Male infertility rising abnormally in Meghalaya?

Raju Das

SHILLONG, Sept 14 - There has been some sort of abnormal increase in male infertility, as well as anaemic pregnant women in Meghalaya, at least over the past couple of years or so.

The inference could be made from a Right To Information report. During 2011-12, the Meghalaya Health Department, under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) increased the order for male infertility treatment medicines by over 4,000 per cent compared to 2010-11.

During the period 2010-11, the number of capsules (Zy 10 Forte) purchased for treating male infertility was only 5,000. However, the Health Department increased the order drastically to 20.07 lakh capsules the next year under the NRHM. In fact, the total male population of Meghalaya in 2011 was close to 15 lakh. The rural male population was about 12 lakh.

The orders were placed after demand from the CHCs, PHCs and Civil Hospitals in the State. The Garo Hills region had a high demand.

In 2011-12, East Garo Hills district alone received 4 lakh capsules for male infertility. The district had a total male population of 1.61 lakh, according to the 2011 census. South Garo Hills with 73,170 male population received 3.5 lakh capsules for male infertility.

West Khasi Hills with 3.24 lakh male population, received 3.48 lakh Zy 10 Forte capsules and East Khasi Hills with 4.10 lakh males, received 2 lakh capsules, the finding said.

The total cost of the medicines purchased was Rs 7.12 crore during 2011-12, but the cost of the medicines, which numbered only 5,000 capsules in 2010-11, was Rs 1.77 lakh.

Similarly, during the same period, the Health Department purchased under the NRHM over 1.44 crore tablets (Iron and Folic Acid) to treat anaemia among pregnant women, the RTI revealed.

However, what remains a puzzle is that close to 15 lakh Iron and Folic Acid (0.5 mg) tablets expired during 2010-2011, which meant there were no beneficiaries indentified for these medicines.

“It certainly looks like the number of male infertility and anaemia among pregnant women in Meghalaya was rising abnormally. There has to be a thorough probe as this was under an important Central health care programme,” Agnes Kharshiing, president of Civil Society Women’s Organisation said.
READ MORE - Male infertility rising abnormally in Meghalaya?

Meghalaya building bye-laws for villages

By Raju Das

SHILLONG, Aug 28 - Meghalaya Government has decided to keep rural areas outside the ambit of the present Building Bye-laws and adopt a separate Building Bye-law for the rural areas.

The decision was taken by Chief Minister Mukul Sangma after a meeting recently with a delegation of Hill State People’s Democratic Party legislators and Members of the District Council. Several legislators and NGOs registered their protest arguing that the newly-enacted bye-laws should not be implemented in Scheduled areas of the State, which are largely rural in nature.

Additional Chief Secretary KS Kropha said the Government would soon issue a notification that would keep the rural areas out of the present Building Bye-laws. The present regulations would be applicable in places classified as urban areas as per the 2011 census, Kropha informed.

He, however, added regulations for the rural areas would be chalked out separately so that the entire State follows some regulations during construction of buildings. “The new Building Bye-laws would be exclusively for the rural areas,” he said.

Kropha said the new regulations would be adopted by the Government after the draft rules are put up in the public domain.

Basaiawmoit said he was against the present building regulations intruding into rural areas. He reiterated that it has become difficult for the people in the rural areas to get permission from Meghalaya Urban Development Authority to build their small houses. “There was no clarity in the present Building Bye-laws about its jurisdiction,” he stated.
READ MORE - Meghalaya building bye-laws for villages

Meghalaya CM says forces keeping tab on trans-border movement

title=Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma on Saturday said law and order in at least five districts in the Garo Hills region was a "matter of concern".
Sangma, who was addressing the official gathering at the Polo grounds after unfurling the national flag, said militant and criminal outfits continued to engage in anti-national and criminal activities disrupting economic activity and normal life in the region.
He also said that the state police is keeping a close watch on the trans-border movement of "terrorists" from the neighbouring country and have taken up the issue with the Centre.
Speaking about economic aid, the Chief Minister criticised the NDA government's decision to withdraw the special category status for North East states and said his government, along with other states of the region, is aggressively taking up the matter demanding its restoration.
The special category status enabled the North East states to special block grants such Special Central Assistance (SCA), Special Plan Assistance (SPA) aimed at providing financial assistance to these low income states.
On improvement of road and connectivity in the land-locked state, the chief minister said the state government has launched many new initiatives under the Plan umbrella such as upgradation of State Highways (SHs) and Major District Roads (MDRs).
Exhorting the recent land swap deal with Bangladesh in which Meghalaya stands to gain over 240 acres and lose about 41 acres of land, Mukul said the deal should bring economic benefits to the people residing in the border areas.
"What was once a boundary of discord (with neighbouring Bangladesh) will now turn into an area of vibrant trade and commerce to build a bond of friendship," he said while crediting the people of state for peaceful Independence day celebrations.
Sangma also hailed the enthusiastic participation by the general public in independence day celebrations and also thanked the state machinery.
This year's celebrations were not preceded by media reports about shutdown calls by outlawed outfits with the High Court barring the press from publishing such announcements of disruptions. The proscribed Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) had begun the trend of calling bandh on this date since 1991.
READ MORE - Meghalaya CM says forces keeping tab on trans-border movement

Meghalaya to observe Kalam's death anniversary every year

Shillong: Paying rich tributes to `Missile Man` A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma on Wednesday said his state plans to annually commemorate the death anniversary of the great scientist to promote his ideals.

The students of the northeastern state, where Kalam died, on Wednesday took a pledge to carry forward his ideals and values at a public condolence meet at the Soso Tham auditorium.

"His (Kalam`s) last visit to the state and the fact that he breathed his last while being with the people he loved gives us an opportunity to connect with his ideals," the chief minister said.

"His teachings, inspirations and visions are to be followed and absorbed by everyone, especially the young people. We in our capacity, in our humble way, can actually do our part in a manner that he demonstrated, and I feel that a programme should be held every year to commemorate his life and death," Sangma said.

He recalled Kalam`s presidential visit to Meghalaya on March 17, 2007, and his advice for setting up of seven special economic zones in Meghalaya to ensure the state`s prosperity.

Pledging to be Kalam`s ambassador of ideals and values, Arvind Iyer of IIM-Shillong recollected an anecdote on Kalam.

"Kalam sir told us a funny anecdote on the first satellite that he launched, which actually went into the Bay of Bengal. Kalam`s boss told him to stay away from the press saying he will take care of the failure. Later, Kalam launched the second satellite. The launch was perfect and entered the orbit. This time, Kalam`s boss told him he has to face the press. Kalam said it was more difficult to face the press than launching a satellite."

Amanda Buhphang, the lone student to place a wreath on the former president`s casket at the Indian Air Force advanced landing ground in Shillong, described Kalam as a celebrity.

"I am thankful to god that he chose Kalam to be president as he had so much love and affection for the people and inspired the youth all over the country."

Vicky O. Lyngdoh, a student from Laitumkhrah Presbyterian School, said Kalam "will always be an inspiration and the endeavour of the youth should be to live up to his expectations and fulfill his dreams".

Describing the "people`s president" as a humble soul, and an extraordinary human being, Lady Keane College student Tina Thankhiew said Kalam`s "love for the people irrespective of their caste, class, creed and religion is highly respected by everyone".

The gathering observed two minutes` silence, which was followed by a floral tribute to the late former president.

Deputy Chief Minister R.C. Laloo, chief secretary P.B.O. Warjri, IIM-Shillong director Amitabha De were present on the occasion.
READ MORE - Meghalaya to observe Kalam's death anniversary every year

Meghalaya ultras threaten cops over FB page blocking

Facebook. Reuters photo for representation onlyGUWAHATI:July 20 : The social-media-savvy Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) militants, who operate in the Garo Hills region of Meghalaya, have threatened the state police after the latter got their Facebook page blocked.

On Saturday, the popular social media site blocked “Garo National Liberation Army HQ. Asim News Bulletin”, the official page of the banned outfit, on the request of Meghalaya Police.

In a statement, GNLA’s joint publicity secretary Garo Mandei Marak said the police’s action was “unwanted” and warned them against blocking or hacking their social media platforms or the results will be “regretful”.

The GNLA even threatened to ‘paralyse’ the entire mobile and broadband communication in the Garo Hills region if its social media networking activities are blocked again.

The GNLA, which is known to be the most social-media savvy among all underground militant groups from the Northeast, opened a new Facebook page on Sunday. Many of the GNLA’s top leaders have their personal accounts on Facebook and other social networking sites and promote their ideology through the online world.

The police, is not ready to budge, however. “GNLA is a declared terrorist organisation, and all its means, including the social media, which it uses to spread violence and preach anti-national sentiments, need to be stopped,” said GHP Raju, IGP (Operations & Law & order), Meghalaya Police.

There are a couple of anti-GNLA pages on social media as well. Sources say these were mostly created by intelligence agencies. The GNLA eyes a separate Garoland in western Meghalaya.
READ MORE - Meghalaya ultras threaten cops over FB page blocking

Maggi banned in Meghalaya

Shillong, June 24 : The Meghalaya government on Tuesday banned Nestle's Maggi noodles in the state.

Commissioner of Food Safety Y. Tsering said the government banned sale of Maggi noodles in the state for 60 days after Chicken Maggi and Maggi 2-Minutes Noodle (Chicken) tested positive for MSG which is prohibited for use as additive in pastas and noodles as per regulations.

"MSG has been declared as unsafe under section 3(1)(zz) of the Food Safety and Standard Act, 2006," Tsering said.

"Therefore, under relevant clauses of the Act, manufacture, storage, transportation, distribution and sale of Maggi manufactured by Nestle has been prohibited initially for a period of 60 days," the official added.

Earlier, the Meghalaya government had sent 47 samples of Maggi to the Public Health Laboratory in Guwahati for testing.

The government has also sent packaged food samples of products from ten different companies for test to ascertain if these food items were safe for human consumption.
READ MORE - Maggi banned in Meghalaya

Village chief arrested for ostracising man in Meghalaya

A village chief and his secretary were arrested today for ostracising a man for allegedly practicing witchcraft in a remote village in Meghalaya's West Khasi Hills District, a police official said.

Acting on an FIR lodged by 64-year-old Maksing Wahlang, the police have arrested the village headman and the secretary who issued the order against him, they said.

"We have arrested the sordar of Umsaw village, Phlandar Lyngkhoi and his secretary Destar," Superintendent of Police Sylvester Nongtynger told PTI.

He said the village chief and his secretary were later sent to judicial custody and both were charged for threatening and also for extortion under section 506 and 386 IPC.

Wahlang, who was accused of practicing witchcraft in the village, was forcibly made to submit a written letter on October 2012 before the 'dorbar shnong' (village durbar) that he himself wanted to leave the village, police said.

It was also alleged that the old man had done this due to fear of boiling water being poured over him as threatened by the sordar and his aide.

Besides, the duo had also imposed a fine of Rs 20,000 on Wahlang after which he was forced to pay before leaving the village.

Earlier, Wahlang, father of nine, had sought the immediate intervention of the Additional Subordinate District Court into the matter which directed the village dorbar to refund the fine amount.
READ MORE - Village chief arrested for ostracising man in Meghalaya