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Tripura

BJP's Biplab Kumar Deb sworn in as Chief Minister of Tripura

 
Biplab Kumar Deb is new Chief Minister of Tripura
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Biplab Kumar Deb was today sworn in as the 10th  Chief Minister of Tripura at a ceremony that was attended by, among others, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who assured the people that the new government would work for the welfare of all citizens.
 
Mr. Deb was administered the oaths of office and secrecy by Governor Tathagata Roy in the ceremony that was held at the Assam Rifles ground here.
 
Mr. Jishnu Deb Burman, a veteran BJP tribal leader, took oath as the Deputy Chief Minister. Seven other Cabinet Ministers were also sworn in.
 
Others present on the occasion included BJP President Amit Shah, senior party leaders Lal Krishna Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, DoNER Minister Jitendra Singh and the Chief Ministers of BJP-ruled states.
 
The BJP had won an impressive victory in the February 18 elections to the state legislative assembly, winning 35 of the 59 seats for which polling was held, ending 25 years of Left Front rule. The BJP's partner, the tribal-based Indigenous People's Front of Tripura (IPFT), picked up eight seats, while the Communist Party of India (Marxist), could get only 16 seats.
 
Mr. Deb, 48, has been the state BJP president since January 2016 and had led his party in last month's elections. He has been elected to the Assembly from Banamalipur constituency.
 
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Addressing the gathering on the occasion, Mr. Modi said the 2018 Tripura assembly elections would be always discussed by people in the history of India.
 
“I am here to assure the people of Tripura that this BJP Government is for people who voted for us and for those who did not vote for us. Elections are over and we have to look ahead. We will serve every citizen of Tripura”, he added.
 
The Prime Minister said that those in the opposition in Tripura today had been in power for long and they surely had a lot of experience. “Ours is a new and fresh team. In age, too, our team is younger. They have Anubhav, we have Umang and Utsah. We have to work together for the progress of Tripura,” he said.
 
He said last month's elections in Tripura as well as those in Meghalaya and Nagaland had renewed focus on the North-East.
 
He assured the full support of the Central Government to the state of Tripura and said the BJP and the Government would take all sections of society  together and work to fulfil the dreams of the people. "Tripura's dreams are our dreams as well," he said.
 
"It feels like the state is celebrating Diwali. We are lighting the lamp of progress and prosperity. There is new vigour and enthusiasm here. I congratulate all those who have taken oath and wish them the very best as they begin their work," he added.
 
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BJP candidate wins Tripura's Badharghat bye-election

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BJP candidate Mimi Majumder on Friday won the Badharghat Assembly bye-election in Tripura defeating her nearest CPI-M rival Bulti Biswas by a margin of 5,276 votes, election officials said.
 
According to the Election Commission officials, ruling Bharatiya Janata Party nominee Majumder secured 20,487 votes while her CPI-M-led Left Front rival and woman candidate Biswas got 15,211 votes.
 
Congress aspirant Ratan Chandra Das managed 9,105 votes while SUCI (C) contender Mridul Kanti Sarkar bagged only 470 votes. The officials said that 667 votes were cast in NOTA (None Of The Above) category.
 
The bye-election in Badharghat Assembly seat, reserved for Scheduled Caste candidates, was necessitated by the death of sitting BJP legislator Dilip Sarkar. Polling was held on September 23. According to EC documents, the vote share of ruling BJP compared to the last year's Assembly polls and Lok Sabha elections earlier this year, was reduced by a few thousand.
 
With the election of teacher-turned-politician Mimi Majumder, the number of women legislators in the 60-member House rose to four -- three of BJP and one of CPI-M.
 
IANS
 

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Six killed in Tripura road accident

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At least six people were killed and nine others injured in a road accident in western Tripura on Thursday, the police said.
 
A police officer said that four people, including two women, were killed on the spot while 11 others were injured after a passenger bus and a jeep collided at Bishramganj in Sepahijala district in western Tripura.
 
The injured were shifted to the government-run Govind Ballabh Pant Medical College and Hospital where two others, including the driver of the jeep, succumbed to their injuries.
 
Among the victims, two were government employees while two others worked as teachers at government schools.
 
Tripura Deputy Chief Minister Jishnu Dev Varma visited the hospital to inquire about the condition and treatment of the injured.
 
IANS
 

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Tripura Congress chief resigns from all party posts

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In a major jolt to the Congress in the northeast, where it once ruled in all the states, Tripura state chief Pradyot Deb Barman on Tuesday resigned from all party posts over differences with the high command.
 
"I start this day without having to listen to criminals and liars. Not having to worry about which colleague will backstab you, not having to indulge in groupism and backchat. Today I can contribute for my state with a clear mind," Barman said in a series of tweets sharing his resignation.
 
Pradyot said he was relieved as he would no longer have to "listen to high command on how to accommodate corrupt people in high positions".
 
"I tried and perhaps lost but could I win when I was alone in this fight from the beginning?" Barman said.
 
"I have decided that a positive mindset to life is what I need and I have changed the people around me who are negative," the Congress leader added.
 
After the Lok Sabha polls, many of the senior party leaders have stepped down from the posts of the party.
 
Earlier this year, Mumbai Congress chief Milind Deora quit the post after former Chief Rahul Gandhi announced to step down taking the moral responsibility of the party's loss.
 
Last week, former Jharkhand Congress chief Ajoy Kumar also quit the party and joined Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
 
"When I woke up relaxed this morning I realised how my health and my life was being affected because I was not ready to allow wrong elements in our society get in to posts and position which could destroy our state," Kumar had said.
 
The northeast was earlier considered a strong bastion of the Congress. However, after the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP has taken command in most of the states.
 
IANS

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Over 79% turnout in Tripura Assembly bye-election

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More than 79 per cent of the 57,906-strong electorate have cast their votes in the Badharghat Assembly bye-election in Tripura on Monday, officials said. The counting of votes will take place on Friday.
 
"By 5 p.m., over 79 per cent of the total electorate have cast their votes. The final polling percentage is likely to increase as few hundred voters are still in the queues after the end of the scheduled time of balloting which is 5 p.m. No untoward incident was reported from anywhere in the constituency," Tapan Kumar Das, Additional District Magistrate of West Tripura district, told IANS.
 
"Election officials have immediately dealt with some complaints received from the candidates and the contesting parties," he added.
 
Das said that security personnel have dispersed hundreds of unauthorised gatherings violating the prohibitory order under Section 144 of CrPc in the Badharghat Assembly segment under the West Tripura district.
 
In a four-cornered electoral battle, the bye-election is being contested between the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Mimi Majumder, opposition Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led Left Front nominee Bulti Biswas, Congress aspirant Ratan Chandra Das and SUCI(C) contestant Mridul Kanti Sarkar.
 
The bye-election to the Badharghat seat, reserved for Scheduled Caste candidates, was necessitated following the death of sitting BJP legislator Dilip Sarkar.
 
Five-time Congress legislator Sarkar, who joined the BJP in 2017 along with seven other Congress MLAs, died on April 1 after prolonged illness.
 
IANS
 

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Rain fury on in Tripura, Mizoram, 22,000 shifted to camps

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More than 22,000 people have been shifted to relief camps and other safer places in Tripura and Mizoram due to flooding of low-lying areas and villages by uninterrupted rains over the past three days, officials said on Monday.
 
At least four people were drowned in swollen rivers in the two states and their bodies have been recovered.
 
Train services between Tripura, Mizoram and the rest of the country have been affected due to rain and landslides, while water, electricity and telephone services were badly affected due to damages in the heavy downpour.
 
India Meteorological Department Director Dilip Saha, however, told IANS that the situation is expected to improve from Tuesday.
 
According to officials in Tripura Disaster Control Centre, over 17,000 people have taken shelter in 64 relief camps on the outskirts of Agartala and four other districts - Khowai, Unokoti, Gomati and South Tripura.
 
"We have deployed Tripura State Rifles troopers and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), police and civil defence personnel to rescue the marooned people," West Tripura District Magistrate Sandeep Mahatme told the media.
 
"Water in several rivers, including Howrah, has crossed the danger level. We have taken precautionary measures to deal with any eventuality," he said.
 
The body of a youth who had apparently drowned while collecting wood from the flooded Muhuri river in South Tripura was recovered on Sunday, officials said.
 
Agartala and its outskirts have been badly affected due to the continuous rain since Saturday and a large part of the city has been submerged
 
"Around 311 mm rainfall was recorded in Agartala since Saturday against the normal average daily rainfall of 11 to 12 mm," a Revenue and Relief Department official said.
 
Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb has asked Chief Secretary Usurupati Venkateswarlu and other officials to remain alert to deal with the situation.
 
In Mizoram, over 5,000 people have taken shelter in safer places in different districts as major rivers and their tributaries submerged over 500 houses and low lying areas.
 
Three people, including a 5-year-old girl, drowned in different rivers and their bodies were recovered by the State Disaster Response Force personnel.
 
According to the Mizoram Disaster Control Centre, headquarters of three of the state's eight districts - Mamit, Lunglei and Lawngtlai - were cut off from capital Aizawl due to heavy landslides and damage to roads including National Highway 54.
 
IANS
 

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Three killed in Tripura road accident

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At least three people were killed and another injured in a road accident in Tripura's Dhalai district on Saturday, police said.
 
Sub-Divisional Police Officer Sabyasachi Debnath told IANS that a speeding passenger vehicle, with four people in it, skidded off the road and hit a tree, killing two occupants on the spot.
 
Two other passengers were seriously injured and one of them succumbed to his injuries in the hospital later. 
 
The accident occurred at Manik Bhandar in Dhalai in northern Tripura, 90 km north Agartala, Debnath said, adding that due to heavy rain, the road was very slippery. 
 
The surviving passenger is now being treated in a government hospital.
 
IANS

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Modi wave takes BJP to 14 seats in northeast, NDA tally 17

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Powered by the "Modi wave", the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was alone set to win 14 of the 25 Lok Sabha seats in eight northeastern states, against 8 in the 2014 polls.
 
With three NDA constituents - the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) of Nagaland, the Mizo National Front (MNF) in Mizoram, the National People's Party (NPP) in Meghalaya - winning three seats, the tally of National Democratic Alliance (NDA) would be 17 against 11 in 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
 
On the other hand, the Congress, which had a strong base in all the northeastern states but currently no government under its rule in the region, had won or was set to win only four seats (three in Assam and one in Meghalaya) against eight in 2019. 
 
The counting of votes, which started at 8 a.m. on Thursday morning, was on till midnight in many of the region's 25 Lok Sabha seats.
 
In Assam, the ruling BJP had either won or was leading on in nine Lok Sabha seats, while the Congress won or was ahead in three seats this time like in 2014, including Kaliabor which was won by former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi's son Gaurav Gogoi. However, All India Women Congress President Sushmita Dev lost her Silchar seat to BJP's Rajdeep Roy.
 
The Assam-based All India United Democratic Front, which had won three seats last time, was leading in only one seat -- Dhubri -- where party supremo Badruddin Ajmal was in the fray. In the tribal-dominated Kokrajhar constituency, Independent sitting Lok Sabha member Naba Kumar Sarania is leading with a significant margin over Pramila Rani Brahma of Bodo Peoples' Front (BPF), an ally of BJP in Assam.
 
Like outgoing Lok Sabha, the two BJP allies, the BPF and the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), would have no representation in the Lok Sabha this time, too. 
 
The ruling BJP was set to win both the Lok Sabha seats in Arunachal Pradesh -- Tapir Gao (Arunachal East) and Kiren Rijiju ((Arunachal West). The BJP wrested the Arunachal East from the Congress while the party retained the Arunachal West constituency.
 
In its maiden victory in Tripura's Lok Sabha battle, the ruling BJP, which in alliance with the tribal Indigenous People's Front of Tripura wrested power in the state in the 2018 Assembly polls, is on the verge of winning both the state's two seats.
 
In Manipur, both the Inner Manipur and Outer Manipur seats were wrested by the BJP's Rajkumar Ranjan Singh and Naga Peoples Front candidate Lorho S. Pfoze, respectively, from the Congress.
 
In Meghalaya, former Union Minister and National People's Party (NPP) candidate Agatha Sangma won the Tura Lok Sabha seat while sitting Congress MP Vincent Pala retained the Shillong seat.
 
Sangma, the younger sister of Chief Minister Conrad Sangma and daughter of former Lok Sabha Speaker late Purno Sangma, defeated her nearest rival and former Chief Minister Mukul Sangma of the Congress by a margin of 63,775 votes.
 
In Sikkim, putting up a stunning electoral performance, the Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) nominee Indra Hang Subba wrested state's lone Lok Sabha seat from the ruling Sikkim Democratic Front, defeating Dek Bahadur Katwal by a margin of 11,585 votes.
 
IANS
 

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Fani: Rain lashes Tripura, houses damaged, trees uprooted

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Tripura and adjoining northeastern states have witnessed intermittent rains since Friday due to the impact of cyclone Fani, officials said here on Saturday.
 
"Due to Fani, at least six houses were fully damaged and around 140 houses partly damaged in three of the eight districts - Khowai, Gomati, Sepahijala. A school structure was partially damaged in Amarpur in Gomati district when a tree fall on it," said an official of the Tripura Disaster Control Centre.
 
He said a many trees and electric poles were uprooted in different parts of the state disrupting vehicular movement and electricity supply.
 
"Works are on to restore the normal movement of vehicles and electricity supply," the official added.
 
On behalf of the state government, Revenue Department's Additional Secretary L. T. Darlong had earlier asked all the eight District Magistrates and Collector to remain alert to deal with the situation in view of Fani.
 
Meanwhile, according to India Meteorological Department (IMD) Director Dilip Saha, Fani has hugely weakened and turned into a "depression" only on Saturday evening and exists in neighbouring Bangladesh.
 
"Fani is expected to enter Assam and other northeastern states on Sunday causing medium to heavy rains," Saha told IANS adding that there was no major threat from the weakened cyclone.
 
The met office here recorded 75.5 mm rainfall during the past 24 hours.
 
The cyclonic storm made landfall in Odisha on Friday morning, then it moved to West Bengal on Friday mid-night before entering Bangladesh on Saturday.
 
IANS
 

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Bengaluru-bound Hamsafar express derails in Assam

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Two wheels of Bengaluru-bound Hamsafar Express derailed on Tuesday in southern Assam bordering Tripura, an official said.
 
"Two wheels of Agartala-Bengaluru Hamsafar express derailed at Margram under Karimganj district of Southern Assam today (Tuesday) morning. Accident relief train has reached the site from Badarpur (in Southern Assam). There is no casualty," said Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) Chief Public Relations Officer Pranav Jyoti Sharma said.
 
The cause of derailment was under investigation and work of rerailment was under progress, he said.
 
Several trains bound for Agartala, Guwahati and Kolkata were stranded in different locations in Assam and Tripura due to the accident.
 
The NFR runs several express, passenger and goods trains from Tripura capital Agartala and southern Assam through a single line up to Lumding junction, 200 km from Assam's main city of Guwahati.
 
IANS

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Heat wave, deficit rain affect normal life in NE

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Normal life in the northeastern region has been affected due to heat wave in several areas and deficit pre-monsoon rains, officials said on Monday.
 
According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the maximum temperature in several N-E states, especially Assam, Mizoram and Tripura, since the past one week is hovering between 35 degrees Celsius and 38 degrees Celsius -- two-five degrees above the normal for this time of the season.
 
The IMD, since March 1, also recorded 36 mm deficit pre-monsoon (March to May) rainfall in the seven N-E states, excluding Sikkim. 
 
The Arunachal Pradesh meteorological sub-division recorded highest 47 mm deficient pre-monsoon rainfall, followed by Assam and Meghalaya sub-division with 33 mm and Nagaland-Manipur-Mizoram-Tripura sub-division 28 mm.
 
Sikkim and adjoining areas have recorded 152 mm pre-monsoon rainfall since March 1.
 
IMD Director Dilip Saha said in view of deep depressions over the Indian Ocean and adjoining Bay of Bengal, and subsequent cyclone 'Fani', the heat wave had continued in the mountainous northeastern region.
 
"After the end of the cyclone's affect, the wind pattern is likely to change and the heat wave is expected to subside. We expect the situation to normalise within two-three days," Saha told IANS.
 
Agricultural officials in Assam, Mizoram and Tripura said various summer crops would be affected due to the deficit pre-monsoon rainfall. "If the rain does not occur in the next few days, the damage to the summer crops would be much larger," agricultural expert Samar Mitra told IANS.
 
The deficit in rainfall also resulted in water scarcity, including supply of drinking water.
 
Tripura Drinking Water and Sanitation Department Chief Engineer Baishapayan Chakraborty said the department had been providing drinking water through tankers in the scarcity-prone areas as well as remote, isolated hamlets and tribal areas.
 
"We are setting up deep tube wells in the areas where the level of ground water has gone down, mostly in the hilly areas," Chakraborty told IANS. 
 
The Health Departments in the region have been alerted and suggested to take precautionary measures besides organising special health camps to tackle the seasonal diseases.
 
IANS
 

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Tripura BJP vice-chief, two others join Congress

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Ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, three Tripura BJP leaders, including party Vice-President Subal Bhowmik joined the Congress on Tuesday.
 
The other two are former Minister Prakash Das and firebrand leader Debashish Sen.
 
Tripura Congress President Pradyot Bikram Manikya Debbarman and AICC Secretary Bhupen Bora welcomed the three leaders at a media conference.
 
Bhowmik was holding the Vice President's post in BJP. He joined the saffron party in 2015, while Das and Sen came to the party in 2017 from the Congress and the Communist Party of India-Marxist, respectively. 
 
Sen was also the Vice-Chairman of the CPI-M controlled Kailashahar Municipal Council in northern Tripura.
 
After joining the Congress, Bhowmik told the media that he along with thousands of Congressmen and workers from other parties had joined BJP to give better governance to the people, but the one-year-old state government has performed very poorly.
 
"Violating the BJP constitution, Biplab Kumar Deb has been holding two vital posts - Chief Minister and state party President. Deb's ridiculous comments and actions upset people of the state and have damaged the image of the government," the 58-year old leader said.
 
He said: "I was in Congress for 35 years. Before Deb returned to Tripura in 2016, I led the BJP but I have been humiliated by the newcomers."
 
Das and Sen said the BJP-led government in Tripura would soon collapse as they have not only forgotten their pre-poll promises but also working against the people's interests.
 
All India Congress Committee Secretary Bhupen Bora said : "From today (Tuesday) the BJP 'mukt' (free) campaign has been started from Tripura. Despite 10 of the 60 Tripura Assembly seats being reserved for the people belong to Scheduled Castes, there is not a single minister from this community in the ministry."
 
Tripura Congress chief Pradyot Bikram Manikya Debbarman said the party President Rahul Gandhi will address an election rally in Tripura on Wednesday.
 
"Rahulji would announce the Congress candidates for the Lok Sabha seats in Tripura tomorrow (Wednesday)," said Debbarman, a Tripura royal scion who was appointed state Congress President less than a month ago.
 
"More leaders and members from BJP would soon join Congress," the 41-years-old Congress leader said.
 
The ruling BJP is yet to react to the latest political developments.
 
Tripura West Lok Sabha seat goes to the polls on April 11 in the first phase of the general elections, and Tripura East on April 18 in the second phase. 
 
The statutory notification for the Tripura West Lok Sabha seat was issued on Monday and the same was issued on Tuesday for the Tripura East seat, reserved for tribals.
 
IANS
 

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PM lays foundation stone of Command and Control Centres in Sikkim, Arunachal and Tripura

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of Integrated Command and Control Centres in five North Eastern Smart Cities, through video conference yesterday.
 
The Prime Minister digitally unveiled the plaque for the Command and Control Centres at Namchi and Gangtok in Sikkim, Itanagar and Pasighat in Arunachal Pradesh and Agartala in Tripura.
 
In his address, Modi said he was happy to be part of this new beginning for smart governance in the North East. The urban centres of the North East, with their pool of skilled human resource, have the potential to emerge as growth hubs for the entire region.
 
The Smart City Mission enables cities to identify their potential and challenges. It catalyses smart solutions for the challenges, through public consultation.
 
Smart City Command and Control Centres use digital technology to integrate different service networks. They enable real-time collaboration among departments such as Police, Transport, Power, Water, Sanitation, and Public Safety utilities, he said.
 
“I believe that with the system in place, administrators will be able to monitor city operations better and respond in real time,” he added. 
 
The implementation of Integrated Command and Control Centres is gathering pace across India. As on March 1, these Centres have already become functional in 15 Smart Cities. Work is in progress at 50 other Centres.
 
“I am told that the North-East will have its first completed Smart Command and Control Centre as early as October 2019. One of the key components of the system is the CCTV Surveillance system for Citizen Safety. This system is designed to help tackle crime. The Intelligent Traffic Management System will help ease traffic flow,” he said.
 
“The Solid Waste Management component in the Command and Control Centre will boost cleanliness in these cities. Smart Street Lighting will make our streets safer and citizen-friendly. It will also improve energy efficiency through the conversion to LED systems.
 
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“Smart cities are also installing Public-Address Systems and Variable Message Signs to communicate important civic information,” he added.
 
The Prime Minister pointed out that Digital access is an important component of Digital India Mission. Public Wi-Fi system will provide free internet access to citizens.
 
The North-East is an environmentally sensitive region. The Environmental Monitoring System and Disaster Management modules will give real-time information to citizens and the Government. It will help improve the overall quality of life, he said.
 
“As cities start implementing and expanding the different elements of this system, they will be able to improve the ease of living for their citizens.
 
“I am told that there are over 500 projects with a total worth of nearly 15,000 crore rupees in the ten Smart Cities in the North East. Work orders have already been issued for 59 of these projects,” the Prime Minister said.
 
“I am happy to see Namchi in Sikkim, begin work on its Integrated Water Supply projects, LED Street lights and footpaths. Water is becoming a huge challenge in our hill cities. Gangtok has started work on rainwater harvesting. It has also undertaken projects to construct multi-level car parks with Smart Parking features to ease traffic congestion,” Modi said.
 
Agartala has its own unique challenges due to its saucer-shaped geography that makes it vulnerable to floods. The city administration has taken up projects to manage the same under the Smart Cities Mission.
 
Itanagar has plans to improve its city road network through its Smart Roads and Intelligent Traffic and Transport Management system. Pasighat is addressing the challenges of housing, energy management and business development through key Smart City projects.
 
So, each city has identified its key problems and is moving towards finding solutions to these problems, he said.
 
“I am happy to note that the other five North Eastern cities of Guwahati, Aizawl Kohima, Imphal and Shillong are also moving in this direction. Project implementation under the Smart Cities Mission is now gathering pace.
 
“I am confident that we are fast progressing towards the urban transformation of our North Eastern cities. This will improve quality of life and boost economic development of the region,” he added.
 
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Modi to visit Guwahati, Itanagar and Agartala on Saturday

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Guwahati in Assam, Itanagar in Arunachal Pradesh and Agartala in Tripura tomorrow as part of a one-day trip during which he will launch several development projects.
 
In Itanagar, he will unveil a series of development projects at IG Park in Itanagar. 
 
Among other things, he will lay the foundation stone for the construction of a greenfield airport at Hollongi. At present, the nearest airport to Itanagar is at Lilabari in Assam at a distance of 80 km.
 
The airport at Hollongi will reduce the distance by a fourth. In addition to providing better connectivity to the region, the airport will also unravel the tourism potential of the state. The airport will boost the economic growth of the region and will be strategically important to the nation. The airport will have various sustainability features like green belt along approach road to act as noise barrier, rain water harvesting, use of energy efficient equipment, and so on.
 
Modi will also lay the foundation stone of Sela Tunnel in Arunachal Pradesh. It will provide all-weather connectivity to Tawang Valley for civilians as well as security forces throughout the year. The tunnel will reduce travel time to Tawang by an hour and boost tourism and related economic activities in the region.
 
A new dedicated DD Channel, for Arunachal Pradesh, DD Arun Prabha, will be launched by the Prime Minister. It will be the 24th channel operated by Doordarshan. 
 
He will also dedicate the 110 MW Pare Hydroelectric Plant in Arunachal Pradesh to the nation. The project, constructed by NEEPCO, will harness hydro power potential of the river Dikrong (tributary of Brahmaputra) and provide cheap hydro electric power to the North Eastern states, thereby improving power availability in the region, an official press release said.
 
Modi will also lay the foundation stone for a permanent campus of Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) at Jote, Arunachal Pradesh. It will cater to film students especially those from the North Eastern states. 
 
He will inaugurate the upgraded Tezu Airport in Arunachal Pradesh. The airport has been retrofitted and a new terminal constructed for making it fit for commercial operations under UDAN, the regional connectivity scheme.
 
As many as 50 health and wellness centers in Arunachal Pradesh will be inaugurated by the Prime Minister. He will also declare 100% household electrification in Arunachal Pradesh under Saubhagya Scheme.
 
From Itanagar, the Prime Minister will return to Guwahati, where he will  lay the foundation stone of the North East Gas Grid which will ensure uninterrupted availability of natural gas across the region and boost industrial growth in the region. The grid is part of Government’s plan to provide cheap and quality gas to the entire North East Region. He will lay foundation stone of City Gas Distribution Networks in Kamrup, Cacher, Hailakandi & Karimganj districts.
 
He will inaugurate Hollong Modular Gas Processing Plant in Tinsukia, Assam. The facility will deliver 15% of the total gas produced in Assam. He will also inaugurate LPG Capacity Augmentation of Mounted Storage Vessel in North Guwahati. 
 
The foundation stone of NRL Bio Refinery at Numaligarh and a 729 km gas pipeline from Barauni to Guwahati, passing through Bihar, West Bengal, Sikkim and Assam, will be laid by him on the occasion.
 
The last leg of the Prime Minister's visit will be in Agartala.  He will dedicate to the nation the Garjee - Belonia Railway Line through unveiling of plaque at Swami Vivekananda Stadium here. The line will boost Tripura as the gateway to South and Southeast Asia. He will also inaugurate the new complex of Tripura Institute of Technology at Narsingarh.
 
He will unveil the statue of Maharaja Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya Bahadur at Maharaja Bir Bikram Airport, Agartala. Maharaja Bir Bikram is widely regarded as the creator of modern Tripura. He is credited with planning of Agartala city. Unveiling of his statue is in line with the Union Government’s policy of honouring the unsung heroes of India, who have contributed greatly to nation building, the release added.
 
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Tripura on positive growth trajectory, says Finance Commission

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The 15th Finance Commission headed by N K Singh held detailed discussions with Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb here today and other officials and said the state was on a positive growth trajectory.
 
The State Government made a strong pitch for increased devolution for setting up of better infrastructure specially in the health, IT, Power, Education, Tourism, Disaster mitigation and other sectors. 
 
Among major demands, it asked for 50% devolution of the Divisible Pool, non-tax revenues like spectrum auction, oil and gas royalty to form part of Divisible Pool, increased devolution to manage Tripura’s forest cover as 60% of its land is under forest, management of its very long international borders with Bangladesh and other issues.
 
An official press release said the Finance Commission fully shared the vision of the state government to make Tripura a model state. The Commission noted the effective measures being taken by the government in many sectors. 
 
In HRD, special emphasis has been given to the improvement of schools, colleges, teacher education, welfare of students studying outside the state. The Commission felt that the state had an HRD plan in place. 
 
In the area of Health, the state was working to realize the huge opportunity in the development of the sector, for the benefit of both the locals as well as their Bangladeshi neighbours, it noted.
 
The state government was working towards positioning Tripura as a biotechnology and IT hub as well as harnessing the State’s agricultural potential in the field of fruits, horticulture, downstream rubber plantation, and so on.
 
A detailed memorandum was also received by the Commission from the State for the improvement of the conditions of the indigenous people of Tripura. The Commission has assured to do what best could be done for them within the frame work of rules.
 
Overall, the Commission felt that the growth trajectory of Tripura was positive. It had done quite well in several important indices of human development in the recent past, while it still has a number of challenges which has been handed down from the past. 
 
Earlier the Commission had an interaction with all political parties in Tripura. There were high commonalities beyond seeking significantly higher devolution. 
 
Four points were forcefully made. First, the need to strengthen the access to Sea Port (Chittagong Port) in adjoining Bangladesh and making Tripura a maritime hub for North East. 
 
Second, significantly improved road connectivity within Tripura to buttress tourism. Thirdly, capitalize on Tripura’s comparative factor advantages in skilled manpower and agro-related industries, both for exports and marketing. 
 
Fourth, the memorandum of chief of the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura highlighted the aspirations of the tribal society, dwelt on specific projects which would have multiplier benefits for tribal youth and meaningful employment opportunities. 
 
The Commission also met the representatives of the trade bodies of the state and noted their concerns.
 
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7th International Tourism Mart to be held in Agartala from November 22–24

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The 7th International Tourism Mart will be inaugurated by Tripura Governor Kaptan Singh Solanki in Agartala tomorrow.  
 
Union Minister for Tourism K. J Alphons, Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb, Union Tourism Secretary Rashmi Verma and other officials from Central Ministries and North Eastern States will be present at the inauguration.
 
This is the 7th edition of the International Tourism Mart, an annual event organised in the North Eastern region with the objective of highlighting the tourism potential of the region in the domestic and international markets. 
 
It brings together the tourism business fraternity and entrepreneurs from the eight North Eastern States. The event has been planned and scheduled to facilitate interaction between buyers, sellers, media, Government agencies and other stakeholders.
 
The International Tourism Marts are organised in the North Eastern States on rotation basis. The earlier editions of this mart have been held in Guwahati, Tawang, Shillong, Gangtok and Imphal.
 
The North East Region of India comprising the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim, is endowed with diverse tourist attractions and products. The varied topography of the region, its flora and fauna, the ethnic communities with their rich heritage of ancient traditions and lifestyles, its festivals, arts and crafts, make it a holiday destination waiting to be explored, an official press release said.
 
The ITM will see wide participation of International buyers and media delegates from countries around the world and from different regions of the country. They will be engaging in business-to-business meetings with sellers from the North Eastern Region. 
 
This will enable the tourism product suppliers from the region to reach out to international and domestic buyers, with the objective of promoting tourism to the region.  A total of 41 foreign delegates from 18 countries -- Australia, Canada, China, France, Indonesia, Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, Myanmar, Netherlands, New Zealand, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Thailand, UAE and USA -- will be in Tripura for the Mart. 
 
These include 23 Tour Operators & Travel Agents and 18 media representatives, journalists, travel writers and bloggers. Besides the foreign delegates, 26 domestic tour operators from other parts of the country and 78 sellers from the North Eastern States will participate in the Mart. 
 
Representatives of State Tourism Departments of these North East States will also be present to showcase their tourism destinations and to interact with the delegates.
 
In addition to the business interactions between the tour operators, the three-day event also includes presentations by state governments of the region on their tourism potential, panel discussion, cultural evenings, sightseeing visits to local attractions in and around Agartala and a press meet on November 23. 
 
An exhibition by State Tourism Departments from the North Eastern States, including display of handicrafts and handlooms, is also being organized to showcase the tourism products of respective participating States.
 
Post-mart familiarisation tours to the North Eastern states have been arranged for the international delegates to create awareness about the rich and varied tourism products of the North Eastern region and to give them a first-hand experience of the destination, the release added.
 
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Modi, Sheikh Hasina dedicate three projects in Bangladesh

Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicating three projects in Bangladesh in New Delhi, jointly with Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Das via video-conference, on September 10, 2018.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicating three projects in Bangladesh in New Delhi, jointly with Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Das via video-conference, on September 10, 2018.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina and Chief Ministers Mamata Banerjee and Biplab Kumar Das of West Bengal and Tripura today jointly inaugurated three projects in Bangladesh via video conference.
 
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Bangladesh counterpart also joined the video conference from New Delhi and Dhaka, respectively.
 
The three projects are 500 MW additional power supply from India to Bangladesh, through the existing Bheramara (Bangladesh) - Baharampur (India) interconnection, the Akhaura – Agartala Rail Link and rehabilitation of the Kulaura-Shahbazpur section of Bangladesh Railways. 
 
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Modi recalled that he had met Ms. Hasina several times in the recent past, including at the BIMSTEC meeting in Kathmandu, in Shanti Niketan, and during the Commonwealth Summit in London. 
 
He reiterated his view that leaders of neighbouring countries should have a relationship like neighbours, talking and visiting frequently, without getting bogged down by protocol. He said this closeness is evident in the frequent interactions between him and the Bangladesh Prime Minister. 
 
Mr. Modi recalled Ms. Hasina’s vision of restoring connectivity to the way it was before 1965. He said that he is happy that in the last few years, there has been steady progress towards this goal. 
 
"Today, we have increased our power connectivity, and started two projects to increase our railway connectivity," he noted.
 
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He recalled that during his visit to Bangladesh in 2015, it had been decided to supply an additional 500 MW power to Bangladesh. He said this is being done using the transmission link between West Bengal and Bangladesh, and thanked the Chief Minister of West Bengal for facilitating the completion of this work. He said that with the completion of this project, 1.16 gigawatts of power is now being supplied from India to Bangladesh. 
 
"This journey from megawatts to gigawatts is symbolic of a golden era in the relations between India and Bangladesh," he said.
 
The Prime Minister said that Akhaura-Agartala rail connectivity will provide another link in the cross-border connectivity between the two countries. He thanked the Chief Minister of Tripura for facilitating the completion  of this work.
 
Mr. Modi appreciated Mr. Hasina’s development goals of transforming Bangladesh into a middle income country by 2021, and a developed country by 2041. He said that closer relations and people-to-people links between the two countries would take their development and prosperity to new heights. 
 
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First meeting of India-Bangladesh Joint Committee on Border Haats held

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The first meeting of the India-Bangladesh Joint Committee on Border Haats was held in the Tripura capital here on July 22-23.
 
In the meeting, both sides noted the positive impact of Border Haats on the livelihoods of the people living in areas adjoining the Haats, an official press release said.
 
Extensive discussions were held on issues related to review of operations of the four functional Border Haats and suggestions for improvement, the timeline for setting up the six additional Haats that had earlier been agreed to by both sides and the roadmap for further expansion. It was agreed that the next meeting will be held in Bangladesh on mutually agreed dates.
 
The Joint Committee visited the Border Haat at Kamlasagar (Sipahijala District, Tripura) – Tarapur (Brahmanbaria, Bangladesh) yesterday and appreciated its vibrant functioning. It noted the need for improvement of infrastructure.
 
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Border Haats between India and Bangladesh signed on April 8, 2017, provides for the establishment of a Joint Committee to review the haats operations, suggest modifications in the operational modalities and propose new locations.
 
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Cabinet approves renaming of Agartala airport as Maharaja Bir Bikram Manikya Kishore Airport

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The Union Cabinet today gave its approval for renaming the Agartala Airport in Tripura as Maharaja Bir Bikram Manikya Kishore Airport, Agartala.
 
The decision comes in the wake of the long pending demand of people of Tripura as well as the Tripura Government for paying tribute to Maharaja Bir Bikram Manikya Kishore, an enlightened and benevolent ruler of the erstwhile princely state of Tripura.
 
Incidentally, the Agartala airport was constructed in 1942 on the land donated by the Maharaja, who had ascended the throne in 1923.
 
As a visionary ruler, who had travelled extensively across the globe, he took several steps for the all-round development of Tripura. Due to his initiative, the airport was built which has evolved as the second busiest airport in the North East and provides crucial air connectivity to Tripura.
 
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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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Flood-hit Tripura seeks Army assistance

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Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb on Thursday sought the Army's assistance in rescue operations across the flood-hit state.
 
Tripura has witnessed incessant rains in the last 48 hours to Thursday afternoon which has caused heavy flooding.
 
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 Tripura government. 
 
The Chief Minister also requested the Home Minister to "urgently" increase the number of National Disaster Response Force personnel in Tripura. 
 
"Apprised Rajnath Singhji about the flood situation and the ongoing relief work in Tripura. Requested for assistance from the Army for rescue operations in a few critical locations. The Home Ministry has assured all the necessary support from the Central government," Deb tweeted. 
 
An official statement said the Central government has assured it would provide all the necessary support to Tripura and that it has asked the Army chief, General Bipin Rawat, to take the necessary action. 
 
Continuous rain has triggered flash floods in Tripura's Unakoti, Dhalai, Khowai and Gomti districts. 
 
Over 3,500 families are lodged in 189 relief camps as the heavy downpours inundated their houses, according to the report of the State Emergency Operation Centre (SEOC).
 
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Kovind inaugurates Matabari-Sabroom National Highway in Tripura

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Saying that development of the North East was high on the Union Government’s list of priorities, President Ram Nath Kovind inaugurated the National Highway from Matabari to Sabroom here yesterday.
 
Speaking on the occasion, Mr Kovind said road projects covering a length of 5,200 km were being executed in the region to enhance connectivity. The Bharatmala project was also giving special attention to the Northeast. As part of these programmes, 500 km of roads were being constructed in Tripura.
 
The President noted that Tripura’s immense potential for tourism will also be helped by connectivity projects. The state’s natural beauty, lush green forests and cultural heritage was a major draw for domestic and international tourists. Better rail and road connectivity will increase tourism and ancillary economic activity in the state.
 
Mr Kovind also visited the Matabari Temple complex in Udaipur and laid the foundation stone for its redevelopment and augmentation as a centre for religious tourism.
 
In the evening, the President attended a civic reception hosted in his honour by the State Government. At the reception in Agartala, he formally declared the “Queen Pineapple” as the state fruit of Tripura.
 
He said, only a few days ago, the first consignment of the Queen Pineapple was exported to West Asia. This was an important step in linking Tripura and the Northeast region with global trade. He expressed the hope that pineapples from Tripura will reach markets across the country and abroad, especially in the neighbouring countries.
 
The President emphasised that the Northeast and Tripura have a pivotal place in India’s Act East Policy. This will help enhance business with ASEAN countries and serve to realise Tripura’s economic potential.
 
The state has abundant forest resources. The conservation and sustainable use of forests, as well as providing assistance to tribal communities that are dependent on forests for their livelihood, was extremely important. The people of Tripura presented a model for the country as to the harmonious balance between human livelihood needs and natural heritage, he added.
 
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PM summons Tripura CM over controversial statements

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi has summoned Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb over his controversial statements.
 
A senior BJP leader on Sunday said Deb has been summoned to meet Modi and BJP President Amit Shah on May 2 in the national capital.
 
Deb, who took charge of Tripura last month, has made several remarks which have triggered widespread criticism.
 
He had stated that the Internet and satellite communication existed during the Mahabharata era. He also questioned the crowning of Diana Hayden as Miss World in 1997.
 
The Chief Minister also stated that mechanical engineers should not opt for civil services, but civil engineers should.
 
He has also asked the educated youth to set up paan shops instead of running after political parties to get government jobs. He also asked youth to explore a career in the dairy field and keep cows.
 
"Senior party leaders are miffed over the controversies triggered by Deb's statements. Deb is just saying anything and everything. Modi will talk to him," said a senior party leader on Sunday.
 
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NDMA conducts mock exercise on earthquake in North East

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The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) conducted a multi-State mock exercise on earthquake in the three North Eastern States of Tripura, Nagaland and Mizoram yesterday for assessing the preparedness and response mechanism of the State Governments in a disaster situation.
 
The exercise was conducted in collaboration with the respective State Disaster Management Authorities (SDMAs).
 
It simulated the 1897 Shillong earthquake measuring 8.7 on the Richter Scale, which had devastated the entire Shillong plateau and affected the whole of the northeast.
 
The simulation exercise was conducted simultaneously in all districts across the three States at select locations, including hospitals, shopping malls, schools and high-rise residential buildings to assess and improve the administration’s capacity in mobilising resources and reaching out to the affected communities swiftly.
 
The exercise started with sirens indicating the occurrence of tremors. Everybody ducked under the tables while covering their heads. Once the tremors stopped, evacuation drills were conducted. Soon afterwards, State Emergency Operation Centres (SEOCs) were activated.
 
Simultaneously, EOCs at the districts also got activated, assessed the damage, formed rescue teams under Incident Commanders and dispatched them to the respective locations.
 
Rescue drills were conducted in coordination with various agencies, such as Traffic control, Fire Fighting Department, Ambulances, Police and Civil Defence. People buried under the rubble were rescued and sent to hospitals after administering first aid and triage.
 
Afterwards, NDMA experts carried out post-exercise analyses, wherein independent observers from the Army shared their feedback and suggested ways to further streamline response mechanisms.
 
"Mock exercises strengthen the capacity and response mechanisms of all stakeholders. These also help improve coordination among various agencies, which is the key to a successful post-disaster response," said Lt. Gen. N.C. Marwah (Retd.), Member, NDMA.
 
Today’s exercise was preceded by orientation-cum-coordination conferences and tabletop exercises in all the participating States to ensure the smooth facilitation of the exercise.
 
This exercise is significant as the entire North East is located in the seismic zone V. 
 
The mock drill will ensure a better response in the event of a disaster to reduce the loss of lives. It will also generate awareness among the local population who are the first responders in case of any disaster, an official press release added.
 
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NDMA to conduct multi-State earthquake mock exercise in North East

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The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) will conduct a mock exercise on earthquake preparedness in three North Eastern States -- Tripura, Nagaland, Mizoram -- tomorrow.
 
The exercise, being held in collaboration with the respective State Disaster Management Authorities (SDMAs), will help participating agencies and stakeholders in evaluating the effectiveness of their disaster response plans, an official press release said.
 
The exercise is significant as the participating States fall under seismic vulnerability zone V, it said.
 
Orientation-cum-coordination conferences were held on April 12 at the State Capitals for working out the detailed modalities and preparations required for the mock exercise.
 
Concerned officials from various stakeholder departments such as the Army, Health, Police, Firefighting, Civil Defence, Transport, Electricity, Public Relations and Traffic Control attended these conferences.
 
Preparedness measures required to be taken at individual, societal and institutional levels to minimise the effects of an earthquake were discussed. NDMA experts briefed the stakeholders on the Incident Response System (IRS), which attributes roles and responsibilities at each level to improve coordination. This helps enhance preparedness and ensure a swift response by reducing ad-hocism in response.
 
Table Top Exercises will be conducted in all the three States before the actual mock exercise. The mock exercise will be followed by a detailed debriefing session where gaps and shortcomings, if any, for improving preparedness will be discussed. Independent observers will be deployed to monitor the entire exercise.
 
The exercise will help in filling gaps, ensuring better communication and improving coordination among various stakeholders and agencies. It will also generate awareness among the local population about the Dos and Don'ts to be followed before, during and after an earthquake.
 
"Capacity building and improving disaster preparedness is an ongoing exercise. NDMA has so far conducted more than 600 mock exercises for various disaster situations across the country in its efforts to improve preparedness and response during for various disaster situations," the release added.
 
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