New Delhi: For the nondescript village of Tekelagaon, 19 km off the Dergaon town in upper Assam, the only claim to fame is a plane crash that took place on 4 November 1977 with former Prime Minister Morarji Desai onboard. Desai had miraculously escaped this crash that killed five pilots and was offered shelter in the village.
However, 43 years after the crash, residents of Tekelagaon say they are still awaiting a memorial at the crash site to commemorate the incident and the fallen crew. They also want the village, popularly known as ‘Desai Nagar’ in memory of the 1977 incident, to be developed as a rural tourism hub.
Dipen Boruah, a resident of Tekelagaon and the youngest son of late Indreswar Baruah in whose house Desai had recovered, has been quoted as saying that the villagers were “ready to offer land” for a memorial site.
In 2018, over 2,000 villagers from nearly 300 households of Tekelagaon had come together on Magh Bihu — one of the three Bihus (a harvest festival) celebrated in Assam — to build a traditional ‘bhelaghor’ (a temporary night shelter made of thatch, bamboo, straws etc) in the shape of the ill-fated plane.
The villagers had also involved the district administration, Indian Air Force authorities and local politicians for the event.
Fuleswar Chutia, a resident, said only electricity and a post office have been built in the village since the crash. “The only hospital announced to be constructed at the village is still a far cry. The roads and other means of communication are also in a sorry state.”
Rare plant rediscovered after 67 years in world’s only floating national park
A rare plant species called Uraria lacei Craib has been rediscovered in Manipur’s Keibui Lamjao National Park, 67 years after its last collection in 1952.
Keibui Lamjao National Park is the world’s only floating national park and an integral part of the Loktak Lake.
The rediscovery was made by Jahnabi Gogoi, a research scholar at the Academy of Scientific and Innovative Research, CSIR-National Botanical Research Institute, Lucknow, during a field visit to Assam, Nagaland, Manipur and Meghalaya in October-November last year.
She was helped by Tikam Singh Rana, chief scientist at the same institute and the findings have been published in the journal Phytokeys.
Dark blue in colour, the Uraria lacei Craib can be found in China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam too.
“As the plant has beautiful inflorescence and foliage, it would therefore be well-suited for domestication as an ornamental plant,” the researchers have said.
They added, “We could not locate any other population nearby to the present location and, given its rarity, there is an urgent need to conserve the population of this species in its present locale.”
GSM-based PCO for residents of Arunachal’s remote village bordering China
The residents of Mago-Chuna village in the far-flung areas of East Kameng district in Arunachal Pradesh have been provided with a GSM-based PCO (public call office) by the Indian Army. Earlier, the nearest telephone connectivity from the village, which borders China, was situated 28 km away.
GSM or Global System for Mobile Communication is considered the standard for communication globally today.
Defence spokesman Lt Col P. Khongsai said the inaccessibility to telephone connectivity severely hampered the social life and overall progress of the area.
“Availability of this facility has brought joy and also opened new avenues of prosperity and opportunity. The villagers expressed their gratitude towards Indian Army,” he added.
The Eastern Command of the Indian Army also took to Twitter to announce the installation of the facility.
#FriendsofNorthEast#ArunachalPradesh#IndianArmy established free GSM based PCO facility for the remote villages in Mago-Chuna on 18 Sep 20 in East Kameng district of #ArunachalPradesh. Overwhelmed villagers expressed gratitude towards Indian Army.@adgpi@SpokespersonMoD pic.twitter.com/3IxdQUZfP9
— EasternCommand_IA (@easterncomd) September 19, 2020
Why sales of fermented dry fish have spiked in Tripura
In the past several months, Tripura has seen a rise in the sales of a fermented dry fish, ‘shidol’, which is known for its ‘immunity-boosting’ and curative properties.
Fermented fishes are a delicacy across the Northeast and the shidol is known by different names in various parts of the region — hidol in Assam and tungtap in Meghalaya. Shidol is especially characterised by its strong, pungent smell and takes months to prepare for consumption.
Subodh Das, a seller from Agartala told The Indian Express, “People are buying shutki (dry fish) more these days. Shidol has a very large share of this sale. I am selling at least 4-5 kg shidol on a daily basis. It has good immunity boosting factors.”
Another seller Dulal Das, also said that he has been selling shidol worth Rs 10,000 a day for the past few months.
Health experts, meanwhile, have said that proteins, minerals, amino and fatty acids are found in high quantities in shidol.
Dr Dayeeta Choudhury, a dietician and assistant professor at ICFAI University in Agartala said, “Omega 3 fatty acids are available in high concentration in traditionally prepared dry fishes. It helps people with cardiac problems and diabetes… This might be used for boosting immunity to better combat diseases like this Covid-19.”
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