SHILLONG, Dec 17 – The Meghalaya Government has issued notices to several non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) operating in Jaintia Hills district for allegedly duping investors of crores of rupees.
“We have issued notices to five NBFCs operating in Jaintia Hills,” Deputy Commissioner T Dkhar said.
“The district administrator was acting on complaints received from several people who were lured into investing huge amounts of money into these companies,” he said. – PTI
Source: Assam Tribune
SHILLONG, Nov 18 – The Union Tourism Ministry has proposed a package of Rs 600 crore in the 12th five year plan for development of tourism in the Northeastern region.
Union Tourism Minister Subodh Kant Sahai said here today that tourism sector holds great potential in developing the region. He said his Ministry has therefore sought Rs 600 crore during the 12th five year plan.
Altogether, the Union Ministry has proposed a package of Rs 2,200 crore from the Planning Commission for development of the tourism sector in the entire country.
“All the Northeastern States are being asked to develop the sector so that tourist flow into the region is doubled from the current figure”, Sahay said after the 2nd Inter-State Regional Conference of Tourism Ministers of the East and Northeastern States.
He said as part of the larger plan to develop the fledgling tourism sector in the region theme parks showcasing the region’s heritage, culture together with modern amenities would be brought under one roof. “All the Northeastern States would have such theme parks in the coming years,” Sahay said.
The Union Ministry, he added, has targeted inflow of tourists in the country to 73 million by 2016 from 2010’s figure of 53 million. “The current figures are just not acceptable for a country like India, we must increase the inflow of tourists,” the Minister stated.
Sahay said that the tourism sector has the potential of creating 25 million new jobs and women would be the biggest beneficiaries.
The Minister urged the North- eastern Tourism Ministers who attended the conference to develop tourism on a mission mode and lauded Meghalaya’s effort in this regard.
The Union Minister also promised tourist police, taking personnel from the Coast Guard and other security agencies to guard vulnerable areas like beaches to protect foreign tourists.
He said awareness campaign would also be undertaken in schools, colleges and at the local administrative level so that tourists are given their due respect.
Meanwhile, West Bengal Government today announced that special packages would be developed to encourage tourists from West Bengal to visit the North- eastern region.
Source: Assam Tribune
TURA, Nov 11 – The annual 100 Drums Wangala Festival of the Garos began yesterday at Asanang, 18 kms from here in West Garo Hills., with the arrival of the ten dancing troupes from various parts of Garo Hills as well as the opening of the three-day District Level Industrial Exhibition adjacent to the Wangala venue.
The dancing troupes participating in this year’s Wangala Festival are Sadolpara, who were the winners of last year’s Wangala dance competition, Chibonggre of Dadenggre sub-division, Chibragre from Rongram Block, Gonda Chibolgre from Tikrikilla Block, Agisimgre from Rongram Block, Rongsang Songma from Ampati sub-division, Dingnapara from Selsella Block, Williamnagar (South Garo Hills), Baghmara (East Garo Hills), Tura (West Garo Hills) and the troupe from neighbouring Bangladesh.
During the three-day traditional festivities, there will be indigenous games and sports, indigenous vocal and instrumental competitions and Rugala ceremony on the second day and religious ceremonies and Wangala dance competition among the 10 Wangala dance contingents before closing with the Hundred Drums Wangala dance on the third day.
In the three-day Industrial Exhibition held on the occasion, as many as 40 stalls have been put up by different departments and industrial units from Garo Hills, including the two National Awardees for outstanding efforts in entrepreneurship and one unit from Bangladesh, which is participating in the exhibition for the first time.
Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma is attending the festival as the chief guest on the third day, along with a host of dignitaries from the State and outside.
Source: Assam Tribune
SHILLONG, Nov 9 – Nongkrem dance was today celebrated at the cultural centre of the Khasi community at Smit village, about 20 kms from here, in an atmosphere of joy and festivity.
The five-day long religious festival of the Khasis, Ka Pomblang Nongrem dance is popularly known as Nongkrem dance. The religious festival of the Khasis is performed to appease Goddess Ka Blei Synshar, to ward off evil from the community and also for a bountiful harvest and held at Smit, the headquarter and capital of the Khasi State of Hima Khyrim.
After the religious part of the festival is over, dances ensue. Young women in colourful and exotic silk dresses and decked in ornaments of gold, silver and wearing a silver crown participates in the dance in front of the Iing Sad (thatched palace) of Syiem of Khyrim. Young men wearing silk dhoti, waistcoat and plumed turban and also decked with ornaments, joins the women in the dance.
The overall movement of the dance is slow and rhythmic. But, the women dance in a graceful manner taking tiny steps forward. The men dance in a more energetic manner, forming a protective ring around the women and flashing their weapons.
All the while both the male and female dancers keep up to the slow and rhythmic beats of the traditional drums and Tangmuri (pipes).
During the festival stalls spring up outside the venue of the dance, selling local delicacies, handicrafts and rice beer adding colour to the festival.
Source: Assam Tribune
Shillong, November 7: The campus of North Eastern Hill University (NEHU) was echoed with the beating of drums, sounds of cymbals and enchanting performances by the artists of North India.
BSF in collaboration with North Central Zone Cultural Centre, Allahabad organized the spectacular Northern India’s multi-state composite cultural show at NEHU campus, leaving behind the ever lasting memories to the huge audience.
The colourful costumes, swift and graceful body movements combined with folk music full of life brought the rhythm of the desert onto the premises of NEHU campus. BSF has put in all its efforts in making the show a grand success.
H.E. B.L.Joshi,Governor of Uttar Pradesh was the chief guest and many other dignitaries including Vice chancellor, NEHU marked their presence. IG,BSF,Meghalaya Ftr, M.L.Batham conveyed his thanks to all for making the show a grand success.
Newmai News Network
Source: Hueiyen News Service
Shillong, November 7: Meghalaya Right to Information, a body which has been demanding an effective anti corruption mechanism in Meghalaya for the last five years notes with dismay over the state government’s attempt to appoint Lokayukta in Meghalaya based on a toothless and anti-people Meghalaya Lokayukta and Uplokayukta Act of 2002 and the delayed rules for this act that were drafted 5 years later in 2007.
Issuing a statement in Shillong on Monday, the MRTI stated, “Now 5 years after the rules were drafted the government is rushing to make it operational this act. This law which the government had kept in cold storage for several years has been suddenly rediscovered as the government knows that the Lokayukta under this Meghalaya act would be a powerless body”.
Under the present law that the government of Meghalaya has passed, the Lokayukta would be a body with merely investigating and without recommendation powers. It has no power to initiate suo-moto investigation, asserted the MRTI saying that It has no power for prosecution or order punishment against corrupt public servants. The Lokayukta has no financial, judicial and administrative independence.
The chief Minister will be exempted from the purview of Lokayukta and no grievances against the chief minister, Ministers, MLAs and high level bureaucrats can come under the purview of this act.
As this law predates the Right to Information Act 2005, there are comic contradictions in the law. Whereas citizens can access Cabinet Deliberations under the RTI, the Lokayukta cannot. Moreover, bureaucracy will decide which documents can be made accessible to the Lokayukta for its investigation.
This act makes it difficult for citizens to file complaints. The complainant has to file an affidavit verified by a First Class Magistrate and also submit affidavits from any one who has provided him with evidence. If this was not all, the law also puts the life and liberty of the complainant in danger by disclosing the name of the complainant to the accused public servant. The only power that the lokayukta has is to punish a complainant, if s/he decides that a complaint is vexatious, frivolous or false. A Complainant can be imprisoned and fined by the Lokayukta thus discouraging any complaint.
MRTI strongly feels that this law ought to be repealed or at least amended. MRTI demands that government stop appointment of powerless Lokayukta.
MRTI has already submitted memorandums to the government outlining the bare minimums which any effective anti corruption law should have. MRTI is also working on a draft law which it shall be presenting to the govt.
Shillong, Nov 7 (IANS): Anti-graft activists in Meghalaya on Monday demanded amendment to the Meghalaya Lokayukta and Up-Lokayukta Act, 2002 on the lines of the ombudsman in Uttarakhand.
“We want the Meghalaya government to either amend or repeal the existing Meghalaya Lokayukta and Up-Lokayukta Act, 2002 since, in the present form, it is toothless and anti-people,” Meghalaya Right to Information Movement (MRTIM) Chief Michael Syiem told IANS.
Stating that the MRTIM had been demanding an effective anti-corruption mechanism in Meghalaya for the last five years, Syiem said the government was attempting to appoint a Lokayukta in Meghalaya on the basis of a “toothless and anti-people” law.
“This law, which the government had kept in cold storage for more than 10 years, has been suddenly rediscovered as the government knows that the Lokayukta under it would be a powerless body,” Syiem said.
Under the present law, the Lokayukta would be a body with merely investigating and recommendatory powers, he said.
It would have no power to initiate suo moto investigation and prosecute or punish corrupt public servants. The ombudsman would also lack financial, judicial and administrative independence, Syiem said.
“The chief minister would be exempted from the purview of Lokayukta and no grievances against ministers, MLAs and high-level bureaucracy could be entertained by this body,” he added.
“This act makes it difficult for citizens to file complaints… the law also puts the life and liberty of the complainant in danger by disclosing his name to the accused public servant,” Syiem said.
Source: Assam Tribune
Shillong, Nov 5 (IANS): A group of around 3,000 tribal kings and chieftains in Meghalaya have chosen former South African President Nelson Mandela for a ‘global award’ for his work in the field of human rights.
The chieftains from the State’s three major tribes – the Khasis, Jaintias, and the Garos – under the umbrella body of the Grand Advisory Council of Tribal Chiefs have invited Mandela to receive the award on November 14 in Asananggre, West Garo Hills district, about 360 km from Meghalaya’s capital Shillong.
“Mandela is an inspiration to our movement. Despite being sentenced to life imprisonment, he continued with his struggle against apartheid,” tribal leader John F Kharshiing, chairman of the Grassroots Democracy Advisory Council, told IANS on Saturday.
Released in 1990 after spending 27 years in prison for anti-apartheid activities, Mandela became South Africa’s first democratically elected president (1994-1999).
“He is our planet’s last living legend, fondly known as Madiba, and therefore, we have decided to award him the ‘global award’ for his courage, self-sacrifice and contribution towards human rights,” he said.
The award function is being held under the banner of the council – a group that is fighting for constitutional recognition of the traditional institution of kingship in this predominantly Christian State of three million people bordering Bangladesh.
There was no official word from the South African High Commission in New Delhi on whether Mandela would attend the award function.
“We were told that he was humbled after hearing about the award. We hope he would accept our invitation and personally come to receive the award … We have decided to give a citation and traditional gifts to Mandela,” the tribal leader said.
An estimated 300,000 people are expected to attend the function where several top Indian economists and environmentalists would speak on the theme of socio-economic development.
Kharshiing said the grand council has chosen three journalists — Aroon Purie, Rajdeep Sardesai and Arnab Goswami — to receive the People’s Parliament National Awards on the occasion for raising the benchmark of transparency and ethical news reporting.
Earlier, the council had conferred the award on former US Vice President Al Gore for promoting awareness on climate change.
Source: Assam Tribune
SHILLONG, Nov 4 – Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma today exuded confidence that Meghalaya will take a lead in promoting North East as an important tourist destination of the country.
He made the statement at the inaugural session of the three-day Shillong Autumn Festival with the theme “Experience the North East”.
The Meghalaya Tourism Development Forum (MTDF) in collaboration with the Government of Meghalaya has organised the festival, an event that has been attracting hundreds of tourists in the past few years.
Ushering the beginning of the festival in the city today was a cultural float parade by troupes of all the Northeastern States which mesmerised the onlookers.
Sangma flagged off the cultural parade from Fire Brigade ground and said, “Meghalaya will become the “number one” tourist destination in the country and the State Government will do its best to achieve this. “We have the potentials in this sphere. It will generate a lot of economic benefits and create hundreds of employment opportunities for the youths”, stated Sangma, even as he called on the stake- holders to go for an introspection, identify the areas and look for positive results.
Meghalaya Urban Affairs Minister Ampareen Lyngdoh exhorted the North Easterners to display their identity in diversity”.
Chairman of the MTDF, Robert G Lyngdoh said that this Autumn Festival aims at promotion of tourism, an avenue that can open up economic benefits to all.
The three-day gala event will culminate on Sunday at the Orchid Lake Resort at Umiam, 20 km from here.
Source: Assam Tribune
Shillong, Nov 1 (IANS): The Central government has sought the views of the Meghalaya government before declaring the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) an outlawed rebel outfit, an official said on Tuesday.
“We have asked for comments of the Meghalaya government to impose a ban on the GNLA after assessing its terrorist activities,” joint secretary in the home ministry (in-charge of North East Affairs) Shambu Singh told IANS.
The GNLA, which is headed by police officer-turned outlaw Champion R. Sangma, has unleashed a reign of terror in the three impoverished districts of Garo Hills in the western part of Meghalaya.
Over 20 people, including security personnel, have been killed in the Garo Hills in the last one year by GNLA rebels. On Monday evening, four police personnel and a civilian were killed and two policemen were critically injured by the rebels at Nengpatchi in East Garo Hills district.
“We are expecting the Meghalaya government to submit their views and recommendation before declaring it (GNLA) as an outlawed outfit,” Singh said.
Meghalaya home department official said the state government would submit its views as early as possible.
“We are still examining their (GNLA) activities and threats before recommending the central government to impose a ban,” said a Meghalaya government official on condition of anonymity.
Champion, who claims to be fighting for a ‘separate Garoland’ in the western area of Meghalaya, has been camping in Bangladesh for several months in search of support.
The outfit has also forged an alliance with the Bangladesh-based rebel group, A’chik Special Dragon Party.
Meghalaya shares a 443-km border with Bangladesh, part of which is porous, hilly and unfenced and prone to frequent infiltration.
It has forged an operational alliance with the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) and the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB).
Both the Assam-based rebel groups have transformed the GNLA into a violent group with access to sophisticated arms and ammunitions.
The GNLA has over 100 rebels, including a few women cadres, operating in the three impoverished districts. The outfit has procured a cache of HK53 rifles and explosives to add to their arsenal.
The outfit had earlier slapped extortion demands ranging from Rs.5 lakh to Rs.1 crore on government officials, ministers, legislators and businessmen.
The Garo Hills region is being used as a safe haven by various northeast-based militant groups.
With the outlawed A’chik National Volunteers Council (ANVC) on a ceasefire agreement with the central government, the National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Isak-Muivah (NSCN-IM) and the ULFA spawned several militant groups with the main intention of exploiting the lucrative extortion in the coal-rich areas of the Garo Hills region.
The GNLA, which is one among the smaller militant outfits, is believed to have been formed with the help of the NSCN-IM to extort money.
Another outlawed outfit, the Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC), which has been demanding a sovereign Khasi homeland in Meghalaya, is currently on the backfoot with most of its cadres, including its chairman Julius K. Dorphang surrendering to the government.
Source: Assam Tribune