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NE Dispatch: West Bengal Top Defaulter in Verifying NRC Documents; NE Gets Medical Varsities

NE Dispatch: West Bengal Top Defaulter in Verifying NRC Documents; NE Gets Medical Varsities

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee. Credit: PTI

Assam: West Bengal tops the list of states that failed to verify on time the applicants’ documents sent by NRC authorities

After the final draft National Register of Citizens (NRC) was published on July 30, keeping out as many as 40, 07,707 applicants from it, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee was the first opposition leader to hold a press meet in the state to accuse the Assam government of “discriminatory” treatment and “harassment” of both Hindu and Muslim Bengalis. However, according to Sailesh, the Registrar General of India (RGI), the state which failed the most to respond to his office’s documents verification request, sent out to a number of states, was West Bengal.

The RGI and the Census Commissioner of India, who oversaw the NRC process led by state coordinator Prateek Hajela, told PTI on August 2 that West Bengal verified only “about 6% of the 1.14 lakh documents” sent to the state government by the NRC authorities for verification. Media reports said out of 1,14,971 cases sent to the Bengal government, “only 7,438 responses or confirmations” were received by the NRC authorities, while the rest are still pending.

“The largest number of documents that we have not received among all states was from West Bengal. We had to struggle. We had to follow up. But we have not received substantial number of documents from West Bengal. The response (of West Bengal) in terms of results was not satisfactory,” he said.

The RGI was also quoted as saying that there was “a meeting through video conference between the officials of the West Bengal government and the NRC authorities during which a request was made” in that regard.

He said the names of “at least five lakh” people couldn’t be included in the final draft because other states and some Central organisations failed to verify the documents sent to them within the deadline. The other top defaulting states are Bihar, Punjab, Manipur and Meghalaya “which returned just 2 to 7% of the documents”.

The West Bengal government has not cited any reason yet for being the top defaulter. Though, on August 2, the ruling All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) sent a delegation comprising some of its leaders to the Bengali dominated Silchar town of Assam to hold a convention against the NRC enumeration. This past July 31, the West Bengal assembly also passed a motion against the final draft NRC and adopted “a unanimous resolution” condemning it.

Assam, Nagaland: Over one lakh people are affected by floods in Assam; Nagaland CM urges PM for assistance to handle damage caused by incessant rains

As many as 1,05,782 people residing in eight districts of Assam are affected by a second round of floods in the state. According to local media reports quoting the state disaster management authority, the number of deaths so far in flood-related incidents has risen to 38. As many as 20,869 people affected by floods are presently taking shelter in 68 relief camps.

An Assam Tribune report on August 3 said, “224 villages under 18 revenue circles of the eight districts of the state” has been affected. The rivers Brahmaputra, Dikhow, Dhansiri, Jia Bharali and Beki are reportedly flowing above the danger mark in Jorhat, Sivasagar, Golaghat, Sonitpur and Barpeta districts respectively. The water level of the Ranganadi, Manas, Gaurang and Barak rivers too are on a rise.

The latest flood bulletin from the disaster management authority said the present wave of floods are affecting the districts of Dhemaji, Lakhimpur, Biswanath, Udalguri, Barpeta, Golaghat, Sivasagar and Charaideo.

New round of floods have affected over one lakh people in Assam. Credit: PTI

It said, with three more cases of flood-related deaths from Dhemaji, Udalguri and Golaghat districts, the number of the dead has risen to 38.

Early last month, the flood situation was reported to have improved in some of these districts, particularly in the Nagaon district. The recent bout of incessant rains, have however, led to the rise in water level in the major rivers.

Reports of damage caused by the rains have come from Nagaland too. As per official sources, several parts of Dimapur town and adjoining areas are under water due to the rains. Some schools and colleges in those areas have remained closed due to waterlogging. An emergency meeting was held on August 3 by state minister for Public Health Jacob Zhimomi with the deputy commissioner of Dimapur among others to take stock of the situation. State chief minister Neiphu Rio has reportedly urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to grant “immediate assistance” to the state to deal with the situation arising out of continuous rain for the last few weeks.

Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram: First medical college in two northeastern states begin admission

In a span of a week – between August 1 and 7 – two northeastern states – Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram – would see two medical colleges opening doors, their first, and much awaited.

On August 1, the Tomo Riba Institute of Health and Medical Sciences (TRIHMS) in Itanagar began the admission process to fill its first batch of medical students. There will reportedly be 100 seats and 500 beds.

Inaugurating the medical college and hospital, state chief minister Pema Khandu thanked a number of former chief ministers including Nabam Tuki, Kalikho Pul, Jarbom Gamlin and his father Dorjee Khandu. “Today is a historic day for Arunachal Pradesh in healthcare and medical education. I express my appreciation and congratulations to all who worked with zeal and enthusiasm to make this dream of a medical college a reality,” Khandu reportedly said.

The healthcare wing of the facility is also expected to come as a relief to the people of the state, as most travel to neighbouring Assam in need of better health facilities.

A day before the inauguration in Itanagar, officials of Mizoram government announced that the state’s first medical college would also be functional from this August 7.

Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Pema Khandu inaugurating the medical college in Itanagar. Credit: Twitter

According to local media reports, state chief minister Lal Thanhawla would inaugurate the Mizoram Institute of Medical Education & Research Centre (MIMER), situated in Falkawn village, about 16 km from state capital Aizawl. The admission process is presently on and classes are to begin from August 13.

The college director L. Fimate told reporters that it would initially have three departments – anatomy, physiology and biochemistry– while 70% of the 100 seats would be reserved for the state’s students. 15% seats would go to the Central pool quota, while the other 15% would be reserved for non-resident Indians.

Last year, the state saw a huge controversy after the authorities denied seats to four students from the Chakma community even though they met the required eligibility criteria to fill the state’s quota for medical seats in the central pool. It was to accommodate more Mizo students. The state’s action was in response to the central government’s decision to reduce the number of medical seats it allotted to the state for the 2017-18 session from 25 to 17. The state, having no medical college, gets a share of the central pool in the state-owned colleges in different parts of the country to accommodate its medical students.

Shortage of doctors in the district hospitals has been an issue in the state for quite some time. In June last year, a powerful student body called a highway blockade in the Kolasib district after the only surgeon in the local hospital that caters to a population of 85,000 people was transferred. The blockade cut off the state from the rest of India for five days, affecting supply lines.

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