New Delhi: For the first time, the age of the artefacts of Neolithic era recovered from two important sites in northeast India has been unraveled. Indian scientists have found the age using the latest technique of optically stimulated luminescence dating.
‘It is now confirmed that the corded pottery and polished stone tools that were recovered during excavations in Daojali Hading in Dima Haso district of Assam in 1961 are 2, 700 years old and those recovered from Gawak Abri in Garo Hills of Meghalayain 1999 are 2,300 years old”, says Dr. Sukanya Sharma of Indian Institute Of Technology (IIT), Guwahati. She and her colleague, Pankaj Singh had conducted the study.
The study was conducted on an experimental basis with the new technique of optically simulated luminescence dating. The age of the sites were found to be well matched with the radio-carbon dates from other Neolithic sites of the region.
The excavation site at Daojali Hading occupies an important place in the archaeological history of India as the first evidence of an Eastern Asiatic Neolithic complex of double-shouldered Celts and cord-marked pottery in India was reported from there. The discovery had put Northeast India on the Neolithic map of the world for the first time. However precise age of the artefacts were not known.
Antiquity of the site was hypothetically stated to be of the `late Neolithic phase’. Now, with the dating of the artefacts, this hypothesis has been proved and its antiquity has been established.
The dating of the Gawak Abri site in Garo Hills is also significant as Garo Hills has the highest density of prehistoric sites in North East India.
With the new finding of the age of the two sites, it is confirmed that human beings, with the capacity to make pottery and polished stone tools were present in the north east India over two thousand years ago.
The researchers have published their study in the latest issue of science journal, Current Science. (India Science Wire)
New Delhi: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh today underscored the initiatives taken for tackling the menace of Left Wing Extremism, insurgency in the North Eastern areas, Jammu and Kashmir problem and said that the main priority of the BJP-led NDA Government at the Centre is security and development.
The Home Minister was briefing the media on the achievements and key initiatives taken by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) during the last three years. On the occasion, he also released a booklet on the initiatives and achievements of the Ministry.
The Minister said that the Government has taken various effective measures to bring peace and stability in the North Eastern Region of the country. Sustained security initiatives during the last three years have brought peace and stability to the North-Eastern region of the country after decades of insurgency. The year 2016 has witnessed the lowest insurgency incidents in the last 20 years. The insurgency incidents have reduced from 824 in the year 2014 to 484 in the year 2016. The number of incidents was 574 in 2015 which was the lowest since 1997 and has further reduced in 2016. The number of civilian casualties in the North East has also come down drastically in the last three years.
To tackle the menace of Left Wing Extremism (LWE), Singh said that in January, 2015, the Government launched the National Policy and Action Plan comprising of security, development and ensuring rights & entitlements of the local communities. As a result, there has been a decline of 25% in LWE related incidents of violence and casualties to Security Forces dropped by as much as 42% during the period May 2014-April 2017 as compared to May 2011-April 2014. Also, the elimination of LWE cadres rose by a sharp 65% and the surrenders by LWE cadres recorded 185% increase. During a review meeting of the LWE-affected States, presided over by the Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh on May 08, 2017, the Home Minister enunciated an operational doctrine ‘SAMADHAN’ to fight Left Wing Extremism. The elements of this strategy are S for Smart Policing and Leadership, A for Aggressive Strategy, M for Motivation and Training, A for Actionable Intelligence, D for Dashboard-based Key Result Areas and Key Performance Indicators, H for Harnessing Technology, A for Action Plan for Each Theatre and N for No Access to Financing.
The Minister said that in Jammu & Kashmir, after Surgical Strikes in September 2016, infiltration incidents have dropped significantly by as much as 45%. Under Prime Minister’s Development Package (PMDP 2015) amounting to Rs. 80,068 crore, Rs. 61,112 crore has been sanctioned for 63 Major Development Projects and Rs. 19,961 crore released. The remunerations of Special Police Officers enhanced from Rs.3000.p.m. to Rs.6000/p.m. and 10,000 additional SPOs sanctioned in addition to the existing 25,474 SPOs. There are several welfare schemes for displaced families from Pak occupied J&K, transit accommodation for Kashmiri migrants, monthly cash relief of Rs.2,500 per person and up to Rs.10,000/ per family for Kashmiri migrants and same relief sanctioned for the first time for Jammu migrants. Five new India Reserve Battalions have been sanctioned and also asked the State Government to provide 33% reservation for women. Nodal officer in MHA and State Nodal officers also appointed to assist the students of J&K studying in their states.
Singh said that Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi chaired the 11th meeting of Inter State Council on July 16, 2016, which was held after a gap of 10 years. The Government also revived the Zonal Councils with the Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh having chaired 8 meetings of Zonal Councils, where 199 items were discussed and 87 resolved.
In pursuit of the SMART policing initiative laid out by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi during the 2015 Annual DGPs conference, the HOme MInister said that the MHA has shared online nearly 28,000 best practices for replication by other states. The Crime and Criminal Tracking Networks and Systems (CCTNS) project is fast towards completion with the number of states/UTs sharing FIR data rising to 33, while this figure was nil in March 2014.The Total number of FIRs registered using CCTNS has leaped from less than 1.5 lakhs in March 2014 to about 1.25 crores, registering a jump of almost 100 times.
Giving push to border infrastructure and developmental works, the Minister said that the Government has sanctioned Rs. 5,188 crore worth projects in the last three years, of which Rs. 2,138 crore has been released for Indo-Bangladesh and Indo-Pak border projects. This includes 200 kms fence, 430 kms long border roads, floodlights spreading across 647 kms long borders and 110 composite border outposts. As regards to Indo-China border, out of 27 border roads sanctioned in 2008, first 8 roads have been completed during the period 2014-16 and while another 9 roads are due to be completed by this year end.
Singh said that a new initiative has been undertaken for creation of Model Villages in border areas for which more than Rs. 92 crore has been released to 7 states for development of 41 Model Villages, including 24 in J&K. To facilitate the border trade and passenger movement at land border crossings, the Government has been promoting the setting up Integrated Check Posts (ICPs). ICP at Raxaul was operationalised in June, 2016 and at Jogbani in November 2016. While the cargo terminal at ICP, Petrapole was inaugurated by Prime Minister of India and Bangladesh in July last year, foundation stone for an ICP at Dawki, Meghalaya was laid in January 2017.
To facilitate legitimate foreign travellers, Singh said that the Visa regime has been liberalised, simplified and rationalised during the last three years. E-visa facility has been extended to nationals of 162 countries. The duration of stay on e-visa has been increased from 30 days to 60 days. The Visa-on-Arrival scheme has been introduced for Japanese nationals from March 2016, while the duration of multiple entry tourist Visa for senior citizens from Bangladesh has been extended from one to five years.
The Minister said that India is playing a leading role in Disaster Management in the south Asian region. The Prime Minister has released the National Disaster Management Plan in June 2016, which is the first such plan in the world to integrate the four priority areas of Sendai framework. India also hosted the first South Asian Disaster Management Exercise in Delhi NCR while the city also hosted the 7th Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in November 2016 where the Prime Minister announced the 10-point plan for DRR. The Government also raised two additional battalions of NDRF in the year 2015, for better coverage of Uttar Pradesh and Arunachal Pradesh.
Singh said that women’s empowerment and women’s safety have been a priority of the Government. The MHA has approved the 33% posts at Constable Level for being filled up by women. The 33% reservation of Constable level posts in CRPF & CISF and 14-15% posts at Constable level in border guarding forces i.e. BSF, SSB & ITBP will start immediately to begin with. The Government has also set in motion the setting up of National Emergency Response System (NERS) website and Mobile App which will be launched by October this year.
Singh said that on the occasion of Valour Day of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), the web portal and mobile application named “Bharat Ke Veer” was inaugurated on 9th April, 2017. The portal is an IT based platform, with an objective to enable willing donors to contribute towards the family of a braveheart who sacrificed his/her life in line of duty. The amount so donated will be credited to the account of ‘Next of Kin’ of those Central Armed Police Force/Central Para Military Force soldiers. The portal is getting good response from public. The Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh also launched the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) Mobile Application for grievance redressal of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) personnel on May 11, 2017. The Mobile application has a provision for MHA to continuously monitor the action taken by various CAPFs on grievances of personnel and regulate the process for further improvement in the Grievance Redressal System.
During the press conference, the Ministers of State for Home Affairs Hansraj Gangaram Ahir and Kiren Rijiju, Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi and other senior officers of MHA and heads of CAPFs and Commissioner of Delhi Police were also present.
Imphal : A strong earth-moving activity has resulted in death of at least five persons and caused injuries to more than 90 people, as a strong 6.7 magnitude earthquake with epicentre in Manipur today hit the northeastern region, causing damage to many buildings and spreading panic. The most-affected region was area of Manipur, as Manipur bore the brunt of quake which struck early morning, with its epicentre at Tamenglong district at a depth of 17 km below the ground. The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) reported in its initial statement — So far, five deaths and 33 injuries have been reported from Imphal. Damage to a few buildings, residential units and Government offices have been reported, including damage to a six storey building in Imphal.
The early morning calamity woke up many people from their slumber, as the quake registered around Sunrise time, during which many shelter homes still slept to the peace of dawn, not anticipating any such rocky wake up call at the wee hours of morning. Jolted from their sleep, people ran out of their houses in panic. The impact was huge, resulting in immediate effect on buildings, as many buildings collapsed in Tamenglong while several others in Imphal. Cracks on cement structures showed up in the entire activity zone, and fissures were visible immediately in buildings of market complex, houses and other establishments. As a precaution, and as a result of such earth movement, electricity connection was cut off in the state soon after the quake.
The effect moved towards Assam region, wherein, nearly 20 persons were injured in Guwahati and other areas in Assam due to the high magnitude of quake, as confirmed by Assam Commissioner and Secretary (Disaster Management) Pramod Kumar Tiwari to media.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi took cognizance of the situation and spoke with Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who happens to be in Assam, and asked him to oversee the situation arising due to earthquake. PM Modi also spoke with Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh and other Chief Ministers in the region to take first hand report of situation. Home Minister conveyed — MHA is actively monitoring the situation after the earthquake in the North East region.
Rescue work has been put into place, and two National Disaster Response Force teams were air lifted from Guwahati to Imphal. The NDMA stated that it was co-ordinating with state governments, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Defence, NDRF, Ministry of Telecom and other concerned Government departments and agencies for search and rescue, and was working upon prompt relief measures.
Shillong: Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Shri Nitin Gadkari today dedicated to the nation two major Highway projects in the North East at a function near Shillong.
These projects will considerably ease the travel from Guwahati towards Shillong and other parts of the North East. These include Shillong Bypass and four laning of Jorabat-Barapani Section of NH-40.The Shillong Bypass connects NH 40 and NH 44 (New NH 6) and will decongest the traffic in the city of Shillong from trucks and heavy vehicles coming from or moving towards North Eastern parts of Assam and other states-Mizoram and Tripura. The 48.76 Km Bypass which begins from NH 40 at Umiam in Ri-Bhoi District and ends on NH 44 (new NH 6) at Mawryngkneng in East Khasi Hills District provides a pleasant and a safe driving experience. The bypass was constructed by NHAI on BOT (Annuity) mode.
Four laning of Jorabat-Barapani provides robust road connectivity between Guwahati and Shillong. The NHAI had awarded this 61.80 km project on Design Build Finance Operate & Transfer Mode on Annuity basis. The project stretch traverses mostly through the hilly terrain skirting the major urban areas like Byrnihat and Nongpoh. The project work consists of 4-laning of the existing road including the construction of 1 Grade Separator, 1 Major Bridge, 13 Minor Bridges and more than 360 Cross Drainage Structures.