Sunday, May 11, 2008

Two ULFA linkmen nabbed in Kokrajhar

KOKRAJHAR, May 10: Two ULFA linkman were nabbed by the army at Amtuli under Fakiragram police station, in Kokrajhar district yesterday morning. The arrested ULFA linkman were identified as Suben Majumdar (26), son of Nabin Majumdar and Biswajit Ghosh (26), son of Sukumar Das, both hailing from Amtuli village. The army recovered a 9mm Bulgarian made pistol, three live ammunitions and four magazines from their possession. The ULFA linkman were later handed over to the police.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

No development in State without tribes’ unity: Gogoi

JORHAT, May 9: Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, who is on a two-day visit to his home district attended a number of meetings here today. Addressing the first biannual meet of the Thengal Kachari Jatiya Parishad at Jalukonibari as chief guest, Tarun Gogoi said that unless each ethnic tribe and indigenous community strive, the development of the State would lag behind.
“No tribe or community should remain in a backward State and Government is particular about not being partial to one at the cost of another,” the Chief Minister asserted.Stressing on the development works undertaken by the Congress Government, Gogoi said that interior villages had been given various facilities like drinking water, health, education and other infrastructure.
Gogoi also declared a grant of Rs lakh for the Thengal Kachari Jatiya Parishad for various works. Anil Baghbora, president of the Parishad presided over the meeting.
CM ’s next stop was at Dangdhora where he launched a health insurance scheme. He also distributed sewing machines, thread and old age pension cheques to the beneficiaries. Gogoi also attended the Borholla Bihu Sanmillan as chief guest. He also dropped in at a few other meetings called by various organizations tomorrow. He will inaugurate the commercial Tissue Culture lab and launch the wage briddhi for farmers at AAU.

BPIC urged to maintain peace and amity in the region

BPIC urged to maintain peace and amity in the region Janani Surakshya Yojana alleges misappropriation of funds
UDALGURI, May 9: The Bodoland Peace and Integration Committee (BPIC) and Bodoland Citizens’ Forum has urged all section of people to maintain peace and amity in the region recently. A joint meeting of these two organizations were held at Harisinga HS School premises under the presidentship of Protul Kumar Bhobora.
The meeting has discussed the pros and cons of the prevailing troublesome situation in the region.The meeting has expressed their concern over the kidnapping case of Rijhen Basumatary of Anthaibari village in Udalguri district. He was kidnapped by some unknown miscreants earlier in February 2008.
The joint meeting has urged the kidnappers to release him soon. The meeting has decided to conduct parleys with various parties to establish congenial situation in the region. The meeting was also attended by Rakheswar Brahma, vice president of Bodoland Peace and Integration Committee. This was stated in a release issued by Bireswar Daimary and Sunil Dutta jointly.
The Udalguri district Manav Adhikar Sangram Samiti and Orang Anchalik Nagarik Unnayan and Surakhya Samiti has submitted a memorandum to the Asom Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and authorities concerned demanding an enquiry to the allege misappropriation of funds of Janani Surakhya Yojana in Orang Primary Health Centre.
Meanwhile the secretary of Health and Family Welfare department has ordered an enquiry to the allegation vide letter No. HLS-307/2008/5 dated March 25 2008.The doctor was transferred to Boginadi Primay Health Centre in Lakhimpur and replaced by Dr Dinanath Bhattacharya to look after the health centre, sources added.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Former ULFA ‘commander’ appeals for talks

TINSUKIA, May 9: A permanent solution to the prolonged problem of the ULFA cannot be obtained either through conflict, surrender or through economic packages. Equal respect from both sides regarding talks is the only way out. Both sides should declare unilateral ceasefire for creating a congenial atmosphere for dialogue. These were the words of ULFA’s 28 Bn ‘commander’ Prabal Neog while talking to the media here yesterday. The self-styled ‘commander’ at present in jail was brought to Tinsukia for his trial at the Tinsukia Court yesterday.
Neog said that both the ULFA and the Government should shed their stubborn attitude and try to find a permanent solution for peace and prosperity in the region. He appealed to the top ULFA leaders to sit for talks. This problem has also led to bloodshed and nothing else, said Neog.
The former commander of the militant outfit clearly stated that he has not sent any letter to Asom Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi regarding talks with the outfit as published in a few newspapers.
The Government is not willing to talk with the sons of the soil, the ULFA. After a few years, such a time will come when the illegal immigrants — Bangladeshi citizens — would be demanding an independent Asom to be carved out from India. The present task would be to save the nation from the illegal immigrants. Asom should have control over its resources, then only the indigenous people will be safe.The jailed ULFA leader, however, said that he is not aware of any letter being sent by one of his former colleagues, Mrinal Hazarika, at present in Dibrugarh Jail, to the Chief Minister.
Neog said that his appeal to the top ULFA leaders to come to the negotiation table was not due to any pressure applied by the Army GOC nor by the IGP, Asom. Rather, he has made this appeal on his own.

New areas encroached in spite of eviction drive by Forest dept

KOKRAJHAR, May 9: New areas are being encroached upon in Lungsung area of Chirang Reserve Forest under Haltugaon division in Kokrajhar district despite repeated eviction drives being carried out. More than 200 families from Jaipur, Runikhata, Bhutiapara Adivasi relief camps have allegedly encroached vast areas in Lungsung since the last two years.
It is worth mentioning here that The Sentinel carried stories regarding massive destruction of forest areas at Lungsung in Chirang Reserve Forest and about illegal encroachment in 2006. Temporary thatch houses had not been erected in 2006, but since the past few months, vast areas are now being allegedly encroached by Adivasi encroachers. The Department of Forest, BTC, had evicted the illegal encroachers several times but failed to drive them back.
In an interview, one Gopi Kisku of Bhutiapara said that they came to Lungsung three years back and their main source of income is through selling firewood. He admitted that they cut trees for the purpose of firewood and cultivation in the land. He also said they did not receive any Rehabilitation Grant (RG) from the Government while they were in the relief camp. Only Rs 2,000 and a bundle of tin sheets were given, he said, adding that the Forest Department has asked them to leave the ‘encroached’ land.
Another Matla Mardi hailing from Runikhata in Chirang district said that they came to Lungsung four years back along with people from at least seven villages to settle there, and added that they did not get any assistance from the Government.
He also said that they depend upon trees of the forest to sell them as firewood. He declined to give any comment on who brought them to the reserve forest. He also said that the Forest Department has instructed them to go back to their respective places.
In an interview, DFO, Haltugaon Division, Rajen Choudhury said the encroachment in Lungsng area of Chirang Reserve Forest took place in April, 2006. The Forest Department, BTC, has carried out many eviction drives at Lungsung, he said, adding that the encroachers are from different relief camps and there is no alternative livelihood for them. For him, an alternative livelihood is a necessity for stopping encroachment of forest land.
Choudhury said the BTC authority has issued instructions to intensify the eviction drive. The department is thinking about skill training to the unemployed camp inmates so that they could be absorbed in various works. For recovery of all degraded forest reserve land, the Task Force will carry out a massive plantation drive in those areas within a short time. He said Army jawans will also help in the task, which has already begun in Tezpur. The massive plantation drive will begin from the last week of May at Lungsung and will be completed within five years.

Brahma favours AGP unification

GUWAHATI, May 9: “The unification move of the AGP holds much significance in so far as the future of the much awaited unity of the regional forces in the State is concerned,” said former Rajya Sabha MP and BPPF leader UG Brahma. “Unity is a much required aspect to uphold the regional causes,” he said.
“We favour unification of the AGP and hope small hurdles which might be come in the way to achieve it will ultimately be removed through consultations,” he said. “AGP can be united by bringing back its former leaders without making any major changes in the present leadership and organizational structure,” he suggested.
The BPPF leader thinks a viable alliance of regional forces can throw a strong challenge to the Congress in the ensuing Lok Sabha elections. It may be mentioned here that the ASDC as a united entity, in its recent meeting with the AGP, also favours a viable regional grouping to tackle the ruling Congress.
Brahma blamed the Congress-led Government at Dispur for allegedly turning its back to the volatile law-and-order situation in the BTAD. He said the BPF led by Hagrama Mohilary has been taking advantage of its alliance with the Congress to create terror in the BTAD. “The killers are moving scot–free in VIP cars under police protection and the people who dare to protest are being continuously harassed and tortured by the police,” he said.
False cases have been filed against 500 activists of both the BPPF and the ABSU by the BTC administration since 2005, to keep the Opposition mum, he said. “We are in a total confusion on whom to blame for the current situation in the BTAD — BTC administration, police or Dispur?” said the former Rajya Sabha member. “The tall claims of Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi regarding the improvement of the law-and-order situation in the State turns false in the BTAD,” he quipped.
Police in the BTAD seems to act as per the directions of Dispur, which has no policy or programme to control the situation in the Bodo heartland, he said. The BTAD appears to be the only one area in the State where even the unified command structure is not in force, he added.
The Kokrajhar district administration has twice turned down permission to stage an all-party sit-in demonstration in Kokrajhar against the imposition of Section 144 imposed in all four districts under BTAD. The BPPF has decided to move the Gauhati High Court seeking judicial intervention into the matter.

Udalguri SBI’s poor service irks customers

Udalguri, May 9 – Udalguri town, being the district headquarter of Udalguri district, has emerged as a business hub and centre of all district-based government activities. As a result, the lone State Bank of India branch in the heart of Udalguri town has gained prominence with multile increase in its customer base. Crores of rupees are transacted daily through this branch. But to the utter dismay of its customers, the SBI Udalguri branch has failed miserably to meet the requirements of its customers. A glaring example of this insensitive attitude towards its customers came to light on Wednesday when the accountant of the branch, Abhinash Narzary was found drunk and senseless for more than five hours in the canteen of the bank. This adversely affected service thus creating a lot of trouble to the customers on the weekly market day of Udalguri town.When contacted a section of bank officials expressed their ‘helplessness’.
Talking to this correspondent a section of worried customers said that they were not satisfied at all with the functioning of the bank despite several requests to the bank authority to improve the customer care service.It is worthmentioning here that the present premises of the bank is hardly specious to accomodate the customers of the bank.
Now, the customers of the bank are waiting with expectations to see if the higher authority of the SBI take any step to improve the customer service in Udalguri branch of SBI.

Four ABSU leaders escape bid on life

KOKRAJHAR, May 8: Four ABSU leaders — Sanjib Kumar Brahma, Lakhinath Brahma, Ranjan Kumar Brahma and Kamal Kumar Brahma — escaped unhurt when two gunmen fired at them at Dotma in Kokrajhar district today. It may be mentioned here that a BPPF leader was shot dead by miscreants recently in the district a day after setting afire an NDFB liaison office at Bengtol.

Fake currency notes recovered

UDALGURI, May 8: Fake currency notes of 500-rupee denomination and 1000-rupee denomination have been under circulation in Udalguri district for quite some time now. Some banks here have been using fake currency detectors but a few notes are under circulation even through the banks themselves. A note was detected in the SBI Udalguri recently. State Government employees who withdrew their salary from the bank recently found a large number of fake notes. A school teacher got a forged thousand rupee note when she went to withdraw her salary recently.

Bwiswmuthiary’s call to save ‘Bodo nation’

NEW DELHI, May 8: The lone Lok Sabha MP from Bodoland Sansuma Khunggur Bwiswmuthiary has condemned in the strongest terms the gruesome killing of Basanta Basumatary, lecturer of Kokrajhar College and the secretary of BPPF by unidentified miscreants at Kodomtola, Kokrajhar.Bwiswmuthiary earnestly appealed to all concerned Bodo organizations to refrain from any kind of boomerang activity like fratricide, in the greater interest of the “danger-stricken Bodo Nation”.
Bwiswmuthiary also strongly condemned all kinds of killings and counter-killings perpetrated by miscreants at different places within Bodoland in the recent past. The Kokrajhar MP is of the opinion that the fratricide that took place in the past among the Bodos has weakened the bond of unity and strength among the Bodos as a nation instead of getting them united.In view of the ongoing unfortunate situation prevailing in Bodoland, Bwiswmuthiary fervently appealed to all Bodo groups concerned including their supporters to come forward to help create a congenial and healthy atmosphere, and in the process ensure the survival and development of the Bodo nation as a whole.

No evidence of existence of BRTF: BPF

BPF youth wing accuses BPPF of trying to hit headlines
KOKRAJHAR, May 8: Any form of killings and violent activities are condemnable in a civilized society.This was stated in a press release today by the Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) youth wing, which said that it has never encouraged this type of “uncivilized nature in the society”, which could pose a threat to the integrity and population of the nation.
The BPF youth wing expressed deep shock over the killing of Basanta Kumar Basumatary, lecturer of Kokrajhar College, who was also one of the secretaries of the BPPF led by Rabiram Narzary by unknown miscreants on May 6 at Khwdwmtola in Kokrajhar. “The incident is very unfortunate for all and we also express our heartfelt sorrow,” the BPF youth wing stated.
But the BPF has vehemently protested against some baseless allegations published in certain newspapers that the BPF youth wing and BRTF, a newly-floated outfit were behind the killing of Basanta Kumar Basumatary and the torching of the NDFB camp at Silpata in Chirang district on the night of May 5.
The news reports also alleged that the BPF youth wing and the BRTF attempted to set afire an NDFB camp at Banaldoba in Chirang district on that day. Apart from these, the BPF youth wing has also condemned the allegations of the BPPF, NDFB and the BPFPR that the youth wing and the so-called BRTF are involved in killings and attacks in the BTC region.
“It is difficult for us to understand that the BPPF, NDFB and the BPFPR have always blamed us for any untoward incident in the region,” the BPF youth wing further stated. “Is the BPF solely responsible for all hurdles in the BTC? Why these leaders do not say anything about the killings of ex-BLT cadres on many occasions,” the BPF questioned.
The BPF has stated that there is no such existence of the BRTF at the behest of the BPF as alleged by the BPPF and the NDFB leaders. “The Congress or the BPF are not patronizing any underground outfit as has appeared in certain newspapers. So far our knowledge is concerned, the existence of the BRTF under BPF is simply an allegation and the Opposition is playing the blame game” said the BPF youth wing.”
If there is a BRTF, then BPPF president Rabiram Narzary should be able to prove with material evidence. The Opposition leaders are floating these news just for grabbing political headlines, the youth wing stated. The BPF youth wing has called upon the people belonging to all communities not to be misguided by such baseless allegations levelled by the Opposition leaders. The youth wing has always concentrated in the developmental aspect of the region and in maintaining peace and tranquillity among all, the party further stated.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Car set on fire; BPPF calls another bandh today

KOKRAJHAR, May 7: A Maruti van (WB-74-F-3680) was set afire at Goshkata under Dotma PS at around 11.30 am during the 12-hour Kokrajhar bandh called by the BPPF, in protest against the killing of Basanta Kumar Basumatary, lecturer of Kokrajhar College and BPPF secretary. The Merchants’ Association, Kokrajhar, also called a 12-hour Kokrajhar town bandh in protest against the assault on Mula Gandra alias Birhary Mashahary by a PSO on May 5. Meanwhile, BPPF president Rabiram Narzary told The Sentinel today that the party has called another bandh tomorrow against the failure of the State Government in providing security to the lives of the people.

Directive on BTAD scene

GUWAHATI, May 7: The Asom Government has instructed deputy commissioners of Kokrajhar, Chirang, Baksa and Udalguri to take action against those who are indulging in criminal activities and trying to disturb peace and harmony, a press release said.

Complete all schemes in 3 years, Gogoi tells bureaucrats

GUWAHATI, May 7: Reviewing the works done in the first two years of his Government at a meeting at Dispur last night, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi asked the top-level officials of his Government to take up only those works that can be completed within this term of the Government so that no work is left half-done. The Congress-BPF Government in the State is going to complete two years on May 15. The Chief Minister also asked the IAS officers to drastically reduce their visits to New Delhi and go to rural and remote areas of the State so that they can take stock of progress of works of various schemes and projects.
Talking to newsmen in Guwahati today, Asom Government spokesman Himanta Biswa Sarma said: “The Chief Minister told the officials in no uncertain terms that he only wanted results. No schemes should be left half-done, and all schemes should be completed in the remaining three years of this Government.”
“I have checked tour diaries of IAS officers and seen that some of them have visited New Delhi very frequently. Cut your Delhi visits drastically and go to the rural and remote areas of the State to take stock of progress of schemes. For works that can be done without Delhi tour of IAS officers, junior-level officials should be sent to get the works done. Now on, I will personally check tour diaries of all the IAS officers,” Sarma quoted the Chief Minister as telling the officers at the meeting.
According to Sarma, Gogoi made it clear before the top-level officials that they would have to spend the amounts allocated to their respective departments in the Budget. “If any department fails to use the funds allocated to it in the Budget, fund allocation to it will be drastically reduced, and the amount will be diverted to the performing departments. To ensure it, the Assembly will sit thrice a year — in July, November and March. If a department cannot use the funds allocated to it, the unused funds will be diverted to other departments in the sittings of the Assembly in November and March,” Sarma quoted Gogoi as telling the officials.
When asked about the outcome of the meeting, Sarma took a step forward on his own, and said: “In the remaining three years of this Government, we will solve the ULFA and ethnic problems of the State through talks, update the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and fence the international border with Bangladesh. If the Government can’t perform, not to speak of a united AGP, the divided AGP will also be able to show Congress the door.”
Most of the officers were of the opinion that funds continue to pour in but the fund-absorbing capacity of the departments is too low. To overcome that hurdle, Sarma said: “We have to take schemes in a planned and time-bound manner in accordance with priority.”

Miru Baisagu Khunthai celebrated at Kalaigaon

KALAIGAON, May 7 – The 10th ‘Miru Baisagu Khunthai’ was celebrated recently at the public play ground here at Kalaigaon. It was organised by ‘Kalaigaon Bishunga Harimu Afad’ with cooperation from people of all the communities.
Baisagu flag was hoisted on the first day by Ranjit Baro, president, reception committee followed by various cultural and sports competitions. Several distinguished senior social workers of Kalaigaon were felicitated publicly with ‘Aarnai’. The concluding day of the session began with marathon race which was flagged off by DN Hazarika, CO, Kalaigaon.
A souvenir Ranjali was released by Maheswar Baro, MLA, Kalaigaon. The souvenir was sponsored jointly by social workers of Kalaigaon Dandi Kumar Baro and Krishna Baro, in memory of their father Dali Ram Baro and mother Dhuli Baro.
Releasing the Ranjali Maheswar Baro urged people to show respect to folk cultures of NE India. He also requested the organising committee to maintain a record of the activities and history of the organising committees since its beginning in 1999. Appointed speaker Phukan Baro, requested people of all communities to maintain communal harmony and to respect folk cultures of North East.
The chief guest of the day Lumsraw Daimari, EM of BTAD described ‘Baisagu’ or Rongali Bihu as ‘blood’ of the people of Assam. Hiren Deka Narzi, Principal, Khoirabari College, Mugthag Baro, experts of Bodo culture, Dandi Rabha, MCLA of BTAD, Nabin Chandra Baro, Inspector of Schools, Udalguri also spoke a few words on the occasion. The open session was presided over by Ranjit Baro, president, 10th Miru Ranjali Baisagu Ranjali Khunthai, Kalaigaon. The session concluded with an attractive cultural function in the evening.

NDFB political dialogue yet to start: Centre

NEW DELHI, May 7 – A day after the outlawed National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) announced its plans to hold a massive rally on Saturday, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has clarified that preliminary discussion with the militant outfit is yet to start. Confusion over the status of the political dialogue with the militant outfit today prompted the MHA to clarify its position. Assam Government’s discomfort over the issue may also be one of the reasons that led the Ministry to clarify its position.
Official sources told this newspaper that the meeting on May 1 held at North Block with the militant outfit was not part of the political dialogue process. The meeting chaired by Special Secretary (Internal Security) ML Kumawat was also attended by Joint Secretary (North-east) Navin Verma and other senior officials of the Ministry.
Sources confided that at the meeting, the five-member NDFB delegation led by its general secretary Govinda Basumatary handed over a sealed envelope. The envelope was not even opened in their presence, hence the question of holding preliminary discussions doesn’t even arise, sources said.
“We have been pressing NDFB to submit its charter of demands since the past three years, however, there has been little progress in this regard,” sources said.
The only contact the MHA had with NDFB was the Joint Monitoring Committee meetings, which reviewed the ceasefire agreement and the implementation of the ground rules, sources added.
The two sides had entered into a suspension of operation pact on June 1, 2005.NDFB continues to remain a banned militant outfit under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, sources added.
The fan fare with which the NDFB has been ‘celebrating’ the handing over of the charter of demands in the form of a memorandum to the Centre has obviously rattled Tarun Gogoi Government more than the Centre. The Congress is running an alliance government with BPPF, the rival faction.
The NDFB has announced its plans to hold a mammoth rally at Udalguri on May 10. The Bodo militant outfit has been tightlipped about its charter of demands. The release it issued was vague about its demands. The memorandum was a reflection of the Bodo people’s historical rights, the long-cherished hopes and aspirations as well as the principles and ideology of the NDFB, said information and publicity secretary of the outfit, S Sanjarang.
According to reports, Dispur has already cautioned the Centre over the possibility of initiating a dialogue on the basis of the demand for a separate country of Bodoland, pointing towards other militant outfits like ULFA, which are waiting in the wings with similar demands.
Moreover, the stated policy of the Union Government is not to entertain any demand for a dialogue, which is outside the purview of the Constitution. All discussions have to be within the four corners of the Constitution.
In fact, the prime reason behind the collapse of the ULFA peace process is the outfit’s insistence on discussing the ‘core issue’ of sovereignty of Assam. Even the NSCN peace process has now boiled down to the unification of the Naga-inhabited areas spread over the three States of Manipur, Assam and Arunchal Pradesh.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

NE MPs move Lalu over Rangiya Rail div

NEW DELHI, May 6 – The bid to bifurcate the profit-making Bongaigaon section from Rangiya Division to Alipurduar Division has snowballed into a major controversy, with the MPs belonging to the North-east, today petitioning the Railway Minister, Lalu Prasad, opposing the move. Agitated MPs under the banner of the North East MPs Forum met the Railway Minister and submitted a letter, urging him to stop the move. The move may jeopardise the health of the existing Division within the Region, they argued.
The delegation included PCC president and Rajya Sabha MP, Bhubaneswar Kalita, former Union Minister, Biren Baishya, Kirip Chaliha, Dr Arun Kumar Sarma, Biswajit Daimary, Silvius Condpan. Interestingly, president of Indian Olympic Association, Suresh Kalmadi was present, when the MPs submitted the memorandum at the Parliament House.
As the then Railway Minister, Kalmadi had laid the foundation stone of the Rangiya Division in 1995. Kalita, describing the move as sinister ploy to ruin the Rangiya Division, said that because of Bongaigaon section, Rangiya Division has been earning a profit of Rs 57 crore on an average. This perhaps is the only profit-making Division of the NF Railway. On the other hand, Alipurduar Division is in the red.
The move, said Daimary, is to bifurcate Saprakata Station in Bongaigaon district out of Rangiya Division and join it with Alipurduar Division.

Kokrajhar bandh today

KOKRAJHAR, May 6: The Kokrajhar Marchant Association (KMA) has called a 12-hour Kokrajhar district bandh on May 7 in protest against the physical assault to a trader by the PSO of BPPF president last night.

Centre to review State ST status demand

NEW DELHI, May 6 – The Ministry of Tribal Affairs has called for additional information from the Assam Government on its proposal to accord Schedule Tribe (ST) status to six ethnic communities of the State. The Ministry of Tribal Affairs has sought additional justification from Government of Assam on their proposal for inclusion of six communities in the ST List of Assam, said Minister of State for Tribal Affairs, Dr Rameshwar Oraon in reply to a question by Kumar Deepak Das in the Rajya Sabha.
The Ministry confirmed having received a proposal from Government of Assam along with a copy of the resolution of Assam Legislative Assembly, on August 5, 2004 for inclusion of Koch Rajbongshi, Tai-Ahom, Chutia, Moran, Matak and communities belonging to tea and ex-tea garden in the ST list of the State.
The proposal has been processed according to the modalities approved by Government of India on June 15, 1999 for determining the claims for inclusion and exclusion from other modifications in consultation with appropriate authorities. They are the concerned State Government, Register General of India and National Commission for ST, he said.

NDFB’s pro-talks rally at Udalguri on March 10

GUWAHATI, May 6: In order to show mass support base in favour of the much-awaited peace talks between the Government and the National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB), the rebel group is going to hold a mammoth public gathering at Udalguri on May 10.
All peace-loving people of Bodo-inhabited areas in the State and Bodo civil organizations are expected to join the rally to register their unanimous support to the peace talks between the Government and the outfit, NDFB sources said.
It may be mentioned here that the NDFB submitted its charter of demands in the form of a memorandum to the Centre on May 1 to put an end to the about-three-year-long deadlock in initiating the peace process between the Government and the outfit since the signing of the ceasefire agreement between the two on June 1, 2005. The outfit is eagerly expecting early response from the Centre to its demands, though it is still not clear whether the NDFB’s demand for sovereignty was in the memorandum or not.
However, the Boro People’s Forum for Peace and Rights (BPFPR), which has been working overtime to start negotiation between the Government and the NDFB, is of the view that if the Government is truly sincere to the peace and development of “Boroland”, it should be prepared to hold talks with the NDFB, irrespective of the demands of the outfit.
“Let the talks start first,” said Bhramon Baglary, BPFPR president, when contacted by The Sentinel today. The differences, if any, can be sorted out through dialogue, he said. However, Baglary, contradicting the part of his statement published in the press today, said the NDFB’s demands placed through the memorandum to the Centre might be within the ambit of the constitution of the outfit. “But, in fact, I know nothing about the demands mentioned in the memorandum,” he added.

NDFB office torched; BPPF secy shot dead

BPF out to kill common people under patronage of Dispur, alleges Rabiram
KOKRAJHAR, May 6: The glimmer of hopes for restoration of peace that appeared in the BTAD with the NDFB submitting its charter of demands in the form of a memorandum to the Centre on May 1 has suffered a serious setback when suspected BRTF and former BLT cadres set afire the Silpatta liaison office of the NDFB near Kajalgaon in Chirang district last night, and shot dead BPPF (Rabiram) general secretary Basanta Basumatary this evening. The twin incident came close on the heels of various Bodo organizations’ rousing welcome to the NDFB leaders who returned to the State from New Delhi yesterday.
Talking to The Sentinel, Bengtol NDFB camp “commander” B Rubu said: “A group of the BRTF, a newly floated outfit, came on bicycles and opened fire targeting the camp. After a few minutes, a number of former BLT cadres joined them and started firing from sophisticated weapons. We have also retaliated the firing.” Later the camp was totally torched by the BRTF and former BLT cadres, sources said.
Sources said the group of ex-BLT and BRTF also made an attempt to set afire the NDFB liaison office at Bangaldoba at around 10 pm last night, but the alert NDFB cadres foiled the attempt. According to NDFB sources, Silpatta and Bangaldoba NDFB liaison offices were manned by 15 members each. The NDFB alleged that Chirang police was partial in both the incidents.
In another incident, BPPF (Rabiram) general secretary Basanta Basumatary, who was a lecturer of Kokrajhar Government College, was shot dead by armed assailants when he was shopping at Khwdwmtola Market in Kokrajhar at 6 pm today. Basumatary, who hailed from Mwinamata in Baksa district, left his wife and a daughter.
BPPF president Rabiran Narzary condemned the killing of Basumatary, and said the State Government and the BTC have failed to control law and order in the BTAD. “BPF and former BLT cadres have been killing common people in the BTAD under the patronage of the Congress-BPF Government in the State,” he added.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Postal delay causes academic loss to student

Postal delay causes academic loss to student Dept of Posts takes 19 days to cover a distance of 100 km
TANGLA, May 5: At a time when private courier services have been posing a challenge to the Government of India’s Postal Department through quick and ensured services to their customers, the Department of Posts, on the other hand is not bothered to satisfy its customers with sincere and timely work.
The Department, at least in this part of the country, has miserably failed to look into the interests and necessities of customers. For the Department, it seems that the customers are not valued customers at all. The following fact will speak for itself as to how seriously and sincerely the Postal Department respects the interests of its customers.
How long can a letter posted at the Gauhati University PO, in Guwahati, take to reach Tangla at a distance of 100 km? Seven days or 10 days at best. However, the Department of Posts takes more than 19 days to make the letter reach Tangla.
Believe it or not, a letter from the Post Graduate Correspondence School (PGCS) of Gauhati University was posted at the Gauhati University PO on April 11 and it was directed to North Lakhimpur Head PO where it was sealed dated April 16. However, it reached Tangla, its destination, on April 30, and the same was delivered to the addressee at 12 noon.
The letter had completed the long journey from Guwahati to North Lakhimpur and then to Tangla no doubt, but it has failed to serve the purpose for which the PGCS had sent it.The letter in question was a notice to one Sankar Jyoti Dutta of Tangla asking him to attend the first contact session for the PGCS final year at 9.30 am on April 30 at the BT Hostel, Gauhati University campus. But to the credit of the inefficiency of the Department of Posts, the notice came to Sankar’s hand only on April 30.
It is known to everybody that from Tangla to Guwahati by road it takes almost two-and-a-half hours. Thus, for the negligence and inefficiency of the Postal Department, Sankar, a student of the PGCS, GU, had to suffer academic loss.
The people here are of the opinion that the Department of Posts should find out if the delay in delivery to the addressee was due to the fault of the Postal personnel or due to the long course of the journey.
A number of guardians here have demanded of the Postal authorities to institute an inquiry into the whole affair and if anyone is found guilty, he should be given exemplary punishment.

Nath Yogis allege dictatorship by sanmilani leaders

BTC Nath Yogi Sanmilani dissolved
KOKRAJHAR, May 5: Coming down heavily against the present leaders of BTC Nath Yogi Sanmiloni for their alleged vested interest, a section of senior members of the Sanmailani today dissolved the BTC NYS by a majority vote and reconstituted it for a period of three months.
In a press release issued by the BTC NYS, the vice president Gojen Chandra Nath said that a meeting of Kokrajhar, Chirang, Baksa and Udalguri ditricts of NYS was held at pensioners’ Bhaban, Kokrajhar yesterday and spoke at length about the present leadership of the Sanmiloni who are working only for their self interest defying the interest of the society.
The meeting severely criticized the general secretary of the NYS Prakash Nanda Nath for his alleged involvement in anti organizational activities. The meeting expelled present senior leaders of the NYS Prakash Nanda Devnath, president and Dulal Devnath, general secretary along with 12 other members for a period of three months.
The senior Nath Yogi leaders also said that the newly formed Baksa district committee of NYS at the initiative of Prakash Nanda Nath was totally illegal and unacceptable.
The release said that the formation of Baksa district committee without dissolving the existing committee by Prakash Nanda Nath was totally “illegal” and quite “political”. The meeting also disqualified the new district committee.
In a separate press release, the Rangia District NYS leaders criticized the monopoly and anti organizational activities of some Nath Yogi Sanmiloni leaders under Prakash Nanda Nath who are always hankering after money. They also called upon the Nath Yogi people not to be misguided by such leaders.The Rangia district committee and newly reconstituted body termed the Naokata convention of the NYS scheduled to be held on May 10 and May 11 as quite political.
The release call upon the people not to take part in the convention which is being arranged for the self political interest of a section of sanmiloni leaders and asked to consider it to be anti Nath Yogi people.

IT lines up affirmative aid

New Delhi, May 5: Graduate engineers from the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes struggling to find jobs may soon receive special coaching at “finishing schools” jointly sponsored by the Centre and information technology companies.
The social justice and empowerment ministry has approved a proposal from IT firms to jointly subsidise the training of students at the Hyderabad-based Institute of Electronic Governance (IEG), run by the Andhra Pradesh government.
Infosys, Oracle, Intel, IBM, Microsoft and Railtel are among the companies that have expressed interest in supporting the scheme, sources told The Telegraph.
The initiative comes on the heels of pressure on the private sector to introduce job quotas. But industry has been promising the government that it would help equip the weaker sections to find jobs on their own merit.
Confirming the tie-up, an Infosys spokesperson said the company would subsidise the stay of the students and provide “technical and infrastructural support to the Centre and the IEG”.
“While there is no question of any discrimination in selections on our part, it is true that SC/ST candidates — engineers in our case — often lack the finer skills a top company requires. That is the reason we are entering into the scheme,” the spokesperson said.
In February, Infosys had sent a proposal on behalf of the firms and the IEG to the ministry, asking for central support.
“The funds will be taken from our existing budget for special tuition to SC/ST students. Our approval has already been sent to Infosys, asking them to forward the same to the other partners,” a ministry source said.
By December 2009, the IEG is expected to train up to 2,500 students, the official said.
The students will go in batches of 100 each, and the course will run for around 20 days a batch, the source said.
“The course will consist of two components. The first will involve training in human resource skills, essentially English. The second will consist of training with engineering teachers,” the source added.
The IT firms have volunteered to help provide technical knowhow. The Centre will pay Rs 45,000 a student to the IEG.
In addition, each outstation student will be given a stipend of Rs 1,500 a month. Students based in Hyderabad will receive Rs 750. The students will have to clear an admission test to join the course.
A study by UGC chairman Sukhdeo Thorat last year had revealed that SCs occupy less than one per cent of top private sector jobs.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Udalguri cultural team to represent BTAD in Himachal Pradesh

UDALGURI, May 4 – Munamadan Nepali Sanskritik Manch, Udalguri is going to represent Bodoland Territorial Area Districts (BTAD) in the multifarious cultural congregation to be held at Solan in Shimla in Himachal Pradesh.
The multifarious cultural congregation of Indian folk cultural troupes will take place from June 12 to 18 next at Solan for which the Nepali cultural team Munamadan Nepali Sanskritik Manch of Udalguri district from Assam has been invited by the organizer of the mega cultural mela.
This was made known to the press here by Paban Luitel, secretary of Munamadan Nepali Sanskritik Manch in a press communiqué. The press note informed that a 17-member team of the cultural organization would demonstrate ‘Sangini’, a popular form of Nepali folk dance in the mega mela. The other members of the cultural team are Purna Chetry, Kumar Pradhan, Raman Adhikari, Narayan Ghimireh, Seeta Sarmah, Neeta Sarmah, Jyoti Rijal, Ambika Chetry, Bhanita Devi, Deepali Ojha, Tanuja Rijal, Januka Chetry, Tikamaya Devi, Binu Devi, Sunita Devi and Bidya Upadhyaya.
It is to be noted that the Munamadan Nepali Sanskritik Manch of Udalguri has already earned laurels on various occasions by demonstrating the Nepali folk culture in various places in the state.

Health sub-centre in rent house

KOKRAJHAR, May 4: Believe it or not, but it is fact that a primary health sub-centre at village Diabari, Andurjhar under Bilasipara subdivision in Dhubri district has been running in a rented house since last 18 years.
The building of the primary health sub-centre which was completed in 1990 collapsed due to certain lapses and now its existence is beyond recognition.
In an interview with the Sentinel Pradip Wary of Diabari said he has donated one bigha of land for the establishment of a primary health sub-centre in their village and accordingly the sub-centre was established in 1989 by the Joint Director of Health Services, Dhubri.
He said new primary health sub-centre building was constructed by the PWD (Building), Dhubri division and completed in 1990.
“The construction of a new sub-centre building is lagging behind for not handing over the work to the health department by the PWD (Building),” he said adding that the building has totally collapsed now and the thin sheets either got scrapped or damaged by storm.
Meanwhile when asked as to why the PWD (Building) did not hand over the building, Wary replied that irregularities of Excecutive Engineers of PWD (Building) was the main reason behind the failure of opening of the new building. He further said that the primary health sub-centre has been running at his house since the last 18 years.
He also said only a nurse use to visit the primary health sub-centre every Wednesday.
Another villager Rishan Kumar Wary told the Sentinel that the villagers have been facing several hardship due to lack of doctor and health facilities. He said that the patients are taken to Bilasipara or Dhubri through the deplorable roads. Apart from roads, the local peoples have no proper drinking water facilities and Bodo medium Schools in the area.

Car taken away after making owner senseless

UDALGURI, May 4: A Maruti Alto car (AS-01-X-5350) was taken away by some unidentified miscreants after making the car owner senseless here at Udalguri. According to sources, a man went to the residence of one Jonas Daimary in Ambagaon and asked him whether he would be able to bring a few doctors from Udalguri to Harisinga, where a malaria camp was being organized. When Daimary asked the man as to why he did not employ drivers from Udalguri but came to Ambagaon, the man replied that the Udalguri drivers charge very high prices. As per the agreement, Daimary brought the doctors and when he contacted the man over telephone, he was asked to come to Galaxy Hotel here. When he went to the hotel, he was asked to sit for a while, as a meeting was going on, and was served some food. After consuming the food, Daimary felt drowsy, and later when he regained senses, he found himself at a hospital. His car was also missing. One of the waiters at the hotel, however, said that Daimary was lying in the middle of the road and was admitted at the hospital by the hotel owner. Daimary has filed a complaint at the police station.

From rags to riches: Two success stories from Tangla

From rags to riches: Two success stories from Tangla From our CorrespondentTANGLA, May 4: At a time when youths of Asom and the country as a whole have been hankering after Government or company jobs and in the process getting frustrated with no future prospects, at least a few youths of Bhergaon subdivision in Udalguri district under the Bodoland Territorial Area District (BTAD) have attained self-sufficiency and self-dependence through hard work devoted to agriculture, sericulture and cottage industries like handloom and weaving. These youths are now satisfied with what they have done and have been earning rich benefits out of their own projects. Of course, these youths have not been alone throughout and have been guided and assisted by the Agriculture Development Wing of the Assam Branch of the Indian Tea Association (ABITA).
Bimal Boro is a youth of 26 years and he studied up to class X, but could not pass the High School Leaving Certificate Examination. But that did not make him stay idle for a miracle to happen to give him an opportunity for employment. The ABITA Mangaldai branch under the leadership of Agriculture Development Officer Mohan Deka came forward to help Bimal in taking up horticulture as an employment at his village No. 3 Dimakuchi. For starting the self-sponsored scheme, Bimal had to sell his family’s chickens and pigs in the year 1999. But, prior to that he underwent training at Nagaon and in Nodia, West Bengal being deputed by the agriculture department. He undertook training in horticulture for one week each at Nagaon and Nodia. The local MLA, Kamali Basumatary, also gave him Rs 15,000 from the Individual Beneficiary Scheme (IBS).
Initially, Bimal started his horticulture project by somehow managing an amount of Rs 7,000. Now, he is the owner of a plot of land measuring 12 bighas where he has grown 5,000 pineapple plants, 200 coconut trees besides having a nursery for lemon trees, including the gol nemu and the kazi nemu. He also has about 40,000 orange saplings ready for sale. Besides these, he has also planted tea at a plot of about 8 bighas. “This small tea garden is a by-product of the nursery,” says Bimal.
Speaking about his guide throughout his project, Bimal says that his 70-year-old mother has been his best guide in his life so far. Bimal’s mother — Phaneswari Basumatary — is still physically fit to do all kinds of domestic work. Bimal further said that people from Nagaland, Manipur, Nagaon, Hojai and Jorhat besides local people come to him to buy his nursery products. Now, he has employed permanent labourers to look after his nursery and other related work. He also says that at least 10 youths of his locality have been inspired by him and these unemployed youths have followed suit.
Bimal is also an activist of the Dimakuchi Anchalik Committee of the All Bodo Students’ Union (ABSU) for which he needs to engage himself in organizational work from time to time. Bimal, who was a young unemployed youth at a time, now has over 60 bighas of land bought from the income of his nursery, in which he has already invested Rs 1.5 lakh. When asked about his source of technical expertise, Bimal replied that the Mangaldai branch of the ABITA through its Agricultural Development Officer Mohan Deka, who is a London-trained retired Government agriculture officer, rendered him all possible help including technical know-how.The people of the locality have highly hailed the venture of Bimal who, according to them, has shown a good example of self-dependence and thus proved the truth of the maxim “where there is a will, there is a way”.
One Dhiren Boro of Sadhubasti No. 1 Dimakuchi village in Bhergaon subdivision in Udalguri district is a teacher of Uttar Sekhar ME School. He graduated in Arts from Tangla College and joined as a teacher 13 years ago. He later married Tarulata Deka and is the father of a child.
Dhiren was satisfied with his job at the school and also with his small family. But then, he developed a keen interest in “som” cultivation and reeling yarn. Most importantly, his wife became an active partner in turning his dreams into reality. After his school duty in the day, Dhiren devoted his time to som cultivation.
Besides, a four bigha plot of paddy cultivation, he has, at present, five bighas of land for som cultivation.Dhiren has been doing som cultivation for the last 12 years and his wife has been reeling yarn for the last eight years. He has got four yarn reeling machines — two purchased on his own and two bought through the 50 per cent subsidy scheme from the Central Silk Board. Dhiren says that in a year he sell an average of 20 kg yarn at Rs 4,000 per kg. When asked as to where he finds the market to sell his products, he replied that he sells his products in the local weaving centres and for large-scale business, he often goes to Sualkuchi.
As to the number of som trees and their management, Dhiren informed that he has now 550 trees and he engages seasonal workers on daily-wage basis to take care of the same. In the same breath, Dhiren also said that he has already invested Rs 2.5 lakh in his venture out of his monthly salary as a teacher and from the income gained from his paddy cultivation.It is worth mentioning here that Dhiren Boro’s wife Tarulata Deka Boro is also a graduate and even being a housewife, she has been contributing actively to her husband’s projects in this remote village. Replying to a question as to why she being a graduate, did not opt for a Government or other jobs, she said that she was very happy with her husband and her married life, and, therefore, she preferred, in these days of scarcity of jobs, to help her husband in cultivating som trees and reeling yarn besides remaining a true housewife.
In the case of Dhiren and Tarulata too, the ABITA, Mangaldai Circle, through the Agricultural Development Office offered assistance free of cost. The ABITA has provided this young couple disease-free som seeds along with necessary technical know-how. This was gratefully acknowledged by Dhiren and Tarulata before this correspondent. Thus, this couple of Sadhubasti No. 1 Dimakuchi village has become an ideal educated couple, though engaged in cultivation, and an inspiration for many people like them.

750 MW project to be completed by 2011: Ramesh

Rs 4,375 crore sanctioned for the Salakati power plant
KOKRAJHAR, May 4: Union Minister of State for Commerce and Power Jairam Ramesh paid a visit to the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) project at Salakati in Kokrajhar district and formally launched the civil work. Ramesh was accompanied by Asom Power Minister Pradyut Bordoloi, Minister of Transport Chandan Brahma, Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) Deputy Chief Kampa Borgoyary and EMs Derhasat Basumatary and Emanuel Mashahary.
In a brief interaction with mediapersons, Jairam Ramesh said the work for the construction of the 750 MW NTPC project at the existing non-operational Bongaigaon Thermal Power Station (BTPS), Salakati, has been launched formally. He said the first 250 MW of power would be commissioned by February 2011 and within May of the same year (2011), the 750 MW NTPC project would be fully operational.
Asom Power Minister Pradyut Bordoloi said the State was facing a shortfall of power due to scarcity of the required water volume. He said the State was depending on hydel power where people cannot expect sufficient power during the dry season. Sufficient and regular power could be expected only from thermal power projects, he said, adding that people will get more power when the NTPC at Salakati power plant is completed.
The NTPC has approved an amount of Rs 4,375 crore for the power plant at Salakati in Kokrajhar district. It is worth mentioning here that Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh had laid the foundation stone of the 750 MW NTPC project at Salakati on January 16, 2006.