Independence Day 2020 celebrated in Mizoram

Aizawl | August 15, 2020: Mizoram, along with the rest of the country, observed the 74th Independence Day across the state with Independence Day functions held in all the District capitals and important towns of Mizoram. In the biggest Independence Day Celebration held at AR Ground, Chief Minister Pu Zoramthanga was the Chief Guest.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year's Independence Day saw a toned down celebration across the country. At the celebration in AR Ground, in view of public safety and health, parade contingents and school students did not take part in the ceremonial programme, which was telecasted live so that people can partake in this auspicious occasion from the safety of their homes.

In his Independence Day speech, the Chief Minister coveyed his good wishes to the people of Mizoram and across the country. Talking about the unprecedented challenges posed by the pandemic across the country, he cautioned everyone to follow precautionary measures and adheres to advisories. The Chief Minister spoke about how people in several parts of the country, and even within Mizoram, are facing difficulties due to heavy rainfall, landslides, floods and with some losing their dear ones and their property. He expressed his condolences to them and assured that the State Governments, the Central Government and other organizations like NDRF are striving day and night to ease the hardships faced by the affected people.

The Chief Minister highlighted the various achievements of the government in his Independence Day speech as follows:

WHO declared COVID-19, a pandemic on 11th March, 2020. The government straightaway took up active measures to counter COVID-19 and on the same day itself, the State Level Task Force was formed, followed by the constitution of District Level Task Force and Village and Local Level Task Forces on COVID-19. The Government set up a number of Task Groups to deal with various issues related to the pandemic.

Mizoram was among the first states to announce partial Lockdown before the announcement of the nationwide Total Lockdown by the Central Government. The relevant provisions of Disaster Management Act, 2005 were invoked and all entry points into Mizoram including Lengpui Airport were closed on 23rd March, 2020 to prevent any import and spread of COVID-19.

Among the first actions that the Government of Mizoram took was the setting up of fever screening to rule out COVID-19 symptoms at state and international borders, and at Lengpui Airport, which was one of the first airports in the country to conduct COVID-19 screening.

It is heartening that a large number of individuals, organizations, churches and various associations of government servants have made monetary contributions to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund for COVID-19 mitigation. The Council of Ministers decided that the funds thus contributed be used for the fight against COVID-19. Till today, this Fund is being utilized very purposefully.

In the midst of COVID-19 pandemic, the state had to confront more challenges due to the series of earthquakes, which rocked eastern part of the state bordering Myanmar since 21st June, 2020, with the largest tremor measuring 5.8 on the Richter scale. The series of tremors caused extensive damages within Champhai District; fortunately no precious lives were lost but more than 283 houses and buildings suffered damages to the tune of Rs.316.35 lakhs.

The frequency of these earthquakes has created fear, panic and psychological trauma in the minds of the people in the affected areas. In this regard, all Emergency Operation Centres under DDMAs are functioning 24X7 to meet any exigencies due to earthquakes and they have been instructed to remain alert continually and keep search and rescue equipments on standby.

We are committed to the successful implementation of the ‘Socio-Economic Development Policy’ (SEDP), which aims at accelerating progress in key sectors and transforming Mizoram into a welfare state by achieving self-sufficiency in food items, improving the social life and general well-being of the people. In 2019-20, out of the budget provision of Rs.750.00 crore, a total of Rs.561.62 crores has been allocated to various Departments for the implementation of SEDP. Despite the hardships and challenges due to the pandemic, SEDP Boards are working

Under the State flagship programme of SEDP, Agriculture Department has prepared strategic plan for increased crop production programme. Cultivation of maize on a large scale as well as cultivation of pulses like Arhar, Soyabean, Field pea and Rajma is being taken up under SEDP. Under Soil Health Card Scheme, 26 model villages have been selected and 445 Soil samples have been collected and tested.

The Horticulture Department has started the Model Bamboo Plantation at Lengpui and Hmunpui village covering 209 beneficiaries. 79,000 poly-potted saplings have been planted so far by these beneficiaries. More than Rs.200 lakhs was earned from off-season cultivation of Tomato this year with a production of 4,050 qtls approx. generating considerable number of employment. Also, farmers’ income is estimated to the tune of Rs.238.00 lakhs from the production of off-season Cabbage only during 2019-2020.

During the pandemic COVID-19 Lockdown, Horticulture Department was the Nodal Department for Vegetable & Fruit Supply Chain formulated by the government along with Commerce & Industries Department and MIZOFED. The approximate value of vegetables and fruits sold and distributed during total lockdown through Horticulture Department and direct distribution by farmers to the consumers was around Rs.6.66 crores. The COVID-19 Vegetables & Fruits Supply Chain constituted by the government truly helped the people in getting a normal supply of essential vegetables and fruits during the total lockdown and also helping farmers in earning a steady income.

In order to ease the difficulties faced by the farmers, Fisheries Department has distributed 50.12 lakh nos. of common carp fish seeds at 50% subsidized rates, and another 20 lakh nos. of Major Carp seeds will be distributed.

Development of Eri-Sericulture for the Upliftment of Aspirational District at Mamit was one of the four Sericulture projects launched under the Ministry of Textiles and a total of Rs.11.56 crores for Development of Sericulture in Mizoram covering 500 Beneficiaries was approved. The project is being implemented with full swing.

The government has taken several concrete steps to strengthen the internal law and order system. During this year 2020, there has been no major law and order problem in the state of Mizoram due to the efficiency of Mizoram Police. Since the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic in the country and implementation of lockdown in the state, the Mizoram Police has been tirelessly working to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the state. Around 3000 Mizoram Police personnel are currently deployed for various COVID-19 related duties, such as international and inter-state border sealing, contact tracing of COVID-19 patients, security of quarantine facilities and law and order for enforcement of the lockdown guidelines.

Due to the initiatives of the Police Reforms Committee, Mizoram Police has been selected among 6 states in the country for grant of incentives amounting to Rs. 25.81 crores by Ministry of Home Affairs.

As road connectivity plays a vital role in development, available funds have been allotted for the construction and maintenance of roads under the Public Works Department. During the last working season, formation cutting of 452 Km, black topping of 330.96 Km, cement concrete pavement of 87.920 Km and rehabilitation and resurfacing of 607 Km have been completed. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the progress of several important projects has been hampered but the government is doing its best on the connectivity front with available resources.

The State Government has prioritized connectivity with the neighbouring country Myanmar, bridges crossing Chhimtuipui and Tiau River are also planned and proposed to be constructed. The Central Government has already approved this proposal and DPR for the four major roads connecting Mizoram and Myanmar have been already submitted and sanction is awaited while one major road connecting Mizoram and Myanmar is already approved by the NEC.

During 2019-2020, the Power & Electricity Department completed augmentation of 132kV Zuangtui Sub-Station, construction of 33kV tower line from Aibawk to Sialsuk, construction of 100kW Micro Hydel Projects each at Tuiriza near Phullen and Tuiching near Hrianghmun, construction of 132kV Sub-Station, Sihhmui and 33kV Sub-Station, Kawmzawl and construction of 33/11kV Sub-Stations at Rabung, Khawlailung, Mualthuam North, Tawipui North, Bualpui Ng and Phura under the Rural Electricity Distribution Backbone (REDB) scheme.

The Public Health Engineering Department has provided 15941 Functional House Tap Connections covering 228 villages within the State during 2019-2020 under Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM). Under Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin), 313 Community Sanitary Complexes have been constructed in various villages along National Highway. Meanwhile, 169 Solid Waste Management Units or dumping grounds were constructed at various places, 308 plastic and bottle collection centres were constructed for recycling purpose and 6 plastic bailing machines were procured.

I am proud to say that Mizoram continues to come out at the top among the smaller states for its exemplary performance on Health issues. With the approval of Power Finance Corporation, construction of 100-Bedded District Hospital-In Patient Department (IPD) Block at Mamit is on the anvil.

In order to ensure proper disposal of hospital waste at Civil Hospital, Aizawl, construction of 2 nos. of Bio-Digesters, amounting to Rs.50 lakhs have been successfully completed. For improvement & upgradation of Cobalt Therapy Unit at Zemabawk, Aizawl, high-tech equipments are being procured and installed. At the initiative of Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Trauma Centres are being established at the Civil Hospitals at Aizawl, Lunglei, Siaha, Lawngtlai, Serchhip, Champhai and Kolasib. In addition to the Central Grant, the state government has also allocated an amount of Rs.450 lakhs and Rs.300 lakhs for construction of Trauma Centres at the Aizawl Civil Hospital and Lunglei Civil Hospital respectively.

During the Financial Year 2019-2020, the Revenue Department collected Rs.7,24,00,620/- under State’s Own Tax and Rs.1,56,15,939/- under the State’s Own Non-Tax Revenue. Amendment of ‘The Mizoram (Land Revenue) Act, 2013’ and ‘The Mizoram (Land Revenue) Rules, 2013’ were made to streamline and improve the procedure of survey, allotment and settlement of land as well as reduce land disputes and litigation without affecting the tax payers.

The government is aware that the Autonomous District Councils must progress to achieve inclusive development. Towards this end, a number of developmental initiatives are underway in each of the three ADC, besides Sinlung Hills Council.

With the support of Ministry of Panchayati Raj, the Local Administration Department is implementing Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan (RGSA), which aims to strengthen institutional infrastructure support, e-Enablement of Panchayat/Village Council as well as provide citizen-centric service through co-location of Common Service Centres at VC Houses.

The Tourism Department successfully organised the FAI CAT II International Paragliding Accuracy Championship 2020 at Serchhip, which was the first ever in India and attracted participants from all over the world. Construction of State Institute of Hotel Management at Bung Bangla, Adventure Theme Park and a typical Mizo Village ‘Zokhua’ at Reiek has been completed this year. Construction of Thenzawl Golf Course under Central Swadesh Darshan Scheme has been completed. It may be noted that the Thenzawl golf course is the first and only golf course funded by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, and was recently inaugurated.

The revenue collection achieved by the Taxation Department for the financial year of 2020-2021 (upto June, 2020) from SGST & IGST, Professional Tax, MVAT, etc is Rs.9790.05 lakhs. To prevent loss of revenue, the Department has established Data Collection Centre at Vairengte Check-gate.

During 2019-2020, the actual revenue collected by Transport Department from various sources was Rs. 4945.84 lakhs. During 2019-20, 31,753 vehicles were registered in the nine DTO offices and 12,833 nos. of Driving License were issued.

The State Government has allocated funds amounting to Rs.920.27 lakhs from SEDP for establishment of Jordan Rehabilitation Centre for comprehensive drug treatment services, with expected accommodation capacity of 1000 (both male & female) inmates on completion.

The Urban Development & Poverty Alleviation (UD&PA) Department initiated innovative programme called ‘PAHOSS’ (Parking House Support Scheme), which aims at decongestion of road and traffic through provision of assistance for construction of Parking House within Aizawl City is being implemented smoothly. As of May, 2020, 313 eligible beneficiaries have been approved for funding with an expected additional parking capacity of 4691 cars/LMV or 28146 two wheelers.

The Rural Development Department continues to play a major part in upliftment and alleviation of poverty in rural areas. With the introduction of the new Border Area Development Programme 2020, an additional 49 villages will be added under BADP operating areas.

The Directorate of Labour, Employment, Skill Development & Entrepreneurship is intensifying efforts for successful implementation of various welfare schemes to secure decent means of livelihood particularly to unorganized workers within Mizoram. To combat the economic fallout caused by the outbreak of COVID-19, Workers registered under Building & Other Construction Workers Welfare Board were provided welfare measures to the tune of Rs.21.29 crores, by means of free ration and direct bank transfer of Rs.3000/- to each member.

The Food, Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs Department presently covers 2,72,315 households with 12,40,308 beneficiaries under its Public Distribution System (PDS). The Department undertook sufficient advance stocking of rice for 54 Godowns to which loaded vehicles could not ply during rainy season for the current financial year.

The Government will leave no stone unturned in its effort to provide the best for the youths and sportspersons in the State. The first ever Mizoram Sports Policy was adopted with a vision to develop a robust culture achieving universal participation and excellence in the highest level of sports.

Commerce & Industries Department has constructed 220 Markets all over the state and also mans 3 (three) Checkgates at Vairengte, Kanhmun and Bairabi. The state revenue garnered through these markets and checkgates is a total of Rs.306.15 lakhs for the year 2019-2020.

To combat the COVID-19 outbreak, Mizoram government formed the Committee on Promotion of Locally Manufactured Protective Gears under which, stitching, distribution and sale of masks was taken up diligently with a workforce of about 4000 local designers and tailors. These masks are made according to WHO and MoH&FW approved specifications and all packaging is duly disinfected. Till date, the department has purchased 1,42,525 non-woven masks and has sold/distrubuted 33,365 masks amounting to Rs.4,33,748/- to individuals and government departments.

The Information & Public Relations Department has been at the forefront in the fight against the pandemic since the start of the mitigation and containment process. In this regard, the social media accounts of the Department have played a very important role in informing the people about COVID-19 and in dispelling myths, rumours and fake news.

Dear friends, we must strive harder to not only take our state forward but to transform it, to make it reach newer heights and the government and the people have to achieve this collectively and jointly.

Complacency in the face of a global pandemic like Covid-19 is not appropriate and therefore, it is essential that each and every one of us remain alert and cautious. In the coming days of aftermath, tackling primary and vital issues such as health, livelihood, education, food and essential goods, roads and transport as well as security will be very important and challenging. It may not be possible for me to delve thoroughly into all the topics during this speech but let us keep in mind that we must work unitedly for this.

I would like to convey the Government’s gratitude to officials, members of Village/Local Level Task Forces, the various Churches, different NGOs, police and other law enforcing agencies who continue to work tirelessly supplementing the government’s efforts in the fight against the pandemic. The Government and the people of Mizoram also thank the frontline COVID-19 warriors - doctors, nurses, laboratory technicians, sample collectors, other medical workers and COVID-19 volunteers who are toiling day and night towards the mitigation and containment of the pandemic. I would also like to express my gratitude to all those who have contributed selflessly to the CM Relief Fund.

I once again take the opportunity to thank the NGOs, the churches and the people of Mizoram for their support and faith in our government. Today, let us re-dedicate ourselves towards nurturing, safeguarding and strengthening the ideals of our brave freedom fighters and nation builders, whose sacrifice should not go in vain. As globally, countries are gripped with several insecurities, let us continue to work tirelessly and valiantly for peace and security alongwith development in Mizoram.

Various awards were announced and distributed today which were given away by the Chief Guest. These awards are as follows:

I. National Award - Mizoram Police
a) President's Medal for Distinguished Service - Pu C. Lalthanmawia, MPS, Director, Fire & Emergency Services
b) Police Medal for Meritorius Service - Pu C. Lalruaia, MPS, SP Aizawl and Pu Lalthakima, Inspector, Police Training School

II. Jeevan Raksha Padak award series:
1) Sarvottam Jeevan Rakhsha Padak (posthumous) - Pu Lalrempuia (L),Vanbawng (On 5th April 2019, Pu Lalrempuia (L) gave his life to save his son from drowning. )
2) Uttam Jeevan Raksha Padak - Pu C.Lianhawla, Tuidam (On 15th May 2019, he saved his wife from the attack of a ferocious bear. His act of bravery saved his wife’s life.)
3) Jeevan Raksha Padak - Pu Lalawmpuia, North Serzawl (On 26th June 2019, Pu Lalawmpuia put his own life on the line and saved his entire family of 6 members, who otherwise would have burned to death.)

III. President's Police Medal for Distinguished Service: Pu LR Dingliana Sailo, IPS, CID (CRIME)

IV. Police Medal for Meritorious Service:
1) Pu Laldawngliana, MPS, Secretary to the Govt. of Mizoram, Printing and Stationery
2) Pu Lalthafamkima Jongte, MPS, AIG (Operations)
3) SI Lalmanliana, Siaha DEF

V. Governor’s Gold Medal:
1) Sub Inspector Lalthanpuii, Aizawl DEF
2) ASI PC Laltanpuia, Aizawl DEF
3) Fireman Zonunthara, Bawngkawn Fire Station

VI. Governor’s Silver medal:
1) SI K.Lalrinpuia, Aizawl DEF
2) Hav.Ralngamthanga, 2nd Bn. MAP
3) Constable Lalthlamuana, Traffic Unit

VII. Mizoram State Teachers’ Award, 2020:
1) High School section - Pi Vanlalhliri Sailo, Headmistress, Govt. Hnahthial High School, Hnahthial
2) Middle School Section - Pu Malsawma Sailo, Headmaster, Govt. Garden Middle School, Rahsi Veng, Lunglei
3) Primary School Section - Pu R.Lalpianthanga, Teacher, Govt. Chawnpui Primary School Aizawl

VIII. Chief Minister’s Excellence Award in Public Administration, 2020:
(a) Organization category -
1) Deputy Commisioner’s Office, Siaha District (“Kawng kawhhmuhtu – Our children, our future”)
2) Aizawl Municipal Corporation (AMC online building plan approval system)
(b) Team category - Ajiveeka Grameen Express Yojana implementing team - Pi H. Lalchhandami, CEO, MZSRLM; Er. Lalrammawia, Director, Transport Department, Pu C lalbiakthanga, Jt. Director (STA) and Dr F.Laldinthara, State Mission Manager.

(c) Individual Category -
1) Pi Shashanka Ala, IAS, DC Lawngtlai (Kan sikul, kan school, my farm)
2) Pu Lalrinawma Khiangte, BDO Phullen, Saitual District (Water Supply Project from Paite Tuikawr to BDO Complex including installation of solar pump).


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