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                   Vol.2, No.63 [*] December 13, 1997

            We know what happens to people who stay in the
                 middle of the road. They get run over.
                         - Aneurin Bevan

   Four CRPF jawans were killed  on  the  spot  and  eight  jawans  were
   injured  in  a powerful land-mine blast on the morning of December 14
   at 9:30 am at Nagdalbari near Runikhata under Sildi police station in
   Bongaigaon district by suspected Bodo ultras.
   Police  sources informed that a company of 50th CRPF battalion in two
   trucks was moving towards Bongaigaon from Runikhata.  As the powerful
   bomb buried under the road went off, the first truck was  blown  away
   and completely  damaged.    However,  the second truck following at a
   distance of 200 metres escaped unscathed from the blast, was ambushed
   by ultras hiding nearby causing injury to the jawans.
   The jawans also returned the  fire  though  it  could  not  be  known
   whether there  were  any casualty on the militants' side.  Six of the
   eight injured jawans  are  in  a  serious  condition  and  have  been
   admitted  to  Guwahati Medical College Hospital and the remaining two
   have been admitted to BRPL Hospital.  Four of the deceased have  been
   identified  as  lance  naik,  Ganesh Das, head constable, Gin Kholam,
   havildar Ranbir Singh and constable, Kranti Sridharamalu.

   Hectic efforts are on in the political arena  in  Assam  for  forging
   different  poll  alliances for the ensuing midterm polls, slated next
   year.  Of  the  14  parliamentary  seats  in  the  State,  there  are
   indications that  two  fronts  will  emerge during the election.  The
   first one is the AGP-led four party alliance, while  the  second  may
   comprise  Bhrigu  Kumar  Phukan's faction with ASDC and other several
   groups, including former AASU  and  AJYCP  members.    Poll  alliance
   between  the  ruling  AGP  and other three parties -- CPI, CPI(M) and
   UPPA has already been announced by the AGP secretary Mr Nagen Sarma.
   Sources said that while the Congress is waiting for AGP to breakup so
   that it can take advantage of the situation, the four-party  AGP  led
   alliance  had  decided to contest all the 14 Lok Sabha seats jointly,
   but an announcement of the UPPA on December 12 that it would  contest
   on its  own  in  the State has thrown a spanner in the alliance.  The
   CPI has also said that it  would  demand  the  seats  of  Dhubri  and

   Suspected Bodo militants shot dead one forest ranger  Pranjit  Kalita
   at Salbari  in  Goalpara  district.  The forest officer was returning
   from his range to Guwahati when he was sprayed with  bullets  by  the
   militants.   About  40 rounds were pumped into his car killing him on
   the spot.  The forest officer was in charge of  the  Lakhipur  Range.
   He hailed from Guwahati.
   In  another  incident,  Nandaram  Changmai,  52,  gaonburah  (village
   headman) of Gorudhari Changmai village under Barbarua police  station
   of  Dibrugarh  district  was  killed  by  suspected ULFA militants at
   around 10:30 pm on December 12.  He was called  out  from  his  home,
   taken  to  a  nearby  paddy  field, and then shot dead in cold blood.
   Nandaram was under police surveillance as he was  suspected  to  have
   sheltered ULFA  boys at his home.  Sources said that he had also some
   involvement at in the December 6 incident, when four  ULFA  militants
   and a police officer were killed in an encounter.

   In  a major breakthrough, the 63rd battalion of Border Security Force
   (BSF) on the night of December 11 recovered foreign currencies  worth
   Rs.60  million from a hard-core Bodo Liberation Tiger (BLT) militant,
   Tharendra Brahma at Kajalgaon in Bongaigaon district.    The  seizure
   included  one  million  US  dollar,  and currencies of Brazil, Japan,
   Sudan, Poland, Somalia and Iraq.   Tharendra,  who  has  been  caught
   after  a daredevil encounter, said in his confessional statement that
   he had carried the currencies  to  purchase  sophisticated  arms  and
   ammunition   from  foreign  countries  under  the  direction  of  the
   high-command of the militant outfit.
   Acting on a lead provided by the  apprehended  ultra,  BSF  personnel
   raided the hideout of another BLT ultra, Chandan Brahma and recovered
   several  explosive  materials,  gun  powder  and  country-made  guns.
   However, the militant managed to escape  before  the  BSF  men  could
   arrest him.

   A separate industrial policy on Food Processing Industries (FPI)  for
   Northeast, setting up of a permanent extension centre of Central Food
   Technological  Research  Institute  (CFTRI)  in  the  region, a nodal
   agency  under  NEC  with  adequate  representation  from  all   State
   Governments  and  concerned  agencies  to monitor such programmes are
   among the recommendations made by the  all  India  seminar  on  'Food
   Processing Industries  in  NE Region' held in Guwahati recently.  The
   seminar was attended by 80 entrepreneurs  from  the  region,  besides
   representatives from State Governments and NGOs.
   Significantly, export growth of  processed  food  products  including
   marine  products  has  risen  from  Rs.28.23  billion  in  1991-93 to
   Rs.103.92 billion in 1995-96 -- a fourfold increase in  the  country.
   However,  in  spite  of  general  potential,  the market share of the
   products in their local market itself is  less  than  15  percent  as
   against 25 percent of an unit of neighbouring Bhutan.
   The  Northeast  accounts for 6.4 percent and 5.1 percent of the total
   land for vegetable and fruit production respectively in the  country,
   but  produces  only  4.2  percent  and  2.1  percent of the country's
   vegetable and fruit production.

   A phone-in programme was broadcast live  by  three  AIR  stations  of
   Assam yesterday evening at 8 pm.  In the 45-minute programme, a large
   number of calls from school students and adults were answered through
   simultaneous  broadcasts from Guwahati, Nagaon and Dibrugarh stations
   of All India Radio.    The  callers  interesting  questions  included
   various subjects ranging from insurgency to problems of pollution and
   the environment.    Chief  Minister  P.K.Mahanta answered many of the
   queries  and  environment  expert  Dr.Dulal  Goswami  answered  those
   related to environment and pollution.

   The  Assam  Boat  Racing  and Rowing Association will hold the fourth
   Brahmaputra Beach Festival from January 14 to 17, 1998 on  a  1.5  km
   beach  off  Bharalumukh in Guwahati. The festival, primarily meant to
   promote  tourism,  will   include:   The   National   Sprint   Rowing
   Championship, traditional boat racing competition, traditional sports
   of   Northeast   like   --   martial  arts,  archery,  buffalo-fight,
   bull-fight,   cock-fight,   Bul-buli   (bird)   fight,   egg-breaking
   competition  etc,  beach  volley ball, beach cricket, beach football,
   air show by Indian Air Force, water sports  demonstration  by  Indian
   Navy,  food  festival,  flower  show, artists' camp, magic show, kite
   festival, art and craft exhibition, cultural festival. 

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