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Meghalaya: Has Sohan’s death buried the Pandora’s box with him?

From Our Correspondent

Tura, Feb 24, 2018

While the entire state now heaves a sigh of relief after the encounter killing of the commander in chief of the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA), Sohan D Shira, questions are now being raised on the incident as well as the crime scene which according to some may have been tampered with.

“The scene of the encounter seems to have been tampered with as in one photo of Sohan’s gun, two plastics bags are visible and in another, the same has been removed,” said Agnes Kharshiing, president of CSWO.

ALSO READ: Final nail on GNLA’s coffin? GNLA chief Sohan D Shira killed in encounter

Meghalaya: Shillongites extend helping hand to Kerala flood victims without govt aid

 

By SHWETA RAJ KANWAR | August 21, 2018

Late July witnessed severe flooding in the state of Kerala due to unusually high rainfall. Kerala’s worst floods in nearly a century has left more than 350 people dead within a fortnight, while more than 82,400 people have been rescued, mainly from Chengannur, Pandanad, Aranmula, Aluva, Chalakkudi, Kuttanad and with all 14 districts of the state placed on high alert.

While the government from most states of Northeast India have announced funds for assistance to Kerala flood victims, Meghalaya is yet to make any announcement due to reported fund crunch.

However civil societies and organizations in Meghalaya are working in their own individual capacities to help their fellow brethren in Kerala.

MOX – Movement of Expression in Shillong are hosting a Friendship Jam this Saturday at Mellow Mood Cafe in Shillong. This will be an evening full of music and the proceedings from the event will go directly to the Chief Ministers Fund in Kerala.

Speaking to TNT- The Northeast Today, founder of MOX – Movement of Expression, Mrinal Paul informed that the people can donate any amount of money at the event and the proceedings will be directly transferred to the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund while adding, “The people need not be apprehensive about the fact that their contributions may not reach the source. We will ensure that it does”.

Movement Of Expression abbreviated as MOX was founded by Mrinal Paul, an alumnus of St. Anthony’s College, Shillong, Meghalaya with an aim to connect, create and converge various talented youth and provide them a platform to showcase and highlight their talents.

Another organization called Spread the Love-Shillong is doing its part in helping Kerala in flood relief operations.

Speaking to TNT in this regard, founder of Spread the Love -Shillong Dr. Mansankara Jyrwa informed, “Since it will not be very practical to send material itemds from Shillong to Kerala, we are looking mainly at collection of funds to help them with their necessities. Right now we are collecting only accepting donations in the form of money from Shillong and we are channelising it through the Bethel Ag Church in Bangalore. And if need arises, I myself with the team of doctors will go down to Kerala and help the victims there from the medical point of view”.

Spread the Love -Shillong was started a year ago in Shillong and comprises of a group of doctors, teachers and social workers. They have conducted various dental health camps in and around Shillong as part of their initiative.

He also informed that a Press Conference will be held tomorrow to apprise people of the situation and to seek aid from them. the venue and time is yet to be known and will be updated soon.

The members of Sree Narayana Guru Cultural Centre (SNGCC), Shillong have also requested anybody from Meghalaya, who is affected by the floods in Kerala to contact the following numbers for any assistance. 9436101241, 9436103472, 8129868499 (KN Babu, Chalakkudi), 9490753656 (Mohan Kumar, Vishakapatnam). This is aimed at ensuring that people from Meghalaya get a helping hand.

Eflu Shillong also organized a fund raising campaign for Kerala floods and the amount collected has already been sent to the destination.

It may be cautioned that a fake bank account attempting to collect funds in the name of Kerala Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund has been busted recently. The fraudulent account with number 20025290179, claiming to be the bank based from Trivandrum has been shared widely on social media.

It may be recalled that Manipur has donated a sum of Rs 2 crores as relief funds to the flooded-affected state of Kerala, Arunachal Pradesh has announced Rs 3 crore as immediate assistance, Tripura Government has decided to donate Rs 1 crore financial assistance, Nagaland has announced Rs. 1 crore flood relief and Assam government donated Rs 3 crore financial assistance for the relief activities in flood-ravaged state of Kerala.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Tuesday announced that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has extended Rs. 700 crore as financial assistance to rebuild the flood-ravaged state.

Our source at ground have also informed us that the relief operations in Kerala are in full swing and the water is gradually receding. However, there is great need of funds for buying clothes, sanitary napkins, medicines, clean water facilities

The safest and preferred method of aid right now would be to deposit any amount directly to the Kerala  Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund. The donations are exempted from income tax as well as Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, 2010.

Contribution can be made directly by going to donation.cmdrf.kerala.gov.in. Once the transaction is successful, you will get a payment success notification on the display as well as on your email address. This includes a certificate from the principal secretary (finance) as well as a 100 per cent tax exemption certificate.

In case you plan to send to mail a cheque/DD, you can address it to

The Principal Secretary (Finance) Treasurer,
Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund,
Secretariat,
Thiruvananthapuram – 695001

If you choose to donate online, account details are as follows:

Account number: 67319948232
Bank: State Bank of India
Branch: City branch, Thiruvananthapuram
IFS Code: SBIN0070028
PAN: AAAGD0584M
Name of Donee: CMDRF

Those wishing to donate can also use the digital wallet PayTM to contribute to the fund. An icon on the home screen will guide you to the payments page. Additionally, users can use the link m.p-y.tm/Kerala-CMDRF. No additional charges are applicable. A QR code is also available for those who wish to use

(NOTE– Do you know know of anybody who is willing to donate or are accumulating funds for Kerala flood relief? Get in touch with us so we can help you spread the word)


You can get in touch with us at shweta@thenortheasttoday.com and web@thenortheasttoday.com

A ‘Grand Old’ Unison- Rahul Gandhi wins hearts across generations!

TNT Desk | February 21, 2018

He might seemingly strike a cord with the youth across India but it does not just end there because the old are not far behind. And for someone who has had a special connection with the Gandhi family, Rahul Gandhi’s visit to Meghalaya on February 21 was something that could not be missed at any cost!

The lively lady in her nineties eagerly awaited the arrival of the man who is now the face of the oldest national political party but the irony is that he himself is not too old.  Rahul Gandhi may personally not have a very strong connection with Peggy Martin but the lady shares a three generation bond with his family!

From Jawaharlal Nehru to Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and now Rahul Gandhi, Peggy who was a former nurse has met them all.

It may be mentioned that Rahul was in Shillong today to take part in the campaign in poll bound Meghalaya which is scheduled to vote on February 27. And when he learnt about Peggy, he could not help but ask to specially meet her on his visit. In an adorable gesture, he also reportedly enquired about her favourite pastries so he could give them to her. After all, how could he not uphold the three generation bond between the Gandhis and Peggy!

That look on Peggy’s face when Rahul Gandhi opens up her favourite pastry box!

Talking about Peggy Martin, an Anglo-Indian, she initially worked as a nurse in Delhi whereby she met Jawaharlal Nehru in 1962 when the first Prime Minister of Independent India addressed nurses following the Sino-Indian war. It was learnt that she later took up an assignment with the Tripura Royal Family which perfectly explains the strong bond shared between her and the royal scion Pradyot Manikya Deb Burman.

Nine years later in 1971, she met Indira Gandhi, the period before Tripura became a state. This happened when Peggy accompanied the then queen of Tripura Bibhu Kumari Devi, wife of Kirit Bikram Manikya for the meeting.

And again after 18 years in 1989, the royal couple of Tripura met Rajiv Gandhi along with Peggy as an essential member of the family.  And then again, after 28 years in 2017, she has met the Gandhi scion with the Royal Tripura Scion ofcourse!

The lady in her nineties is the life of Tripura Castle situated in Cleve Colony, Shillong. Though aged and fragile, her chatter echoes through the walls of the castle which otherwise held a silent inhibition a few months ago when she was taken seriously ill in 2017. Nursed back to health by Pradyot, Peggy holds him dear to heart and is busy preparing fish curry for him while we sit in the castle learning about her life.

The scene could almost be captured forever in the eyes of those present to witness the unison of the Grand Old Party leader and the Grand Old Party Supporter.

Sometimes, it’s not just about politics – often it is also about a connection, one that pulls certain strings and strikes a cord between certain people that help them fulfill aspirations, however small they may seem, that brings a smile on the faces of many. As Meghalaya goes to polls on Tuesday, whichever party may win or lose, at least one small wish has been fulfilled

Smiling with sparkling eyes, Peggy gracefully leaves the room to check on her fish curry, closing the door behind her!

Did Shillong miss ‘Smart City’ tag yet again?

Shillong News Desk | Shillong | February 22, 2018

As Meghalaya and Nagaland gears up for Assembly elections 2018 on February 27, the last leg of rallies and campaigns are in full swing. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is on a visit to Nagaland and Meghalaya today.

During his visit in the Tuensang district of Nagaland, the PM spoke about the govt’s smart city programme.

He said, “Centre will step forward to spend Rs 1,800 crore to develop Kohima as a smart city”, while adding, “The eight cities of the Northeastern region selected as Smart Cities are: Guwahati (Assam), Imphal (Manipur), Agartala (Tripura), Kohima (Nagaland), Aizawl (Mizoram), Pasighat (Arunachal Pradesh), Gangtok and Namchi (both Sikkim).”

This unique solution from Shillong is solving attendance problem across Northeast India!

By SHWETA RAJ KANWAR | April 2, 2018

In this busy and fast paced world, where each and every person is busy in some form of a rat race, it becomes difficult for parents to keep a check on their children while coping with their own tasks. However the advancement in technology accompanied with a dash of innovation promises to make things easier for them. Here is how!

With increasing difficulty faced by parents in keeping a tab of their children’s attendance in school, a Shillongite, Polok Das came up with the idea of Auto Attendance System. This was introduced in the School Attendance System in Northeast India’s Shillong and since 2012 many Schools in Meghalaya have been using this Solution.

Stemming its roots from Meghalaya, they now offer their services to many schools located in Guwahati,  Tura, Tripura, Shillong and Tinsukia in entire north east India.  They are now looking forward to business presence in Dimapur, Imphal and Itanagar as well.

Speaking to TNT- The Northeast Today, the initiator of this solution in Northeast India said that upon realizing the huge technological gap between Northeast and mainland India, he decided to go ahead and bridge it. Also, given the fact that bio-metric devices have become outdated, this technology was introduced.

This system is more advanced as compared to biometric device and there is no need for card swapping ( like ATM) or Thumb Impression.

The Hardware Equipments’ ( 1 machines for every 250 Nos Students), school attendance software with Basic School ERP, SMSes , necessary cabling are provided free of cost to the Schools. Charges only applied for service on yearly basis whereas all hardware and identity cards are free of cost.

“With this system, teachers do not need to take any manual roll call in the class room or do any calculations to find out the percentage of absentees every month. The system automatically generates these with the help of attendance software.

In this system RFID readers will be installed in the schools premises and after the morning assembly students will show their ID cards to the device and attendance will be taken within 5 minutes of time irrespective of any number of student’s strength in the school.  The students who are absent their parents will receive an SMS in their registered mobile number which the system will send by itself. Students who try to bunk classes or inform parents having extra classes school can send bulk SMS to their parents if there is no such extra classes are conducted by the school at any point of time.

These RFID cards can be used as student’s and staffs school Identity Card too apart from taking their attendance in the school. They also provide ID card printing service free of cost. Moreover, the School does not need any external vendor for student’s ordinary Identity Card printing where the school generally spends Rs 80 to Rs 150 per student per year.

“We will provide the identity card for free along with printed lanyards and card holders, SMSes attendance software with basic School ERP software ( off-line)”, he said. Also a certain % age of profit is given to financially weak students as a scholarship every year.

To make things more convenient for the users, a guarantee of service facility within 24-hrs is also provided by them in any state of India. Hence, through this venture of theirs, they are also providing employment employment opportunities to many in cities.

The software performs the following functions:

Masters:

The student Master containing the complete data of the students with Roll no, Name, address, photo, Std, Div, Parents Details etc. The fields can be added or removed as per our requirement as per General Register

-Subject Master

-Standard and Div. master

-Teacher and Class Teacher Master

-Time Table Master

– Any other masters can be added as per special requirement.

Transactions:
The online attendance transactions would be handled by the software without any propagation delay
-Time In

-Time Out

-Special Time In (Late coming)

-Data maintenance for the whole academic year.

Reports:
The reports can be filtered by following fields:

*Name

*Roll No

*Standard

*Division

*Between dates

The Reports will be as follows:

-Presenters Reports

-Absenteeism Reports

-Late coming Reports

-Percentage Attendance Reports

-Class wise Reports

-Division Wise Reports

-Student wise reports

-From date – To Date Reports

-Weekly Reports

-Monthly Reports

-Half Yearly Reports

-Yearly Reports.

-SMS
-Absenteeism SMS : In case the student remains absent for the day, the system is capable of sending alert SMS automatically to the parent the (“Your Child Name “Krutika” Std=IX Div= A is Absent for the day”,Balvikas Mandir,  ) so as to keep informed regarding the day’s absenteeism of the child.

-Special SMS:  If in case any special message to be passed on to a specific parent, a special SMS can be sent to the specific parent e.g. “Your Child Name Krutika is not keeping well plz collect her immediately” Balvikas Mandir,

-Marks SMS

*The marks also can be SMS’ed to the parent while mark sheets are printed simultaneously. e.g.( Krutika Sem1 Marks Marathi=55,English=45,Hindi=67, EVS=56,Wexp=56)

-Marksheet Printing : The mark sheet also can be printed from the systems for all classes. Here teachers only have to enter the marks and all totaling, Grading all done by system. And gives marksheet in printable format

 

Any other reports can be added as per requirement of the customer. As having In-House Development system, the software can be made as per requirement.

With a great success rate so far, this technology is surely going a long way in solving the nitty-gritty issues of managing the students which will in turn help in diverting the focus on better education in many schools not only in Northeast India, but also in the entire country.

You can visit their Youtube link for the demo here-

They can be reached at  + 91 7303148539

www.autoattendancesystem.com

Schools using the system since 2013 :

SHILLONG

Shillong Public School
Hill Crest Hr Sec School
Dainty buds.
Hill view secondary school.
Govt girls hr sec school.
P.N choudhury hr sec school
St Jeromes Hr sec school
ST claret Hr Sec School
MPPS
JAIL road Boys’ Hr sec School
K.C secondary School .
Among others

NONGPOH 

OASIS English Secondary School
GUWAHATI
GODWINS English School
GODWINS School

NORTH TRIPURA

SIKSHA bhavan Monteswari School

In TURA, schools have started incorporating this system from this year onwards

TURA Public School
Mount Sinai Secondary School
LEADS Tura


The writer can be reached at shwetarajkanwar@gmail.com & shweta@thenortheasttoday.com

First Indian band to perform at Central America’s Belize Jazz Festival- 4th Element

 

TNT EXCLUSIVE | Shillong, July

By Rachel Syiemlieh

Shillong-based 4th Element has been around long enough to be right up there in the list of music pioneers in the city. An ensemble formed in the capital city of Shillong in 2007, 4th Element juxtaposes elements of jazz, funk, soul and RnB to create a contemporary, eclectic brand of music. The band has lived to actually witness Shillong’s musical growth itself, having celebrated its 10th anniversary last year and still shows no signs of slowing down, having recently been the only Indian band to ever play at the Belize International Jazz Festival in Central America. TNT – The Northeast Today speaks to band front-man and keyboardist Ribor MB, who has also played with renowned bands, Mojo and Soulmate, to discuss its decade-old music, Shillong’s growing music scene and their Carribean experience at the Belize International Jazz Festival.

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TNT: We know the band name ‘4th Element’ has nothing to do with the classical elements – earth, wind, water, fire. Mind telling us where it’s derived from?

RM: The music of 4th Element is based on the elements of Funk, Jazz, R’n’B and Soul.

TNT: You guys have been around since 2007. In what ways have the music and the audience in Meghalaya changed in the last decade?

RM: When the band started, the music of 4th Element was a new experience altogether, and the audience were kind of surprised to hear this kind of music. It didn’t take much time for this kind of music to be accepted here in Shillong and over the years the band has also influenced younger musicians to try and play this kind of music. We see a whole lot of variety of music being played and performed in Shillong now. The music scene in Shillong is definitely better.

TNT: Do you remember the first few records that had a lasting impression on you guys as a band?

RM: There are too many to name but here are a few:

Joe Sample, Lalh Hatahaway, Randy Crawford, The Crusaders, Earth, wind and fire, Incognito, Brian Culberston , Mezzoforte, Quincy Jones, James Taylor quartet…

TNT: The band has seen notable line-up changes over the years, the latest of which is vocalist, Sara Lee. Are we going to see her back any time soon?

RB: The band is like a football team, if one of the members is not free then a substitute is needed to fill in and the show must go on. Yes we’ve had a lot of session musicians who’ve played with us, over the years.  Sarah Lee is still very much associated with band, as the album in which she sang will be out soon by the end of the year. She will be featured in some upcoming shows as well; we wish her luck and success for her projects as a solo act.

TNT: Amabel Susngi has since joined the band and together you guys performed at the Belize International Jazz Festival in Central America. Tell us about the grand Caribbean experience.

RB: Amabel joined the band in March 2017 and we’ve done a couple of shows with her in Shillong, New Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Sikkim and the most recent The International Jazz Festival in Belize and a pub gig in Mexico as well.

The band had to travel four days to get to Belize and the moment we stepped foot in Belize we fell in love with this beautiful Caribbean country. 4th Element was really honoured to share the stage with incredible musicians from around the world.  The festival was a big success as well as for the band, as our music was highly appreciated by the audience and fellow musicians. The organisers of the festival have already hinted that they want 4th Element back next year.

TNT: This is the first time the festival has featured a band from India. How does that feel?

RB: Honoured! To be the first band from India to perform not just at The Belize International Jazz Festival but also the first band from India in Belize itself.

TNT: You guys have played in a number of festivals across the globe. Tell us about your most memorable performance.

RB: Every where we’ve played has its own special memories and experience. The people – musicians and the audience we’ve met will always have a place in our memories.  Meeting, and seeing musicians from all over the world perform has inspired us towards better aims and goals as musicians and as a band. We look forward to more festivals in the coming years

TNT: Khasi culture has a strong historical connection with music. Does it reflect the prominence of music in the region?

RB: It depends what kind of music you’re talking about but we do see nowadays that a lot of youngsters are trying to get back to singing the old Khasi folk traditional songs and also picking up indigenous instruments. This is a good sign as this will help in preserving the Khasi culture especially in the music context.

TNT: Shillong’s music scene is making strides – improving by the day. Will we see Fourth Element collaborating with local artists any time soon?

RB: No doubt the music scene is getting better. In the past the band had collaborated with a few local artists and we are always open to do the same in the future.

TNT: Tell us about your current projects. What is the band up to at the moment? Any gigs we need to mark on our calendars?

RB: A few shows are lined up for July, August and September in Delhi, Chandigarh and Guwahati as well as Shillong. The final stage for the album is also under the process and we hope to release this as soon as it’s ready.

Thank you for giving us your time. We look forward to more talks with you.

The interviewer can be reached at rachelsyiemlieh18@gmail.com


 

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