The Peoples Chronicle

The Peoples Chronicle

The Burbidge Family:

Margaret Burbidge, Pioneer British-American Astrophysicist

                   Debananda S. Ningthoujam, PhD

Today we shall glimpse at the life and career of a collaborative couple in astronomy. They were the pioneers of astrochemistry esp. how elements heavier than hydrogen and helium were forged in the fiery bellies of stars. Through their creative partnership in astrophysical research, it was conclusively established that the iron in our blood and the calcium in our bones were all forged in the stars. That’s why it’s often said that we are made of stardust.

In this column, we shall profile the life and career of the female member of this creative couple. She had an early interest in astronomy but her stellar career in astronomy was also marked by several trials and tribulations. She was denied a fellowship to work at Mt. Wilson Observatory in the US, as only male scientists were permitted to work at this observatory at that time. Through her valiant struggles, gender equity was finally achieved and women were later permitted to work at the Observatory.

It is said that her early interest in astronomy was ignited by gazing of stars at the tender age of four during a boat crossing from England to France.

She won many awards and honors including Helen Warner Prize, Bruce Medal, Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society, National Medal of Science, USA and Henry Norris Russell Lectureship. She was the first female astronomer to be elected fellow of the Royal Society, London in 1964. But she declined the Annie J. Cannon Award as she was vehemently against any sort of prejudice for or against women (Annie Cannon Award is awarded to women only).

Early Life

Margaret was born Eleanor Margaret Peachey on August 12, 1919 in Davenport, England. She was the daughter of Stanley John Peachey, a chemistry teacher at Manchester School of Technology (MST) and Marjorie Stott, a chemist. Margaret had a sister.

Margaret did her schooling in an all-girls school, Francis Holland School.

 

 

Higher Education

She started her education in astronomy in 1936 at UCL and earned her BSc in 1939. She then went on to pursue further studies and received her PhD from London University in 1943. Her PhD work focused on the spectrum of the Be star (a hot star with a B spectral type), Gamma Cassiopeiae. She was thus trained as an observational spectroscopist. Margaret got married to Geoffrey Burbidge in 1948.

Academic and scientific career

She applied for Carnegie Fellowship but her application was rejected as it would involve working at Mt Wilson Observatory which was reserved only for men at that time.

In 1950, she applied for a grant at the Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay, Wisconsin and went to the US in 1951.

In 1955, she gained access to Mt Wilson entering as her husband’s assistant. When the truth was found out, she was allowed to stay on the condition that the couple must stay in a separate collage.

Margaret returned to England in 1953 and initiated research in collaboration with Geoffrey (her husband), William Fowler, and Fred Hoyle. The resulting theory, known as B2FH (after Burbidge, Burbidge, Fowler and Hoyle) was a landmark publication (1957) on the origin of elements in the stars. Margaret worked at the California Institute of Technology from 1955 to 1957.

In 1972, she became director of the Royal Greenwich Observatory. This was a record landmark in 300 years as it was the first time that the post was not associated with the post of Astronomer Royal. But she left the post in 1974 after a controversy.

She was at Yerkes from 1957 to 1962. In 1962, she joined the faculty in UCSD and has been working there since. She is currently a professor emerita there.

 

 

Salient Contributions in Science

Margaret’s work involved optical spectroscopy-the analysis of visible light arising from stars, galaxies and quasars. She along with her husband contributed greatly to our understanding of chemical compositions of the stars and the structure of galaxies and quasi-stellar objects.

Geoffrey was the theorist and Margaret was the observer in the creative partnership. Her work necessitated the use of a large telescope to gather light from a celestial source and a spectrograph to separate the light into its various wavelengths.

The B2FH paper was published in 1957 as Synthesis of the Elements in Stars in a new astrophysical journal, Reviews of Modern Physics. This paper established that iron in our blood, calcium in our bones, and the oxygen we breathe were all made from the ashes of dying stars that exploded into supernovae or that had slow death, releasing their matter into space.

Margaret was involved in much of the early research on quasi-stellar objects, the so-called quasars. She also helped in the early work with the Hubble telescope and has also worked on the rotation and mass of galaxies; has contributed to the work on dark matter by Vera Rubin.

The Burbidges also questioned the validity of the Big Bang Theory.

Books

The Burbidges published a book, compiling their discoveries, in 1967 called Quasi-Stellar Objects.

Awards and honors

In 1983, Margaret was elected president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). She has also served as vice-president and president of American Astronomical Society (AAS).

She won Helen B. Warner Prize (1959), Bruce Medal (1982), and National Medal of Science (NMS) of USA (1985).

Margaret was also conferred Henry Russell Lectureship (1984), Gold Medal of Royal Astronomical Society (RAS, 2005) (with her husband).

She was the first female astronomer to be made Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 1964.

Personal life

Margaret was married to Geoffrey Burbidge and they have a daughter, Sarah (born 1956), and a grandson. She collaborated with him from 1948 till he died in 2010.

Epilogue

Margaret Burbidge has left lasting footprints in astrophysics as a pioneer observational astrophysicist.

Her life demonstrates that one can reach the acme of accomplishments in a chosen field against the odds of one’s gender, birthplace, circumstances of life or other limitations provided one has strong passion and commitment to one’s chosen area of work.

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Strategic and economic consequences of cheap oil

Amit Kapoor 

Crude oil prices have plummeted globally. The present levels have consequences for both oil exporting countries like Russia, Nigeria, Mexico and Venezuela and those in the Middle East, as well as developing economies like China and India that depend on imports for meeting the demands of their fast prospering populations. In the past, the high price ensured that the oil exporting countries had enough inflows in the form of payments by developing and developed economies that have had a shortage of crude oil pre-July. However the economy is just one of the consequences of cheap oil. The other effects of equal, if not more importance include geopolitics and strategic alignment.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) basket that contains 12 grades of crude is quite representative of the price movement. This has fallen close to $40 in the past six months - from $108 a barrel in July this year to $61 on December 11. This fall is probably the steepest decline in atleast the past 14 years and is attributed to the discoveries of newer techniques for extracting shale oil that have resulted in an increase in the production of US crude. It has led to global prices of crude oil going into a tailspin, which has consequences that are both strategic and economic.

The fall has augured well for India in strengthening ties with its long-standing defence equipment partner and supplier Russia as witnessed during the recent visit of the President Vladimir Putin. The Russian economy, which is badly hit by EU and US sanctions amid collapsing crude oil prices, seems keen to pivot the sanctions with growth opportunities in the rising Asian economies, most prominently those of China and India.

Prime Minister Narendrs Modi, alongwith President Putin, strengthened the two countries' engagement on energy as well as in crucial areas of trade and defence. Modi declared post his meeting with Putin that Russia plans to build at least 10 more nuclear reactors in energy-starved India. In the oil and gas sector, Russia's Rosneft entered into a 10-year multibillion-dollar agreement with India's Essar Group, which is planning to import a whopping 10 million tonnes (mt) of crude oil a year for 10 years. At present, the market value of the deal is estimated at $40 billion over a 10-year timeframe. Also, apart from these two major deals, cooperation in energy also included a $1bn joint venture to support hydroelectric power projects in India. In our opinion, all these are positive developments for securing India's energy future.

In the area of trade, the joint statement issued by Modi and Putin mentioned increasing the turnover of goods and services to $30 billion by 2025 - roughly three times the current figure. Similarly, two-way investments are targeted to increase to $15 billion each way up from $4 billion in 2012. Significant headway was also made in the area of diamond trade with Russia and India trying to reconfigure global value chains to benefit their economies.

In the field of defence production too, Russia seemed keen to manufacture its most advanced military helicopter in India and agreed to advance a long-delayed project to develop a joint fighter jet with India. These agreements are is in line with the Indian government's commitment to make in India.

While we agree that falling crude prices cannot alone explain Russia and India's vigorous positive engagement, we do believe cheap oil does act as a catalyst, especially when Russsia's diplomatic ties with other countries seem a bit strained at present. Thus, in our opinion, the geopolitics of oil goes far beyond the economic aspect of cheap oil. While we do believe that falling crude prices will benefit India in economic terms. We also think it will open up opportunities for active engagement in the strategic sphere.

On the economic aspect, government sources believe that the overall impact of cheap crude oil could help Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to reap a fiscal windfall of at least $12 billion when he presents his 2015-16 budget in February. This is a considerable amount and may enable him meet his predecessor's fiscal deficit target of 4.1 percent of the GDP. If Jaitley can achieve this, it will go to ease inflation further, most likely spurring the RBI for a rate cut. But before that, US President Barack Obama's visit will, hopefully, help one derive some conclusions about India's strategic alignment. In the domestic sphere, a rate cut, along with the other proposed reforms like the Goods and Services Tax might just be the change in gear that the Indian economy presently is looking for.

 (The article is co-authored with Sankalp Sharma, senior researcher at the Institute for Competitiveness, India. Amit Kapoor 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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The devilish act of targeting children

In one of the most dastardly and devilish acts ever recorded in history of humankind, armed Taliban militants attacked a school in Peshawar killing around 145 people which included over 130 young students of the school. What comes as an absolutely shocking and leaves one dumbfounded in the fact that the school children were not intended victims or the so called ‘collateral damage’ of a battle or an armed confrontation but were deliberately targeted to exact revenge against the Pakistani Army. A Taliban spokesman Mohammed Khurasani not only claimed responsibility for the attack but stated in very clear terms that it was retribution for the Pakistan Army’s military operation in North Waziristan, the northwestern tribal region of where the group's fighters largely are largely based. "We targeted their kids so that they could know how it feels when they hit our kids," Khurasani said.  While one can empathise with the pain and grieve for the many hundreds of children and women who were killed during the Pakistan Army’s operations as also in the American drone attacks in this region, it is beyond our comprehension as to how young innocent school children who have nothing to do with these attacks were specifically targeted in revenge. The school chosen was an army run school were children of the Pakistan armed forces study to drive home the point that they will chose targets which will most hurt you even if these are defenceless, vulnerable and innocent children. Such an act is a crime against humanity and that no value system or religion will give sanctity to it. Even the Afghanistan Taliban has called the killing of these innocent school children as un-Islamic. Today voices across the world are united in condemning this unpardonable act. The Indian Parliamentarians stood up as one in the midst of their vociferous disagreements over various issue to condemn the incident and also to share in the grief and pain of the families. Even as world leaders condemn this act of most cowardly act of terror, there is a need to take effective measures to combat terror through cooperation and coordinated among the many countries which are vulnerable to such terror attacks. At the same time, it is important for the world leaders to realise that there cannot be good terrorists and bad terrorists and that no allusion to a perceived noble goal can justify either terror tactics or use of extremely disproportionate force to defeat or rather dominate an enemy, a nation, a people. The United States of America and its western allies cannot wash its hands from the unfortunate, chaotic and almost catastrophic situation prevailing in the Afghanistan and in Pakistan. It was America and Pakistan which fostered the birth of the Talibans who are the offshoots of the Mujahedeens which who were trained and armed by these two countries in its bid to drive away the Russians from Afghanistan. But then in later years the Talibans turned against America and Pakistan and since then these two countries have been battling the Talibans which consequently led to the death of many innocent civilians including children in the North Waziristan region. What is most unfortunate is that innocent children are increasingly paying the price for wars waged by adults.

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Sarita escapes with one year ban, India seeks review of verdict

Indian female boxer L Sarita Devi was Wednesday banned for one year and fined Swiss francs 1,000 by the AIBA for refusing to accept her 2014 Asiad bronze medal, a verdict that evoked an immediate concern from the Indian government, who had supported the troubled pugilist's plea of leniency.

The International Boxing Association (AIBA) also handed down two-year bans, ending Oct 1, 2016, to the 29-year-old boxer's husband Thoiba Singh and coach BI Fernandez, and barred her coach Lenin Meitei for one year ending Oct 1, 2015. Fernandez was also fined Swiss francs 2,000 and Lenin Meitei Swiss francs 1,000.

The AIBA, however, relieved Indian boxing chief coach GS Sandhu from all charges of misdemeanour.

"The Disciplinary Commission Chair rules that Laishram Sarita Devi is suspended from any activity at the National, Confederation and International levels for a period of one year starting from the 2014 Asian Games medal ceremony (Oct 1)," an AIBA statement said.

"Devi shall pay a fine of Swiss francs 1,000. Devi's suspension shall end Oct 1, 2015, provided that all fines have been paid and no additional rulings have been rendered against her."

Speculation was rife that the AIBA will impose a ban for life on the former world champion. The Indian government had, earlier, earnestly appealed for consideration of her humble background and controversy-free image to spare her a career-ending ban.

The duration of the ban provides her an opportunity to represent the country in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

Expressing her views on the verdict, Sarita Devi said in a release: "I am hugely relieved and would like to thank the boxing fraternity and Boxing India for helping me sail through these difficult times."

"I will now be able to participate in the Games and will work harder to bring laurels to the nation."

The Indian government, however, was not amused by the decision. Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, in a statement, said that the ban aroused a feeling of concern in the sporting community, a move that would demoralise the boxer.

"One-year ban on boxer Sarita Devi by AIBA for refusing her bronze medal in Incheon Asian Games has caused concern across India in general and sportspersons in particular. Government of India is of considered view that the issue of Sarita Devi should be dealt with in a sympathetic manner by the concerned authorities," Sonowal said.

"Banning her for one year at this juncture will have a demoralising effect on her consistency and good performance in the arena. It may also affect the promotion and development of boxing in India."

Sonowal said that the government will continue to pursue the matter.

"The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Govt. of India has been pursuing the matter since the beginning, and will continue to pursue it further at all appropriate forums dealing with the subject for a review of the decision of banning Sarita Devi," the statement said.

But Boxing India (BI) president Sandeep Jajodia was relieved following the announcement of the verdict.

Expressing his opinion on the AIBA verdict, Boxing India (BI) president Sandeep Jajodia said: "AIBA's verdict on Sarita Devi comes as a relief to Boxing India, the boxing fraternity, Sarita's fans and boxing enthusiasts around the world."

In Incheon, a day after she lost the 60-kg category semi-final bout to host challenger Jina Park despite dominating the bout, an inconsolable Sarita refused to accept the bronze medal and later handed it over to Park, who left the medal on the podium before making her exit at the Seonhak Gymnasium.

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Chief Minister inaugurates Pherzawl ADC office, other projects

Govt will give top priority in education, health and power sectors, says CM

As a part of the developmental programmes being taken up by the state government in the hill areas, Chief Minister O Ibobi, Wednesday inaugurated the office of Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC), Pherzawl; Sub-Divisional Office, Parbung and the Gynaecology Ward of Parbung Community Health Centre, in addition to laying the foundation stone of a 33/11kv Power sub-station in Pherzawl and Block Institute of Education Training, Parbung, during a function held at Pherzawl, under Tipaimukh sub-division, of Churachandpur district.

While speaking at the occasion as chief guest, CM O Ibobi informed the gathering that the state government has resolved to give more priority to education, health and power sector. Local candidates would be given preference during recruitment of staff members in the health sector, he added.

Deliberating on the educational initiatives taken up by the state government in the hill areas, the Chief Minister also stated that the Parbung High School would be enlisted as one of the centres for the upcoming HSLC examination. He also informed that while recruiting teachers in Jiribam and the hill areas of the state, selection of local candidates would be given priority.

The government is planning to inaugurate the 132/33kv Power sub-station of Thanlon, 33/11kv power sub-station of Pherzawl and the 33/11 power sub-station of Shivpurikhal in January next, O Ibobi informed the gathering.

Moreover, the Block Institute of Education Training, Parbung whose foundation stone was laid today would also be inaugurated at the earliest possible, the Chief Minister assured.

The Chief Minister also informed that the major portion of black-topping along the 185-km long stretch from Churachandpur district headquarters to Parbung sub-divisional headquarters has been completed and that the construction of Bailey bridge over Barak River in between Jiribam to Tipaimukh would also be started during the current working season.

CM Ibobi also appealed to the public to protect forest area for the future generation.

Delivering the presidential speech of the function, Health and Family Welfare Minister Phunzathang Tonsing stated that the day marks an important chapter in the history of Thanlon area. The state government under the leadership of CM O Ibobi has resolved to depute staff nurses and doctors in the interior parts of the state and very shortly, the staff would be seen doing their duty in Thanlon also, said the Minister.

 

The event was also attended by Education Minister M Okendro, Works Minister Dr Kh Ratankumar, MLA O Landhoni Devi, Hill Areas Committee Chairman Chaltolien Amo, DC Churachandpur and other top officials. Members of Hmar Inpui, Hmar Chiefs Association and various other CSOs also presented gifts to the Chief Minister.

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Beef up security at schools: Centre tells states

The central government has asked states to beef up security, especially at educational institutions, following the terror attack at an army-run school in Pakistan, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said Wednesday.

"I just want to say that all state governments have been issued an advisory by the home ministry," he told reporters outside parliament on being asked whether steps have been taken by the government to secure educational institutions.

Following the advisory, security in schools was beefed up in many states in India.

In the national capital, Delhi Police stationed policemen outside most of the schools after the advisory alerted about a possible attack on the lines of the Peshawar terror attack in which 141 people, mostly school children, were killed.

The advisory, issued late Tuesday night, said that in view of the terror attack on the Pakistani school, and a terror incident in Sydney and "heightened possibility of a terrorist attack" in India in the light of the upcoming visit of US President Barack Obama, all states and other authorities concerned have been told to remain alert.

"The law enforcement agencies should take all measures towards target hardening of vulnerable places and installations. This includes public places with high footfall, public transport, including railways, and schools in particular," the advisory said.

It also alerts against the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and the Islamic State (IS).

"The terror threat can emanate from members of SIMI who had escaped from Khandawa, agents of IM based in Pakistan, and LeT. In addition, lone wolf attacks by radicalised IS sympathisers are also a possibility," it added.

"Such attacks can only be prevented if central and state agencies mobilise all resources and assets at their disposal and focus on collecting actionable intelligence," the advisory added.

"The incidents and the developments mentioned above warrant immediate attention of intelligence and law enforcement agencies across India. It is felt that till the end of January 2015, the security forces and intelligence agencies need to remain on a very high alert mode to prevent incidents witnessed elsewhere in the neighbourhood as well as in other parts of the world," the advisory said.

"It is requested that all state governments and central agencies may take all necessary measures to prevent possible terror attacks and the steps mentioned above are only illustrative and not exhaustive.

"Further steps required may be taken as per local situation and it again reiterated that the heightened sense of security alertness may be continued at least till the end of January 2015," it added.

The advisory was referring to Obama's visit Jan 25-26 during the Republic Day celebrations.

In the light of the attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar, the advisory said: "There appears to be an immediate requirement to scale up security around schools and other educational institution which are considered more valuable due to a variety of factors."

It said "mock drills" should be carried out in vulnerable locations.

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Transport body alleges FCI-contractor nexus

Even as transport operators earlier engaged in shipping in essential commodities under the Food Corporation of India (FCI) have been left in the lurch due to cessation of transport activities on the Imphal-Jiribam section of National Highway-37, Manipur Truck Owners’ Welfare Association (MTOWA) accused FCI authorities of flouting prescribed norms by allowing contractors to bring in rice through the Imphal-Dimapur route.

Speaking to this daily, an MTOWA spokesman said official tender process for shipping in FCI items, particular rice into Manipur clearly mentioned that the transport route would be from Assam’s Jagiroad to Sangaiprou via Silchar (Assam).

While MTOWA too joined the bid when tender was floated to select the transport contractor the same bid was claimed by a firm based on low rate quotation for the Jagiroad-Sangaiprou route.

Despite tender rules entailing transportation of the FCI rice through the 610-km long Jagiroad-Sangaiprou route, the contractor engaged for the task has been ferrying the essential items on the Imphal-Dimpaur section of NH-39 thus amounting to violation of norms prescribed for the tender as the latter route is only about 400 kilometres, said the spokesman who asserted that MTOWA failed in the bid process on the basis of the distance from the collection point to Sangaiprou.

By flouting the prescribed norms FCI authorities are not only liable to face legal action but there is strong possibility that the FCI authorities have been deliberately overlooking transportation on the shorter route to share profit of the firm/contractor, he alleged.

Demanding that Government of Manipur initiate inquiry on why FCI officials are not complying with prescribed norms, the spokesman further lamented that by allowing transportation of FCI goods on the Imphal-Dimapur road FCI officials are indirectly involved in helping anti-social elements that operate and extort rampantly on this route.

Regardless of mega rail blockade since October choking transportation on the Imphal-Jiribam road FCI authorities as well as state government should ensure that transport activities continue on the said route for there are many well maintained roads in Assam state through which transport operators could conveniently ship in essential commodities.

Informing that Association functionaries had already apprised the central government to intervene on FCI disregarding rules that govern tender formalities, the spokesman observed that FCI officials endorsing rice transportation along Imphal-Dimapur road is against the will and aspiration of people of Manipur to develop the Imphal-Jiribam section of the national highway.

On the other-hand, a driver who used to regularly ply on the Imphal-Jiribam section conveyed that he as well as many of his colleagues are facing serious financial problems due to cessation of transport activities subsequent to the Mega Rail blockade in Assam.

Contending that FCI as well as Government of Manipur have no sympathy for the driver community despite transport operators contributing their mite against all odds in ensuring food security for the people of Manipur, he proposed that either the state authorities take relevant measures to resume transport activities on the Imphal-Jiribam route or extend financial assistance till the Mega Rail blockade is lifted.

With the Imphal-Dimapur route fraught with danger for drivers of Manipur due to constant threat and extortion by anti-social elements the government needs to ensure that transporters resume plying on the Imphal-Jiribam road in order to foil intention of anti-social elements to impoverish Manipur as well as to ensure that dependents of drivers are not deprived of their basic right for survival and education, he pleaded.

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Govt mulling solar-powered CCTVs in city

With uninterrupted power supply still a far cry in the state, the fallout of power supply inadequacy is said to be posing huge challenge to the law enforcement agencies, particularly in checking violent incidents in the city area.

Subsequent to power supply shortage, CCTV (close circuit television) cameras installed in different locations of the capital city have been reduced to decorative gadgets, conceded a top police source speaking to this daily on condition of anonymity, while revealing that process is underway to overhaul the security apparatus through installation of solar-powered CCTVs to help police investigators pursue particular cases by perusing images captured on CCTVs.

Regardless of deploying state security personnel and setting up of police pickets at many corners of the capital city, particularly in the two commercial hubs of Paona and Thangal Bazar, there is no guarantee that elements determined to undermine government’s effort to restore peace in the state cannot breach the human security barriers, explained the source.

Stating that actual implementation of the government plan for installing solar-powered CCTVs may take some time because of financial constraints, the source, however observed that every possible effort will be made to protect the life of the citizens and public properties.

Citing theft of CCTV components from certain areas of the city as another reason for the CCTV installation project yet to yield positive result, the source further noted that illuminating CCTV coverage area is inevitable for effectiveness of the electronic gadget.

Referring to perpetual darkness becoming the hallmark in the two commercial pockets, the police official categorically stated that installing solar-powered CCTVs in these areas would be meaningless if the government do not initiate street lighting arrangement.

Opining that along with government-owned CCTVs there is need to encourage private parties, particularly the trader community to install the gadgets in front or near their establishments to make the security mechanism more effective, the source also confided that in the wake of the recent bomb blast at a market place police teams deployed at strategic locations have been advised to remain on high vigil with similar instructions issued to patrolling parties to intensify frisking and checking of passers-by.

The source confided that 104 police pickets have been established in Imphal West district while security in Imphal East district is being monitored through opening of 80 police pickets.

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Dell showroom inaugurated

An exclusive showroom of Dell computers, a multinational computer company based in the USA, has been opened at Keishampat Junction by managing director of Babina Diagnostics Centre Dr Th Dhabali.

Attending the showroom opening programme on Wednesday, Dell International Service Private India Limited’s representative Sawal Mazumdar said products of Dell Computer Technology Company is one of the reputed computer brands in the world.

Along with latest designs on laptop, desktop, projector and tablet all Dell computer accessories would be made available in the showroom, he informed.

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Body serves bridge shutdown threat

Alleging indifferent attitude of the state government to repeated demands for proper maintenance of transport facilities, including repairing of bridges, Keirao Kendra Minority Development Organisation (KKMDO) said six suspension bridges constructed over the Iril river, under Keirao assembly constituency would be shut down if the government do not initiate suitable measures to repair these structures within a week.

Stating that lack of government initiative to repair newly constructed bridges or rebuilt ageing structure has been endangering lives of over 45,000 people who reside in various pockets of the assembly segment but depend large on these bridges for daily conveyance, KKMDO president MI Khan told media persons at Manipur Press Club on Wednesday that any further delay in redressing grievances of the people will constraint the Organisation to launch intense agitation.

Noting that most of the bridges over the Iril river in Keirao A/c were actually built between 1970 and 1995 and since then no repairing works had been undertaken by the Government of Manipur till date, he claimed that at least three locals have been rendered physically immobile after they fell from some of the creaky bridges.

With the Government literally turning its back on people of Keirao assembly constituency, which has about 25,000 voters, many vital bridge components such as planks and cables have gone missing thus exposing the people to great risk, said MI Khan adding that people have to leap nearly 5-10 feet due to missing parts of the bridges.

Asserting that the government will have to bear the consequences for any untoward incidents if the public resort to agitation, he also said the Government has failed to improve roads and bridges in Keirao for more than two decades.

While MI Khan wondered whether the local MLA has been misusing development funds provided, if any, by the government, KKMDO general secretary Amzad Khan cautioned that people of Keirao will consider the MLA as anti-people if the legislator do not act immediately to solve inconveniences besetting the people.

The general secretary reminded that agitation by people of Keirao will automatically mean blockade of the Imphal-Yairipok road, which will only cause immense hardships to people relying on this route.

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