/  \    _____ _____ ____      _    _      
              /    \  (  __/(  __/(_   \    / \  / \
             /  __  \  \  \  \  \  / __ O N L I N E \
            (__/  \__)/____)/____)(______)(__/    \__) 
                     Vol.I, No.82 [*] January 13, 1997

   Two CRPF jawans were killed and  at  least  14  others  injured  when
   suspected   Bodo   ultras   detonated   a   bomb   on   a  bridge  on
   Madati-Amlaiguri road, about 15 km from  Kokrajhar,  on  January  11.
   The bus the deceased and the injured were travelling in was caught in
   the blast  while  returning  from an examination centre.  Thirteen of
   the injured were CRPF jawans.  The injured  have  been  sent  to  GMC
   hospital.  The blast completely damaged the engine of the bus besides
   causing extensive damage to its body.  The Army picked up ten persons
   on  January  11  in connection with the blast from the areas near the
   blast site.

o  DR BARUA, ASSOCIATES DENIED BAIL	               [S+AT:11-JAN-97]
   The controversial surgeon, Dr Dhani Ram Barua,  who  has  claimed  to
   have  performed transplantation of a pig's heart, kidney and lungs on
   a human body, and two of  his  associates,  Dr  Jonathan  Ho  and  Dr
   C.J.James,  were  produced on January 10 in the court of Kamrup Chief
   Judicial Magistrate following their arrest on January  9.    The  CJM
   refused to grant them bail and remanded them to judicial custody till
   January 24.

   The Chief Minister, Mr Prafulla Kumar Mahanta, formally announced the
   handing  over  of  full control over 30 more departments to the Karbi
   Anglong Autonomous District Council at a crowded  public  meeting  at
   Diphu on January 12.  Addressing the meeting, the Chief Minister said
   with  the handing over of the departments, the MoU signed between the
   State Government and the ASDC and  some  organizations  on  April  1,
   1995, was  now  totally  implemented.  He said with the people of the
   district got full autonomy.

o  CBI SEEKS GOVT'S NOD				          [S:11-JAN-97]
   The  Central  Bureau  of  Investigation,  probing the LoC scam in the
   State,  has  sought  sanction  from  the  State  Government  to  file
   charge-sheets  against  the  accused  in the Biswanath Chariali case.
   The agency has also completed the  investigations  into  the  Barpeta
   case,  and the details of the investigation have been sent to the CBI
   headquarters in New Delhi.  The agency would  seek  the  Government's
   sanction once the headquarters gave green signal.

   The  Guwahati  police,  on  January  10,  kept on its toes as several
   police stations, the  railway  station  and  newspaper  offices  were
   flooded  with  hoax  calls  claiming  that  bombs  were  to go off at
   different places any time.    However,  searches  at  several  places
   failed to reveal any explosive materials.

   The Army has arrested four BLTF militants who  have  confessed  their
   complicity  in  the  recent  bomb  blasts at a railway bridge and the
   SDO's office at Goreswar.  According to an Army  press  release,  the
   four ultras were apprehended from Gopalpur village near Goreswar.  In
   another breakthrough, the release said, soldiers picked up three BLTF
   cadres from Goreswar on January 9.

   The  Directorate  of  Revenue  Intelligence  in  a  major haul seized
   contraband gold worth Rs.1.1 million at Borjhar airport, Guwahati  on
   January 8.    According to an official report altogether 15 pieces of
   gold in prism shape weighing around 1.75 kg were recovered from three
   passengers who were coming from Agartala.  One of the passengers  was
   carrying ten pieces of gold concealed in his rectum.

o  EXTREMIST VIOLENCE KILLS 734 IN 1996		        [AT:11-JAN-97]
   As many as 734 persons were killed in extremist violence in Assam  in
   the  year  1996  while  200 were killed in the ethnic clashes between
   Bodos and Santhals in Kokrajhar district, official  sources  said  at
   Guwahati on January 10.

o  OIL ROYALTY FIXED AT RS.578 PER MT		    [AT+S:10,11-JAN-97]
   In  what has been described as a major set back for the oil producing
   States including Assam, the Union Cabinet approved, on January 8, oil
   royalty at Rs.578 per metric tonne, a hike of mere  Rs.20  per  cent.
   However, the fixation of the price of the crude oil which was eagerly
   awaited  by  the  Assam  Government  came as a damper for the Mahanta
   Government, which had in the last week of December  demanded  payment
   of  crude royalty at the rate of Rs.1,204 per metric tonne as against
   the prevailing ad-hoc rate of Rs.578.
   Meanwhile, the AGP has welcomed the Centre's decision to increase the
   royalty on crude oil but demanded that the royalty  be  increased  to
   Rs.1,208 as demanded by it.  The AGP executive committee meeting held
   at Guwahati on January 10 adopted a resolution to this effect.

   The abnormal delay in admission into  the  Medical  Colleges  of  the
   State has threatened to seriously affect the careers of a good number
   of promising students.
   Health  department sources told newsmen that as per the guidelines of
   the Medical Council of India, the undergraduate  admissions  for  the
   session  1996-97  should  have  been completed by September 30, 1996.
   But till date even the selection list has not been published  by  the
   Directorate of Medical Education.
   Sources said that last year the process of admissions into  the  MBBS
   classes  in  the  three Medical Colleges of the State took almost the
   whole year and immediately after assuming office the  present  Health
   Minister  Dr Kamala Kalita asserted that the whole process of medical
   admissions would be regularised.  But this year  too  the  admissions
   were delayed.

o  IRE OVER CESS COLLECTION			          [S:12-JAN-97]
   Apart form policemen extorting money from truck drivers at  different
   check-gates  right from Srirampur, which eventually leads to increase
   in prices of essential commodities, the Assam Agricultural  Marketing
   Board,  an  autonomous  body,  also  collects  1  per  cent  cess  on
   agricultural products coming from outside the State.
   The  cess  is collected at Srirampur and other check-gates at Nagaon,
   Kamrup, Darrang,  Dhemaji,  Lakhimpur,  Golaghat,  Nalbari,  Barpeta,
   Bijni  and Titabor with active help from policemen, on the cost price
   of the agricultural produce.  The cess collection  amounts  to  about
   Rs.250,000 to  Rs.300,000  every  day,  sources said.  However, about
   half of the money thus collected goes into private pockets, only  the
   rest goes to the Board.
   Some traders at Guwahati claimed that collection of cess by the Board
   was  illegal  as  the  rules  and laws allowed the marketing board to
   collect cess on only those goods for which it provides marketing  and
   other facilities.    The  question of proving such facilities did not
   arise in case of goods brought from outside the State and  therefore,
   the Board should not collect cess on these items.
   When asked for his comments, the chief accounts officer of the  Board
   said  that  the  rules and laws on the agricultural marketing did not
   specify that cess could be collected only on those  items  for  which
   the Board provides some basic marketing facilities.  He said that the
   collection  of cess by the Board was legal and the High Court had, in
   one of its orders, upheld this practice.
   While the traders who  pay  the  cess  pass  on  the  burden  to  the
   consumers,  whether  the  money  collected  by  the Board is properly
   utilized or not is a question that needs scrutiny.

   The first meeting of the high level expert committee  to  examine  of
   all  aspects  of the problem pertaining to the educated unemployed in
   the North Eastern Region and to suggest  specific  steps  to  promote
   employment among them was held at Guwahati on January 8.
   The  chairman  of  the 20-member high level expert committee, Mr S.S.
   Bopari, while seeking constructive and positive suggestions from  the
   State  Government  officials  in  order to solve the burning educated
   unemployment problem in this part of the country, said that  educated
   unemployment  could  be  solved  to  a  great  extent  if priority is
   accorded to tourism, food processing including agro based industries,
   civil  aviation  and  transport   sectors   which   have   tremendous
   potentialities in this region.

   The Tocklai Tea Experimental Station, the pioneer of tea research  in
   the   world,   is   facing   a   serious   crisis  following  alleged
   mismanagement.  According to a  memorandum  submitted  to  the  Chief
   Minister   by   the   Tocklai   Employees  Union,  the  Tea  Research
   Association,  the  organization  responsible  for  Tocklai's  overall
   functioning,  is systematically pushing the organization to the brink
   of a crisis by deliberate mismanagement.

   The  Government of Assam suspended four officers of the Department of
   Agriculture  for  being  absent  from  office   without   permission,
   negligence of duty and misuse of departmental vehicle.

o  PANGOLIN CAUGHT AT LANKA			          [AT:7-JAN-97]
   A forest  patrolling  party  caught  a  Pangolin  commonly  known  as
   'bon-rauh' at Lankajan under Lanka Range Forest in Nagaon district on
   January 4.    Pangolin  is  a  rare  species  and  is on the verge of
   extinction.  The Pangolin was later brought to the  DFO's  office  at
   Hojai and  will  be sent to the Assam State Zoo.  It may be noted hat
   the Forest staff caught another Pangolin at  Lumding  forest  in  the
   last month, which was also sent to the State Zoo.
   The Assam Government submitted a proposal  for  an  outlay  of  Rs.20
   million to the Union Government seeking assistance for development of
   botanical garden at Hengrabari, Guwahati.
   An  official  report  said  the  Government  has  also identified two
   projects, Guwahati green lungs project and development  of  Kaziranga
   National  Park  for  assistance from the Royal Netherlands Government
   and the project outlay would  be  Rs.70  million  and  Rs.40  million

   The  Tripura  Government  has drawn up a Rs.1.2 billon plan to expand
   rubber cultivation in the State for rehabilitation of  15,000  tribal
   families  based  on  it  in  the  next five years, according official
   sources at Agartala.  The project had already been submitted  to  the
   Center for approval.

o  D.C.BHUYAN AWARD PRESENTED			           [S:13-JAN-97]
   Noted social worker of Nalbari, Mr Prabhat Narayan Chowdhury has been
   awarded  the  Dulal  Chandra Bhuyan Memorial Award on January 12 at a
   function in Nalbari.  The award carries Rs.10,000 and a citation.

o  RUNUMI THAKUR DEAD				        [S+AT:13-JAN-97]
   Ms  Runumi  Thakur,  a  popular singer of the Assam died at a nursing
   home in New Delhi on January 12 following protracted  illness.    She
   was 51.
   Ms Thakur, who has a good number of records and cassettes of Assamese
   songs was most sought after artiste on stage.  Her most popular songs
   include 'moi kohimare adhunika dalimi' and 'o  sikun  bihuti  -  haji
   kachi nahibi  aji'.    She  was  serving  as  a  lecturer at Guwahati
   College.  Daughter of late Siba Prasad  Bhattacharya,  eminent  music
   composer,  Ms Thakur leaves behind her singer-husband Bhabesh Thakur,
   two daughters and her mother.

   The Axom Xahitya Xabha has invited essays on thee  subject  'Assamese
   Translation  of  American Literature' from the college and university
   students for a competition of Asom Sangha America Award.    The  word
   limit  has  been fixed at 2000, and the participants have to send two
   copies of the essay with a forwarding letter  from  their  respective
   heads of  the  institutions.    The entries should be sent to Sumanta
   Chaliha, Assistant Secretary, Axom Xahitya  Xabha,  Bhagaboti  Prasad
   Barua Bhawan, Guwahati 781001 before January 31.


Compiled from newspaper and agency reports for private circulation only.
      [S=Sentinel, AT=Assam Tribune, Agencies = UNI, PTI, PIB]