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                        Vol.3, No.70 [*] September 25, 1998


   Hello Friends of Assam,

   I am pleased to announce the first Assam Flood Aid pledge  that  came
   in today.    The donors who would prefer to remain anonymous, pledged
   to match upto the FIRST $ 500.00 pledged by other potential donors by
   midnight of Sunday, September 26th.
   YOUR pledge therefore  is  essential  for  us  to  hold  on  to  this
   challenge gift.    If we can raise $ 500.00 by Sunday midnight we get
   to keep all of it.  Otherwise we can keep only  an  amount  equal  to
   that amount that comes in.  Let us get those pledges going folks.  
   No amount is too small, but PLEASE do participate.  Assam needs YOU!


   Chandan Mahanta  (cmahanta@inlink.com)
   St.Louis, USA.
   The Appeal by Chandan Mahanta is published in AOL on public interest.
            There will be no issue of AOL next week. - Mozz

   Suspected  militants  blew off a wooden bridge over the Tarang river,
   about five km from Kokrajhar on September 24.  One villager --  Jamir
   Marak  (45)  -- who was crossing the bridge at that time, died on the
   spot.  The bomb planted on the bridge exploded when a section of  the
   central reserve police force patrol party had just crossed the bridge
   and another  party  followed  them.  However, both the patrol parties
   narrowly escaped bid on their lives.
   In a separate incident in Goalpara district, suspected ULFA militants
   shot   at   and   critically   injured   Darangagiri  police  outpost
   officer-in-charge Abani Saikia and wireless operator Debananda Kalita
   in the evening of September  24.    Mr  Saikia  and  Mr  Kalita  were
   returning from Rangjuli police station on a motorcycle when they were
   fired  upon  by  a  group  of  suspected ULFA militants from a car at
   Dashima village, an official report said.
   Meanwhile, police in Jorhat have  arrested  a  home  guard  of  Assam
   Police  and two youths following recovery of a high-power bomb at the
   residence of one  Pankaj  Bora  at  Charingia  under  Pulibor  police
   station on  September  20.   The arrested -- Ramesh and Rajiv -- have
   stated that they had collected the bomb from a  SULFA  man.    Police
   were  on  the  look  out for the SULFA man who is stated to be out of
2  CABINET MINISTER AT WORK                                [S:23-SEP-98]
   A road-divider constructed under the auspices  of  Morigaon  district
   administration was formally inaugurated by Mr Bubul Das, Minister for
   Fisheries, Assam  on September 18 at Morigaon town.  The signboard in
   Assamese at the road-divider reads as:  `This road-divider is  opened
   formally today (18-9-98) by the honorable Fishery Minister, Assam, Mr
   Bubul Das in presence of Mr Chandra Mohan Kakoti, Deputy Commissioner
   Morigaon.' People now questioned whose designation was higher -- DC's
   or the Minister's?
   Nowadays,  it  is  not  absurd, but is quite natural that even in the
   opening of a simple road-divider, a big ceremony may be held  at  the
   cost of a huge amount from the Government exchequer.  More than that,
   when  a publicity-crazy DC of Morigaon ordered his officers to attach
   the signboard to the divider which even lowered  the  status  of  the
   Cabinet Minister, local people expressed grave concern.
   After  the  arrest  of  Mr  Haricharan Bhakta, senior Extra Assistant
   Commissioner (EAC), due to misappropriation of rice meant for relief,
   a few more government officials were arrested by Dhemaji police.   Mr
   Jayanta  Kumar  Adhikari,  Subdivisional  Officer  (SDO),  Irrigation
   Department, Mr Dhenuram Chutia and Mr Makhan  Baruah,  senior  Junior
   Engineers (JE), were arrested by Dhemaji police recently on a case of
   theft of PVC pipes worth more than Rs.200,000.
   People  of Dhemaji expressed satisfaction over the active part played
   by the police.   They  also  expressed  strong  resentment  over  the
   complete   failure   of  the  district  administration  to  root  out
   corruption.  In another case, Sonitpur River Police  arrested  forest
   ranger  Pradip  Kumar  Das  recently  for  allegedly  selling land of
   Burchapari Reserve Forest in Sonitpur district  and  misappropriation
   of fund.

4  MITHINGA'S FAX MACHINE                                  [S:24-SEP-98]
   ULFA's  publicity  secretary  Mithinga  Daimary  possesses  a  small,
   foreign-made   fax   machine  which  he  connects  to  long  distance
   STD-facility telephones of businessmen or top officials to send press
   releases immediately after an incident occurs, police  sources  said.
   Mithinga  Daimary  moves about with the handy fax machine wherever he
   goes, sources added, referring to  confessional  statements  made  by
   some ULFA militants caught by Army in Nalbari district.
   A case has been filed in the Court of Sessions Judge, Gauhati against
   the  editor,  printer  and  publisher  and  a  staff  reporter of the
   Assamese daily `Dainik Agradoot' for publishing a news item under the
   caption `Mafia Sardarar Rupat Mukhya Mantri Mahanta' (Chief  Minister
   Mahanta  in  Mafia  leader's  role) on its September 17 issue, said a
   government press release.  The court after hearing the counsel of the
   aggrieved party fixed the next date of hearing on September 30.

6  MAHANTA ACTING LIKE A SANYASIN: NARAH                   [S:25-SEP-98]
   Congress  MLA and former AGP leader Bharat Chandra Narah alleged that
   the Chief Minister has failed on all fronts and totally oblivious  to
   the problems  of  the  people.    He said that the Chief Minister was
   behaving like a `sanyasin' (ascetic) who has renounced the  world  in
   the  casual  manner  in  which he speaks on flood problem, price rise
   etc, are any indication.  He alleged that Mahanta was not taking  any
   worthwhile sincere steps to hold the price line.

   The students of  the  Tezpur  University  boycotted  the  classes  on
   September  21  in  protest  against  non-availability  of food in two
   hostels  and  misbehaviour  by  one  responsible  official   of   the
   University.  It  may be mentioned that the boarders of men's hostel-I
   and II had to attend their classes without food for the last two days
   as the authority was unable to provide them with food.  The  students
   have  also decided to boycott the Assistant Registrar (Academic) from
   all welfare activities of the students for his  alleged  misbehaviour
   with some students.
   A  fast  growing rice variety that matures in just 60 days and yields
   3.5 to 4 tonnes per hectare, bred by Indian agricultural  scientists,
   may  help  to prevent famine in flood-hit Bangladesh besides cheering
   up Indian farmers in Assam, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.  Bangladesh does
   not grow wheat and most of its standing rice crops devastated by  the
   country's  worst  flood  this year, the country is threatened by food
   shortage at least until the next cropping season.
9  TINY TOTS DONATES FOR FLOOD RELIEF                      [S:24-SEP-98]
   After film actor Mithun Chakravarty and many other individual,  NGOs,
   government  and  bank employees etc, it was the tiny tots who came up
   with donations for flood relief.  The tiny  tots  of  Ankur  Seminary
   School  of  Guwahati  donated Rs.1,501 to the Chief Minister's relief
   fund.  The tiny tots met Chief Minister  Prafulla  Kumar  Mahanta  at
   Dispur on September 22 and handed over a cheque containing the amount
   contributed by themselves for the flood victims of Assam.

   Government  of  Assam,  seemingly  keeping  in  view the common man's
   interest have streamlined the  holidays  and  working  days  for  the
   ensuing Durga  Puja,  and  other  official holidays.  September 26, a
   fourth Saturday, normally a holiday have been withdrawn and  declared
   it as  working  day.    However,  October  3, first Saturday has been
   declared as holiday for all the State Government offices.   This  has
   ensured  that  the employees get their salary before the festivities,
   and a long vacation from September 27 to October  5.    The  holidays
   are:   September  28-30,  Durga Puja; October 1, Birth Anniversary of
   Srimanta Shankar Dev; October  2,  Birthday  of  Mahatma  Gandhi  and
   October 5, Lakshmi Puja.
   Meanwhile, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) lifted the ban on transactions
   by  the State Government after it cleared the overdraft which rose to
   Rs.2.34 billion.  The RBI ban had created great deal  of  anxiety  in
   the minds of the State Government employees and teachers whose salary
   bills were  kept  frozen in the treasuries.  The Government has asked
   the treasuries to release the salaries on Friday and Saturday.   Also
   all  commercial  banks  including  regional rural banks (RRBs) in the
   State will remain open for public dealings for two hours on September
   26, which was earlier declared as half-yearly closing day, RBI said.
Compiled from newspaper and agency reports for private circulation only.
      [S=Sentinel, AT=Assam Tribune, Agencies = UNI, PTI, PIB]
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