Meghalaya, Assam to begin second phase of border talks on May 24

Meghalaya, Assam to begin second phase of border talks on May 24

SHILLONG, MAY 17: Meghalaya and Assam will hold the second phase of border talks on May 24, to find an amicable solution to resolve the remaining six areas of difference between the two states.

“The chief minister of Assam and myself and committee members are expected to meet on the 24th of this month so that will be the first meeting in Guwahati. We are still waiting for a full confirmation but tentatively both have agreed. The logistics are being worked out and if everything falls into place, we are expected to meet on the 24th of this month,” Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma told reporters on Wednesday.

He informed that the meeting will be followed by a joint visit to Block I and Block II by both the chief ministers to send a message of confidence and a message of peace besides a message of restraint from both sides including administration.

“These are the steps and measures in which we are taking,” Sangma said.

Referring to the recent clash at Khanduli village in West Jaintia Hills, the chief minister said, “Yes, incidents happened and we are very concerned about them. We appealed for peace and harmony in these areas but ultimately in order to ensure that we are able to find permanent peace there, the solution to this border issue is the only way forward.”

On whether the government will stop Assam from setting up the toll gate at Khanduli, Sangma said, “Many incidents are happening, many actions taken from both sides which are not going too well with the other side and hence the confidence building from both chief ministers going to this location is precisely with that objective to build up the confident and as I said to send a positive message of peace and also serious message that we want the solution to happen and also to ensure that we ask the administration to restrain from any kind of activity which would further instigate the situation.”

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KHNAM demands discussion on reservation policy

ToR of expert committee should be to review 1972 SRP: KHNAM to Govt

SHILLONG, MAY 17: Ahead of the All-Party meeting called by the state government, the Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement (KHNAM) on Wednesday said discussion of the ‘reservation roster’ without touching the ‘reservation policy’ will not be enough.

“As per the letter received by the party and as per the subject stated, it is clear that the agenda of the political party meeting is “Reservation Roster”, we would therefore state that discussion of a Reservation Roster without touching the Reservation Policy will not be enough on the fact that both are related and the latter is the byproduct of the former,” KHNAM general secretary F Marpna said in a statement.

He said the party expects a thorough discussion on the current issue of roster and reservation policy in the upcoming all party meeting to be held on May 19.

“We hope that it will not be just a mere presentation from the Govt or any attempts to justify irregularities of the retrospective roster implemented till today but political parties will be given ample time to put forward their points of view,” he added.

Further, the KHNAM has also slammed the state government’s failure to put on hold all recruitment processes.

“We have made a demand to the Government one month ago to put on hold all recruitment till all related issues are discussed and are brought to a logical conclusion, but it is very surprising to see that the Government has not acknowledged the same,” Marpna said.

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Meghalaya CM moot for scientific approach to produce quality potatoes

Meghalaya CM moot for scientific approach to produce quality potatoes

SHILLONG, MAY 17: Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma along with Agriculture Minister Ampareen Lyngdoh on Wednesday inspected the ongoing potato seed production programme at Bio Resource Development Centre (BRDC) in Upper Shillong.

The project titled as “Seed Secure Meghalaya : Establishment of low cost formal and informal potato seed production system to enhance food security and income generation” is an initiative of the Government that aims to increase potato seed production and cultivation in the State and market the high yielding varieties of potato to markets across the Northeastern region and beyond.

The project is being implemented by International Potato Centre (CIP) in partnership with Meghalaya Basin Management Authority, Department of Horticulture and Central Potato Research Institute, Shimla.

At BRDC, the official gave presentation on the Apical Rooted Cutting (ARC) technique which is being used to produce the potato seed through tissue culture plantlets.

The technique allow tissue culture plantlets to mature and produce minitubers, cutting are produced from the plantlets. Once rooted, the cuttings are transplanted into the field to produce seed tubers.

Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma said that the scientific method has been introduced to ensure that there is better yield and quality potatoes. He informed that the Government is working closely with the farmers to demonstrate the difference between the old generation and the new generation potatoes through this pilot project.

He said that the pilot project has been largely successful and the Government envisages to introduce the technique in a large scale enabling potato farmers to double their income. “In Meghalaya itself, we have shortage of potato supply, in terms of seed and the production of potatoes, this gap can be easily filled if we can work in a scientific manner and this (ARC) technique is a great living example of how the change is taking place,” he said.

He hoped that with right intervention and technology the production can be increased while also maintaining the quality of the potatoes. “We would like to encourage this method, so as to increase seed production and cultivation of potatoes in the State. We are hopeful that in the coming years we can be the hub of seed production and export it beyond the State in neighbouring Northeast”.

He also visited the Kyrdemkhla Integrated Village Cooeprative Society (IVCS) in Upper Shillong and interacted with the farmers, who have adopted the technique and is upbeat with the results i.e the yield of the potatoes.

Under the project, 150 farmers were given Kufri Jyoti and Himalini varieties, 500 farmers were trained on integrated seed health management and storage, two tissue culture labs with capacity of 1 lakh tissue culture plants were set up and 15146 ha area mapped for potato production using GIS mapping.

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VPP stages sit-in-protest, threatens to intensify agitations if Govt fails to heed demand for reviewing reservation policy

VPP stages sit-in-protest, threatens to intensify agitations if Govt fails to heed demand for reviewing reservation policy

SHILLONG, MAY 17: The Voice of the People Party (VPP) led by its four MLAs on Wednesday staged a sit-in-demonstration to protest against failure of the state government to put on hold the recruitment process.

The party has also threatened to intensify its agitations if there is no positive outcome in the upcoming All-party meeting convened by the state government on May 18.

Speaking to reporters after the protest, VPP president Ardent M Basaiawmoit said that the party has urged the people to come out and assemble in large numbers here in this protest venue on May 18, to ensure the reservation policy is immediately reviewed.

“As a party, we feel it would be proper for us to assemble again at this place (protest venue) on the day when the government decides to hold an all-party meeting because we want the outcome of that meeting should be to review the reservation policy. That is our stand, that is our demand because the problem that the unemployed youth of the state are facing originated from the reservation policy,” he said.

When asked, Basaiawmoit said, “The statistics indicated that the Khasi community is always higher than the Garo community by 15% average. Therefore, we feel that this policy is not proportionate and it should have been done proportionately so that we will have a policy which is just and fair. We don’t want to take the rights of our Garo brothers and sisters nor do we want to sacrifice our own rights.”

He said with the coming of this roster system, it further aggravates the situation and the problems faced by the unemployed youths

The Nongkrem legislator said that going by population, the percentage of reservation should be more for the Khasis.

“Supposed if the population of the Khasis is 47 so how can you reserve only 40 only and if the population of the Garos is 32 how can you reserve 40 for them. They are getting more by 7-8 percent and we are getting less by 7-8 percent. Therefore, we feel that this policy is not right,” he said.

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Lady Hydari Park finally renamed as ‘Ka Phan Nonglait’

Lady Hydari Park finally renamed as 'Ka Phan Nonglait'

SHILLONG, MAY 17: The State Cabinet on Wednesday approved the proposal for renaming the Lady Hydari Park after a first Khasi woman freedom fighter ‘Ka Phan Nonglai’.

“We have also passed the decision to rename the Lady Hydari Park to Ka Phan Nonglait Park,” Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma told reporters after chairing the meeting.

Stating that the government had in fact taken this decision a very long time back, Sangma however said, “This again has been going up and down because of the administrative complications that took place earlier but we have finally today cleared this proposal and renaming the Lady Hydari Park to Ka Phan Nonglait Park.”

In the recent past, the Khasi Students’ Union had been continuously replacing the signboard renaming the Lady Hydari Park to ‘Phan Nonglait Park’ after the government failed to implement its own notification issued on September 11, 2001 for renaming the city park.

Phan Nonglait was the first Khasi woman who revolted against the British during the time of freedom fighter U Tirot Sing Syiem between 1829 and 1833.

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CM says cabinet satisfied with presentation on roster system

CM says cabinet satisfied with presentation on roster system

SHILLONG, MAY 17: Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma on Wednesday said the state Cabinet was satisfied with the presentation made on the roster system.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Sangma said, “A detailed presentation was given to the cabinet today and after seeing the presentation the cabinet was satisfied with the presentation and the details and few clarifications were made and unanimously now we have agreed in moving forward.”

He informed that the same presentation will be made to the MDA components during a meeting to be held tomorrow and to all political parties on May 19. He said the fourth meeting with other stakeholders including NGOs, religious leaders and other social groups will take place after a week or ten days.

When asked, Sangma said, “I cannot give you details of that because we have to give the presentation to everybody but as I said the roster and the recruitment is a continuous process and after seeing the details of how a roster works and how the system will follow in the future and how recruitment has been in the past a detailed presentation was given. All cabinet colleagues were satisfied after seeing the presentation. The presentation was based on all facts and figures looking at the reservation policy and looking at the complexity of the roster system and accordingly a presentation was made.”

The chief minister said that the roster system and recruitment is a continuous process.

“It is a continuous process and hence it goes on. Hence, once we give the presentation, once you see the presentation and once you see how things are, I am sure you also will understand and based on that we will move forward so what has happened in the past obviously adds up to how things are now. As I said the way the system is, is continuous and therefore, there is no question of retrospect or prospect it is a continuous process,” he added.

On the VPP’s demand to review the reservation policy, Sangma however said, “We have not discussed the reservation policy and this is something which is not in the agenda that is coming up in the next few days. Right now, we are talking about the roster system and we are sticking to that.”

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Peace talk with HNLC to start by first week of June: Meghalaya CM

Peace talk with HNLC to start by first week of June: Meghalaya CM

SHILLONG, MAY 17: Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma on Wednesday said that the formal peace talks with the proscribed Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) will start by the first week of next month.

Speaking to reporters, Sangma said that the cabinet was informed that the deputy chief minister in-charge Home (Police) Prestone Tynsong had an informal meeting with HNLC political secretary, vice chairman and executive members on Tuesday, in the presence of the interlocutor PS Dkhar.

“It was decided and formally communicated that the formal talks with the HNLC will start in the first week of June,” Sangma said.

The chief minister said all the discussions with the HNLC are taking place with the interlocutor.

“Of course, they have mentioned certain points and obviously as a government we will try to ensure whatever steps to be taken to ensure that they are comfortable in terms and feel safe from all angles and other issues of concerns we will try to take them up. But obviously conditions that are beyond the state government’s jurisdiction and certain discussions which have to be taken place with Government of India, those matters will have to be taken up at that level. Hence, the talks are starting and hence we will see how it goes forward and we are hopeful that we are able to come to a positive solution,” he added.

When asked, the chief minister said, “The talks will start. Let the interlocutor discuss and the government will be there. It will not be proper for me to say that it is not for me. My point is there is a process, a procedure and the interlocutor will sit down and talk to them so all those points and whatever their concerns are as I said we have discussed a lot of them but let the formal talks start.”

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