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                        Vol.3, No.28  [*]  May 8, 1998

              You're an old-timer if you can remember when 
            setting the world on fire was a figure of speech.
                          - Franklin P. Jones

1  NE CMs MEET AT DELHI TODAY			           [AT:8-MAY-98]
   The first-ever formal and the much-talked about meeting of the  Chief
   Ministers  of  the  Northeast  States  with the new BJP-led coalition
   Government in New Delhi on May 8  will  not  discuss  law  and  order
   related  problems  but  will  instead  solely  focus on developmental
   issues, official sources said.  It was  felt  that  security  related
   issues  would shift the focus from the developmental issues and hence
   it was decided to keep the issue out of the meeting's agenda.
   The Prime Minister, the Home Minister and about half  a  dozen  Union
   Ministers  in  charge  of  infrastructure  related  departments  will
   address the Chief Ministers.  The  meeting  hosted  by  the  Planning
   Commission will be presided by the Deputy Chairman, Jaswant Singh who
   is taking over as the Chairman of the North Eastern Council (NEC).
   The meeting will see the BJP Government unveiling its plans  for  the
   region.  `The meeting will spell out what the new Government wants to
   do about  the Northeast', said a top official.  The meeting will also
   give final touch to the proposal to revamp the NEC, to include  Chief
   Ministers  as  members  giving  them  more  say in implementations of
   developmental plans.  The CMs will replace  the  Governors  who  have
   been members  of  the NEC.  Sikkim for the first time will attend the
   meeting as member of the NEC.

   The Soil Conservation Department  officials  have  eaten  up  several
   crores  of  rupees  sanctioned  by  the Union Ministry of Agriculture
   under the National Watershed Development Project  for  Rainfed  Areas
   (NWDPRA) during 1991-92 till 1996-97 and the officials concerned have
   not  been  able  to  furnish  the  accounts they had tried to show as
   having been actually spent for the project.
   The Union Ministry had sanctioned  Rs.17.1  million  in  1990-91  and
   Rs.35  million during 1991-92 while allocating an additional Rs.232.2
   million during the Eight Plan totalling Rs.284.3  million.  According
   to a departmental inquiry report, the Director, Soil Conservation had
   received  Rs.54.1  million  since 1991-92 till 1996-97 from the State
   Agricultural Department, the nodal agency for the NWDPRA project.  It
   has  been  alleged  that  the  amount  had  not been utilized for the
   project but was spent in the directorate itself, violating rules.

   The Army operation code-named `Koshish' launched to trace the missing
   ULFA  militant Abhijit Kalita alias Anal Kalita, following a order by
   the Gauhati High Court, is yet to deliver the desired  result.    The
   court  issued the order in response to a habeas corpus petition filed
   by the brother of the ultra.  Abhijit  was  reportedly  missing  from
   Sialmari police  outpost  near  Tihu.  According to Army, Abhijit was
   trained by the NSCN(K) and Kachin Independent Army (KIA), in 1987 and
   1989 respectively and returned to Assam in 1990.
   The  High  Court  was  informed  that  the search party equipped with
   photographs of the missing ultra carried search operations in most of
   the villages in Nalbari district and 102 certificates from respective
   village heads were  collected  as  proof  of  the  search  operations
   conducted.   The  Court  was  also  informed  that  even  the  Deputy
   Commissioner of Sandrup  Jhonkar  in  neighbouring  Bhutan  had  been
   contacted and requested to allow search operations in his district.
   Meanwhile, Pranati Deka, the  cultural  secretary  of  the  ULFA  was
   granted  bail  on  May  5  by  the designated TADA court on a bond of
   Rs.100,000 and two sureties of the like amount.

   Five abandoned Bodo villages under Tamarhat police station  were  set
   ablaze  on  May  7  by  Santhals  as  fresh violence erupted in lower
   Assam's Kokrajhar district.  Official sources said that five villages
   which had been abandoned by the  villages  fearing  attack  from  the
   rival  community,  were  torched  by  an  irate mob in the afternoon.
   Several houses have been damaged and no casualty reported. 
   Additional  security  forces  have  been  rushed  to  the  spot   and
   patrolling intensified  in the police station area.  The situation on
   other parts of the district, where no incidents were reported on  May
   6  was  stated to be `tense but under control.' A dusk-to-dawn curfew
   has been clamped in Gossaigaon subdivision to prevent fresh violence.

   Three persons of a family were killed and three others were seriously
   injured  in an accident at an unmanned level-crossing at Daluwa about
   10 km from Nalbari town when their car was run over by  the  speeding
   Rajdhani Express going to Guwahati at 11 pm on May 6.  The Ambassador
   car was dragged to a distance of half-a-kilometre by the train before
   it was left as mangled steel.
   Those killed in the accident were identified as  Dilip  Kalita  (35),
   his wife  Meera  Kalita (32) and Prafulla Kalita.  Jyotirmoi (two and
   half year), Gautam and the driver had a providential escape and  were
   shifted to GMC Hospital in a critical condition.  They were returning
   from a marriage reception near Ghagrapar when the accident occurred.

   The  AGP  legislator Dilip Saikia Sonowal on May 6 demanded immediate
   action to check disturbing trend of collecting `goonda tax'  by  some
   antisocial elements  in  many  parts  of  Guwahati  city.   Mr Saikia
   informed the Assam Assembly that anti-socials  had  not  even  spared
   petty businessmen  like  flower  vendors.  He also pointed widespread
   allegations about collection of  `goonda  tax'  from  coal  and  fish
   traders.   The  MLA  further  stated  that if any politicians, police
   officials were found  patronising  these  anti-socials  stern  action
   should be taken against them.

   One  vegetable  vendor, Mahesh Thakuria, was seriously injured when a
   CRPF jawan assaulted him following a heated exchange around 6  pm  on
   May 5  at  Dharapur  Chariali  vegetable  market  near Guwahati.  The
   incident occurred when a group of six CRPF personnel accompanied by a
   Assam police havildar demanded vegetables from three of  the  vendors
   in the  market  without  making  payment.    While  two other vendors
   complied with the  demand,  Thakuria  refused,  which  triggered  the
   heated exchange.

7  DIKHOW BRIDGE OPENED					    [S:8-MAY-98]
   State PWD Minister Atul Bora inaugurated the 170.5-metre-long  bridge
   over river  Dikhow  on  May 7.  The bridge built at a cost of Rs.62.5
   million, inside Sibsagar town,  connects  the  Ranghar  Chariali  and
   other  areas  where the historic Ranghar and Karengghar are situated.
   The old Dikhow bridge, built by the Britishers had  been  closed  for
   heavy vehicular traffic a few years ago.

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