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                     Vol.3, No.14  [*] March 25, 1998

      If you have a million people working for you, every bad thing 
             that has one chance in a million of going wrong
               will go wrong at least once every one year.
                              - Paul Nitze

   Chief  Minister  P.K.Mahanta,  who  also holds the Finance Portfolio,
   presented a Rs.7.62 deficit budget for  the  State  for  1998-99  and
   proposed  to  cover  the  large  budgetary  deficit,  `an  inevitable
   phenomenon given the present mismatch between  the  revenue  receipts
   and expenditures of the Government', through fresh taxation likely to
   accrue    from    revision   of   oil   royalty,   reimbursement   of
   security-related expenditure and increase in share of  Central  taxes
   due to introduction of alternative scheme of devolution.
   Mr Mahanta proposed to impose an additional 10 percent tax on the tax
   payable or paid by the big dealers whose taxable turnover in  a  year
   exceeds  Rs.300,000.  It  is  expected to generate Rs.200 million. Mr
   Mahanta also proposed to hike the higher  rate  of  professional  tax
   from  Rs.1,536  to  Rs.2,250  per  annum.  In  view  of  the improved
   productivity of tea land and good market price of tea, the Government
   proposed to enhance the rate of taxation under the Assam Taxation (On
   Specified Lands) Act by two paise  per  kg  of  green  leaf  produced
   In  another  scheme,  Mr Mahanta proposed entry tax on selected items
   like cement, motor vehicles, textiles, electronic  goods,  computers,
   etc.  to  stop trade diversion from the State to other States.  It is
   expected to bring in an additional amount  of  Rs.150  million.    Mr
   Mahanta  also proposed to tax a marketing oil company on the sales of
   petroleum products purchased by it from an  oil  company  within  the
   State.   He  explained  that  the  manufacturing oil company had been
   selling its products to its marketing oil company  at  a  price  much
   lower than the prevailing market price.

   An  accident  that acted as a prelude to a chain of violent incidents
   in Orang on March 23 also gave rise to vociferous protests  from  the
   public against   police   excess.    The  accident  happened  when  a
   Guwahati-bound truck lost control  and  rammed  into  a  bus  and  an
   ambulance and came to a halt after dashing against two shops at Orang
   Chariali at 10 am.  The handyman of the bus died on the spot.
   When the public accessing that the incident was due to the negligence
   of  the traffic policeman on duty went to the police outpost to lodge
   a complaint, police opened fire to dispel the crowd and  one  Chinmay
   Dutta (28)  was  killed.   In protest, thousands of people `gheraoed'
   the police  outpost  demanding  punishment  to  the  guilty.      The
   officer-in-charge, however, sent away the accused in a car amid tight
   security.  Enraged, the public set afire the outpost.

   Mr  Ashok Saikia has been appointed as a Joint Secretary in the Prime
   Minister's Office (PMO) by the  Union  Government.    Mr  Saikia  who
   belongs to Assam-Meghalaya IAS cadre is joining his new assignment at
   the  PMO  on  March  24 as an officer on special duty (OSD) before he
   takes over as Joint Secretary from April 1.  Mr Saikia's  appointment
   assumes  significance because of the BJP Government's proposal to set
   up a separate ministry for the Northeast.
   Meanwhile,  additional  chief  secretary Pranab Bora took over as the
   Chief Secretary to the Assam Government on  March  24  following  the
   transfer of former incumbent V.S.Jafa to Delhi.

   Mr  Khagendranath  Chetia,  Managing  Director  of  the  Assam  State
   Transport Corporation (ASTC) who was arrested on  February  16  under
   the  National Security Act (NSA) for non-plying of ASTC buses on that
   day -- the day for polling for the Lok Sabha election,  was  released
   on March 19 at around 10 am in Guwahati.  The employees' union of the
   ASTC  expressed their gratitude to the Government for his release and
   dropping of all charges against him, and  the  various  organizations
   which had protested against Mr Chetia's detention.

   The  Army  have  sealed  the godown of the District Rural Development
   Agency at Nalbari on March 19, after it was discovered that the  ULFA
   had been using the godown to keep weapons and the extorted money. The
   Army  also  took  one  Naren Sarma, a upper division assistant of the
   DRDA into custody for  alleged  links  with  the  banned  outfit  and
   recovered Rs.500,000 from his house after a raid.
   In  Tezpur,  two police officials -- CID Inspector Satyen Goswami and
   Sub-inspector Prakash Nath of Border police -- who  had  been  caught
   and  handed  over  to Tezpur police station by public on March 17 for
   illegally collecting  money  from    businessmen  in  the  town  were
   released without any case registered against them. The release of the
   two police officials has invited criticism from the local populace.

6  D.N.BARUAH QUITS CONGRESS			           [S:25-MAR-98]
   Mr Dhurva Narayan Baruah, founder general secretary of the  APCC  and
   known  a  one  of  the  cleanest persons in public life in the State,
   resigned from the party on March 24, expressing  deep  distress  that
   today  the  Congress  was  no  longer  the  party of yore when people
   respected it for the dedication, sacrifice and  clean  image  of  its
   leaders  and workers. He said, he would not retire from politics even
   though he had not decided to join any other party as yet.

   The president of the Axom Xahitya Xabha's 64th session at Kirat Aklam
   in  Howraghat,  Dr  Nagen  Saikia,  was taken in a massive, colourful
   procession to the venue of the session atop a tableau  named  locally
   as  `Hemtab',  meaning  a thatched roof for watchman to keep watch on
   the standing crops.  The open session which followed soon after,  was
   opened   by  the  Jnanpith  Award  winner  and  Rajya  Sabha  member,
   Dr.C.Narayan Reddy.  Noted writer, Ms Nilima  Dutta  participated  as
   chief guest.
   Meanwhile, the subject committee gave its approval  to  increase  the
   term  of  the  Xabha president to two years, which will be applicable
   from 1999.  The Xabha's executive committee decided to about  radical
   changes in  the body's constitution.  The modalities have been worked
   out.  It was also decided that the 65th session on the Xabha will  be
   held in 1999 at Hajo in Kamrup district.

   A team of journalists from Golaghat and Bokakhat on  March  17  named
   the  13-km long unnamed waterfall at Bokakhat as `Langchun'. In Karbi
   language `lang' means water and `chun' means highland. The  waterfall
   has a height of 178 feet.

9  BITUPAN SAIKIA WINS GOLD			          [AT:17-MAR-98]
   Bitupan Saikia of Assam has won the gold medal for India in the fifth
   YMCA International Championship concluded recently in  New  Delhi  in
   the sub-junior  D-2  category.  In addition to host India, Indonesia,
   Russia,  Turkmenistan,  Uzbekistan,  Thailand,  Japan,   Sri   Lanka,
   Bangladesh, Bhutan and Secylles participated in the meet.

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