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                     Vol.2, No.49 [*] October 31, 1997

       Fields and trees teach me nothing, but people in a city do.
                            - Socrates

   The  episode  involving  Revenue Minister Zoii Nath Sarma, apart from
   considerably heating up the political atmosphere  in  the  State  and
   inviting  sharp  reactions  from  numerous organizations, parties and
   individuals about the way the entire case is sought to  be  deflected
   by  the  State Government, has also put into question the Army's role
   as an impartial operator in the  prevalent  fluid  situation  created
   primarily by extremists violence.
   Reports  appearing  in  the newspapers in the past two days indicated
   that after a closed door meeting in Tezpur  by  the  Chief  Secretary
   V.S.Jafa  with the 4 Corps GOC, Lt Gen R.K Swahney, the Army accepted
   the Government version of a deep-rooted conspiracy by  the  ULFA  and
   vested interests  to  destabilize  the  AGP Government.  On the other
   hand, the 'chief organizer' of the Saraighat Anchalik Parishad of the
   ULFA denied taking any help from the Minister and accused the AGP and
   its supporters of a 'vicious attempt' to malign the outfit in  public
   by  planting  baseless  reports, and added that Rakesh Baruah was not
   even a primary member of the outfit.  The Army had filed the  FIR  on
   the basis of the confessional statement of Rakesh Baruah.
   Reports  quoting  PTI  said that, Rakesh Baruah was a supplier to the
   Tata Tea gardens of Hatigarh and Majuli in Paneri in Darrang district
   where the militant resided and therefore, the involvement of Tata Tea
   company could not be ruled out in the episode, sources  said.    Tata
   Tea is currently facing investigations for funding ULFA militants.
   The  AASU demanded immediate withdrawal of the Army from the State on
   the ground that it had 'indulged in lies' about the Zoii  Nath  Sarma
   case  as  was  evident  from  the  fact that the State Government had
   termed the Army's FIR against the Minister as 'false and  part  of  a
   political  conspiracy' and the Army accepting the Government version.
   This cannot be interpreted except that the Army has indulged in  lies
   and  falsehood,  AASU  general Samujjal Bhattacharyya said in a press
   release in Guwahati on October 30.
   Meanwhile, Lt Gen R.K.Swahney on October 30 clarified  that  it  will
   not  withdraw  the  FIR filed at the Mangaldai police station against
   the State Revenue Minister Dr Zoii Nath Sarma  following  confessions
   of an arrested militant and said that the case has to be taken to its
   logical conclusion.

   The  feasibility report of the Euro-Asian Railroad touching Dibrugarh
   in Assam besides other points in India,  China,  Myanmar,  Singapore,
   Malaysia,   Thailand,   Pakistan,  Afghanistan,  Uzbekistan,  Russia,
   Germany, France and England will be submitted at the ASEM  summit  in
   London  in  1998 by the Malaysian Government which has been entrusted
   the task.
   According to Mr Stan Mathew, Director, Integrity Centre  of  Thailand
   who was recently in Guwahati to mobilize support for the project, the
   heads  State  of  the  concerned European, Asian and South-East Asian
   countries have responded positively to  the  project.    'The  Indian
   Railway system to Dibrugarh has been expanded to broad gauge since we
   proposed  a  China-link  in  Delhi,  Bombay and Calcutta in 1992', Mr
   Mathew said.  He said, Assamese  militants  could  be  assuaged  with
   partnership  in tourism and trade that would come with the Euro-Asian

   'The All Assam  Students'  Union  (AASU),  will  launch  a  statewide
   agitation soon  for economic development of the State.  More emphasis
   will be put on the production of  power,  setting  up  of  agro-based
   industries.'  --  Disclosing  this  at a press meet in Dibrugarh, the
   AASU general secretary, Mr S.Bhattacharyya said, AASU will not oppose
   the big industrialists if they intend to set  up  industries  in  the
   State provided they should keep in mind the interest of Assam and the
   Assamese people.   AASU called upon the industrialists to plough back
   the major portion of their profits for development of the State.

   The Asom  Jatiyatabadi  Yuba-chatra  Parishad  (AJYCP)  has  strongly
   condemned  the  statement of the Indian National Trade Union Congress
   (INTUC)  leader  Mr  Subrata  Mukherjee   who   has   threatened   of
   'blood-shed'  if  the  tea  companies  shifted  their head offices to
   Guwahati from Calcutta.  In a press statement  in  Guwahati,  by  the
   AJYCP  general  secretary Mr Apurba Bhattacharya said that the people
   like Mr Mukherjee knew only how to fill his own  coffer  and  how  to
   safeguard  the  interests  of  the  proprietors with the money of the
   labourers, but  cannot  elicit  the  benefits  due  to  the  labourer
   community from  the proprietors.  The AJYCP asserted that there would
   be no compromise in the matter of shifting of head offices of the tea
   companies to the State.

   Even as the State Government has sought financial assistance from the
   Centre for development of education in the  State  in  the  light  of
   large number of schools, colleges and two universities suffering from
   'acute  financial  crises', a sum of Rs.161.6 million provided by the
   Human  Resource  Development  Ministry  meant  for   development   of
   education  has  gone  back  to  the  Centre's  coffer  due to lack of
   foresight of the State Education Department.
   The  Human  Resource  Development  Ministry had sanctioned a total of
   1,723  posts  of  primary  school   teachers   for   upgradation   of
   'two-teacher schools'  to  'three-teacher  schools'.    Subsequently,
   4,040 posts of teachers for middle schools of  non-tribal  areas  had
   also  been  sanctioned  by  the  Centre  under  Operation Black Board
   Scheme.  Accordingly, the Centre had sanctioned Rs.92.12  million  in
   January and  Rs.69.48  million  in April 1996 under two schemes.  The
   Education Department made no effort to utilize the said  amount  even
   after receipt of the schemes in early part of the previous year.

   After several days of  impasse,  the  Tocklai  Tea  Research  Centre,
   lock-out  will  be  lifted from October 30 as decided in a meeting of
   the concerned  parties  at  Jorhat  on  October  29.    A   'standing
   committee' involving representatives of all the concerned parties was
   formed  to look after the problems arising at present till a suitable
   solution is not arrived at between the authorities and  the  striking

7  TRIPURA TO HOLD ASSAM DAY			         [UNI:29-OCT-97]
   The  Tripura Government would hold Assam Day in Tripura and the Assam
   Government would organize Tripura Day in Assam in January  next  year
   to improve  the  cultural  relations  between  the  two  States.   An
   official spokesman told  newsmen  in  Agartala  on  October  29  that
   Tripura  Education,  Information  and  Cultural Affairs Minister Anil
   Sarkar held a meeting with Assam Chief Minister P.K.Mahanta on Monday
   and finalized the programme.

   People of Nagaland are preparing for next month's celebrations of the
   125th anniversary of the advent of Christianity in the region.    The
   advent  of  Christianity  in  Nagaland in 1872 is seen by many as the
   turning point of the State's history.  The  initiation  of  the  Naga
   people  into the faith brought tremendous changes in their day-to-day
   lives.  Today, nearly 80 per cent of the 1.25 million people  of  the
   State are  Christians.    As  part  of  the celebrations scheduled on
   November 27, large congregation and  cultural  programmes  are  being
   organized  said  Father  V.K.Nuh,  secretary  of  the Council of Naga
   Baptist Church (CNBC).

   Mr  Probin Gogoi, MLA and president of the Assam Football Association
   (AFA), has been nominated as the chairman  of  the  drafting  State's
   Sports Policy by the Government, AFA sources said.

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