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                    Vol.I, No.94 [*] February 28, 1997

   Railways have allocated a sum of Rs.3 billion to initiate various new
   projects  in  the  entire  northeastern   region,   including   gauge
   conversion  from Dimapur to Dibrugarh and Tinsukia to Lekhapani. This
   particular project is expected to be completed by March 1997, Railway
   Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said while presenting the  railway  budget,
   in the Lok Sabha on February 26.
   While  announcing  introduction  of  new  trains,  especially  of the
   Rajdhani variety, and extension  of  the  run  of  many  others,  the
   Minister  said that the work on the Diphu-Karong new railway line was
   being included in the first phase of broad gauge line  to  Imphal  as
   part  of  the  Government's  efforts  for development of the backward
   Northeast. The highlighs of the proposals for the northeastern region
       o  construction of the Bogibeel bridge.
       o  extension of the Rajdhani Express up to Dibrugarh via Dimapur
       o  gauge-conversion   projects   to   be   undertaken   on    the
          Mariani-Furkating and Simaluguri-Moranhat stretches
       o  surveys   to   be  made  for  laying  new  lines  on  the  New
          Moinaguri-Mathabunga-New Cooch Behar stretch,  linking  it  to
          Jogigopa     via     Boxirhat,     and     also     on     the
           Silchar-Jiribam-Baraigram stretches.

   A Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) team probing  the  mysterious
   disappearance  of  Ms  Alam  Ara  the  wife  of  the State Irrigation
   Minister Abdul Muhib Mazumdar, on February 27, dug up the floor of  a
   room  in bungalow number 73 of the Old MLA Hostel campus on suspicion
   that her body had been interred there.
   The CBI team accompanied by forensic experts,  PWD  officials  and  a
   magistrate  arrived  at  the  previous  residence of Mr Mazumdar, now
   occupied by the AGP Chief Whip, Mr Hitendra  Nath  Goswami  at  about
   7.15  am  continued  to  dig up the floor of a room adjacent to a bed
   room till around 2:30 pm.  The CBI team however  found  none  of  the
   tell-tale signs  like  hair,  teeth  or any major bone.  The CBI took
   soil samples, sealing them in 22 polyethylene bags, and a portion  of
   mysterious liquid, for forensic analysis.
   It may be mentioned that Mr Mazumdar in the capacity of an opposition
   Congress-I MLA was occupying the residence when  his  wife  Alam  Ara
   went missing on December 26, 1986 and no trace of her have been found
   till  date. Suspecting foul-play Roshanara Khatun, sister of Alam Ara
   lodged an FIR  at  the  Dispur  police  station  in  September  1997.
   However,  the  police failed to make appreciable headway and the then
   Congress-I regime finally handed over the case to the CBI on  May  3,
   Meanwhile, taking to newsmen over telephone from Silchar, Mr Mazumdar
   termed  the  CBI action as 'purely political in nature' and expressed
   suspicion that his political rivals are behind it.

   Expertise to implant an electronic device in the inner ear of totally
   deaf persons who cannot benefit from hearing  aids  or  any  form  of
   treatment  is  now  available  at  the All India Institute of Medical
   Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi. AIIMS becomes the  first  public  sector
   unit to offer facilities for implanting the device, called a Cochlear
   implant,  in  the cochlea, a snail-like coiled structure in the inner
   ear that is involved in the  transmission  of  sound  signal  to  the
   brain, Professor  R.C.Deka, head of the ENT department at AIIMS, told
   newsmen on February 27.
   Dr Deka performed this surgery  on  February  15  on  a  patient  who
   developed  hearing loss in both ears a year ago. Four weeks after the
   operation, the patient will be trained for sound and speech  therapy.
   The entire implant unit contains a small unit with 22 electrodes that
   is fitted over the coiled cochlea, a tiny receiver or stimulator that
   is seated in the skull bone.

   People for Animals, a local body  involved  in  fighting  for  animal
   rights, is all set to move the Gauhati High Court to put an immediate
   ban on the traditional buffalo fights in the State in accordance with
   the  Prevention  of  Cruelty  to Animals Act. Speaking to newsmen, Ms
   Sangeeta Goswami of the animal rights body said she was all set to go
   to court next week to put an end to the blood-sport.
   Buffalo  fights,  which  are  closely  linked  with  the  traditional
   heritage  of  Assam and form part of religious rites specially during
   the Bihu festival, are an  attraction  among  the  rural  population.
   Although  this  'sport'  is  also  promoted  as a tourist attraction,
   wagers are often placed on the buffalos that lock horns, and many  of
   the spectators are often injured.

   AXX  Award  for  Mahim  Bora: 
   Noted  literateur  Mr  Mahim Bora has been selected for the Chaganlal
   Jain Memorial Award for 1996, for his book 'Galpa Samagra',  said  an
   AXX release  on  February  26.  The award constitutes of an amount of
   Rs.50,000, a citation besides a silver plaque.   The  award  will  be
   presented at a separate function to be organized after the Bilasipara
   session of AXX in March.
   Narayanan to grace AXX session:
   The  Vice-President  of  India, K.R.Narayanan will participate as the
   chief guest of the second open session on March 9  of  the  63rd  AXX
   session from March 5.
   Trains to stop at Bilasipara:
   The  NF  Railway  has  decided  to stop all up and down trains except
   Rajdhani & Saraighat Expresses at Fakiragram junction from March 5 to
   March 9 for the convenience of passengers visiting Bilasipara for the
   AXX session, according to a NF Railway release.

   With the cuckoo's arrival, the onset of spring appears to be  setting
   in Guwahati.    The  voice  of  the harbinger of spring attracted the
   attention of the residents of several city localities on February 24.
   And according to some  residents  of  Jalukbari,  Azara  and  Borjhar
   areas,  the  voice  was  very  feeble  in the morning of February 24,
   became strong next morning to please the ears.  Last year the  cuckoo
   was  heard  singing  for  the first time on February 28, some of them
   Meanwhile,  the  warmth of the spring is also felt in the atmosphere.
   According to  the  Meteorological  Office  sources  in  Guwahati  the
   minimum  temperature  which  was  fluctuating between 9 and 10 degree
   Celsius last week rose to 13 degree on February  26.    However,  the
   change  was  first  felt  on February 23 when the minimum temperature
   touched 15 degree.

   Assam boxers were placed third in the XII sub-junior national  boxing
   championship,  bagging  three  golds,  one  silver  and  three bronze
   medals.  The championships were held at Sibsagar from February 18  to
   22.   David  Lal  Hmar,  Binoy  Thapa  (Dergaon)  and Sishumoni Gogoi
   (Golaghat) clinced golds; Chanakya Gogoi (Moran) bagged silver  while
   Rakesh  Rahang  (Kamrup), Bitupan Saikia (Dergaon) and Jayanta Phukan
   (Sibsagar) got bronze medals.


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