Gogoi urges PM for early creation of BRVA and IIM

Gogoi urges PM for early creation of BRVA and IIM Assam CM Tarun Gogoi today sought PM Narendra Modi's intervention for creation of the proposed Brahmaputra River Valley Authority by revamping the existing. Brahmaputra Board.

GUWAHATI: Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi has sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi's intervention for creation of the proposed Brahmaputra River Valley Authority (BRVA) and an IIM in Assam.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, Gogoi sought the BRVA to be created by revamping and restructuring the existing Brahmaputra Board within a short time frame.

Gogoi in his letter said the creation of BRVA was of paramount importance to tackle the perpetual flood and erosion problem and water-related hazards in Assam and the North East as a whole.

"We are facing formidable challenges in flood and erosion management sector due to non-implementation of integrated water resources management of the complex Brahmaputra river system since long," Gogoi said.

A chief minister's office (CMO) press release quoted Gogoi as also writing, "Though Government of India had announced creation of the North East Water Resources Authority (NEWRA) for harnessing vast water resources of North East region in 2004, it did not materialise due to objections raised by Arunachal Pradesh".

"Till this matter is resolved, Government of India may constitute the BRVA to tackle the flood and erosion problems in the region", he said.

A proposal for creation of BRVA is under active consideration of the central government and Assam Government has already placed its requisite views before government of India during November 2012, the release said.

The chief minister also urged the Prime Minister for early approval of the Flood and Erosion Management Project of the Brahmaputra and Barak Valleys by the ministry of water resources.

Gogoi further urged Modi to facilitate the establishment of an Indian Institute of Management in Guwahati. "A number of management and technical institutes and universities have come up in the public and private sectors, including the Indian Institute of Information Technology, IIT-Guwahati and NIT, Silchar, in the past decade or so".

Flash floods hit Guwahati, eight die of electrocution

At least eight people, including three members of a family, were killed here due to landslides and flash floods triggered by incessant rain since Thursday night, officials said Friday.

Four persons were killed due to landslides in two places while another four died due to electrocution in four different locations, the officials said. Another person remained missing after he was washed away by the surging waters of the Bharalu river.

"Three members of a family Kanak Barman (45), Pratima Barman (12) and Tulasi Barman (8) lost their lives in a landslide that took place Thursday night in Narakasur area," said Rajib Prakash Baruah, deputy commissioner in-charge of Kamrup (Metro) district.

He said another woman died in Bamunimaidam area due to landslide.

Baruah said Bhaskarjyoti Das (48), Dinesh Das (55), Prafulla Das (46) and Suren Bharali (57) died due to electrocution.

The district administration announced an ex-gratia of Rs.10,000 each to the families of the victims.

Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, who visited the inundated areas of the city Friday to assess the situation, said the state government would pay adequate compensation to the families of the deceased.

The flash floods submerged the MLA Hostel and the houses of some ministers.

Read more at: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/flash-floods-hit-guwahati/1/368876.html

Large number of fish die in three rivers in Assam

A large number of fish were reported dead due to water pollution of three major rivers -- Kolong, Kopili and Kiling -- in Morigaon district, causing concern among environmentalists.

According to information received by the Revenue Department, arsenic poisoning from the ground water was suspected to have mixed with the rivers in spate resulting in the death of various types of fish during the last three days.

Satating thousands of dead fish were seen floating on the rivers, Revenue Department sources feared other aquatic beings might also have been affected.

Arsenic pollution was also reported in neighbouring district of Karbi Anglong and parts of Nagaon's western and southern parts, besides along the inter-state Meghalaya border causing outbreak of viral diseases affecting the throat.

The Revenue Department has informed the Geological Survey of India about the situation and asked them to study the soil and the exact cause for the pollution.

Environmentalists were also concerned about the loss of fish in the three rivers.

Former AASU leader joins BJP

Golaghat, June 26 : Former vice-president of All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) and prominent student leader Jatin Bora today joined the BJP during a ceremony at Amateur theatre hall here.

Bora also held the post of finance secretary of the students’ body for two consecutive terms from 1994 to 2005.

At the time when there is a buzz about many top ranking leaders of the students’ union will be joining the BJP, today’s event has proved to be an important turning point for the party.

Describing the event as a proud one for the BJP, Phonindra Nath Sarma, organising general secretary of the party, said it was a welcome move and Bora’s inclusion would definitely provide a boost to the party and he was hopeful that Bora would carry the party’s prospect in the state.

Justifying his decision to join the BJP, Bora said, “The BJP has got some long-term goals and I support its principles and ethics. The BJP is the only national party which has supported Assam Movement and I am hopeful of solving the regional problems with the BJP by my side because the development of Assam is not possible without Delhi.”

More than 1,000 AGP and Congress workers also joined the BJP today along with Mridul Sarma, a businessman of the district, Sanjib Das, former general-secretary of Trinamul Congress and Anu Tamuly, an advocate.

The induction ceremony was presided by Kailash Goswami, general secretary of BJP Golaghat district unit, and it was attended by Santanu Bhorali, general secretary of the BJP, Porimal Sukla Baidya, senior leader of the party and Prasanta Goswami, organising secretary of the party.

Assam ranks 30th among 35 states on education index

GUWAHATI: Assam has finished a poor 30th among 35 states and union territories in the composite educational development index (EDI) in upper and lower primary levels taken together for the year 2013-14 in the country. The state's position is even worse at 32nd when the EDI of only the primary level is taken into account.

The only silver lining for the state is that in the outcome category in the primary level only, which includes rates of student enrolment and drop-outs, it has ranked number one in the country and fifth in the country in upper primary level. A set of 24 indicators have been used in computing EDI which are re-grouped into four sub-groups - access, infrastructure, teachers and outcome indicators. Only five states - Madhya Pradesh (31), West Bengal (32), Jharkhand (33), Bihar (34) and Uttar Pradesh (35) - are below Assam, according to the report published by the National University of Educational Planning and Administration and the Union HRD ministry this week. The top five states with best EDI in lower and upper primary levels are Puducherry at number one followed by Lakshwadeep, Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh and Karnataka. All other northeastern states have been ranked above Assam.

Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi likely to be replaced?

Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi. Photo: PTI
Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi. Photo: PTI
Guwahati: The Congress is looking at three states simultaneously on the issue of a leadership change – Maharasthra, Assam and Haryana.

According to reports, Assam appears to be heading for the change. Chances of Tarun Gogoi being replaced is high as Gogoi himself neither denied nor confirmed reports of his resignation.

“I won't say yes, I won’t say no,” Gogoi told a newspaper. “How can I say that when the decision rests on the (party) high command?” Gogoi said.

Gogoi has been the chief minister for the last 13 years.

There are talks about Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan being replaced as well.

Film on Assam girls who are 'bending it like Beckham'

Guwahati, Jun 20 (PTI) At a time when the country is in the grip of World Cup fever, a film brings out the inspiring tale of 40-odd girls from poor, agrarian families who are 'bending it like Beckham' in the hope that football will kick them out of drudgery.

"Soccer Queens of Rani" is about the passion of these girls from Rani area near here along Assam's border with Meghalaya.

Gecko reptiles recovered from train in Assam

Haflong (Assam), Jun 19 : Six endangered Gecko reptiles were recovered from a passenger train by Railway Police today, GRPF officials said.

The reptiles were recovered from Lumding bound up Agartala Express this morning, GRPF OC in Lower Haflong station Amar Jhon said.

A team of railway police was on routine duty and found two abandoned carton in the three-tier coach of the train and on opening them, six reptiles were found inside two boxes, he said.

Spend oil royalty on education: AASU

GUWAHATI, Jun 18 – All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) today demanded that the sum of Rs 10,000 crore being received by the State from the Centre against oil royalty, following a Supreme Court of India order, should be spent on the development of the State education sector.

The student body presented a scheme for the purpose in a statement issued here this evening and said that the State government should pay Rs 500 crore to each of the universities in the State. It should pay an amount of Rs 200 crore each to the new universities of the State.

The government should impose a condition on the universities that they should spend these sums of money on improving their existing infrastructure and developing new ones.

The universities should develop their new infrastructure in such a manner that more and more students can avail the chance of taking up modern courses on new topics within the State itself. The laboratories of the universities should be built afresh, new hostels for the students should also be built, and the hostels should have all the modern amenities. The universities should have modern facilities for sports and gymnastics-related activities and ultramodern libraries, auditorium and convention centres, said the student body.

With the same conditions, the State government should pay a sum of at least Rs 200 crore to each of the medical, engineering, homeopathic, Ayurvedic, agricultural, veterinary science, fisheries, home science colleges and polytechnics, it said.

Similarly, law colleges should also be provided modern facilities. One law university should be set up and an amount of at least Rs 100 crore should be spent on modernizing each of the Industrial Training Institutes, said the student body.

It further said that there should be at least five universities on professional subjects. There should be a futuristic programme to develop technical human resources of the State in these universities, it said.

Assam govt asked to submit report on rhino poaching at Kaziranga

The Gauhati High Court on Thursday asked Assam government to submit a comprehensive report on rhino poaching and encroachment in Kaziranga National Park by August 5 this year.

Hearing a suo motu PIL by the High Court, a division bench comprising Justices Abhay Manohar Sapre and Ujjal Bhuyan asked the government to submit the report.

KNP Director M K Yadav was present and informed the court on breeding and conservation of rhinos at KNP.

On the basis of a news report, the High Court had registered a suo motu PIL and directed the KNP Director to prepare a detailed report on problems faced by the Park authorities and measures undertaken to handle them.

The Forest Department had filed an affidavit stating inter alia the measures taken by the government to check and control the poaching menace.

Weapons of slain Assam police officer, PSO recovered

Diphu: Huge quantities of arms and ammunition, including weapons of slain police officer Nityanand Goswami and his PSO, were recovered on Wednesday during an operation by police along the Assam-Meghalaya border.

The operation was launched in Kanduli area in Assam's Hamren police district based on information provided by 10 United Peoples Liberation Army (UPLA) militants arrested yesterday for their alleged involvement in the killing of Goswami and his PSO Ratul Nunisa.

Hamren SP Debojit Deuri, who led the operation, told PTI the 9 mm pistol of Goswami and Nunisa's AK-47 rifle were recovered from the area during the operation.

Besides, six AK-47 rifles, a M-16 rifle, a SBBL gun, 10 mortar cells, 21 grenades and 356 cartridges were also recovered from the area, he said.

Operations in the area would continue, Deuri added.

Ten UPLA militants, including its self-styled commander-in-chief (C-in-C) and deputy C-in-C, allegedly involved in Goswami and his PSO, were arrested yesterday.

Goswami was leading an operation on June 5 against the insurgent group in remote Rongthang forest area when they came face to face with a large group of ultras who opened fire on them killing the duo on the spot.

Operations have been stepped up in the district following the killing of the police officer and his PSO, Deuri said.

Bodoland Muslims stage protest in Delhi

Muslims from BTAD staging a protest at Jantar Mantar on Tuesday. Photo: Meeta Ahlawat
Muslims from BTAD staging a protest at Jantar Mantar on Tuesday. Photo: Meeta Ahlawat
Muslims from the violence-affected areas of Bodoland Territorial Areas District (BTAD) staged a protest against the “reign of terror unleashed by Bodos and overlooked by the Congress-led Assam Government” at Jantar Mantar here on Tuesday.
Some of the protesters belonged to the areas where 31 Muslims were gunned down by militants last month. They came under the aegis of the All BTC Minority Students Union to demand a secure environment for the non-Bodos, especially Muslims, living in BTAD.
The militant groups as well as many Bodos label all Muslims in the region as Bangladeshi immigrants and have been demanding their ouster.
“My family has been living in Assam much before I or many others, who label us outsiders, were born. But today we find ourselves in a situation where the language we speak (Bangla) has become a tool for the Bodos to identify and persecute us. The State government has failed to protect us and that is what brings us here,” said 55-year-old Umar Farooq, one of the protesters.
ABMSU members said that they had lost hope of getting any help from the State government and had come to Delhi to knock at the doors of the Centre. They alleged both the Congress and representatives from the Bodoland Territorial Council of playing politics with their safety.

One Killed in Police Firing in Assam

One person was killed and another injured when security men fired to prevent theft at a construction camp of the Powergrid Corporation of India at Diju Chapori in Assam's Lakhimpur district, police said.

On being prevented from stealing power line instruments and construction materials last night, two alleged thieves attacked Home Guard personnel, forcing them to retaliate by firing seven rounds, OC of Lakhimpur police station Shasidhar Sarma today said.

The deceased, identified as Madan Sarma, succumbed to his injuries in a hospital, while an injured Imran Hussain was undergoing treatment, Sarma said.

Angered by the incident, some local people attacked the camp and set it on fire damaging construction materials and an excavator there, he said.

They claimed that the security men had attacked the duo without any reason when they were returning from a nearby market. They also demanded compensation, he added.

Gogoi to face trial of strength to end rebellion

GUWAHATI: Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi will prove his strength in the Congress legislature party (CLP) to end the dissidence plaguing the party for two years now.

Rebel ministers and party MLAs have challenged Gogoi's leadership and renewed their demand for his ouster soon after the party's debacle in the Lok Sabha election.

"Gogoi, who will return from New Delhi on Thursday, will take the trial of strength either in the form of signatures by MLAs or face a special sitting of CLP," a source said. Both Gogoi loyalists and dissidents claim to have the numbers on their side even as the name of Tripura governor Devananda Konwar is doing the rounds as Gogoi's replacement.

AICC vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday intervened to resolve the dissidence in the state. After two sessions of meetings on Tuesday, Gogoi met Rahul again in New Delhi on Wednesday. The chief minister's office said Gogoi will return from the national capital on Thursday.

"Rahul Gandhi has asked a three-member team to cooperate with the chief minister and help him restore stability in the party. But the chief minister wants a permanent solution with the high command's approval and has proposed to take the trust test. This could be done either by submitting signatures of MLAs from both the camps or by voice vote at the CLP meeting," a close aide of the chief minister said.

This new development was necessitated after a compromise formula devised by a three-member AICC team to end the crisis failed.

The chief minister's camp has already activated itself to gather the numbers even as the dissident group on Wednesday claimed that it has 52 members on its side. Congress has 78 MLAs in the assembly, including speaker Pranab Gogoi, and Gogoi would need the support of at least 39 of them to stamp his authority.

Aasu slams government on power crisis

GUWAHATI: All Assam Students' Union (Aasu) on Monday lashed out at the state government for 'failing miserably' to meet the state's power requirements.

A day after Assam power and industries minister Pradyut Bordoloi accused Aasu of halting development in the state, the students' body refuted the charges levelled by the minister. Addressing a news conference, Aasu adviser Samujjal Bhattacharya said Assam had gained from Aasu's relentless struggle and the union had contributed to landmark projects like the Numaligarh refinery and IIT-Guwahati.

Ridiculing Bordoloi's statement, Bhattacharya said, "Due to inaction showed by chief minister Tarun Gogoi and power minister Pradyut Bordoloi, Assam is reeling from a power crisis today. Their proposed power generation plants never materialized and the power generation capacity of existing plants decreased," Bhattacharya added. He demanded that the state power and industries department must come up with a white paper on its work.

He said if the power generation capacity of the Karbi Langpi, Namrup and Lakwa power plants were enhanced and the Bongaigaon Thermal Power Station (BTPS), the coal-based power plant in Margherita and the plant in Chandrapur near Guwahati started functioning, Assam's power generation would increase beyond 1,000 MW.

Aasu president Sankar Prasad Rai said, at a time the state required 1,200 to 1,500 MW during peak hours, Assam could generate only between 325 MW to 350 MW power from its plants. This had made the state dependant on other states and agencies for power, he said.

General secretary of Aasu Tapan Kumar Gogoi said the students' body would continue to oppose the construction of big dams in the highly seismic upper reaches of the Brahmaputra if the government went ahead with its projects to meet power requirements. He said Aasu wanted the government to initiate small but safe projects on rivers.

"Aasu is not against development, but we do not want development which will destroy lives and property," Gogoi said.

BJP puts illegal migrants on notice


GUWAHATI : Atmosphere surcharged in Assam after the newly-elected Assam BJP MPs issued an ultimatum to illegal immigrants to start voluntarily leaving Assam.Announcing to start the campaign to drive out illegal Bangladeshi migrants from his home constituency Jorhat, BJP MP Kamakhya Prasad Tasha told reporters, “The campaign will be initiated by Bharatiya Janata Yuva Marcha (BJYM), the youth wing of the party, within the next 15 days. In a first phase of the campaign, we will appeal to illegal immigrants to leave our land voluntarily in next 15 days. We are also going to launch a house-to-house campaign urging people not to engage these immigrants in any kind of work.”

After the extended office-bearers’ meet held at the Kaziranga convention centre, Mr Tasha, a leader from tea-tribe community, said, “The decision was taken at a meeting of the office bearers which was chaired by Union minister of state for sports and youth affairs, skill development and entrepreneurship (Independent Charge) Sarbananda Sonowal.”

Mr Sonowal, who is also the Assam BJP president, said, “I had a meeting with Kiren Rijiju, Union minister of state for home affairs, regarding flushing out of illegal immigrants from Assam.”Informing that government will establish more foreigners’ tribunals to identify and deport immigrants from the state, Mr Sonowal said, “The party has deliberately selected Kaziranga for its officer bearers meet to send a strong message to illegal migrants who are encroaching the national park for quite some time.”The BJP also chose this venue for meeting to register opposition of the party against the state government’s alleged failure in stopping rampant killing of precious rhino in the national park.