Tuesday, 28 June, 2022
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This Assam mason’s dream to fly a seaplane is powered by a 220cc motorcycle engine

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

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New Delhi: Bubul Saikia, from Chorai Pani village in Assam’s Titabor, is a mason by profession. But there’s more to him that that. For the past two years, Saikia has been giving wings to his dreams, quite literally, by building a seaplane.

“I used to dream of flying in the sky. I wanted to build something on my own to fly in. I still dream of it and wish to succeed, but let’s see how far I manage to go. I have built every part (of the seaplane) on my own,” Saikia told local digital news platform EastMojo.

Earlier this week, he conducted the first test run of his seaplane. It’s not clear though, how he managed to build the seaplane completely on his own, since the mason reportedly has not had any professional guidance or training.

“The engine (of the seaplane) is of a Bajaj Pulsar 220cc motorcycle. I have even built the propeller. Everything is made of fibre and aluminium,” he was quoted as saying.


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Arunachal district achieves vaccination target with a ‘challenge’

Changlang, a remote district in Arunachal Pradesh, has managed to administer the first Covid vaccine dose to 50 per cent of its population in the 18-44-year-old age bracket and over 90 per cent of its people aged over 45 years. This was achieved during a three-day ‘vaccination challenge’ last week, organised by the administration at twelve health centres in the district.

“A few weeks ago, the active caseload (in the district) had crossed 400…We realised we had to vaccinate as fast as we could,” Devansh Yadav, deputy commissioner of Changlang, was quoted as saying.

Health centres were set targets, based on the population in the area, and cash awards were announced for centres that could achieve the target. The Innao Primary Health Centre had a daily target of 300 and managed to administer more than 900 shots per day. It won the first prize of Rs 2 lakh in the challenge.

Nine other health centres also received cash prizes of Rs 25,000 each, due to their ‘enthusiastic participation’.


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Two rare ant species discovered in Mizoram

Two new ant species of the rare Myrmecina genus have been discovered in Mizoram by a team of scientists from the Bengaluru-based Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE).

This is the first known species of the genus to be found in Mizoram. The discovery also pushes up the number of Myrmecina species found in India to seven. These ants live in small colonies of 30 to 150 individuals, under stones or decaying wood.

Till now, only 51 species of this ant genus were known to be found across North America, Europe, northern Africa, India, Korea, Japan and Australia.

Specimens of the two species that have been found in Mizoram were collected in 2019 and a statement on the discovery was released last week.

While one of the two species has been named Myrmecina bawai, after evolutionary ecologist and founding president of ATREE, Kamaljit S. Bawa, the other is called Myrmecina reticulata due to reticulate patterns on its abdomen.


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Assam civic body chops trees with egret nests to ‘prevent Covid’ 

The Tangla Municipality Board in Assam’s Udalguri district has chopped down several bamboo trees sheltering egret nests in the area, citing apprehension that bird droppings could cause Covid-19.

In a letter sent earlier this month, the administration had reportedly asked residents of ward numbers 1 and 2 of the area under the board to cut the bamboo trees in their premises.

“The droppings of egrets that are nesting in the bamboo plants in your premises have caused unhygienic conditions, which could lead to an increase in Covid-19 cases,” the letter had stated.

“The residents were given a time frame to cut the bamboo plants. But they didn’t do it and then, the authorities had to cut them,” Tangla Police Station In-Charge Someswar Konwar was quoted as saying.

Nilutpal Mahanta, an assistant professor of wildlife sciences at the Don Bosco University in Assam, told InsideNE that the administration’s action was a “sheer violation of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972”.

“Also they have misled people by stating that bird excreta can lead to the spread of Covid-19 without any scientific proof,” he said.


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