a note from me-- do care to read


all-- the loved ones

Around 15 years in Northeast India and still looking for what is the region. an enigma or a mirage. because every new place, there is a different issue and problem altogether. Am looking for friends who can help me in this journey. people who can tell me what is the road ahead. civil society does not impress me here. why cannot we do things there... why do we have to go outside the region. I came here after spending 25 odd years in delhi metropolis. was a bit difficult earlier but have come to terms. As businesses are sprouting up, there is hope and a  road ahead for progress.

hunter turns guide

Hunter turns guide for green teams in Namdapha
- Conservation foundation turns to Lisu tribesmen to save endangered species and generate awareness ROOPAK GOSWAMI

 The stealthy footsteps that once scoured forests to capture unsuspecting prey, now lead conservationists to rare species on the brink of extinction.
Akhi Nathany, a Lisu tribesman of Arunachal Pradesh, has traded his hunting gear for binoculars. The credit for the exchange goes to Nature Conservation Foundation, a Mysore-based group that aims to conserve wildlife in Arunachal Pradesh by involving tribal communities.
Nathany, now a gram panchayat member, is the main field co-ordinator of the foundation. The 55-year-old has donned the mantle of a guide, directing conservation teams with their camera-traps to even the most inaccessible of Namdapha National Park.
“People like him have unmatched knowledge of the terrain and landscape of the park. He will just find a way out of nowhere and navigate you to where you want to go. We just explain some features of the area we want to go to and show him some streams and other reference points on a map and he takes us there, without any trails or tracks. Without his help, it would have been impossible to conduct camera-trap surveys,” said Aparajita Datta, a scientist working with the foundation.
The organisation works primarily with the Lisu tribe that has settled on the fringes of the reserve forest. Several former hunters are engaged in the wildlife monitoring program which offers return benefits like medical support, training in healthcare and education, by supporting schools and teachers in the villages.
The park sprawls over an area of 1,985.23 square km on the international border between India and Myanmar, in Arunachal’s Changlang district.
Aparajita pointed out that as most of the work has to be done on foot, the teams need people to ferry rations and equipment.
“We need people to go back to get rations as they run out. Also, we place one trap in a particular location for 15 days, and then move on to new spots. But we would like to place the camera-traps simultaneously. As we have a limited number of traps at our disposal, some of the Lisus go back to retrieve the contraptions from earlier locations and bring them to the next spot,” she said.
A community protection force for the park has also been mooted. As many as 25 species of mammals, including 10 rare and endangered breeds like the clouded leopard, Asiatic black bear, Malayan sun bear and marbled cat, have been spotted here.
The organisation is also enlisting the help of the tribe to prepare an educational CD in Hindi for children in the state. “We will get a Nishi or Lisu narrator once the visuals, audio and script for the CD are put together,” she said.
Livelihood options for the Lisus have also been discussed. Leaders of the community have suggested starting a piggery to meet consumption and income needs.
“After much discussion, a plan has been worked out where beneficiaries will be identified and modalities framed accordingly. This will involve contributions from the community in the form of labour and manpower. Financial assistance for the piggery will be provided by the foundation as initial investments. Work will begin around September or October, after the monsoon,” Aparajita informed.
The foundation has also contacted organisations in Guwahati, Bangalore and New Delhi to promote indigenous Lisu handicrafts.
“Samples, pictures and product descriptions have been sent to two commercial enterprises as well as some entrepreneurs. The effort has yielded some supplementary income for a few families here. We have also granted financial support to a partner NGO near Namdapha to help set up a tribal handicrafts shop that will enable villagers to augment their income. We hope it will go a long way in generating awareness among local residents and tourists about the park. The shop is ready and will be open in time for the winter tourist traffic,” she said.


iim shillong business

IM Shillong Offers Recruitment Solutions

Institute resorts to video conferencing to ensure that its students do not lag behind in job offers

Roopak Goswami

Headhunters looking for fresh management graduates will no longer have the excuse of communication bottlenecks to leave out the region from their annual campus recruitment.

The country’s youngest IIM — the Rajiv Gandhi Indian Institute of Management in Shillong — is resorting to video conferencing to offset the problem of logistics and get placements for its students.

“We have the most tech-savvy campus among all the IIMs and are trying to utilise technology to its best (potential),” Arijit C. Majumdar, the chief of corporate relations and external affairs of IIM Shillong, told this correspondent.

Altogether 63 students are passing out this year and they will be interviewed by around 35 companies, including two from Singapore and Dubai.

Majumdar said 50 per cent of the companies would resort to video conferencing for recruitment.

The companies coming for campus recruitment are from diverse backgrounds like consulting, fast-moving consumer goods, information technology and logistics, he added.

Though many companies have started campus placements from educational institutions in the region — mainly in Guwahati — the number is still very low. An official in the administrative section of Gauhati University said officials from big companies often cite the distance between their headquarters and the Northeast as well as lack of “better hotels” as reasons for giving the region a miss.

IIM Shillong was set up with the vision of expanding and mobilising facilities for offering good quality management education and research in the region.

The decision of coming up with an IIM was unanimously taken by the ministry of human resource development along with the chief ministers of the northeastern states at a review meeting in Shillong in June, 2004. The institute started classes in 2008.

Mazumdar said the placement process would be over in the next 10 days. “We will not lag behind others when it comes to our students getting offers,” he added.

The director of IIM Shillong, Ashoke K. Dutta, said, “IIM Shillong has pioneered a number of initiatives to bring about closer interaction between the faculty, students and other stakeholders to enhance the quality of their experience during their two years of stay in Shillong.”

He said, “IIM Shillong has maintained the quality and standards which are hallmarks of an IIM. In addition, we have added special emphasis on sustainable development, ethical behaviour, values and concern for society.”

Shillong IIM offers a two-year post-graduate diploma in management programme. It is currently functioning from a temporary campus in the Mayurbhanj complex at Nongthymmai. Work will soon commence soon on a 120-acre site for the permanent campus at Mawdiangdiang, on the outskirts of Shillong.
(The Telegraph)
Gun on shoulder, computer in palm
- Worry over elephant accidents; digital support for Kaziranga
Kaziranga, April 7: If forest guards in Assam were thinking that holding PDA (personal digital assistant) like their counterparts were doing in Kanha is just a dream, they should forget that now.
Forest guards in three national parks of Assam — Kaziranga, Manas and Nameri — will soon be getting these latest gizmos.
PDA is a computer that fits into one's palm. These small computers are sometimes called palmtops and are a great way to store telephone numbers, email addresses, access the Internet, make calculations, keep a digital calendar and play games.
This was announced by Union forest and environment minister Jairam Ramesh in Kaziranga on April 5 during a dinner with newly recruited forest guards of whom many were women.
“In Kanha in Madhya Pradesh, forest guards are now using PDAs which help them get a layout of the entire forest right at their fingertips. There is no reason why forest guards in Assam should not get it,” Ramesh said at the meet.
Altogether 40 PDAs have been sanctioned for Kanha in 2009-10 fiscal.
Today’s PDA is very small in size, fits comfortably in a pocket and generally has good battery life which allows one to recharge the device at night or when in office.
Ramesh requested Assam forest minister Rockybul Hussain to provide the newly recruited forest guards and foresters with more facilities.
“Improve the service conditions of the guards who want to study more,” Ramesh told Hussain. Ramesh also asked Rajesh Gopal, member secretary of National Tiger Conservation Authority, to find out how these forest guards and foresters can be provided training at the Wildlife Institute of India.
Chayamoni Dasa, a newly recruited forest guard, told Ramesh that she would like to go for a course in wildlife management. “It is my duty to serve in any wildlife area despite the difficulties,” she said, leaving Ramesh impressed.
The Union minister said special care should be taken for the facilities for women in the camps in the wildlife areas. He was also impressed by the large number of women in the frontline staff and called for recruitment every year. There were lighter moments in the interaction, too, when he asked the women forest guards not to get married so that they could be in service for a long time.
Another forest guard also voiced concern on the growing encroachment and criminals taking shelter and called for upgrading the arms and equipment.
“You take one step forward, we will take two,” were Ramesh’s words of encouragement before he signed off.

Centre mulls eco-sensitive zone tag for Majuli

- Ramesh praises river island’s culture and bio-diversity, visits satra, pays homage to Sanjoy Ghose


Majuli, April 6: The World Heritage Site tag may take time to come, if ever, but the Centre is expected to declare this river island an eco-sensitive zone soon.

“The state government should send us a detailed proposal for declaring it an eco-sensitive zone,” Union minister for forests and environment Jairam Ramesh said today on his maiden visit to Asia’s largest inhabited river island. He said declaring Majuli an eco-sensitive zone would be the first step towards recognising its rich cultural heritage and bio-diversity.

“Majuli is known for its rich culture but its bio-diversity is also spectacular,” he said to cheers from the people who had assembled at Uttar Kamalabari satra to welcome him. “We will see that the declaration of eco-sensitive zone does not disturb the lifestyle and practices of the residents,” he added.

The minister’s assurance, in fact, came on a representation by local residents who wanted Majuli to be declared an eco-sensitive zone.

State forest minister Rockybul Hussain, who accompanied Ramesh, said the government would discuss the matter with different departments to take the process forward.

An important component of an eco-sensitive zone is that development activities are regulated within an area of at least 10km. A notification issued in 1996 had declared an area of 15 square km around Numaligarh Refinery as a “no development zone” in order to limit the pollution level. Quarrying and mining are also restricted in an eco-sensitive zone.

Ramesh said he would request Bombay Natural History Society to conduct a comprehensive study on the avian bio-diversity of the area.

“It is a unique eco-system like Kaziranga and hence needs to be protected,” he said. The 13th Finance Commission has granted Rs 5 crore for preserving the rich cultural heritage of the area. The minister had on Sunday announced a Rs 50-crore package for the protection and development of Majuli.

Ramesh, who had visited Sunderbans in January, said, “Both are fantastic. The only difference is the high river level in Majuli.”

The minister was moved by the cultural items presented to him at the Uttar Kamalabari satra and impressed by the manuscripts shown to him. Satradhikar Janardan Deva Goswami apprised him of the daily life and activities of the satra in Hindi.

Ramesh also inaugurated a tourist centre built at a cost of Rs 2 crore at Kamalabari.

Majuli is the principal place of pilgrimage for Vaishnavites in the state since Sankardev started preaching Vaishnavism from the island in the 16th century. There are several satras of Vaishnava creed on the island. Of these holy seats, Auniati, Dakhinpat, Garmur and Uttar Kamalabari are the most prominent.

At present, there are 22 satras in Majuli. Others had to move out to the mainland under the onslaught of the Brahmaputra, which, ironically, cradles the island.

Attempts have been made to get the Unesco to declare Majuli as a world heritage site, but so far these have not borne fruit. After losing the battle in 2006, the Centre re-nominated Majuli for inscription in the World Heritage Site List in 2008.

Ramesh said his visit was also a small mark of respect to social activist and environmentalist Sanjoy Ghose, who had set up the NGO Avard NE on the island to mitigate its problem of floods. Ghose was killed by Ulfa in 1997 and his body, according to the CBI chargesheet, was chopped and dumped into the very river he was trying to tame, not long after he had set foot on the island.