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                    Vol.3, No.6 [*] February 23, 1997

         An eye for an eye ends up making the whole world blind.

                             - Mahatma Gandhi

   Chief Minister P.K.Mahanta asserted that there is no  threat  to  his
   Ministry  or  crises in the AGP and no minister in the government has
   decided to resign.  While addressing newspersons  at  Guwahati  after
   the  steering  committee meeting on February 22, Mr Mahanta said that
   the problem regarding dissatisfaction of Ministers over  the  alleged
   high handedness of a senior bureaucrat has been sorted out.
   It may be mentioned that a heated exchange of words and row had taken
   place at the Chief Minister's residence on February  20  between  the
   Food  and  Civil  Supplies  Minister, Digen Bora and the Commissioner
   Secretary to the Chief  Minister,  Mr  C.K.Das,  and  Mr  Bora  while
   warning  Mr Das to desist from such acts of interference was reported
   to have said:  'The Government does not run according  to  the  whims
   and  fancies  of  the bureaucracy, and the aspersions are cast on the
   government when bureaucrats make mistakes.  Ministers  are  aware  of
   their duties.'
   There  are  allegations that Mr Das transferred officials from Dispur
   on basis of personal enmity.  He made it a point to interfere in  all
   files sent  by  other  ministers  to  the Chief Minister.  Meanwhile,
   according to sources, the State Government has  agreed  to  Mr  Das's
   earlier request  for  a  deputation  to  the Central Government.  The
   deputation,  however,  won't  be  effective  till   March   2   since
   poll-related duties will bound Mr Das to Dispur, sources added.

   In an exclusive interview published by The Sentinel, Haji Abdul Rouf,
   Minister  of  Science,  Technology  and Environment, who had recently
   submitted  his  resignation  to  the  Chief  Minister,  alleged  that
   nonentities  in  the  AGP  party  became  bosses  and  they  harassed
   officers, transferred them, took bribe, while he had to just look  on
   helplessly.  He  said,  'I  became  minister  at  56.  I wanted to do
   something for my constituency.  I wanted to show what  AGP  could  do
   for the  people.    But  in  return  for  my  zeal  what  I  got  was
   humiliation.' Mr Mahanta encouraged them  to  treat  me  nastily,  he

   The state unit of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) started an  indefinite
   hunger  strike  on  February  22  at the Judge's Field in Guwahati in
   protest against the dismissal of the Kalyan Singh-led BJP  Government
   in Uttar Pradesh by Governor Ramesh Bhandari on the February 21.
   Demanding  immediate  recall  of  Mr Bhandari, BJP state president Mr
   Narayan Barkataki termed the  developments  as  nothing  but  a  very
   carefully-devised  and  meticulously-planned concerted efforts on the
   part of the Union Government in maligning BJP's image.  He said  that
   the  constitutional  authority  had acted in a 'very unconstitutional
   and partisan' manner setting  a  bad  precedent  for  the  democratic
   traditions of the country.

   Two  women  and  a shopkeeper were injured when security personnel of
   the Director General  of  Police,  H.Hrishikesan's  convoy  fired  at
   motorcycle-borne  suspected  militants  in the heart of Guwahati near
   the Bora Service area at around 6.30 pm on February 21.  According to
   police, the youths tried to get  into  the  'security  ring'  of  the
   convoy  and ignored repeated warnings from the security men, when the
   police opened fire.
   The bullets however, found  their  marks  on  Purnima  Das,  who  was
   standing  nearby and Momina Jesmine, who was travelling on a rickshaw
   with her husband.  The  shopkeeper  who  received  minor  injury  was
   seated in  his  shop  when  the  incident  took  place.  According to
   eyewitness, although the security  men  chased  the  militants,  they
   failed to apprehend the culprits.  The two injured women were shifted
   to the  GMC  Hospital  and  are said to be out of danger.  The Kamrup
   Deputy Commissioner  has  ordered  a  magisterial  enquiry  into  the
   incident  and  has  announced an ex-gratia relief of Rs.2,000 each to
   the injured persons.
   Meanwhile, the police are  keeping  a  close  watch  on  one  Amitabh
   Majumdar  who  had come to GMC Hospital at 11 pm with bullet injuries
   on his right hand.  The police suspect that  he  was  the  youth  who
   tried  to  get  into  the  'security  ring',  and  was shot at by the
   security men.  He is likely to be arrested as soon as he is  released
   from the  hospital. 
   The relatives of the civilians who were injured in the shoot-out  are
   likely  to  submit a writ petition against the security personnel for
   having fired indiscriminately at  a  public  place  and  for  causing
   inconvenience  to  the  public  by  driving their cars in a breakneck

   Twelve passengers were killed on the spot and 23 others were  injured
   in  a  major  road  accident  at  Rangagora,  near Samuguri in Nagaon
   district when a 407-minibus collided head-on  with  a  truck  on  the
   morning of  February  21.   The minibus was carrying 35 devotees from
   Huzkahuantoli to Jorhat for the 67th annual session of  the  Srimanta
   Sankardev Sangha.   Those killed in the accident have been identified
   as Arun Saikia (45), Rina Saikia (40),  Hemendra  Saikia  (35),  Gita
   Saikia  (28),  Sumi Bora (12), Ganesh Baruah (55), Kirip Saikia (50),
   Pakhila (Pratima) Rajkhowa (45), Juli Rajkhowa (12), Tilo Borah (33),
   and Chiramai Saikia (60).

   The  ULFA  on  February  20 apologized to Ms Kanaklata Dutta, who was
   hurt in the firing by two  ULFA  militants  during  assassination  of
   CPI(ML)-Liberation  leader  Anil  Baruah  at  Nahoroni  in  Dibrugarh
   district on February 11. In a  statement,  ULFA  publicity  secretary
   Mitinga  Daimary  said,  the intention of the ULFA was not to hurt Ms
   Dutta and sought her apology for the incident even as he accused  the
   CPI(ML)-Liberation   of  undermining  the  'revolutionary  liberation
   movement' of the people of Assam.
   Meanwhile the ULFA, west unit, has called a 12-hour lower Assam bandh
   on February 25 in protest against the killing of its members,  Randip
   Mas,  Ashim  Sinha  and  Tinku Chaudhury, by the Army at Rami Gaon in
   Bongaigaon district on February 15.  In a press statement the  outfit
   appealed  to  the  people  to observe the bandh in Nalbari, Goalpara,
   Bongaigaon, Kokrajhar, Barpeta, South Kamrup and Dhubri districts.

   The growth in exports and in prices of tea during the last year was a
   short-term  phenomenon  and would come down to some extent as all tea
   producing countries are expected to  bounce  back  during  the  1998,
   according  to  the  chairman  of  Assam  subcommittee  of  Indian Tea
   Association, Mr A.Borgohain.  Addressing  the  108th  annual  general
   meeting  of the Assam Branch of Indian Tea Association on February 21
   at Tezpur, he said that the latest available estimates indicated that
   exports would reach a level of 185 million kg registering a growth of
   over 20 percent against last year.  While 811 million  kg  level  was
   achieved  by  the  Indian  tea  industry  during  1997, Assam Valley,
   however, failed to keep pace with this spectacular achievement.

8  LIQUOR CONSUMPTION GOING UP 			          [AT:21-FEB-98]
   Consumption of liquor in Guwahati city is increasing at  an  alarming
   rate  despite  statutory  warning  and  protest  from  several social
   organizations.  The increasing percentage of  liquor  lovers  can  be
   attributed  to rampant growth of wine shops and open bars in the city
   that give easy access to children to get attracted to alcohol.   Even
   girls aged between 15 to 20 years frequent the bars.
   According to sources, there are 54 wine shops in the city, besides 25
   hard  drinks  bars  and  consumption  rate  is  on an average of over
   120,000 London Proof Liquor (LPL) per month.  With  the  increase  in
   consumption  rate,  the  Excise  Department  has realized over Rs.108
   million in revenue in just 10 months,  from  April  1997  to  January
   1998.   The  State  police  has expressed concern over the increasing
   number of liquor-related crimes in the city every year.

   The  birth  place  of  Lokapriya Gopinath Bardoloi, prominent freedom
   fighter and first Chief Minister of Assam, at Raha in Nagaon district
   will be converted into a museum under the Directorate of  Museums  of
   the State Government.  A proposal was recently submitted to the Assam
   Government  by  the  president  of  the Assam State Freedom Fighter's
   Association, Mr Navadwip Ranjan Patgiri, to earmark a  fund  of  Rs.1
   million for the purpose.
   Gopinath Bardoloi was born on June 6,  1890,  to  a  doctor  of  Raha
   dispensary.  The  old  dilapidated  residential quarter, where he was
   born, is still lying surrounded by jungle within the  campus  of  the
   Raha  state  dispensary.  This  will  be  renovated with its original
   antique look, with proper gardening, boundary wall and life size bust
   of the Lokapriya to preserve all his personal belongings  there,  and
   make it a museum of tourist interest, an association release said.

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