In the name of upholding the fundamental rights of citizens, Meghalaya High Court has violated the zone of personal autonomy,” said senior journalist Sukumar Muralidharan in an interactive session on “Free speech and right to know: the media in time of conflict”, organised by the Thma U Rangli Juki and the Shillong Press Club last weeks, says a report in The Shillong Times. He said that journalists in the state should take a united stand against the order banning the media from giving publicity to any bandh call in Meghalaya. ‘If they are silent then there will be many such orders in the near future which will make the situation extremely difficult for mediapersons to perform their duties.”
Muralidharan also stated that the court order was violating the personal autonomy of citizens and would not stand the test of public scrutiny. He also felt that the general public should be allowed to make their own choices on how to respond to any bandh called by any organisation. “If the Hynniewtrep Liberation National Council calls a bandh, can the media suppress the fact that the outfit, though banned, has called a bandh? People can make an informed choice. It is not the job of the media to help the public to decide on how to respond to a bandh call. The job of the media is to report an issue. Let the general public make up its mind,” Muralidharan said.
The Tripura government has sent a proposal to the Union ministry of forest and environment seeking its support to establish two elephant conservation reserves at Atharamura (Dhalai district) and Gandhari (Gomati district), both considered natural jumbo habitations, according to a report in the Guwahati-based Assam Tribune. State forest minister Naresh Jamatia said that “this will provide direct economic benefit to the people living on forest wealth through alternative livelihood income generation programmes”.
AK Gupta, chief wildlife warden, said there would be no exodus of people living in any of the proposed elephant conservation reserve areas. Under the plan, the department would go for a massive plantation drive and create sufficient water bodies, adding that once implemented, jumbos would be able to use traditional migration routes without harming human habitations. In the first phase, Rs 10 crore would be required.
Last week, Manipur chief minster Ibobi Singh inaugurated the Manipur Directorate of Health Services’ new directorate building with an Ayurveda, Yoga, Naturopathy, Unani, Sidha and Homoeopathy Hospital, a food-testing laboratory and a state family welfare training centre, says a report in the Imphal-based Sangai Express. The 50-bed integrated Ayush Hospital that comes under the Directorate of Ayush, government of Manipur, is located at Lamphelpat, near the Indian Council of Agricultural Research office complex.
Ayush has become an integral part of human life with the changing environment. Taking cogniszance of its importance, a separate Ayush directorate was set up by the state government last year. The chief minister said construction work was hampered by certain underground groups, but that now it was complete the people would surely benefit. Started in 2007-08 with an estimated cost of about Rs 6 crore by the Manipur Tribal Development Corporation, it finally cost nearly Rs 9 crore.