BJP fails to produce magic in NE bypolls: What's lacking?

The BJP wave has continued to sweep mainland India. After the best ever performance in the Lok Sabha election, the saffron party has swept assembly elections in Maharashtra and Haryana as well.

Though the party has fallen short of the majority mark in Maharashtra, but the fact that it has comprehensively beaten regional powers like Shiv Sena and NCP shows how much high it is rising in Indian politics at the moment. BJP failed in NE bypolls But the scenario is just the opposite in the northeast where the BJP lost in the bypolls in three states, namely, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland.

The party had fielded candidates in the three seats that went to the bypolls in these states but lost in all of them. While the party lost to the Congress in Kanubari seat of Arunachal Pradesh by 885 votes, it finished third after the Congress and Trinamool Congress in Hiyanglam seat of Manipur (total votes 6,306). In Nagaland's Northern Angami-II seat, the BJP lost to its ally Nagaland People's Front by 3,045 votes. One wonders why the BJP decided to field a candidate in Nagaland against its own ally.

May be the party tried to make its own mark in the state, as it has been doing in many of the bigger states. BJP got stuck in Assam But in all, the BJP has not succeeded in making the same impact in the northeast, barring Assam. The Congress, despite its rapid collapse in other parts of the country, still leads the BJP in this part of the country. In the Lok Sabha election held in April-May, the Congress won 13 out of 24 seats in the northeast while the BJP and its allies could bag 10. It was only in Assam where the BJP surprised many by winning seven out of 14 seats. If it has done well in Assam, why the BJP didn't succeed to the same extent in the other northeastern states?

In Assam, the BJP has gained from the polarisation along communal, tribal and caste lines. The issue of Bangladeshi infiltration and the presence of AIUDF in Assam helped the BJP to make a mark, thanks to the polarisation. BJP's cultural nationalism isn't effective in NE But the story is not the same in other northeastern states where the socio-political realities are extremely complex and the BJP doesn't enjoy a natural appeal among the voters.

The saffron party's inclination towards cultural nationalism isn't a sound currency in this part of the country where the Congress's legacy still rules strongly. The grand-old party's top leadership, starting from Jawaharlal Nehru, have always maintained a physical proximity with the northeast and the long presence of the Congress representatives in these states have helped them bargain with the Centre.

And above everything, the Congress's Nehruvian legacy speaking about a centrist political style has helped the northeast remain a strong bastion of the party. Dealing attacks on NE people strongly can be a good option for BJP to bridge gap The BJP has been a more culturally homogenous entity and since the northeast is not a fertile land for Hindutva politics owing to cultural, social and religious reasons, the BJP naturally hasn't been able to produce the same magic despite the Modi wave engulfing the rest of the country. The party has to bank on development as the main weapon to make inroads throughout the northeast but its elected leaders must not try to force anything on the people and communities of these parts.

Development in NE is key for national security but it can't be forced upon Development of the northeastern states is also key for the sake of national security and since the BJP is expected to stay in the Centre for a fairly long time now, the onus lies on the Narendra Modi government to try means to bridge the gap with the northeast. The repeated attacks on people from the region might also serve an opportunity to the party to get closer to the northeast's heart by taking on the menace with iron hands.

The idea of securing the NE's interests in connection to uranium mining can also be utilised by the Centre. But whatever it is, the BJP-led government at the Centre can not afford to overlook the northeast just because they have smaller number of seats. Elections are key but there is a field greater to that in politics.
READ MORE - BJP fails to produce magic in NE bypolls: What's lacking?

Beijing Assures New Delhi on Silk Road Security Concerns

NEW DELHI: China does not want to overstep into India’s sphere of influence by bringing Sri Lanka and Maldives into the maritime New Silk Road, according to an official of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

“We don’t want to get into India’s sphere,” said Luan Jianzhang, Deputy Director General of Policy Research Office at the CPC Central Committee’s International Department. The International Department is mainly concerned with overseeing relations with foreign political parties.

Luan, who is here to take part in an international two-day conference, pointed out that the ‘Maritime Silk Road’ initiative “was a strategic economic project”. He denied that there was any security element, for now.

During Chinese President Xi Jinping’s recent visit to Sri Lanka and Maldives, both countries had given their support to the initiative, which has been described as a project to revive ancient trading links and increase economic cooperation.

This had however raised eyebrows in India, which has been watching China’s growing influence in the Indian Ocean Region with wariness. When asked about India’s role in the Silk Road initiative, Luan pointed out that New Delhi is part of the BCIM corridor, which looks at setting up a trade route from North-East India, Bangladesh, Myanmar and China.

Indicating that China was very enthusiastic about BCIM, he also acknowledged that India may have some concerns. “India has some concerns so we are going project by project, slowly, so that all issues are clarified,” he said.

On Indian concerns that Chinese goods will flood the North-East market if this route is opened, Luan said, “If Chinese goods would enter India, Indian goods will also find market in China which will bring down the trade deficit”.
READ MORE - Beijing Assures New Delhi on Silk Road Security Concerns

NE faces foodgrain storage crisis

Shillong, Oct 23 : The Northeast is currently facing an acute shortage of storage capacities of foodgrains disbursed through the Food Corporation of India (FCI) although the Centre has planned to increase the storage capacities by constructing new godowns.

In Meghalaya and Mizoram, the FCI has seven godowns each with a total capacity of 27,450MT and 26,240MT respectively. In Tripura, there are eight godowns with a capacity of 35,650 MT. According to B. Tayeng, general manager (R) of the FCI regional office, Shillong, there are 22 FCI godowns in the region with a total capacity of about 89,340MT. But the shortage of storage capacities of foodgrain has often left hundreds of trucks stranded, Tayeng said in a statement issued here.

Tayeng also pointed out that the construction of new godowns has “not made any headway” because of the slow process of land acquisition in the three states — Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura.

Noting that the Northeastern states are “foodgrain deficit states”, Tayeng said, the foodgrain requirements of the states are mostly met with supplies from Punjab and Haryana.

Tripura, with a population of 36,73,917 has the highest monthly requirement of foodgrains in the region, which is about 30,000 MT while Meghalaya, with a population of 29,64,001, has a requirement of about 15,000MT. Mizoram requires 14,000MT per month with a population of 10,91,014.

Tayeng said while Tripura and Mizoram have their own godowns to store buffer stock, Meghalaya has to depend on government nominee godowns. While stating that the demand of wheat is “not very significant” as the people of the region are basically rice consumers, Tayeng said FCI had stopped distributing sugar since June 2013.

Moreover, he said the FCI had recently started moving foodgrain from Andhra Pradesh to Tripura via Bangladesh while it also plans to import rice from Myanmar via Zokhawar in Champhai district of Mizoram.

According to reports, the Centre is planning to import 5 lakh tonnes of rice from Myanmar to meet public distribution system (PDS) requirements of Tripura and Mizoram.

While the FCI godowns in Meghalaya are fed by road transport, the godowns in Tripura and Mizoram are fed by both road transport and meter gauge terminals located in these two states, Tayeng said. However, rail transportation from Lumding to Tripura and Mizoram had been closed down since October 1 in view of the conversion work of the existing meter gauge line to broad gauge line. The work from Lumding to Silchar is likely to be completed by March 2015 and to Tripura and Mizoram by March 2016.

Trucks ferrying foodgrain have been using National Highways 40 and 44, which connects Guwahati, Silchar, Tripura, and Mizoram via Meghalaya because of the ongoing construction work.
READ MORE - NE faces foodgrain storage crisis

Power transmission link via Bangladesh vital: Official

A top power company official has suggested erecting power transmission lines for supply of electricity from the northeast region to other parts of India via Bangladesh terming the proposed link as "vital".

"India and Bangladesh should have designated power transmission links and corridors to supply power between the two countries. The transmission corridors are vital to supply electricity from the northeast region to other parts of India via Bangladesh," said P.C. Pankaj, chairman-cum-managing director of the state-run North East Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO).

Pankaj told IANS: "There are power transmission links between West Bengal and Bangladesh. But there is no transmission line between the northeastern region and other parts of India via Bangladesh."

Another government-owned public sector company official also proposed laying of pipelines via Bangladesh to carry natural gas from the northeastern region to other parts of India.

Natural gas is found in abundance in the northeastern states, especially in Assam and Tripura.

Oil India Limited (OIL) director (human resource and business development) Nipen Kumar Bharali said: "OIL and ONGC (Oil and Natural Gas Corporation) can undertake a joint venture pipeline project to transfer the gas from the northeastern region to other parts of India where demand is high."

"OIL and ONGC Videsh have already been working jointly in two blocks in Bangladesh," Bharali told reporters here Monday.

India has already announced it would supply 100 MW of power to Bangladesh from power plants in Tripura.

Indian Deputy High Commissioner in Dhaka Sandeep Chakravorty said: "Several steps have been taken regarding the Indian government's commitment to supply 100 MW of power to Bangladesh from southern Tripura's Palatana power plant."

Chakravorty, who was here on a four-day tour to Tripura last week, said: "The Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (PGCIL) would erect a transmission line from western Tripura's Surjyamaninagar power grid to Comilla (in eastern Bangladesh) power grid to supply the power."

He said that supplying power from Tripura to Bangladesh will be similar to the system between West Bengal's Baharampur and Bheramara in Bangladesh.

India had commenced supply of 250 MW of power to Bangladesh last year after the government-run Bangladesh Power Development Board and India's NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam Ltd (NVVN), a subsidiary of India's National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), signed a deal Feb 28, 2012 to supply 250 MW of electricity following an agreement signed during Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's visit to New Delhi in January 2010.

To provide power to Bangladesh, a 400 kV switching station has been set up at Baharampur in West Bengal. The cross-border inter-connection has been established between Baharampur (India) and Bheramara (Bangladesh).

A series of meetings have been held since last year in New Delhi, Dhaka and Agartala to finalise the strategy to supply power to Bangladesh from Tripura's Palatana power project.

State-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has commissioned its biggest ever 726 MW capacity commercial power project at Palatana in southern Tripura, 60 km south of Agartala.

The power generation from the first unit (363 MW) of the Rs.9,000-crore Palatana power plant began December 2013 and the second unit (363 MW) is expected to start generation by next month.

The Palatana project is a hallmark of cooperation between India and Bangladesh, which ensured the smooth passage of heavy project machineries and turbines to Palatana through its territory by road and waterways from Haldia port in West Bengal.

The state-owned North East Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO) is setting up a 104 MW power project at Monarchak in western Tripura, 70 km south of Agartala, and just eight km from the India-Bangladesh border. The project is likely to start generation of electricity within the next three-four months.

Within the next three-four months, Tripura would be the second power-surplus state in India after Sikkim, once full generation starts from the Palatana and Monarchak power plants -- both gas-based projects.
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A mini Northeast in heart of Gurgaon

A deep cultural divide is evident in Sikanderpur village of Gurgaon where two call centre workers from Nagaland were brutally beaten up on Thursday.
Sikanderpur is a colony of Northeasterners surrounded by Haryanvi locals and the corporate crowd of Gurgaon. Most people from the Northeast are employed as
beauticians, call centre employees and in the retail and hospitality sectors, sharing the same cluttered spaces as other locals.
A tour of the colony that lies along the plush mall mile of Gurgaon revealed the deep divide in the colony where cultural clashes are common. The locals seem unwilling to accept the cultural ways of the Northeasterners who have become used to the abuses and racist remarks.
These rented accommodations also house the uneducated workforce such as drivers, domestic helps and security guards. Forced together in same small spaces by the high rentals of Gurgaon, a cultural tension become inevitable.
“We don’t like the way they parade around in the neighbourhood, almost instigating the boys to pick a fight. My family moved here years ago but we still don’t communicate with several tenants from the Northeast who also live here,” said a vegetable seller from Meerut, who lives in Sikanderpur. 
The Northeasterners have another version. “There has been a cordial relationship between the landlords and tenants from the Northeast. But those who have never rent out their houses to people from the Northeast keep instigating others to oust us from the locality,” said T Hangshing from Nagaland who has been living in Sikanderpur for over a decade.
He said most local youth make prejudiced comments on how people dress or their communication in English since they are not fluent in Hindi. Majority of the population in Sikanderpur is from the Northeast. The three-storey houses in the area are mostly one-room flats with an attached bathroom and kitchen, each inhabited by at least four residents. Most landlords live in other parts of the city or even outside Gurgaon.
Locals allege people from the Northeast are sometimes involved in criminal activities and create a nuisance in the area.
“They are continue to carry on with their unruly activities, despite complaints. They are stubborn and do not change their ways, even if it disturbs neighbours,” said a local landlord and shop owner. He said residents are often disturbed by loud music or endless chatter by people who return late at night from their BPO jobs.
READ MORE - A mini Northeast in heart of Gurgaon

Dhaula Kuan gangrape victim still in trauma

NEW DELHI, Oct 17 – On the day that a Delhi court convicted all the five persons accused in the case, the 34-year-old victim of the Dhaula Kuan gangrape is still haunted by her horrifying ordeal of four years back.

The woman quit her BPO job and in 2011 went back to her home in Mizoram’s Aizawl, never to return to Delhi.

She is trying to pick up the pieces by starting a small business in her native village, said Kuki, one of her close friends.

“I informed her about the verdict and she said she was happy to know about it and is looking forward to the quantum of punishment they (the convicted persons) will be awarded,” Kuki said, adding that her friend had told her that she wants them to “get the severest punishment they deserve”.

“I wish they never get to touch a woman in their lives again”, Kuki quoted her friend as having said.

Kuki said that her friend, who has a daughter, is very much involved in church and community work.

The verdict also signals a triumph for Investigating Officer Rajkumari who had pursued the probe into the case.

“I am happy that the perpetrators have finally been brought to book. After the verdict was announced, I got a message from her saying ‘thanks’. I called her up and she was crying. She said she was happy with the verdict but added that she doesn’t want to speak to anybody,” said Rajkumari.

A Delhi court yesterday held all the five accused guilty in the 2010 Dhaula Kuan gangrape case, saying that the DNA report clearly demonstrates that the girl was raped by them.

The woman, who was a 30-year-old BPO executive then, was abducted while walking home at night with her friend after her shift had ended. After gangraping her, the five had abandoned her on the road in Dhaula Kuan of south Delhi.
READ MORE - Dhaula Kuan gangrape victim still in trauma

The Buddhist world must rally around Burma (Myanmar)

Shenali Waduge

 The roots of the world’s troubles lead to Britain
Colonial apologists are unlikely to agree but in looking deeper to understand the dynamics that continue to rip continents, regions and nations apart, it is the policies adopted by the British in all of the nations they conquered and ruled that are to be blamed. Myanmar is no exception. Its land was demarcated to the advantage of the British, it flooded Burma with foreign labor giving rise to the question of citizenship and controversy surrounds deaths of Burma’s leader Gen. Aung Sun (father of Aun Sui ki) as in the case of Congo’s martyr Patrice Lumumba and UN chief Dag Hammerskjold and probably many more foreign leaders. Now using media at its disposal and organizations that work to uphold the interest of the West, the entire agenda revolves round in blaming nations for the troubles the British created and the demands to re-enter these countries to create the second-phase of troubles. In all cases since Britain has escaped accountability for its crimes against humanity an International Truth Commission must be established to bring to light these sordid truths.
Scenario faced by Third World
The ancient bastions are falling, countries are being broken up or separated, people are coerced into treating friends as foes and arms are generously supplied to ensure a handful profit, cultures and ancient religions are being dehumanized all in pursuit of the re-entry of those that inflicted barbaric rule under colonial presence. The neo-colonials are returning to haunt the nations they plundered – Burma is the next stop and Buddhists of the world cannot remain silent to Burma’s plight. The Buddhist world must rally round Burma unequivocally.
Burma’s history goes back to the 2nd century B.C. with the earliest inhabitants – the Pyu who were all followers of Buddhism. The Burmese resisted efforts by British, Dutch and Portuguese traders to establish posts along the Bay of Bengal since 1612 resulting in 3 Anglo-Burmese wars first of which was in 1824.
Burma was annexed to India in 1886 creating a separate colony in 1937 with the Burma Act. In separating India from Burma the British did as they have done in all of its other territories – creating administrative boundaries that would “create” future troubles.
Burma’s case was no different.
Thus the Chin, Kachins and Naga tribes were divided between the two nations of India and Burma (Chin Hills Regulation). This was made clear when in 1941, Sir Robert Reid declared “they (the Chin, Kachin and Naga) are not Indian in any sense of the word, neither in origin nor in outlook, and it is a historical accident that they have been taken into an Indian province”. Nevertheless, dividing of these people has created political tensions between Indian and Burmese Governments. Even at Independence the British did not define India’s and Burma’s boundary and the 872mile boundary was only marked on 10 March 1967.
Then there is the 220km dividing Burma and Bangladesh. The Chittagong Hill Tracts (hereafter CHT), an area of 13,295 square kilometers, is the south eastern part of Bangladesh, bordering the Arakan and Chin States of Burma, and Tripura and Mizoram States of India – originally this was no so. The British annexed the CHT area in 1860 and created an autonomous administrative district known as “The Chittagong Hill Tracts” within the undivided British Bengal. British enacted the Regulation 1 of the 1900 Act in order to protect the Jumma people from economic exploitation of non indigenous people. The majority of Jummas in the CHT are Buddhists. When the independent state of Bangladesh was created in 1971 the Mukti Bahini (Bangladesh liberation) force began to attack the Jummas. In the late 1970s President Zia sponsored migration of Muslim Bangladeshi settlers into the CHT. This programme was not made public but sponsored migration is now acknowledged resulting in Bangladeshi Muslims making up 1/3 of the CHT population. 
Al-Rabita, a Saudi government funded NGO, is the main Islamic missionary organisation rooted in Wahhbism which is active in the region, backed by the military, it is entrusted with the Islamisation of the region. In 1986, within a period of eight months 54 Buddhist temples have been destroyed and 22 Hindu temples were burnt down by the Bangladesh military. Since 1980s through 1990s there have been 13 major massacres all targeting Jummas. That is because the Chittagong Hill Tracts were once under Burma’s topography until Britain decided to change that to its advantage under calculated annexations. Fears have foundations.
Similar historical “accidents” created by the British are many.   
It was the British that brought Muslims as labor from India (Bangladesh) to Burma and it was on this ground that the Burmese deny citizenship to Rohingyas who cannot show ancestry before 1823 as there were no reference to Rohingyas in the census. The Rohingyas are linguistically related to the Indo-Aryan peoples of India and Bangladesh (as opposed to the mainly Sino-Tibetan languages of Burma).
Moreover, the term Rohingyas cannot be found in any historical source in any language before the 1950s. The 500,000 Muslims in Burma in 1921 more than half were Indian Muslims. The Indian incursions to Burma were all encouraged by Britain with the purpose intent of creating discord. Riots did result in 1930 because British firms were employing Indians in Burma. Then in 1938 still under British rule was the anti-Muslim riots because of the favoritism which led to a campaign called Burma for Burmese Only. Now the argument is – if the British brought these Rohingyas into Burma to create dissent it is Britain that must provide citizenship to all these Rohingyas in Britain for making their life hell as well as for Burma too. It is time Britain owned up to all its dirty tricks through centuries of manipulations. Why do the mainstream media and international human rights organizations refrain from making these realities known?
A hallmark of British rule throughout its colonies was selective economic prosperity that has inculcated a breed of colonial servants ever ready to function as sepoys (servants of a foreign occupier working against indigenous people). There are many citizens of post-independent colonies particularly in the Indian sub – continent who mentally prefer to live under white rule still and explains why they are directly and indirectly involved in destabilizing operations promoted and funded by the West, and publicly advocate re- colonization efforts by the latter.
It comes as no surprise that both Western nations and USA based Christian evangelical  organizations continue to supply funds and arms to various ethnic groups e.g. Karen tribes and Middle Eastern oil rich nations e.g. Saudi Arabia, support Rohingya Muslims in Arakan State in a variety of ways making these nations virtually ungovernable. Just like how CIA funds the American Society for a Free Asia that gives arms, military training, financial assistance and even air support to Tibet dissidents and training in the US. Can we blame China’s caution when declassified US documents reveal that millions of US public funds have been given to Dalai Lama personally through the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). Similarly, Burma’s opposition is supported through the US embassy in Yangon and assistance given through the Centre for Applied Non-Violence Action and Strategies that prides itself in overthrowing popular independent governments of non – aligned states.
Burma can pride itself as the only nation that refused to be subservient and servile to its colonial master when it refused to become a member of the British Commonwealth in 1947 as well as refuse economic handouts by World Bank – the response to this was to use the international media to subject Burma to a dirty game of denigration, shaming and demonizing the country’s leaders and depicting nothing but brutality and the marketing of the slogan “democracy” – we saw the democracy that the West gave Iraq, Libya, Kosovo and Egypt! The angst against Aung San Suu Kyi is her proximity and close relations with the British and other former colonial countries, including USA, and her image as an embodiment of unashamed subservience to foreign corporate commands when Burma has been battling to be the master of its own country. When President Obama made his first overseas trip to Burma and called Aung San Suu Kyi his “personal hero” there is little left for others to imagine where Burma will head and in which direction, and it is unlikely to be any different to India under Sonia Gandhi, the uncrowned (Italian born) empress of India.
It is amidst these controversies that speculation has been raised by the BBC investigation itself as to the complicity of Britain in the murder of Gen. Aung San, father of Aung San Suu Kyi in view of the close links between the convicted assassins, the chief Conspirator U Saw (leading Burmese politician and protégé of British colonial authorities), and British officials who engineered a raid on the Burmese Army Ordnance Depot in Rangoon, and then handed over the weapons stolen i.e. Sten Guns and ammunition, to the would be assassins. This has been established by research conducted by BBC on declassified information released by the British Government.  How many other conspiracy theories are there involving the West in the deaths of Third World leaders – this means the killers are still at large or have died without being held to account for their crimes and an International Tribunal on Truth and Justice must be established to unearth the evidence and reveal the truth.
It is distressing to note of the role of the international news media i.e. Western news agencies and press, and their unabashed agents in the local media scene, being engaged in deliberate distortion, fabrication and slanting  of news stories and incidents taking place in third world countries with a view to advancing the interests of Western imperial agendas. This gives a totally wrong picture to the readers and creates further tensions amongst communities.
Not many people are actually aware that Rohingyas are originally from Bangladesh and it is the Bangladeshi Government that must take responsibility of them. However, the manner in which the British purposely carried Muslim labor into Burma to change the demographics of the country requires that Britain take sole responsibility. If Rohingyas are unhappy in Burma in view of the Burmese not wishing to accept them as indigenous people, then it is up to the British Government to admit their wrongs, apologise to the Burmese Govt. and people, and then offer Rohingiyas scope for immigration to the UK.
Far above all these remedies what is long overdue is the need for an International Truth Commission that would bring to light all of the dirty tricks and calculated manipulations committed in British colonies by the British East India Company and later by the British Colonial authorities and to finally award redress and compensation including an apology for the atrocities that resulted and continue to take place as a result.
In the current context, Sri Lanka as a fellow Theravada Buddhist nation needs to stand by Burma together hand in hand in its hour of need and must give leadership to rally all other Buddhist nations and Buddhist communities to offer their support for a nation that is soon targeted for either regime change or balkanization in view of Burma’s border links to China. The collapse of Buddhist Burma may trigger a domino effect in what is left of the remaining Buddhist nations in Asia.
In times of trouble not long ago, Sri Lanka was in need of friends and we knew the difficulties that friends had to come to our aid – we should not cower any longer.
READ MORE - The Buddhist world must rally around Burma (Myanmar)

Dhaka opposes 2 hydropower projects in India

Bangladesh has opposed to the implementation of two hydro-based power projects along the border by north-eastern Indian state of Meghalaya until the two countries sign a water-sharing agreement.
Meghalaya is in the process of constructing dams on two rivers — the Mawphu dam across river Umiew and Myntdu dam across river Myntdu — in East Khasi Hills and West Jaintia Hills districts.
Meghalaya Power Minister Clement Marak told the state legislature in its capital Shillong that a Bangladesh Joint Rivers Commission (JRC) member in his letter to the Union Ministry of Water Resources had said the two dams might cause adverse impacts in various sectors in Bangladesh due to change of water flow.
The Bangladeshi JRC member had requested not to proceed with the construction of the two dams until impact assessment on various sectors had been jointly conducted and water sharing agreements of the two common rivers had been signed by the two countries, the minister said.
Marak was replying to a call attention motion moved by opposition United Democratic Party leader Paul Lyngdoh.
While there was no further communication from the Indian Water Resources Ministry since January 7 with regards to offering a stake to Bangladesh in the two projects, Marak assured that there would be no diversion of river water as such.
He said state-owned Meghalaya Electricity Corporation Ltd, which was generating power from the Myntdu hydel power projects, had informed the Indian Ministry of Water Resources that the projects would not have any water impoundment.
“The North Eastern Electric Power Corporation Ltd has indicated the same in their pre-feasibility report of Mawphu hydel project. The project shall utilise, mostly, the available discharge in the river drawn through a 4.07 km-long tunnel to the power house generating 362.53 million units, meeting the same river downstream through a 45 meter-long channel,” he said.
Paul Lyngdoh said the opposition of Bangladesh in the power projects ran the risk of depriving power-starved Meghalaya of its potential in the hydro-power sector, besides losing a lot of time in resolving the issue.
He urged the state government to respond to the issue immediately so that Meghalaya could benefit from the two projects.
READ MORE - Dhaka opposes 2 hydropower projects in India

NESO opposes Hindi as compulsory subject in DU

IMPHAL, April 10 – The North East Students’ Organisation (NESO) will launch an agitation if the authority fails to revoke the decision to make Hindi as a compulsory subject in the undergraduate courses under the Delhi University.

Disclosing this during a press conference here today, NESO Secretary General Sinam Prakash said that the student organisation has sent a representation to Union Minister of Human Resources Development Dr M Pallam Raju on April 8 in this regard.

The decision of the Delhi University to make Hindi as a compulsory subject in MIL thus deviating from its earlier practice to offer the major Indian languages including Alternative English, is nothing but discrimination of the students of the NE States, he charged.

“NESO will not accept the recent decision of the Delhi University as it deprives the indigenous students from the Northeastern region to study in the University,” he added.
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‘Powerhouse’ Arunachal in grip of power crisis

ITANAGAR, April 2 – Arunachal Pradesh, often described as the future powerhouse of the country with an estimated 58,000 MW hydro power generation potential, has been facing an acute power crisis for the past two and a half months.

With the sources of rivers rapidly drying up directly impacting generation in the entire North East, Arunachal Pradesh is also suffering from a supply shortfall.

The situation has been compounded by a large number of fires being reported in the State this year, forcing consumers, particularly students, to reach for conventional energy sources like kerosene and candles.

The hilly State receives between 84 MW to 34 MW during peak and non-peak hours respectively against a peak hour demand of 130 MW.

The supply schedule goes haywire with a fluctuating supply from the NE Grid. It varies from 44 MW to 84 MW during peak hours and between 34 MW and 44 MW during non-peak hours, that too including the State’s share of 22 MW to 24 MW, according to State Load Dispatch Centre (SLDC) executive engineer T Mize.

Though a few mini and micro hydro power projects are generating power to meet the local needs, statistics are not available to SLDC contrary to the grid distribution mandate, Mize said.

The demand for power has been on an upswing with a number of massive development projects being executed in the State. Small and medium industries are also being set up in large numbers.

Criss-crossed by numerous perennial rivers, the State houses the largest hydro project in the North East – 405 MW Ranganadi hydro electric project (105 MW x 3 units) of the North East Electrical Power Corporation at Papum Pare district.

“Two units are functioning mostly as per the schedule given by the NELDC according to power requirements of the State and availability of water,” head of Rangnadi project Samarjit Chakravarty said, adding “as of now, we are producing 230 MW.”

Mostly two units are run during winter as well as the water level goes down, he says.

With the global warming causing an environmental crisis across the world, particularly due to shrinking forest cover triggered by spread of human habitations and development projects which in turn disturbs the ecosystem, its impact on water flow of the rivers is obvious, according to environment experts.

The construction of one of the largest hydro projects in India – the 2000 MW Lower Subansiri hydro electric project at Gerukamukh – has met with anti-dam protests in neighbouring Assam led by Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti, though 75 per cent work is complete.

India had an installed capacity of 211.766 giga watt as of January this year, the world’s fifth largest.
READ MORE - ‘Powerhouse’ Arunachal in grip of power crisis