The chief ministers of Northeastern States hoisted the national flag on the occasion of 76th Independence Day on Monday.
Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who hoisted the tricolor in Guwahati, announced that his government will withdraw one lakh ‘minor cases’, including some involving social media posts, to reduce burden on lower courts.
He also declared a slew of measures to strengthen education, healthcare, agriculture and other sectors in the state.
He said there are about four lakh cases pending in the state’s lower courts.
The government has decided that one lakh minor cases registered before the midnight of August 14, 2022, will be withdrawn, he said.
“This will enable the judiciary to focus on more heinous crimes such as rape and murder,” he stated.
The chief minister also said if any innocent person is languishing in jail due to lack of access to lawyers, prompt release of such individuals will be ensured.
Asserting that Assam is an integral part of India, Sarma said that those who are still dreaming of “sovereignty” should return to the discussion table.
“Sovereignty is non-negotiable and Assam will never leave India,” he said, in an apparent message to militant groups ULFA(I) and NSCN who have called for a “boycott” of Independence Day celebrations and “total shutdown” in five northeastern states, including Assam.
The mass participation in the ‘Har Ghar Tiranga’ programme in the state since Saturday has “brought to fore the patriotic feelings that is inherent in each person’s heart”, the chief minister said.
“The love people displayed for the Tricolour over the last three days proves Assam is always with India,” Sarma said.
“Hope those who are still dreaming of sovereignty will return to the discussion table and work together for the development of the state,” he said, affirming that “people of Assam do not support terrorism”.
Elaborating on the measures taken by his government in the last one year, the chief minister said thrust will be given on sectors such as connectivity, healthcare, education and agriculture.
He also said that a universal health insurance plan will be rolled out in the state to include all those who may have been left out of existing government schemes.
He announced that 10,000 crore would be allocated for infrastructure development of high schools and higher secondary schools, and opening of 15,000 new Anganwadi centres.
Expressing solidarity with flood victims, Sarma said monetary compensation for people whose houses were damaged in this year’s flood will be disbursed by August 20.
Referring to a recent incident of a man denied last rites as per Hindu rituals over a caste issue in Mangaldai, Sarma said while the incident should be condemned, “reformation” is the key to move forward.
“Caste system is pulling our society backwards. Assam can take the lead in moving away from such a system,” he added.
Emphasising on need for “humane touch” in all spheres of life, the chief minister said the state government will sanction three days’ additional leave to its employees in January next year to enable them to spend time with their parents.
Appealing to public to not engage children in labour, he said the government will come up with amendments to an existing law for more stringent punishment for people who do so, adding that a social movement is more important to fight this problem.
The chief minister also harped on importance of water conservation and urged each citizen of the state to plant at least one sapling, naming it ‘amrit briksha’.
“I hope that we can take Assam to new heights in the next 25 years,” Sarma added.
Manipur to set up more police outposts
Manipur government celebrated the Independence Day in the state amid tight security at 1st Battalion Manipur Rifles parade ground in view of total shutdowns and general strikes imposed by the armed rebel outfits.
For the first time, a special cultural celebration was held in connection with Independence Day in Imphal’s Hapta Kangjeibung.
No untoward incident reported during the celebration.
Chief minister N Biren Singh after hoisting the tricolour, highlighted various achievements of his government.
He claimed that 1,647 cases had been registered, 2,104 persons had been arrested, and drugs amounting to around Rs 3,212 crore in international markets had been seized under the War on Drugs 1.0.
Poppy plantations of around 14,000 acres had also been destroyed.
While, 256 cases had been registered arresting 432 persons, seizure of drugs amounting to Rs 818 crore and poppy plantation of 531 acres had been destroyed under the War on Drugs 2.0, he added.
He informed that the state government was in process of setting up 34 police outposts at all districts located along the international border and also along the Imphal-Jiribam section of National Highway.
Singh further hailed the Agnipath Scheme of the Central government.
The chief minister also said that India has gained acceleration in advancement with the effective implementation of different schemes and plans formulated with a far-sighted vision.
Though Manipur has also achieved many milestones of development being a part of the vast and strong India, the state still needed to work hard to enhance the state’s economy and improve connectivity infrastructures, communication and conditions of children and women etc. he added.
Earlier, the chief minister reviewed the guard of honour and later took salute from march-past contingents commanded by CO T Lalboi Haokip of 2nd IRB. (Correspondent)
Tripura to recruit Special Executives
Tripura Chief Minister Manik Saha said the state would soon recruit Special Executives to strengthen the police force in the North-eastern state.
The government will appoint Special Executives to give more teeth to the police force apart from filling up posts in the state security forces, he said during his maiden Independence Day speech at the Assam Rifles ground here.
The chief minister also said that the government has already decided to instal 400 CCTV surveillance systems in Agartala and its outskirts.
The Special Executives will be like Special Police Officers (SPOs) who were recruited during the Left rule to assist the state police when insurgency was at its peak in the state in the late 90s, a senior officer said.
Outlining the government’s focus areas, the chief minister said various welfare schemes and development projects have been initiated to ensure the overall development of the state and its people.
“Tripura is among the frontrunner states when it comes to the successful implementation of central and state government sponsored schemes as per the Niti Aayog report”, he said.
Social pension for the poor will be enhanced to Rs. 2,000 per month from October this year, the chief minister said.
At present, 3.89 lakh selected beneficiaries receive social pension in the state.
As many as 100 government-run schools have been brought under ‘Vidyajyoti’ scheme in which Rs. 500 crore will be invested to create more facilities within next five years”, he said.
The Project ‘Mission 100’ of Vidyajyoti schools was launched to improve the quality of school education in the state by converting 100 existing high and higher secondary schools into state-of-the-art facilities. The project stands on three main pillars: augmenting infrastructure, igniting minds, and blooming children. The chief minister also said, “The Agartala-Gangasagar (Bangladesh) railway construction work has been making good progress and it is expected to be completed on the Indian side by June next year”.
Conrad for transformation of Meghalaya
Noting that seven out of ten Meghalayans are less than 35 years old, Chief Minister Conrad Sangma on Monday said that he wanted to transform Meghalaya into a vibrant, globally recognized region by 2032.
“I want to transform Meghalaya into a vibrant, globally recognized region that we all can be proud of. A Meghalaya that combines the best of our traditional ethos, contemporary values, and technology. This is what I want to achieve, together with each one of you, in the next 10 years as we move from golden jubilee to diamond jubilee of statehood in 2032,” he said in the course of his Independence Day speech after hoisting the national tri-colour at the Polo Grounds, Shillong.
“We are a young State. Seven out of ten Meghalayans are less than 35 years old. The youth have the responsibility of transforming the economy, preserving the heritage and bringing laurels to the State,” he said, adding that his government has undertaken many youth-centered initiatives over the last four and a half years.
Stating that a key priority for youth is employment, the Chief Minister said, “Entrepreneurship is the route through which our youth can become job creators. We have been handholding these entrepreneurs in making business plan, applying for loans, getting certifications, and exploring new markets.”
He said the PRIME (Promotion and Incubation of Market Driven Enterprises), a flagship program of the government, has benefitted 1,300 entrepreneurs over the last three years.
“I am optimistic that with support from the PRIME program, we will have many more such startups that will not just create employment but also make Meghalaya an ideal destination to invest in,” the Chief Minister said.
Sangma said that his government has also launched the ASPIRE program to unlock the confidence, talent and potential of tribal youth across the State through a combination of soft skills programmes and talent identification intervention.
“We have already covered 20,000 students under the ASPIRE program. 4,600 children in the age groups of 10-18 have been tested on international standards for their athletic abilities. The initial findings are very encouraging. We have identified dozens of kids whose athletic abilities are at par and even better than international benchmarks. Our goal is to expand the coverage of this program to 1 lakh kids in the next few years,” he said.
Peace talks with HNLC militant outfit started, says Meghalaya CM
Conrad Sangma also said the peace talks with the outlawed Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) militant outfit have started.
“The State Government is committed to ensure that the peace talks are concluded at the earliest. We are also thankful to the Government of India for their support,” he said in the course of his Independence Day speech after hoisting the national tri-colour at the Polo Grounds, Shillong.
The Chief Minister said that the HNLC has expressed its willingness for unconditional talks, without any pre-conditions and within the ambit of the Constitution of India.
Sangma said that the overall law and order situation in the State continues to be by and large peaceful.
On the vexed boundary dispute with Assam, the Chief Minister informed that the discussions to resolve the other six areas of differences will begin soon after a historic MoU was signed between the states of Meghalaya and Assam in presence of the Union Home Minister Amit Shah resolving the six of the 12 areas of difference i.e., Tarabari, Gizang, Hahim, Boklapara, Khanapara-Pillangkata and Ratacherra. (Correspondent)
Steps to strengthen internal security in Mizoram
Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga said his government has been taking concrete steps to strengthen the internal security of the state.
Addressing the people on the occasion of 76th Independence Day in Aizawl, the chief minister said there has been no major law and order problem in the state due to the “proactive measures taken by the police in the past one year”.
Of the 1,633 criminal cases registered, 676 have been successfully investigated, while 12 arms smuggling cases have been recorded and 20 illegal dealers arrested, he said.
The law enforcement agencies have arrested 2,425 people for violation of the Mizoram Liquor (Prohibition) Act since its implementation in May 2019, and 517 drug traffickers were apprehended and prosecuted during the last one year, the CM said. He urged the people to make Mizoram a land of peace and prosperity.
“Let us join hands to face the challenges of tomorrow through a common commitment towards peace, prosperity and social justice.
“Our present times demand that we remain strong and confident in order to be able to pursue our dreams of realising newer heights in the future,” the chief minister said.
Independence Day was celebrated across Mizoram on Monday with several functions held in all the district capitals and important towns of the state.
The grand event was held at Assam Rifles ground in Aizawl.
Zoramthanga also claimed that the state achieved significant progress in various sectors in the last 12 months despite several hurdles triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the chief minister, the state public works department has completed several projects across the state during the past 12 months despite the pandemic. Under the Centre’s Jal Jeevan Mission, the state has so far provided tap connections to 85,231 families in 177 rural villages and 1,13,800 households in urban areas.
Altogether, 2,08,829 households have been issued job cards and all of them were provided employment during the 2021-22 fiscal. The rural development department is aiming at providing 100 days of employment to active job card holders by the end of the current fiscal, he said.
Zoramthanga said the state has been making constant efforts for the development of tourism.
It has received a sanction of Rs 800 lakh from the Centre for the development of village-based eco-tourism in Khamrang near Aizawl.
An International Tourism Mart to be held in Mizoram in early November is expected to give a major boost to tourism promotion in the state, he said.
Recently, the Centre has approved a proposal for tourism infrastructure development for Mizoram under the “Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual, Heritage Augmentation Drive Scheme” at various locations in the state, the chief minister added.
Schemes for women’s welfare in Sikkim
Sikkim Chief Minister P S Tamang Monday hoisted the national flag at Bhaichung Stadium in Namchi on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the country’s Independence and announced schemes for the welfare of women in the mountain state.
The state-level programme was held outside capital Gangtok for the first time since Sikkim merged with the Indian Union in 1975 as Paljor Stadium, where it is held, is being renovated.
Speaking after hoisting the Tricolour, Tamang announced the launch of ‘Aama Yojana’ and ‘Vatsalya Yojana’ and said the Sikkim government is working continuously for the welfare of women.
Under Aama Yojana all unemployed mothers in the state will recieve Rs 20,000 annually which will be deposited in their bank accounts. Under the Vatsalya Yojana an aid of Rs three lakh will be provided to childless women for in vitro fertilization treatment, he said.
Expressing concern over the declining fertility in Sikkim, Tamang said that Vatsalya Yojana will cover women in government jobs through the health department and others through Chief Minister’s Medical Assistance.
The financial assistance of Rs three lakh for IVF treatment will be given in two phases – Rs one lakh in the first and Rs two lakh in the second and last phase.
The chief minister also announced year-long maternity leave for women employees of the state beginning today in place of the six month leave which was the practice so far.
He launched the mobile village clinic programme to provide accessible medical facilities to people in remote areas in all the six districts.
The mobile clinics will be manned by trained medical staff and will provide quality health care facilities to villagers at their doorsteps. The clinics will be equipped with state-of-the-art medical equipment and villagers will no longer require to travel long distances for treatment or to get their medical test reports.
“Our government is dedicated to providing excellent health care facilities for the people. Health related initiatives and schemes have to be top notch if our society is to progress,” Tamang said.