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                     Vol.2, No.44 [*] October 18, 1997

    It doesn't matter where you live or where you travel in the world,
        Agriculture is the most important element in human society.
                          Everybody has to eat.

                  - VOA Agriculture Editor Rob Sivak

   The Assam Government has stepped up  vigil  all  around  the  capital
   complex  and  other sensitive areas following repeated threats in the
   past few days, over phone, by extremists of the ULFA, NDFB etc.    to
   AGP ministers and MLAs of all parties supporting the Mahanta Ministry
   that they must 'resign forthwith or face dire consequences.' A number
   of  politicians  and  MLAs  of the five-party alliance have expressed
   their 'firm belief' that the extremists threat to them had come under
   pressure from the Tata Tea and other big tea  companies  and  not  on
   their own.
   The  extremists  are  not  in  a position to strike in a manner as to
   dislodge the Ministry, one politician said,  adding  that,  the  only
   party  which is interested in the fall of the Ministry in Assam right
   now is the big corporate houses in tea  business  and  the  Congress.
   Sources  said,  going  by  all  available  indications, the corporate
   houses in tea business in Assam,  are  today  desperate  to  see  the
   Mahanta Ministry  go.    After  all, never in the past 50 years since
   Independence had any of them was in a soup as  they  find  themselves
   today,  and  only  because the Mahanta Government had gone hammer and
   tongs at them.

2  CID CALLS SEVEN MAGOR MEN			          [S:18-OCT-97]
   The  Assam  CID  'called  up'  seven top executives of the registered
   office  of  Williamson  Magor  in  Calcutta,  including  the   former
   director,  Colonel  R.L.Rikhye  on October 17 asking them 'to furnish
   all financial papers' of the company, including  balance  sheets  for
   1994-95 to 1996-97 latest by next week, and face a team of the CID in
   Guwahati.   The  CID  has  also decided to call five top officials of
   Goodricke Group for interrogation in connection  with  funding  NDFB.
   They are likely to be called next week.
   High police officials informed that the CID, probing into the finding
   that  the  Magor  had been paying Rs.20 million to the banned NDFB as
   'Boroland tax' since 1994-95,  had  questioned  the  Guwahati  office
   general  manager,  Mr  Parimal  Barkakaty  'to  identify  the persons
   involved' in the deal.  Mr Barkakaty in his statements is reported to
   have disclosed that the entire deal had been struck by  the  Calcutta
   office  of  the  company, and that he had no knowledge as to who were
   the officials behind and how much money had been paid to the militant
   It may be mentioned that the startling case of Williamson  Magor  and
   Goodricke  Group  funding  the NDFB since 1994-95 came to light after
   NDFB 'finance secretary' Biplip Brahma alias Biliphung, was nabbed by
   the Army in Guwahati on January 1  and  subsequent  recovery  of  the
   'financial statements'  of  the banned outfit.  These papers revealed
   that both the companies had been regularly funding the  outfit  since
   1994.   The  State  Government  handed  over the case to the CID only
   early this month.

   The Lotteries Regulation Ordinance, 1997 promulgated by the President
   of India, imposing a total ban  on  all  189  State-run  'last-digit'
   lotteries  of  the  country,  was stayed by the Gauhati High Court on
   October 13 following a petition filed by the Nagaland Government  and
   Guwahati Agency, an agent of Nagaland lotteries of the city.
   The Ordinance was promulgated in view of the decision of  the  Centre
   to  introduce  a new Bill in the autumn session of Parliament banning
   all lotteries 'to loosen the  grip  of  antisocial  elements  on  the
   revenue-earning  process  and  their ill-effects on the society.' The
   last-digit lotteries, which  was  introduced  in  1992  in  about  14
   States,  was identified by the Union Home Ministry as being primarily
   responsible for many social vices in the country.

   Dr Arun Kumar Sarma, MP has left for New York on October 12 to attend
   the  52nd  annual  convention  of the United Nations General Assembly
   that started from October 13 and will continue up to October 26.   Dr
   Sarma  is  the  first  MP from Assam chosen for such a task in recent

5  BASU TO OPEN EXPO NORTHEAST			         [AT:16-OCT-97]
   West Bengal Chief Minister Jyoti Basu will inaugurate the 10-day-long
   Expo Northeast  fair in Guwahati on October 22.  Former Union Finance
   Minister and MP Manmohan Singh will deliver the  keynote  address  in
   the seminar  on  'Destination  Northeast'  on  October  27.  The Expo
   Northeast is the first industrial trade  fair  of  its  kind  in  the
   Northeast region organised by the Bengal Chambers of Commerce (BCCI),
   Guwahati chapter in collaboration with the Assam Government.

   Private  bus operators in the State on the eve of Durga Puja festival
   hiked the fares, apparently to cash in on the puja rush, by  as  much
   as  20  per  cent  without  the prior approval of the State Transport
   authority causing hardships to the passengers in the region.  The bus
   operators had unilaterally raised the fares following  hike  in  fuel
   prices in  the  last month.  Sources in the Transport department said
   that the marginal hike in the fuel prices did not call for such steep
   raise in the fares as the last revision was done only in last year.

   The Assam Excise check-post at Sirirampur in  the  Assam-West  Bengal
   state  border  seized  1080  cartoons  of  Indian made foreign liquor
   (IMFL) from two separate trucks recently.    The  IMFL  cartoon  were
   hidden  under  salt bags from national salt work, Nawacity, Rajasthan
   and were consigned to Bajrang Salt Traders, Dimapur in Nagaland.  The
   IMFL was being carried clandestinely with the  intention  of  evading
   excise duty of about Rs.150,000.

   Kati Bihu was observed in Assam on October 17  with  farmers  seeking
   blessings  for  an abundant crop on the eve of the harvesting season.
   The austere Bihu devoid of pomp and gaiety is marked by  lighting  of
   earthen lamps  near  the  household  'Tulsi'  plant.  Anxious farmers
   light lamps in the agricultural fields praying for  fair  weather  in
   the days leading to the harvest.

   A  25-member  team from Assam participated in the National Children's
   Festival at New Delhi and won several prizes in various competitions.
   The festival was organised by  the  Department  of  Child  and  Women
   Development in collaboration with Nehru Bal Samiti from October 2 for
   children between  the  age of 10 to 16 years.  It is worth mentioning
   that three spastic children of Sishu Sarathi, Guwahati also took part
   and won the 2nd prize in skit competition competing with  the  normal

   While  the  country  has  the honour of hosting the Women's World Cup
   cricket for the first time, Guwahati has also claimed a part of  this
   pride.   Ms  Rani  Narah, president of Women's Cricket Association of
   Assam (WCAA) and the vice-president of the All India Women's  Cricket
   Association  informed  that one of the two semi-finals will be played
   at the Nehru Stadium in Guwahati on December 24.  The contenders  for
   the  12-nation  affair  are England, South Africa, Pakistan, Denmark,
   Australia, Ireland, New Zealand,  Canada,  Sri  Lanka,  West  Indies,
   Netherlands, and hosts India.

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