Pul hands over ex-gratia for Tawang firing victims, assures swift action after enquiry report
TAWANG, May 11: Chief Minister Kalikho Pul on Wednesday handed over ex-gratia relief of Rs 18 lakhs and promised government jobs to the next of the kin of those who were killed in the May 2 firing incident at police station here.
Two persons were killed and 11 others injured in the firing. Of them, six have suffered major injuries.
The Chief Minister assured that strict action would be taken against those found guilty. He also informed the aggrieved about the two on-going magisterial enquiries into the incident-- one at the state level by Commissioner Hage Khoda and another at local level by Jang ADC Dilip Kr. Chutia.
“Once the reports are tabled, swift action will be taken,” assured the Chief Minister to a gathering attended by the victims’ families, the injured and the members of the peace committee constituted recently by the district administration.
The Chief Minister also handed over Rs 6 lakhs for those with major injury and Rs 1 lakh with minor injury.
Reportedly, four of the injured victims are being treated at different hospitals in Guwahati and one at NEIGRIHMS, Shillong. The CM said he would be visiting those patients soon.
“No amount of relief can compensate the loss, but we must ensure that such tragedies do not recur in future,” said the CM.
The Chief Minister ordered the lifting of section 144 CrPC from the town.
While appealing to the people “to work collectively to get Tawang back to normalcy,” the CM said that the government is ready to deal “firmly” with those wanting to disturb peace again.
“People must understand that police and administration are not your enemy. They are here because people wanted it. So any grievances must be expressed without disturbing the peace and solutions must be found without use of force,” said the Chief Minister.
He, however, appreciated the magnanimity and maturity shown by the people of Tawang to restore peace by showing willingness to work together.
He regretted that he couldn’t visit Tawang at the earliest after one failed attempt when he had to return from Bhutan due to bad weather. The Chief Minister, however, informed that he had personally met the PM, Home Minister, Chief of Army Staff and apprised them of the situation in Tawang and had requested for relief during his visit to New Delhi last week.
The CM further handed over ex-gratia of Rs 4 lakhs to each family of the victims killed in Thongleng landslide on April 23, where reportedly two people had died. The family also received Rs 1 lakh from the Governor’s relief fund. The four other injured in the landslide each received Rs. 25,000 from the Governor’s relief fund.
The Chief Minister was accompanied by Power Minister TN Thongdok, MLA Jarkar Gamlin, DGP in charge Nabin Payeng and Commissioner Hage Kojeen.
Pul also visited the Tawang police station to take stock of the extent of damage. According to the local administration, twenty seven vehicles were damaged on the day that included those of police department, magistrates and those requisitioned from other departments. (PRO to CM)
Rawat set to return as CM following SC's nod
Uttarakhand development a big blow to BJP: Congress
ITANAGAR, May 11: Congress leader Harish Rawat is all set to be reinstated as Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, over six weeks after he was ousted by the Centre, with the Supreme Court today putting its stamp of approval on the floor test in the Assembly yesterday.
Meanwhile, Arunachal Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) termed it as victory of democracy and a big blow to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP.
“Modi and BJP have no respect for the Constitution and democracy. They first dismissed a democratically elected government having clear mandate in Arunachal Pradesh, and then in Uttarkhand. Now, Modi and BJP may not dare to dislodge other non-BJP States,” said APCC chief Padi Richo.
In case of Arunachal, Richo said, the Governor was the person behind the whole political episode, who allegedly worked at the directive of the Centre.
“A Governor has no power under the Constitution to prepone the assembly session or summon any session without the aid and advice of the Chief Minister and the Council of Ministers. According to the Article 175 clause (2) of the Constitution of India, “the Governor can send messages to the legislative assembly with respect to a bill pending in the legislature”. However JP Rajkhowa twisted the article and converted the message into an order by asking the legislative assembly to conduct assembly session as per his date without consulting the CM and cabinet ministers,” Richo claimed.
The APCC president hoped the judiciary will take appropriate decision as per law.
Victory of democracy: Tuki
ITANAGAR: Former Chief Minister and Congress veteran Nabam Tuki hailed the Supreme Court verdict declaring Harish Rawat as the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand after paving way for a floor test under its supervision.
Uttarakhand in the recent months had witnessed political turmoil similar to what Arunachal Pradesh had witnessed.
While Wednesday’s SC verdict put an end to the turmoil in Uttarakhand by reinstating the Congress government with Rawat as the Chief Minister, Arunachal Pradesh and Nabam Tuki are still awaiting justice from the apex court.
“This is a victory of democracy over divisive forces and a victory of our Constitution over unconstitutional forces,” Tuki said in a statement here this afternoon. Congratulating Rawat on the victory, the former Chief Minister expressed faith on the judiciary and said that though justice delayed, truth has prevailed.
He took a dig at the central government and the BJP terming the SC verdict as a big slap on covert operations to topple a democratically elected government.
“Though our case is still pending in the Supreme Court, by today’s judgment we are sure justice will be delivered to us sooner than later,” Tuki added.
Patient dies before evacuation
ITANAGAR, May 11: A day before he was to be evacuated for further treatment at Christian Medical College, Vellore, Nogen Biswas, 50, died of chronic asthma at the Tomo Riba State Hospital on Tuesday at 8.30pm.
Chief Minister Kalikho Pul, who was to personally evacuate him by a chopper on Wednesday upto Guwahati, had assured all financial support for his treatment at CMC Vellore, during his visit to the hospital on Tuesday.
A casual carpenter with PWD Department, Biswas had retired in 2008 and was admitted at the state hospital for chronic persistent bronchial asthma.
Shocked by the death, the CM offered his condolences and prayed for the strength to the bereaved family to bear the loss and handed over Rs 1 lakh to them.
Meanwhile, the Chief Minister on Wednesday safely evacuated three other patients: Lammuarsang Simte, Minyum Potom and Giabu Poda till Guwahati, as he had promised during his visit to the state hospital.
Simte, who has been referred to ILBS in New Delhi, accompanied by his mother and elder sister have flown to New Delhi. While the other two patients referred to NEIGRIHMS, Shillong; Potom is reportedly admitted and Poda is still awaiting appointment to be admitted.
The Chief Minister further assured his help to the three patients during their course of treatment.
Governor seeks SBI help for entrepreneurs, Pul calls for service improvement
ITANAGAR, May 11: Chief General Manager, State Bank of India (SBI), Guwahati, PVSLN Murthy has called on Governor of Arunachal Pradesh JP Rajkhowa at Raj Bhavan and Chief Minister Kalikho Pul in his office today.
During the meetings, while the Governor said that the SBI must assist the entrepreneurs to set up micro, small and medium enterprises in the State, CM Pul apprised the SBI CGM regarding the repeated complaints of poor service of the bank received from various parts of the state and asked him to improve the services of banks in the state capital and other parts of the state.
Highlighting on the potentials of the State in various sectors including horticulture, handloom and handicrafts, the Governor suggested that the bankers must provide financial assistances in setting up of fruit processing and preserving units, food processing units, indigenous jewellery units and help in developing the industrial sector.
The Governor exhorted the SBI officials to play pivotal role in economic and financial empowerment of the people, particularly the rural communities.
The Governor also stressed on meeting the target of setting up of 200 bank branches in the State. He said that due to this inability, Jan Dhan Yoyana is not having desired impact.
The Governor asked the SBI officials to raise the number of ATM in the State in addition to the maintenance of the branches. He also insisted that SBI must improve the Credit-Deposit Ratio. Being lead Bank, SBI must take lead role in improving the CD Ratio.
The Governor advised the officials to sensitise the people, encourage them towards entrepreneurship and provide them trainings on management, accounting, project profiles and implementation.
The Governor stressed on Joint Workshops or Campaigns involving the Bankers, the Entrepreneurs and the Officials from Government departments such as Industry, Textile and handicrafts, horticulture, Agriculture and allied sectors etc.
While discussing on different ways to strengthen the economy of the State, the Governor suggested for ‘District Industrial Potential Survey’. He wished that State Government take up the survey at the earliest for future planning and polices. Principal Secretary Satya Gopal, who also attended the meeting suggested for Mobile Banks as internet connectivity and availability of premises are some of the problems.
The SBI CGM, Guwahati briefed the Governor on ‘State Bank Cash Point’ and ‘Customer Service Point’ using VSATs (Very Small Aperture Terminal). He also briefed on mechanisms to bring visible impacts in the State, amongst other. The CGM was accompanied by senior SBI officials including Deputy General Manager, Dibrugarh Tilak Kumar Dhar, Deputy General Manager Bejoy Kumar Kuzur and Regional Manager, Itanagar Praveen Kumar Brahma during his meeting with Governor.(PRO, Raj Bhavan)
During the meeting with the SBI CGM at CM’s office, Chief Minister further requested him to enhance the sanctioning power of the banks in the state capital and to open more branches in the capital complex so that the rush is reduced. He further asked him to upgrade the branches at Pasighat, Aalo, Tezu, Roing and in other district headquarters of the state.
Citing the importance of service provided by the banks in the present world, he asked him to open more branches in the areas where there is no bank.
The Chief Minister also asked the Assistant Regional Manager of Rural Bank to open more banks branches in interior villages too in order to give service and loan benefits to the farmers. He suggested the bankers to simplify the loan process to make it more customer friendly.
Pul assured the bankers that the state govt is ready to give security as well as logistic support to the banks in transhiftment of cash. If needed the govt. is also ready to provide helicopter service for lifting of the currency notes.
On being asked why the bank cheques were not entertained by the State Bank of India in the last one or two months in the state, the CGM informed that because of Assembly Election in Assam, the cash for the banks in the state could not be transported in due time.
The CGM regretted for the inconvenience caused to the people of the state during the last one or two months.
The CGM also informed that Govt of India has agreed to reimburse the cost of V SATs and the procurement and supply of V-SATs is expected within one month. Once it is done, there will be improvement in the net connectivity to the branches as well as in service delivery.
He further informed that the State Bank of India is planning to set up Kiosks or Customer Service Point (CSP) in interior areas where there is no proper road connectivity and bank till date, once the V-Sat provision is completed. The CSP will have a transaction capacity of Rs 10,000 withdrawal and deposit with new account opening facilities.
In this regard, the SBI is already working with the state govt to identify the areas where CSP can be set up. He also informed that the SBI is planning to involved educated unemployed youths of the state for opening CSP in interior areas.
He suggested the state govt to adopt Cyber Safe treasury system and Agregator in the state while informing that more than 45 banks are already integrated under Agregator.
The CGM was accompanied by Tilak Kumar Dhar, Deputy General Manager Dibrugarh who is the incharge of entire Arunachal Pradesh and Assistant General Managers during his meeting with CM.
Meet brave Dorjee Lhamu, who saved woman in Tawang
[ Amar Sangno ]
Other than rustling tree leaves, Dorjee Lhamu (26), a labourer working under Border Road Organisation (BRO) in Lumla circle, Tawang district was not able to hear anything properly on the fateful evening of April 23 last as the rumbling storm and slashing rain had filled the ambience with full decibel. The moment after all the paranormal activities of raging mother nature subsides around 8 PM, Lhamu was gasped by a human voice crying out for help from the rubble created by nature’s fury. Few minutes before, the nature already played havoc as the landslide swept away at least 10 dwelling houses, buried alive two septuagenarians identified as Sangey Chomu(72) and Sangey Gombu at Thongleng village(25 kilometers off Tawang) under Lumla ADC.
It is said that as a precautionary measures, district administration had already directed the residents to move at safer places especially after Tawang landslide that claimed 16 lives.
At first Lhamu was shivering, as nervousness ran through her back, chilling down the spinal cord. However, braving the nagging fear, she rushed to the debris wadding and plodding through mud and started groping frantically only to find a woman trapped under the debris. Lhamu tried his level best to clear the debris and rescue the woman. However, she could hardly move the heavy wall and mud that almost crushed her. Without losing time, the brave labourer immediately ran back to BRO camp and asked the BRO personnel and nearby people to save the woman who trapped alive inside the debris. Later, a horde of BRO personnel along with few villagers rushed to the spot and started rescue operation. After, three hours of long battle, victim Gom Yangzom (30) was pulled out from mud-laden rubble amidst wild jubilation around 11 PM. Timely and courageous act of brave labourer Dorjee Lhamu had saved the life of Yangzom.
Terming the heroic deed of Lhamu as inspiring, Heritage and Cultural Preservation Council of Arunachal Pradesh, a Tawang-based NGO has appealed to the district administration to recommend the name of Dorjee Lhamu for the state and national bravery award.
NGO President, Jambey Tsering Kee, who is a lawyer by profession, informed The Arunachal Times that Lhamu’s courageous act was not acknowledged by any individual and administration so far. Jambey further added that though Tawang and Thongleng landslide news hit the headlines of local and national dailies, there wasn’t a single line for Lhamu’s courageous deed.
“Sadly her name has not even appeared in local dailies. She deserves acknowledgement atleast for what she did,” retorted Advocate Jambey Tsering Kee.
When contacted, Lumla ADC Mika Nyori said that ADC office is yet to receive any representation from any organisation asking them to officially acknowledge the courageous act of Lhamu and BRO personnel. However, he divulged that he had directed his SDMO to prepare a report on the incident and submit it to him immediately.
This daily could not speak to the brave woman Dorjee Lhamu despite repeated attempt, the story is filed as told by Advocate Jambey Tsering Kee.
Kanubari Electoral Battle: Party, Finance and Personality
[ Nani Bath ]
The 58-Kanubari (ST) bye-election has been necessitated because of ‘resignation’ of the incumbent legislator, Gabriel Dengwang Wangsu, on “moral grounds”. Reportedly, on 16th September 2015 a group of around 17 MLAs were invited for a dinner party at the residence of the then chief minister, Nabam Tuki to discuss the “prevailing political issue”. Gabriel alleges that “soon after an ‘irrevocable’ resignation letter signed by each of the MLAs were collected and handed over to the chief minister”.
It still baffles me as to why only two letters had been submitted to the speaker for acceptance out of ‘around 17 legislators’. Resignation letters of Gabriel and Wanglam Sawin (55-Khonsa East) were accepted and the same was notified on 1st October 2015.
Judicial actions went against both Gabriel and Sawin. The appeal was finally dismissed by the Supreme Court, and the bench hearing the case remarked, “The resignation letters bear your signatures and moreover, why did MLAs keep quiet for almost 10 days after submitting their resignation”.
The Assembly Constituency (58-Kanubari), a part of 29-Niausa-Kanubari till 1990, provides some interesting electoral features. Noksong Boham(Janata) and Wangnam Wangshu (PPA) were elected unopposed in 1978 (the first in the state) and 1980 General Elections to the Legislative Assembly respectively. The following elections (1984) witnessed the highest ever number of contestants in the electoral history of the state, with ten candidates. Noksong Boham of INC was elected.
After attainment of statehood in 1987, delimitation of assembly constituencies was undertaken, increasing the number of constituencies to 60. In the fourth (1990) and fifth elections (1995) Noksong Boham of INC got re-elected. In all four consecutive Vidhan Sabha elections after 1995- 1999, 2004, 2009 and 2014 - Newlai Tingkhatra won as INC candidate.
Gabriel Wangsu had contested unsuccessfully from the constituency in 2009 and 2014 as a People’s Party of Arunachal candidate and an Independent respectively. He, however, won in a by-election on October 15 last year following the death of sitting Congress MLA Newlai Tingkhatra, a month after the Assembly elections. Gabriel contested as a Congress candidate and emerged successful by defeating his lone rival Rongnai Maham of BJP by 885 votes.
Kanubari is a sub-division under Longding district, having three blocks: Lawnu (1,271 voters), Chubam (3,187 voters) and Kanubari (6278 voters). Each block is represented by a ZPM, all three blocks ZPMs belonging to INC.
Jyae Wangsu of INC is contesting against the PPA candidate, Gabriel Wangsu. The INC candidate is a current Zila Parishad Member from Chubam block. Lawnu block ZPM, Wangrang Wangjen, had filed his nomination as an Idependent candidate only to withdraw his candidature. Kanubari block is being represented by Mithali Wangjen, considered politically close to Tingkhatra family.
The BJP, after announcing its intent to contest the bye-poll, did not put up party nominee. The party decides not to contest against the PPA candidate, Gabriel, as per the “wishes of the party High-Command”, and “keeping in view the long-term interests of the alliance between PPA and BJP”, says a senior BJP member. The ‘understanding’ between the parties assumes significance to “justify our (BJP) call for Congress-Mukt (Free Congress) Arunachal Pradesh”, states Dominic Tadar, state BJP general secretary.
Congress candidate, Jyae Wangsu, is confident of his victory traversing on the issue of ‘resignation’ of Gabriel Wangsu from the membership of Arunachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly. He would say “if a highly-educated leader like Gabriel is unable to take care of his Assembly seat, how would he pay attention to the interests of his people”. Gabriel wrote in his resignation letter that he is tendering his resignation on “moral grounds” as he failed to “live up to the expectations of the people”.
Another factor that the Congress candidate is counting on is that all three ZPMs (all Congress) are in his support. When asked about possible reason for withdrawal of candidature of Independent candidate, he simply quips, “He (Wangrang) is with me”. Moreover, “I am contesting from Chubam block which has not seen any representation in the Assembly”. It is likely that ‘local sentiment’ may come into play, paying rich electoral dividends.
Gabriel puts his opinion straight. His honesty, truthfulness and being “able to connect with the poor people of his constituency” would be his mantras for this electoral battle. He considers himself as a leader who is capable of doing something ‘off-the-tract’ developmental activities. He has concept, energy, and, of course, will have sufficient funds (for development) being with the government of the day.
A highly articulate, journalist-turned-politician, believes that the combination of three ingredients would make a candidate successful in any constituency of Arunachal Pradesh. The ingredients are: Party, Finance and Personality.
Unlike rest of the states in India, pro-incumbency factor remains a major force in any elections. As such, a candidate with right party (party in power) has an added advantage. Finances would flow automatically thereafter. It may not be that every voter tends to vote on material consideration, and for those who have no ‘material interests’ personality factor counts. There can be no second opinion about Gabriel’s personality.
Politically the Kanubari bye-election cannot be seen in isolation. It has wider ramifications having a potential either to upset or cement so-called ‘understanding’ between Pul-led PPA government and the BJP.
Denying party (BJP) ticket to a dedicated worker, Rongnai Maham, has not gone down well with the party cadres, particularly in Tirap and Longding districts. The Executive Meeting of the BJP, Tirap district, expressed “its strong sentiments and condemnations to the act of not issuing party ticket in the ensuing Kanubari bye-election”. The Meeting resolved that “….compromising with other political parties will definitely discourage the party workers and eventually lead to a suicidal of the party….”
It may be mentioned here that no official alliance strategy has yet been finalized between the parties (BJP and PPA). It is just based on an understanding, which some cadres have called as ‘illicit relations’. They look forward for a kind of partnership based on mutual trust and equality. General consideration among the BJP workers is that ‘Kanubari-type’ understanding may be repeated in other constituencies in the days to come.
It has been rumored that there was an agreement between 11 BJP MLAs and the MLAs of Pul camp to re-elect Gabriel and Sawin. “If this is the case”, a BJP worker questions, “Why Gabriel was not fielded as BJP nominee?” He adds, “We only hope that the party (BJP) is not drowning into Pul’s ‘Grand strategy’ of ditching the party”.
My sources have confirmed that the ‘negotiation’ for supporting PPA candidate did take place at the level of national general secretary of BJP and the chief minister. A possible reason for BJP not insisting on its own candidate could be, as a BJP leader says, that “eventually the PPA would merge with the BJP”. The BJP leadership seems to have understood such compulsions of Pul and PPA.
However, there are apprehensions among the grassroots BJP workers. A gentleman sarcastically puts, “I joined BJP as the party did not have leaders of Narayansamy-type”. Congress dissident group led by Kalikho Pul had accused V. Narayansamy (AICC in-charge of Arunachal Pradesh) of formatting trouble within the party.
“Congress must first save itself in Arunachal Pradesh before saving democracy in India” is a candid statement offered by many Congress workers in Kanubari. Scores of them agree in unison that the Congress candidate is like an ‘abandoned child’ with no party functionaries visible for campaigning. Some top leaders of the party are believed to have met the candidate somewhere in Sonari, a small town in Assam.
Politics, what Lasswell says, “is who gets what, when, how”. An addendum to his definition, in the context of Arunachal Pradesh, would be “how much”. Many local leaders did confide to me that they have had negotiations with the chief minister. It remains to be seen what kind of negotiations took place and the kind of commitments assured by the chief minister.
Whoever wins the present election, it will have long term implications for the Bharatiya Janata Party. I would not be surprised if, in future, someone writes an article, “2016 Kanubari Bye-election: BJP’s Blunder”. (The writer can be reached at [email protected])
State rejoice achievement of two Arunahcalee girls
ITANAGAR, May 11: The whole state of Arunachal Pradesh has erupted in joy over the news of two young Arunachalee girls Duyu Kampu and Chajat Lowang cracking prestigious Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) examination. The congratulation messages are pouring in for the two brilliant achievers.
Governor JP Rajkhowa has congratulated Chajat Lowang and Duyu Kampu for successfully competing at the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) Examination 2015.
Conveying his warm felicitation to them for the accomplishment, the Governor expressed hope that they will perform their duties with utmost dedication, commitment, rectitude and sincerity in times to come. He further expressed his confidence that they will inspire many more students from Arunachal Pradesh to go for Civil Services Examination on regular basis.
The Governor observing that their success is just the beginning of a long journey in the service of the people, wished that both Lowang and Kampu would travel through it with equal confidence, zeal and enthusiasm, upholding the highest traditions of the Civil Services.
The Governor also congratulated Ramakrishna Sarada Mission Girl's School, Khonsa and North Eastern Region Institute of Science and Technology, Nirjuli for the splendid performance of their alumni.
First Lady of the State Rita Rajkhowa also wished Lowang and Kampu a bright and fruitful career in the service of the Nation. PRO to Raj Bhawan
Chief Minister Kalikho Pul also expressed his delight on learning the news of Chajat Lowang and Duyu Kampu for being qualified and cracking the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) Examinations and congratulated them.
“This is indeed a moment of great pride for the state and I must commend them for having set an example for our youth, particular our young women,” he said. He added that the duo have shown how one can achieve milestones on the sheer dint of determination and hard work amidst all hardships and deterrents.
He also conveyed his great appreciation to the parents of Chajat and Kampu saying that he salutes the support and encouragement that the families have given to the pursuit of their goals.
Taking the opportunity, the Chief Minister said that the government would extend financial assistance of Rs. 2 lakhs and Rs 3 lakhs to all candidates who qualify the Prelims and the Mains examinations of the Central Service Exams including UPSC/IFoS.
The apex student body of state, the All Arunachal Pradesh students’ Union (AAPSU) stated that their achievement shall serve as positive encouragement to thousands of young Arunachalees who aspire for civil services.
AAPSU while rejoicing the success, expressed concern over degrading education system in the state especially the pathetic condition of government schools. “One can clearly witness that most of those who qualify for UPSC & state level civil services exams in today’s time have completed their studies from private institutions. Very few of the aspirants from govt. institutions make it to the qualifying list in the civil services and other prestigious exams including the state level entrance exams. This trend is totally detrimental to the interest of the students’ community in the state as majority of them belong to poor family background and cannot afford to send their wards to study in pvt. institutions. There is urgent need to improve quality of government schools,” stated AAPSU in a release.
The Speaker of Arunachal Pradesh State Legislative Assembly Wangki Lowang, Education Minister Wanglin Lowangdong, MLA Tirong Aboh and Tirap Deputy Commissioner Ravi Jha have congratulated Chazat Lowang on her brilliant achievement. They expressed hope that her success in the elite UPSC examination would inspire the other students of Tirap and the state.
Hydro power in Arunachal - still remains a distant dream!
[ Mara Kocho ]
Arunachal Pradesh is considered power house of India for having hydro power potential with installed capacity of about 58,000MW which is 1/3rd of Hydro potential in India and 4/5thof Hydropower potential in NER. The Govt. of Arunachal Pradesh (GoAP), in its endeavour to develop hydro power in the state, and with the objective to encourage investment in Power sector from private developers, adopted Small Hydro Power Policy 2007 (upto 25MW)and State Hydro Power Policy 2008 (above 25MW).
GoAP, to tap and harness Hydro Power in the state, has Department of Hydro Power Development (DHPD), Hydro Power Development Corporation of Arunachal Pradesh Limited (HPDCAPL), GoAP Enterprises and Arunachal Pradesh Energy Development Agency (APEDA) for development of renewable energies including hydro in Pico & Micro capacity in its disposal. Other hydro power developers in the state are NHPC, NEEPCO, SJVN etc. from public sector and Reliance, Jindal, GMR, Bhilwara, CESC etc., from private sector to whom, so far 143 hydro projects with installed capacity of 46,442MW in the state have been allotted. If the projects allotted to Public and Private developers materialises, GoAP would receive about 5870 MW free power. After accounting its consumption, the state would be having surplus power of 5000 MW which means the state would be earning about Rs.7740 Crores per annum. However, the progress of the hydro projects except few is neither known in public domain nor progressing at the pace one would desire it to be.
DHPD, although headed by three chief engineers, as per record, has hydro power stations at 119 sites (4 sites defunct) with installed capacity of mere 62.60MW in all over Arunachal Pradesh in Pico, Micro, Small capacities whereas in actual they should have created 100s of Meghawatt so far. They had been, in the past, allotted about Rs 416 Crs under PM package for completion of certain existing plants and construction of new SHP in the state but DHPD is finding difficulties in getting their projects completed due to non-cooperation of M/s Nortech Power Project Pvt Ltd. (NPPPL) Kolkata, the project executing agency. Further, the projects under operational are also suffering huge setback as most of the projects are lying either defunct or partially working or working stations operating at very low Plan Load factor(PLF).
HPDCAPL on the other hand, since its inception, is yet to own a commissioned hydro project. The corporation, as on date, has only one ongoing SHP of 3MW at Zemithang under PM package). The project was commenced in 2009 and to be completed by 2011 as per agreement. But this project also, similar to any other project of DHPD, suffered inordinate delay in commissioning due to non-cooperation of M/s NPPPL Kolkata. Few SHPs developing in its own, are in DPR completion stage. The corporation is having 26% Joint Venture (JV) for three Mega Hydro Projects with M/s Jindal Power Ltd; Etalin HEP-3097MW, Kamala HEP-1800MW & Atunli HEP-500MW. All the JV projects of corporation are held up for MoEF&C clearance. And APEDA, a GoAP agency to develop renewable energy in the state have developed many Pico & Micro hydro projects in the state but most of them are lying defunct without generating a single unit. They also had been allotted with more than Rs 48 Cr. from PM package during the Congress regime at Centre and state to develop hydro projects but not much has happened.
As stated above, GoAP, so far, has allotted 143 Hydro Projects with installed capacity of 46,442MW to CPSUs and Private Developers on Built Own Operate & Transfer (BOOT) basis. The allotment of almost all the feasible hydro projects (in terms of its commercial exploitability), to my opinion, was done by GoAP, hastily from 2002 onwards without having been done enough study on social impact assessment which is an important study in addition to environment impact study for successful development of any hydro project.
A local youth from Seppa, East Kameng, once asked me “When are the 225MW Talong-Londa HEP by GMR and 45MW Fachang HEP & 90MW Pappu Valley project by CESC going to be started?” When countered with “Why?” he said “We will never allow these projects to happen in our place as no one, not even Govt has ever told us that such projects are being developed in our place”.
He went on to say “We are inspired by social activists like Akhil Gogoi and Medha Patkar, who are pioneer in opposing construction of hydro projects across India.” He further added “We are well aware of its negative impact such as difficulties in resettlement & rehabilitation, floods, submergence etc. as entire Arunachal Pradesh falls under high seismic zone (Zone-V) in eastern Himalaya”.
Although, it is one of the cases but I’m sure the same sentiments, some are genuine, some misguided, must be running down to the mind of every project affected local. The glaring example is the recent Police firing incident at Tawang in which two youths were killed for opposing construction of dams. There are very high chances of every hydro project in the state getting opposed from locals, neighbouring Assam, NGOs and other pressure groups in one way or others. Some of them are vested interests to make easy money, some are socially misguided, some are politically motivated, some of them are having misconception about the project implementation.
A section of people in Arunachal, Assam and pressure groups and NGOs are suffering from chronic greed, jealousy and catastrophobia specifically Chronophobia, Antlophobia, Seismophobia etc. in regards to Hydro Power development.
The state Govt is now paying the price for its hasty decisions on project allotment as the projects allotted to developers (CPSUs& Private sector) are at present in complete untidy situation without moving an inch towards its completion. The developers are finding it extremely difficult to start new projects and make further progress in already started projects, hence held up for one reason or the other. The projects already started are also not showing any sign of progress except 600MW Kameng Hydel Project (KEP) and 110MW Pare HEP, both projects, being developed by NEEPCO slated to be commissioned by 2016. 2000MW Lower Subansiri HEP by NHPC is also halted due to opposition effected by Akhil Gogoi, RTI activist and his group from Assam. Other potential projects too are held up and officially delayed inordinately for not getting Environment, Forest & Climate Change clearance from MoEF&C Govt. of India and land acquisition from GoAP. But the actual reasons for delay in project commencement is more than the official reasons as already stated. The project developers who signed MoUs with Govt. are finding so much complicacies that some of them are even resorted to selling off their projects further on to other company e.g. Fachang 45MW HEP and Papu Valley HEP-90MW in East Kameng, initially acquired by India Bulls Pvt. Ltd. is sold off to Calcutta Electric Service Corporation Ltd. (CESC) Kolkata. Hence, it appears that Hydro Project in Arunachal still remains a dream to be realized.
While interacting with developers and financial institutes such as World Bank, SBI etc. during 8th National Hydro Power Convention with theme “Harnessing of Hydro Power in North Eastern Himalaya for Progress of NER”, attended by dignitaries of India & Overseas, held at Guwahati on 19th to 20th November 2015, it came to know that the investors and financiers are highly sceptical of making investment in hydro sector in NER particularly in Arunachal Pradesh for many reasons, although there exist couple of hydro policies to woo investors.
There are many reasons for the investors and developers to be in the state of sceptical about the projects in Arunachal Pradesh particularly in their respective long term business planning. Firstly, average project implementation cost is very high (Rs 12-15 Cr per MW). Secondly, the hydro projects gestation period is longer due to the projects been located in extremely difficult area where other supporting infrastructure such as approach road, telecommunication network, and other means of communication is hardly available. Fourthly, locals, misguided by few vested interests are highly non-cooperative and negative. Fifthly, there is no power transmission line available nearby to the project for evacuation of generated power which means the developer has to construct the line, hence further undermine the project viability. Sixthly, getting environment, forest and climate clearance from MoEF&C, GOI and land acquisition from GoAP is a herculean task. Seventhly, demand for unreasonable compensation rate on resettlement and rehabilitation. Eighthly, steep competition from other renewable energy sources such as Solar and Wind power. Lastly, present subsidy supports of Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE), Govt of India, to the tune of Rs.7.5 Cr per MW to Hydro Project developer in NER is very minimal.
Therefore, the hydro projects, almost all are held up with no sign of progress. Public of Arunachal is now bearing the brunt of created mess, perception of investors and of course nature’s curse in Hydro sector, thereby depriving the state of being developed.
The gamut of problems from obvious negative attitudes of developers, investors, banking sectors etc. to local complicacies, nature’s curses, underdevelopment, statutory clearance, people’s ill-information about hydro technology and their misconception about the project has to be tackled by GoAP quickly before it goes out of hand. The valid sentiment of investors, developers and financier has to be reconciled by the GoAP and GoI at the earliest to win their confident back and regain the initial investment tempo for early completion of the allotted hydro projects and for future. To overcome the obstacles, GoAP has to formulate some action plans and implement it quickly.
State Govt, in order to streamline hydro development mess in the state, first of all has to take the project affected locals into absolute confidence for new project proposal and should reconcile the people’s mind-set for project already allotted. GoAp should put emphasis on taking up only Small Hydro Project (SHP-up to 25MW) as SHPs are normally run-of-river project and does not require environment clearance from MOE&F. Local people need to be sensitized about the benefits of hydro projects within their locality. The project owner as a developer has certain statutory responsibilities to take up development activities within the vicinity of project area as per Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) under Company Act 1956 and Reclamation Act 1963.
Awareness campaign and brains-storming seminars involving different pressure groups, NGOs, Student Unions, Welfare Associations, Govt/PSUs, Developers, Hydro Project Experts, Professors & Lecturers from NERIST, RGU & NIT etc. should be conducted at regular interval to do away the technological misconception which is the main causes of phobias amongst the people about the hydro projects. Public/ pressure group from Assam should also be invited in such seminars. GoAP should also conduct seminar on investment opportunity and hydro development in the state on regular interval amongst prospective investors, developers, financial institutes, power trading companies etc. In such seminar officials from IREDA, MNRE, MoEF&C and CEA should also be invited for all round discussions. GoAP should also pursue extensively with the Govt of India for early grant of statutory clearances such as Environment, Forest & Climate Change and revision of e-flow. MNRE should be convinced for increment of subsidy support from Rs7.5Cr per MW to at least Rs10-12Cr Per MW. Govt should seriously consider corporatisation of DHPD and Power Department so that power sector is managed professionally in similar line to that of any other states in India. Today, in Power Sector, almost all the state in India, has made Power and Hydro Power department into Corporation to manage power sector with the motive to generate revenue for the state. Taking the advantage of Central Govt Schemes like Trans Arunachal Highway (TAH), BADP, Comprehensive Transmission for NER, Deen Dhayal Upadhyaya Gram Joyti Yojana (DDUGJY) and Decentralised Distributive Generation (DDG) in the state, Govt can provide solace to the developers by prioritising the implementation of these central schemes to the hydro project construction areas. Till Resettlement & Rehabilitation Act 2013 is passed in parliament and implemented in state, GoAP should take the responsibility of acquiring the land first from landowners and then pass on to the developers maintaining highest level of fairness and transparency so that the projects development does not suffer from delay and financial loss.
GoAP, with proper action plans taking all factors into consideration in hydro sector, would definitely success in its ambition to tap the hydro resources to the fullest. The states’ success in Hydro will not only make Arunachal self-reliant but also will contribute India to a great extent in its fight against the Global Climate Change as promised in the last COP21 United Nation Conference on Climate at Paris.
However, at the end of the day, it is the state Govt, who has to give final call on any developmental front including Hydro Power with proper and relevant policies, actions, closures and utilisation of its natural resources. State Govt, at the end, also should not forget that people of Arunachal has every right to ask, as to how-why-where & what actions the Govt have taken so far for its self-reliant or self-dependent and to prevent state’s economic suffers from negative growth. (The writer is a DGM, HPDCAPL, Itanagar, can be reached at [email protected]
AICTE approval for RGU’s CSE Dept
ITANAGAR, May 11: Department of Computer Science & Engineering of Rajiv Gandhi University has been granted All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) approval and recognition to conduct PG course from the academic session 2016-17 with a sanctioned intake of 18 students. This department is the only institute in Arunachal Pradesh which has been approved for PG course by the AICTE from the session 2016-17.
The department of Computer Science & Engineering has been receiving positive comments from various accreditation agencies like NAAC and AICTE. The Vice Chancellor, Prof. T. Mibang has appreciated the achievement of the department and assured extension of support for any future endeavor. He said that with AICTE approval granted to the department, post graduate students with GATE scores will immensely benefit from MHRD based scholarships, in addition to other grants from AICTE in near future.
The Deputy Registrar Academic of RGU Dr. David Pertin informed that a 3 member high level visiting team visited the university and inspected the department in April this year for effecting the approval.
APYC leaders resign
ITANAGAR, May 11: Arunachal Pradesh Youth Congress (APYC) Vice presidents -- Honipa Sono Yangfo, R N Lalum, Shilley Sonam and general secretaries – Nabam Nakam, Bakimso Towshik, Kafa Bagang and Emumi Mega and Secretaries -- Tai Tache and Nirmal Khadka in a joint press statement said that they have resigned from their respective post and also from the primary membership of the Indian National Congress.
‘Reassess land compensation’
ITANAGAR, May 11: All Arunachal National Highway Development Committee in its representation to Chief Secretary on Wednesday requested the authority to re-asses the bill that being prepared by the PWD Highway department for land compensation in Lower Subansiri district. It claimed that Govt approval rate is not able to meet up the compensation of land owners.
The committee further said that despite completion of tender process years back, the road projects are yet to start due to delay in payment of compensation bill. It also sought for re-survey of Kurung Kumey and Kra-Daadi districts road from Joram to Koloriang.
APPSU demands PS at Sangdupota
ITANAGAR, May 11: The All Papum Poma Students Union (APPSU) has appealed to the Chief Minister Kalikho Pul to establish a police station in Sangdupota circle. With fast growing population in the area there is urgent need to set up police station in order to make people secure, it said.
The association also appealed the Chief Minister to look into the progress of various ongoing developmental projects in the area. “The work for construction of Law College, Entrepreneurship Development Institute (EDI) and prestigious National Institute of Technology (NIT) are currently going on at Jote. We appeal concern department to maintain quality and complete the work on stipulated time,” said APPSU. The Union also informed that people of Papum-Poma area have always been extending cooperation to the developmental activities initiated by the state government.
NSUI backs SSA teachers’ demands
ITANAGAR, May 11: While extending support to genuine demands of SSA teachers and their ongoing agitation, Arunachal Pradesh unit of National Students Union of India (NSUI) has strongly appealed to the State Government led by Chief Minister Kalikho Pul to redress their grievances as was done in case of the workers. Criticizing the Chief Minister for overlloking the genuine demands of the serving SSA teachers, NSUI said that Pul, in fact, is not playing politics with the teachers but the future of the students and the State.
“Teachers are called nation builders, and in their hands lies the future of the nation,” the NSUI unit said, and appealed the Chief Minister to fulfill the demands.
Reschedule exam date: AAPSU
ITANAGAR, May 11: A team of All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU) headed by its spokesperson Tanya Agu called on Rajiv Gandhi University Vice-Chancellor Prof. Tamo Mibang at his official chamber on Wednesday and requested him to reschedule the BA Final Year Paper-IX (Honours) examination as it coincided with the JNU Entrance test on May 16. They submitted a representation to the VC in this regard.
AAPSU Spokesperson Tanya Agu informed the VC that JNU is the only university which is providing its examination center in our state since last couple of years unlike other universities.
He further shared with VC that so far the dates of JNU entrance test never coincided with under graduate examination schedule because JNU have its own academic calendar year through which they notify the date of entrance test almost a year before.
While responding to the representation, the Vice Chancellor assured to look into the matter, the AAPSU said.
Rain coats for the traffic warden
ITANAGAR, May 11: Additional District Magistrate cum Chief Estate Officer, Itanagar Capital Complex Talo Potom has distributed rain coats and boots with two pairs of socks to 90 Traffic Wardens and 30 Public Premises Protection Force (PPPF) personnel on Wednesday. The ADM has provided the items observing the hardship faced by them during duty time, especially rainy season.
NABARD reviews SHG-Bank linkage prog
ITANAGAR, May 11: The NABARD, Arunachal Pradesh Regional Office, Itanagar on Wednesday convened a state level review meeting on SHG-Bank Linkage Programme and Women Self Help Groups (SHG) programme in the state.
PVSLN Murty, Chief General Manager, State Bank of India, LHO Guwahati presided over the meeting. He stressed on the need for visible impact on the ground by improving savings as well as credit linkage of SHGs supported with grant assistance by NABARD. He enquired from the NGOs about the operational problems being faced by the SHGs in opening bank accounts, banking transactions and credit linkage. He urged the NGOs to have better coordination with SHG members as well as branch managers to avoid accounts from becoming defaults.
S. Sankaranarayanan, General Manager/Officer-In-Charge of Arunachal Pradesh Regional Office, NABARD explained about the grant schemes of NABARD and also shared NABARD's initiatives in other states on promotion of SHGs. The programme was attended by Senior Bankers viz. MD, State Co-operative Apex Bank Bank Ltd., DGMs of SBI, Chairman-APRB, RM, SBI Itanagar and Branch Managers of SBI, RRB& Co-operative Banks, besides NGOs.
DC visits PMC wards
Pasighat, May 11: East Siang Deputy Commissioner Isha Khosla made extensive inspection of various wards of Pasighat municipal Council along with DMO Dr. Mandip Perme, Dr. Tai Riso DVCPO and other medical staffs. Onset of monsoon might trigger outbreak of epidemics like dengue, malaria and other vector born diseases. DC cautioned all the inhabitants to keep their surroundings clean and said each one has to take the responsibility for it.
"Little bit of precaution and effort can save health and wealth," said DC Khosla. She instructed the medical staffs and Ashas to keep vigil and report to her wherever people don't follow the instructions.
Choked drains have to be cleared and anti larvicides /Mobil oils/ kerosene etc. has to be sprayed so that there is no threat to the general health of the people, the DC added. Community effort and support will definitely help to control outbreak of epidemics, the DC reiterated.
DMO Dr. Mandip Perme said that with source reduction Dengue and Malaria can be controlled. Hence all potential breeding places like old buckets, bamboo stumps, tyres, bottles etc. should be properly shielded or disposed off immediately. Dumping of garbage should be completely avoided, the DMO said. He informed that spraying of DDT is going on some places, therefore he appealed all to co operate with the staff and let them spray DDT inside and outside of the houses for proper effectiveness. Fogging will start from tomorrow for preventive purpose the DMO added.
Capacity building prog for farmers
ITANAGAR, May 11: One day capacity building programme for tribal farmers on groundnut production and processing technologies was organized by Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Lower Dibang Valley district at its office premises situated at Balek village.
The programme was inaugurated by District Agriculture Officer M. Lego. He briefed about the different schemes currently supervised by district agriculture office and urged the farmers to take benefit from it. Jatan Pulu, organic innovative farmer from Yibuk village called upon farmers to relay upon scientific production of Groundnut. Tokmin Perme, an innovative farmer from Jia village shared his experiences with the participants about the exposure tour to ICAR- Directorate of Groundnut research, Junagadh, Gujarat which was organized by KVK.
Dr. T. J. Ramesha, Senior Scientist and Head, KVK, Lower Dibang Valley welcomed the participants. He encouraged participants to take up the Groundnut sector as a source of income generation.
The prime objective of the programme was to create awareness among the farmers towards Groundnut farming. During the programme various deliberations were made covering aspects such as "Groundnut production technologies and varieties suitable for NE region", "Insect pest and disease management of Groundnut", "Value addition in Groundnut", "Groundnut as animal feed" and "Post harvest Technology of Groundnut" for realizing higher profit. To encourage farmers towards scientific farming, farm implements like Sprayer machines were also distributed to the farmers.
Monika Panggam, SMS (Agronomy), Toktel Boko, SMS (Plant Protection), Nanang Tamut, SMS (Home Science), Dr. Dipankar Hazarika, SMS (Animal Science) and Mr. Lining Tamut, Farm Manager KVK, Lower Dibang Valley were the resource persons. A total of 79 Farmers/Farm women/ SHG and NGO members actively participated in the programme.
No electrification yet at DUS Lekhi: Committee
ITANAGAR, May 11: The 144 Dwelling Unit Service (DUS) of Lekhi Village, Naharlagun under Urban Development Department has been reeling under darkness for last six months, claimed 144 DUS, BSUP Lekhi Welfare Committee on Wednesday.
In its letter to Chief Minister, the committee claimed that 144 below poverty line occupants are staying in the said building which is miserably deprived of with basic facilities. The Committee further stated that they have approached concerned authority many a times for electrification of said building but yielded no result. The committee appealed to the Chief Minister to look into the plight of occupants living at said building.
Tirap district website launched
KHONSA, May 11: Tirap district website was launched on Wednesday.
The application will enable the citizens to download certificates like ST, PRC and ILP from this portal. The documents are digitally signed so that the authenticity of the documents can be ensured. Besides a system for online verification of the documents has also been included in the portal. Data generated from the Jansuvidha centre, Tirap has been used to generate these documents online.
In his message after the launch of the Website Tirap Deputy Commissioner Ravi Jha said, " The Portal is a small step from the Administration for integrating the District of Tirap with the flagship Digital India Programme.
Citizens, who have applied for their certificates on or after April, 2016 will be able to download their certificates through the portal, he said.
In the meantime, the DC has appreciated the effort of the DIO, NIC Rakesh Das. DIPRO
Org for closure of unauthorized coaching centers
ITANAGAR, May 11: All Papum Pare Indigenous Youth Federation (APPIYF) has urged the Capital Complex district administration to shut down all unauthorized coaching centres and non-registered private schools in Papum Pare including Capital region.
In a representation addressed the Capital Complex DC, the APPIYF alleged that few private schools and coaching centers in and around Capital Complex are looting innocent people on the pretext of imparting quality education. Despite repeated notice served by the authorities for shutting down of unauthorized coaching centers and non-registered private schools, none of the private institutions or coaching centers paid heed to the Govt instruction, lamented the federation.
ITANAGAR, May 11: A fresh river turtle was rescued from the clutches of villagers by social activist Payi Gyadi. He handed it over to the Curator of Itanagar Zoo for further rehabilitation.
The Curator appreciated Gyadi for rescuing the endangered animal, requested him to continue his noble work of saving rich fauna of our state.