Thursday, August 26, 2010

Indian Government dispels fears of n-weapons in Myanmar

New Delhi, Aug 26 (IANS) There is no nuclear threat from Myanmar, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said Thursday, adding that strict vigil was being maintained and admitting that nuclear weapons in neighbouring countries were a matter of concern.

'Myanamar asserts that it has no nuclear programme on its anvil. The government of India will have to believe,' Krishna said while replying to a supplementary in the Rajya Sabha Thursday.

The minister, however, added that information was being gathered through intelligence networks as well.

'We will also gather through our own intelligence what is happening. The government always monitors development closely because it concerns our security,' Krishna said.

He stated that nuclear weapons in neighbouring countries were a matter of concern and that the Indian intelligence was keeping tight vigil on the situation.

'We know Pakistan has nuclear weapons, China also has. We also know there has been a clandestine proliferation effort that Libya and other similar countries are making. We know A.Q. Khan network is very active. (The) government is monitoring the situation and will take steps to see India's security is not jeopardised,' he said.

Myanmar has been under military rule since 1962 under a government known as the military junta. Its leader Senior General Than Shwe visited India in July.

©Indo-Asian News Service

Monday, August 16, 2010

No one should take law into his hands: Mizoram CM

Aizawl : Mizoram chief minister Lal Thanhawla today said the state government remained firm in its commitment that no one should be allowed to take law into their own hands and there was no place for militancy.

While the government remained sensitive to complaints, dissatisfaction and misgivings of the people, no one should break the law, Lal Thanhawla said at a public meeting at the Assam Rifles ground here after unfurling the tri-colour on the occasion of the 63rd anniversary of the Independence Day.

"Nothing is achieved by indulging in violence and destroying public properties," he said.

Highlighting the policies and programmes of the government, the chief minister said that the flagship programme of his government, the New Land Use Policy (NLUP) would soon be launched and the Centre has approved Rs 2,873.13 crore under additional central assistance for implementation of the NLUP during five years for reconstruction of the rural economy.

Lal Thanhawla said 1,20,000 families would be covered by the NLUP which aimed at ending the slash and burn way of shifting cultivation (jhum) and creation of permanent settlement for the cultivators.

The state government had been able to provide 95 days of employment to 1,80,140 households under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, he said.

As part of the endeavour to make Mizoram a preferred tourist destination, construction of 'Institute of Hotel Management' was in progress at Bung Picnic Spot and aero-sport equipment had been procured to launch adventure tourism in the state.

He made special mention that the two wine vineyards have been established at Champhai and Hnahlan which would provide economic boost to the grape growers.

The CM said that incompetence and corruption in public administration would not be tolerated.

Friday, August 13, 2010

There should be stringent legislation against drug menace

Aizawl, Aug 13 (PTI) Mizoram's state level apex coordination committee on drugs today proposed that a stringent 'Mizoram Drugs Control Act' be legislated to effectively combat the drug menace in the state.

The committee, headed by Van Hela Pachuau, the chief secretary, was of the opinion that the Assam Drug Control Act, 1950 and the Drugs and Cosmetic Act, 1940 in force in the state, were ineffective to fight drugs problems.

It also proposed to approach the Centre for amendment to the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 as the act had lost its teeth.

More than a thousand youth have died in the state due to drug abuse since 1984 when the first drug-related death was reported.

The highest annual death was 149 in 2004. Around 90 per cent of the vicitms died due to abuse of spasmo proxyvon, a painkiller.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Aizawl municipality polls in October

Aizawl, Aug 10 (PTI) The first election to 19-ward Aizawl Municipal Council would be held in late October, an official statement said here today.

A meeting of Municipal Authority held at the office chamber of P Lianhrima, Secretary for Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation yesterday decided to organise awareness campaign for the village council members (to be dissolved after the formation of municipality) and the general public, the statement said.

Meanwhile voters'' lists for the election to Aizawl Municipal council have already been published by the state election commission in which there were around 1.6 lakh voters. Out of the 19 wards, six seats would be reserved for women in accordance with Mizoram Municipality Act.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

UN warns of worsening famine in central dry zone

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Drought-ridden areas of central Burma that have suffered food shortages and low rainfall for three years are facing an even more severe famine in what is one of the poorest areas of the country, the World Food Programme says.

However, Burmese government meteorologist Dr. Tun Lwin says the areas will soon receive monsoonal rains, because of the La Niña effect.

Burma’s central “dry zone” covers nearly 10 per cent of Burma’s total area and is densely populated, underdeveloped and poor, and suffers constant food shortages.

“It’s a slow-burn problem but evidence would suggest it is getting worse”, Reuters AlertNet quoted outgoing World Food Progamme country chief Chris Kaye as saying.

“Firstly rains were delayed. Then rains did begin to kick in and farmers started the planting,” he said. “Since then there’s been a break and now that first set of inputs into the ground is withering and dying.”

But the water needed for crops grown in the dry zone might still become available from monsoon rain later in the year, according to Tun Lwin.

“There may be two times in October, one time in November and up to December if not in September. There will be monsoon rains in these four to five months,” he said.

A heatwave in April hit Magway, Sagaing, Mandalay, Pegu, Rangoon divisions and Mon, Shan and Arakan states and led to severe water shortages, and in some areas the daily death rate doubled, Mizzima reported in May, citing reports from the region’s free funeral services.

Even tropical plants such as palm and Shah trees were affected by the temperatures in Magway, which reached record highs of more than 104 degrees Farhenheit (40 Celsius).

Burma, once known as the rice bowl of Southeast Asia, was facing a worsening food crisis, which the UN agency blamed on the restrictions the ruling Burmese junta had imposed on WFP work. It had allowed only limited access to the region, rules that had made assessment of the food amounts needed, and distribution, very difficult, the WFP said.

A resident of Yenangyaung confirmed the WFP reports of food shortages already being suffered by local people.

“Some could have only one meal a day. Some could cook only two-three empty condensed milk tins of rice for a family of four instead of normal requirement of four tins,” an opposition activist working for farmers said. “Families have to share the limited resources available to them. Sometimes they would have to skip dinner and have a meal only on mornings that they could find rice.”

Another consequence of the food shortage was that more young people were being forced to migrate away from homes in search of work, he added.

According to local residents contacted by Mizzima, a lot of sesame fields were also recently damaged in central Burma.

Sesame is the main crop grown in the parched region that includes Chauk, Kyaupadaung, Meiktila, Yenangyaung, Magway, Taungdwingyi, Pakokku, Yesagyo and Pauk, and minor crops are peanuts and green mung beans.

Farmers who lost their sesame harvest this season are depending on the monsoonal rain for their remaining groundnuts, which are to be harvested in the next two months.

“The La Niña will begin in August and it has started in the Pacific [Ocean]. If this La Niña becomes moderately stronger, the entire Indochina region will experience wet and humid climate including Burma so that Burma will get a late rainy season especially storm water”, Dr. Tun Lwin said.

La Niña translates from the Spanish as “The Child Girl” and meteorologically is the opposite of the more well known El Niño. The term La Niña refers to the extensive cooling of the central and eastern Pacific.

Globally La Niña, in very general terms, will mean that those parts of the world that normally experience dry weather will be drier and those with wet weather will be wetter. Atlantic and Pacific hurricane activity will increase with La Niña and the effects of severe droughts are likely in those already dry parts of the world.

The Agriculture and Irrigation Ministry commissioned a UN food security survey in 11 states and divisions including areas hit by Cyclone Nargis and Chin State. The report said more than five million people in Burma go hungry every day.