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1. How do you plan to carry out research in Northeast India?

Right now we are doing a lot of research on botanical prospects; especially on traditional medicine system and also planning to make documentation programme on it. We will bring our team where there will be proper scientists, researchers and experts who will work on it, so that the traditional work can be given a scientific touch and it becomes established. This will be our effort and whatever we can do we will do for it.

2. Have you visited North East India before?

I have come to Northeast several times but this is the first time that I have visited Shillong. We have done several works in Northeast especially in Assam, Manipur and planning to start here in Shillong too.

3. Are you planning to bring up a factory?

No, we will not be establishing a factory here but we will be making maximum usage of the available raw material, crafts and accordingly we can plan it out. We have planted a big unit in Tezpur. We can take raw materials from here and work on it there. We will train people from here only and establish them.

4. What is your view on Organic Farming?

Today, a new trend is being followed that is “Organic”. I would like to call it as “Fashion”. I would like to apologise for it, but they are just hybrid crops where there is no yield, no proteins, no nutrients. Just because we have not added any insecticides or pesticides it is not appropriate to call it Organic.The traditional seeds which have nutrients in it should not be named as Organic food but be named as Medicinal food. This food should reach the whole world. I do support organic farming but there is a misconception about organic farming. We work on the traditional and original way of organic farming, where there is no fertilised seeds and work on the medicinal point of view.

5. How will you make the utmost use of the resources available in Northeast India?

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The evolution of the Chakma Autonomous District Council (C.A.D.C.) can be regarded as the opening of political Pandora box in the political situation of Mizoram. The issue has been propagated in different dimensions by certain political parties, civil societies and even the law-makers. The issue has been so tense and problematic because Chakmas are regarded as outsiders but Autonomous District Council has been created for the so-called outsiders with the trifurcation of the Pawi-Lakher Regional Council (P.L.R.C.) in 1972. It is an undeniable fact to admit that the original home of the Chakmas is Chittagong in Bangladesh and Chakma kingdom also flourished there since pre-British period. Chakmas appeared for the first time in Lushai Hills when the British authority engaged some Chakmas as Labour Corps with the permission of Chakma Queen, Kalindi Rani in the Lushai Expedition of 1871-1872, however, those Chakmas returned to Chittagong after the expedition. Thus, the Chakmas’ official association with Lushai Hills began in 1892 because of the transfer of some Chakma villages nearby Dimagiri from Chittagong administration to South Lushai Hills by the order of Sir Charles Elliot, Lieutenant Governor of Bengal but those Chakmas who were allowed to settle in South Lushai Hills were charged foreigner tax of Rupees Five per year. During that time, Chakma settlement was not found in Uiphum Tlangdung (Present CADC area) because Uiphum Tlangdung was the ancestral land of the Tlanglau and they ruled over the whole hill tracts. Other than the Tlanglau chiefs, there were also some chiefs from Bawm and Pang in the area. The geographical area of the present C.A.D.C. area was administered by the Tlanglau, Bawm and Pang chiefs since pre-British period and was known as Uiphum Tlangdung which means Uiphum Hill Range. The first Chakma migration in the Uiphum Tlangdung was recognized in 1905 and they were employed in the paddy field as workers by the Tlanglau chiefs. Chakma ’s population and influx from across the border increased at faster rate which led to the domination of the present C.A.D.C. area by the Chakmas. As a matter of fact, the Chakma Regional Council later on the Chakma Autonomous District Council (C.A.D.C.) surprisingly emerged as a result of the trifurcation of the Pawi-Lakher Regional Council (PLRC) in 1972 along with the creation and declaration of the Union Territory of Mizoram.

2. Status of the Chakmas in pre-independent era

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Meghalaya yet to be Developed

The concept and round development is yet to be developed in Meghalaya, the land of Abode of Clouds, the promise land of empty promises. This year 2017, is the pre election year to the legislative assembly, in which the Congress led coalition Government has pronounced achievement in the development field, which to the naked eye, there is much more of a barren land than any fruits of achievements. The age of bullock carts has gone past, replaced by faster modes of transport. But where are the roads to connect specially the agricultural lands with the market centres, to serve the economic cause, which is most essential. In most places, farmers have to trek with their head-loads of agricultural produce to the nearest road stoppage. Most of the agricultural produce are perishable and it becomes a nightmare for the poor farmers to make both ends meet. Transportation has therefore become a big problem for the producers of food, which should have been given a priority.

The State Government has however claimed, that development of road infrastructure and providing village connectivity, is one of the main thrust areas, under which 110 crore rupees have been sanctioned this year. While in the Garo Hills, along national highway 62, a number of wooden bridges have been washed away, because of heavy rains flooding the Simsang river. About 600 villages are affected, as communications have been snapped. For all these years, why wooden bridges are not replaced by cement bridges. So this is the plight of road communication. In many of the villages, people have to come out for “Self – help” road repair and construction.

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Is SRI SRI RAVI SHANKAR really serious about breaking peace in NORTHEAST?

Is Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the founder of the Art of Living Foundation, really serious resolving the arm conflict prevailing in the Northeast region and particularly in the restive state of Manipur? This query gains significance after the spiritual leader chaired a session of the North East Indigenous People’s conference held in Guwahati’s Plush Hotel attended by representatives of cross section of Northeast based civil society bodies, student bodies, human rights activists and former armed insurgents with the general secretary of the pro-talks faction of the United Liberation Front of Assam, Anup Chetia playing a major role.

In a press conference held in Manipur in April 2016 on his second visit to the state, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar breaking away from the stereo type of blaming unemployment as the core factor for the insurgency and went on to say, that he admired the insurgents for their sacrifice and saluted them for their commitment to the cause.

“It is tapasya, it is sacrifice. I appreciate them and they need to be saluted for their bravery. I would like them to come forward and sit with me and work out the modalities for peace. Being an insurgent, fighting in the jungle for what he/she believes in speaks volumes about the leadership and commitment of the Manipuri youth. They are intelligent, spiritual, good hearted, extremely talented, and strong. They essentially want sovereignty to see the people prosper and be happy” said the globe icon of peace.

The Gurudev, as his followers fondly call him, asserted categorically that he is the right candidate to mediate as he understands the insurgents’ aspirations and sincerely wants to work for peace in Manipur.

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Despite stir for handing over the investigation of TV journalist Shantanu Bhowmik (28) murder case, Tripura Government constituted a fivemember Special Investigative Team (SIT) headed by Inspector General (IG) TSR and Training G S Rao.

Shantanu was murdered by unknown miscreants during a clash between CPI-M and tribal based Indigenous Peoples’ Front of Tripura (IPFT) supporters at Mandwi in Jirania subdivision on September 20 last in a mysterious circumstance that triggered uproar over the incident. Except ruling CPI-M and Agartala Press Club, all other political parties and Working Journalists organisations opposed SIT and demanded CBI probe while Congress asked for judicial enquiry by a sitting high court judge.

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