Category Archives: General

Tips for Pigeon pea cultivation

Unique method of pigeon pea cultivation includes

  1. Using certified seeds
  2. Consulting agriculture scientists for key information and adopting them into planning.
  3. Raising pigeonpea in polythene bags and transplanting the seedlings.
  4. Alternately, dibbling the pigeonpea seeds (?) (sowing at reduced cultivation cost)
  5. Optimizing adjustments to spacing
  6. Flowering to provide an indication of the yield estimate


Each pigeon pea plant would yield 1.5kg to 1kg. A target of 20quintals/acre would decide the optimum spacing decisions.

Wider spacing to help in realizing better flowering and pod setting through higher number of productive branches. The plants get more sunlight, good aeration, reduces humidity in the microclimate, which in turn keeps diseases and pests at bay.

Transplanting is labor intensive method and costlier by Rs 2500 by acre. But suitable when limited irrigation facilities are available.

(Gurulingappa, a farmer living in Hudgi village, Humnabad taluk, of Karnataka’s Bidar district had generated very high yields — close to 20 quintals of pigeon pea per acre. In his mid-50s and has over 35 years of experience in farming he has been conducting experiments to find ways to touch the highest yield potential of some key crops – as reported in

Tips for other crops from the article

For chickpea (kabul kadale), using a spacing of 1’ × 1’, as much as 8–10 quintals per acre is obtained, as compared to conventional sowing in which one gets only 4–5 quintals.

With sugarcane higher yield with minimum expenditure by managing weeds with mulching – without any inter cultivation (helping moisture conservation and enhanced the activity of natural enemies  reducing the cost of irrigation and pesticide use) Producing an yield of 50 tonnes / acre at a cost of only Rs15,000. The second [ratoon] crop gave 45 tonnes, at a cost of only Rs3,000.

Swami Nigamanand dies after 115-day fast to save Ganga

Sadhu Nigamanand went on a fast unto death to protest against illegal mining on the bank of the Ganga in Haridwar. He started his fast on February 19 from Haridwar. On April 30, the district administration forcibly shifted Nigamanand – a seer at the Matri Sadan Ashram – to the Haridwar District Hospital as his condition started to deteriorate. But even then, he refused to touch food. On May 2, he entered into a coma. He was then shifted to Dehradun’s Himalayan Hospital and put on life support. Nigamanand, 34, finally died on Monday – almost four months after he gave up food. Swami Nigamanand died due to dehydration because of continuous fasting. The postmortem examination of his body will be conducted on Tuesday.

India rejects US tenders on military aircraft

Indian Air Force (IAF) has rejected Lockheed Martin’s F-16 and Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet to acquire 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft at a cost of between $11 billion and $12 billion. The US embassy in New Delhi was formally notified about this rejection on Wednesday, 28th April 2011. US ambassador Timothy Roemer resigned on Thursday. He made his continuation in office untenable by publicly pitching so hard for the Indian order for the biggest military aviation deal in history that he became identified with the success or otherwise of the American bids. France’s Dassault Aviation and a four-nation European consortium, the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS), had been chosen for the final round in the extended selection process.

In March, in a long-shot diplomatic bid to win the contract, the Pentagon bent over backwards during the 11th meeting of the Indo-US Defence Policy Group (DPG) here and told defence secretary Pradeep Kumar that the US was climbing down from its contentious demand that India sign three foundational agreements for bilateral defence sales to proceed. The three agreements, which defence minister A.K. Antony has resisted, are Logistics Support Agreement, Communication Interoperability and a Security Memorandum Agreement and a Basic Exchange and Co-operation Agreement for Geo-Spatial Co-operation. A row over an End-User Verification Agreement was resolved in 2009 with both sides going halfway to meet each other’s positions for or against signing the agreement.

In separate statements issued today, Roemer announced his resignation and said he was deeply disappointed that two aircraft offered by the US government… were not selected for procurement by the Indian ministry of defence although they would have provided the IAF an unbeatable platform with proven technologies at a competitive price.

Overtly, there is no link between the ambassador’s resignation and the defence ministry’s decision, but US embassy officials made no effort today to dispel the impression that the rejection of the bids from Boeing and Lockheed Martin triggered Roemer’s departure.

In addition to President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron, France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy and Russian head of state Dmitry Medvedev have all pitched for their respective bids during visits to New Delhi last year.

The abruptness of Roemer’s unwillingness to carry on in India because of the perception in Chanakyapuri and on Pennsylvania Avenue that he is obviously diminished by the failure of the ambassador’s laser-sharp drive to sell US fighter planes to India.

Sathya Sai Baba – Obituary

Hindu Spiritual leader Sathya Sai Baba (85years) passed away on  Sunday, 24th April 2011 at 7.40 am.  Sathya Sai Baba born as Sathyanarayana Raju, on 23 November 1926, is described by his devotees as an Avatar, Godman, Spiritual teacher and Social Reformer. Sathya Sai Baba has claimed to be the reincarnation of the great spiritual guru, Sai Baba of Shirdi. He also has proclaimed that He will reincarnate in Karnataka as Prem Sai in the future.

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba established many organizations supporting a variety of free educational institutions, hospitals, and other charitable works in India and abroad. More than 6 million devotees follow him in about 178 countries. There are an estimated 1,200 Sathya Sai Baba Centers in 114 countries worldwide. A cultural icon in his home country, Sai Baba has attracted presidents and prime ministers from India and beyond who have become his devotees. He was also known as a singer, having released several CDs of bhajans (devotional songs).

Sathyanarayana Raju was born to Eswaramma and Peddavenkama Raju Ratnakaram in the village of Puttaparthi, Andhra Pradesh, India. His birth, which his mother Eswaramma asserted was by miraculous conception, was also said to be heralded by miracles. As a child, he was unusually intelligent and charitable. He was exceptionally talented in drama, music, dance and writing, and was an avid composer of poems and plays. He was said to be capable of materialising objects such as food and sweets out of thin air. On 8 March 1940, while living with his elder brother Seshama Raju in Uravakonda, Sathya was apparently stung by a scorpion.He lost consciousness for several hours. Within the next few days there was a noticeable change in Sathya’s behavior. There were symptoms of laughing and weeping, eloquence and silence. He began to sing Sanskrit verses, a language of which he had no prior knowledge.

On 23 May 1940, Sathya announced calmly and firmly “I am Sai Baba,” a reference to Sai Baba of Shirdi. He proclaimed himself to be a reincarnation of Sai Baba of Shirdi—a saint who became famous in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in Maharashtra, and who had died eight years before Sathya was born. Later that year, Sathya Sai Baba declared that he had no worldly relationship with anyone and around this time, devotees began to gather to him. In 1940, Sathya Sai Baba began to travel to Madras and elsewhere in South India and soon had a large regional following.

In 1944, a mandir (temple) for Sathya Sai Baba’s devotees was built near the village. It is now referred to as the old mandir. The construction of Prashanthi Nilayam, the current ashram, began in 1948 and after 2 years, was completed in 1950. In 1954, Sathya Sai Baba established a small free General Hospital in the village of Puttaparthi. In 1963, Sathya Sai Baba suffered a stroke and four severe heart attacks. It is believed by some that he healed himself of these, and on recovering announced that he would be reborn as Prema Sai Baba in the state of Karnataka. He stated, “I am Siva-Sakthi, born in the gothra (lineage) of Bharadwaja, according to a boon won by that sage from Siva and Sakthi. Siva was born in the gothra of that sage as Sai Baba of Shirdi; Siva and Sakthi have incarnated as Myself in his gothra now; Sakthi alone will incarnate as the third Sai (Prema Sai Baba) in the same gothra in Mysore State.”

In 1968, he established Dharmakshetra or Sathyam Mandir in Mumbai. In 1973, he established Shivam Mandir in Hyderabad. On 19 January 1981, in Chennai he inaugurated the Sundaram Mandir. Sathya Sai Baba’s assertion of divine status is expressed in the first person; he states it boldly and repeatedly. “I am beyond the reach of the most intensive enquiry and the most meticulous measurement. Only those who have recognized my love and experienced that love can assert that they have glimpsed my reality. Do not attempt to know me through the external eyes.”

Sathya Sai Baba supported a variety of free educational institutions, hospitals, and other charitable works in over 166 countries. Sri Sathya Sai University in Prashanthi Nilayam has received an “A++” rating by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (an autonomous body established by the University Grants Commission). Sri Sathya Sai University for which Baba was the Chancellor, has three campuses, one at Puttaparthi for men, one at Whitefield, Bangalore for men and one at Anantapur for women. His charity supports an institute for Indian Classical Music called the Sri Sathya Sai Mirpuri College of Music. Baba’s educational institutions aim to impart Character Education along with Excellence in academics with emphasis on Human Values and Ethics.

Sathya Sai Baba chaired the Muddenahalli-Sathya Sai Loka Seva School and Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Trust Educational Institutions in Muddenahalli-Kanivenarayanapura regions. In addition, a Sathya Sai Baba University and Medical School as well as a world class Hospital and Research Institute are being constructed on over 200 acres (0.81 km2) to serve the destitute population. Baba has said that the campus will be modeled after Puttaparthi and will infuse spirituality with academics.

Sri Sathya Sai Super Specialty Hospital, Whitefield (suburb of Bangalore), Karnataka, IndiaThe Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences in Puttaparthi is a 220 bed facility that provides free surgical and medical care and was inaugurated by the then Prime Minister Narasimha Rao on 22 November 1991.The Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences in Bangalore is a 333 bed hospital meant to benefit the poor. The hospital was inaugurated on 19 January 2001 by the then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee.The hospital has provided free medical care to over 250,000 patients. The Sri Sathya Sai General Hospital was opened in Whitefield, Bangalore, in 1977 and provides complex surgeries, food and medicines free of cost. The hospital has treated over 2 million patients. In April 1999 he inaugurated the Ananda Nilayam Mandir in Madurai, Tamil Nadu.

The Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust runs several general hospitals, two specialty hospitals, eye hospitals and mobile dispensaries and conducts medical camps in rural and slum areas in India. The Trust has also funded several major drinking water projects. One project completed in 1996 supplies water to 1.2 million people in about 750 villages in the drought-prone Rayalaseema region of Anantapur district in Andhra Pradesh. The second drinking water project, completed in 2004, supplies water to Chennai through a rebuilt waterway named “Sathya Sai Ganga Canal”. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi praised the Chennai water project and Sai Baba’s involvement. Other completed water projects include the Medak District Project benefiting 450,000 people in 179 villages and the Mahbubnagar District Project benefitting 350,000 people in 141 villages. In January 2007, the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust said it would start a drinking water project in Latur, Maharashtra. In 2008, 2 million people in the state of Orissa, India were effected due to floods. As a after relief measure, Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organization, has built 699 houses as a part of their first phase in 16 villages by March 2009.

Sathya Sai Baba’s Educare program seeks to found schools throughout the world with the goal of educating children in the five human values. According to the Sai Educare site, schools have been founded in 33 countries, including Australia, Mexico, the United Kingdom and Peru. The Times of Zambia states, “The positive influence of Sathya Sai is unprecedented in the annals of education in Zambia. Sai Baba’s education ideals as embodied in his human values-based approach in education are an eye opener to educationists in Zambia.” In Canada, the Fraser Institute, an independent Canadian research and educational organization, ranked the Sathya Sai School of Canada as one of the top 37 elementary schools in Ontario. The Sathya Sai School scored a perfect 10 out of 10 in the Institute’s overall rating for academic performance. Internationally, Sathya Sai Baba devotees gather daily or weekly on Sundays (and/or Thursdays) for group devotional singing (bhajans), prayer, spiritual meditation, service to the community (Seva), and to participate in “Education in Human Values” (SSEHV) known as “Bal Vikas” (meaning Blossoming of the Child), that can also be described as Sai Sunday School.

On 23 November 1999, the Department of Posts, Government of India, released a postage stamp and a postal cover in recognition of the service rendered by Sathya Sai Baba in addressing the problem of providing safe drinking water to the rural masses. On 23 November 2001, the digital radio network Radio Sai Global Harmony was launched through the World Space Organization, United States. Dr Michael Oleinikof Nobel (distant relative to Alfred Nobel and one of the patrons for the radio network) said that the radio network would spread Sathya Sai Baba’s message of global harmony and peace. In January 2007, an event was held in Chennai Nehru stadium organised by the Chennai Citizens Conclave to thank Sathya Sai Baba for the 200 crore water project which brought water from the River Krishna in Andhra Pradesh to Chennai city. Four chief ministers attended the function.

Sathya Sai Baba has said that “My objective is the establishment of sanatana dharma”. In a 2000 public discourse, Sathya Sai Baba said, “These teachings (the Vedas) are highly sacred. Today people are ready to believe all that they see on television and internet but do not repose their faith in the Vedic declarations. Internet is like a waste paper basket. Follow the ‘innernet,’ not the internet.” High ranking Indian politicians, like the former President Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Andhra Pradesh former Chief Minister Konijeti Rosaiah and Karnataka Chief Minister B. S. Yeddyurappa have been official guests at the ashram in Puttaparthi. On Sathya Sai Baba’s 80th birthday celebration, it was reported that well over a million people attended, including 13,000 delegates from India and 180 other countries.

A primary aspect of Sathya Sai Baba’s teachings is the spiritual benefit of darshan for his disciples. At that time, Sai Baba may interact with people, accept letters, materialize and distribute vibhuti (sacred ash) or call groups or individuals for interviews. Devotees consider it a great privilege to have an interview and sometimes a single person, group or family will be invited for a private interview. Devotees say they have observed Sathya Sai Baba manifesting vibuthi (holy ash), and sometimes food and “small objects” such as rings, necklaces and watches. In some books, magazines, filmed interviews and articles, Sathya Sai Baba’s followers report miracles of various kinds that they attribute to him. The first ever record of Baba’s miracles by a foreigner was made by Howard Murphet in his book, Sai Baba – Man Of Miracles. Devotees have said that objects have appeared spontaneously in connection with pictures and altars of Sathya Sai Baba. Sathya Sai Baba’s devotees believe that he relieves his devotees by transferring their pain to himself. Internationally, devotees report that vibuthi, kumkum, turmeric powder, holy water, Shiva lingams, statues of deities (brass and gold), sugar candy, fruits, herbs, amrita (a fragrant, nectar-like honey), gems, colored string, writings in ash and various other substances spontaneously manifest and materialize on the walls, furniture, pictures and altars of Sathya Sai Baba.

Sathya Sai Baba has explained the phenomenon of manifestation as being an act of divine creation. In a 1974 discourse, he stated, “The optical sense cannot visualize the truth. It gives only false and fogged information. For example, there are many who observe my actions and start declaring that my nature is such and such.” Sathya Sai Baba says of “miracles”, “those who profess to have understood me, the scholars, the yogis, the pundits, the jnanis, all of them are aware only of the least important, the casual external manifestation of an infinitesimal part of that power, namely, the “miracles”! This has been the case in all ages. People may be very near (physically) to the Avathar, but they live out their lives unaware of their fortune; they exaggerate the role of miracles, which are as trivial, when compared to my glory and majesty, as a mosquito is in size and strength to the elephant upon which it squats. Therefore, when you speak about these ‘miracles,’ I laugh within myself out of pity that you allow yourself so easily to lose the precious awareness of my reality.”

The miracles of SathyaSaiBaba generated controversies and attracted criticisms. Skeptics viewed these simple conjuring tricks, while devotees consider them evidence of divinity. Some critics also hurled various other allegations against SaiBaba like sexual abuse, financial irregularities and promoting blind beliefs. They also criticized Baba for allegedly refusing to to have his materializations investigated under experimental conditions. He was always defended by his devotees and also prominent people in many walks of life.

One of such instance, in December 2001, A.B. Vajpayee (then Prime Minister of India), P.N. Bhagawati (Former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India), Ranganath Misra (Chair Person, National Human Rights Commissioner of India and Former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India), Najma Heptulla (President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union; UNDP Distinguished Human Development Ambassador) and Shivraj Patil (Member of Parliament, India; Formerly of the Lok Sabha & Union Minister) all signed a letter which stated as follows “We are deeply pained and anguished by the wild, reckless and concocted allegations made by certain vested interests and people against Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. We would normally expect that responsible media would ascertain the true facts before printing such calumny – especially when the person is revered globally as an embodiment of love and selfless service to humanity. Since this professional ethic has not been observed by a section of the media, we have elected to go public with this signed statement.”

Muslim population growth to outpace non-Muslims

In the next two decades, the Muslim population globally is expected to grow about twice the rate of the non-Muslims. If current trends continue, Muslims will make up 26.4 per cent of the world’s total projected population of 8.3 billion in 2030, up from 23.4 per cent of the estimated 2010 world population of 6.9 billion. world’s Muslim population is expected to increase by about 35 per cent in the next 20 years, rising from 1.6 billion in 2010 to 2.2 billion by 2030. The average annual growth rate of Muslims in the next two decades has been projected to be 1.5 per cent, compared with 0.7 per cent for the non-Muslims.

India is projected to have a Muslim population of 23,6182,000 in 2030; which would be nearly 16 per cent of the then Indian population. In 2010, India is estimated to have 177,286,000 Muslims, which is 14.6 per cent of the total Indian population.

With a projected population of 256,117,000 in 2030, Pakistan is expected to surpass Indonesia as the country with the single largest Muslim population. In 2010, Pakistan has an estimated Muslim population of 178,097,000.

While the global Muslim population is expected to grow at a faster rate than the non-Muslim population, the Muslim population nevertheless is expected to grow at a slower pace in the next two decades than it did in the previous two decades.

From 1990 to 2010, the global Muslim population increased at an average annual rate of 2.2 per cent, compared with the projected rate of 1.5 per cent for the period from 2010 to 2030. As many as 79 countries will have a million or more Muslim inhabitants in 2030, up from 72 countries today.

A majority of the world’s Muslims (about 60 per cent) will continue to live in the Asia-Pacific region, while about 20 per cent will live in the Middle East and North Africa, as is the case today. The portion of the world’s Muslims living in sub-Saharan Africa is projected to rise; in 20 years, for example, more Muslims are likely to live in Nigeria than in Egypt. Muslims will remain relatively small minorities in Europe and the Americas, but they are expected to constitute a growing share of the total population in these regions.

These interesting projections are estimated by the study, ‘The Future of the Global Muslim Population’, released in Jan 2011 by The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. The Pew projections are based both on past demographic trends and on assumptions about how these trends will play out in future years.

Promotion of Carol in North East

Missionaries are promoting carol songs during Christmas every year in North Eastern states. From Nongstoin to Nagaland and Numaligarh to Nagaon. The Carolling will peak during this period and the songs could be heard from the streets and alleys with troupes doing the rounds of Christian localities. Youth for Christ ministry in Guwahati, members of different Churches and Christian Youth wings organise various events as part of pre-Christmas celebrations.

While carol singers are setting the mood for the season, the traditional Khasi tamokhlieh of Shillong, the Kabui christians in Manipur are seen in their traditional shawls on the streets.

The Borbhetta Baptist Church, Jorhat Christian Medical Centre and YMCA of Jorhat had organised a carol singing competition on National Integration on the CMC premises. Around 15 communities participated in the competition flaunting their skills in tunes and melodies. The Kukis bagged the first prize, the Assamese came second and the Nagas third. Different communities like the Mising, Kuki, Rabha and Assamese participate in their indigenous style of celebrating Christmas.

Songs of the birth of Jesus can be heard in every alley of the Meghalaya capital. People who are involved think that they are fortunate to have enthusiastic men and women who are willing to spread the joy of Christmas through carol groups. The clergymen are happy and amazed at the Naga choir’s enthusiasm.

Focussing on Bible translation in North East

Missionary work is actively pursued in Northeastern states.

The Bible has been translated into 57 languages in the region and the figure is expected to touch 100 by Christmas 2011. The Bible has been translated so far into Adi, Anal Naga (Pakan), Angami Naga, Ao Naga, Assamese, Bengali, Biate, Boro, Bru, Chang Naga, Dimasa, Gangte, Garo, Hmar, Galo, Hrangkhol, Hmar, Karbi, Khasi, Khiamnuingan Naga, Komrem, Konyak Naga, Kuki and Kyong Naga (Lotha), Liangmai Naga, Lamkang Naga, Lai, Manipuri (Meitei), Mara (Lakher), Maring Naga, Maram Naga, Mao Naga, Mizo (Lushai), Moyon Naga, Monsang Naga, Nokte Naga, Paite, Phom Naga, Poumai Naga, Rabha, Ranglong, Rengma Naga, Rengma (North) Naga, Rongmei Naga, Sumi Naga, Sangtam Naga, Sema Naga, Tangkhul Naga, Tangsa Naga, Thadou Kuki, Thangal Naga, Thangkhal, Tiddim Chin, Vaiphei, Yimchungru Naga, Zeme Naga and Zou (Zomi). The Bible was first translated into Assamese in 1820 that the latest translation was in Nokte, a language spoken by an indigenous group in Arunachal Pradesh.

Jesus is referred as Isua in Mizo, Yisui in Ao, Jesun in Thadou, Isu in Hmar, Poupa Jesu in Paite, Isuan in Ranglong, Jisunii in Maram and Pakai Jesu in Kuki.

The Northeast has diverse languages and the translation project is meant for those who are in need of the Bible. It could be noted that the Bible is the basic foundation of Christian faith. The aim is to make it available to those who aspire to read it. Even though the owners of the project insist that translations are not aimed at popularising Christianity, the demand for translation of the Bible is being created in a consistent way. The holy book is selling hugely among Mizos after it was translated in their language.

The new principle of translation aims at transferring the content into local idioms and expressions. The idea is to reach out to all sections, the young and the old, the learned and the barely literate and the womenfolk. The translation is done meticulously to ensure that the text of the Bible is not diluted. Each indigenous community nominates a linguistic scholar to translate the Bible into its language. The Bible Society of India has a team of experts that compares the translated version of the Bible with the Old Testament in Hebrew and New Testament in Greek. The translation is approved only after the content matches the original text.

House Committee submits its report on Akshaya Patra

The House Committee set up Karnataka Government to probe the allegations against ISKCON – Akshaya Patra programme has submitted its report. The committee verified audit reports of the foundation and it found that it had been spending more money than what was granted by the State and Central governments. “There are no evidences to show that the foundation misused the funds meant for the programme,” it said.

The committee, after verifying the guidelines issued by the Centre for Akshara Dasoha programme, concluded that there was nothing wrong in raising donations from the public for effective implementation of the programme. The foundation had submitted before the committee that it raised Rs 77.34 crore from the public in cash as per the norms fixed by the National Committee for Social and Economic Welfare of the Finance Department. It said the amount collected was spent only for the programme.

The commissioner of the Education department attracted the wrath of the committee for making contradictory statements before it. The department in its submission on January 25, 2010, had said the foundation was not entitled to raise funds for the programme. But in its revised submission on September 22, 2010, the department said there was nothing wrong in collecting funds for effective implementation of the programme.

The Legislature Committee, which inquired into the alleged irregularities in the implementation of Akshara Dasoha scheme by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, has suggested the society project the scheme as being implemented in association with the State and Central governments.

The committee has expressed its inability to check the veracity of the video CDs, through which Iskcon allegedly attracted donations from across the globe by projecting India’s poverty. The committee said it could not land at any conclusion based on the CDs and decided to refer it to the Home department for further investigation. The committee’s report records that Congress member D K Shivakumar had said he would be ready to face punishment if the documents he submitted were found to be doctored. The committee also found nothing wrong in the foundation involving in real estate business.

The House constituted the committee after D K Shivakumar made allegations against Iskcon in July 2009. BJP MLA Yogish Bhat headed the committee, which also comprised Shivakumar as a member. Yet, none of the allegations made by him was proved in the inquiry.

The Akshaya Patra Foundation of Iskcon has been providing food under Akshara Dasoha programme for about 5.13 lakh children in Bangalore, Hubli, Bellary, Mysore and Mangalore. The allegations made against Iskcon included misuse of government grants released for the programme and raising of donations by projecting India’s poverty. Chanchalapati Das, Iskcon vice president, in his submission to the committee said the foundation had received Rs 54 crore as grant from the government, while it spent Rs 113 crore for the programme.

NE tribals clash for religious reasons

Religious conflicts erupted between the Rabhas and Garos Christians along the Assam-Meghalaya border. On 5th January, trouble started with four people dead and thousands are displaced. On 30th October, a temple in Williamnagar was allegedly attacked by Garos while protesting against civic polls in the Garo Hills. Prior to this, the Garos complained that Rabhas blockades restricted their movement on NH-37, the only link that connects NH-40 leading to Shillong. Rabhas were blocking National Highway 37 in Assam to press their demand for autonomy under the Sixth Schedule. This is also said to have prevented many Garo students in Shillong from reaching home in time for Christmas. On 22 December, a Garo pastor and his family was attacked while they were travelling on NH-37 during a bandh and it was alleged to be an act of Rabha youth. The Army is reported to have moved into the affected areas.

Over 34,000 people, both Garo and Rabha tribals, have left their homes and taken shelter in relief camps. A number of these people have no houses to go back to, while those who do have homes have fled for fear of being attacked. More than 7 people are killed in the clashes. At least 103 people have been arrested and 25 cases of attempted arson and rioting have been registered in the ethnic-violence-hit areas in Meghalaya

Since the time Nagaland, Meghalaya and Mizoram were carved out of Assam, the inter-state border issues combined with various social factors including active proselytization of Christian missionaries are creating simmering tensions in the region and sometimes lead to death and destruction.

Onion prices still at Rs 40-65/kg in metros

Onion prices continue to rule at high levels in metros across the country, where the staple vegetable is being sold for Rs 40-65/kg, depending on the quality.

Onion prices stood at Rs 40-50 per kg in the retail markets of the national capital, Mumbai and Kolkata today, but the commodity was dearer in Chennai, at Rs 60-65 per kg, according to reports from these centres.