Assam to take on Tripura

Women’s Cricket

Dibrugarh, Oct. 30 : Hosts Assam will take on Tripura in Tinsukia while Bengal will play Jharkhand in Dibrugarh in the two opening matches of the limited overs Women’s Cricket League (East Zone) beginning November 3.

Preparations are on at the Dibrugarh District Sports Association (DDSA) outdoor stadium and the Tinsukia District Sports Association (TDSA) stadium for the meet allotted by the BCCI to the Assam Cricket Association (ACA).

“All preparations are being made as per the specifications of the BCCI. We hope that we will be able to successfully conduct the tournament,” Tariq Khan, the cricket secretary of the DDSA, said.

The DDSA officials worked hard to prepare the ground, which got damaged during recruitment rallies organised by security forces in August and September.

In Tinsukia preparations are on full swing with the district association receiving funds of Rs 1 lakh from the ACA to prepare the wickets prior to the tournament.

The Assam team reached Tinsukia this afternoon and will start net practice from tomorrow.

Assam Carbon seeks govt prescription

GUWAHATI: With the impasse between the management and the workers of Assam Carbon
Products Ltd (ACPL) not ending, the management has sought government intervention to bring back the unit to good health.

ACPL, the Guwahati-based pioneer in carbon industry, has an annual turnover is Rs 40 crore. The company produces high quality electrical and mechanical carbon materials. Railways is the main buyer of electrical carbon.

GM (operations) ACPL G.P Chawla said Morgan Crucible Plc UK has the highest share of 52.62%, Assam government has 3.63% in ACPL. The ACPL has units in Guwahati and Hyderabad.

He informed in recent times ACPL has been going through an uncertain industrial relations environment. The unit is Guwahati has been plagued by disturbances mainly due to the adamant and unreasonable approach of the Assam Carbon workers & Employees Union .

Mr Chawla added the company has made fresh investment of Rs 5 crore in the unit. We have over 250 employees. Workmen enjoy one of the highest salaries among equivalent industries. Average remuneration based on cost to company is about Rs 18,500 per month.

According to him several workers have resorted to go-slow, strikes, gherao and violence. They are demanding 20% unlimited bonus and 85% increase in salary. Earlier, the company had monopoly, now we are facing tough competition. In the past, when there was hardly any competition, the management could afford to buy industrial peace by agreeing to steep pay hikes. In the current scenario, we have been emphasizing on productivity level as recommended by National Productivity Council (NPC), which a section of workers is not ready to accept.

Assam police officers to track suspected foreigners

GUWAHATI: With some suspected foreigners going untraced, the Assam government has authorised police officers to obtain fingerprints and photographs of suspected foreigners before or at the time of referring their cases to the foreigners tribunal.

According to the official statement: "Government has authorised the police officers of the Government of Assam entrusted with the process of detection and deportation of foreigners as well as the police officers entrusted otherwise in the affairs of the government to perform the function of obtaining the fingerprints and photographs of suspected foreigners before or at time of referring their cases to the foreigners tribunal. The order comes into force with immediate effect."

The statement said the order has become necessary in view of the observations that some suspected foreigners went untraced during the pendency of investigation by the state government agency and also during the pendency of the proceedings in the foreigners tribunal. In most cases, declared foreigners cannot be apprehended due to the act of their vanishing and deportations thus cannot be made.

Further, it is also necessary to obtain the fingerprints and photographs of suspected foreigners before referring the cases to the foreigners tribunal in order to keep track of such suspected foreigners in the event of their declaration as foreigners by the foreigners tribunal.

Assam tea to get a leg-up

GUWAHATI: In order to set quality benchmark and attract global buyers to quality tea, the Assam government will initiate two-pronged certification measures. Under this method, tea gardens will be graded on the basis of manufacturing practices adopted and price realised at auction sale.

In the first phase, certification will be done on the price realised at the auction sale and in the second phase, factories will be placed under four broad categories 1 star, 2 star, 3 star and 4 star for easy recognition of prospective buyers as to what type they are buying.

Assam industry minister Pradyut Bordoloi, along with chairman of Tea Board Basudeb Banerjee held a meeting with several members of the tea industry here recently.

Mr Bordoloi told ET: "Guwahati tea auction centre will move over to 100% e-auctioning of CTC variety of tea from January next year. Currently 100% e-auctioning of tea in dust variety takes place. We are also initiating a method for grading and qualification by third party."

Sources in the government said that in the first phase, around 20% of Assam valley and 10% of Cachar valley of both bought leaf and state factories, which have been in the bottom sector of sales in three consecutive auctions will be identified. Then, identification will be done on brand name of the bottom sale price with concerned tea factories.
Sources added that the list of factories will be issued notice to identify the reasons for not receiving good price and take steps immediately to improve the quality with six months. A panel consisting of experts from Tea Research Association of India (TRA), North East Institute of Science and Technology, Assam Agriculture University and representatives of tea brokers will advise and guide the factories.

"The price of the factories will again be reviewed after six months and in case the factory concerned does not improve from the bottom level, the expert panel will visit the factory. Another two months will be given to the factory to improve. However, if the quality does not improve in 8 months, the factory will be deregistered," sources informed.
Tea Association of India secretary Dipanjol Deka observed that certification will assist in improving the overall quality. This method will also help in doing away with inferior tea. Under the e-auctioning in CTC category, buyers anywhere can bid. Price realization and exposure to buyers globally will be better."

In the second phase, accreditation will be done for tea gardens and it will be mandatory for tea gardens. This will be carried out by accredited rating agency. This phase will commence one year after the commencement of phase 1.
Under this, samples will be picked up randomly from the auction sale and necessary testing grade will be awarded. Besides this, parameters like manufacturing standard, quality of raw material, condition of factory and machinery, hygiene standards, mode of disposal of made tea, handling of tea waste, price settlement mechanism with small tea growers and usage of energy etc will be taken into consideration.

GU not to take bank loan

V-C goes back on decision, bows to teachers’ lobby
Guwahati, Oct. 23: Gauhati University has gone back on its decision to take a bank loan for creating various facilities and infrastructure at the university, succumbing to pressure from the teachers’ lobby.
A senior official in the university said vice-chancellor Okhil Kumar Medhi held a marathon meeting with representatives of Gauhati University Teachers’ Association (GUTA) on Wednesday evening regarding the current financial status of the university and the planned bank loan.
Medhi assured the teachers’ association that he would raise the matter at the next meeting of the executive council to formally withdraw the decision.
The next meeting is scheduled for the last week of this month or the first week of November.
The official said even though the vice-chancellor during Wednesday’s meeting tried to explain the reasons for considering the bank loan, the teachers were not convinced and continued to pressure him to withdraw the decision.
“The vice-chancellor finally conceded GUTA’s demand. Since the executive council is the highest decision-making body of the university’s affairs, it must give its approval even if a decision is withdrawn or cancelled by the university administration. A majority of the executive council members have been apprised about the teachers’ opposition to the bank loan. The council is also not in favour of offending the strong lobby of teachers,” the official said.
The executive council last month approved the move to take a loan ranging between Rs 3 crore and Rs 5 crore from the State Bank of India to create facilities ostensibly to impress the National Assessment and Accreditation Council to secure five-star status for the university.
The move created a flutter among the faculty with several teachers questioning the university’s ability to repay the loan.
The teachers’ association even launched an agitation against the move.
J.C. Kalita, general secretary of association, thanked the vice-chancellor for his assurance on not going ahead with the bank loan and said they would extend co-operation to the university administration to hunt for alternative sources of funding.
The official said the vice-chancellor had given a detailed account of the university’s present financial status to the teachers during Wednesday’s meeting and sought their help.
The total annual expenditure of the university, including teachers salaries, stand at Rs 47 crore.

Centre forms team to probe Rhino deaths

New Delhi, Oct 23Alarmed at the spurt in rhino poaching cases at Assam's Rajiv Gandhi Orang National Park, the Centre has constituted a two-member team to probe into the deaths of the one-horned endangered animal.

A decision in this regard was taken recently by the Environment Ministry which felt that despite various steps by the state government for rhino conservation, the situation remained alarming in the Park, situated near the northern banks of the Brahmaputra river.

As many as six rhinos have been killed in the sanctuary this year so far. Seven were poached last year.

"A team consisting of Bibhab Talukdar, an independent wildlife expert from Assam and a representative of Wildlife Institute of India (WII) would visit the affected area and prepare an action plan for further action.

"The report should be submitted within two months," an Environment Ministry official said.

Magazine ignites hope in students

Oct. 14: In a belt torn by clashes and unrest, even a tiny creative initiative like a students’ wall magazine draws applause.

Goaded by the All Bodo Students Union, students in Kokrajhar put up a wall magazine at a community library this weekend.

The president of the Kokrajhar district unit of Absu, Bijay Basumatary, inaugurated the community library while senior Bodo scholar-cum-lecturer of District Institute of Education Training, Banduram Basumatary, unveiled the wall magazine on Saturday amid cheers from students.

The library currently has syllabus books for the school students.

“There is no reading habit among today’s youths. They are into illegal activities — taking up drugs, alcohol,” said Bijay and urged youths to make the best use of the library.

Parents agreed.

“If we look from the education point of view, there is a downfall. Youths are unable to do constructive and innovative work because of the prevailing tension. It is nice to see that the students’ union come up with such an idea,” said H. Brahma, a mother of two.

Assam not keen on Hindi lessons

Guwahati, Oct. 14: Dispur has developed cold feet over the move of the Board of Secondary Education, Assam to make Hindi a compulsory subject in the High School Leaving Certificate Examination following stringent opposition from several quarters.

The board’s move is based on the premise that knowledge of Hindi will stand students from Assam in good stead when they travel to other parts of the country for higher education or jobs. The board wants to popularise Hindi as the national language in the state.

Sources said the government had now asked the board to first conduct a survey to gauge the people’s opinion before firming up the plan.

The board has been strictly told by the state education department to immediately put its plan on hold till further orders.

“The survey will be conducted among teachers, students, academicians and the people. At a time when the ruling Congress government is facing sharp criticism from the Opposition for its alleged failure in the field of education, it does not want to create further controversy by making Hindi a compulsory subject,” a source said.

“Apart from the survey, SEBA has been asked by Dispur to organise seminars, workshops and meetings to generate public opinion on the issue. Education minister Gautam Bora will also hold discussions with SEBA on the issue.”

The source added: “A strong lobby opposing Hindi has already started pressuring the education department and using its clout in Dispur to restrain SEBA from implementing its decision. The lobby has been able to gain support from the influential All Assam Students’ Union, Asam Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chatra Parishad and Asam Sahitya Sabha.”

“The lobby has contended that there will be far-reaching negative repercussions if Hindi is made compulsory. The government fears that the students will be unnecessarily harassed if compelled to study Hindi as some of the leading private English-medium schools have approached the education department against SEBA’s move.”

The board’s secretary, D. Mahanta, said a final decision would be taken keeping in mind the students’ interest.

Another SEBA official, however, said the HRD ministry had favoured making Hindi a compulsory subject at the school level.

“Under such circumstances, SEBA will have to thrash out some alternative plans,” he said.

Assam bandh evokes mixed response

TINSUKIA, Oct 14 – The 12-hour Assam bandh call by the Asom Shikshak Karmachari Oikya Mancha today evoked partial response in Tinsukia district. Except public buses, all other small vehicles plied on the roads of the district and most educational and financial institutes remained open during the bandh period. Though major retail markets are closed, being weekly off day, other shops and establishments were open. Works in government, semi-government, tea gardens, oil fields, coal fields, etc., went on normally in the district. No report of untoward incident from any corner of the district receipt till the filing of this report.

Our Correspondents add:

Kalgachia: During the bandh hours, which had affected normal life in greater Kalgachia area, all educational institutions, banks, block development office, business institutes and road-communications remained closed.

Moreover, about 200 picketers (teachers) were arrested and kept in Kalgachia Police OP.

Chapar: The bandh passed off peacefully in Bilasipara sub-division today. No untoward incidents were reported during the bandh. All the government offices, schools, colleges, banks and business establishments were closed during the bandh period in the sub-division.

Hatsingimari: In response to the 12-hour Assam bandh, the teachers of all recognised (non-govt) schools and colleges of South Salmara-Mankachar (Hatsingimari) subdivision came out spontaneously to the road at 5 am today. During the bandh hours, schools and colleges, govt and non-govt offices, markets and business establishments, vehicular movements on the roads remained totally suspended.

The SDO (C), Hatsingimari, Isfakur Rahman, who tried to enter his office at 10 am was compelled by the agitating teachers to wait at the gate for about half an hour.

Kalaigaon: The bandh call evoked total response in Kalaigaon and Tangla areas and passed off peacefully. Vehicles were off the roads and shops, offices and educational institutions were closed.

Tourists inflow in Kaziranga National Park (KNP)

JORHAT, Oct 12 : With the start of Jeep Safaris, the first batch of tourists was let into the Kaziranga National Park (KNP) early today to catch a glimpse of the unique one-horned rhinoceros, Asiatic wild buffalo, the sambhar and Asiatic wild elephant. If one was lucky, then one could sight the lone carnivore– the Royal Bengal Tiger– holding sway over the other herbivores.

The more than 100 year old national park has had a steady stream of tourists since 2001.
Assistant Conservator of Forests LN Baruah said that last year there was 1 lakh 384 tourists from India and 5,767 tourists from abroad. The revenue raked in was Rs 71 lakh 98,504 in Indian currency and Rs 40 lakh 22,194 in foreign currency.

The largest number of tourists was from West Bengal among Indian States followed by Maharashtra while West Germany sent the maximum number of tourists from among the foreign countries.

It may be mentioned that, last year there were thousands of cancellations following the series of bomb blasts in Guwahati on November 30.

Park authorities said that, the park had lost a lot of revenue following the bloodshed and bandh calls given by various organizations. Tourists inflow began again in the new year.

Six killed, three injured in Assam accident

Kokrajhar (Assam), Oct 12 (PTI) At least six persons were killed and three others critically injured when a van in which they were travelling in collided with a truck in lower Assam's Bongaigaon district, police said today.

The accident occurred when the van carrying nine people was hit by the truck in Danglaigaon at National Highway 31 yesterday, they said, adding two persons died on the spot.

Four others died later in the hospital, they said.

Three critically injured persons were admitted to a nursing home in Bongaigaon town.

National tag boost for Assam dolphins

Guwahati, Oct. 12 : The declaration of the Gangetic river dolphin as a national aquatic mammal has come as a big boost to the species in the Brahmaputra, identified as its last refuge.
“This is a very encouraging step for protection of the species since it will now mean government commitment for concrete action,” Abdul Wakid, cetacean (dolphin) specialist and programme head of the Gangetic Dolphin Research and Conservation Programme of Aaranyak, a Guwahati-based NGO, said today.
Union environment minister Jairam Ramesh made the declaration in New Delhi last week.
At present, there are less than 2,000 dolphins of this species surviving in the world, a situation worse than that of the tiger. Of these, nearly 300 dolphins are in the Brahmaputra.
“The Brahmaputra river system in Assam has been identified as one of the last refuge of the species by scientific communities in the world because it is less polluted and has no habitat fragmentation,” Wakid said.
Gill Braulik of the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s cetacean specialist group said the Brahmaputra is a very important habitat for these endangered dolphins and to protect them involvement of local river communities was of utmost importance.
“In some places, like in the Kukurmara area of the Kulsi river in Assam, the dolphins, protected by the local communities, have become a tourist attraction. But in other areas, the dolphins are accidentally killed when they get tangled in fishing nets or are sometimes deliberately caught and killed for their oil,” he said.
Forest department officials have also expressed happiness on the support given by the Centre. Dispur had declared river dolphins, locally called xihu, as the state aquatic animal last year.
Although there was a gradual decline in its number in the last few decades, the population has been increasing in more recent times.
In the 1993, 1997 and 2002 surveys, altogether 266, 218, and 198 dolphins were recorded in the Brahmaputra mainstream. However, in the 2005 and 2008 surveys, Aaranyak has recorded 197 and 212 dolphins respectively in the same stretch of the river (Assam-Arunachal border to India-Bangladesh border).
“The increase from 197 (in 2005) to 212 (in 2008) in the Brahmaputra is a good sign. One of the major reasons behind this population increase is the adoption of effective site-based conservation initiatives,” Wakid said.
He said for the better future of the species in the Brahmaputra river system, the management authorities, conservation organisations and local communities need to work closely since threatening factors like accidental killing, poaching and habitat degradation are still commonplace.

Bodo women activist shot at

Nalbari (Assam), Oct 8 (PTI) The head of Bodo Women Justice Forum, a non-political organisation Anjali Daimari was today shot at by unidentified gunmen in Assam's Baksa district but escaped unhurt as she ducked on time.

The police said Daimari, who is also the head of Bodo Department in Burma College, was shot at by the gunmen shot who stopped her car at around 1.30 pm near the college.

The police said she, along with two colleagues, was stopped by two persons on a motorcycle about 50 yards from the college.

A complaint was lodged with the police and a search operation launched to nab the culprits, the police said.

Change of Guards to take place at Rashtrapati Bhavan

New Delhi, Oct 8 (PTI) The over two centuries old tradition of ceremonial Changing of the Guard will take place on the lawns of the Rashtrapati Bhavan on October 10.

The ceremony, which will begin at 9:00 am, will see the incoming 15th Battalion of the Jammu and Kashmir Rifles replace the outgoing 6th Battalion of the Assam Rifles.

The about 45-minute long ceremony is free of charge for all visitors.

"The Changing of the Guard Ceremony has a very ancient tradition in which the Infantry Army Guards and the President's Body Guards change guard with clock-work precision. This tradition days back to the raising of the Body Guards in 1773," a Rashtrapati Bhavan statement said.

Assam bandh passes off peacefully

DIBRUGARH, Oct 8 – The 12-hour Assam bandh, called by the Assam Labour Party and Chah Janagustia Adivasi Jatiyo Oikyo Mancha in protest against the recent killing of innocents in Sonitpur district allegedly by Ranjan Daimary faction of the NDFB passed by without any major incident here. Although a few educational institutions and shops remained opened, financial institutions and the business establishments responded to the bandh call. While long distance vehicles kept off the roads, plying of light motor vehicles in the city was not affected.

There were, however, several reports of stone pelting at buses and trains, causing damage to public and private property.

Our Correspondents add: Jorhat : The 12 hours Assam bandh here passed peacefully. During the daytime, all the shops remained closed in the town and the services of the long distance buses were cancelled. Only a few employees and other public were present in the government offices.

Gossaigaon : The 48-hour bandh called from Oct 5 by All Assam Adivasi Students’ Union in protest against the harassment of AASA supporters on suspicion of theft of arms from Sapkata outpost, and the 12-hour bandh called on Oct 7 by All Assam Labour Party in protest against the killings of innocents by suspected NDFB, passed off peacefully in Kokrajhar district.

However, in the wake of full response to the bandh, many hardships were faced by the common people. The worse affects were seen in Srirampur (Assam-Bengal border) where over 40 trucks carrying fish and over 200 trucks carrying other goods came to a halt for almost three days. Shops remained closed and bus-services were also affected.

Tinsukia : With the normal functioning of tea gardens, Oil India, Digboi Refinery, Coal India Ltd. Divisional Railway Offices, State Government Offices, some of the both private and Govt. educational institutes and private vehicles plying on the roads, the response to the 12-hour Assam bandh call in Tinsukia district was mixed today. Most of the shops and markets were closed as weekly holiday but many of the wayside shops remained open here. However, no public vehicles plied on the roads of the district and financial institutions like banks, insurance, etc., remained closed during the bandh period. No untoward incident was reported from any corner of the district during the bandh period.

India, Bangladesh swap border map

Shillong, Oct.7: India and Bangladesh exchanged boundary maps to facilitate erection of fresh boundary pillars in the border areas in a speedy manner on the concluding day of the 129th Indo-Bangladesh boundary conference here today.
Special director of Meghalaya land records and survey P.W. Ingty said the main points highlighted in the resolution also included correction of names of the newly created districts when the boundary pillars are erected.
Ingty said, “There is a need to include the names of the newly created districts on the border pillars erasing the old names.”
The other specific areas to be pursued include urgent measures for the erection of new boundary pillars in place of the missing, displaced or damaged ones according to the list furnished by the deputy commissioners and border guards of both the countries.
The modalities regarding the construction of the specially designed boundary pillars, drawing up of matters related to field visit for 2009-10, exchange of old boundary maps and strips and arrangement of travel documents were also discussed.
The next boundary conference will be held in Dhaka.
Bangladesh director of land records and survey, Md Rafiqul Islam and other delegations from the neighbouring country expressed hope that both nations would ensure proper maintenance of the pillars erected along the international border.
“We want to ensure that the boundary pillars are maintained without any damage along the 423km international border in Meghalaya,” Ingty said.
Regarding the construction of the specially designed boundary pillars in the vulnerable areas where there was frequent soil erosion and landslides, Ingty said the government was planning to construct 15-feet-long boundary pillars to check the damages.

Three militants gunned down in Manipur

Imphal, Oct 8 (PTI) Three militants were killed in separate encounters with security forces in Manipur, police said today.

Two militants of United Kuki Liberation Council were gunned down in an encounter with Assam Rifles jawans at Gngpimual village in Churachandpur district bordering Myanmar last night.

In another incident, a militant was killed in a shootout with Assam Rifles personnel at a place near India-Myanmar border pillar 81 in Chandel district yesterday, they said.

Security personnel recovered two pistols, four magazines, several rounds of live ammunition and 132 extortion demand letters from the two spots.

Over 300 persons have been killed in militancy-related incidents in Manipur this year.

Indo-Bangla border well demarcated: Bangladesh official

Shillong, Oct 7 (PTI) Maintaining that the Indo-Bangladesh boundary was well demarcated, a top Bangladesh government official today said instances of trespassing and encroachment by people from both sides of the border are wilful.

"The demarcation of the Indo-Bangla border is completed.

We have strip maps of the exact boundary. If some people cross over to the other side, they do it wilfully and not due to ignorance," Director of Bangladesh's survey department Rafiqul Islam said after conclusion of the three-day Indo-Bangla boundary conference here.

He, however, underlined the need to create more awareness among villagers on issues related to the boundary problems.

"In the Meghalaya sector alone, we have 79 strip maps clearly showing the actual boundary. Some of the maps are with us and the remaining with the Indian authorities," Islam said.

Toll in Assam violence rises to 13

GUWAHATI: The toll in the weekend massacre by tribal separatists in an Assam village rose to 13 with a woman succumbing to her injuries at a hospital here Wednesday, government officials said.

A government spokesperson said a 23-year-old woman with bullet wounds in her stomach died early Wednesday.N. Bhattacharyya, a doctor at Guwahati Medical College, said: "We tried our best, but the injury in her abdomen was so extensive that she did not survive.

"Militants of the outlawed National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) late Sunday attacked Bhimajuli village in Sonitpur district, about 240 km north of Assam's main city of Guwahati, and massacred 12 villagers.At least 12 people are still in hospitals with multiple injuries.

Mass funeral of the dead were held Tuesday."We are trying our best to instil a sense of confidence in the area by deploying adequate army, police, and paramilitary troopers," state Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said.

The NDFB rebels reportedly attacked the villagers after they refused to pay extortion money.

Corruption rampant in NREGA in Assam Cong Govt: AIUDF

New Delhi: Thanks to systemic corruption and lack of transparency on the part of state Congress government NREGA officials have made NREGA a major source of corruption in Assam, alleged All India United Democratic Front of Maulana Badruddin Ajmal, Lok Sabha Member from Dhubri in Assam and AIUDF chief.
The allegation was made by AIUDF General Secretary and party spokesman Dr Baharul Islam at a consultative meeting held in the Ministry of Rural Development today.

DR. C.P. Joshi, Minister for Rural Development invited representatives of the state political parties today to evolve suitable strategies for more effective implementation of NREGA. The minister sought cooperation of all political parties towards achieving the ultimate objectives and goals of NREGA.
In Phase-I, 200 identified districts were covered under NREGA. Additional 130 districts were covered in Phase-II in 2007-08. The entire rural areas of the country have been covered from April 2008. According to the ministry, out of the total expenditure of Rs.64,363 crore, an amount of Rs.43,875 crore i.e. 68% has been spent on wages. 7.56 crore institutional accounts of workers have been opened encouraging savings among the poor.
Dr Baharul Islam presented before the minister a list of more than 20 formal complaints filed by various people on corruption in NREGA in Assam and which are available on the ministry’s website. But, none of the complaint has been responded to by the state government as per the ministry’s website. During the meeting he presented a few major cases of corruption that were highlighted in the local media. He said that “the systemic corruption that engulfs the state today at all levels has also infected the implementation of the NREGA. Court cases in places like Karimganj and Barpeta have also showed that how officials have bypassed the Panchayati Raj institutions which were intended to play an important role in planning and executing this flagship programme to respond to the local needs of the people.” Specially, the issue of fake job cards, job cards deposited in the custody of implementing officials or political party middlemen, delayed payment are being used for nefarious purpose of minting money illegally, he alleged.
Dr Baharul Islam further referred to the recent study done by Rajya Sabha MP and former Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, Bimal Jalan, that highlighted that the official estimates of wages realized by workers are in fact inflated because the actual wages received by workers were much less than what is shown in the official documents. Cases of corruption, fudging in muster rolls, discrepancies in work days and payments have been reported in almost all studies, the study said. “Fraudulent payments and anomalies such as extraction of money have also been reported in (wage) payments through (bank, post-office and other) accounts. States including Assam, in fact, saw reduction in employment generation under NREGA as compared to SGRY,” the study found.
The Rural Minister assured AIUDF that some corrective steps will be taken by the Ministry to stop corruption in NREGA implementation in Assam and there will be a group of prominent persons who will visit NREGA works and submit reports to the Ministry for necessary action.
The meeting was attended by various other political party leaders like Sri Ajit Sing (ALD), Babulal Marandi (JVM), Sri TM Basheer (KULML) besides the Minister of state Pradeep Jain and other senior Ministry officials.

GAIL ties up funds for Assam project

NEW DELHI: State-run GAIL on Thursday said it had tied up funds for a major petrochemical project in Assam being set up by its subsidiary. The
gas utility, which holds 70% stake in Brahmaputra Cracker Private Limited (BCPL), has tied up Rs 1,756 crore debt from a consortium of seven banks led by Punjab National Bank, company chairman B C Tripathi said. Tripathi said the project, estimated to cost Rs 5,461 crore, will be completed by April 2012.

A K Purwaha, who was director (business development) in state-run gas utility GAIL, on Thursday took over as the chairman of engineering consulting firn Engineers India Ltd.

GAIL ties up funds for Assam petrochem project

NEW DELHI: State-run gas utility GAIL India Ltd on Thursday said it has tied up funds for a petrochemical project in Assam being set up by its subsidiary.

Brahmaputra Cracker and Polymer Ltd (BCPL), in which GAIL holds 70 per cent stake, has tied up Rs 1,756 crore debt from a consortium of seven banks led by Punjab National Bank, BCPL Chairman and GAIL India Chairman and Managing Director, Mr B C Tripathi said here.

The Rs 5,461 crore “project will be completed by April 2012,” he said.

Of the project cost, Rs 2,138 crore have been given as capital subsidy and Rs 909 crore as feedstock subsidy by the central government. Of the balance Rs 3,124 crore, the equity component is Rs 1,041 crore.

“All of the Rs 2,083-crore debt component has been tied up. Oil Industry Development Board (OIDB) has sanctioned Rs 327 crore loan and we have today signed loan agreements with a consortium of banks for the remaining Rs 1,756 crore, thereby achieving fin ancial closure of the project,'' he said.

Oil India Ltd, Numaligarh Refinery Ltd and the government of Assam hold 10 per cent stake each. The funding of this project has been envisaged with a debt-equity ratio of 2:1.

The petrochemical complex will comprise of ethylene cracker unit, downstream polymer and integrated off- site/utilities plants, he said, adding that the plant will produce 2,80,000 tonnes per annum of polymers.