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Tripura: Farmers see ray of hope as govt mulls to create market for Agar

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Agartala: In what may be said as dream coming true for the Agarwood cultivators of Tripura, mostly based in the North district,  after a wait of long 30 years, the agar cultivators are getting the recognisation from the BJP-IPFT government.

President of Tripura Agar Association Shailen Nath said, “We have time and again approached the government to resolve the legal hurdles. It was in 2018 we saw a glimmer of hope when BJP candidate from Kadamtala Kurti constituency, Tinku Roy assured us that he would raise the issue at a higher level. He could not succeed to win the seat, but the ruling BJP government did not leave us at lurch, they took steps to simplify the process and now we feel our dream will be true very soon.”

According to Nath, the Agar cultivators of Tripura are forced to trade their products through illegal channels and in return their earning was far less than what legal traders earn by exporting the materials in Middle East countries.

“Nobody paid attention to this sector that has a huge potential. If Agar wood gets an official recognition as promised by this government, the whole scenario will be changed. Our market will be open and we don’t have to depend on a few people who have been exploiting us by grabbing the lion’s share of the profit”, he said.

Earlier, Nath and members of his organization participated in a meeting chaired by Principal Chief Conservator of Forest DK Sharma and other experts.

“We have unitedly raised a demand to set up an Agar market in North Tripura district. As per the government statistics, 90 percent of the Agar trees are located in Kadamtala area under North Tripura district. For the farmers, it will be a major boost if the market is also set up here. We have no problem if the government wants to host buyers in Agartala also but a local market must be set up here. We have also asked for simplification of the legal issues under forest act so that expansion of Agar cultivation land can be carried out swiftly”, said Nath.

Sources said that there was a sharp difference in the Agar data available with the forest department and the farmers. “A survey was conducted by a national agency that found around five crore trees in the state and the number of people dependent on it amounts to 20 to 25 thousand. The forest department’s data said only 55 to 60 lakh trees are there in Kadamtala. We have said we shall voluntarily disclose the data for registration if the forest department wants to carry out a new survey”, he added.

Speaking on the issue, PCCF DK Sharma said, “Our aim is to motivate the cultivators. They have brought the materials produced from Agar which we have seen. Now our plan is to ensure good quality of product, processing and encourage the farmers to help the government implement the Agarwood policy 2021 as early as possible.”

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North East

CPIM veteran Bijan Dhar passes away  

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Agartala: Tripura Left Front convenor Bijan Dhar breathed his last morning at a private hospital in Kolkata on Monday.

Dhar, was airlifted to Kolkata after his health deteriorated while undergoing treatment at GB hospital in Agartala.

Earlier, CPIM state secretary Gautam Das succumbed to COVID-19 after fighting for almost a month.

Dhar was the former CPIM state secretary and was appointed as Left Front convenor after the 2018 assembly election defeat.

Dhar was on ventilation for almost two weeks and his health condition was stable. However, in the last 48 hours his health condition deteriorated and he breathed his last in the wee hours on Monday.

The CPIM leaders are preparing to bring his mortal remains to Agartala by an evening fight later today.

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National

Call me “Dada”, not “Sir”, Tripura CM Biplab Kumar Deb to employees

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Agartala: In what appears to be a step to boost the morale of the government employees, Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb on Sunday asked the government employees to call him “Dada” instead of “Sir”. “Call me Dada, not sir. It enhances the warmth of the relationship”, Deb told a gathering of government employees.

Deb exhorted the government employees of the state especially ASHA and Anganwadi workers of the state asking them not to dishearten as the state government was eager to improve their pay structure.

“I salute the ASHA and Anganwadi workers of my state. The level of dedication that my sisters have shown during the pandemic period deserved applause. I know, they want to hear good news from me and I am assuring you all that this government will not disappoint anyone”, Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb told a gathering of government employees at Badharghat sports school field organized by Vivekananda Vicha Manch (VVM).

VVM has emerged as a big platform of government employees, of late, and Sunday’s public rally was its first big gathering to thank the Chief Minister for the series of steps his government took for the welfare of the employees.

“I know what challenges you people are facing. Nothing is hidden in front of me. I am assuring you all everything will be taken care of in the due course of time”, he added.  Lauding the efforts of government employees Deb said, without them no government office can function.

“Due to the efforts of government employees, people can access the benefits of the state sponsored welfare schemes. But, for a prolonged period the employees did not get their right to do something freely. They were trapped in the clutches of unions. In the previous regime, Left sponsored unions used to enjoy supreme power which had reduced the whole work culture of the state to tatters. In 2018, you people showed courage and voted BJP to power”, said Deb.

“Despite fund constraints, the state government is positively working on the issues of DA and other factors pertaining to the interest of the government employees. Our government has already addressed a number of issues related to financial benefits. The ad-hoc promotion, increment for Group D, Group C employees, regularization of SSA teachers, seventh pay scale, UGC scale for professors, special benefit for LTC are to name a few. All these indicate what we want to do and we shall do what we promise”, the Chief Minister said.

The Chief Minister also asked the officials not to call him “sir” suggesting them to refer to him as “Dada” as it makes the relationship stronger and cherished. The Chief Minister also distributed clothes among children of Badharghat sports school during the programme. State BJP President Manik Saha, Minister Ram Prasad Paul, Minister Sushanta Chowdhury, MLA Mimi Majumder, state BJP Vice President and president of Vivekananda Vichar Manch Rajib Bhattacharjee also spoke on the occasion.

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North East

Security tightened up as pandals go open for hoppers

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Agartala: The festive spirit is visible in the major markets and city malls as prime city roads were found to be flooded with people out either for Pandal hopping or shopping. Moreover, security arrangements had also been tightened up along with enforcement of strict traffic guidelines to avoid unnecessary congestion in the times of Puja.

A good number of TSR and Police Jawans would be pressed into action for hassle free passage of the Puja days. In the meantime, adequate measures are also being taken to hold the Covid 19 at bay as apprehensions of a possible third wave is still running thick and fast in medical circles.

Like previous years, Agartala city is again the centre of attraction with big marquees and adorable lighting works. But this year, the Puja organisers have kept their whole focus on crowd management and erected the pandals in a way that the idol could be sighted from faraway places.

“We have put in place all the precautionary measures to ensure that no unscientific gathering takes place inside or at the premises of the Puja compound. Good numbers of volunteers, who have been trained about the whole situation of Covid 19, are engaged to maintain the Crowd. We pray that Maa Durga bless the whole mankind with a protective shield against this virus (Covid)”, said Sanjay Saha, Secretary of Puja committee Netaji Play Forum Centre, one of the prominent big-ticket Puja organisers of Agartala City.

On the security front, West Tripura superintendent of police Manik Das said, “we have taken ample steps to extend a full-proof blanket of security all over the district. We have separated our security in two parts, one for urban areas where most of the Pujas are being organized and the other one is for the rural areas. Watchtowers, CCTVs and police assistance booths will be opened for the Puja days so that in some sort of emergency police can take swift action”.

A total of 2,176 Pujas are being organized in the state out of what Agartala city accounts for 554 Pujas alone. Altogether 865 Pujas are being held in urban areas while 1311 Pujas are being observed in the areas that come under police stations located in rural parts. For better security, 157 police assistance booths will be opened all over the state with a lion’s share of it—50 being set up in Agartala city only.

To ramp up surveillance, 98 watch towers have been already installed across the length and breadth of the state with 78 CCTV smart cameras in the city only that will assist the existing CCTV network built under Agartala Smart City mission. The police department has carefully chosen the location keeping in mind the areas that draw massive crowds on festive occasions.

Apart from that, 7,660 uniformed personnel would be pressed into duty that accounts for a total of 4,242 TSR personnel and 3,418 police personnel in total. Total 08 platoons of CRPF have been also deployed under the limits of eight select police stations.
As a part of the Covid 19 precautions, thermal scanning will be arranged in the Puja pandals to isolate and trace symptomatic people who could be susceptible to the infection.

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