February 25, 2018
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Modi calls upon the people to vote for a stable Government in Nagaland
 Bhupen Goswami (22/02/2018)
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 GUWAHATI : Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing an election rally for BJP-NDPP alliance at Tuensang in eastern Nagaland, on Thursday, said his Government is working sincerely to bring a solution to the Naga political problem. Modi has asserted that they will arrive at a respectable solution to the Naga political problem within the next few months. Modi also said that for the solution of the Naga issue, Government is open to discussions with all stakeholders. He called upon the people to vote for a stable Government in Nagaland, which would be fully dedicated to the development of the state. He said only a stable Government can work for the development of the state. Modi also said that a BJP Government in Nagaland will ensure that the money sent by the Centre reaches the people of the state. Talking about the connectivity problem in the state, the Prime Minister said his vision for the North East is 'Transformation by Transportation'. He said the government has added 500 km of National Highways. The BJP is contesting for 20 seats in the February 27 elections for the 60-member assembly and NDPP is contesting on remaining 40. Neiphiu Rio, who has been declared elected 'uncontested', is the chief ministerial candidate of the NDPP.
PM Modi in Meghalaya : 'We want to further strengthen the Act East Policy'
 Bhupen Goswami (22/02/2018)
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 GUWAHATI : From here, PM Modi will go to Meghalaya to address a rally in West Garo Hills district, considered as the Congress bastion since statehood in 1972. In Meghalaya, the saffron party has fielded candidates on 47 seats out of a total of 60. BJP is also making strong efforts to throw Congress out of power. The rally at Phulbari town will be Prime Minister's second campaign meeting in the state to drum up support for the BJP candidates in the assembly elections. His first was when he began his campaign from here in December last year where he had also inaugurated the Shillong-Nongstoin-Tura highway. BJP has fielded candidates on four seats while its ally Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) nominees are in the fray on the rest two constituencies.In order to give a push to BJP's victory prospect in poll-bound states, PM Narendra Modi on Thursday addresed an election rally in Nagaland's Tuensang, about 60 km from capital Kohima. There are six assembly seats in Tuensang district in the eastern part of Nagaland. BJP has fielded candidates on four seats while its ally Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) nominees are in the fray on the rest two constituencies. Heavy security arrangements were put in place ahead of the prime minister's public rallies in the hill states. The entire town has been kept under tight vigil and district authorities are leaving no stone unturned to ensure that no law and order issue crop up the area, a senior official in the district administration said.We will ensure more and more tourists arrive here. This will generate income opportunities for people: PM Modi.Meghalaya has immense potential for the growth of tourism sector but the state lacks tourists. No efforts were made ever to strengthen the sector: PM We want to further strengthen the 'Act East Policy.' This will open up opportunities for people in the state and in the entire Northeast: pm Modi The ruling government is recognized for scam in the recruitment of teachers: PM Modi We have planned to spend around Rs. 180 crore for building of new Shillong airport. Thus, it will improve the possibilities of industrial development besides generation of employment for common man: PM Modi Under PMGSY, we provided around Rs 470 crore for construction of 1100 KM of road. However, Meghalaya government was unable to spend 50% of the work: PM Today, organic farming has a big market globally and entire Northeast has immense potential for it. We are encouraging farmers to shift towards organic farming. This will add to their incomes. We want to ensure power for all in Nagaland. We have brought the 'Saubhagya Yojana' which will provide electricity to all homes. Till date, more than 10 lakh LED bulbs have been distributed in Nagaland, reducing consumption of power. Connectivity is a huge challenge in Nagaland. We are working relentlessly towards it. In less than 4 years, we have added 500 km of National Highways. We have also planned to invest more than Rs 10,000 crore in the roads of Nagaland. Our government will spend around Rs 1800 crore for making Nagaland’s capital Kohima a Smart City. We would ensure that the funds released for your state reaches you. With the help of technology, we will plug the loopholes which are causing wastage of public money. My vision for the Northeast is transformation by transportation. The funds provided by the centre should reach the people it's intended for. A prime minister of India had once stated that villages received only 15 paise out of Rs 1 from the centre. With determination, we need to change this situation. The NDA government is giving special priority to the Northeast. We are making efforts to furthering prosperity in the Northeast. There is need of a strong and stable government in Nagaland that will work for the development of the state.
Assam Minister Defends Priyanka Chopra's Dress in Tourism Calendar
 Bhupen Goswami (21/02/2018)
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 GUWAHATI :A day after the opposition Congress legislators in the Assam legislative Assembly demanded removal of actress Priyanka Chopra as the brand ambassador of Assam tourism, State Tourism Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma came to her rescue and said that a section of the Congress legislators are trying to get cheap publicity out of the issue. Congress legislators including Nandita Das and Rupjyoti Kurmi recently raised objections during the ongoing session of the Assam legislative assembly to a photograph of the Bollywood star in 'minimal clothes' as featured in a calendar of the Assam Tourism Development Corporation (ATDC) and demanded that she be removed as the brand ambassador of Assam tourism. The Congress legislators also showed a copy of the ATDC calendar where Priyanka was seen wearing a frock and not the traditional dress of Assam - Mekhela chador. "A section of Congress legislators in Assam are trying to get cheap publicity out of the issue. When we receive felicitation in some stage do we go wearing dhoti, the traditional dress of Assam or wearing pants and shirts? If someone comes to Assam from abroad will he be felicitated after wearing dhoti?," said Sarma while answering a journalist outside the House on Tuesday. Congress leader and Assam's Leader of Opposition Debabrata Saikia said that it would have been better if the brand ambassador had worn Assam's traditional dress during the photo-shoot for the calendar of ATDC. "I think that (wearing an Assamese traditional dress) would have been appropriate for the actor to promote the culture and tradition of Assam," he said. Saikia, however, said that the government should rather concentrate on improving the tourism infrastructure in Assam rather than spending funds on appointing brand ambassadors. "The tourism infrastructure has been improved in past several years but it needs to improve further and government should concentrate on that," he added. Saikia said the appointment of Priyanka as brand ambassador had failed to increase the tourist inflow to the state - be it domestic or foreign. "The data placed in the House today revealed that while 28,419 foreign tourists visited the state during 2016-16, only 9,421 foreign tourists had visited the state in the current fiscal (till October 2018)," said Saikia. Priyanka, who was appointed by the Assam government as the brand ambassador of the Assam Tourism Development Corporation in 2016, has drawn severe criticism as the film star remained silent even as the worst ever floods hit the state last year. The "Quantico" star was also in a controversy last year for referring to Sikkim as an insurgency hit state while the fact remains that Sikkim is the most peaceful state in the northeast regio
Assam Minister Defends Priyanka Chopra's Dress in Tourism Calendar
 Bhupen Goswami (21/02/2018)
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 GUWAHATI : A day after the opposition Congress legislators in the Assam legislative Assembly demanded removal of actress Priyanka Chopra as the brand ambassador of Assam tourism, State Tourism Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma came to her rescue and said that a section of the Congress legislators are trying to get cheap publicity out of the issue.
Cachar: Huge amount of drugs recovered by police-CRPF personnel in a hotel
 Bhupen Goswami (21/02/2018)
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 GUWAHATI : In a recent development, a huge amount of drugs has been recovered in a joint operation taken out by Cachar police and CRPF personnel in Cachar on Wednesday. Acting on specific information, officials raided a hotel in Kalibari, Rangpur and nabbed two drug smugglers along with recovering 100 packets of drugs. The two drug smugglers have been identified as Zayed Ahmed and Jalaluddin who had smuggled the drugs from Myanmar via Manipur. The drugs are worth nearly two crore rupees. Police is currently interrogating the two smugglers.
PIL filed against Assam Health Department | Court issues Notice
 Bhupen Goswami (21/02/2018)
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 GUWAHATI :In a recently published news, it had come to light that Assam was been placed at the bottom of the list in India with regards to Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR), with a figure of 300 against the national average of 167. It must also be noted that the state has spent only 13.58% of the total amount allocated by the National Health Mission (NHM) for 2017-18. In response to this, alleging poor health service in the state as the reason for death during childbirth, advocate Suradeep Dey has filed a PIL (Public Interest Litigation) at the Gauhati High Court. Chief Justice Ajit Singh and Justice Manojit Bhuyan heard the PIL (numbered 9/2018) on Tuesday and accordingly issued notice to the Health Department, Government of Assam and concerned respondents, directing them to clarify the issue. The PIL states that – “The deteriorating Maternal Mortality Rate is due to poor condition of health service in the state. Article 21 of the Indian Constitution assures Right to Life, to all the citizens of the country. It is the duty of the Government that the people enjoy this right. However, the Government of Assam has failed to provide the same to mothers of the state.” It has come to light that there were 2,187 deaths during childbirth during 2014-15, the same was 2,100 during 2015-16. The PIL also published information on such deaths on a district-wise basis. The PIL has also stated that Assam does not have the required number of doctors across the state. It must be noted that 64 Primary Health Centres (PHCs) in the state are running without doctors. Similarly, CHCs in the state has a need of 604 specialist doctors in the state, however, only 131 such doctors are presently serving in the state. Several schemes were also taken up by the Government of Assam; one among them is Mamoni. However, an amount of Rs 1.45 crore, sanctioned by the Health Department under the scheme, remained unused during 2016-17.
Police detain nine AEC students for vandalizing wedding venue in Jalukbari
 Bhupen Goswami (21/02/2018)
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 GUWAHATI : In a shocking incident at around 1 AM on Tuesday night, around 300 students from Assam Engineering College (AEC) went on a rampage and gate crashed a wedding venue in Jalukbari. Some of the students were allegedly drunk when the incident took place. Police today detained nine out of the 300 students that were identified by the family of the groom and bride. The detained students have been identified as Mrinmoy Chakraborty, Hirak Jyoti Nath, Shivam Karmakar, Manash Pratim Sharma, Gautam Moyan, Diganta Nath, Harshajit Sharma, Subram Prakash Kalita and Manash Baishya. These students will be arrested if they are found guilty. The students, armed with hockey sticks and other weapons, went on to attack and abuse everyone who came in their path including women, children and the groom inside the venue last night. Few women from the groom’s side alleged the drunken students of molesting them and provided a video proof of few of the students trying to forcefully pull and indecently touch a woman. It was reported that the AEC students had a fight with a truck driver last night near the place where the wedding was taking place and reached the venue in search of the driver. They attacked the people at the wedding after they were asked to leave. The groom and bride’s family also accused the students of attacking with beer bottles and damaging all vehicles that were parked outside the venue.
Foreign tourist footfall increases in Assam
 Bhupen Goswami (21/02/2018)
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 GUWAHATI : Assam Tourism Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma told the Assembly that foreign tourist arrivals in Assam showed an increase with 37,840 foreigners visiting the state between April 2016 and October 2017. “The tourists were from France, USA, Germany, Austria, Croatia, Russia, Netherlands and other countries” Sarma said in reply to a question of Pabindra Deka of AGP. Sarma also provided the figures of foreign tourists visiting the northeastern state since 2011-12, replying to another query of AGP's Ramendra Narayan Kalita. While 26,320 foreigners had visited Assam in 2015-16, 20,005 foreign tourists came to the state in 2014-15. There were 19,086, 17,708 and 16,000 foreign visitors in 2013-14, 2012-13 and 2011-12 respectively, Sarma informed. Kamakhya temple and other pilgrimage destinations in and around Guwahati were also being developed under a central government scheme with a sanctioned amount of Rs 33.97 crore, Sarma added. A wildlife circuit was being developed in Manas, Pobitora, Nameri, Kaziranga, Pani Dihing Bird Sanctuary and Dibru Saikhowa, with a sanctioned amount of Rs 95.67 crore under the Swadesh Darshan scheme, he said. Tags : Assam Tourism Foreign Touris
Assam Rifles-Police's joint operation: 4 poachers arrested in Cachar, Assam
 Bhupen Goswami (20/02/2018)
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 GUWAHATI : In a joint operation of Assam Rifles and police in Cachar, 4 poachers have been arrested from Bhoirabpur. When four poachers were arrested, another poacher Habib Hussain who took rhino’s horn along with him escaped and run away from the police. The four poachers came to buy the rhino’s horn in Habib’s house when police arrested them. Police seized a vehicle from the poachers. All the four poachers were identified as Moinuddin, Lokman Ali, Khalilur Rahman and Zakir Hussain. Habib Hussain, who is on the run at present is connected with the rhino killings in Kaziranga, said police.
Assam Rifles-Police's joint operation: 4 poachers arrested in Cachar, Assam
 Bhupen Goswami (20/02/2018)
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 GUWAHATI : In a joint operation of Assam Rifles and police in Cachar, 4 poachers have been arrested from Bhoirabpur. When four poachers were arrested, another poacher Habib Hussain who took rhino’s horn along with him escaped and run away from the police. The four poachers came to buy the rhino’s horn in Habib’s house when police arrested them. Police seized a vehicle from the poachers. All the four poachers were identified as Moinuddin, Lokman Ali, Khalilur Rahman and Zakir Hussain. Habib Hussain, who is on the run at present is connected with the rhino killings in Kaziranga, said police.
Miscreants killed one who always stood against corruption in Moirabari,Marigaon Assam
 Bhupen Goswami (20/02/2018)
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 GUWAHATI :A youth who always raised his voice against the corruption continuing in his area was killed on Monday. The incident took place in Moirabari, Morigaon. Deceased, Mehdi Sayem Ajhar was closing his medical shop when miscreants attacked him with sharp weapons and killed. Locals said that he raised his voice against the peoples who were misusing their power and instead of development of the area they are corrupting the system. Locals demanded to find out the murderers immediately to the police. Till now no one has been arrested. More details yet to know.
Evicted village was never a part of Amchang Wildlife Sanctuary
 Bhupen Goswami (20/02/2018)
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 GUWAHATI :A shocking fact has come to light that in the eviction drive carried out at the Amchang Wildlife Sanctuary last year, hundreds of families were evicted from a village which was not a part of the Wildlife Sanctuary. Eviction carried out by the Forest Department without proper research has left the victims of Janasimalu village homeless. It must be noted that the Assam Forest Department claims Janasimalu to be a part of the Amchang Wildlife Sanctuary. However, the Deputy Commissioner of Kamrup (Metro) has informed that Janasimalu is an NC (Non Celestial) village, according to the Revenue Department’s data. This information came to light when Opposition leader Debabrata Saikia raised questions on the Janasimalu eviction drive at the Assembly session recently. After this revelation, several questions have come up on the legality of the eviction drive. Though the government has been denying to accept the fact that Janasimalu is a village under the revenue department, it an NC village about to get recognition as a revenue village” said Debabrata Saikia to reporters. “What is more important is that the village is not a part of the wildlife sanctuary and the indigenous people had to suffer the effects of eviction without any valid reason” he added. The opposition leader also alleged that once information came of families, hailing from Minister Naba Kumar Doley’s constituency, residing in the area, the eviction was brought to a halt. “But that should have been done way before” says Saikia. It may be mentioned that VK Pipersenia, Chief Secretary to the Government of Assam, had directed the Secretary of the Revenue Department to reorganize Janasimalu NC village way back in 2010, however, the government has been denying this too.
Assam to expand trade relations with ASEAN countries: Governor
 Bhupen Goswami (20/02/2018)
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 GUWAHATI : Governor of Assam Professor Jagdish Mukhi said that the State Government is pushing for the development of infrastructural facilities and expanding trade relations with Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries. “Both the Centre and State Government are working for the development of infrastructure, with top priority being given to road, river, air and digital connectivity” Mukhi said. “ASEAN countries are not more than one hour thirty minutes from Guwahati The Governor also informed that the road to Thailand, via Myanmar, shall be completed by the end of 2018. Also, all houses in Guwahati are to be provided water connection and sewerage system by 2020. It must be noted that the Global Investors Summit “Advantage Assam” was organised by the Assam Government in the beginning of this month, one among the primary motives of which was to develop trade relations with ASEAN nations.
30 injured as CPI (M), BJP workers clash in Tripura
 Bhupen Goswami (19/02/2018)
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 GUWAHATI : As many as 30 people were injured during a clash between CPI (M) and BJP supporters at various locations across Tripura ahead of Assembly Elections in the state. CPI (M) cadres allegedly hurled a crude bomb at state BJP Vice President Subal Bhowmick on Friday. While the BJP has claimed that the state Police is not doing enough to stop the ongoing violence, the CPI (M) has alleged that BJP workers had attacked their party members on Friday and Saturday. The state BJP President, Tripura, Biplab Kumar has also lodged a complaint with the Election Commission of India, demanding the removal of DGP Ajay Shukla. It must be noted that the Police have detained five CPI (M) activists in Khowai district for allegedly assaulting 10 villagers who had recently joined BJP from CPI (M). BJP state-in-charge Sunil Deodhar stated “All attacks took place at night and we cannot say what CPI (M) workers will do tonight. We have already filed complaints with the EC. Two CPI (M) workers were arrested with pistols at Mandai but the Police have released them. CPI (M) spokesperson on the other hand has alleged BJP of using money and muscle power to win the election, and that CPI (M) party workers have been victim of the violence inflicted by the BJP across the state.
Meghalaya : IED blast kills NCP candidate among 4 Jonathone Nengminza Sangma in Williamnagar
 Bhupen Goswami (19/02/2018)
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 GUWAHATI :Four people, including Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) candidate Jonathone Nengminza Sangma, were killed while three others injured in an improvised explosive device (IED) blast in poll-bound Meghalaya’s East Garo Hills district on Sunday, an official said. Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) candidate Jonathone Nengminza Sangma and two of his security personnel were killed in an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) blast in Meghalaya's East Garo Hills district on Sunday. The incident took place around 7.30 p.m. at Sawilgre village, about 14 km from Samanda Block, when the candidate was returning to Williamnagar after campaining for the elections with two of his security personnel. Immediately after the explosion there was downpour of bullets in the vehicle in which Sangma was travelling. "Four bodies were found on the spot, including that of NCP candidate Jonathone Sangma. The other three dead bodies are yet to be identified," said District Magistrate Ramkumar S. The injured had been rushed to the Williamnagar Civil hospital. The incident was heralded by posters appearing in certain areas of Williamnagar constituency saying anyone who votes for the NCP candidate Jonathone Sangma would get bullets from "AK-17 and pistol". The 43 year old, was contesting the Assembly election from Williamnagar which he had unsuccessfully contested as an Independent candidate in 2013. He lost the elections to the Education Minister and senior Congress leader Deborah C. Marak. After this incident, Byrnihat police and CRPF have started a tight security check in all the vehicles heading to Meghalaya.
Assam Minister detained in Tripura for violating Model Code of Conduct
 Bhupen Goswami (19/02/2018)
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 GUWAHATI : Minister of State for Power Pallab Lochan Das was reportedly taken to the local police station and later pushed back to Assam from Gandacherra in Dhalai distict for violating Model Code of Conduct that bars a person from another state from staying in an election-bound state after the end of campaigning on Friday evening. SP (Dhalai) SR Das said, "He was found at Gandacherra in the Raima Valley assembly constituency area even after campaigning came to an end at 4 pm. As per Election Commission of India (ECI) guidelines, a person from a different state can't stay after the end of campaigning period. So, we escorted him back beyond the assembly constituency. He should now go back to Assam." CPI (M) State Secretary and Left Front convener Bijan Dhar sought ‘stringent punishment’ for the Assam minister lodging a complaint with the Election Commission. The communist party had earlier lodged complaint with the ECI and State Electoral Authority about the presence of ‘outsiders’ from Assam and other states who could disturb the law and order situation in poll-bound Tripura and affect peaceful polls, the party said. BJP spokesperson Ashok Sinha admitted a ‘BJP leader and Assam minister was found at Gandacherra after poll campaign period was over’. He said Tripura Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Sriram Taranikanti didn’t provide them latest guidelines for political workers’ presence in constituency areas after conclusion of campaign. He added that the Assam minister was ‘intending to return’ on Saturday morning. As per Election Commission’s guidelines (2009), political official would have to leave after campaign period ends except voters of respective assembly constituencies. The guideline directs that “all such officials leave the constituency immediately after the campaign period is over”. However, exception is provided for one leader from every registered political party who would be ‘in-charge’ of the said party.
A Congress Rebel, Now BJP's Key Strategist In Northeast : Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma
 Bhupen Goswami (18/02/2018)
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 GUWAHATI :The Assam , Education , finance ect.minister and BJP's north-east chief strategist Dr Himanta Biswa sarma who has been entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring BJP's victory in the upcoming assembly elections in Nagaland, Tripura, Meghalaya with the help of allies. Mr Sarma was earlier with the Congress and switched sides in 2015, allegedly after a rift with the then chief minister Tarun Gogoi. It was a bitter parting with Mr Sarma who accused now Congress chief Rahul Gandhi of preferring to play with his pet rather than grant audience to unhappy partymen from Assam who flew down to Delhi to meet him. Born in Assam's Jorhat, Himanta Biswa Sharma, 49, entered the poll fray in 2001 from Assam's Jalukbari constituency and got re-elected in 2006 and 2011 as member of the Congress party. During this time, he held important and diverse portfolios - agriculture, planning and development, finance, health and education. Healthcare got a major boost under his leadership with opening of three medical colleges in Jorhat, Barpeta and Tezpur. He also initiated work for five more medical colleges in Diphu, Nagaon, Dhubri, North Lakhimpur and Kokrajhar. He was also lauded for bringing transparency in the appointment of teachers through a Teachers Eligibility Test. COMMENTSAfter winning Jalukbari seat thrice on Congress ticket, he registered a fourth win from the same constituency after he joined BJP. Owing to his massive popularity in Assam, he was also appointed as convener of North-East Democratic Alliance (NEDA). The 48-year-old Assam minister has been credited with the upturn in BJP fortunes in the north-east.
Election to the 60-member Meghalaya Assembly : "The Congress wants all flowers to bloom but the BJP wants only the lotus to bloom," Gogoi said.
 Bhupen Goswami (18/02/2018)
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 GUWAHATI : Former Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Saturday appealed to the Meghalaya voters not to fall for the BJP's "false promises" of turning it into a model state in case the party was voted to power. "They (BJP) promise everything. They will promise even the Moon. They promised to give two lakh jobs annually (before the 2014 general elections). I want to ask them how much central government jobs they have given to Meghalaya," he asked while speaking to journalists at shillong"They talk of Gujarat as a model state, but what have they done to the tribals in Gujarat? They have only exploited the religious sentiments of its people," Gogoi said. Voicing fear that the Hindutva movement is gaining ground in the country, the veteran Congress legislator said: "Such development is against democracy and secularism in India." Election to the 60-member Meghalaya Assembly will be held on February 27. The Congress leader claimed that people of Assam who voted for the Bharatiya Janata Party are now realising their mistake. "In Assam, after the BJP came to power, the condition of roads has worsened and prices of essential commodities have gone up." He also accused the NDA government at the Centre of taking away the special category status from northeastern states. "What did Prime Minister Narendra Modi give in the last four years? They snatched the special category status of Meghalaya. Instead of giving more, assistance they are only paying lip service," Gogoi said. He also said that the BJP-led central government was only good in repackaging old schemes (started by the earlier United Progressive Alliance government). "The Congress wants all flowers to bloom but the BJP wants only the lotus to bloom," Gogoi said. .
Sonowal attends Sirish Festival Tea communities occupy an important position by virtue of their competence and ability: CM
 Bhupen Goswami (18/02/2018)
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 GUWAHATI: Tea communities are an integral part of the larger demographic mosaic of the state and they are playing a great role for the socio-economic development of Assam. Speaking at the valedictory function of the fourth Sirish Festival at Misa in Kaliabor on Sunday, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said that because of their competence and ability, the tea communities have occupied an important position in the world today. In the two hundred years history, the tea communities have been in a position to accord a special image to Assam. Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said that Assam Tea has a special and unique name. It is because of the contribution of the tea communities, Assam has been in a position to etch its name in the world today. People belonging to tea communities with their hard labour have contributed immensely to the development of the state economy. Terming that Tata Industry has immense role in making a modern India and the industry has set an example of high work culture, Chief Minister Sonowal said that with its qualitative demeanour Tata Industry has conveyed a special message to the social landscape of our society. Besides organic farming the industry has set a model in other sectors as well. Sonowal said that tea industry is endowed with inherent potential. With modern outlook and technology this industry can be taken at a higher level where it can feed the entire world. Synchronising with the occasion, Sonowal also felicitated eminent litterateur Sushil Kurmi with ‘Sirish Sahitya Bota’ and eminent artiste Dulal Manti with ‘Sirish Sanskritik Bota’. He said that both the personalities have enriched our literature and culture to a great extent. Water Resources Minister Keshab Mahanta and Sushil Kurmi and Dulal Manti also spoke on the occasion. Sonowal also distributed prizes among the winners who took part in different competitions. MLA Tapan Gogoi, MD APPL Jagjt Singh Kandal, Managing Trustee APPL Dhiraj Kakoti, Chairman APPL Ranjit Borthakur, DC Nagaon Biswajit Pegu and a host of other dignitaries were present on the occasion.
Assam CM distributes sophisticated weapons to forest personnel at Kaziranga
 Bhupen Goswami (18/02/2018)
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 GUWAHATI : Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal today distributed modern sophisticated weapons to forest personnel at a programme held at Forest Convention Centre at Kohora, Kaziranga in Golaghat District. He also distributed ex gratia to the next of keen of victims of man animal conflict and compensation to the injured. Speaking on the occasion he expressed hope that modern weapons would enable the forest personnel to carry out their duties in a more effective manner to protect the state’s wild life from poachers. Notably, state government had kept provision of Rs 10 crore in the 2016-17 state budget for purchase of modern arms for forest department under the scheme ‘modernisation of arms and equipment for protection of tiger reserves and rhino bearing protected areas of the state and weapons have been bought under this scheme. Accordingly, 272 INSAS rifles, 954 SLRs, 12 bore pump action guns 133 numbers, 9 mm pistols 20 numbers and 91 ghatak rifles were bought which have been distributed today among frontline forest personnel of the state. Another Rs 10 crore has also been kept in the 2017-18 budget for purchase of more such arms and equipment in the coming days. Saying that the local community and particularly the youth must join hands with the government to keep surrounding areas of Kaziranga National Park clean, the chief minister stated that visitors to the park must take away a good impression of the state and its people and he called on the forest department to win the trust of the people through dedication and sincerity. Referring to the difficult conditions that the forest guards and frontline workers of the department have to operate in during floods, Sonowal assured of taking steps to solve their grievances in a phased manner. He also said that the bad reputation earned by the department due to tainted officials must be removed by hardwork and determination of the employees of the department and trust of the people of the state must be won back. Singling out initiatives like new uniform for shaping a smart forest guard force and imparting of intensive training for handling modern arms, Sonowal directed forest and environment minister Pramila Rani Brahma to take action for setting up an international standard convention centre at Kaziranga at an early date. He also directed the Forest Minister along with Water Resource Minister Keshab Mahanta and Agriculure Minister Atul Bora, who are the local MLAs of Kaliabor and Bokakhat constituencies where majority of the Kaziranga National Park falls, to identify a suitable location for building a heliport nearby the park for increasing tourist flow. Saying that recently concluded Advantage Assam: Global Investors Summit explored opportunities for developing the tourism industry of the state, Sonowal called on the civil society to join hands with the government in sustaining Kaziranga which is known worldwide as the habitat of famous one horned rhino. Highlighting the government’s commitment to protect the wildlife and forests of state, he said that 10 Wildlife Fast Track Courts have been set up in the state for speedy proceedings against poachers and wildlife criminals. He also directed the forest department to devise mechanism for enabling more youths near Kaziranga and other reserve forests and sanctuaries to earn better livelihood through tourism. He also urged the department to work dedicatedly to stop illegal felling of trees and ensure supply of construction materials for infrastructure development projects. Forest and Environment Minister Pramila Rani Brahma said that number of intitiaves have been taken to protect the rhino and other wild animals of the state and reconstitution of Anti Rhino Poaching Task Force is a step in that direction. Following the direction of the chief minister food and medical treatment were provided to the wild animals in KNP during floods last year and steps have already been taken for aerial survey of the park by drones, she added. Modern arms would be enable the forest guards to protect the wildlife and forests of the state more effectively, she opined. Water Resource Minister Keshab Mahanta, Agriculture Minister Atul Bora also spoke in the programme which also attended by Sonari MLA Tapan Gogoi, Principal Chief Conservator of Forest Bikash Brahma, Director of KNP among others.
Assam Govt plans to set up 3 Terminal Mart for agricultural products
 Bhupen Goswami (18/02/2018)
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 GUWAHATI : Chairman of State Agricultural Marketing Board Palit Kumar Bora said that three Terminal Marts will be set up to give a boost to agricultural market in the state of Assam. He said, steps are being taken to set up such marts at Silchar, Jorhat and Guwahati. Mr. Bora also said an MoU has been signed to develop the largest banana market of Asia which is situated at Darangiri in Goalpara district of Assam. 6 new Krishi Vigyan Kendras are being set up in Assam which will help the farmers in various agro-based sectors, he added. Mr. Bora said that the Board has increaded th Minimum Support Price of paddy so that the farmers can get the maximum benefit. He said state government has stressed on encouraging organic farming in the state.
Assam worst in Maternal Mortality Rate in India
 Bhupen Goswami (18/02/2018)
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 GUWAHATI : In a shocking news for the state, Assam has been placed at the bottom of the list in India with regards to Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR), with a figure of 300 against the national average of 167. It must also be noted that the state has spent only 13.58% of the total amount allocated by the National Health Mission (NHM) for 2017-18. Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Ashwini Kumar Choubey, in a press conference, stated that the government is working to reduce the MMR in Assam. “The MMR in Assam was 383 four years ago and 447 in 2002” Choubey said. “The centre is aggressively carrying out vaccination and other medication to reduce the MMR in Assam across districts that include Nagaon, Goalpara, Dhubri, Katbi Anglong, Chirang among others under Mission Indradhannush” the minister said. He also informed that the Centre had allocated Rs 1,056.25 crore for Assam under the NHM for 2017-18. It must be noted that the WHO standard is to have one doctor against every 1,000 people whereas the average of India is one doctor for every 1,592 people. The scenario is worse in Northeast India with only one doctor against around 4,000 people in states like Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland.
BJP Will Win Tripura by Bagging 35-40 Seats, Even Manik Sarkar Might Lose: Himanta Biswa Sarma
 Bhupen Goswami (17/02/2018)
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 GUWAHATI : Despite being labelled an “outsider” in Tripura, Biswa Sarma (along with his colleagues Ram Madhav, Sunil Deodhar and Biplab Deb) is credited with turning the political fortunes of the BJP from a state of virtual non-existence five years ago to being the foremost challenger to the Manik Sarkar-led Left Front government.At the age of 49, Assam’s minister of health, education and finance, Himanta Biswa Sarma, has already established his political footprint in the neighbouring poll-bound state of Tripura. Biswa Sarma, who quit the Congress and joined the BJP in August 2015, is currently donning the hat of Tripura’s election in-charge for his party. Despite being labelled an “outsider” in Tripura, Biswa Sarma (along with his colleagues Ram Madhav, Sunil Deodhar and Biplab Deb) is credited with turning the political fortunes of the BJP from a state of virtual non-existence five years ago to being the foremost challenger to the Manik Sarkar-led Left Front government. Excerpts of his exclusive interview with RASHTRIYA KHABAR & PNI . Question :Barely hours remain before Tripura goes to the polls. How do you see the BJP placed at this point? Himanta :The BJP is already in a comfortable position. In my opinion majority seats that’s required to form the government is already ensured. It’s now a matter of improving tallies. With Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing two more rallies and a last minute boost by our karyakartas and candidates, I think we will make our tally more impressive and be in a more comfortable position. Question :Do you have a number for us? Himanta :I think as of now we are comfortably getting 35 (out of 60) seats. But there are still 10 seats which are marginal, which can go either way. Presuming we get 5 out of those 10 seats, even then we should end up with around 40 seats. Question :But that’s a comfortable majority! Himanta : As of now, it is. But I say this with a caveat. There is a strong anti-incumbency wave against the CPM. There’s speculation that even Manik Sarkar may lose his Dhanpur seat. If that happens then you may see a surprising result, something which I am not ruling out. But as a political animal, I am predicting that we will be in the range of 35-40 seats. Question :Considering your performance in the last state elections where you had zero seats and just 1.5 percent vote share to where you are today, aiming to topple the Left Front, how was that made possible? Himanta : Look, we formed governments in Assam and Manipur coming from nowhere. Question is, who is occupying the opposition space? In Tripura, the Congress occupied that space but they had an on and off relationship with the CPM. So now all anti-Left votes have consolidated under the BJP because people realise that the BJP will never compromise with the CPI-M, ideologically or otherwise. Same happened in Manipur. In a bipolar electoral situation, the previous election figures don’t matter. In Tripura, 44 % voters always opposed the CPM and that entire 44 % is now rallying behind the BJP. Plus there is Modiji’s performance and our aggressive campaigns which have made our position so solid that I don’t think that 1.5% has any relevance in last 5 today’s scenario. Question :The BJP seems to be working on a formula in the North East. The first part of that formula is to co-opt the Congress which occupied the opposition space. The second part involves tying up with regional parties which has aspirations for separate statehood. The formula has worked for you in Assam and Manipur, and to some extent in Arunachal. How do you ensure it would work for you in Tripura? Himanta :we have completely decimated the Congress in Tripura and every single one of their leaders, barring two, have joined the BJP. The TMC’s legislative wing has entirely merged with the BJP. So now there is no leader in the opposition space except us. So far as IPFT and other regional parties are concerned, BJP’s consistent approach has been to not go into any conflict with the tribals, take them into the mainstream, enter into alliance, make them comfortable and let them share equal power with a national political party. We did that in Manipur, Assam and started the process in Arunachal. In all these states there are no internal conflicts on the ground anymore. Because of the political alliance even at the social level tension has gone down significantly. Today in Assam, although they have their demand for a separate state, they are not openly agitating for it… Same happened in Manipur. Question :But aren’t you then temporarily brushing the issue under the carpet which could soon come out again? Himanta : I think that this temporary brushing aside of the agenda under the carpet can also be the foundation stone for lasting unity and peace because with the tribal leaders sharing the dais with us for the first time, they now realise there are good people on the other side as well. Question : But the IPFT says it hasn’t given up on the demand for a separate Twipralanad and the BJP says it wants a united Tripura. How do you reconcile the difference, given that they are your political allies now? Himanta : I don’t think that the IPFT has uttered a single word about separate statehood in any of their rallies. I know because I was there. Our joint statement says Tripura will remain one and won’t be divided although, at the same time, the diversity of this land would be celebrated.No, the interpretation that the IPFT leaders were absent during the joint statement is wrong. It so happened that the statement was supposed to be announced the previous evening, but I was unable to reach. So they had signed and left. We never asked them to withdraw their demand. But in the common minimum agenda that demand is not there. Subsequently, you will not find a single election space where the IPFT is talking about Twipraland. I think we have managed to come to a common platform and when the new government starts working together with the tribal people, the demand for Twipraland will go away. But for that you need to ensure a heavy dose of development in the tribal pockets. You see, we have competent people around us for that job. It is just our strategy to not name one in order to avoid all our opponents from reaching his constituency to ensure his defeat. It is a culture of the north east that once you project a CM face, he loses because everybody targets him. So we have improvised our strategy. In Tripura, everybody knows who our CM will be, only that we have not issued a statement. You have seen the photographs, who we are projecting and how we are projecting. I think people can read between the lines, it’s not a big issue. In 2013 when I was a Congress observer, the CPM raised the same issue of huge amounts of money getting poured in. But the fact is the BJP has released funds to its candidates through cheques/RTGS. We have completely done away with cash. The only extra thing we have done is the deployment of two helicopters which perhaps the CPM has not done. But you have to understand that CPM leaders are not in government and they have time. But our people have work in Delhi and they are pressed for time. In Tripura, the Left has more publicity material than the BJP, more poll offices than the BJP. The CPM has taken Rs 10,000 from every government employee for which we have filed an FIR. Three months ago, I gave accounts to show that the CPM has collected Rs 150 crore from the market and even have given written complaints to the CEO and the DGP. The CPM has not even refuted that allegation. Today the CPM is spending more money in these elections than the BJP and the problem is that money has not been raised from donations but by extorting people.In 2013 when I was a Congress observer, the CPM raised the same issue of huge amounts of money getting poured in. But the fact is the BJP has released funds to its candidates through cheques/RTGS. We have completely done away with cash. The only extra thing we have done is the deployment of two helicopters which perhaps the CPM has not done. But you have to understand that CPM leaders are not in government and they have time. But our people have work in Delhi and they are pressed for time. In Tripura, the Left has more publicity material than the BJP, more poll offices than the BJP. The CPM has taken Rs 10,000 from every government employee for which we have filed an FIR. Three months ago, I gave accounts to show that the CPM has collected Rs 150 crore from the market and even have given written complaints to the CEO and the DGP. The CPM has not even refuted that allegation. Today the CPM is spending more money in these elections than the BJP and the problem is that money has not been raised from donations but by extorting people.That is purely a matter of interpretation. Normally one would stay away from Tripura because it is a tough battlefield. If you have to score some brownie points, you should go to a state where you are sure to succeed. Not Tripura where nobody believed that the BJP could make a turnaround. Only when they reach here now they realise that yes, Tripura is ready for a change. So I don’t think that logic stands. The only logic is that the BJP gives equal importance to all states and doesn’t discriminate between states and I am happy that the BJP has given so much importance to small states like Tripura and Meghalaya.I haven’t seen the RSS in the election campaigns. We don’t want them in the elections directly neither are they interested. Parties like the IPFT have base among Christian population. So there is no question of fighting the election from an ideological point of view. We are fighting the polls from the standpoint of development. Also, I feel that the CPM’s greatest problem is its cadres. They joined 25 years ago and were okay for the first five years. But gradually they became dictators. The anti-Left feeling that you see in Tripura today is largely a movement against those cadres. The cadres are no longer a blessing for the CPM, they are a curse. Question : Now that you have made a mark in Tripura, no matter what the results are, what’s next? Bengal? Himanta : I think eastern and northeastern India will continue to be our growth area. So Odisha and Bengal will be our high priority states along with other northeastern states. And in Parliament, we want to create a solid northeast bloc. So that’s the idea we are working on.No, I have to return to Assam. But let’s see how my party wants to utilise me. My Assembly is on and I have to quickly finish this and go back to my state (smiles). People like me and my Chief Minister, we have promised so many things to the people of northeast. We should hold our ground and deliver what we have promised them. Only when that is done, we can think of moving beyond​.
BJP Will Win Tripura by Bagging 35-40 Seats, Even Manik Sarkar Might Lose: Himanta Biswa Sarma
 Bhupen Goswami (17/02/2018)
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 GUWAHATI : Despite being labelled an “outsider” in Tripura, Biswa Sarma (along with his colleagues Ram Madhav, Sunil Deodhar and Biplab Deb) is credited with turning the political fortunes of the BJP from a state of virtual non-existence five years ago to being the foremost challenger to the Manik Sarkar-led Left Front government.At the age of 49, Assam’s minister of health, education and finance, Himanta Biswa Sarma, has already established his political footprint in the neighbouring poll-bound state of Tripura. Biswa Sarma, who quit the Congress and joined the BJP in August 2015, is currently donning the hat of Tripura’s election in-charge for his party. Despite being labelled an “outsider” in Tripura, Biswa Sarma (along with his colleagues Ram Madhav, Sunil Deodhar and Biplab Deb) is credited with turning the political fortunes of the BJP from a state of virtual non-existence five years ago to being the foremost challenger to the Manik Sarkar-led Left Front government. Excerpts of his exclusive interview with News18’s Sougata Mukhopadhyay.Do you have a number for us? I think as of now we are comfortably getting 35 (out of 60) seats. But there are still 10 seats which are marginal, which can go either way. Presuming we get 5 out of those 10 seats, even then we should end up with around 40 seats.But that’s a comfortable majority! As of now, it is. But I say this with a caveat. There is a strong anti-incumbency wave against the CPM. There’s speculation that even Manik Sarkar may lose his Dhanpur seat. If that happens then you may see a surprising result, something which I am not ruling out. But as a political animal, I am predicting that we will be in the range of 35-40 seats.Considering your performance in the last state elections where you had zero seats and just 1.5 percent vote share to where you are today, aiming to topple the Left Front, how was that made possible? Look, we formed governments in Assam and Manipur coming from nowhere. Question is, who is occupying the opposition space? In Tripura, the Congress occupied that space but they had an on and off relationship with the CPM. So now all anti-Left votes have consolidated under the BJP because people realise that the BJP will never compromise with the CPI-M, ideologically or otherwise. Same happened in Manipur. In a bipolar electoral situation, the previous election figures don’t matter. In Tripura, 44 % voters always opposed the CPM and that entire 44 % is now rallying behind the BJP. Plus there is Modiji’s performance and our aggressive campaigns which have made our position so solid that I don’t think that 1.5% has any relevance in today’s scenario. The BJP seems to be working on a formula in the North East. The first part of that formula is to co-opt the Congress which occupied the opposition space. The second part involves tying up with regional parties which has aspirations for separate statehood. The formula has worked for you in Assam and Manipur, and to some extent in Arunachal. How do you ensure it would work for you in Tripura? Today, we have completely decimated the Congress in Tripura and every single one of their leaders, barring two, have joined the BJP. The TMC’s legislative wing has entirely merged with the BJP. So now there is no leader in the opposition space except us. So far as IPFT and other regional parties are concerned, BJP’s consistent approach has been to not go into any conflict with the tribals, take them into the mainstream, enter into alliance, make them comfortable and let them share equal power with a national political party. We did that in Manipur, Assam and started the process in Arunachal. In all these states there are no internal conflicts on the ground anymore. Because of the political alliance even at the social level tension has gone down significantly. Today in Assam, although they have their demand for a separate state, they are not openly agitating for it… Same happened in Manipur. But aren’t you then temporarily brushing the issue under the carpet which could soon come out again? I think that this temporary brushing aside of the agenda under the carpet can also be the foundation stone for lasting unity and peace because with the tribal leaders sharing the dais with us for the first time, they now realise there are good people on the other side as well. But the IPFT says it hasn’t given up on the demand for a separate Twipralanad and the BJP says it wants a united Tripura. How do you reconcile the difference, given that they are your political allies now? I don’t think that the IPFT has uttered a single word about separate statehood in any of their rallies. I know because I was there. Our joint statement says Tripura will remain one and won’t be divided although, at the same time, the diversity of this land would be celebrated. But IPFT chief NC Debbarma has issued statements saying they are not giving up on Twipraland! Also their leaders were conspicuous by absence when you announced that joint declaration! No, the interpretation that the IPFT leaders were absent during the joint statement is wrong. It so happened that the statement was supposed to be announced the previous evening, but I was unable to reach. So they had signed and left. We never asked them to withdraw their demand. But in the common minimum agenda that demand is not there. Subsequently, you will not find a single election space where the IPFT is talking about Twipraland. I think we have managed to come to a common platform and when the new government starts working together with the tribal people, the demand for Twipraland will go away. But for that you need to ensure a heavy dose of development in the tribal pockets. You are not only fighting the Left in Tripura, you are also fighting the legacy of its CM Manik Sarkar. Why hasn’t the BJP projected a chief ministerial face in these elections? You see, we have competent people around us for that job. It is just our strategy to not name one in order to avoid all our opponents from reaching his constituency to ensure his defeat. It is a culture of the north east that once you project a CM face, he loses because everybody targets him. So we have improvised our strategy. In Tripura, everybody knows who our CM will be, only that we have not issued a statement. You have seen the photographs, who we are projecting and how we are projecting. I think people can read between the lines, it’s not a big issue.Your critics are pointing out in public campaigns that the BJP is spending unprecedented amount of money in the Tripura elections. How would you respond? In 2013 when I was a Congress observer, the CPM raised the same issue of huge amounts of money getting poured in. But the fact is the BJP has released funds to its candidates through cheques/RTGS. We have completely done away with cash. The only extra thing we have done is the deployment of two helicopters which perhaps the CPM has not done. But you have to understand that CPM leaders are not in government and they have time. But our people have work in Delhi and they are pressed for time. In Tripura, the Left has more publicity material than the BJP, more poll offices than the BJP. The CPM has taken Rs 10,000 from every government employee for which we have filed an FIR. Three months ago, I gave accounts to show that the CPM has collected Rs 150 crore from the market and even have given written complaints to the CEO and the DGP. The CPM has not even refuted that allegation. Today the CPM is spending more money in these elections than the BJP and the problem is that money has not been raised from donations but by extorting people. The way the BJP has approached these elections... all your top leaders, from PM Modi to your party president Amit Shah and almost all top leaders from the Centre, have come to Tripura. Why is Tripura so important to the BJP? Tripura is important for us, but so are the smallest states. The same thing is happening in Meghalaya, all our top leaders going there and spending time with our karyakartas. Electorally, the BJP is giving equal importance to all states, big or small. What is the crime of BJP workers in Tripura, why can’t they see the Prime Minister? If people of UP can see the PM, why can’t the people of Tripura see him? The BJP appreciates that feeling. Elections are also festivals of democracy when top leaders come and work with the grassroots workers. That’s how bonding develops. But there is a lot of star power as far your campaign is concerned I think except the Prime Minister and Amit Shah, who articulate policies in a different manner, I don’t believe in so-called star powers. For others it is just commonality, it is called solidarity with workers. They are not stars. They are also political workers. There are political observers who say that some of the big state elections are lined up this year where the BJP has high stakes —Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh. And given that the Gujarat results haven’t exactly been the way you wanted them to be, is the BJP a little wary about what impact that might have on these states? Is that why Tripura and the other northeastern states have suddenly become so important to you? That is purely a matter of interpretation. Normally one would stay away from Tripura because it is a tough battlefield. If you have to score some brownie points, you should go to a state where you are sure to succeed. Not Tripura where nobody believed that the BJP could make a turnaround. Only when they reach here now they realise that yes, Tripura is ready for a change. So I don’t think that logic stands. The only logic is that the BJP gives equal importance to all states and doesn’t discriminate between states and I am happy that the BJP has given so much importance to small states like Tripura and Meghalaya. hemanta 1 You are taking on a cadre-based party which has a strong grassroots presence. Has your back up support from the RSS helped in these elections? I haven’t seen the RSS in the election campaigns. We don’t want them in the elections directly neither are they interested. Parties like the IPFT have base among Christian population. So there is no question of fighting the election from an ideological point of view. We are fighting the polls from the standpoint of development. Also, I feel that the CPM’s greatest problem is its cadres. They joined 25 years ago and were okay for the first five years. But gradually they became dictators. The anti-Left feeling that you see in Tripura today is largely a movement against those cadres. The cadres are no longer a blessing for the CPM, they are a curse. Now that you have made a mark in Tripura, no matter what the results are, what’s next? Bengal? I think eastern and northeastern India will continue to be our growth area. So Odisha and Bengal will be our high priority states along with other northeastern states. And in Parliament, we want to create a solid northeast bloc. So that’s the idea we are working on. And will we see Himanta Biswa Sarma working in these states as well? No, I have to return to Assam. But let’s see how my party wants to utilise me. My Assembly is on and I have to quickly finish this and go back to my state (smiles). People like me and my Chief Minister, we have promised so many things to the people of northeast. We should hold our ground and deliver what we have promised them. Only when that is done, we can think of moving beyond​.
Guwahati: Operation against drugs carried on by city police and Excise department in Gandhi Basti and various other places
 Bhupen Goswami (17/02/2018)
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 GUWAHATI : The use of drugs and its smuggling has been going on rampantly in the city lately. And crimes instigated by the use of drugs have also been on the rise. In a recent development, the city police along with the Excise Department have been carrying out an operation against drugs in Guwahati’s Gandhi Basti region on Saturday. Reportedly, they have been searching out for drugs from house to house but till now nothing has been recovered. It may be stated that Gandhi Basti has become a hub for illegal drugs as per sources and many crimes have taken place due to this reason in the area. Operation is also going on in Uzan Bazar and Paltan bazar. Further details awaited. It may be added here that on Friday morning the Crime Branch had seized a huge amount of drugs near Lakhtokia's flyover and had nabbed three drug peddlers including a woman.
Fraudulent public sector bank transactions worth Rs 61,126 Crore in 5 years
 Bhupen Goswami (17/02/2018)
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 GUWAHATI :After the news of Nirav Modi allegedly cheating state-run Punjab National Bank of Rs 280 crore, an RTI has revealed shocking information of fraudulent bank transactions worth Rs 61,126 crore in five years. The Reserve Bank of India has published, in response to an RTI, that till March 31 last year, there has been as many as 8,670 cases of fraudulent transactions. It must be noted that there are several incidents of individuals taking loan from public sector banks and not returning the money; cases have been filed accordingly by the banks. According to data of the RBI, the amount of money in such loans for the last year is Rs 14,900 crore. For the year 2012-13, the amount was 6,300 crore. In June, 2017, the RBI had stated that fake loans are a threat to the economic stability of the nation. According to economists, the information published by the RBI in response to the RTI is based on the date provided by only the public sector banks. In reality, the amount involved in such cased is more than one lakh crore. Allegations have arised against bank officials of allocating loans to individuals with political connections, without proper verification going against the bank rules and regulations. It must be mentioned that there has been 1,069 cased of fake loans in SBI, in the past five years. The amounts of money involved in such cases are highest in Punjab National Bank and Bank of Baroda; Bank of India recorded 231 such cases. However, no strict action has been seen from the Government’s side even though such incidents have been coming to light more frequently than ever.
Fraudulent public sector bank transactions worth Rs 61,126 Crore in 5 years
 Bhupen Goswami (17/02/2018)
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 GUWAHATI :After the news of Nirav Modi allegedly cheating state-run Punjab National Bank of Rs 280 crore, an RTI has revealed shocking information of fraudulent bank transactions worth Rs 61,126 crore in five years. The Reserve Bank of India has published, in response to an RTI, that till March 31 last year, there has been as many as 8,670 cases of fraudulent transactions. It must be noted that there are several incidents of individuals taking loan from public sector banks and not returning the money; cases have been filed accordingly by the banks. According to data of the RBI, the amount of money in such loans for the last year is Rs 14,900 crore. For the year 2012-13, the amount was 6,300 crore. In June, 2017, the RBI had stated that fake loans are a threat to the economic stability of the nation. According to economists, the information published by the RBI in response to the RTI is based on the date provided by only the public sector banks. In reality, the amount involved in such cased is more than one lakh crore. Allegations have arised against bank officials of allocating loans to individuals with political connections, without proper verification going against the bank rules and regulations. It must be mentioned that there has been 1,069 cased of fake loans in SBI, in the past five years. The amounts of money involved in such cases are highest in Punjab National Bank and Bank of Baroda; Bank of India recorded 231 such cases. However, no strict action has been seen from the Government’s side even though such incidents have been coming to light more frequently than ever.
Anti Corruption Bureau's investigation reveals Assam DFO's property in several crores
 Bhupen Goswami (17/02/2018)
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 GUWAHATI : An investigation carried out by the Anti Corruption Bureau revealed properties worth several crores in the name of District Forest Officer Aftabuddin Ahmed. The team simultaneously raided four properties of Ahmed in Guwahati that included Ahmed’s residence at Sundarpur, his apartment at Spanish Garden and Ashiyaana Girls Hostel in Japorigog. It must be noted that Ahmed is presently posted at Basistha, Guwahati The investigation that started at 9:00 am finally ended at 7:00 pm and revealed documents of properties worth crores, bank passbooks, hard disks along with a licensed pistol. The investigation has revealed that Ahmed has properties in Nagaon, Morigaon, Guwahati, Kaziranga and Delhi among other locations in the state as well as the country. It must be noted that Aftabuddin had joined service as a Forest Officer of Nagaon District in 2006; Nagaon, which is former Forest Minister Rakibul Hussain’s home district. Allegedly, Aftabuddin had procured most of his properties during the reign of Hussain as the Forest Minister. In 2009, Aftabuddin was transferred to Guwahati before the Lok Sabha elections, however, he returned as the DFO of Nagaon within four months. The DFO has also procured bighas of land in Jagiroad, Tetelia in Guwahati among other places. Further investigation is being carried out by the Anti Corruption Bureau.
Rs 57 thousand crore scam in the name of Widow Pension Policy during the Congress Regime: Modi
 Bhupen Goswami (17/02/2018)
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 GUWAHATI : Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi said that his Government does not govern the country from the centre but his set of Ministers have travelled to all the extents of the country and have been successful in reducing the distance between the centre and the states of the country. He also added that many developments have been possible during his tenure citing some of the successes. Modi takes a jibe on Congress saying that during their tenure money was laundered with the Widow Pension plan which was done away with the coming of his Government by linking Aadhar Cards with the pension holder’s account. He also added that the Government was able to save an amount of 57 thousand crore. It may be noted that, the newly constructed Secretariat in Arunachal Pradesh has been made open to the people. PM says that this particular step is aimed at bringing the people closed to the Government and that they will not have to wander places to get their work done. He also inaugurates the Dorjee Khandu State Convention Centre in Itanagar. Laying the foundation stone of an educational institute of the Tomo Riba Institute of health and Medical Sciences in Naharlagun, Modi asserts that this will pave the way for the first medical college in the state. After this session in arunachal Pradesh, PM Modi tours to Tripura for his election campaigns.
Assam Govt to set up 21 model residential schools in minority areas
 Bhupen Goswami (17/02/2018)
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 GUWAHATI : The Government of Assam is going to set up 21 model residential schools in 21 districts of the state in order to provide a boost to the development of minorities This was decided in a high level meeting on Friday, with CM Sarbananada Sonowal directing the Commissioner and Secretary of the Minorities Welfare Department, Rajesh Prasad, to make the model schools a trendsetter for socio-economic and educational development of the minorities in the state. Approximately Rs 30.42 crore has been sanctioned for each school. The Chief Minister has asked the department's authorities to develop a centralised system for expeditious implementation of the programme, including its monitoring. The districts where the schools will be set up are Kamrup, Nalbari, Barpeta, Goalpara, Kokrajhar, Chirang, Dhubri, South Salmara, Darrang, Biswanath, Morigaon, Nagaon, Cachar, Karimganj, Hailakandi, Bongaigaon, Dima Hasao, Karbi Anglong, North Lakhimpur, Sonitpur and Udalguri.

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