawaharlal Nehru, who favoured a policy of retaining a distinctive identity of the tribals while integrating them into national mainstream, envisaged Panchshell (five principles) for tribal development. The principles envisaged by Pt. Nehru were, however, ignored while settling the Chakma and Hajong refugees in this territory, and the local authorities (traditional tribal Village Councils) were never consulted. The government report notes that the “settlement got started on the basis of the report of U. Chakma the then Political Officer, Pasighat which was highly biased against the indigenous people”. His bias attitude is reflected in a file noting on Settlement of Miao-Bijoynagar Valley, wherein he advised that “too much importance and indulgence should not be given on “tribal reactions” and so-called tribal policies which encourage pampering and spoils the tribals”.

The existing traditional laws are such that no any member of a tribal community is permitted to settle down in the territory belonging to other community. Therefore, settlement of non-natives/foreigners in the tribal territory defeats the very essence of such customary laws.

By the Foreigners Protected Area Order, 1958, the territory of Arunachal Pradesh was declared as protected area. The civilian authority may, by an Order, may prohibit any foreigner or any class of foreigners from entering or remaining in the area, and impose restrictions on the acquisition of land or any interest in the land within the area. The Gauhati High Court by its ruling, dated 30th April 1992, held that the state government has within its jurisdiction to direct the Chakma families, the foreigners, to shift to vacant land as they have no right to seek a permanent place of abode in that area. The court relied upon a ruling of the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court of India, which held that the Executive Government has unrestricted right to expel a foreigner.

The White Paper, issued by the Govt. of Arunachal Pradesh, maintains that the phenomenal growth of the population of the Chakma and Hajong refugees may cause “disaster to the natural eco-system carefully nurtured by the local tribal people through the ages”.  The State has alleged that the Chakmas are indulging in “heinous crime of murder, arson and loot; encroachment of Reserved Forests, manufacturing of arms and ammunitions, and training of the youths in underground activities”.

An Elusive Solution

The half a century old issue of settlement of refugees in Arunachal Pradesh eludes permanent solution probably because the issue has assumed ethnic and political propositions. The Government of India has repeatedly failed to find an amicable solution acceptable to all stake holders. Every party, whether national or regional, takes refuge in the ‘refugee issue’ whenever any political exigency arises. There are reports that the Chakmas are enrolled in the electoral rolls with tacit support from the politicians of the area. If the Chakmas are granted political rights, resourceful refugees may get themselves involved in local politics in order to advance their political and economic objectives.

The solution to the problem seems not forthcoming as the issue has been highly ‘ethnicised’. The Government of Arunachal Pradesh, instead of looking for proper policy framework, has often been successful in giving it an ethnic colour by placing the refugee in direct conflict with ethnic communities.  The Central government, on the other hand, is not politically committed to come to the rescue of either indigenous communities or the refugees. There have always been half-hearted attempts by the Government of India to find a way out of the imbroglio.  

The apex students’ union (AAPSU) had gone to the extent of exploring Arunachalees ethnic connections across the border. The Union’s actual intent may be different but the fact that it is trying to internationalise the issues shows the natives’ utter desperation. It is trying to attract the attention of country and international communities to the fact that the presence of thousands of refugees is a threat to the very survival of native communities.

India, as a responsible member of international community and signatory to various Covenants and Declarations, may not be in the position to ignore the reports of human rights violations. Even the Supreme Court of India has expressed concern over the allegation of human rights violation.  It is the responsibility of every civilized society to ensure the availability of basic facilities for fellow beings.

Indigenous communities contend that while it may be justified to protect the legal and human rights of the refugees but it is more significant to save the indigenous tribals from deprivation and discrimination. The presence of refugees not only threatens the existence of indigenous people but it is a serious threat to the cultural traits of these people.

It is interesting to note that the Confidential Report on Chakma-Hajong Refugees problem, prepared by a Group of Ministers of Government of Arunachal Pradesh, has indicated that there should be problem in granting citizenship to the Chakma and Hajong refugees. The Committee recommended that the refugees should be restricted to designated places and the provisions of Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873 need strict application. The Committee, therefore, indirectly hinted that Chakma-Hajong Refugees may be allowed to stay in the State but with adequate protection-both legal and political- to the indigenous communities.  This may be the most viable solution available considering the rights and interests of both refugees and indigenous communities.

However, there has to be a strong political will to bring about logical solution to the problem of Chakma-Hajong refugees. Any attempted solution has to keep in mind the presence of various refugee groups and legal and illegal immigrants in different parts of the State. There are Yobins and Nepalis in Vijoynagar; Tibetan refugees in different designated camps; Mishings and Adivashis in Lohit and Siang; and thousands of illegal Bangladeshi in various parts of the State. They have their own histories, legal standing and ethnic connections. The recent attempt by the Government of Arunachal Pradesh to grant Permanent Residential Certificates to some of these groups has received violent protests. Therefore, the apprehension of AAPSU that “if the refugees are settled permanently after granting permanent citizenship it is bound to open a flood gate and invite similar demands from Tibetan refugees, Bangladeshis, Nepalis and others for permanent settlement in Arunachal Pradesh”, has to be addressed first if any durable solution is expected.

 (Dr. Bath teaches in the Department of Political Science, Rajiv Gandhi University and can be contacted at [email protected])

Tender cane shoots still at sale

MIAO, Jan 8: During the coordination meeting under the chairmanship of additional deputy commissioner, Miao Tayom Mara in connection with the protection of Namdapha National Park held at Miao Circuit House in November last which was attended by prominent public leaders, administration, police and NPT officials, it was unanimously resolved to ban sale of bamboo and tender cane shoots in the weekly markets of Miao administrative sub-division with immediate effect.  But six weeks after the coordination meeting, the authority concerned is yet to issue the order banning sale of bamboo and tender cane shoots. The sale of cane shoots and dry fishes are perpetrated openly defying every rules and local sentiments. During the coordination meeting it was also decided to deploy strike forces in vulnerable entry points to check flood of these illegal items from reaching the township with the help of local police force but nothing is being done to implement the resolutions drafted. Namdapha Project Tiger Office was entrusted with the task of spreading awareness among general public to discourage hunting, poaching, deforestation and poisoning of streams and rivers but no steps whatsoever in this direction has so far been taken. The general public of Miao sub-division and especially those in the buffer zones of the national park are highly hopeful that steps will be taken to minimize the threats posed.

 

AAPBSU demands solution to Indo-China border issue

ITANAGAR, Jan 8: All Arunachal Pradesh Border Students’ Union (AAPBSU) appealed to the government of India to take up India-China border issue with Chinese counterpart for permanent and concrete solution.

Due to unresolved India-China border issues, the  people of border area witnessed many disputes between the two countries in the recent past.  It also condemned the concern authority of Chinese government for denial visa to senior IAF officer hailing from Arunachal Pradesh without valid reason.

The union further said that Chinese government is claiming Arunachal Pradesh for the last many years, and despite demolition of bunker in Tawang and repeated denial of visa to Arunachal People, the government of India is not taking up any major step to resolve the issue.

It also urged the central government to deploy sufficient security forces along the Indo-China and other international border within Arunachal Pradesh.

Meanwhile, taking serious note over the repeated eviction drive carried out by Assam forest officials in Arunachal Pradesh, the union appealed to the state government to initiate immediate action in the matter and also urged the state government to take up the international border issue with central government as early as possible.

 

Association demands apology

ITANAGAR, Jan 8:  Claiming that case filed against T. Amo SP Changlang was fabricated and baseless and to malign the hard earned reputation of the efficient officer, Paktu Ao Youth Welfare Association today demanded apology from complainant of the said case following acquittal of Amo by the court.

Condemning the case filed against him, the Association said that Amo was not only brilliant student but also an efficient police who have clean image and excellent records. Further it demanded police department to initiate disciplinary legal action against those police personnel responsible for defaming and harassing a reputed police officer.

 

St. Mary’s  Parish Youth meeting

ITANAGAR, Jan 8: The Youth of St Mary’s Catholic Church held their annual meeting under the chairmanship of Fr. Tom Karthik, SDB, the Parish Priest, at Church Hall here.

Peter Dongche, president highlighted the various achievements of the Youth Association in the year 2011 which included training to youth on various musical instruments, successful organization of the visit of Don Bosco relic on May 14, social service to repair the damaged road leading to MLA cottage etc.

The meeting also highlighted the future plans and programmes for the year 2012.

Present in the meeting wereTaw Tebin, General Secretary APCU, Michi Paku, president Don Bosco Alumni, Michi Chalo, joint secretary, Parish Council,  Vishal P. Nabam, Advisor APCU, Chairman Don Bosco College and School Welfare Committee, Yumlam Kaha, APCU Youth Secretary among others.

 

Reservation sought for APST students

ITANAGAR, Jan 8:   In a representation to the Chief Minister on Friday, Arunachal Pradesh Scheduled Tribe Students Union sought 30 percent reservation for APST students in NEE I, NEE II, NEE III of NERIST. The Union also demanded full representation of local youths in Arunachal Cricket Association to represent BCCI affiliated and sponsored games in national level. APSTSU further sought Education Minister for creation of physical education teachers and Arts Carpentry teacher in secondary and higher secondary schools in the state.

Meanwhile, the union said that Chief Minister took positive response with assurance to look into matters. It also informed that the  Education Minister had assured to consider their genuine demands.

 

Union seeks action against assaulter

ITANAGAR, Jan 8:  Condemning the reported physical assault on engineer Lotu Gadi of Hydro Power Development, Tawang recently, Kardu Kardi Students Union (KKSU) today sought authority concerned to take action against the assaulter. In a release, the union expressed its displeasure over the incident and urged the police to arrest the culprit.

 

UAEA to go ahead with bandh

ITANAGAR, Jan 8:   Unemployed Arunachalee Engineers’ Association (UAEA) today reiterated its stand to go ahead with its proposed 12 hours Capital bandh called on January 10 next in protest against alleged failure of the authorities to fulfill its demands on Assistant Engineer (civil) examination episode conducted by Arunachal Pradesh Public Service Commission.

In a release, it said despite high level review enquiry committee constituted by  the Governor,  APPSC is going ahead with viva voice and did  not respond to the  association’s demand so far.

The Association said, during the bandh call  paramilitary, ambulance and pharmaceutical and district administration would be  exempted  from the purview of the bandh.

Earlier UAEA submitted two points memorandum to the Governor demanding re-conduct of the examination and resignation of the Commission chairman.

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Highlight the plight of Chakmas

Dear Editor,

I would like to take this opportunity to highlight some of the issues regarding the reporting of incidents by your esteemed daily. The news titled, "Chakma refugees ransack Diyun PS; AAPSU expresses concern" dated 8th January, 2012 is untrue as far as I have enquired. The news has been highlighted through one perspective only. Only the opinions of the AAPSU has been taken into account of. AAPSU has been against the Chakmas in Arunachal since its formation. Therefore, just by publishing their version of the story is not appropriate according to the ethics of journalism and reporting.

Time and again they have tried to malign the image of the Chakmas in Arunachal through various means; sometimes by making them as thieves; by calling them as refugees; treating them as inferiors and so on. For instance if the same instance would have happened somewhere and not in the areas resided by Chakmas in Diyun, I think the biker would have been given the same treatment or more severe. And as far as Police Station is concerned, the Police were not ready to arrest the accused despite repeated appeals from the Chakma community. Hence, they have demanded through collective action that the accused be arrested. There was no ransacking of Police Station as has been published in the news report. The police should have acted impartially by arresting the accused person instead of trying to dominate the Chakmas.

The Chakmas are also very hardworking and peaceful community. It is true that the Chakmas had to migrate to Arunachal in 1968 due to the construction of a huge dam at Karnafuli river at Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHTs) of  Bangladesh. Its been more than forty years since then and they are still stateless even though they become citizens of India legally. Also, the Supreme Court of India passed an order in 2002 saying that the Chakmas in Arunachal Pradesh must be given citizenship as they are legally citizens of India. By religion, they follow Buddhism which teaches non-violence and compassion as the path of life. It is due to these teachings of the Buddha that the Chakmas in Arunachal are staying peacefully through perseverance despite so much of hardship and hostility.

Therefore, I shall highly appreciate your concern and effort to publish news through the true lens and not just merely what a group which is so anti-Chakma say. I will be highly thankful to you all if you can help in highlighting the deplorable plight of the Chakmas in Arunchal Pradesh in the absence of basic amenities; dysfunctional schools; huge rate of educated unemployment; lack of transportation facilities; lack of banking facilities; Land erosion by the Dehing river; improper and inadequate healthcare facilities etc.

Thanking You in anticipation

Yours,

Sintu Chakma,

Mumbai

 

 

 

Hydro projects and people of Assam

Dear Editor,

Hon'ble Minister Chidambaram suggested of investment in tourism and hydro power in Arunachal Pradesh. People of Arunachal Pradesh are fully convinced; no other alternative of development is in sight. Large percentage of population in Arunachal Pradesh wants to see good roads, flow of tourists and mega dams. They fully understand the meaning of such important developments and its impact on their life. They are fully aware about adverse impacts of such developments also.

Opposition to such developments in Arunachal Pradesh by people of Assam  with support from a section of people from Arunachal Pradesh is not convincing. People of Assam should remember they have oil & tea industry, suitable land for agriculture. People of Arunachal are missing all such benefits. Infrastructure like road and railway came in Assam about 100 yrs ago because of oil & tea whereas there are no proper roads in Arunachal Pradesh even today.

People should understand, dams do not fail as they are being built against safety of many factors. Health of dam can easily be read with the help of instruments in place which is statutory requirement. In case any dam is unsafe on any reason during construction and its use after completion, competent authorities abandon the dam. People opposing dam should not worry about failure of dams in Arunachal. They should encourage people in Arunachal to avail benefit of natural resources available in their state.

People of Assam & Arunachal should remember, few rivers passing their states have origin in China where series of dams are in construction stage. I must say, flood of any magnitude on failure of dam in China will also be regulated through dams in Arunachal Pradesh and safety of people in both states.

People of both states must understand that many dams in J&K, Himachal, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Sikkim, Nepal & Bhutan are being constructed but no opposition by people of Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Jharkhand and Bihar.

Hope to see people are welcoming dams in Arunachal Pradesh and a beautiful future of hard working people around.

Yours,

Harpal Singh,

Chhattisgarh

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e-housing

 

The Constitution entitles people belonging to Scheduled Caste to certain benefits for their upliftment, but  they still lack access to proper education, good health employment opportunities and basic housing facilities. Local governments in most states have initiated several pro-poor programmes to provide them a decent standard of living.

One such intervention is the e-Housing project in Kerala designed to ensure transparency and efficiency in giving housing allowance to the scheduled castes. It offers provision for making online application, processing and sanction of housing assistance.

So far, 1423 houses for the target group have been completed and a total of 2000 beneficiaries have opened postal savings bank and an amount of Rs 5 crores has been disbursed through the system.

e-Housing project has completely changed the disbursement for housing construction’s scenario in Kerala.  The beneficiaries feel confident as this service is extended exclusively for their needs. It has sped up application processing and sanctioning of disbursements so that beneficiaries can make payments and build houses on time.

Copyright © 2008, The Arunachal Times Publications Pvt. Ltd., Siang House, Sector - E, Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh - 791111, India

All rights reserved.

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