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Manipur

Assembly elections: Counting of votes to be taken up on Saturday

Counting of votes will begin on Saturday morning in the crucial elections to the State Legislative Assemblies of five States -- Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa -- and most of the results are expected to be out within a few hours after that.

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Counting of votes will begin tomorrow morning in the crucial elections to the State Legislative Assemblies of five States -- Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa -- and the keenly-awaited results are expected to have far-reaching implications for national politics.
 
The elections in five States have taken place mid-way through the five-year term of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre and just weeks after the sudden decision of the government on November 8 to demonetise Rs. 1000 and Rs. 500 banknotes.
 
Polling in Uttar Pradesh -- India's most populous state -- was held in seven phases between February 11 and March 8, while Manipur had polling in two phases on March 4 and 8. Punjab and Goa had single-phase polling on February 4 and Uttarakhand had single-phase voting on February 15.
 
The terms of the Goa, Manipur and Punjab assemblies are due to normally expire on March 18, Uttarakhand on March 26 and Uttar Pradesh on May 27.
 
The Uttar Pradesh legislative assembly has 403 seats, including 84 reserved for Scheduled Castes (SC) and two for Scheduled Tribes. Punjab Assembly has 117 seats (34 SC), Goa 40 (1 SC), Uttarakhand 70 (13 SC, 2 ST) and Manipur 60 (1 SC, 19 ST).
 
The Election Commission will give out counting trends and results of the elections through its website from 8 am tomorrow.
 
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Among other things, the website will give details such as the number of votes secured by the candidates round-wise and constituency-wise and political party-wise and candidate-wise trends.
 
The website can also be accessed through the main website of the Election Commission of India.
 
For the first time, the Commission will also provide analytics through interactive dashboard in the form of clickable infographics. Users can download data, crosstab, PDF and images for analysing the elections further at their end. It will include comparative analytics between 2012 and 2017. 
 
An official press release said users will get constituency analysis with respect to participation of electors (constituencies with more female electors, constituencies by slabs of voter turnout, turnout by poll days) and candidates (gender wise participants, winners and major competitors). To assess performance of political parties, analysis on seats won by them, the percentage vote-share in the State and the profile (age and social category)of candidates fielded by them have been included. Candidates have been mapped to their constituencies and the votes polled in their favour, it said.
 
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Five killed as magnitude 6.7 earthquake hits Manipur, other NE states

At least five people were killed when a strong earthquake, measuring 6.7 on the Richter scale, hit Manipur and other North-Eastern states of India and neighbouring countries like Myanmar, Bangladesh and Bhutan in the early hours of Monday.

 
Massive 6.7 quake strikes northeast India
 
At least five people were killed when a strong earthquake, measuring 6.7 on the Richter scale, hit Manipur and other North-Eastern states of India and neighbouring countries like Myanmar, Bangladesh and Bhutan in the early hours of today.
 
Official sources in Imphal said more than 45 people had been reported injured in the quake.
 
A bulletin from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 24.8°N and longitude  93.5°E, occured at 0435 hours at a focal depth of 17 km.
 
According to IMD, the epicentre of the earthquake was in Tamenglong district of Manipur, about 35 km from Imphal, the state capital.
 
The tremors were also felt in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, West Bengal, Jharkhand and Bihar, among other places.
 
Initial reports from Manipur spoke of damages to many buildings and houses. People in many places ran out of their homes to safety as a precautionary measure. Many people posted pictures of damaged buildings and walls with cracks on social media sites. Some government offices and a six-storeyed building in Imphal were among those affected.
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke over the telephone to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who is on an official visit to Assam, and asked him to oversee the situation.
 
Mr. Modi also spoke to Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Nabam Tuki on the situation.
 
The Manipur Government has sought the assistance of the Army and the Assam Rifles in the rescue and relief efforts.
 
The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said Mr. Modi was continuously monitoring the situation.
 
Two teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have been instructed to move from Guwahati to the areas affected by the earthquake.
 
Mr. Rajnath Singh said he had spoken to Mr. Gogoi and the Manipur Chief Secretary about the situation and assured them of all possible help from the Centre.
 
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"I'm also contacting other North Eastern states to know the extent of damage caused by the earthquake," he added.
 
In New Delhi, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) is coordinating with the State Governments concerned, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Ministry of Defence (Mod), NDRF, Ministry of Communications and other Departments and agencies for seach, rescue and relief efforts.
 
NDMA officials have spoken to the Control Rooms and Relief Commisioners of all the States in the North-East and West Bengal.
 
Communication systems are functioning, particularly those of state-owned BSNL, in the affected areas.
 
The National Crisis Management Committee headed by the Cabinet Secretary held a meeting here this morning to assess the situation and provide all necessary help from the Government of India.
 
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First project under Swadesh Darshan Scheme to be inaugurated in Manipur on Tuesday

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Manipur Governor Najma Heptulla will inaugurate the project “Development of North East Circuit: Imphal & Khongjom” implemented under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme of Ministry of Tourism here tomorrow.
 
Chief Minister N Biren Singh, Union Minister of State for Tourism K J Alphons and Tourism Secretary Rashmi Verma will be present at the inauguration of is the first project under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme.
 
The scheme was launched in 2014 -15 and as on date the Ministry has sanctioned 70 projects for Rs 5708.88 Crore to 29 States and UTs under the Scheme. As many as 30 projects/major components of these projects are expected to be completed this year.
 
The project in Manipur was sanctioned in September 2015 for Rs 72.30 Crores. It covers two sites, the Kangla Fort and Khongjom. Kangla Fort is one of the most important historic and archaeological sites of Manipur located in the heart of the Imphal city.  It served as the seat of Manipur’s power till 1891.  Kangla has a special place in the hearts and minds of the people of Manipur.
 
The old Govindajee Temple, outer and inner moat and other relics are perfect reflections of the rich art and architectural heritage of Manipur.  Under this project Ministry has carried out works like Restoration & Improvement of Outer & Inner Moat and Rejuvenation of Sacred Ponds; Reconstruction of Old Rampart; Sound and Light Show, Construction of Rock Garden, Utility Block; Audio Guide, Eco Friendly Conveyance, Development of Crafts Houses and Parking on Naga Nullah; Polo Gallery; Reception and Ticket Counter. 
 
The work has been carried out at a cost of Rs 63.90 crore. Khongjom is the place where the last war of resistance of Anglo Manipur War of 1891 was fought.  Under the project, a pedestrian bridge and rejuvenation of Kombirei Lake have been carried out for Rs 4.89 crore.
 
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The Ministry is developing the tourism infrastructure in the region under its schemes of Swadesh Darshan and PRASHAD. It has sanctioned 15 projects covering all North Eastern states for Rs. 1301.47 crore.
 
Foreign tourist arrivals in the region have shown an upward trend over the years. The region received a total of 1.69 lakh foreign tourist visits during 2017 as against 1.45 lakh in 2016 registering a growth of 16.7% over 2016. The Domestic Tourist Visits reached to 95.47 lakhs in the year 2017 against 77.71 lakhs registering impressive double-digit growth of 22.8% over 2016. The increased number of tourists, in turn, has created better employment opportunity for the local population in the region.
 
A number of facilities like Tourist Facilitation Centres, Interpretation Centres, better last mile connectivity, heliports, wayside amenities region, SEL Shows, Eco Log Huts, Rope Way, Golf Course, theme parks etc. are being developed up in the region under the above schemes to enhance the experience of tourists when they visit the region. 
 
The Ministry organises International Travel Mart every year in one of the Northeastern states with the objective of providing a platform to these sates to showcase its tourism potential to prospective international and domestic buyers an opportunity to interact with them. This year the 7th Edition of ITM is scheduled to be held in November in Agartala, Tripura.
 
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Manipur staged killings: SC asks CBI to take 'rational' call on arresting accused

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The Supreme Court on Monday asked the CBI Director to take a "rational" decision if arrest and custodial interrogation of accused was needed into the alleged extra-judicial killings in Manipur by Army, Assam Rifles and state police.
 
A bench of Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice U. U. Lalit questioned the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) chief Alok Kumar Verma , who was present in court in pursuance to the court's order, why no arrest has been made after it was informed that the agency has filed two charge sheets in trial court on Monday morning, naming fourteen accused.
 
"Have you (CBI) arrested anyone during the investigation? Was there any custodial interrogation? Normally arrest is essential for the investigation," said the bench.
 
The CBI chief replied that it has not arrested anyone because it could not find any reason to arrest them as it doesn't have anything to recover from them (accused) after almost 30 years.
 
At this, the bench slammed the CBI and asked, for example "if a man rapes a woman nothing will be recovered, but you will not arrest the person because nothing could be recovered?"
 
"So, you want Manipur to be surrounded by murderers (as accused were not arrested). According to your charge sheets, they are murderers, yet you allow them to roam around in the streets of Imphal? At least 14 murderers (who were named in recently filed charge sheet) roaming around in Manipur. What will happen to the society if this is allowed?"
 
The court, however, did not pass any direction to arrest the accused but left it to the CBI to take "rational" call whether it wants to arrest the accused, take them into custody, send them to judicial custody, or not arrest them.
 
"Not satisfied" with the pace of investigation into the alleged fake encounter in Manipur, the bench last week had sought personal appearance of CBI director before it on July 30 to decide the steps to be taken to expedite the process.
 
During the hearing, the CBI chief told the court that five more final reports will be filed in separate cases by August 31.
 
Target is complete probe in 41 cases, said the CBI chief adding that charge sheets in 20 more cases will be filed by the year end and probe in remaining 14 cases will continue.
 
"By your estimate we don't see light in this till March 2019," said the bench while observing that progress in investigation was "pathetic", and questioned such slow pace of progress.
 
"We are dealing with human lives..." the court added while telling the CBI chief that it already has all the basic material and information with it as issue has been dealt by the NHRC, there was Commission of Inquiry, judicial inquiry, and the Justice Santosh Hegde report.
 
Attorney General K.K. Venugopal, appearing for the CBI, told the court that "system" was slowing down the CBI and it has to follow CBI manual as per which it has to go through six-seven step vetting.
 
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The bench then cut short to three the six-seven steps of scrutiny process.
 
It also ordered inclusion of more officers in the SIT to "expedite" the investigation, and posted the matter for hearing on August 20, also asking CBI chief to remain present in court on that day.
 
The court also pulled up the CBI for filling FIRs against dead persons, who were victims.
 
Last week the bench had said it was tired of the agency's "snake and ladder game" and it was not satisfied with the pace of the probe while summoning its director to explain about the timeline and also about the manner of the probe.
 
It was upset with the CBI on its failure to submit final investigation reports, which the CBI has assured to be filed by July 27, but during Friday's hearing, the CBI had instead wanted more time to file final reports.
 
The court was hearing a PIL seeking a probe into as many as 1,528 cases of extra-judicial killings in Manipur.
 
On July 14, 2017, the apex court set up the Special Investigation Team (SIT) comprising CBI officers and ordered registration of FIRs and investigation into the alleged extra-judicial killings in Manipur.
 
The court had ordered the registration of FIRs in 81 cases including 32 probed by a Commission of Inquiry, 32 investigated by judicial authorities, 11 in which compensation was awarded and six probed by the commission headed by former Supreme Court judge Santosh Hegde.
 
IANS
 

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Nine killed in Manipur landslide

 
9 killed in landslide in Manipur's Tamenglong
 
 
At least nine persons, including five children, died after a landslide hit Manipur's Tamenglong district early on Wednesday.
 
Among the victims were three girls and two boys, while two more children have gone missing, Adim Panmei, Chairman of State Disaster Management said.
 
Panmei and his team along with the police and fire fighters are searching for the two missing children, but District Collector Ravindra Singh said chances of finding them alive were slim. 
 
The national highway adjoining Nagaland was also damaged by the landslide that was triggered by heavy rains. All traffic on the route has been suspended. 
 
In another incident, a young mother and her nine-year-old daughter were swept away by a strong current in the Iril river on Tuesday. 
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 
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Indian Army attacks NSCN-K camp in Myanmar, inflicts 'casualties'

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In another strike, Indian Army commandos have attacked an NSCN-K camp in Myanmar, inflicting some casualties, an army source said on Thursday.
 
"A team of 12 Para Commandos attacked a check post of the NSCN-K (National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang) situated in the vicinity of its Shwelo camp inside Myanmar on Wednesday. The gunfight continued for half hour," an army official told IANS. 
 
The rebels suffered at least four to five casualties, he said, adding there was no casualty on the army side.
 
The commandos were equipped with rocket launchers, mortars and automatic grenade launcher to carry out the strike, he said, adding the operation lasted for two hours after being started at 2 p.m. 
 
According to the official, the area of operation was 3 km beyond border pillar 151 on the India-Myanmar border across Nagaland's Mon district.
 
The pursuit of the rebels was undertaken after three Assam Rifles personnel and three others were wounded in an ambush by NSCN-K rebels in Mon on June 18.
 
NSCN-K's Deputy Minister, 'Colonel' Isak Sumi, confirmed that Indian Army "in huge numbers" crossed Chenmoh village and arrived at the international boundary some kilometres away from the "Naga Army" (NSCN-K) forward post, but were detected.
 
"On realisation that their presence has already been detected they resorted to blank firings randomly for several minutes to which the Naga Army responded and prevented any further advance. Casualties could not be ascertained," Sumi wrote on his Facebook page.
 
The NSCN-K faction abrogated a ceasefire signed in 2001 with the Indian government on March 27, 2015, just a month before the truce was up for renewal.
 
Subsequently, they went on a killing spree, attacking Indian soldiers in Nagaland and Manipur. The outfit even mounted the deadly ambush on a convoy of the 6 Dogra Regiment in Manipur's Chandel district on June 4, 2015, killing 18 soldiers.
 
Following this, the elite army special forces personnel entered Myanmar, raided two insurgent camps and inflicted "significant casualties".
 
IANS
 
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Minor earthquake jolts Myanmar-Manipur border region

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 4.4 on the Richter scale, shook the border region between Myanmar and the Indian state of Manipur today.
 
A bulletin from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 23.8°N and longitude 94.5°E, occurred at 1637 hours at a focal depth of 40 km.
 
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Northeast flood situation grim, Army help sought

 
Floods wreak havoc in Northeast India
 
 
The flood situation in the Northeast continued to be grim on Thursday with at least nine people losing their lives and thousands displaced in Assam, Manipur and Tripura, where the state governments have sought Armys help in rescue operations.
 
Two people lost their lives in a landslide in a remote location in Assam's Dima Hasao district and one person died in Golaghat due to floods even as a total of 1,66,836 people are marooned in seven districts of the state. 
 
This is the first wave of floods to hit the state this year and according to Disaster Management Department officials, 370 villages were submerged by floods since Wednesday evening. The districts of Hojai, Cachar, Golaghat, Hailakandi, Karimganj, and East and West Karbi Anglong have been affected.
 
Three major rivers are flowing above the danger mark at different places, officials said.
 
While Dhansiri river is flowing over the danger level at Numaligarh in Golaghat, Barak river is flowing above Cachar followed by Badarpurghat at Karimganj, and at Matizuri in Hailakandi. Kushiyara river is flowing above danger level in Karimganj district, the officials said. 
 
The state government has pressed National Disaster Response Force and State Disaster Response Force teams into service in the affected areas for search and rescue operation. NDRF sources said that 422 persons have been rescued in from Karimganj, Hailakandi, Cacahar and Golaghat as on Thursday. 
 
Over 36,000 people are living in 115 relief camps in the flood-affected districts.
 
Train traffic has been affected following landslides triggered by incessant rains for past few days. 
 
Northeast Frontier Railway's Chief Public Relations Officer P.J. Sharma said at least four trains have been suspended due to the landslides, which have occurred in at least five locations in the Lumding-Badarpur hill section.
 
Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb on Thursday sought the Army's assistance in rescue operations in the flood-hit state as incessant rains continued for the third day leading to floods and landslides -- forcing some 50,000 people to take shelter in relief camps and claiming four lives.
 
Deb informed Union Home Minister Rajanth Singh in a telephonic conversation on Thursday morning of the situation and apprised him of the steps taken by the state government. 
 
He also requested the Home Minister to "urgently" increase the number of National Disaster Response Force personnel in the state. 
 
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An official statement said the Centre has assured all the necessary support to Tripura to deal with the flood situation, while asking Army Chief, Gen. Bipin Rawat, to take necessary action.
 
Meanwhile, an official of the Tripura Disaster Management Control Centre said that around 50,000 people of over 10,000 families took shelter in around 200 relief camps in different parts of the state mostly in northern Tripura.
 
"At least four people, including two aged men and a teenager, died across Tripura since Tuesday due to landslides, falling trees or fishing in flooded rivers," the official said.
 
"We have kept ready a Pawan Hans helicopter and sent requisition to the Indian Air Force (IAF) to provide two more copters to rescue marooned people and to provide relief to the affected families if necessary."
 
He said that IAF helicopters on Wednesday and Thursday could not fly from Silchar in southern Assam due to bad weather.
 
The Disaster Management official said that the situation in northern Tripura's Unokoti district deteriorated after three old embankments of the Manu River were breached.
 
Waters of many rivers of Tripura are flowing over the danger levels. Flood waters inundated many villages, homes, paddy fields highways besides low-lying areas. 
 
Landslides have occurred in many highways affecting movement of traffic.
 
In Manipur, two persons including a 7-year-old boy drowned in Thoubal district. 
 
Four members of a family in Chajing in Imphal west district were trapped in the second floor of their submerged house. The government has requested the Army to rescue them. 
 
Chief Minister N.Biren Singh supervised the repairing works of the breached banks of the Imphal river on Wednesday, said officials, adding that he left only when the breached bank was repaired. 
 
Several houses and paddy fields in Thoubal district have been inundated from Thursday morning. Flood waters are running across the state and national highways. Officials said that more areas in the Imphal east and west districts had been inundated. 
 
The NH 37 linking Manipur with Assam was severely damaged near Sinam village in Noney district. Due to landslide and massive depressions along this highway triggered by the rains the vehicles cannot ply. Most of the drivers had turned back to come along the NH 2 that passes through Nagaland. 
 
IANS
 
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Congress to push for government formation in Manipur, Meghalaya

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The Congress leaders in Meghalaya and Manipur said on Thursday that they will stake claim for formation of government in the two states since the party had emerged as the single largest party in the recent elections.
 
The Congress leaders said that since the BJP which had become the single largest party in Karnataka was allowed to form the government the same should not be denied to the Congress. 
 
In Meghalaya, the National People's Party had bagged 19 seats in the 60 member House and the Congress had secured 21 seats but was denied the chance to form the government in February. 
 
Former Manipur Chief Minister and Congress leader Okram Ibobi Singh told IANS that he will stake claim to form the Congress government. 
 
In Meghalaya, the Congress had secured 28 seats while the BJP got just 21 in the March 2017 elections. 
 
He said that this chance cannot be denied to the party since the BJP was given a chance to form the government after denying the same to the Congress and JDS combined which command a majority in the southern state. 
 
IANS
 
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Foreigners allowed to visit Nagaland, Mizoram, Manipur unrestricted

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In a significant move, the Union Home Ministry has allowed foreigners -- except those from Pakistan, China and Afghanistan -- to visit tourist locations in Nagaland, Mizoram and Manipur. which were so far restricted areas.
 
With the decision, applicable from April 1, foreigners now can visit the three states for the next five years without any permit, an official said. 
 
Nagaland, Mizoram and Manipur were, since the last six decades, kept under Protected Area Permit (PAP) regime. 
 
Earlier, from January 1, 2011, the PAP was initially lifted for one year from the three states as per a December 30, 2010 circular of the Union Home Ministry. 
 
"Foreign tourists can visit tourist locations in Nagaland, Mizoram and Manipur without any PAP from April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2013. Citizens from Pakistan, China and Afghanistan are still banned from all PAP areas," the Home Ministry official said. 
 
The areas falling between the Inner line and the International Border of some states were declared as protected areas under the Foreigners (Protected Areas) Order, 1958. 
 
The protected areas currently include whole of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim, besides parts of Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir. Some parts of Sikkim fall under the protected area regime while others under the restricted area.
 
The official further said a review is going on to lift PAP from other areas too. 
 
As per the guidelines, a foreign national is not normally allowed to visit a protected or restricted area unless the government is satisfied that there are extraordinary reasons to justify his or her visit.
 
Every foreigner, except a citizen of Bhutan, who desires to enter and stay in a protected or restricted area, is required to obtain a special permit from a competent authority having the power to issue such permits. 
 
In cases, where the power to issue such permits has not been delegated to a subordinate authority by the Central government, the application for the special permit has to be referred to Union Home Ministry for prior approval, at least eight weeks before the date of the expected visit. 
 
With an aim to promote tourism, the government, time to time by notification, exempts some of such restricted or protected areas from the need of special permission for foreigners to visit them.
 
Necessary powers have been delegated to various authorities to issue such special permits without the prior approval of the Home Ministry to facilitate foreign tourists subject to the certain exceptions. 
 
In cases of foreign diplomats, including the members of the United Nations and international organisations holding diplomatic or official passports, the special permits to visit such protected or restricted areas are issued by the Ministry of External Affairs. 
 
In cases of the citizens of Afghanistan, China and Pakistan and foreign nationals of Pakistani origin, no permit, however, can be issued without the prior approval of the Union Home Ministry.
 
IANS
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Former Manipur CM R K Dorendra Singh passes away, cremated with state honours

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Former Manipur Chief Minister R.K. Dorendra Singh passed away here on Friday and was cremated here on Saturday with full state honours. He was 84.
 
The three-time Chief Minister expired at the J.N. Institute of Medical Sciences here. He is survived by his wife, two sons and two daughters. 
 
The Manipur government has announced a three-day state mourning. The flag will fly half mast and there shall be no state function during this period. 
 
As Chief Minister thrice in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, he had tried to solve the armed movement and several insurgents had come overground and had been rehabilitated. He had also been the Speaker and Minister several times as well as a Rajya Sabha member. 
 
Chief Minister N. Biren Singh, Speaker Y. Khemchand and others have condoled his death.
 
IANS
 
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Redefine R&D as research for development: Modi

 
Modi inaugurates 105th Indian Science Congress
The 105th session of the Indian Science Congress began here in the capital of Manipur with Prime Minister Narendra Modi calling upon scientists to work for solving societal problems. Time has come, he said, to redefine Research and Development (R&D) as ‘research for development’.
 
“The time is ripe to redefine ‘R&D’ as research for the development of the nation – that is ‘R&D’ in the real sense. Science is after all, but a means to a far greater end – of making a difference in the lives of others, of furthering human progress and welfare,” he said in  his inaugural address at the Congress, being hosted by the Manipur University. He said science and technology could help facilitate "ease of living" for the people.
 
Referring to the focal theme of this year’s congress - “Reaching the Unreached through Science and Technology”, he said scientific knowledge should be applied to solve day-to-day problems in various sectors such as housing, malnutrition, clean energy and elimination of diseases.
 
Innovative ideas can bring about change. For instance, he said, Rajagopalan Vasudevan, a professor from Madurai has developed a method to reuse plastic waste in construction of roads and has given it for free to the government. This technology has already been used to lay over 5000 kilometers of roads across 11 states. In the same way, scientist Arvind Gupta is inspiring students to learn science through toys made out of waste. Chintakindi Mallesham has developed a machine that significantly reduces time and labour required to weave sarees. 
 
The Prime Minister said the country’s scientific achievements need to be actively communicated to people, in order to help inculcate scientific temper among the youth as well as to attract them to careers in science. “We have to throw open our national institutions and laboratories to our children. I call upon scientists to develop an appropriate mechanism for interaction with school-going children. I also urge them, to spend 100 hours every year, with 100 students of classes 10,11 and 12 discussing various aspects of science and technology,” he added.
 
At the same time, India is moving ahead in high science. Chandrayan-2, to be launched soon, will include landing and travel on the surface of the moon by a rover. Indian scientists have also played a key role in the international Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) Collaboration. The third LIGO detector is coming up India. “It will expand our knowledge in basic sciences in areas of lasers, light waves and computing,” he said.
 
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There should be greater coordination within the S&T sector. For example, Mr. Modi said, ISRO uses one of the best battery systems to run its satellites in space. The same technology can be used by other institutions to develop cost effective and efficient battery systems for mobile hones and electric cars. India should become a major player in developing technologies, devices, standards and manufacturing for 5G broadband networks by 2020.
 
He said the government would like to develop Clusters of Excellence in Science in Cities, around important scientific institutions. These clusters will bring together science and technology partners from academia, research institutes, industry and startups to help promote new discoveries, and create globally competitive research hubs.
 
“The Indian economy is on a high growth trajectory. But we rank low in Human Development Indicators. One of the important reasons for this inconsistency is major inter-state and intra-state disparity,” Mr Modi said. In order to address this, he said, the government had launched a programme to improve the performance of over 100 ‘aspirational districts’ with focus health and nutrition, education, agriculture and water resources, financial inclusion, skill development and infrastructure. He wanted scientific institutions to catalyze creation and diffusion of appropriate technologies in these districts.
 
About 5000 Indian and foreign delegates are participating in the five-day annual event, which was earlier scheduled to take place in Hyderabad in January. 
 
(India Science Wire)
 
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Minor earthquake shakes Churachandpur region of Manipur

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 4.6 on the Richter scale, shook the Churachandpur region of Manipur this morning, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 24.5°N and longitude  93.4°E, occurred  at 0756 hours at a focal depth of 27 km.
 
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Minor earthquake shakes Churachandpur region of Manipur

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 3.7 on the Richter scale, shook the Churachandpur region of Manipur this morning, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 24.0°N and longitude 93.5°E, occurred at 0701 hours at a focal depth of 50 km, an IMD bulletin added.
 
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Mohun Bagan pip Neroca in five-goal thriller .

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Birthday boy Dipanda Dicka notched a brace and Akram Moghrabi netted the winner as Mohun Bagan came out 3-2 victors over Neroca FC in the Hero I-League at the Khuman Lampak Stadium on Sunday.
 
Felix Chidi and Singam Subhash Singh scored the goals for the home side but were not able to hold their lead and allowed the visitors to get back into the game.
 
Chidi was brought back into the line-up in place of Nedo Turkovic as Neroca FC looked to win and stay on top of the league table. 
 
Sankarlal Chakraborty made three changes to his side - Kinshuk Debnath, Yuto Kinowaki and Mallick replaced Rana Gharami, Faiaz and Raynier Fernandes. 
 
The hosts did not have to wait too long to break the deadlock. Singam Subhash Singh robbed the ball of Kinshuk before chipping it over the custodian in the 16th minute to give his side a wonderful start to the game. 
 
The celebrations of the first goal were cut short four minutes later when Akram Moghrabi released Dipanda into the box. The striker was brought down before he could get his shot away by Bishorjit and the referee wasted no time in pointing to the spot. 
 
Aser Dipanda stepped up to hit the net for the tenth time this season and to level things for Mohun Bagan.
 
Just as the visitors thought they were back in the game, a failed overhead clearance by Kinshuk allowed Tondonba to find Chidi who did his best impression of a fox in the box by neatly slotting the ball past Shilton to make it 2-1 in the 24th minute. 
 
A fantastic cross into the box from Moghrabi was not headed on target by Dipanda three minutes later but he was forgiven for his big miss in the 36th minute.
 
The Neroca defence was caught napping by Bagui's cross and this time, Dipanda made no mistake and for the second time in the game, Mohun Bagan were level. Bagan kept piling up the pressure and were rewarded on the stroke of half-time.
 
Nikhil Kadam's cross was flicked on across the face of goal by Kinowaki into the path of Akram Moghrabi. The striker nodded the ball in from close-range to make it 3-2.
 
Subash threatened twice after the restart. A dangerous cross by the forward forced a good save from Shilton Paul with Sushil lurking behind the goalie to head the incoming ball into the net in the 70th minute.
 
A minute later, Subhash Singh took the entire Bagan defence out of the equation with a delightful flick to release Chidi. Unfortunately for the striker, the ball was behind him as he had made the run early and hence could not get his shot away.
 
Neroca built  attack after attack as the game progressed but Gift Raikhan's men were not able to penetrate the Bagan defence, thereby ending the game on the losing side and leaving the title race unpredictable.
 
There hasn't been any change in the league table but Neroca FC's title hopes have got severely hurt after today's loss.
 
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Minor earthquake recorded in Churachandpur region of Manipur

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An  earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 3.2 on the Richter scale, was recorded in  the Churachandpur region of Manipur in the  early hours of today.
 
A  bulletin from the  India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 24.3°N and longitude 93.2°E, occurred at 0110 hours at a focal depth of 10 km.
 
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No lessons learnt in quake-prone Northeast

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It is often said that earthquakes don’t kill people; it is the buildings that do. If building codes are not enforced in seismically active zones, even moderate intensity quakes can cause widespread damage to buildings and injure people. This is what is happening in the Northeast, a new study has pointed out.
 
Manipur was hit with earthquake of intensity 6.7 on January 4, 2016 which caused devastation in state capital, Imphal, and adjoining areas. It provided an opportunity to scientists to understand risks posed to buildings and the state of construction practices in the region. While many buildings collapsed, it was noted that the damage caused to public building was disproportionate to the observed intensity of shaking.
 
Scientists from three Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) – Kanpur, Guwahati and Patna - undertook a reconnaissance survey of earthquake affected regions immediately after the quake, and revisited the area after three months to see the condition of damaged structures and restoration work. Results of this study have now been published in journal Current Science. 
 
It was found that while several reinforced concrete (RC) buildings in Imphal suffered varying degree of damage, traditional wooden houses made using bamboo and wood - known as Shing-Khim - reported no damage. Government buildings, covered in the study, were damaged heavily because they did not conform to seismic code of practices, and there is general lack of enforcement of existing regulations and codes. In addition, factors like inferior quality of raw materials and shoddy workmanship contributed to collapse of buildings.
 
“The seismic risk in the region is growing at an alarming pace with increasing inventory of vulnerable construction,” the study has concluded. The 2016 quake, it said, “should be regarded as a preview of what is likely to happen in the event of a greater shaking expected for the region and should hasten the community to take necessary steps.”
 
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Dr Durgesh C Rai, a professor of civil engineering at IIT Kanpur, who led the study, told India Science Wire that “despite considerable awareness in public about earthquakes and associated risks, both public and administrators, chose to ignore the threat and continued to build structures which were not earthquake-resistant.” 
 
Due to such negligence, he said, “many publicly-funded buildings suffered severe damage under shaking intensity of VI–VII which is not only ironic but also represents the utter betrayal of the public trust.”
 
Buildings at the Inter State Bus Terminal (ISBT), Government Polytechnic and Central Agriculture University (CAU) are all government funded and supervised constructions, and were expected to perform satisfactorily during earthquakes, but they all experienced moderate to severe damages. Large building campuses such as CAU were constructed on landfill soil and they performed extremely poorly during the earthquake shaking, the study pointed out.
 
The newly constructed concrete buildings of world famous Ima Keithel or Mothers’ Market too suffered damage. The market earlier operated from bamboo structures which were functional but were in poor condition due to lack of maintenance. So the government dismantled the market and built three concrete structures in 2010. All three buildings have similar elevation and plan but only one of them showed better performance during the earthquake.
 
“The traditional constructions using lighter timber and bamboo have performed well and no damage to such structures in Imphal was reported,” Dr Rai added. “Despite available knowledge, seismic safety remains neglected and the society is not adequately prepared due to lack of implementation.” 
 
He said the lessons from the Manipur quake are applicable for the entire northeast region.
 
The research team also included Hemant B. Kaushik and Vaibhav Singhal. 
(India Science Wire)
 
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Moderate earthquake jolts border region between Myanmar, Manipur

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An earthquake of moderate intensity, measuring 6.0 on the Richter scale, jolted the border region between Myanmar and the Indian state of Manipur today.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 24.7°N and longitude  94.7°E, occurred at 1217 hours at a focal depth of 35 km, a bulletin from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
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Minor earthquake shakes Imphal region of Manipur

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 3.2 on the Richter scale, shook the Imphal region of Manipur this morning.
 
A bulletin from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 24.8°N and longitude 94.0°E, occurred at 0633 hours at a focal depth of 32 km.
 
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Minor earthquake shakes Myanmar-Manipur border region

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 4.9 on the Richter scale, shook the border region between Myanmar and the Indian state of Manipur tonight.
 
A bulletin from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 23.5°N and longitude 94.1°E, occurred at 2115 hours at a focal depth of 126 km.
 
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Minor earthquake recorded in Bishnupur region of Manipur

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 3.1 on the Richter scale, was recorded in the Bishnupur region of Manipur early this morning.
 
A bulletin from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 24.6°N and longitude 93.8°E, occurred at 0401 hours at a focal depth of 21 km.
 
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Kovind says development of Northeast is true measure of India-ASEAN partnership

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President Ram Nath Kovind said on Tuesday  that the development of the Northeast region was both the development of India as well as the true measure of the India-ASEAN partnership.
 
"The opportunity is before us. Let us grab it," he said in his inaugural address at the Northeast Development Summit here.
 
"This is my first visit to the region and to the state of Manipur since taking office as the President of India, and I am truly glad that it has coincided with this very important event," he said.
 
He hoped the summit would take enlightened and actionable decisions on the development of the Northeast not just from a domestic, Indian perspective – but also in the context of the neighbourhood. 
 
"The development of the Northeast is tied with the development of India’s neighbours and the countries of ASEAN. Friendly partner countries from other regions too are integral to our vision for the Northeast and can contribute substantially," he said.
 
"For a short period in our history, there has been a misconception about the eight states of the Northeast being a 'frontier' of India. I say 'short period of history' deliberately. After all, if you consider the hundreds and thousands of years of civilisation, far from being a frontier, the Northeast has been at the heart of Indian imagination. And if you take South Asia and Southeast Asia as a continuum – as it has been perceived for most of history – then the Northeast is right in the middle of it.
 
"The Northeast is an amazing social and cultural ecosystem. Few regions of the world have such a wealth of cultural, ethnic and religious diversity packed into such a small area. This variety is an inspiration for all of us. The Northeast is home to some of the oldest indigenous communities in the world. It is one of our spiritual homelands. Whether it is the traditions of the Devi in Kamakhya or of Buddhism in Tawang and elsewhere, they make for a sacred bond that unites India with Southeast Asia. Christian missionaries have contributed to education here. And there is even a small but thriving Jewish community in Manipur and Mizoram," he said.
 
Mr. Kovind said prosperity is the Northeast’s natural destiny, its default position. "Its geographical location makes it the obvious gateway to India, linking the vast economies of the Indian subcontinent and of today’s ASEAN countries. This is the potential we have to tap. And this is the idea that must inspire this summit," he said.
 
He said that central to the Government of India’s approach to the development of the Northeast is an urgent and speedy enhancement of connectivity. This is a multi-modal programme, across land, water and air. And it refers both to connectivity within India as well as to connectivity between India and its eastern and Southeast Asian neighbours, he said.
 
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"In the past three years, railway lines have finally come to Arunachal Pradesh, fulfilling an old demand. An extensive development of railway links in the Northeast is under way, with investments totalling Rs 90,000 crore. Road building in the region is busier than it has ever been. Border roads, national highways and state roads are all being built or improved. Incorporated in July 2014, the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation is working with a special focus on the Northeast. It is engaged in about 100 road projects in the region.
 
"Inland waterways, especially along the majestic Brahmaputra and Barak rivers, can both save transport costs as well as facilitate connectivity. And finally, there is the push for air connectivity. The creation of infrastructure in smaller cities and airports, along with more and more flights, is making the skies of the Northeast buzz with traffic.
 
"In the broader neighbourhood, initiatives such as the India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway and the Kaladan Multi-modal Transit Transport Project are critical for many of our countries and for the Northeast. The Northeast is also the corridor for so many trade and connectivity projects on the Bangladesh Bhutan India Nepal [BBIN] and the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation [BIMSTEC] platforms. I would say that the states of the Northeast region are the true drivers of India’s Act East policy," he said.
 
The President said that the Northeast Tourism Development Council, incorporated in March 2017,  is creating partnerships between government and private sector players. "I am confident it will make the Northeast one of the leading tourism destinations of not just India but Asia. That is where it deserves to be," he said.
 
"The sense of connect with the Northeast gives every one of us in this room a stake in the region. It doesn’t matter whether we are from the Northeast, from other parts of India or indeed from other countries connected by culture and geography, history and trade to the Northeast. The development of the Northeast is a shared enterprise.
 
"Seeing the impressive degree of participation in this Summit – not only from Manipur and states of the Northeast, but from the rest of India and key partner countries – I am left extremely optimistic. I look forward to the deliberations between government officials, business-persons and other delegates at this summit leading to fruitful results – and specific projects and outcomes," he added.
 
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Moderate earthquake jolts Myanmar-Manipur border region

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An earthquake of moderate intensity, measuring 5.0 on the Richter scale, shook the border region between Myanmar and the Indian state of Manipur today.
 
A bulletin from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 23.7°N and longitude 94.5°E, occurred at 1418 hours at a focal depth of 82 km.
 
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Minor earthquake recorded in Ukhrul region of Manipur

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 3.0 on the Richter scale, was recorded in the Ukhrul region of Manipur late last night.
 
A bulletin from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 24.7°N and longitude 94.3°E, occurred at 2335 hours yesterday at a focal depth of 102 km.
 
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Northeast to get India's first 'Air Dispensary': Jitendra Singh

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The Northeast is all set to get India’s first-ever "Air Dispensary" based in a helicopter with an initial funding of Rs 25 crore from the Union Ministry of Development of Northeast (DoNER), an official press release said today
 
DoNER Minister Jitendra Singh, after a meeting with the representatives of Aviation Sector and helicopter service Pawan Hans here yesterday said that, for quite a few months, the Ministry had been exploring the idea of introducing a helicopter based Dispensary/OPD service in far-flung and remote areas, where no doctor or medical facility was available and the patient, in need, also did not have any access to any medical care.
 
The proposal put forward by the Ministry has been accepted and is in the final stages of the process in the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation, he added.
 
The Ministry is keenly pursuing the proposal so that by the beginning of 2018, it could become a reality, he added.
 
Even today, nearly one-third of India’s population did not have access to proper hospital bed care, as a result of which, poor patients living in remote areas remained deprived of crucial medical care. The experiment being introduced in the Northeast can also be emulated in other hill states having difficult topography like Jammu & Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh, he added.
 
To begin with, the helicopter will be based at two locations, Imphal in Manipur and Meghalaya in Shillong. Both of these cities have premier post-graduate medical institutes from where specialist doctors, along with the necessary equipment and paramedical staff, would be able to travel by a helicopter and hold a dispensary/OPD in different locations across the eight States of North Eastern Region.
 
On its way back, he said, the same helicopter can also transport a sick patient, requiring admission, to a city hospital. Giving an account of other new helicopter service plans for Northeast, he said, three twin-engine helicopters are planned to be placed for initial operation on six routes in the region around Imphal, Guwahati and Dibrugarh.
 
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