Back issues December '2002

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Back issues - December '2002


News on 31st December '2002

Insurgency toll 471 in 2002 - SSB chief meets CM, deployment on Bhutan border soon

Guwahati : Director General of the Special Services Bureau (SSB) V.K. Malik on 30th December met Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, Assam Police chief Hare Krishna Deka and other senior officials and discussed the issue of deployment of the dedicated force along the Assam-Bhutan border.

Following the State Government's persistent demand for deployment of the dedicated central force along the porous and heavily wooded 256 kilometers long Assam-Bhutan border to check the cross-border movement of ULFA and NDFB rebels, New Delhi has decided to man the border with personnel of the SSB.

CM sitting over vigilance report exposing check gate 'collections'

Guwahati : Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi is sitting over a report from the CM's Special Vigilance Cell which has exposed how the police and the check gate authorities collect money from truck drivers although the truckers are not legally bound to pay at different toll gates.

What is, however, most astonishing is the fact that even after the submission of the report by the Chief Minister's Vigilance Cell more than five months ago, the Congress government has been denying all reports of extortion at the check gates and parking places in the State. 

Lawyers stage fact against Kamrup split

Guwahati : More than 900 lawyers of the subordinate judiciary under the banner of Lawyers' Association, Guwahati , on 30th December staged a day-long hunger strike here in protest against the Assam Government's decision to bifurcate the Kamrup district into Rural Kamrup district and Urban Kamrup district. The lawyers have threatened to intensify their stir if the government do not immediately withdraw its decision of bifurcating Kamrup district.

Official sources said that the lawyers' strike is illegal since it has disrupt the normal functioning of the lower courts, including the chief judicial magistrate's court. 

CM softens, but Assam doctors want promises in writing

Guwahati : Agitating junior doctors of all the three Government medical colleges and the lone regional Dental College in the State remained adamant and decided to go ahead with their ongoing stir despite Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi agreeing in principle to consider the demands of the Federation of Junior Doctors, Assam (FOJDA), including the payment of arrear stipend pending since October as soon as the treasury reopens. The junior doctors are currently resorting to hunger strike as the third phase of the ongoing stir which entered the 14th day on 30th December. 

Want street lights ? Team up with GMC, own them

Guwahati : How would you light up your locality if the urban civic bodies fail ? The answer lies in public participation. The Guwahati Municipal Development Authority (GMDA) and the Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) have decided to launch a scheme called Project Jyoti that will provide 100 per cent street lighting with participation from the public.

Out of 60 wards of the GMC, only seven wards have 100 per cent street lighting. Except the G.S. Road, most of the main roads and bye-lanes in the city plunge into darkness after the sun sets as three is no street light.

News on 30th December '2002

Police on high alert, says more mortars have reached city

Guwahati : The Assam Police has intensified security measures following intelligence reports that the second consignment of mortar shells meant for the banned ULFA has reached the city. With the arrival of the second consignment of mortars, the ULFA could target the Janata Bhavan, Guwahati Railway Station, Gauhati Refinery and other vital installations.

Meanwhile, the City Police on 29th December night arrested two ULFA militants Diganta Sarania alias Basanta Das and Tilak Barua alias Pradip Das from Amingaon railway colony and recovered one 9mm pistol and 15 rounds of ammunition. The police suspects that both the militants attacks in and around Ambari area on December 25. 

Assam Junior doctor's stir enters 13th day - Doctors threaten self-immolation, Govt seeks time

Guwahati : Agitating junior doctors of all the three Government medical colleges and the lone regional Dental College in the State on 29th December threatened that they would resort to self-immolation as an extreme step if the Assam Government do not concede to their "long standing genuine demands". The stir of the junior doctors has entered 13th-day on 29th December.

NETPDA hails admin changes by Prasar Bharati

Guwahati : The North-east TV Producers & Doctors' Association (NETPDA) has welcomed the recent administrative reshuffle made in Doordarshan, North-east by the Prasar Bharati and in the same vein demanded an immediate streamlining of the allegedly corrupt system in Doordarshan affecting works of genuine producers and directors from the region. The Association has also called for transparency in the selection procedure in the upcoming process of selection of commissioned programmes. 

Be business like, we shall look after you: CM to ACS officers

Guwahati : Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on 29th December exhorted the Assam Civil Services (ACS) officers to develop a "business like" Government in running the administration in an efficient manner. He said the bureaucrats instead of becoming just "Yes Boss" officers must apply their minds to serve the interest of the State.

News on 29th December '2002

City meet of Bar Council of India resents SC verdict on strikes

Guwahati : The Bar Council of India has resolved to file a review application in the Supreme Court of India against the judgment in writ petition No 132 of 1988 titled Harish Uppal-vs-Bar Council of India and others.

In a joint meeting of the members of the Bar Council of India and Chairman of State Bar Council of India expressed its anguish and concern at certain observations made in the judgement by the Supreme Court particularly in regard to Section 30 of the Advocate Act ignoring the earlier judgments of the Supreme Court where it stated that it is unfortunate that Section 30 has not been implemented.

News on 28th December '2002

Folk queen Pratima breathes her last

Guwahati : Tomra Gayele Ki Ashiben Mor Mahut Bandhure... So song Assam's flok queen in an ode to the mahut, the elephant keepers she was so familiar with Hostir Kanya (daughter of the elephant) Pratima Pandey is no more and will never come back (Na Asibe) to the mahut and the elephants to share their joy and sorrows. The long journey of this legendary lady from the Gauripur royal family came to an end at the Guwahati Neurological Reserch Centre (GNRC) here at around 7.30 a.m. on 27th December. She was 67 and leaves behind her husband Ganga Sankar Pandey, two daughters Amrita and Aloka, and a host of admirers.

Cong admits of getting away from people , vows to change

Guwahati : In a major development in the State's political scene, the Assam Pradesh Congress Committee on 27th December climbed down from the higher horse of its persistent claim that the people of Assam were solidly behind it, and accepted that the State Government and the party has considerably distanced themselves from the people. It vowed to rectify the situation by taking all steps to get back to the "people's doorstep". 

Boost credit flow to agri sector : Gogoi to banks

Guwahati : Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on 27th December asked all the chiefs of regional and nationalized banks operating in the State to increase the flow of credit to the agriculture sector. He said bankers should not punish the "poor farmers" on the ground of the long list of defaulters in the industrial sector.

Addressing the meeting of the bank chiefs here on 27th December morning, Gogoi said credit flow to the increased by the banks for a rapid economic growth of the State. He said Assam's economy solely depends on agriculture and the banks and other financial institutions would do a great injustice if they do not help the farmers. 

Check gate to be dismantled by March : Gogoi

Guwahati : The "check-gate, syndicate" issue on 27th December figured prominently in the APCC executive committee meeting, diverting much of its attention from the political issues, when several members demanded that they be dismantled before the image of the party and the Government was tarnished beyond recognition. An exasperated Chief Minister, to whom the demand was made, told the meeting that they would be dismantled by March next year.

News on 27th December '2002

Mortar attack in city - Police still groping in the dark

Guwahati : The security forces are still in the dark about the identity of the miscreants involved in the mortar attacks in the city on 25th December evening, which killed two persons and injured 19 others including former member of the Parliament Prabin Sarma.

The Director General of Assam Police has announced a reward of Rs one lakh to anyone who can provide information leading to the arrest of the miscreants involved in the attacks.

Superintendent of City Police Hiren Nath told on 26th December in the evening that the needle of suspicion points towards the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) because of the fact that the tail finals recovered were similar to those used by the militant outfit in an attack in the capital complex some time back. However, he admitted that till now, police does not have concrete proof of the involvement of the ULFA in the attacks. 

State takes exception to Shourie statement

Guwahati : Assam Government on 26th December took strong exception to the statement made by Union Minister for Department of Development of North eastern Region (DONER) Arun Shourie that the Centre would consider the request for a 'special development package' for North East provided peace restored in the region. 

Cong neglecting State minorities

Guwahati : The Assam state Markazi of the Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind (JUeH), wielding considerable influence among the minorities in Assam, has sharply criticised the ruling Congress for 'neglecting' the minorities after using them as 'vote banks'.

"The Congress has used the minorities as vote banks but have not done any significant work for their upliftment since assuming power", accused JUeH working president Ali Ahmed Hussain, while addressing presspersons at Guwahati Press Club (GPC) here on 26th December in the morning. 

Funds for flood control - Centre's promise in papers only

Guwahati : The Central government's promise of providing an amount of Rs 500 crore during the 9th Five Year Plan period for taking up flood control measures remained on papers only as the State received only Rs 54 crore during that period.

During the last two years of the 9th Plan period, the Department did not receive any money from the Central Water Resources Ministry. The funding pattern for the 10th Plan period is yet to be finalised, but the Department has submitted detailed project reports amounting to Rs 300 crore for the first three years of the 10th Plan. 

'BJP, allies spreading politics of hate'

Guwahati : Speakers at a public meeting here on 26th December expressed serious concern over the attempt of the BJP and its ally organisations at spreading the politics of hate and thus to destroy the secular fabric of the country's society for their political survival. The speakers includes former Chief Minister Gopal Barbora, former Vice-Chancellor of Gauhati University Dr D.P. Borooah and Star News Arnab Goswami. 

Mukong-Selek, Jonai under threat - Migrants eyeing tribal belt

Guwahati : Illegal Bangladesh migrants are eyeing Mukong Selek Jonia Tribal Belt along Assam-Arunachal boundary in Dhemaji district much to the chagrin of local tribal population there.

Already over 5000 'non-bonafied persons with doubtful citizenship status are trying to settle down in the far-flung belt at the expense of the sons of the soil from that area while the local administration is turning a deaf ear to the repeated demands from Mukong Selek Jonai Tribal Belt Protection Action Committee for eviction of these illegal occupants from the area. 

Junior doctors' strike hits patients hard

Guwahati : The total ceasework of the junior doctors at the three medical colleges entered the fourth day on 26th December, completely paralysing the health services. With the agitating doctors, accusing the Government of not being sincere enough to redress their grievances, the impasse is likely to continue.

The junior doctors who are demanding better amenities for the hospitals besides an improve in their perks, will submit memorandums to the Chief Minister and the Governor on 27th December.

Church bodies offer to mediate with NE militants

Guwahati : The powerful churches of north-east offered to mediate with any separatist group to end decades of insurgency in the region on 24th December.

The church offer came ahead of Christmas, with peace becoming the buzzword in the sprawling region that has been hit by 55 years of bloodshed.

"If the church is officially entrusted to play the role of a mediator between the Government and insurgent groups, we shall be happy to accept the responsibility for the greater interest of peace in the region," Reverend J.M. Pau, general secretary of the Council of Baptist Churches in North-east India.

Kisan Samman Divas by Agric Dept

Guwahati : The commemorate the birth centenary year of Chowdhury Charan Singh, former Prime Minister of India, Department of Agriculture Assam celebrated State-level Kishan Samman Divas at Athiaboi Village, near Changsari in Kamrup district on 24th December.

Attending the State-level seminar and felicitation programme, State Agriculture Minister, Dr A K Dey said that the agriculture department had sufficient funds to make the States self-sufficient in agriculture production. He called upon the agriculture officers to help the farmers in selecting high yielding seed and also assist them in taking up income generating activities in the associated field. Dr Dey praised the efforts of the farmer in increasing rice production and urged them to shift their attention towards pulses and oil seed production to narrow down the production and demand gap in the State.

News on 26th December '2002

2 killed, 20 hurt in 2 mortar attacks in city on Christmas

Guwahati : Two people were killed and 20 others sustained injuries including former AGP MP Prabin Sarma in two separate mortar attacks in and around Ambari area here at 6.10 p.m. on 25th December evening.

IGP of Special Branch Khagen Sarma told that in the first mortar attack in front of the Assam Textile Institute, Ambari, former AGP MP Prabin Sarma who was travelling in a Santro car (AS-01-K-3737) and several other people on the road, received injuries. Sarma said the banned ULFA was suspected to be behind the mortar attack. He, however, refused to divulge on the actual target of the attack. 

Alliance Air lunches Kolkata- Guwahati-Dimapur-Agartala ATR-42 service - Be prompt, honest; get package : Shourie to Assam Govt

Guwahati : Union Minister of Disinvestment and Development of the North-east Arun Shourie on 25th December assured the Assam Government of announcing a "special package" for the State if the letter could ensure "prompt and honest" execution of all projects and the funds meant for the development do not go to the militants, coffer.

Replying to the demand of the Chief Minister, Mr Tarun Gogoi for announcing a special package for rapid socio-economic growth of Assam, Shourie said the allocation for the State would be increased under the 10th Plan. He was addressing a function held at the Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi International airport here on the occasion to mark the introduction of Alliance Air ATR-42 air services to the north-eastern states. 

Fight abuse of power: Tejpal urges journos

Guwahati : New Delhi-based eminent journalist and CEO-cum-editor of Tejpal news portal Tarun Tejpal on 25th December said the media has to put a leash on the abuse of power. He said journalism is a distinct vocation and it cannot become "advertising, public relation and public entertainment".

Tarun Tejpal, who pioneered a new genre of investigative journalism in India with two path breaking investigative stories "Fallen Heroes" on cricket match-fixing and "Operation West End" on corruption prevailing in the Indian defence procurement, was at the Guwahati Press Club here to inaugurate the news portal 

Junior doctors' stir cripples Govt hospitals

Guwahati : Serious situation was prevailing in three Medical College Hospital- Gauhati, Dibrugarh and Silchar - as junior doctors continued their cease work for the third day on 25th December pressing for fulfillment of their various demands.

In Gauhati Medical College, manpower crisis hit the hospital. The out-patient department was virtually closed. The intensive care unit was also closed because of non-availability of doctors, hospital sources said. Similar situation also arose in Dibrugarh and Silchar College Hospitals.

SSB deployment on Bhutan border soon

Guwahati : The banned ULFA and NDFB militants sheltered in Bhutan will be given a "hot chase" by the Special Surveillance Bureau (SSB) soon after the Centre deploys the force along the Assam-Bhutan border. The Assam Government is optimistic that the deployment of the SSB will reduce the incidents of sneaking of the militants from Bhutan into this side of the border to cause sabotages and killings. 

Insurgency hits gauge conversion work

Guwahati : Insurgency has hit hard the North-east Frontier Railway's gauge conversion work of Lumding-Silchar traction.

According to reports, the gauge conversion work of Lumding-Silchar route has been delayed due to the extremists who have created a panicky situation among the labourers'. It is learnt that the labourers' houses are being burnt by the extremists.

AGP raps Govt for doctors' strike

Guwahati : The Asom Gana Parishad president Brindaban Goswami expressed deep concern over the situation arising out of the Junior doctors' strike in the three medical colleges, including the Dental College in the State. The AGP blamed the Government for not responding to the situation considering the difficulties of the patients and the common people in this regard.

News on 25th December '2002

Minority ministers flay Osmani, say community has faith in Gogoi

Guwahati : The rift in the ruling Congress party in Assam over minority politics erupted in the open for the second time on 24th December when the minority ministers in the Gogoi Cabinet and MLAs lambasted the anti-Gogoi group led by Mr Golam Osmani for attempting to rail the Government as being anti-minority "only to subserve their petty political aims." About a month ago, Mr Osmani has entered into a heated argument with Mr Gogoi over the alleged failure of his Government to uplift the condition of the minorities of Assam during a convention of the APCC minority cell at Rajiv Bhavan. After this incident, the Chief-Minister is reported to have decided to initiate a campaign launched by Mr Osmani and his supporters against him. 

Doctors' stir on, Barman fails to defuse crisis

Guwahati : Normal functioning of the three government medical colleges and the lone dental college in the State remained crippled for the second day on 24th December as the Health Minister Dr Bhumidhar Barman despite his visit to the Gauhati Medical College Hospital (GMCH) in the morning failed to convince the agitating Junior doctors about initiatives taken to solve their various demands. The Federation of Junior Doctors, Assam, has said it would go ahead with their cease work stir.

As more than 600 junior doctors stayed away from work, the condition of patients admitted at the GMCH has further deteriorated. A serious man power crisis has hit the hospital and the emergency hospital and the emergency ward. 

Assam Nepalis to fight for 'real identity'

Guwahati : "The Nepalis in Assam had to be the worst sufferers due to the negligence and apathetic attitude of both the Centre and the State Government, through they had contributed a lot in the freedom struggle and also in the anti-foreigners' movement in Assam", said Harak Bahadur Chetry, president of the All Assam Nepali Students' Union (AANSU) on 24th December. 

DD concealing facts, we shall agitate : NETPDA

Guwahati : The North-east Television Producers and Directors' Association (NETPDA) will resort to an agitation in protest against the 'deliberate and calculated attempt' by the Programme Production Centre (NE) Doordarshan to conceal facts and figures relating to assignment of programmes to producers under its commissioned category.

Grameen-type micro credit lights up Morakalong

Guwahati : Amidst the gloom, there is some light in Assam now. Micro-credit programmes are bringing a ray of hope for the rural populace in the State.

Till a few years back, villagers at Morakalong in Morigaon district thought that they were cursed to face nothing but grim poverty from the day of their birth. But on 24th December, the villagers have five community huts to discuss their problems and possible solutions in a common platform. Besides, the villagers own power tillers, pump sets, poultry firms and piggeries.

Land acquisition holding up Bogibeel bridge work

Guwahati : Non-acquisition of land, non-receipt of the proposed schemes by most of the Government agencies and non-finalization of the terms for supply of requisite materials between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh Government are the main reasons for the delay in the construction work of the proposed Bogibeel bridge project to be initiated by the North-east Frontier Railway at Dibrugarh. 

Forum for Democracy meet on Dec 26

Guwahati : With an aim to form a citizens committee to carry forward the ideals of democracy and secularism, a meeting organized by People's Forum for Democracy will be held at Guwahati Press Club on December 26 at 3 p.m. Mr Arnab Goswami, News Editor NDTV will also speak on the occasion.

Gogoi wishes people on Christmas

Guwahati : Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has conveyed hearty greetings to the people of the Christian community in particular and the people of all sections of the State on the occasion of Christmas. 

NE air services launch on 25th December

Guwahati : The Alliance Air ATR 42 air services to the North-east will be flagged off by Assam Governor, Lt Gen (retd) S K Sinha, at the LGBI Airport in the city on 25th December. Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi will be the chief guest of the function which will be presided over by Union Minister for Civil Aviation, Syed Shahanwaz Hussain. Minister of Disinvestments and Department of Development of North-east region , Mr Arun Shourie will be the guest of honour. Ms Bijoya Chakraborty, Union Minister of State for Water Resources will also be present.

Plea to include human rights in college education

Guwahati : The Department of Political Science, organised a popular task on 'human rights' in the library seminar hall of the college recently.

In his inaugural address, Dr Dayananda Pathak, Principal of Pragjyotish College, lauded the role of the National Human Rights Commission of India and expressed grave concern over the violation of human rights by the Government itself. He insisted on inclusion of human rights in college education . 

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