A round-up of what’s happening in India’s Northeast.
Tripura: 13,000 posts created in state education department, allegedly to accommodate teachers facing job loss after SC order
The Tripura government has created 13,000 non-teaching posts in the state education department this week in an apparent bid to rehabilitate 10,323 teachers who are facing a job loss after a recent Supreme Court order.
On May 7, 2014, the Tripura high court, in response to 58 petitions, terminated the services of these teachers recruited by the state government in 2010 and 2013 as they were appointed by a policy not compliant with the obligatory qualifications mandated by the Right to Education Act, 2009.
On March 29, upholding the high court order, the SC allowed the affected teachers to continue at their posts till December 31. The apex court asked the state government to initiate a fresh recruitment policy through the Teachers Eligibility Test as prescribed under the RTE Act by May 31 and complete it by December 31.
In the poll-bound state where the BJP is trying to usurp power from the 19-year-old Manik Sarkar government, the issue is already gaining political heat.
According to local media reports, the May 17 decision of the state education department was an attempt to address the issue. Reports said it would now enable the education department to create 1,200 posts of academic counsellors, 4,300 student counsellors, 1,500 school library assistants, 300 hostel wardens and 5,600 school assistants on the basis of a fixed monthly pay.
State education minister Tapan Chakraborty said the cabinet has approved the posts in the education department and social welfare and social education wings, besides approving a revised appointment policy which will be notified “very shortly after fulfilling all official procedure.”
Giving details to reporters in Agartala on May 17, Chakraborty said, “While five years of teaching experience is a must for an academic counsellor, student counsellor, school library assistant and hostel warden (it covers 12,000 posts), three years of teaching experience is mandatory for school assistant posts.” He said the department would soon seek applications to conduct interviews to fill the posts.
While the monthly salary for the academic counsellors has been fixed at Rs 12,000, student counsellors and school library assistants will be given Rs 10,500 and hostel wardens will receive Rs 8,500.
Chakraborty, however, didn’t tell the media that the cabinet move was keeping in mind the teachers facing the axe. While 1,100 of those teachers are post graduates, 4,617 are graduates and 4,606 undergraduates.
Nagaland: New political party formed; likely to pose a challenge to ruling NPF in upcoming elections
The growing division in the ruling National People’s Front (NPF) saw a political development in Nagaland on May 17 when former party men came together to form a new regional party.
Even though this new front, named the Democratic Progressive Party, will be headed by former Lok Sabha MP Chingwang Konyak, who resigned from the NPF recently, it has been reported in the local media that that sitting MP and NPF leader Neiphiu Rio is the real force behind it. Konyak was the political advisor to Rio when he was the state chief minister.
In 2014, Rio had to step down from the post to give way to NPF leader and bête noire T. R. Zeliang. Following a widespread protest in response to the Zeliang government’s decision to hold urban local body elections with 33% reservation for women, Zeliang had to vacate the post for the then NPF president Shurhozelie Liezietsu in February.
According to the reports, the new party is likely to attract “more NPF leaders in coming days” and will pose a “major challenge” to the NPF in the 2018 assembly polls.
After its maiden general body meeting in Dimapur on May 17, Konyak told reporters that the party will be formally launched this June after registering it with the Election Commission.
Konyak, who was earlier the president of Nagaland Pradesh Congress Committee, had a stint with the BJP before returning to Congress and thereafter joining the NPF. According to some media reports, both Konyak and Rio are engaging with the BJP to forge an alliance for the assembly polls. The BJP has had an alliance with the NPF since 2003. Besides Nagaland, both the parties are a part of the coalition government in Manipur.
Mizoram: Committee formed to review 31-year-old peace accord
Thirty-one years after the Mizoram peace accord was signed by Mizo National Front (MNF) with the then central and state governments, the state’s present governor Nirbhay Sharma has constituted a committee to review it.
Local media reports quoting “official sources” said on May 6 the governor had named it the Peace Accord Review Committee. The reports said though the governor has not spelt out the terms of the committee in the order, which was released on May 2, it is likely to look at the promises made by the Centre to the people of the state through the accord which are yet to be implemented.
State chief minister Lal Thanhawla will chair the committee while home minister R. Lalzirliana will be its vice chairman. Former minister Lalrinmawia Ralte has been named its member secretary.
According to the sources, three of the members of the committee are former underground MNF cadre. While the local administration minister P.C. Lalthanliana was a former MNF cadre, state chief secretary Lalmalsawma was the former underground MNF ‘defence minister’ and R. Zamawia was the ‘army chief’. Lalrawnliana, the former commander of the ‘tactical headquarters’ of the Mizo National Army in the Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bangladesh (with which Mizoram shares a border), was appointed the ‘special invitee’ to the committee.
After two decades of insurgency in the state, the accord was signed by the then central and state governments with MNF on June 30, 1986. Since then, the state has been the most peaceful state in the otherwise conflict ridden Northeast region.
Assam: Environmentalist Purnima Devi Barman awarded Green Oscar
Assam-based environmentalist Purnima Devi Barman has been conferred the prestigious Whitley Award, or what is commonly known as Green Oscar.
The Princess Royal, the patron of the Whitley Fund for Nature (WFN), will formally confer the award on her at the Royal Geographical Society in London on May 18.
Associated with the locally popular environment conservation NGO Aranyak, Barman was chosen for the Green Oscar for her campaign with village communities to conserve the greater adjutant stork, locally known as Hargila.
According to the WFN, she was recognised for her “contributions to wildlife conservation made from outside the developed world, and to bring to international attention the work of deserving individuals committed to precipitating long-lasting conservation benefits on the ground.”
With a dedicated group of 70 village women, named Hargila Army, Barman has been working in the villages of Dadara, Pachariya and Hingimari villages in the state’s Kamrup district to save the bird’s habitat. In course of time, her conservation drive gained mass support.
Besides Barman, yet another Indian chosen for the Green Oscar this year is Sanjay Gubbi, who was selected for reducing deforestation in Karnataka’s tiger corridors. In all, six people were named for this year’s awards.
Arunachal: First Indian woman to scale the Everest four times
Mountaineer Anshu Jamsenpa from Arunachal Pradesh has become the first Indian woman to scale the Mount Everest four times.
Jamsenpa, 32, reached the top of the world’s highest mountain on May 16 at Indian time 9 a.m. She was accompanied by Furi Sherpa of Nepal.
A mother of two teenage girls, Jamsenpa first scaled the Everest in May 2011. Her latest ascent expedition was flagged off by the Dalai Lama during his visit to Guwahati on April 2.
According to Nanda Kirati Dewan, her public relations manager in Guwahati, Jamsenpa would attempt a double expedition too. He said, “She is in perfect health, motivated and energised to try double ascent if conditions remains favourable.”