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                        Vol.3, No.76 [*] October 22, 1998

                Life is like an onion which one peels crying.
                             - French Proverb

   The  existence of Bihpuria town on the Assam-Arunachal border will be
   in jeopardy once the 405 MW Ranganadi hydel project  is  commissioned
   by the year 2000.  The Assam Government, worried over the fate of the
   town,  formally  raised the matter in the just concluded Northeastern
   Council annual meeting held at Shillong.
   A worried Chief Minister P.K.Mahanta himself raised the matter in the
   meeting and expressed his fears that `on completion of  the  project,
   excess  water  of Ranganadi river will be released into Dikrong river
   which is likely to raise the water level of the Dikrong river by four
   feet. The entire Bihpuria  town  and  its  neighbouring  villages  in
   Lakhimpur district would be endangered by floods.'
   Set  up  by  the  Northeastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO) at
   Ranganadi inside Arunachal Pradesh, this  massive  hydel  project  is
   slated  to generate 405 MW of electricity. Almost 75 per cent work of
   the project has been completed.
   At least three mysterious deaths were reported from Borboruah, Chabua
   and Moran in Dibrugarh district on October 20, triggering panic among
   the residents.  The police are clueless about the suspected  murders,
   and only one of the dead has been identified as Rontu Gogoi so far.
   According to villagers, a team of armed youths accompanied  by  armed
   security  personnel  is  scouring  the  district's rural interiors to
   flush out militants.  While none seem to be sure as to  the  identity
   of  the  armed  youths,  a  source informs that these might be former
   ultras who had  since  come  overground. 
   Villagers  of  Jokai  and  Borboruah  claim that the youths move in a
   convoy of numberplateless vehicles, with their faces covered by black
   masks.  The youths were reported to have  been  inquiring  about  the
   whereabouts of  ULFA militants.  Some villagers were beaten up by the
   youths and  also  entered  private  residences  and  misbehaved  with
   inmates.   One  shopkeeper  was  beaten up and was threatened of dire
   consequences if he reported the matter to the police.
   The Guwahati city  police  raided  several  `tax-collection'  centres
   illegally  set  up  by a group of SULFA youths at Beltola coal market
   area in Guwahati on October 19, as reports appeared in  The  Sentinel
   on October  18 that the mafia raj was back in business.  The raid was
   conducted under the direct supervision of the city superintendent  of
   police Mr  P.K.Das.   However, coal-trading sources said, despite the
   raid, the SULFA men were still threatening the traders.
   On the night of October 19, a SULFA man,  Mriganka  Chaliha  and  his
   security  guards terrorized a noted coal trader, Sanjib Barthakur and
   his family in his house after the police  raids  were  completed.  Mr
   Barthakur has filed a complaint at the Basistha police station. SULFA
   youths  who extort `taxes' from the trucks, gave police the slip. The
   police were seen keeping a strong vigil in the area.
4  CACHAR DAILY ALLEGES HARASSMENT BY DC                   [S:21-OCT-98]
   The  management  of Dainik Jugasankha, a Bengali daily published from
   Silchar, alleged that the Deputy Commissioner, Cachar, Mr Paban Kumar
   Barthakur had been interfering in the functioning of  the  paper  and
   thereby seeking to throttle the freedom of press.
   Addressing   a  press  conference  at  Silchar  on  October  20,  the
   proprietor of the newspaper, Mr B.K.Nath  alleged  that  even  though
   more  than  20  newspapers  are  published  from Cachar district, the
   Deputy  Commissioner  had  singled  out  the  Dainik  Jugasankha  for
   harassment  after  the  publication  of  a  news  item on September 1
   relating to the DC's wife.
   Meanwhile,  the  Deputy Commissioner has denied the allegations of Mr
   Nath. In a faxed statement from Silchar, the DC  said  the  newspaper
   had violated a number of statutory, legal provisions in the matter of
   publishing  a  newspaper.  He also denied that the action against the
   newspaper had anything to do with  publication of any news item.
   Snatching  of  arms  from  police  is  not  the prerogative of ultras
   anymore.  In an interesting incident on October 19, the day of Diwali
   festival, die-hard gambles bashed up  the  officer-in-charge  of  the
   Kachuwa  police  station  when  he tried to `distrub' them while they
   were playing cards on the occasion of Diwali at 10:30 pm  at  Kachuwa
   Tiniali  in  Nagaon.  After  they  bashed up the police officer, they
   snatched away his pistol.
   In  a  separate  incident at Bongaigaon on the same day, two persons,
   Jahangir Hussain (34) and Haren Singh (23) were  killed  and  another
   Tasir Ahmed (48) severely injured when armed miscreants fired at them
   as  they were playing cards on the occasion of Kali Puja at a shop in
   Jelkajhar Chowk at 9:30 pm.

6  SEPON CRAVING FOR DEVELOPMENT                          [AT:21-OCT-98]
   Sepon, a small town comprising about 15 villages, is situated in  the
   border areas of Dibrugarh and Sibsagar districts.  It falls under two
   legislative assemblies  - Mahmora and Moran.  While Mahmora is in the
   control of Sibsagar, Moran falls under Dibrugarh.  Sepon  is  divided
   by the  Chunpara  road.  The residents of southern part go to Sonari,
   headquarter of  Charaideo  subdivision  or  to  district  headquarter
   Sibsagar at a distance of 35 km, while the residents of northern part
   have to go to Dibrugarh for official works.
   Residents of Sepon feel that because of this divide, the town remains
   neglected in the post-independence era.  None of the members  of  the
   legislative assembly (MLAs) pay adequate attention to the town and no
   development schemes  have  been initiated.  The condition of roads in
   the area is so deplorable that it takes more than two hours to  cover
   a distance  of 30 km from Sepon to Sonari.  The bridges in Dubba area
   are also in pitiable condition and may break down any moment.
   The  educational scene is no better. There are about ten high schools
   and despite the peoples' demand to start higher secondary classes for
   the past 20 years, none  of  the  schools  offer  these  classes.  In
   1991-92,  the  education  department  had  ordered for upgradation of
   Sepon High School to Higher Secondary School, but  within  one  week,
   the order was withdrawn.
   Besides, there are no primary health centres for the 20,000 residents
   of the  area.    In  the existing health sub-centre at Sepon Tiniali,
   only one nurse is available.  The ASEB has also neglected the area as
   much.  One transformer which was damaged remains without repair since
   July.   However,  the  3-phase  transformer   was   replaced   by   a
   single-phase transformer.      As  a  result,  all  the  small  scale
   industrial units and the lone  water  supply  scheme  of  the  public
   health engineering department remained cutoff for the past 3 months.
   Fisticuffs between Mr Hemen  Karzi,  a  `lat  mandal'  (land  revenue
   staff)  of  the  Kamalpur  revenue circle, and the Circle Officer, Mr
   Padma Dhar Das, in the Circle Office  during  office  hours  recently
   amused the people of the locality.
   The  `lat  mandal'  on  transfer  from  Kamalpur  revenue  circle  to
   elsewhere, requested the CO to give him the payment due to him.   The
   CO being reluctant, an argument took place between them.  The enraged
   CO struck  Karzi  with  his  fist  which  was promptly returned.  The
   scuffle ended at the intervention of the staff  of  the  office.    A
   compromise between the two has been reached, sources said.
8  ASSAM SWIMMER, SHUTTLERS WIN GOLD                       [S:22-OCT-98]
   Debasis Mazumdar an international swimmer and a student of  Khanapara
   Kendriya  Vidyalaya,  Guwahati  has  earned five gold at the recently
   concluded Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan National Sports Meet, 1998  at
   Chandigarh. Debasis was declared the Best Swimmer in his group.
   Oli  Deka  and Ansumita Barua secured gold medals in the open doubles
   badminton competition by beating Papia Bhowmick  and  Sanghamitra  of
   West  Bengal  in  straight set 15-9, 15-9 in the 23rd National Sports
   Festival for Women for Group-I held at Cuttack from October 14 to 17.

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