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                        Vol.3, No.22 [*]  April 22, 1998

          Crucial to finding the way: there is no beginning or end.
                        You must make your own map.
                               - Joy Harjo

   There has been an Orchid boom in the Northeast in the past few  weeks
   with  the  Orchid Society of India holding an exhibition in Arunachal
   Pradesh in which participants from  India  and  abroad  participated.
   The  `Surabhi'  team  also  came  in  to the Northeast for their next
   television production on Orchids to be broadcast on Doordarshan.
   A Guwahati-based company, Orchid Inc is also all geared up to promote
   orchids of  the  Northeast  domestically  and  internationally.    Mr
   Dibyajit  Dutta  is  working as the promoter through publicity in the
   Internet with active cooperation and assistance from Dr Jugal  Kalita
   of  Colorado,  USA, who has donated space at his www.assamcompany.com
   website, while Mr Chandan Mahanta of St Louis, an  Assamese  NRI  and
   orchid enthusiast is working as advisor.
   Orchid  Inc  envisages  to  set up an orchid showroom at Guwahati for
   which they are seeking investors, including NRIs.    The  company  is
   committed to deal only with cultivated plants.  At its initial phase,
   the company is not attempting to be an export entity, instead it will
   concentrate  on  some  business by selling plants and cut-flowers and
   act as liaison for scientific collaboration.    Since  the  stock  of
   orchids  is tiny, their priority is to ascertain the supply of plants
   through  improved  production  with  active  cooperation   from   the
   Government, NGOs and private growers.
   Orchid Inc is a product of the cyber age and is attempting to utilize
   the Internet to promote and find buyers for the botanical treasure to
   the scientific world and the amateur collectors.  To make the  people
   aware  and  raise  the  consciousness,  they  participated in the 5th
   Guwahati Trade Fair 1998 held last month and  displayed  some  exotic
   hybrid varieties  of  orchids.    The  company  is  also  producing a
   documentary film under their banner to highlight the orchids  of  the

   Betel-nut growers in Assam are hit by a  ban  on  marketing  of  `pan
   masala' by  the  Central  Government.  Most of the betel-nut that are
   imported from Assam and the Northeast are used by  various  companies
   in  Delhi, Mumbai, Kanpur, Jodhpur, Jaipur, Noida etc to prepare `pan
   masala.' The business of betel-nut exports involve people from  rural
   areas, to  many  their  only  means of livelihood.  Hundreds of petty
   businessmen, including thousands of daily wage earners,  are  engaged
   in this  trade.  A large number of people are also encouraged to grow
   betel-nut trees in Assam.
   The  Ministry  of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, has
   directed the industries marketing `pan  masala'  not  to  market  the
   commodity  from April 15, considering the use of the mouth-freshner a
   health hazard.  According to sources, from December to May every year
   nearly 500 tons of betel-nut are exported from Assam.   An  estimated
   2.5  million  people involved in the business in Assam will be thrown
   out of employment if the ban is not lifted, sources said.

3  AMATEUR RADIO COURSE AT NEHU			          [AT:17-APR-98]
   The Centre for  Science  Education,  North  Eastern  Hill  University
   (NEHU), proposed to begin its 12th course on Amateur Radio from April
   27  in collaboration with the Radio Amateur's Club of CSME, the first
   club of its kind in the entire Northeast, according to Professor  and
   Head of  the  Centre Dr Manmohan Singh.  He said HAM is a fascinating
   hobby which integrates science, technology and humans  all  over  the
   world and provides very important second link of communication.
   So  far  76  HAMs  have  successfully completed the training and have
   cleared the examinations conducted by the Ministry of Communications.
   Under the provisions  of  Indian  Telegraph  Act,  1985  and  Amateur
   Service  Rules,  licence  from  the  Ministry  of  Communications are
   mandatory for amateur radio operators to pursue the hobby.

   All India Radio (AIR), Dibrugarh in  it's  `Na-na  Rongee'  programme
   paid  tribute  to  Octavio Paz, Mexico's foremost literary figure who
   won a  Nobel  Prize  for  his  poetry  and  essays  that  mapped  the
   labyrinths of Mexican  mind.  He died recently at the age of 84.  The
   10 minute programme entitled `Octavio Paz, a  Tribute'  broadcast  at
   9:15 pm on April 21 concluded with the recitation in Assamese  of two
   of Octavio's poems -- `Two  Body' and `With Eyes Closed.'  The  poems
   were translated  into Assamese by Rajen Barua of USA from an  English
   translation  of the original Spanish poems.

   Spectator at the main `Bihutoli' at Golaghat went into raptures as  a
   104-year-old  lady,  Ms  Akani Bora, started to dance a Bihu dance to
   the tune of the buffalo horn (`penpa') played by one Ghanakanta  Bora
   (60).   The 104-year-old `young' Ms Bora went up the dais and started
   to dance when Mr Bora was giving a performance on the  `penpa.'  This
   prompted her friend Ms Meghali Saikia to join her on the dais, giving
   the  spectators  a  real  fun  time  as  they  thoroughly enjoyed the
   programme.  Ms Bora was a noted danseuse during her youth.

   An elephant calf was  run  over  and  killed  by  the  Dibrugarh-Ledo
   passenger train near Bogapani Railway Station, 8 km from Dibrugarh in
   the morning  of  April  13.  The pachyderm came onto the railway line
   all of a sudden from a nearby forest and the driver of the train  had
   no way  out  to  avoid  the  accident.  The train stopped at Bogapani
   railway station and information about the  accident  sent  to  Forest
   Department and Digboi police station.
   Five elephants of the herd followed the train up to the Bogapani from
   the accident  spot.   They were however, scared away by blank fire of
   guns.  On their way back, when the herd found the skin  of  the  dead
   baby  elephant  they shrilled the air with loud trumpeting creating a
   pathetic scene, people of the area said.

   The Nehru Stadium in Guwahati achieved a milestone on April  21  when
   the  floodlights  were  switched on formally by the Chief Minister of
   Assam in presence of the Bengal and Railways teams  for  the  quarter
   final match  of  the  Santosh  Trophy.  The Bengal-Railways match was
   played in the floodlights which was attended  by  a  large  group  of
   spectators.  The  match  ended  in  a  goalless  draw.    In  another
   quarter-final match Maharastra trounced Kerala 3-0.  Both Bengal  and
   Maharastra entered into the semifinals of the tournament.

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