155 new cases push Meghalaya's COVID-19 tally to 15,786

Shillong, Meghalaya on Saturday reported

155 new COVID-19 cases, which took the tally in the state to 15,786, a health department official said.

The state now has 1,244 active cases, Health Services Director Aman War said.

The death toll rose at 158, as one more person succumbed to the infection, he said.

At least 148 people were cured of the disease during the day, taking the total number of recoveries in the northeastern state to 14,384, he said.

The state has so far conducted over 4.47 lakh sample tests for COVID-19.

Altogether, 2.09 lakh people have been inoculated in the state, with over 51,000 of them having received both doses of the vaccine, he said.

Covid-19 test reports mandatory for visitors from outside Northeast: Meghalaya govt.

Shillong (10.03.2021): In the wake of the spike in COVID-19 cases, the Meghalaya government has made test reports mandatory for visitors to the state from outside the Northeast.

The state government in a notification issued on Friday said that all entrants into Meghalaya, baring those from the North East, will have to produce RT-PCR, CBNAAT or TrueNat negative certificates or undergo tests on payment of fees at the entry points.

“Testing and checking at the entry points will be strictly enforced,” the notification issued by Meghalaya chief secretary MS Rao said

Bus and tourist taxi drivers will undergo RATs on a regular basis at the Polo Grounds and shops, restaurants and bars will have to be closed at 9 pm, the order added.

The Chief Secretary has also directed that the Corona Care Centres at Shillong, Tura, Nongpoh, Jowai, Resubelpara and Khliehriat should be activated and contractual health care workers have to be retained for another three months.

Meanwhile, the State government has also increased the penalty from Rs 500 to Rs 1,000, against those who do not wear face masks in public places.

The notification also laid emphasis on the ongoing vaccination drive and urged private health institutions to ramp it up.

The timing of vaccination at government facilities will be relooked, it added.

Rs 125 crore corpus fund to help Meghalaya entrepreneurs: CM

Shillong, Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad

K Sangma has said that a corpus fund of Rs 125 crore will be constituted over the next two years to aid the entrepreneurs in the state.

The chief minister said this while addressing the PRIME Entrepreneurship Awards held at the Convention Centre here on Friday.

"A corpus fund of Rs 125 crore will be constituted over the next 2 years as PRIME Fund to aid the efforts of the entrepreneurs of Meghalaya," he said.

"It feels great to see the sector that was left neglected for a long time being given the attention it requires to prosper," the chief minister said, adding that he was happy to witness artisans and entrepreneurs getting the opportunities and the much-needed handholding through the Ateliers Programme and the PRIME Meghalaya initiative.

He said "It is important to package, market the story and present the products of our entrepreneurs and artisans, so we can create value out of their products".

Expressing optimism that through the initiatives of the government the entrepreneurship culture can spread to all different sectors, he said the talented and enterprising people of Meghalaya will be encouraged thoroughly.

He expressed gratefulness to banks for their support and urged them to continue their support to the entrepreneurs of the state.

The chief minister also announced that the state government will introduce the 'Chief Minister's Music Award' on a monthly basis to award musicians of the state.

Meghalaya Basin Management Agency CEO Dr D Vijay Kumar said that the Meghalaya Government through 'PRIME Meghalaya' wants to make entrepreneurship a preferred career choice for young people through the creation of an ecosystem that enables easy availability of credit, technology, skilling, and mentoring support, and access to markets.

"Our mission is to provide systematic and targeted approach through a network of prime hubs that will be a one- stop-shop for the different segments of entrepreneurship in the state", he said, adding that the programme is also reaching out to entrepreneurs in rural areas.

It is important to preserve the unique crafts and traditions of Meghalaya, Kumar said, adding that a tourism store will be set up in Delhi to brand the state.

To give access to credit, the PRIME Fund will provide a kick-start grant of Rs 5 lakh, scale-up innovation loans of up to 25 lakh.

The IIM Calcutta Innovation Park (IIMCIP) is providing incubation support to entrepreneurs including capacity building and training programmes, co-working spaces, funding, and market access and visibility.

IIMCIP CEO Dr Subhrangshu Sanyal praised the commitment of the chief minister.

"CM has set the vision to create the culture of job takers and not job seekers," he said, adding that his institute is happy to witness the passion of the entrepreneurs of the state that even the pandemic could not stop them to continue their work.

"They used their skill sets to develop products such as masks, sanitizers, curtains for hospitals needed during the pandemic", Sanyal said.  PTI

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MePDCL to impose load shedding throughout Meghalaya

The Meghalaya Power Distribution Corporation Limited (MePDCL), Shillong will impose load shedding to its consumers throughout the state of Meghalaya.

The Director Distribution MePDCL, Shillong in a statement issued today has informed that in view of the Power Regulations by PGCIL, and considering the low water level of Umiam reservoir, MePDCL is bound to impose load shedding to its consumers throughout the state of Meghalaya from 00:00 hrs of 14/02/2021 on a rotational basis, until further notice.

The details of the load shedding area-wise will be intimated subsequently, the statement stated further.

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Red bus allegedly exploiting passengers in Meghalaya

Raising concerns about the plight of people in Meghalaya, the Civil Society Women's Organization (CSWO) President Agnes Kharshiing alleged that Red bus, funded through Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), Asian Development Bank (ADB), are now exploiting the passengers in the state.

The organization had also pinpointed the fact that it is the duty Government of Meghalaya to provide transport to the citizens of the state and ensure their safety.

“We were informed that now Red bus, funded through JNNURM, ADB, are now exploiting the people. Today ML O1 7392- a red bus charged 20/- per passenger from Madanryting to Laitumkhrah. The Bus was full yet people had to pay 20/- per passenger and provided no receipts even when the public asks.  Govt has to streamline the transport so that the public is not on the receiving end. Transporters who signed an agreement with Govt, should not exploit the citizens and Govt has to ensure that people are not to suffer,” said Agnes Kharshiing in a press statement.

She further claimed that three days back, they were informed that a patient who was suffering and looking for medicine in Pynursla was stopped and checked by some who are not allowing them to travel in a private vehicle.

“This is a clear violation of the fundamental right of a person and govt cannot promote such actions of criminal violence provoking threats and should ensure safety and security for the people of the State,” Agnes added.

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At least six persons reportedly died in illegal mining accident in M'laya

In an unfortunate incident, at least six persons reportedly died in a major illegal mining accident last evening in the hills adjoining Deinshalalu, East Jaintia Hills (EJH), a few Kms from the Lad Rymbai junction.

The incident and number of dead were confirmed by the Deputy Commissioner (DC) of EJH, E. Kharmalki.

Speaking to the Highland Post he said that all the six bodies have been recovered and that a team of officials under a magistrate have reached the spot where an inquest will be conducted.

“The bodies were recovered from a shallow pit of mud,” he said.

He said that an official statement could be issued only after the inquest.

Meanwhile, local sources informed HP that the incident happened when the crane that was being used to dig up the ground broke loose and smashed into the ground.

It is said that the illegal mining operation was being done to either clear up an abandoned mine or dig a new one.

Details are awaited.

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Assam organizations likely to block all routes going into Garo Hills in M'laya from Oct 29

TURA: As many as 40 organisations from Assam have threatened to block all routes going into Garo Hills in Meghalaya from October 29 after the stalemate in discussions over allowing entry to Assam traders and businessmen.

The organisations include -- All Assam Students' Union (AASU), All Bodo Students Union (ABSU), All Moran Students Union (AMSU) and other trade associations.

The organisations, which met this week at Krishnai in Goalpara district of Assam, have promised to block all routes if the two states fail to hold discussions and ease restrictions imposed by the state of Meghalaya on traders and businessmen from Assam due to the scare of the pandemic.

“When the entire country has opened up for trade and movement, why is Meghalaya still making special restrictions? The MHA (Ministry of Home Affairs) has very strictly directed states not to impose restrictions on trading and movement of people, so why is the Meghalaya government adamant?” asked the organisations.

The organisations added that the restrictions imposed were only on residents from Assam and outside. However, there were no such restrictions in place for residents of Meghalaya to travel through Assam.

“It is unfair that they can come and we can’t go. If they want to impose a ban on entry, their residents should also not enter the state of Assam. We will stop all vehicular movement from Meghalaya coming into Assam between Daranggre and Agia (limited to Goalpara district for now),” said the organisations.

The organisations stated that the restrictions imposed by Meghalaya have hit small businessmen between the two states and given rise to a new wave of middlemen, who take goods from Assam and sell in Meghalaya for a much higher price.

“The common man in both states is suffering due to these restrictions. You can feel it in the skyrocketing prices in Meghalaya for common goods. Here the tourist vehicle industry has been hit along with traders who have shops in Meghalaya but have not been able to run their shops as they are denied entry. How will the government compensate these losses?” they asked.

The organisations had earlier threatened a complete block in the route but had not done so due to the Durga Puja festival.

This time, we are determined to make good on the promise and stop all Meghalaya vehicles from coming into Assam through Goalpara district, the organisations threatened.

They had also met the Goalpara district administration with their grievances and had been assured of a common ground being worked on.

However, until now, this assurance has not borne fruit.

The district shares a long boundary with Garo Hills with all entry roads to the region having to go through Goalpara.

Inputs: The Northeast Today

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M’laya Cyber Crime Police registers criminal case against United Bangal Liberation Army

Shillong: A criminal case has been registered against the United Bangal Liberation Army for criminal conspiracy, for a threat to wage conflict against the local populace of Meghalaya and for criminal intimidation against the Chief Minister of Meghalaya.

As per a Government notification, the criminal case was registered at the Cyber Crime Police Station, Meghalaya and investigation of the case are ensuing.

Meanwhile, Meghalaya Police once again appeals to all the concerned citizens to kindly refrain from inciting a breach of communal peace and harmony.

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Boundary Dispute Between Assam & M’laya: Sanbor Shullai writes to Home Minister

Shillong: BJP legislator in Meghalaya, Sanbor Shullai has sought the Centre’s intervention for resolving the long-pending boundary dispute between Assam and Meghalaya.

In a letter to the Union home minister, Amit Shah on Friday, Shullai said, “As per the decision taken by the Centre to resolve all the pending border disputes among the Northeastern states by 2021, I would like to seek the Central government intervention in resolving long-pending boundary dispute between Assam and Meghalaya.”

He said the people in the unsettled border areas are facing several difficulties as developmental activities cannot be carried out due to the dispute in the region.

“The people of Meghalaya are a peace-loving community. The effects of boundary disputes spill into the rest of the state affecting the lives of people all over and also disrupt communal harmony,” Shullai said.

Lauding the NDA-led government’s commitment to end disputes in the region, the MLA termed the decision to resolve the boundary disputes among the Northeastern states by 2021 as a “noble thought and gesture and one that we are highly grateful for.”

Stating that such an act of the government will help boost the morale of the party workers all across the region, Shullai said, ” this will also help us strengthen our party base, and future consolidates our presence. Such a move will go down in the history of the region besides giving confidence to the people of this region in our party and governance.”

Inputs: Shillong Today

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Coal Mining Racket Case: Activist Agnes Kharshiing withdraws petition demanding SC’s intervention

Supreme Court allows Agnes to raise coal-mining racket issue before NGT

Shillong: Activist and CSWO President Agnes Kharshiing withdraw the petition demanding the intervention of the SC in the investigation of the coal mining racket after the SC ordered to wait for the Green Tribunal's investigation report in the same.

However, in an order passed on October 14, the bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy and M R Shah dismissed the writ petition following the plea by Kharshiing’s lawyer Colin Gonsalves to raise the matter before the National Green Tribunal (NGT).

Agnes was represented by Colin Gonsalves who on her behalf withdrawn the petition and agreed to re draft a petition for a proper inquiry to NGT.

“Learned counsel for the petitioner seeks to leave to withdraw the writ petition to enable him to raise appropriate grievances before the National Green Tribunal where the matter is pending for consideration. The writ petition is dismissed as withdrawn with aforesaid liberty,” the Supreme Court said in its order.

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