The Peoples Chronicle

The Peoples Chronicle

Changes in Manipuri Society

Kshetri Bimola

Manipuri society had undergone tremendous changes during the last three/four decades. There are many social groups and communities having their own distinct identities and cultural settings. India is said to be a country having maximum social diversities in the world and North East India is again a region having maximum social diversities in India. Manipur in North East India again has as many as more than 40 ethnic groups including minor tribes in addition to major community namely the Meeteis. The Muslim community called Meitei Pangals are also an important segment of the population of Manipur. The people of Manipur belonging to different tribes, religions, languages, etc. lived peacefully till the attainment of Statehood on 21st January, 1972. The people felt so happy when Manipur attained Statehood after long struggle since the middle of 1950s. The observation of the Statehood day on 21st January every year was attended by many people including from far off places of Manipur. The parents with dear children with new dresses were seen on the roads of Imphal to watch the march past of the different contingents including students from the colleges, high schools, cultural institutions and other different government department. It was like a festival for the people of Manipur. This trend of happiness in the mind of the people had disappeared slowly and slowly after 5/6 years. Due to Ministerial instability in the 1970s, the society of Manipur was affected by corruption and other unfair means used to achieve personal and other group interest. Even the simple life of the ordinary people including the cultivators and farmers had changed in their pattern of life and occupation. The cultivators and the farmers were no longer interested in their traditional occupation. Many of them had started to do contract work by giving up their work of cultivation. The main factor for giving up cultivation work was that they could earn very little in terms of financial benefits and gains though they put their physical labour for long periods of one year. But in contract work, they could earn larger amount of money within short period of time. There emerged a new group of people enjoying higher social status as a result of their higher financial position in the Manipuri society. This new emerging middle class consisting of contractors were quite influential among the people of Manipur including the political class. The people had considered them as influential persons enjoying higher social and economic status that even girls with post graduate degree got married with the contractors. The parents of the girls were also quite happy when their daughters got married with the contractors. The nexus between the newly emerged middle class and the bureaucrats and the ministers had resulted in the division of the society into 2 classes, the richer section of the population who are very few when compared with the poorer group of the population. The life of the poor people became very miserable with the increase in the price of essential commodities. Even the price of cabbage or Hangam(Mustard leaves) was more than Rs.10 in the 1980s. One of the factors for the increase of prices of vegetables was that production of the State was very poor. The people had depended more on vegetables coming from outside the State. In later period with the formation of self-help groups, farming of vegetables, fishes and other food items mainly by private individuals or groups of individuals, there increased the availability of food items like vegetables, fishes etc. But with the prices still going up high especially during bandhs, blockades, general strikes etc. many organisations based on ethnicity, professional, public interest etc. very often called bandhs, general strikes, and blockades etc. Many people are not able to distinguish between general interest and particular interest. To promote and achieve the goal of a particular organisation, be it ethnic, professional, pressure or interest group etc. bandhs and blockades are used as a means to achieve their objectives. But they do not promote their goals or desire directly. The people became aware of the issue on which bandhs and blockades are called by a particular political organisation and through it, the government or concerned authorities became somewhat serious to look into the matter or issue. There was times when blockade on the national highways were called for more than 4 months. The direct impact of the bandhs and blockades are felt more on the poor people rather than the rich and the higher ups. The middle class are also directly affected by the imposition of bandhs and blockades when the cost of one litre of petrol was more than Rs. 200, one gas Cylinder costing Rs. 2000. There are many voices against bandhs and blockades pointing out the disadvantages and losses for all people of Manipur. But the views and voices against bandhs and blockades seem to be ineffective. This clearly shows that something is wrong in the mindset of some section of the population, giving more weight to their particular interest setting aside the general interest of the people.

The style and the design of the dress of the people indicate the cultural and developmental stage of the people of a society. When we study the style and the design of the dresses of the Manipuri women one finds the changes very fast. In the 1950s and 1960s majority of the women only used handloom products for their daily as well as occasional uses. In one sense, the various types of the dresses of the women of Manipur may be said to be of a rich unique feature of the cultural life of the people of Manipur. There is separate dress and colour for mourning, worshipping, attending religious rites and rituals etc. which is Pungou Phanek and white Innafi. Pungou Phanek is of pinkish colour of different designs. To attend a marriage ceremony women have to wear Mapan Naiba of different colours with an embroidered border. It is accompanied with a thin costly Muga/cotton Innafi of different colours and designs. Again to attend a feast or Mangani Chakkouba which is later changed to Mapam- Chakkouba according to one’s convenience, a different dress is required. Younger women have to wear costly Muga Mapan Naiba called Phige Phanek with a costly Muga Innafi. Elderly women wear plain Muga Phaneks with a Muga Innafi. It may be noted that all the above different dresses of women were the home made products. But now except Mapan Naiba, some women prefer Muga Innafi from outside the State like Bangalore, Benares, Guwahati, etc. It has almost become a fashion to use Muga Innafi from outside Manipur. Even ordinary Phaneks of daily use are changed in style and design. Phaneks having borders with different colours, maybe big or small size were common in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. Women were very fond of the coloured borders. But now ordinary Phaneks in most cases do not have borders. Our grandmothers and mothers used to say that Phaneks without coloured borders are meant for elderly women, widows, etc. These beliefs in course of time have disappeared from the mind of the women of Manipur. There was also another type of cloth called Phi Matek (Short cloth) worn by the women of Manipur particularly the younger ones both married and unmarried. Phi Matek are of different colours for example, red, yellow, blue, green, purple, etc. beautifully designed in 2/3 colours in a cross pattern. These Phi Mateks were very common in the earlier days. The unmarried women used to collect different colours and designs of Phi Matek for her marriage. The special Phi Matek is the one of yellow with temple or Taj Mahal design. These traditional cloths are no longer seen among the younger womenfolk of Manipur. In its place the young women both married and married used the cloths coming from foreign countries through Myanmar and Moreh. In every household, we can see the women using these foreign cloths not only for dress but also as bed sheets, pillow covers, purdah, etc.

For young girls going to schools, colleges and universities, very few of them wear Phaneks. The Phaneks are also like short skirts made out of the machine made fine cloths coming from outside the State. Majority of the girls going to schools wear uniforms made out of the fine cloths from outside. At the university level, no one, it may be said wear Phanek. All the girls studying in different departments wear jeans and shirts. How fast is the change in the dress of the girls? There was a time when a particular organisation took much concern and seriousness regarding the dress of the women, emphasizing on the importance of traditional dress of local products. But due to modernisation and globalisation, the traditional dress of the women of Manipur has changed a lot. It is notable to see how young married women dress, not in the traditional style, but in a semi-modern form covering only the front portion of the upper body with a short thin cloth. In this changed form of dressing one has to think how to protect, promote the dignity and value of being a human among fellow beings.

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Enough is Enough, Time for Soul Searching (II)

S. Kunjabihari Singh, IAS (Retd.)

        The artificial divide between the hills and the valley, between the tribals and the non-tribals particularly the majority community, the Meities has been unfortunately widening over the years. Till around the fifties and early sixties, this in-plant segregation, this dissosiation between the two communities was hardly visible. There were constant and regular cross- flows of the inhabitants. In the late fifties, when we were in the schools, I remember Tangkhuls from the then East district,( now Ukhrul) coming down to the plains in search of manual jobs  with the Meities too going to the hills for teaching jobs and for other odd jobs like farming,  merchandising, carpentry, manual sawing of timbers etc. in far off interior villages. There were complete amicable relations and understanding between the two communities.

       The wave of change came rather swiftly thereafter where insincere and often contrived mind-set swayed resulting to gradually intensified hatred among the pseudo-leaders. These simulated, self-styled leaders who mostly were born after the sixties, who had not personally experienced the social taboos of untouchability prevalent those days, were hard-core propagandists. Perhaps the tradition-old practice of touchable or untouchable codes prevalent those years were deep in the psyche of the educated youths in the hills as narrated by their fore-fathers. The sore of this scare is perhaps deeply buried in the minds of the younger generation. The yarn for vengeance is perhaps burning bright still, though the practice is no more in existence or practiced even remotely anywhere in the valley. Rather, there have been instances of mutual acceptance, matrimonial alliances and other forms of inter- mix. What is therefore, more relevant now is the imperative need for mollifying the mind-set.

         One very pertinent area is paving the way for rapid development of the hills to bring at near-similar facilities and amenities as available in the plains. A difficult proposition however considering the vastness of the hill districts, 90 % of the geographical area, with just 33 odd percent of the state population (now reaching over 40%) residing in it. What is required is, therefore, a determined and sincere effort for a rational plan for implementation in the 5 hill districts. This sincere resolve, this conviction to achieve became the most strategic input in the whole exercise of rapid development. It has become the crux of the whole objective. What is important is if the apparatus for implementation and zeal for achieving the set targets of these carefully drawn programmes are in position today, even after completion of 60 years of national planning?

       The solidarity among the hill settlers is usually high, indeed very high, among the natives and therefore any departure from the agreed norms by a higher-up is normally ignored to the extent of being accepted. Perhaps there could be possibility of being ignorant of the principal content and components of the programmes or they just meekly fall in line to the one proposed or sponsored by the coterie of the Minister. In the result, the already charted components of the schemes or programmes after submission to the GOI and subsequent modifications after elaborate meetings in the Planning Commission got modified almost arbitrarily, to suit personal whims and likes or dislikes. And, there are no objections raised from the natives for reasons, inter-alia, identified earlier.

      This element of like-mindedness or can we call it, team-spirit, is so strong that if the Minister in charge of the Department for the development of the Tribals happens to be from a village called Tongjoi in Senapati district, most of the benefits are garnered by Tongjoi and areas around and the Tribal Development Department (TDD) is often nicknamed, as Tongjoi Development Department (TDD). In the like manner if the Minister happens to be from Tamenglong, the Department is often called Tamenglong Development Department (TDD) for the simple reason that most of the benefits of the programmes are amassed by this district. Yet, no problem, the system goes and the rest falls in line religiously. Resultantly, the development effort lacks uniformity to the extent of being cornered by the influential few.

     The month of February of any financial year is considered a red-letter month and attaches much importance as, this time around additional funds are usually allocated, as supplementary assistance by the MHA under SCA. This fund of a few crores which was not budgeted at the time of normal budget presentation in June/July got the maximum casualty in terms of distortion often near total, to suit the personal choices of the top boss. A conservative estimate would work out at less than 40% of these scarce funds go to the genuine beneficiaries. The rest too goes to the natives of the districts but the beneficiaries so selected arbitrarily never came to know about the schemes, about the benefits, let alone enjoy the benefit physically. Ignorant as they are, only their names collated from the electoral rolls of the districts, are on the records of the government as having being selected for the various schemes, be they housing under which GCI sheets were granted or schemes like plantation of ginger or piggery etc. the hard fact being that they never got to know about the good news of them being in the selection list. The actual benefit goes to the hands of some others who actually are the masters of the whole operation.


        And here are voices of disdain that the funds earmarked for the development of the hill areas are syphoned to the valley districts by a partisan government and thus the hill areas are left to their fate to be perpetually starved of funds for development. In one sense, true, the funds of near about 60% robbed of by the top functionaries (against real citizens of the hill areas), are mostly invested in the Imphal city in terms of possessing personal properties or constructing new houses in new colonies set everywhere in the heart of the Imphal city.. This way the funds could be perhaps viewed as being syphoned to the valley. But the difference should be clearly appreciated. Even otherwise the full-throttled charge of hill- funds being apportioned or reappropriated to the valley for the benefit of the majority community sound utterly fictitious.

          Imagine the total funds under SCA in a particular annual plan are, say, Rs 10 crores. If Rs 5 crores are allegedly diverted to the valley by a partisan government, depriving the hill people of the benefit at the cost of valley people as claimed, the unseen loss to the kitty of the top boss of the TDD would be substantial. The Minister in charge of the TDD would not, I repeat, not accede to such a proposal. Reasons are simple enough, need not even be elaborated. In addition, even where under the play of a miracle, the Minister agrees to such an appropriation of the earmarked fund meant for use exclusively in the hill areas , the Planning Commission (PC) and the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) would not accord sanction to the appropriation of the SCA for use in valley districts, a non-tribal district.

        The highest level decision making body, the Cabinet Committee is not empowered to divert this SCA fund without specific prior sanction of the GOI in the MHA and the PC. One wonders how the likes of ignorant persons of the stature of the kind of Nandita Haksar and other general populace of the hills claim otherwise. But in their heart of heart they find solace in crying foul charging the GOM for denying the tribals of the benefit of such funds. Nothing could be more absurd.

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Taking care of the elderly

As life expectancy improves, there has been significant increase in the number of elderly person in our society. And even though the issue is not so pronounced at the moment, taking proper care of our elderly population is going to present a major challenge in the days to come. As with everything else, our society too is also changing with the times. The traditional values though still strong, no longer holds complete sway over our lives, especially among the urban middle class. Urbanization, education, globalizations have brought in new value systems, new norms and practices, changes in lifestyles, etc. The joint family has given way to nuclear families. The days of the patriarch deciding the fate of the family with a benevolent yet firm hand is turning into a distant memory. Various factors have contributed to the neglect and marginalization of the elderly persons in a family. The ever widening generational gap, the differing value system to which the children are increasingly subscribing to, has led to the alienation of the elderly parents. Then there are issues of finances. Raising children, getting them educated is becoming costlier by the day; the cost of living is becoming higher, what was once considered luxuries have now become necessities. Weighed down by these factors, we hear instances of elderly parents being ill-treated by their children.  Also as the residential space gets divided further and further through the generations, living space are getting scarcer by the day and this pressure on space has also cast its dark shadows on the relationship between the aging parents and their children. Although the Manipuri society even today still treats its elders with respect and takes care of them, it is obvious that the elders of today are not being treated by the present society as they used to treat their elders. This is where the state needs to step in. The Manipur government should be alive to the vulnerability of the elderly in the state which will only increase with time. It should be geared to give financial assistance to the elderly. The coverage of old age pension as well as the amount needs to be enhanced. Their health care is one area which the government should pay special attention to because this is one area they most need help and looking after with many of them suffering from chronic and multiple ailments. As with children, physical environment like open spaces and parks where they can relax breathe in fresh air and exchange a few laughs with their peers should also be created. Old age homes which replicates the environment of real homes as closely as possible could also be established, which will give shelter to homeless elderly persons or those who unfortunately had been turned out of their homes by their children. And of course, the law enforcing agencies should be prompt enough to prevent such unfortunate incidents from taking place and generally protect them from other dangers. Let us not forget, whatever we are today, we owe it to these elders.

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AMWJU celebrates 41st foundation day

Site for Press Academy identified at Lamphel

Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh acknowledging role of media in shaping the society and hailing sacrifice by the state scribes called upon the media fraternity to continuously contribute their mite in reforming the Manipuri society and enlightening the state masses.

Attending the 41st Foundation Day celebration of All Manipur Working Journalists’ Union (AMWJU) held on Tuesday at Manipur Press Club, the Chief Minister expressed that India’s growing reputation as one of the largest democratic countries in the world is a fruit of efforts by the journalists who are working with commitment and responsibilities in transforming the country into a welfare state.

With the exception of Assam, Manipur is making appreciable progress in the field of journalism compared to other states in the North Eastern region, Ibobi said and conveyed that the state government acknowledges the crucial role played by the media in the state.

“The contribution made by the media persons is for the interest of the people and not for their personal benefit. So the government has been and will further extend maximum help for the welfare of the media fraternity,” said the CM and confirmed that as a part of welfare measure taken up by the government for the media persons the state cabinet has approved increasing the amount of Pension Scheme for veteran journalist from Rs 2,000 to Rs 4,000. Moreover, Department of Information and Public Relations (DIPR) will be upgraded to a major department for which requisite manpower of the Department will be filled up along with providing latest equipment and adequate infrastructure, he maintained.

Further informing relevant official process for promotion of eligible/deserving candidates would be initiated to ensure efficient functioning of the department, Ibobi also declared that for further development of media professionalism a site for establishment of Press Academy has been identified at Lamphel area.

Responding to queries by media persons before leaving the celebration venue, he reiterated that the government has no intention to delay or dilute the civil movement for implementation of Inner Line Permit System (ILPS) in Manipur.

Announcing that the state government will take a definite stand on the issue, the CM expressed confidence that upon receiving report from the All Political Party Committee on ILPS the government will soon declare its position on the ILPS issue.

Asserting that whether or not subject experts approve re-introduction of ILPS in Manipur, the state government is committed to protecting interest of the indigenous people through implementation of a similar law under which entry of non-locals could be regulated, he said.

Regarding the incident of racial attack in NIT Langol campus some days back, the CM clarified that the incident occurred due to certain misunderstanding among the NIT hostellers.

While ruling out recurrence of such incident in the future, he said the government has been closely monitoring the situation to ensure that academic activities are not disrupted and non-local students feel secure.

Works Minister, Dr Kh Ratankumar, who attended the celebration as the guest of honour noted that journalists have to have to deal with various pressure which include proprietorial, political and other vested interest groups while performing their duty. Over this, journalists in the state have to face the added pressure of working in a conflict situation, he added.

Stating that despite limitations and difficulties, the state scribes do not lag behind in any manner compared to journalists of other states, the Minister urged them to carry out their duty with a sense of justice and the zeal to unearth the truth.

As functional president, AMWJU president Wangkhemcha Shyamjai stated that about 500 media persons are bona-fide members of the scribes’ body in the state.

Among the North Eastern states, scribes in Manipur have been marching ahead and taking journalism as a serious profession, he said and acknowledged that role of the media in a conflict state like Manipur is mean task.

Even though both Government agencies and UG groups often exert pressure on the media related to publication of news items, there is the need for the media to perform their bounded duties in a firm and professional manner, said the president.

Conveying gratitude to the government for identifying site to construct the proposed Press Academy, he also informed that the amount of Pension Scheme for journalists and Widow Pension Scheme has been increased to Rs 4000 and Rs 2000 respectively.

On the other hand private medical centres/clinics like Shija Hospitals, Suba Hospital, Raj Medicity, Babina Diagnostics Centre, Langol View Charitable Hospital and Mother's Care Hospital will be providing 20-30 per-cent concession to the journalists and their family members for treatment at these hospitals/clinics, he informed.

Shyamjai also confided that the upcoming talks involving publishing houses, AMWJU, DIPR and Labour Department will be held with conformity to the verdict by the Supreme Court for hiking wages of the journalists.

As a part of the celebration, veteran journalists, former presidents of the Union, editors and family members of deceased journalist were also honoured at the occasion.

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NO LET-UP IN ILPS PROTESTS

Thang-Ta artistes join movement, stage sit-in

Despite meetings and efforts of the government to chalk out possible way to implement ILPS or frame new law to safeguard the indigenous people of the state, there is no let up in the protest demonstrations carried out by several CSOs, clubs, organisations and Meira Paibi bodies, which has crossed more than one month.

On Tuesday, State Platform of Disable People’s Organisation Manipur staged a sit in protest demanding ILPS implementation in the state at Tera Keithel. One of the protestors told The People’s Chronicle that the government should implement ILPS in the state in order to safeguard the indigenous people of the state. The organisation would support any movement of JCILPS on the matter.

Performing Organisation of Arts and Culture Manipur also staged sit in protest at the head office of the Organisation at Keirao Bitra demanding ILPS. Meira Paibis of Thangmeiband Hijam Dewan Leikai also staged protest at Chingakham Lampak on the same demand.

Meanwhile, a public meeting which was attended by all the clubs, meira paibi and Pallel Bazaar Board Committee functionaries, and held at the ground of Youth Development Organisation (YDO), Pallel on September 15 unanimously resolved to endorse and support all agitations launched by JCILPS for the implementation ILPS in the state.

According to a release of YDO, the meeting also took a number of resolutions which include immediate implementation of ILPS in the state, unconditional release of all the members of JCILPS Student Wing who were arrested by the police, suspension of Addl SP Victoria and prohibition of entry of all non-locals without proper identification proof.

On the other hand, Showing solidarity to the ongoing agitation for the implementation of Inner Line permit system spearheaded by JCILPS Manipur, the Thang-ta Artistses of Performing Organization of Arts and Culture, Keiraobitra staged a sit-in protest at the Keirao public waiting shed.

Talking to media, President of the body P Thaba said implementation of ILPS is the only way to safeguard the indigenous people from losing its identity due to uncontrolled influx of immigrants from mainland India.

Stating that the arrest of the JCILPS volunteers and registering unreasonable charges against them in addition to police attack on the JCILPS office will not bring about any solution to the issue, she maintained that a democratic government should regard the voice of the public rather than resorting to force while dealing with public movement.

She also demanded immediate release of the arrested volunteers and holding of talks with the agitating JCILPS to end the ILP imbroglio

A torch rally was also held at Mayang Imphal demanding immediate implementation of the System in the state.

Awareness meeting were also conducted Moirangkampu, Mongsangei Sun Club and Nambul Mapal Phura Makhong.

Different localities in Imphal and its sub-urban area including Keisampat  Lairenbi, Longjam Leirak Machin Keisampat, Elangbam leikai Leirak Achouba, Keishamthong Ahanthem Leikai leiirak Machin, Khagempali Machin, Huidrom Leikai Khagempali, Pisum bazaar, Nongthombam Leikai community hall, Hobam Marak, Langthabal Lep, Awang Leikai Lainingthou Puthiba Haraopham Lampak, Langthabal Thong Amanbi Community Hall, and Tera Keithel witnessed the holding of the sit-ins and public meeting on Tuesday, added the statement of the Committee.

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Senior advocates forward opinions

All Political Party Committee on ILPS, Tuesday, recorded opinions and views of senior advocates over the implementation of ILPS in the state in a meeting held at the office chamber of Deputy Chief Minister Gaikhangam.

High Court Bar Association president N Shyamkishwar, senior advocate N Kumarjit, N Ibohanbi, S Jhaljit and senior advocate Ng Jyotindra Luwang presented their opinions. The Committee discussed the opinions as well as recorded their views over the implementation of ILPS in the state.

Source available to The People’s Chronicle said that the senior advocates gave their opinion of framing a local law and implement it in order to safeguard the indigenous people of the state.

The Committee would further record opinions of representatives of All Manipur Bar Association on Wednesday.

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State to purchase 10,000 MT rice from Myanmar

Tender for procuring 10,000 MT of rice from neighbouring Myanmar has been issued by State Trading Corporation and Food Corporation of India.

Official sources informed that tender notice was issued by the two Corporations on Tuesday so as to determine Foreign Supplier willing to import rice from Myanmar via Moreh into Manipur.

Meanwhile, Government of India, which is set to purchase the rice from Myanmar between October 15 and November 15 has initiated necessary steps to materialize the deal.

The source further informed that responsibility of bringing in the rice from the South East Asian country would be borne by FCI. In addition, the possibility of transporting rice directly from Myanmar to Imphal through trucks is high. However, if it fails to materialize, the rice would be offloaded at Moreh and then brought to Imphal.

In connection with the plan, two officials of State Trading Corporation are currently camping at Imphal. The duo will further head to Moreh to finalise necessary procedures. The officials also met with Chief Secretary PC Lawmkunga for further discussion on the rice import plan. The meeting was attended by officials of CAF & PD, agriculture and health departments.

It is also learnt that the quality of rice would be tested by Food Testing Laboratory. Additionally, if rice has been excluded from the 62 items approved for the international border trade at Moreh, measures to include it would be taken up, added the source.

India is also considering the economic viability of the planned endeavor.

The move of the government comes in the wake of the scheduled Mega Block at Lumding-Silchar Railway Line beginning October 1. The Mega Block is expected to last for six months, and would severely affect import of all necessary items to not just Manipur but also Tripura and Mizoram as well. The mammoth task of Mega Block also means transportation of rice from Jiribam would be halted.

To allay the fears of the affected states, the Central government has also taken up measures to bring in necessary items through the water ways from Andhra Pradesh via Bangladesh. In fact, it has been planned that 35, 000 MT of rice would be imported from Kakinada in AP, to Karimganj in Assam. The source also remarked that transporting rice through water ways was much cheaper and does not cause pollution hazards.

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Weaving training prog concludes

The valedictory function of the 10-day long training on weaving using scrap fabric in traditional loom of Manipur to make value added products, organised by the Leima Thrift and Credit Co-operative Society Limited, Singjamei under the theme “Wealth from Wastes”, was held at Kakwa Community Hall.

The ten-day long programme was a joint initiative of North Eastern Development Finance Corporation Limited (NEDFi) and Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) under its Corporate Social Responsibility Initiatives. The training was held at two locations. The first training programme was organised at Maibam Leikai, Imphal West from August 16 to 20 and the other at Khurai Kongpal, Sajor Leikai, Imphal East from August 23 to 27.

During the programme 50 weavers were trained and Cushion Cover, Door Mat, Dining Mat, Ladies Carry Bag, Wall Hangings, etc. produce by weavers during the training were also put on display. The advantage of holding such programme were revival of traditional loom, production of good quality utility products and such products can be priced economically due to low raw material cost.

Social Welfare Minister Ak Mirabai, who was chief guest at the valedictory function said the training programme on scrap fabric would not only help improve economic condition of the weavers but also help in safeguarding the environment. The Minister also appealed to weavers to open bank account and culture the habit of saving money for the sake of their future generations.

The function was also attended by L. Jibanlata Devi, CEO, Leima Thrift & Credit Co-operative Society Ltd as President and Priyobratta Gurumayum, branch manager, NEDFi Imphal and Anamika Rajkumari, Branch Manager, SIDBI Imphal, as guests of honour.

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Kom body pledges support to ILPS stir

Extending support to the ongoing agitation for implementation of ILPS in the state, Komrem Mother Association (KRMA) has conveyed its apprehension over the possibility of smaller ethnic groups being marginalised by the massive influx of migrant workers. In a statement, KMA also condemned the action of Additional SP (Traffic) Victoria Yengkhom and called for action against the woman MPS officer.

On the other hand, KRMA called for unity among the hills and plain people on the demand for implementing of the System, and remarked that responsibility of doing so lies in the joint effort of the masses. The Association also pondered what would happen to the meagre state population of 30 lakhs if more than a crore people from mainland India descend/settle in the tiny state.

Meanwhile, Students’ Union of Moirang Multipurpose Higher Secondary School has urged state authorities for the unconditional release of JCILPS volunteers forcibly detained by the police on various charges. Condemning strong-arm tactics adopted by the state government to suppress the movement, the Union further suggested that efforts should be made for an amicable solution to all outstanding/important issues.

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Govindas seeks Centre’s assistance

Govindas Konthoujam, Minister of Veterinary and Animal Husbandry of Manipur highlighted the acute shortage of key animal products in Manipur during the State Ministers Conference on Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries held at National Agricultural Science Complex, Pusa here today with the Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh in the chair.

He said, “While requirement of milk is around 2.80 lakhs MT per year in Manipur, our product is only 25 percent of the requirement. We produce only 20 percent of the total requirement of 50 crores eggs per year. In the case of meat production, we have a shortfall of 10 percent of requirement of 35,000 MT per year”. He drew the attention of the Union Ministry of Agriculture for giving all possible assistance to the State for improving and enhancing animal husbandry products.

Govindas conveyed gratitude to the union government for approval of the project proposal for Conservation of Mithun by the Project Sanctioning Committee in its meeting held on 1-9-2014 with a cost of Rs 2006.70 lakh for implementation under National Programme for Bovine Breeding (NPBB). He requested the Ministry for releasing the amount of Rs 650 lakh earmarked for the current year to take up the scheme.

For implementation of the National Livestock Mission, Manipur Veterinary Minister said, “We have constituted the State Level Executive Committee and the State Livestock Mission. Two projects namely - “Support to breeding Programmes under Sub-Mission on Pig Development in NER at Andro, Imphal East District” at a cost of Rs 942 lakh and “Strengthening of State Piggery Farms” for our farms in Bishnupur and Churachandpur districts at a cost Rs 100 lakh have been prepared. Andro village is inhabited by Scheduled caste people who are traditional pig rearers”. He requested the Ministry to consider the two projects for prompt approval.

He also informed the Ministry that the Government of India allocated a sum of Rs 502 lakh for Manipur under the Mission and it had been revised downward to Rs 142 lakh. He requested the Ministry to reconsider the revision.

Govindas also drew the attention of the Union Minister of Agriculture for establishment of an Animal Quarantine Station at Moreh in Manipur bordering Myanmar on priority. He said that trade with Myanmar and other South-East Asian nations was expected to pick up in the coming years. A quarantine station at Moreh would become indispensable for facilitating import and export of animals and animal products.

Manipur Veterinary Minister stated, “The Manipuri cattle particularly the indigenous bulls and bullocks are stout with fully developed humps. They are known for their draught power and resistance to disease. They can thrive well in the various agro-climatic conditions even with inferior quality nutrition. We are intending to take steps for conservation of the indigenous local breed of cattle by establishing an Integrated Indigenous Cattle Centre in Thoubal District in Manipur with a cost Rs 500.00 lakhs”. He requested the Ministry to extend the assistance under the Rashtriya Gokul Mission.

Referring to the animal health control, Govindas stated that Manipur was quite sensitive as it was bordering Myanmar.  Entering of trans-national diseases into the State from across the border was always possible. For the year 2014-15, the State Government had submitted a proposal with central share of Rs 659.05 lakhs for implementation under the Assistance to States for Control of Animal Diseases (ASCAD). Vaccination against the anti-rabies and endoparasite control of cattle and buffaloes were also included in the proposal.

Govindas informed that that during the year 2011-12, the Government of India approved the construction of 75 veterinary institutions with the central share of Rs 857.25 lakhs; and released a sum of Rs 428.00 lakhs. Another sum of Rs 91.20 lakhs was released towards the end of 2013-14 and the balance amount of Rs 338.05 lakhs was not yet released. He urged the Ministry to release all pending funds for implementation of schemes.

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