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                        Vol.3, No.79 [*] November 1, 1998

                It is always a silly thing to give advice,
               but to give good advice is absolutely fatal.
                             - Oscar Wilde

   Five persons were killed and a 100 others injured  when  a  liquefied
   petroleum  gas  (LPG)  tanker  caught  fire  due  to leakage near the
   Khanapara area  of  Guwahati  last  night.    About  half   a   dozen
   fire-fighting  personnel  were also injured while they tried to bring
   the fire under control.  The fire was doused after five hours.  Panic
   stricken people in the area used their vehicles to  flee  the  scene,
   while  others  without any vehicles started running helter-skelter to
   escape the big balls of fire emanating from the tanker.   An  inquiry
   has been ordered into the incident by the Chief Minister of Assam.

   Former  All  Bodo  Students  Union (ABSU) president and currently the
   Member  of  Parliament  (MP)  from  Kokrajhar  constituency   Sansuma
   Khunggur Bwiswmuthiary said, Chief Minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta is
   not a  king nor Assam is his kingdom.  He is a democratically-elected
   representative of the  people  and  therefore,  must  accede  to  the
   `democratic demand' for a separate Bodoland State.
   On the eve of his departure for New York on November 1 to attend a UN
   forum on indigenous peoples as a member of an unofficial  delegation,
   Mr  Bwiswmuthiary  spoke  to The Sentinel from New Delhi to `strongly
   condemn the attitude' of the Assam Chief Minister towards the  demand
   for `Bodoland'.
   Mr Mahanta on October  30,  while  inaugurating  the  Northeast  Book
   Fair-98  at Guwahati, had said that attempts were being made to again
   vivisect Assam into separate States  even  though  seven  States  had
   already   been   carved  out  of  it,  and  asserted  that  under  no
   circumstances will Government of Assam allow any  more  State  to  be
   carved out of Assam.

   The  Rashmi  Bora  abduction  and  murder case involving the ULFA has
   taken a new turn with the police coming up with a statement that  the
   ULFA  militants  who  had  killed  her, had not been sheltered in the
   house of the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP)  leader  Deba  Bora.  This  was
   confirmed after police conducted investigations into the allegation.
   On  the  other  hand,  police  also corrected themselves when sources
   said, the ULFA youth, Dharani Bora, who was  arrested  in  connection
   with the case, had not said in his confessional statement that he had
   hired the Maruti van to abduct Rashmi, and taken it to Mr Deba Bora's
   house. Dharani had said that he had taken the vehicle to a house near
   Deba Bora's house. 
   Police have also come to the conclusion that the 16-year-old girl was
   not  killed  on  the  day  of  the  abduction but was kept in several
   hideouts in the area for at least three days, after which  she  might
   have  been killed by the militants. Dharani Bora, meanwhile, has been
   sent to the jail custody by a court in Nagaon.

4  SALT PRICES TO GO UP BY 25 PER CENT IN ASSAM             [S:2-NOV-98]
   Sources in the Kamrup Chamber of Commerce said that although there is
   sufficient stock of salt available in Guwahati, there might be a rise
   of nearly 25 per cent in the  prices  of  salt  within  a  few  days.
   Traders  in  Guwahati  stated  that  the  shortage  was  due  to  the
   disturbances in the production of salt in several places.
   In New Delhi, panic buying of salt  started  from  early  morning  of
   November 1 and serpentine queues were seen outside groceries shops in
   some  areas. The bulk buying was apparently sparked off by reports of
   shortage of salt in Bihar where it was said to have been sold for  as
   high  as Rs.30 per kg. Three days back, a rumour about acute shortage
   of salt raised its price up to Rs.20 per kg  from  a  fixed  rate  of
   Rs.2.10 in Shillong, Meghalaya.

5  LPG AGENCIES CHEATING PEOPLE                             [S:2-NOV-98]
   LPG selling agencies hiking the price of cylinders illegally by  Rs.5
   has  come  to  the  light  during a discussion on shortage of LPG and
   smuggling activities at Nagaon.  In the meeting held  at  the  Deputy
   Commissioner's  office,  participants,  who  were  mostly  LPG agency
   owners, said that a refill cylinder of the domestic cooking  gas  was
   sold at Rs.144.25 whereas the actual price was only Rs.139.25.
   This was possible because  of  the  fact  that  whenever  the  refill
   cylinder  is  supplied  by the agency at the door of the customer, an
   additional amount of Rs.5  is  charged  from  the  customer  for  the
   service  of  door delivery. But taking advantage of the shortage, and
   the customers lifting the cylinders from the agency store itself, the
   agencies charged the extra Rs.5 which is illegal.
   It  was  alleged that due to the anomalies committed by the agencies,
   more than 30,000 consumers even after standing in queue for 24 hours,
   return home without a  cylinder  while  agencies  clandestinely  sell
   cylinders at  Rs.400  a  cylinder of 14.4 kg in the black market.  On
   the other hand natural gas in the  oil  fields  of  upper  Assam  are
   continuously flared, and constitute a colossal waste.

   The  Assam  Cabinet  on  October  31  decided to hand over two public
   sector units, Assam Syntex Limited and Fertichem Limited, which  have
   remained  closed  since  a long time, to two private parties on lease
   initially for a period of five years.  
   A  Guwahati-based party will take over Assam Syntex, which incurred a
   loss of Rs.70 million before being closed, while a Delhi-based  firm,
   Beas  Foundry, will take over Fertichem, which had suffered a loss of
   over Rs.100 million.  Assam Syntex was set up in  1982  and  produced
   polyvinyl  yarns while Fertichem was set up in 1974 produced chemical

7  TEA GARDEN WORKERS' WAGES TO INCREASE                    [S:1-NOV-98]
   Daily wages of the tea garden workers will be enhanced by Rs.2.50 per
   day,  Mr  Madhusudan  Khandait,  general secretary of the tea workers
   association, Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha (ACMS),  in  a  press  release
   stated.   An agreement to this effect was signed with the association
   of tea garden management for a period of three years.   The  increase
   in daily wages will be effective from November 1, 1998.

   The All Assam Students' Union (AASU) has  discovered  that  the  root
   cause  of  the  catastrophic  situation in Assam today is the lack of
   commitment on the part of the different governments in the State  and
   the  Centre, either to peace an purposefulness, democratic values and
   the doctrine of non-violence, and  resorting  to  an  arbitrary  rule
   under the  coverage  of  pretexts  and deceiving the people.  Neither
   democracy can work under the situation nor any public  right  can  be
   In  such  a  critical  juncture of social life in the State, the AASU
   looks forward to the  masses  to  aid  and  advise  the  organization
   towards  mobilizing the vital social issues and making the Government
   function responsibly for  the  people.    They  also  invited  public
   suggestions on ways and means as to how to go ahead with the problems
   like  foreigners' issue, ethnic violences, militancy, genocide by the
   army, spiraling  rise  in  the  prices  of  commodities,  educational
   environment, economic well-being of the people, containing floods.

9  DIBRU-SAIKHOWA ECO-DEV SCHEME                            [S:1-NOV-98]
   The  Assam  Government  has  taken  up  an  ambitious eco-development
   project covering the surrounding villages of Dibru-Saikhowa  Wildlife
   Sanctuary  in  order  to  keep  the rare endangered wild life species
   undisturbed from human interference.  The project, to be  implemented
   with Central assistance, in a phased manner, has already been started
   with a sanction of Rs.100,000 for the project including Rs.50,000 for
   agro forestry from the Central Government.
   The  farmers of the nearby villages of the sanctuary will be provided
   100  per  cent  financial  assistance  for  agro-forestry,  fire-wood
   plantation and  fish  farming.    On  completion  of  the project, it
   envisages to benefit about 150,000 people of 43  villages  under  425
   square km surrounding area of the sanctuary.
   The  Dibru-Saikhowa Wildlife Sanctuary in Tinsukia district bordering
   neighbouring Arunachal Pradesh, sprawling over an area of 640  square
   km  is  famous  for white-winged wood duck, hollock gibbon, leopards,
   Indian tigers etc.    The  vast  wetlands  and  grass  lands  of  the
   sanctuary  not  only make it a paradise for migratory water fowl, and
   wild buffalo but also provided an ideal habitat for the wild horse.

   Assam Police is organizing the 18th All India Police Equestrian Meet,
   1998 at Guwahati from November 9 to 15 under the aegis of  All  India
   Police   Sports   Control  Board  and  with  technical  support  from
   Equestrian Federation of India and Equestrian Federation of Assam.
   About 200 horses from state police teams including  Calcutta,  Delhi,
   Gujrat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh in addition to teams
   from  Border  Security Force (BSF), Indo-Tibetan Border Police, Assam
   Rifles and National Police Academy, Hyderabad will also  participate.
   The meet will be held at the Veterinary College ground, Khanapara and
   sub-area Narangi.

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