Category Archives: North East

India’s newest IRIS Species found in Manipur

Manipur IRIS

The popular flower of Manipur, fondly known as Kombirei by the locals of Manipur has been accorded with the ‘new species’ status-Iris Laevigata Fisch. Until now it had been mistakenly named as Iris Bakeri wall. Presently, it is declining from its native habitat.Manipur IRIS Species

The recent course of its name recognition and attention stemmed from its pictures being sent to the Royal Botanic Gardens in London where it was categorized as the critically endangered species.

Species like Iris Wattii, Iris Singuinea and Iris Kumaon also inhabit the state of Manipur. However, kombirei germinates from the wetlands of Lamphelpat and Yaralpat outskirting the town of Imphal.

This mauve-blue flower has a flowering period of about 15 days in April every year and annually, it also forms an integral part of the rich tradition of Manipur’s New Year celebration as well.

PM Narendra Modi Inaugurates India’s Longest Bridge in Assam

PM Narendra Modi

Commemorating the late Assamese music maestro Mr. Bhupen Hazarika while completing 3 years as the Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi instituted India’s longest bridge connecting Dhola in Arunachal Pradesh from Sadiya in Assam. This infrastructural splendor is a jewel shining bright, remarking the pride of Seven Sister states.

The bridge would ensure quicker road connectivity and accessibility, mitigating the travel time by 4 long hours. Its three lane construction spans through a length of 9.15km over and above the grandeur of Brahamaputra’s tributary river-Lohit. This is a great step assuring productivity in fuel usage, cost efficiency and the possible hydropower projects paving way to economic remunerative gains.

Dr. Bhupen Hazarika
Dr. Bhupen Hazarika, Assam, India

This architectural marvel’s strategic importance was a well – planned and prudent endeavor which commenced in 2011 with the vision to aid the military with facilitate passage to the border areas of China, more smoothly and seamlessly. The structure’s strength to endure heavy military tanks and machinery would serve as a huge asset in the coming times.

Mr. Modi’s interest in uplifting and ameliorating the economic and India’s P.M. Mr. Narendra Modi Dr. Bhupen Hazarika, Assam, India social status of the ‘Seven Rainbow States’ and its citizens can be gauged through his determination to lead this project to its culmination. His efforts involved in integrating the north eastern states to mainstream India deserve appreciation.

Since years, the north eastern states have suffered alienation and non-inclusive treatment from the locals and the officials alike; inviting notions of disunity and disengagement .However, with the inauguration of India’s longest bridge; 30% longer than Mumbai’s Bandra -Worli sea link, Mr. Modi has embarked upon the path of unity in diversity, more aggressively than ever , with the trumpeting of economic and infrastructural resuscitation of the north eastern states which would act as the microcosm to India’s mighty potential to enhance its economic development and GDP growth.

NGT in conflict with Meghalaya Govt. Over Coal Mining

NGT Conflict

Rampant commercial mining with least adherence to healthy environmental impact has led National Green Tribunal (NGT) to probe into the matter and take strict actions, leading to time bound ban on coal mining activities in the state of Meghalaya.

This intervention by NGT is a result of reckless and unchecked transportation of coal extracts taking place on a massive scale, surpassing the limits imposed by the authorities. In its quest to ensure clean and sustainable environment to the citizens of the country, specifically the wellbeing of the laborers and the inhabitants residing around the coal activities laden areas, NGT has promulgated orders to the state to frame a mining policy that substantially caters to the protection of the environment.

However, the government of Meghalaya has challenged the ban on the grounds of Constitutional guidelines wherein the 6th schedule gives Meghalaya the choice to seek exemption from central laws due to its tribal status.

If the ban persists, the commercial gains accruing from these unlawful activities would surely get thwarted and arrested. The web of coal mine owners, politicians and the agents benefitting from the rush of money from these coal mines could disarray their settlement and change their dynamics during the time of election.

Meghalaya’s river Kopili has been severely damaged and has exhausted its biological productive strength owing to coal mining. Acidification of its water has hampered its marine life and rendered it unsuitable for human consumption.

Thus, it is imperative to comprehend the urgency that surrounds the issue and be addressed holistically and expediently. Scientific measures and significance of green life needs to be given precedence over illegal, unethical ways of mining and mindless deforestation.

National Green Tribunal operates through this empowering paradigm of clean and green ways, advocating development in a manner more scientific, sustainable and healthy.

North East India’s largest IT Hub opens in Tripura

CM Manik Sarkar
Tripura’s Chief Minister Mr. Manik Sarkar

Extolling Tripura’s industriousness in Information and Technology sector and it’s excellence in the endeavor of e-governance, Central government awarded the state with accolades and rewards.

With the potential to generate and boost employment opportunities for its IT schooled individuals, Northeast’s largest IT hub was inaugurated in Tripura by its Chief Minister Mr. Manik Sarkar, along with IT and Education Minister Mr. Tapan Chakraborty and Mr. Omkar Rai, Director General of Software Technology Parks of India (STPI).

The decision was rolled out with the enthusiastic vision to encourage prominent IT companies of India to commence their business; making utmost use of the beneficial services and holistic facilities that sprouted with the establishment of North East India’s sixth and largest IT hub, costing 50 crores.

Motivating and inspiring the new age spirit of entrepreneurship; beckoning start-up companies to the new haven of IT hub can be rendered as a positive and promising initiative, underscoring Government of India’s ideology of ‘Start-up’ culture and ‘Digital India’.

The effectual impact resulting in the export of software technology and furnishing e-governance accessibility to the door step of people is also an important aspect being looked forward to and awaits the test of time.

Tripura booming with English skilled IT educated youth and now supplemented with the upcoming IT hub in the North-East, would surely reap benefits from its close proximity with Bangladesh. Capitalizing on its qualified personnel and infrastructural development, Tripura could prove to be an asset for Bangladesh’s nascent IT industry, thereby driving economic enhancement for itself by doubling Bangladesh’s IT exports by 2017.

Tripura Revises IIPIS to attract investment and employment

Tripura Revises IIPIS

Tripura is transforming itself into an immensely valuable business and trade destination. Brimming with natural landscape and manmade marvels of infrastructures, its economy is exploding with the excitement of new possibilities and fruitful collaborations.

However, it is a matter of utmost importance to harness the transition from a remote, neglected region to becoming North East’s most productive and nationally rewarding state. Employment based subsidies, revamping investment topography, enriching IT and software segments and providing incentives for Agri-businesses are some of the prominent facets driving the state’s economic engine of growth.

With the recent revision in Industrial Investment Promotion and Incentive scheme (IIPIS) 2012, Tripura has accoutered infrastructural and logistic support, along with capital subsidy being raised from 30 to 35% of the fixed capital investment.

With dismissal of bottlenecks and ease in connectivity between India and Bangladesh, the investment windows have been generously flung open to welcome South Asian markets. Hassle-free operations have given Bangladesh the confidence to provide accessibility to its seaport at Chittagong and river port at Ashuganj.

Known for pragmatism and circumspect vision, Chief Minister Mr. Manik Sarkar has fueled the state of Tripura with investment beckoning opportunities, specifically for establishing small and medium scale units. The rich reservoir of natural resources like bamboo, rubber, tea and natural gas make the investment pool even more expansive and wide-ranging.

Brahmaputra River Islands: Emerging Corridors for Tigers

Brahmaputra River Islands

The Brahmaputra valley acts as a vital link for wildlife populations by facilitating the movement of various large mammals between numerous Protected Areas in central Assam. Key tiger habitats in the flood plains of the Brahmaputra include Orang NP, Laokhowa and Burachapori Wildlife Sanctuaries and Kaziranga NP. Nameri National Park and Pakke Tiger Reserve are located at the Northern end of the Brahmaputra basin, along the border of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. Kaziranga and Orang National Parks support the largest extant tiger populations in north-east India and Kaziranga NP has been recognized to serve as a ‘source site’ for the entire region. The Brahmaputra ecosystem is not only a stronghold of tigers, but is also home to a plethora of other wildlife species, several of which only occur lowlands abutting the Himalayan ranges.

Photographic evidence from camera traps has revealed that tigers may traverse long distances in the Brahmaputra Basin, using river networks and even moving through human dominated areas. For example, in 2013, a tiger was documented to have moved from Kaziranga National Park to Nameri National Park. The tiger is believed to have covered an approximate distance of 90 kilometers -swimming across the Brahmaputra River, using river islands, moving through a vast expanse of agricultural land, and even fording the busy National Highway 52. The persistence of tigers in this landscape requires that viable meta-populations exist; animals can successfully move between various PAs and habitat patches via the Brahmaputra River Islands and through the agricultural matrix.

Connectivity between various forest fragments that support tigers has drastically reduced in recent decades on account of increasing human pressure and growing habitations along the river bank and on the islands. In addition, flood-dynamics of the Brahmaputra River result in annual creation of new river islands, even as some existing islands are washed away. Habitat integrity and connectivity has also been compromised by increasing human pressure on the Laokhowa and Burachapori wildlife sanctuaries in recent decades. Recognizing these challenges, WWF India’s conservation program in the North Bank and Kaziranga Karbi Anglong Landscapes has emphasized the maintenance of habitat connectivity between forest patches in the Brahmaputra river valley.

Brahmaputra River Island Survey
To investigate the use of Brahmaputra islands by tigers and other wildlife, and document the extent and intensity of human use in these areas, WWF India and the State Forest Department collaboratively initiated a series of island surveys in 2010. These surveys were designed to assess functionality of the riverine islands as corridors for dispersing the wildlife (primarily, carnivores and prey species) from Kaziranga NP to proximate habitat patches.River Bank

Surveys encompassed the islands on the Brahmaputra River between the eastern end of Kaziranga NP and western end of Orang NP. Thus far, WWF India has carried out the survey in four phases (2010-11, 2012-13, 2015-16 and 2016-17). The first phase covered the islands between Laokhowa and Burachapori WLS and Kaziranga NP. In the second phase, the islands between Orang NP and Laokhowa and Burachapori WLS were covered. During the third phase in 2015-16, the survey covered portions of three major tributaries of the Brahmaputra i.e. JiaBhoroli, Borgang and Buroi which serve as connecting links between Kaziranga NP – Nameri NP, and Kaziranga NP – Behali Reserve Forest. Concurrently, we also carried out a socio economic assessment of human settlements on the river islands to map and understand anthropogenic pressures and threats. The most recent survey was conducted between November 2016 and January 2017 from eastern point of Kaziranga NP to Kolia Bhomora bridge. During this phase, camera trap sampling was carried out for a 20 day period along with sign surveys. 14 pairs of camera traps were used in 14 different islands to record photographic evidence of animal use.

Sign surveys were an important part of the river island surveys. Such sign surveys involved sampling islands on foot transects to detect indirect evidence for the presence of wildlife (eg. tracks, spoor, scrapes, scent markings). Visual detections of mammals were also recorded. Survey effort (transect length) varied between 0.5 and 2km, depending on the size of the islands, and other field conditions including accessibility.

Results and Outcomes
During the Brahmaputra River Island Survey, evidence of tiger presence was detected in 18 of the river islands, including direct sighting of a tiger in Hatibalu Chapori of Bishwanath Range of Kaziranga NP. During the second phase of the survey, presence of tiger cubs was also recorded in Kartika Chapori. Evidence of breeding tigresses on the islands may be indicative of the fact that some islands may in fact lie within the territorial boundaries of some tigers.

In addition to tigers, the presence of other carnivores was also detected on most of the islands. In the 2016 camera trap survey, tigers, rhinos, fishing cat, jackal, sambar, hog deer and water buffalo were photocaptured, while water buffalo, swamp deer, elephant, sambar, wild boar, and hog deer were sighted on transect surveys.

Of the 45 river islands surveyed, more than 50 % had human habitations. People belonging to five different communities are found to have occupied these islands, mostly on a seasonal basis, with livestock rearing and agriculture being their mainstay. Incidents of human wildlife conflict are very common in the islands, mainly by way of crop depredation by large herbivores (elephants, deer and wild boar) and livestock depredation by tigers and leopards. However, there has been no systematic documentation of conflict by Government agencies.

The Way forward
The Brahmaputra River Island surveys revealed the presence of several endangered mammals on islands. These islands serve as stepping stones and may provide connectivity between some of Assam’s most important PAs.

The ephemeral nature of river islands and their relative inaccessibility has resulted in being neglected from both administrative and wildlife management perspectives. Thus, jurisdiction and law enforcement needs to be strengthened to ensure protection of these ever important wildlife habitats that also serve as vital corridors. Information generated through these series of surveys has been used to influence and inform decision making for proper protection and management of this unique ecosystem, and there is increased patrolling by forest guards on a number of islands adjacent to Kaziranga National Park. In the coming years, WWF India in collaboration with various Government Departments intends to take up initiatives to ensure the protection and management of the much crucial islands of the Brahmaputra River. Efforts will also be undertaken to reduce anthropogenic pressure in these islands by taking steps to reduce impacts of local communities on wildlife habitats, and also garner their support for the conservation.

– Courtesy: WWF India

MANIPUR GETS COUNTRY’S LONGEST SAFETY RAIL TUNNEL

MANIPUR GETS COUNTRY'S LONGEST SAFETY RAIL TUNNEL

India’s Union Railway Minister Mr. Suresh Prabhu laid the foundation of the longest safety rail tunnel in the country on the Jiribam-Tupul- Imphal rail project in Manipur on November 10, 2016.The 111-kmlong Jiribam-Tupul-Imphal new broad gauge railway project was taken up in 2008 and was declared a national project. Until now the longest safety tunnel in India is the
PirPanjal tunnel on the Banihal- Qazigund line which is 11.2 km
long.The safety tunnel of Tunnel Number 12 will be 11.55 km long
which will surpass the PirPanjal Tunnel. On this occasion Mr. Prabhu
also laid the foundation of a station building at Tupul and announced
commencement of work on the second portal of Tunnel Number 12.
The event was held on the parade ground of 1 Manipur Rifles located in Imphal city.

While speaking on the occasion, Mr. Prabhu stressed upon the
commitment of Central Government to provide rail connectivity to the North East. He further stated that North East India has great potential for tourism and the Government of India is making various provisions to improve the infrastructure in the region. Increase in tourism will provide various job opportunities to the people living in the region. The Governor of Manipur, Ms. Najma Heptulla was also present on the occasion and said that the Jiribam – Tupul – Imphal railway project is extremely important as it will provide an alternative means of transport in Manipur state which has a very difficult terrain. She believes that the ease of connectivity provided by the completion of this project will naturally result in the
improvement in the economic state as well. A 12.5-km section from
Jiribam to Dholakhal has already been completed and commissioned
for freight trains in March 2016.

RAILWAY MINISTER MR. SURESH PRABHU STATES RAIL NETWORK WILL MAKE NORTHEAST INDIA A ‘DESTINATION’

RAILWAY MINISTER MR. SURESH PRABHU STATES RAIL NETWORK WILL MAKE NORTHEAST INDIA A DESTINATION

While speaking in Mizoram on November 11, 2016 India’s Railway
Minister Mr. Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu stated that the proper
development of railway network in the region will make North East
India a major “destination” instead of being just a transit point as it is
at the moment. This was said during an event held to celebrate the
laying of the foundation stone of the railway station building at Sairang which is located 20 km north of Mizoram’s Capital Aizawl. He said that North East is a resource rich region and railways will play a great part in the proper utilization of these resources that will lead to a lot of development. Mr. Prabhu further stated that railways will not only aid in economic development but it will also act as a catalyst to bring a lot of positive societal change.

A well connected railway network will bring the North Eastern region closer to the rest of India. This will eradicate all the problems related to both tapping of the resources in the region as well as supply of the needed goods. Bamboo is an abundant resource in Mizoram and Mr. Prabhu said that Indian Railways is planning to use more bamboo products made in the state and the North East region as a whole in the Indian railway system in order to give a boost to the potential industry. He also said that all the future railway stations in the country would from now on be constructed by including the local ethos in the design. Mizoram’s Minister of State for Railways Mr. Rajen Gohain was also present at the event and he said
that the new broad gauge line from Bairabi to Sairang was a part of the Indian Railway’s vision to connect all the capitals of North Eastern states through broad gauge line by 2020.

MOTOR SPORT EVENT HELD IN TURA, MEGHALAYA TO PROMOTE ADVENTURE TOURISM

MOTOR SPORT EVENT HElD IN TURA, MEGHAlAYA TO PROMOTE ADVENTURE TOURISM

A motor sport event was organized in Meghalaya in November in an attempt to give a boost to adventure tourism in Meghalaya. The event was held in a town named Tura and it was successful in
attracting a lot of adventure sports lovers. This was an initiative of an organization named Tura Motor Sports with the twin objectives of promoting motor sports and tourism as well as highlighting the beauty of the region. The event also hoped to boost up and encourage the local motor drivers. Tura Motor Sports has earlier organized a similar event named ‘Bilgaro Challenge 2016’ and this motor sport event was its second edition. Organized under the initiative of Tura Motor Sports, the second edition of ‘Bilgaro Challenge 2016’, a motor sport event was held to promote motor sport and tourism, besides highlighting the beauty of the region. Many national drivers including the former national champion Mr. Amanpreet Ahluwalia also participated in this two-day event.Mr. Ahluwalia said that he missed the last year’s event but is very happy to participate this time. He praised the organizers for doing a great job and said that he is looking forward to participate next year as well.

MYANMAR - INDIA CONNECT - NORTH EAST-TOURISM_02

The event included two exciting on track events hill climb and sprint in SUV, above and below 1300 cc diesel for both local and outsider drivers. The competition was really tough in the motor racing category but in the end former national champion Mr. Ahluwalia proved his mettle by baggingthe first position with total 50 points. Sandeep Sharma from Delhi bagged the second position with 40 points and Ewelson Lyngdoh from Shillong got the third position
with a total 28 points in SUV class.

The first prize in the diesel category was won by Rocky Sangma from Tura with 43 points won the first prize. Sajad Ahmed from Guwahati won the second prize with 40 points and the third position was won by was won by Thasin Ahmed, also from Guwahati, with 30 points.Sandeep Sharma with 50 points secured the first position
in above 1300cc category, second position by Thinku Marak with 30
points and the third position by Grahambell Sangma with 30 points.
In below 1300cc category Ewelson Lyngdohwon the first position with 43 points, Brandon Bazelely secured the second position with 43 points and Chiborlang Wallang got the third position with 30 points. All the winners were awarded a citation, cash and a trophy.