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Adil Hussain, Papon join campaign to save ‘Amazon of East’ as Assam trends #SaveDehingPatkai

Snippets from the vibrant Northeast that capture politics, culture, society and more in the eight states.

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New Delhi: Celebrities, students and environmentalists have come together to launch an online campaign to stop coal mining in the ecologically-sensitive Dehing Patkai elephant reserve in Assam.

The campaign comes days after a recommendation was made by the National Board for Wild Life (NBWL) to allow coal mining in the reserve.

The campaign was started by environmentalists and students of Gauhati University last week, and soon gained momentum when the varsity and its affiliated colleges took #SaveDehingPatkai to social media.

The proposal for coal mining was recommended during a standing committee meeting conducted via video conferencing on 17 April and was presided over by Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar.

The Dehing Patkai elephant reserve is part of the Dehing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary that is spread across 111 square kilometres in Dibrugarh and Tinsukia districts of Assam. The sanctuary is also known as ‘Amazon of the East’ and is India’s largest tropical lowland rainforest.

It is home to elephants, Malayan sun bears, marbled cats, clouded leopards, various snakes, lizards, turtles and butterflies. The reserve also hosts around 293 species of birds.

The NBWL’s nod entails 98.59 hectares of forest land to be used by the North-Eastern Coal Field (NECF), a unit of Coal India Limited. However, a site inspection report by the Union environment ministry’s Shillong office in November last year had said the NECF has already been mining for coal in the patch of land for decades. 

Environment activist Rohit Choudhury has been quoted as saying, “NECF started its mining operations in the area in 1973 with a lease for 30 years.” The company continued to mine even after the lease expired in 2003.

Also read: Manipur village builds 80 quarantine huts in a day, complete with toilets and electricity

Never knew I was PM of India: Mizoram CM on Manorama faux pas

The Manorama Yearbook, which is considered the go-to book for civil services aspirants on current affairs, made some major errors in its Mizoram section.

The book’s 2020 edition mixed up Chief Minister Zoramthanga’s photograph with former chief minister Lal Thanwala, who in turn was mistakenly identified as the current governor of the state. P.S. Sreedharan, a BJP leader from Kerala, is Mizoram’s governor and assumed office on 25 October 2019.

CM Zoramthanga took to Twitter with a sarcastic dig: “Thank you #Manorama Yearbook 2020. I never knew I was the Prime Minister of India.”

Arunachal holds protest rally against Army firing

Two days after a civilian was killed and six others injured in a crossfire between Army personnel and suspected rebels from separatist group National Socialist Council of Nagaland – Isak-Muivah (NSCN-IM) in Arunachal Pradesh, the state’s Longding district administration allowed a protest rally against the incident despite lockdown restrictions in place.

The rally, by community-based organisations, was held Monday and followed all SOPs on Covid-19. Participants were asked to compulsorily wear face masks and maintain social distancing.

A judicial probe has been ordered into the firing that took place Sunday by 19th Sikh Regiment of the Indian Army. 

The North East Human Rights Organisation has also lodged a complaint of human rights violation by the Army personnel. Meanwhile, the Wancho Council, the apex body of the Wancho community, and several other organisations in Arunachal Pradesh submitted a joint memorandum to Governor B.D. Mishra, demanding immediate arrest of the Army personnel.

Also read: Poachers strike Kaziranga after 13 months, kill adult rhino using AK-47

Tripura families mortgage ration cards to support families

With no jobs and money, five families from Ashwini Tripura Para under Santir Bazar sub-division in South Tripura have mortgaged their ration cards to money lenders in return for loans to support their families.

Ramkumar Tripura mortgaged his ration card for Rs 8,000, Vidyamohan Tripura did it for Rs 15,000, Kanchadhan Tripura for Rs 15,000, Manoranjan Tripura for Rs 20,000 and Brajmohan Tripura for Rs 15,000, said a report.

Ramkumar has been quoted in the report as saying they visit the fair price shop only to give their fingerprint on the biometric device. The ration is drawn by the person who bought the cards and later sold in the market. A local ration dealer and several other agents have been identified in the racket.

Assam scientists develop high-yielding rice varieties

Scientists at the Assam-based Regional Rainfed Lowland Rice Research Station (RRL-RRS) under the Indian Council of Agricultural Research-National Rice Research Institute (ICAR-NRRL) have developed a number of high-protein, high-yielding, climate-smart and aromatic varieties of rice.

“The climate-smart varieties of kharif rice CR Dhan 801 and CR Dhan 802 can survive under drought. They also can survive under water when submerged for two weeks. Their duration is 140-145 days and the yield varies from 5-6.5 tonnes per hectare,” Rupankar Bhagawati, RRL-RRS, Gerua officer in-charge and a principal scientist, has been quoted as saying.

The seeds of these rice varieties are being sold for Rs 72.50 per kg.

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