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                        Vol.3, No.75 [*] October 19, 1998

            It takes your enemy and your friend, working together,
               to hurt you to the heart; one to slander you and
                       the other to get the news to you.
                              - Mark Twain

1  BELTOLA'S MAFIA RAJ BACK IN BUSINESS                    [S:18-OCT-98]
   After a two-year of deceptive lull, extortionists  from  truckers  at
   the Beltola  coal market are back to business with a vengeance.  They
   resumed operations from October 14.  This time it is  run  under  the
   leadership of  a  group  of  SULFA  men from Dibrugarh.  The rates of
   extortion from each truck carrying coal have been between  Rs.350  to
   The Beltola coal market in Guwahati was being run by a `syndicate' of
   extortionist and traders under one R.S.Gandhi till a group  of  SULFA
   men,  during the previous government's (Congrees-I) tenure, took over
   the extortion trade after a bloody battle.
   When the AGP-led government came to power in May 1996, the activities
   of the mafia was stopped to a certain extent.  But some AGP ministers
   and  politicians  are reported to have taken the initiative to revive
   the extortion raj at the prodding  of  some  senior  SULFA  men  from
   Dibrugarh.   The administration is also learnt to have agreed to look
   the other way as it had done earlier.
   The `season' for despatch of coal to outside the State in trucks  and
   trains start from October.  Several hundred truckloads of coal depart
   daily  from  Beltola, as also from railheads at New Guwahati, Rangiya
   and Bihata Chariali.  While 500 trucks operated during  the  previous
   government's  tenure,  only  over  a hundred trucks operate nowadays.
   The bulk of the coal is despatched through trains.
   The modus operandi is simple:  Every trucker had to purchase the  CST
   (Central  Sales Tax) forms from the `syndicate' at the rate of Rs.150
   per form, which are required to be  filled  up  to  pay  the  tax  of
   Rs.1,500.   The  `syndicate'  extorted Rs.150 from each truck for the
   `service' of making the forms available.  The rate has now shot up to
   Rs.600 per form.  The rate for trucks carrying coal to  the  railhead
   is fixed  at a lower rate of Rs.350.  The beneficiaries have been the
   politicians, the SULFA toughies, some policemen and officials of  the
   department concerned.
2  POLITICAL PEACE MARCH TO DELHI                          [S:17-OCT-98]
   Mr Jatin Saikia, who had created a record of sorts as an  independent
   candidate  for  the  Jorhat  Lok  Sabha seat in the last elections by
   addressing an election meeting continuously for 10 hours, will  march
   to  New  Delhi  on  foot  along  with  150 supporters, all dressed in
   `national costume' to spread the message of peace.    Mr  Saikia  has
   termed  his  peace march as `Political Peace March', which will start
   from Jorhat on January 26.  He will meet  the  President,  the  Prime
   Minister  and  other  Central  leaders,  besides  the  MPs of various
   parties to apprise them of the situation in Assam.
   Armed riverine pirates boarded an Inland Water Transport (IWT)  ferry
   bound  for  Passighat  in Arunachal Pradesh from Dibrugarh and looted
   cash and valuables worth Rs.300,000 from the  passengers.  The  Armed
   pirates  also  abducted  two  of  the  passengers,  one of them being
   Sabyasachi Roy, a representative of Godrej company.
   In a separate incident, a gang of armed dacoits looted  Rs.30,000  in
   cash  and other properties, including gold ornaments, wrist watch etc
   worth Rs.30,000 from the former secretary of  AGP's  Nagaon  district
   committee,  Mr  Dev  Bora  and his younger sister-in-law at Mulapatti
   area of the town on the night of October 15 when they were  returning
   to  their residence from a nursing home where Mr Bora's wife had been
   undergoing treatment.
   Meanwhile,  Army troops stationed at its check point at Kathiatoli in
   Nagaon district, seized 20 teak logs worth Rs.500,000 and apprehended
   one Manoj Bora of Mangaldai with his truck on October 15.   Bora  was
   carrying the  teaks  from Kathiatoli to Nagaon.  The loaded truck and
   Bora were handed over to Kathiatoli police station.
4  NORTHEAST SPACE CENTRE SOON                           [PTI:17-OCT-98]
   A Rs.52 million Northeastern Space Centre  would  be  established  in
   Shillong  as  an  autonomous  institution  in  collaboration with the
   Department of Space, ISRO, Bangalore. The Centre will have integrated
   facilities like Northeastern Regional remote  sensing  data-receiving
   and  service  centre, satellite communications applications and space
   activities, official sources in Shillong said on October 17.
   Assam's  Director  General  of  Police  (DGP)  Hrishikesan  has  been
   nominated for   the  international  meet  of  Interpol  (ICPO).    Mr
   Hrishikesan is one of the six police officers who have  been  invited
   for  the  67th General Assembly Session of the Interpol to be held at
   Cairo from October 22 to 27. Trinath Mishra, DGP, Central  Bureau  of
   Investigation  (CBI)  will  lead  the Indian delegation to the global
   meeting of the Interpol. 

   Milk  supply  of  Town  Milk  Supply  Scheme  under Dairy Development
   Department, Assam will  be  temporarily  suspended  from  October  17
   evening  due  to  manufacturers' inability to provide polythene film.
   This was stated in a  press  release  by  Town  Milk  Supply  Scheme,
   Khanapara.   It may be mentioned that milk is supplied in sealed bags
   made of polythene.
Compiled from newspaper and agency reports for private circulation only.
      [S=Sentinel, AT=Assam Tribune, Agencies = UNI, PTI, PIB]
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