The Peoples Chronicle

The Peoples Chronicle

Conserving the Heritage of Manipur

Sarungbam Lucy

In our country India and our State Manipur, conservation and restoration of works of art is an important activity as it has a very rich heritage. Conservators and Restorers are facing a big challenge of conserving material from potteries to contemporary Paintings.

Since 1905, efforts were being made in order to preserve, conserve the heritage by active government support and the involvement of enlightened public by way of framing laws, setting up regulatory authorities, funding, and setting up institutions to study, teach and conduct research. These efforts have led to vast amount of information accumulated and scattered in several places and yet times such useful information is not readily accessible.

 Heritage is important

Our historic heritage helps us gain an understanding of Meitei’s past and how this shape and define our Meitei identity.

Our lives are enriched by the things we enjoy doing, or seeing, or being involved with. We may search out our forefather or family histories, visit places where our forefather lived and worked, volunteer for conservation projects or practice traditional skills.

Conservation of places, stories and culture brings people together from across the various communities especially in our Kangleipak shared experiences in visiting, enjoying and conserving their heritage.

The conservation of the heritage like Kangla, Govidanjee temple at the areas in the Imphal and elsewhere in Manipur, is testament to our rich architectural, historical and cultural heritage. Conserving and restoring our historic buildings also adds to the distinctive character and identity of our State. More importantly, they give us a sense of history and memory even as we move into the future.

The Measures

Art. 49 of the Constitution of India states that "it shall be the obligation of the State to protect every monument or place or object of artistic or historical interest declared by or under law made by Parliament to be of national importance, from spoliation, disfigurement, destruction, removal, disposal or export, as the case may be".

The Constitution of India has a separate chapter, Part IV-A, on the Fundamental Duties of a Citizen. Clause (g) of Article 51-A of the Constitution states,  "It shall be the duty of every citizen of India to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wild life and to have compassion for living creatures".

Ancient Monuments and archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958.

According to the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958 ( No. 24 of 1958), if someone destroys, removes, injures, alters, defaces, imperils or misuses a protected monument s/he shall be punishable with imprisonment which may extend to three months, or with a fine which may extend to five thousand rupees, or with both.

Indian Youth comprising of children in schools have a special duty towards raising awareness and protecting the rich cultural heritage which is a part of the glorious history of our country. With a view to sensitize the youth who are the future generation and inculcate in them a healthy value system towards their own heritage, it has been decided to observe the 12th January 2010 as Heritage Day and to administer a heritage oath to entire school community in the CBSE affiliated schools across India and abroad.

In order to further strengthen the commitment for protection of monuments, the oath taking will be repeated on the National Education Day (Nov 11th) every year to commemorate the birth anniversary of MaulanaAbulKalam Azad, the first Union Education Minister of India.

Adopting a Heritage’ Scheme can help to some extent

In our State Manipur, in order to create awareness and a sense of belonging among youth and inculcate in young minds a feeling for heritage, the Board of Secondary Education Manipur and Council of Higher Secondary Education Manipur can implement the scheme of ‘Adopt a Heritage’ in schools affiliated to the Board.School teachers could be trained by them to enrich class room teaching by taking their students for such outdoor activities.

The motivation for protection/conservation could be religion, tradition or realization of economic and ecological needs. It must be realized that, if certain species are not protected or if certain natural resources are not rationally managed, they themselves would face greater deprivation and hardship and that through conservation they would have greater and more sustained access to biological resources like fodder, fuel wood as well as water retention. This motivation should come from our State leaders and community leaders, both from within and outside the community, they must also make realise the threat posed by certain projects and overuse by other communities, or by the community itself. It is only communities that practice positive and pro-active protection and conservation of species and areas that can ensure long term sustainability. Our leaders should ensure that for sustainability in long terms they should identify the communities which have been making efforts for protection and conservation on their own accord.

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Tolerance and India's plurality

AmitKapoor 

The world is becoming increasingly connected, both physically and digitally. It has raised the fundamental ‘death of distance’ debate. According to the debate, the pro-side believes that the world is becoming increasingly flat while the opponents point to the relative non-availability of data about internationalization to conclusively say that distance is dead. While we believe that, 'distance' still matters, we do feel that increasingly there is a movement towards distance becoming irrelevant over a longer time frame.

A fundamental question then arises-what does this mean for labour and capital that are the basis of production in an economy. What about the mobility of these two within and across international borders? So far, movement of capital can happen more freely, within as well as across borders. It is because the financial architecture shaped by the digital revolution has resulted in the movement of capital relatively freely both within as well as across borders. The capital across borders mostly includes financial flows like foreign direct Investment flows, remittance flows, development assistance, etc. Also, within borders there are plenty of government schemes (think on the lines of Jan DhanYojana, MNREGA in India, BolsaFamilia in Brazil) as well as private sector models (like M-Pesa in Kenya) that point to an increasing effort to facilitate the flow of money and capital. Similarly, the capital markets are both deepening and widening in developing countries with better technology leading to efficient mobilization of funds. It points to relative ease of movement of capital within borders.

Labour is mostly restricted within national borders, but migration is becoming an increasingly well-known reality. It is happening both within the country as well as abroad. Internationally, India already has the second largest diaspora abroad with some 22 million overseas Indians. Within any country, the urban – rural opportunity divide is the main driving force for movement of people to urban centers for jobs and better opportunities. In our neighborhood, China recently (since 1978) underwent the largest internal migration in human history where it saw the movement of 160 million people from its rural heartland to urban centers. It was fuelled by a desire to improve their quality of life. Similarly, India is expected to see a massive migration in the years to come as more people from its rural and suburban areas (roughly 70 percent at present) move to the urban centers (roughly 30 percent at present) over the next 20-25 years.

What do these broad urbanization and globalization prospects imply for societies? In our opinion, this calls for tolerance as a fundamental driver for social progress within and across societies. Tolerance is the ‘willingness to accept feelings, habits, or beliefs that are different from your own’. It appears to us that this fundamental value at the level of individuals and communities will have a very strong bearing on the way the world will re-structure in the years to come. Economic mobility should also lead to social understanding and cohesion else this will lead to a situation of alienation and conflict.

The World Values Survey recently came up with data on 81 countries where respondents were asked to identify people who they did not want as their neighbors. The survey showed that a large fraction of Indian respondents (43.5 percent) chose that they did not want a neighbor from a different race. It was the second worst percentage after Jordan where 51.4 percent surveyed people did not want people from a different race to be their neighbors. It leads us in the question of racial tolerance. While we believe this survey may not completely capture intolerance, it certainly points to some deep biases within our society. Broader and deeper research is necessary for settling the debate on racial prejudice and ways to tackle this in society.

It is indeed very unnerving and painful to hear stories of northeastern people in our country being beaten and tortured in Gurgaon and Bangalore recently. Similarly, when it comes to the racial insensitivity against black people we seem to have a profound bias against them as a people. True, sometimes like everyone they might be at fault but taking the law in one’s hands is no solution to diffusing tensions and resolving matters. The recent incident where three African youth were beaten up by a mob for allegedly abusing a woman passenger inside a metro station points to a dark and disturbing trend. We as a people have been known historically for our long tradition of religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence with people from other faiths and beliefs.

It may be pertinent to understand what the Father of the Nation had in mind when he talked about the idea: “I do not want my house to be walled in on all sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all the lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any.”

It is critical that we don’t get blown off but equally pertinent is the willingness to let the culture of all lands blow entirely across our house. If we do not allow this to happen, we will remain autarkic to ideas and thoughts as well as to trade and commerce. It is the anti-thesis to the idea of Indian civilization that is based on tolerance, openness and mutual respect.

 

(The article is co-authored with Sankalp Sharma, Senior Researcher at the Institute for Competitiveness, India is Chair, Institute for Competitiveness & Editor of Thinkers. The views expressed are personal. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and tweets @kautiliya)

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Footprints of Pioneer Scientists-96

Peter Piot (1949-)

Pioneering Belgian Medical Scientist:

Co-discoverer of the Ebola Virus

Mr.Debananda S. Ningthoujam, PhD

Right now the Ebola epidemic is raging through West Africa and is threatening to ravage the world. Already the disease has claimed more than 4,000 lives and has put several thousand lives at risk. This viral pandemic has potential to be as deadly as the AIDS pandemic.

When did this deadly virus erupt? How? Who discovered this dreadful pathogen in the heart of Africa in 1976? One brave scientist has played a crucial role in this wonderful saga of virus hunting.

Who is this pioneering medical scientist and microbiologist?

Early Life

Peter Piot was born in Leuven, Belgium on February 17, 1949.

Higher Education

He studied medicine in the University of Ghent, obtaining his MD degree in 1974. He then began working at the Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITM), Antwerp, simultaneously pursuing a graduate degree in clinical microbiology from the University of Antwerp. He earned his PhD in microbiology from the University of Antwerp in 1980.

Academic and scientific career

While at ITM, Dr Piot and colleagues received an unusual blood sample from Zaire (sent by a Belgian doctor working there) of a Belgian nun suffering from a strange infectious disease whose causative agent could not be identified. Piot’s team could successfully identify the agent to be a new form of virus unknown to science at that time. In 1976, Piot was part of a team sent to the heart of Africa (Piot was just 27 years old then; his wife was three months pregnant with their first child) to investigate the Ebola outbreak. They found out how the virus spread. The team went from village to village, disseminating information and putting people who had come in contact with the pathogen into quarantine.

As the dangers of the virus were not known at that time, Piot and his co-workers worked without taking due precautions as is done now. Even if Piot was partly aware of the power of the pathogen, he nonetheless volunteered to work among the people dying from the disease and those infected with the deadly virus. He was an intrepid medical scientist nonpareil.

Ebola virus was named after the river in Zaire close to the village where the first outbreak erupted. The outbreak in 1976 was stopped in just three months, after 300 people had died of the disease.

In the 1980s, Piot was involved in collaborative projects in Burundi, Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, Tanzania and Zaire. He was actively engaged in Project SIDA, the first international project on AIDS in Africa which laid the foundations for understanding of HIV infection in Africa. From 1991 to 1994, he was president of International AIDS Society. He became assistant director of the WHO’s Global Program on HIV/AIDS. In 1994, Dr Piot was appointed director of the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and assistant secretary-general of the United Nations. He relinquished this position in late 2008.

In 2009-2010, Piot served as director of the Institute for Global Health at Imperial College London (ICL). He became director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in 2010.

Institutional affiliations

Piot has been a professor of microbiology and of public health at the Prince Leopold Tropical Medicine, Antwerp and the University of Nairobi, Vrije University, Brussels, the Lausanne, and a visiting professor at the London School of Economics. He was also a senior fellow at the University of Washington, Seattle, USA, a scholar-in-residence at the Ford Foundation, and a senior fellow at the Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation.

Salient Contributions in Science

His most important contribution was in the area of virology. In addition to his contributions in elucidating the Ebola infection, he is known for his sustained work on AIDS and global public health. He has written 16 books and published more than 550 scientific articles. “No Time to Lose” is his latest autobiographical book.

Dr Piot is fluent in English, French and Dutch.

Awards and honors

In 1976, Piot was made an Officer of the Order of Leopard, Zaire, for his contributions to discovery and control of Ebola virus in Zaire and also appointed Officer of the Order of the Lion, Senegal.

He was decorated as a Baron by King Albert II of Belgium in 1995. In 2004, he received the Vlerick Award.

In 2013, Piot was conferred the Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize.

Memberships

Piot is a member of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), USA, and the Royal Academy of Medicine, Belgium.

He is Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, London and Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences.

Epilogue

Dr Peter Piot has left a lasting legacy in the world of medicine as a co-discoverer of the deadly Ebola virus and as a pioneer of research in the epidemiology, management and public health issues related to AIDS.

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True empowerment of women

Across the country, not a day passes without some news of some crime or the other being committed against women. These crimes range from harassment of a sexual nature, molestation and rape. Along with this women have to face a range of discrimination starting right from the family to the work place and other public space.    While Manipuri women, by and large are much more liberated in terms of visibility in public space and economic sphere, this image of independence and empowerment does not hold true all the time. Manipuri society, while, it is ever prepared to push woman or let the woman lead from the front in many a struggle and battles on the larger issues affecting the society at large, and is more than willing to place them on a pedestal for their stellar role, sing paeans to their sacrifices, will not brook any challenge to its patriarchal values and norms. Even today, despite the world around undergoing tremendous changes and despite these changes touching our lives in many ways, the social norms and traditions which are detrimental to and restrict a girl/woman from fully actualizing her potentials are still firmly rooted in our society. A woman, right from her childhood, is taught by the society that there is a lot of difference between a male and female and that there are certain privileges which only a male can enjoy.  Among these, the privilege of resorting to violence to settle an issue or put the wife into her place or silencing her with brute force is the most invoked.  Society has, for long, if not directly encouraging this practice, had certainly turned a blind eye in most cases of domestic violence. The general refrain being, ‘it’s between husband and wife and should not be interfered with’. And when things crosses a limit, when fatalities occur, the society turns into a mob braying for the blood of the perpetrator, ransacking and burning the houses of the prepetrators, forgetting altogether the impact of this action on other members of the family including children. While spreading awareness about the rights of women and the laws enacted to protect them is much needed, this alone is never going to be enough to secure the life and future of women unless the mindset of the society changes. This is a tall order; the ingrained patriarchal values will not give way easily or wither away readily. These values need to be attacked consistently with a long term vision from every possible angle. The beginning has to be made from the family itself. Parents need to revisit, introspect how they have been treating their daughter vis-vis their sons, brothers need to reflect need to acknowledge how they have been always given privileged treatment as compared to their sisters. Only when there is realisation of the wrong done to our daughter, sisters, female friends, co-workers can there be a genuine forward movement towards working for true empowerment of women.

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Govt, ATSUM reach agreement, stir postponed ‘indefinitely’

Following agreement on certain points and in honour of the government’s assurance to consider other demands positively, All Tribal Students’ Union Manipur (ATSUM) has decided to ‘indefinitely postpone’ the national highway blockade agitation even as Deputy Chief Minister Gaikhangam expressed elation on positive outcome of one of the longest talks ever held by the Government of Manipur.

The meeting between the state government headed by the Chief Minister and executive members of ATSUM was held at the CM’s Secretariat on Wednesday morning.

Speaking to newspersons after the meeting, Deputy CM Gaikhangam confided that as part of the initiative to redress genuine grievances of the tribal people the government has agreed to establish State Tribal Commission. In order to facilitate early setting up of the proposed Commission the state government has already initiated relevant process for studying model of the Commission in other states, the Dy CM added.

In connection with ATSUM’s demand on tribal reservation the government is working a viable strategy to entertain aspiration of the tribal people in compliance with the 200-point roster on reservation policy, informed Gaikhangam and conveyed that the government will do the needful for prompt implementation of certain demands placed by ATSUM while efforts will be made for early implementation of those issues that entail lengthy process.

Expressing concern against the tendency to impose bandh/blockade to press their respective demands, he fervently appealed to all organisations to abstain from resorting to agitation that might cause great inconveniences to the general public.

He further expressed hope that the upcoming Ningol Chakkouba festival will promote sense of brotherhood and people from cross section of the society will strive for ushering peace and development in the state.

Besides Chief Minister O Ibobi and the Dy CM, PHE Minister I Hemochandra, Education Minister M Okendro, Commerce and Industries Minister Govindas Konthoujam, Chief Secretary PC Lawmkunga, Secretaries of various departments and head of departments also represented the state government at the meeting.

Meanwhile, addressing media persons at its Nagaram office on Wednesday, ATSUM president Muan Tombing claimed that owing to callousness of the government to various demands concerning interest of the tribal people, the students’ body was compelled to toy with the idea of imposing indefinite blockade on national highways that connect Manipur with other parts of the country and totally ban national projects currently implemented in the tribal areas.

Stating that the ATSUM’s charter of demands comprising proper educational infrastructure in the hill areas, filling up of backlog posts of STs, acceptable norms on service extension, police jurisdiction in the hill areas, land records in the hill districts, administrative mechanism, setting up of educational centres/offices, separate office of the Directorate of Education (S) Hills, etc., were placed before the government, said the president and informed that the state government affirmed to implement ‘implementable’ demands in addition to assuring necessary official procedures for the other demands at the earliest possible.

Expressing hope that the government will do the needful for translating the assurances into action, Muan Tombing also conveyed warm Ningol Chakkouba greetings to the people of Manipur.

ATSUM executive members and functionaries of district units also attended the media briefing.

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AIBA suspends Indian boxer Sarita

Taking a strict action, AIBA has provisionally suspended India's woman boxer Laishram Sarita Devi for refusing to accept the bronze medal at the Asian Games podium ceremony.

Protesting against a controversial verdict, Sarita in an unprecedented move, had refused to wear the medal around her neck as she broke down on the podium during the ceremony for the 57-60 kg category.

"The AIBA also provisionally suspended Sarita's coaches (Messrs Gurbakhsh Singh Sandhu, Blas Iglesias Fernandez and Sagar Mal Dhayal) as well as Indian chef-de-mission in the Incheon Asiad, Adille J Sumariwalla and will not allow any of them to participate at all levels of competitions, events and meetings until further notice," an AIBA statement said.

This case has been sent for review by the AIBA Disciplinary Commission and it means that Sarita Devi, the above mentioned coaches as well as Sumariwalla, will not be allowed to participate in the AIBA women's world boxing championships in Jeju Islands (Korea), 2014, the statement added.

Even though the AIBA had taken note of her written apology, the international body surprisingly decided to suspend the boxer and the national coaches.

The medal, which Devi had refused to accept, was handed over to India's chef de mission Sumariwalla. It is understood that a battery of Indian officials, including chief boxing coach Gurbaksh Singh Sandhu, pressured Devi into writing an apology.

This is not the first time that such an allegation has been levelled against the world body. Some officials are terming Devi's actions an emotional outburst. But there's more to it.

In the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, Park Si-Hun, who is now the head coach of the South Korean boxing contingent, won the gold medal in the light middleweight category in controversial fashion. Even then, not a single observer believed that Park had won, for he had received a terrific pummelling at the hands of Roy Jones Jr of the United States.

The verdict of three of the five judges was that Park was the winner, while two judges had picked Jones. It was officially recorded that Jones had landed 86 punches against Park's 32. One judge even admitted after the bout that the decision was wrong. Two of the three judges who voted for Park were later banned for life.

Later, an International Olympic Committee (IOC) investigation concluded that three of the five judges had been brought around with inducements. Interestingly, Jones was awarded the Val Barker Trophy in 1988. This trophy is given to the boxer who exemplifies style at every Olympic Games. But the gold is still in the drawing room of Park.

During the 1986 Seoul Asian Games, South Korea rigged the boxing bouts and walked away with each of the 12 gold medals on offer. Four Indian boxers — Birajdar Sahu, Jayaram Seera, Daljit Singh and Jaipal Singh — were among the finalists, nay victims, of South Korea's foul play.

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Integrated Project to meet Imphal’s water needs by 2021

A stakeholders’ meeting on Integrated Water Supply Project for Imphal Planning Area was held at the conference hall of Hotel Imphal under the aegis of Public Health Engineering Department (PHED), Wednesday.

Speaking at the meeting which was held under the sponsorship of Japanese International Corporation Agency (JICA), H Sunil, Chief Engineer, PHED informed that the number of water treatment plants in Imphal city has reached 19 in number. Since these water treatment plants have been set up during the period from 1960 to 1990 and has worn down, the water treatment plants have not been able to provide water to the public according to its capacity. As such, the stakeholders meet has been conducted today to prepare DPR for constructing a new water treatment plant by abandoning the existing ones.

Elaborating on the new project, H Sunil informed that the new treatment plant would be initiated at a total cost of Rs 1300 crore. The construction process would be taken up in three phases as the state share is very low. During the first phase, it is estimated that around 45 MLD of water would be procured from the Thoubal Dam after its completion and 45 MLD of water from Chingkhei totalling to an amount of 144 MLD of water which could provide requisite water for Imphal area by 2021. During the first phase, for which fund amounting to Rs 21 crore has already been sanctioned by the then UPA government,  altogether 9 water treatment plants would be set up for which construction works would be taken up November next and is targeted to be completed within one and a half years.

While also informing that the work for the second phase would be taken up without any hesitation, H Sunil however stated that the actual number of water treatment plants that would be constructed has not been finalised as yet. Nevertheless, all required documents have been sent to the Urban Ministry for initiating the release of funds and the Ministry has assured of releasing the funds at the earliest, he added.

The third phase of the project would be taken up with the financial support of JICA. A MoU would be signed with JICO in 2015 after a report of this meet is sent to the urban Ministry. Soon after the signing of MoU, the Integrated Water Supply Project is targeted to be completed by 2019-20. The share of JICO would be 90% of the estimated cost while the remaining 10% would be borne by the state government, he added.

He also stated that in the third phase, all consumers would be provided water through metered connection and the taxes would be levied according to the consumption.

The meeting was also attended by representatives of various departments of the state government.

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Festival greetings

Governor of Manipur Dr KK Paul has conveyed his heartiest greetings and best wishes to the people of Manipur on the occasion of Diwali. Dr Paul also called for the festival of light to dispel hatred, discordance and bring in joy, peace, prosperity and happiness to the people of the state.

CM O Ibobi Singh too has conveyed his warm greetings and good wishes ahead of the festival that commemorates the return of Lord Ram to his kingdom after fourteen years in exile. Ibobi hoped the festival of light will dispel dark forces of all evils in the society and show the right path for a prosperous and peaceful Manipur.

Deputy Speaker MK Preshow Shimray also greeted the people of Manipur on the auspicious and happy occasion of Ningol Chakkouba festival which is celebrated with great enthusiasm and sense of belongingness between sisters and brothers and between parents and daughters of the state. Asking all to set aside differences, he called for all to serve one another to promote peaceful co-existence and development.

MP Abdul Salam and president of Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee (MPSC) Gaikhangam also extended best wishes to the people of the state on the occasion of Ningol Chakkouba.

In separate statements, MP Abdul Salam and Gaikhangam wished that the coming of Ningol Chakkouba brings love and brotherhood among the various communities settling in the state thereby making way for peace and development in the state.

On the otherhand, IGAR (S) and all ranks of Assam Rifles too greeted the people of Manipur on the joyous occasion of Deepavali (Diwali). PRO IGAR (S), in a statement said as the festival signifies victory of good over evil, and strengthens the resolve to follow true ethical values in life, he hoped the noble ideals of the festival will usher in peace, prosperity and happiness in the region.

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Union refutes assault claim, demands apology from driver

Reacting against the claim of All Manipur Petrolium Tankers Drivers’ Union president Y Bhupenchandra Ghosh assaulting tanker driver Niman Lama by showing his gun, the Union, Wednesday, said that there was no such incident at Imphal Oil Depot.

Addressing a press meet at Khuman Lampak ISBT complex, Union president Bhupenchandra said that he neither gave the said driver challan to unload at the depot nor assault the driver Niman Lama. On that day, 23 tankers came to unload fuel at the depot and 22 of them came with proper documentations. He got a complaint of Niman defying rules and trying to unload his tanker’s load. Following the complaint, the Union did not allot him challan. There was also some tussle when he (Niman) tried to snatch the challan but he (Bhupenchandra) did not assault the driver or showed any weapon, he said and claimed the entire turth may be authenticated from the CCTV footage.

Terming the allegation as unfortunate, Bhupendrachandra appealed to the transporters’ union not to repeat such acts in future.

Meanwhile, drivers of the Union, while decrying the baseless allegation, has decided to stop service until driver Niman Lama apologise to the drivers and the Union.

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Imphal East Ombudsman orders action against Panchayat Secy

Imphal East Ombudsman of MGNREGS has instructed the District’s DC, who is also the Programme Co-ordinator, to initiate disciplinary action against the Panchayat Secretary of Thongju Part II Gram Panchayat for his alleged failure to furnish documents related with Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Act to the people.

Sources available to The People’s Chronicle informed that Imphal East Ombudsman had given the order on September 29 last after Thokchom Nabakishore of Thongju Part II lodged a complaint to the office.

Nabakishore had on July 8 asked for details of the construction work of improvement of the road between Koirou and Ibudhou Koirou Lakpa under MGNREGS. He had applied for information on the  sanction order, muster roll copy, and report on social audit regarding the work.

Estimated project cost of constructing the road which is 173 feet in length, and 10 feet in width is Rs 6.426 lakhs.

Reports reveal that 500 job card holders were engaged in the construction works that took six days.

The source further remarked that according to Section 4 of the Act, if any individual files a complaint related to the execution of the MGNREGS works, details have to be provided in a week’s time without any charges. However, the Panchayat authority had violated the rules when it did not act against the complaint filed against them. The Ombudsman had further given the Panchayat Secretary a week’s time to respond to the complaint, but he chose to ignore it. In fact, the Ombudsman had told the Panchayat Secretary four times to provide the documents desired by Nabakishore. Still, the authority not only failed provide the documents, but also did not deliver the grievance of the complaint.

The indifferent attitude had forced the Ombudsman to order the award on September 29 last. The award stated the Panchayat Secretary was to give all the sought-details within a month and without any charges. Additionally, District Programme Co-ordinator who is also the DC of Imphal East was required to take the disciplinary action within a period of two months.

Meanwhile, the Ombudsman was appealed to halt the case by Nameirakpam Chingkhei in two written statements. However, with the individual being not a party to the case, the appeal was rejected.

On the other hand, with DRDA not providing full infrastructures to the Ombudsman, the latter has faced many difficulties in executing the task.

MGNREGS Act which ensures payment for 100 days’ work by rural people has been considered as an innovative act which seeks to uplift rural people.

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