Monday, 31 August 2015
Flood waters from the Brahmaputra have entered Assam's Kaziranga National Park, inundating almost 70 per cent of its 858 sq km area.
The park is famous for its one-horned rhinos. It is divided into five ranges -- Kohora forest range, Bagori forest range, Agratoli forest range, Burha Pahar and the northern forest range.
Though floods in Assam during monsoons is a perennial feature, the spate of torrential rains has flooded around 70 percent of Kaziranga national Park, putting wildlife especially the famous rhino at utmost risk.
According to information, the prime habitat of one horned rhino has been flooded, forcing animals to cross NH-37 at their own peril and move to the foothills of Karbi Anglong hills for their safety.
Though the prevailing situation in this famed National Park is grim but thankfully no loss of wildlife has been reported till date, said a senior official of the state forest department.
For safety of animals migrating from their habitat due to flooding, the authorities have promulgated Sec 144 from Bokaghat to Holiabor and to control movement of fast vehicles several barricades have been erected to prevent accidental death of wild animals.
“Even though the prime habitat of rhinos has been flooded in Kaziranga Park, the saving grace is that there has not been any loss of wildlife due to the nature’s fury,” said the forest official adding that in a similar kind of floods in Kaziranga in 2012, atleast 600 animals, out of which there were 14 rhino were killed.
The forest minister of Assam has visited Kaziranga to take a stock of situation in the Park and has instructed the departmental staff to constantly monitor the situation.
Also the Union government has promised all assistance to the state to combat the menace of floods and has released 207 crore of its share of second instalment of State Disaster Relief Fund, informed an official.
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One person was killed due to electrocution caused by flash floods triggered by a night-long downpour in Dibrugarh city on Sunday. All the main thoroughfares and most of the localities were flooded, disrupting daily life.
All education institutions in the city were rendered non-functional, while government offices were under flood water.
The power supply and telecommunication services across the district were disrupted across the city.
Floodwaters inundated Milannagar, Grahambazar, Khalihamari, KP Road, Padum Nagar, Amolapatty, Naliapool, Santipara, Chowkidinghee, Ganagapara, Bansbari, Gabharupathar and Seujpur areas.
The residents were caught unawares by the flash flood and had a harrowing time with water seeping into their homes. Major portions of the busy Mancotta road were under water. It is the town's lifeline and the downpour threw traffic out of gear.
The situation was the same in several other arteries like RKB Road, KC Gogoi Road and PN Road.
The SP office, DC office campus, police reserve, Gabharupathar police station remained submerged.
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Friday, 28 August 2015
Chief Minister Gogoi meets Home Minister Rajnath Singh, seeks Rs. 500 crore from Centre as interim flood relief
Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi today met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi and sought an interim relief of Rs. 500 crore for relief, rehabilitation and repair works in flood-affected areas across the state.
"We need Rs. 500 crore as an interim relief from the Centre," Gogoi said.
Gogoi lamented the Centre has not released the amount that the state government sought after floods last year.
The Centre has released Rs 207 crore for conducting relief and rehabilitation of people affected in the current floods in Assam, Jitendra Singh, union minister for development of Northeastern Region (DoNER) said on Tuesday.
Singh said this sum was otherwise due for release in December, but the Centre had released it four months in advance in view of the devastation caused by the current waves of floods in the state.
Sheena Bora’s brother Mikhail Bora has claimed that he knew the "exact reason" for the crime by their mother but will do the needful only if she does not confesses it to the police
"I believe that our mother killed my sister. I know the exact reason of the murder and it is not the ones that are being told to the media," Sheena's brother Mikhail Bora, who stays with his maternal grandparents in Guwahati, told reporters.
Asked about the motive behind the murder, he said, "I am sorry, I will not tell it to you now. I will wait till she (Indrani Mukerjea) confesses it in front of police. If she does not, then I will do whatever is necessary."
Bora said Sheena was his own sister and "it is shocking that our own mother introduced her daughter as her sister. That means she was telling lies from the beginning."
Indrani had taken Sheena along with her to Mumbai for higher studies and admitted her at St Xavier's College. Later, Sheena had joined a corporate house as an employee.
"I did not know that my sister was no more till this news came in. When she disappeared in 2012, mother used to tell me that Sheena had gone to USA for higher studies. Even when she (Indrani) visited Guwahati in 2013, she told us that Sheena was fine and is in the US," Mikhail said.
Indrani left her two children with her parents here and settled outside Assam after her first marriage.
Mikhail said they met their mother only around 12 years back when Indrani had visited Guwahati.
Thursday, 27 August 2015
One of the city’s oldest police stations, Panbazar police station, will be one among three in the country interacted with Prime Minister Narendra Modi via video conference today.
The other two police stations are Tundla in Uttar Pradesh and Cubbon Park in Bangalore.
Panbazar police station has adopted the Digital India initiative under the government’s Crime and Criminal Tracking Network & Systems (CCTNS) project.
CCTNS aims at creating an integrated system for increasing the efficiency at the police station level through e-governance, and use of IT enabled network to investigate crime and track down criminals.
An official source said the Prime Minister interacted with the officials of the police stations about computerisation of their respective police stations under the crime and criminal tracking network system.
The network system is an ambitious project of the Centre to connect all police stations in the country through the Internet. It is designed to facilitate collection, storage, retrieval, analysis, transfer and sharing of data and information among police stations in states and central police organisations.
The source said Panbazar police station was picked because it has been computerised under the system.
The video-conferencing will start around 3.30pm, the source added.
Model and actress Sweety Baruah was found dead inside her apartment at Bora Service area in Guwahati under mysterious circumstances. Family sources claimed that she was murdered.
Sweety was married to Dhrubajyoti Baruah.
Her family said that she had an affair with one Neel Lahkar. They suspected Neel’s hand in the death of Sweety.
Wednesday, 26 August 2015
Union DoNER Minister Dr. Jitendra Singh on Tuesday alleged that Assam government has not submitted the much needed flood report to Centre.
Singh reached Bongaigaon on Tuesday morning and made an aerial survey of flood hit areas in lower Assam. Accompanied by Guwahati MP Bijoya Chakravarty among others, Dr. Singh monitored the flood situation of Bongaigaon, Kokrajhar, Dhubri and other areas.
14 persons have lost their lives in recent flood. Official data revealed that Over 5 lakh 52 thousand people in 13 districts are affected.
Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) Dr Jitendra Singh, accompanied by a team of senior officials of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and senior officers of Central and State administration, today undertook an extensive aerial survey of the flood affected areas of Goalpara, Kokrajhar, Dhubri and Bongaigaon in Assam.
He announced the advance release of second instalment of the central share of State Disaster Relief Fund (SDRF) amounting to approximately Rs.207 crore. He also disclosed that an inter-ministerial team of the Government of India will be visiting the flood affected areas for a detailed assessment of the damages and based on the assessment, further relief amount will also be announced.
At the same time, he reiterated the Central Government’s request to the State Government to immediately send the memorandum outlining the extent of damage so that the same could also be taken into cognizance while determining the further financial help to be provided to the State administration.
Addressing a meeting of State administration Dr Jitendra Singh assured that the Government of India and particularly the Prime Minister himself were personally keeping track of relief and rescue operations in the area and he, along with a team of officers, had been specially deputed to take an on-the-spot assessment and provide all necessary help to the State Government.
Dr Jitendra Singh further explained that normally the State Disaster Relief Fund (SDRF) for any State is shared between the Centre and State in the ratio of 75:25 but in case of Assam and some other States, it is being funded by the Central Government to an extent of 90%. However, he added, in case the State Government of Assam finds itself unable to cope with it, the Central Government is always readily available to lend its full support and directions to this effect have been issued.
Tuesday, 25 August 2015
Onion prices are bringing tears to the eyes of the consumers all over the country, more so in Assam because of the huge difference between the wholesale and retail prices and the State Government has totally failed to take effective steps to control the skyrocketing prices.
Traders here have attributed a poor crop at source to the rising onion prices in Assam and apprehend that the kitchen staple might push the half-century mark in the state's retail market in the days to come.
Onions have yet again dealt a blow to the common man's purse with retail prices of the commodity already pushing Rs 50-60 a kg in most markets in Assam.
Sources said that shortage of production in some onion producing areas of the country because of low rainfall is one of the reasons for the short supply and price rise. Moreover, during the first half of the year, when the prices were very low, the Government of India exported onion and now the government is planning to import at a much higher prices to tide over the situation.
Chief minister Tarun Gogoi on Monday stopped short of attacking his former ministerial colleague Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma but left none in doubt about his feelings for his one-time "blue-eyed boy"-turned bête noire a day after Sarma announced his decision to join the BJP.
Addressing a news conference in Dispur,Tarun Gogoi admitted: "He was my blue-eyed boy. I backed him despite reservations from senior colleagues. Even Delhi used to criticise me. He was efficient and keen to learn. I trusted him blindly. I signed anything he gave me. I also helped him set up his TV channel. I do not know why he is unhappy with me. Do not know why he left. We have been with the Congress even when it was passing through a difficult phase".
Monday, 24 August 2015
Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Sunday made an aerial survey of severely flood affected districts of Kokrajhar, Chirang, Bongaigaon, Goalpara and Dhubri.
After an aerial survey of more than two hours, the Chief Minister said the state government has stepped up rescue and relief operations in the state with all ministers and officials directed to visit the affected districts to monitor relief operations.
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Congress MP from Kaliabor constituency Gaurav Gogoi on Sunday asked BJP to name the party’s chief ministerial candidate in Assam in 2016 elections.
Reacting to a journalist’s question, Gaurav, son of Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi, said that BJP should make it clear whether Sarbananda Sonowal or Siddhartha Bhattacharya or Himanta Biswa Sarma will be the party’s chief ministerial candidate.
Dissident Congress leader Himanta Biswa Sarma joined the saffron party on Sunday in New Delhi.
Wednesday, 19 August 2015
Voting is underway at 190 polling stations for the Tiwa Autonomous Council elections on Wednesday.
746 polling officials are engaged in the process in various parts of Morigaon district, while another 300 polling and presiding officers remained in reserve.
All the zonal magistrates along with 19 sector officers took charge of supervision duty. Eight companies of paramilitary forces were detailed to maintain law and order in the TAC poll areas.
Counting of votes will be held on August 22 at the District Institute of Education and Training (DIET), Morigaon.
Around 70,000 people and over 3,900 hectares of crop area in Assam have been hit by the second wave of floods as the southwest monsoon turned 'vigorous' in the northeast in the past 24 hours.
The Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) said 4,315 flood-hit people in Kokrajhar district have been shifted to nine temporary relief camps.
Dhemaji, Kokrajhar, Bongaigaon, Chirang and Lakhimpur districts have been hit by the current wave of floods.
The first wave of floods in June had affected more than 1.5 lakh people in the state.
Over 52,000 of those affected are from the worst-hit Bongaigaon district where 59 villages and localities have been inundated.
The ASDMA has issued flash flood alerts for several low-lying and densely-populated areas of the city, including Anil Nagar, Nabin Nagar, Tarun Nagar, Ganeshguri, Hatigaon and Dispur, due to overflowing of the local drainage system.
Similar alerts of low to moderate floods in the next 24 to 48 hours have been issued for Barpeta, Baksa, Chirang, Bongaigaon, Nalbari, Kamrup (Rural), Dhemaji, Lakhimpur, Sonitpur and Jorhat districts. The ASDMA said the Brahmaputra, Ji Bharali and Beki rivers are flowing above the danger level at Nematighat in Jorhat, Sonitpur and Barpeta, respectively.
The Met department said available data indicates that the southwest monsoon has been vigorous over Assam and Meghalaya and active over Arunachal Pradesh Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura in the past 24 hours.
The Met department warning said, "Heavy to very heavy rainfall will occur in a few places on August 18 and 19 and there will be heavy rainfall at isolated places over Arunachal Pradesh on August 20. Heavy rain will occur in isolated places over Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura on August 20, 21 and 22."
Tuesday, 18 August 2015
Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Monday impressed upon the Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for DoNER, Dr. Jitendra Singh to take steps to expedite the completion of the projects like multi-level car parking, water ways project and expansion of LGBI Airport and release of necessary funds ear-marked for these projects at the earliest.
In a meeting with union Minister of State for Development of the Northeastern Region (DoNER) Jitendra Singh, Gogoi called for steps to expedite the completion of projects like multi-level car parking, waterways project and expansion of the Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport in Guwahati and release of necessary funds ear-marked for these projects at the earliest.
He also requested the DoNER minister to take proactive steps to evolve a framework to address all delays in implementing the projects, according to an official statement.
The DoNER minister, who is on a day-long visit to Assam, assured the chief minister that all bottlenecks would be removed for quick implementation of the projects.
"Because of the delays in executing the projects, benefits keep eluding the people for whom the projects have been envisaged," Gogoi said.
Gogoi also suggested that the central and state government officials should sit together to address all the shortcomings to avoid inordinate delays in releasing the funds and implementing the projects.
He also informed Singh that the development of the state without Special Category status would lead to slowing down of several developmental activities which might again lead to popular resentment and law and order problems.
The chief minister pointed out that the northeast required significant investment in infrastructure to enter into the next phase of development.
Roads, airway projects and development of inland water transport needed to be adequately funded to bring about inclusive development of the region, he said.
Referring to the expansion of the airport in Guwahati, Gogoi also urged the DoNER minister to take steps to improve intra-regional connectivity which would not only bring about all-round development of the northeastern region but also bring the region closer to the mainstream.
Gogoi asked the DoNER ministry to take up with the appropriate authorities the issue of increasing the frequency of flights to major cities and towns of the region.
The State Disaster Management Authority has issued Low Urban Flash Flood alert today for the next 24 to 36 hours at Anil Nagar, Nabin Nagar, Tarun Nagar, Ganeshguri, Hatigaon, Dispur area of Guwahati city.
Regional Meteorological Centre in Guwahati predicted heavy rain in the city in next 48 hours.
At least 15,000 people are reeling under the fury of flood in Dhemaji, Kokrajhar, Chirang and Bongaigaon districts of Assam. Official sources said that 78 villages have been affected in recent surge of water. Three rivers are flowing above the danger level. No relief camps have been set up as of now.
Monday, 17 August 2015
Sensation prevailed at the ministers’ colony at Dispur in Guwahati as a bodyguard of minister Sumitra Patir committed suicide by shooting himself last night.
Security guard Akhil Haloi shoot at his head with a INSAS rifle. He was rushed to Guwahati Medical College Hospital in serious conditions. He was declared dead at 1 am.
Security forces on Sunday recovered a massive quantity of explosives in Charing at Sivasagar district.
Police recovered these explosives at a bus stand in Hatighuli area.
Security measures in Upper Assam have been tightened up after apprehensions that anti-national elements might target the state.
Friday, 7 August 2015
The search operation for the missing Pawan Hans helicopter in Arunachal Pradesh resumed this morning with teams focusing on two locations near Dadam village.
As per data provided by Sukhoi images collected during its hour-long reccee, the Army and the district administration are concentrating the search operation in two locations near Dadam village, Chief Secretary Ramesh Negi said.
"The search teams have zeroed in at a mountainous site near the river Terun Ku between Dadam village and Sanliam village.The search in that particular area has been propelled by some authentic sources received from some eyewitnesses belonging to Dadam and Thinsa villages," district information and public relation officer (DIPRO) D Bosai, who is a part of the rescue team, said.
Every effort is being made to locate the site of the place from where a blast-like sound emanated on Tuesday after the helicopter went missing with three persons on board, he added.
While the ground search operation by Army, IRBn, locals, panchayat leaders and district administration officials started since 4.30 AM, Army and IAF choppers took off from Dibrugarh in Assam to carry search operation, state civil aviation secretary B M Mishra said.
The Dauphin twin-engine helicopter of Pawan Hans went missing with Tirap deputy commissioner Kamlesh Kumar Joshi and two pilots - Captain M S Brar and Captain Rajeev Hoskote, after it took off from Khonsa in Tirap district at around 10.45 AM on Tuesday.
Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has ordered a preliminary inquiry into the incident, while Pawan Hans authorities deputed teams from New Delhi and Guwahati and ordered an internal inquiry.
The district administration has also announced incentives for the villagers engaged in search and rescue operation.
The inauguration program of Don Bosco statue at Bharalumukh in Guwahati by Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi was cancelled as some unknown people damaged the statue last night.
Security has been tightened in the area following the incident.
Hundreds of people in Bharalumukh area had protested against the move to set up the statue.
Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi was scheduled to unveil the statue of the Italian Roman Catholic priest at Bharalumukh at 10.00 am on August 8.
Thursday, 6 August 2015
The chief ministers of Assam and Manipur have urged the Centre to immediately disclose the details of the framework agreement between the Centre and the NSCN (IM).
Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi while welcoming the peace deal said, “Though the agreement has been reached after prolonged struggle by the Naga group, it is astonishing why the clauses of the agreement are kept in the dark. Even the Ministry of Home Affairs has given the impression that it is in the dark about the details of the agreement... To keep such an important document under wraps raises doubt about its veracity. It also raises doubt that the peace deal might affect the interests of Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh.’’
Gogoi also said that he will oppose tooth and nail any move that affects the “interests” of Assam.
Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh categorically said that he was shocked and surprise at the same time while expressing his happiness over the deal. He also asked the Centre to immediately share the details with all the state governments in the North-East.
“There was no consultation done with Manipur or other state governments. This deal is very important for the North-East and would impact the region. It is not a question of only Nagaland. New Delhi should have taken everyone into confidence before signing. We will not tolerate any threat to the territorial integrity of Manipur,” Ibobi said during a press conference.
One of the core demands of the NSCN(IM) is creation of Greater Nagalim by integrating Naga inhabited areas of Assam, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland. Except for Nagaland, all the other states are opposed to the idea.
Civil society groups and political parties have welcomed the accord, but they were cautious to respond. “We welcome the accord but we need to see its contents before making further comments,” said Naga Hoho president P Chuba Ozukum. Naga Hoho is the apex body of all Naga tribes.
All the other NSCN factions including NSCN(K) has remained tight-lipped.
Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Wednesday visited Timtimia village in Jorhat district following Pratidin Time’s news reports stating rice production was very less under the state government’s ambitious ‘Momai Tamuli Barbaruah Krishak Bandhu Achani’. The mega agricultural scheme was inaugurated by Gogoi at the same village in March this year.
Gogoi inspected the paddy fields to take firsthand account of villagers’ claim that rice production was very less due to use of government supplied seeds under the scheme.
The Chief Minister said that a high level inquiry will be conducted into the allegations.
Along with his Cabinet colleague Rockybul Hussain the Chief Minister left no chance to woo the local people by planting the seedlings in the paddy field of the village during the inauguration of the scheme.
Wednesday, 5 August 2015
Famous handicraft artist Dadhi Pathak passed away at his residence at Tihu in Nalbari district of Assam on Tuesday.
Pathak was well known for making bamboo tooth, bamboo cycle and other excellent of cane and bamboo items.
A helicopter of state-run Pawan Hans with four persons on board went missing after taking off from Dibrugarh in Assam for Khonsa district in Arunachal Pradesh on Tuesday.
The four people on board included the pilot, crew and District Collector of Tirap district Kamlesh Joshi in the Dauphin N3 helicopter, which lost touch with the Air Traffic Control after taking off at around 11 am.
The helicopter was last located through signal at 11:30 am. The chopper was on its way from Dibrugarh to Khonsa and then to Lamding in Assam.
"We are trying to contact the pilot but as of now no link has been established with the missing helicopter," sources said.
Tuesday, 4 August 2015
Subscribers in Assam were hassled as Reliance Communications’ network crashed on Monday. The network was down in Guwahati and most of the districts of Assam, according to the Reliance mobile users.
The cellphones on the Reliance network suddenly went blank on Monday morning.
Many users vented out their anger on Facebook page of Reliance Mobile. Hundreds of people randomly posted their complaints on the company’s official Facebook page.
Even the Reliance Communications care lines were also not accessible.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a peace accord on Monday with the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM) faction, an armed rebel group, paving the way to end the country's oldest insurgency.
The terms of the agreement were not immediately known. PM Modi is expected to make a statement regarding the matter in Parliament soon.
But under the broad framework of the peace settlement, the Naga leadership has given up its demand for integration of the Naga inhabited areas under one administration, and has accepted the primacy of the Indian Constitution, the sources said.
On its part, New Delhi has said it accepts the "uniqueness of the Naga history and culture" and indicated its willingness to give Nagas living outside Nagaland autonomy in governance.
Announcing the settlement in a special address to the nation, PM Modi said, "Today is historic, a golden moment, when they quit weapons and join the mainstream. I welcome them".
Thuingaleng Muivah, general secretary of the NSCN-IM, who was there along with home minister Rajnath Singh and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, thanked PM Modi.
"The Nagas will forever remember you for your statesmanship," he said, adding, "Under Modi we have come close to understanding each other and have worked out a new relation."
The Naga insurgency is six decades old. The NSCN-IM, one of the several separatist groups in the north-east, has been fighting for an independent, ethnic Naga homeland uniting parts of Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and areas of Myanmar, with which it shares a border.
The key demand for Greater Nagalim - as it was called -- was a major stumbling block for any agreement. "Integration was not possible and there will be territorial boundaries of the any state, a senior official said, adding, "Naga leadership and New Delhi had shown pragmatism in appreciating each others compulsions." "Integration isn't part of this agreement," he added
New Delhi, which has been in talks with NSCM-IM since 1997, indicated that it was willing to consider that the Autonomous Hill Councils to give Nagas outside Nagaland a greater say in deciding their immediate governance.
The NSCN-K, the breakaway faction of the NSCN, however, was not part of the settlement. The faction, which broke away in 1998, is believed to have been behind the attack on an Army convoy in June, in which 18 soldiers died.
Monday, 3 August 2015
A red alert has been sounded across Assam ahead of the Independence Day celebrations. Senior police officials said that ULFA-I, NDFB(S) and some other outfits may try to create disturbance in Assam. A group of ULFA militants are believed to have sneaked into the state. Security has been beefed up across the state including Guwahati. Assam government has sought additional forces from the Centre to be deployed in the state.
Security forces have arrested four militants of ULFA-I and NDFB(S) in separate incidents in Assam, police said today. Official sources said, while three militants belonging to Songbijit faction of National Democratic Front of Bodoland were arrested from Nalbari and Chirang districts, one ULFA-I militant was apprehended in Udalguri district. Arms and ammunitions have also been recovered from them.
Over 20,000 consumers have responded so far in the North East to give up their LPG subsidy. Sources in the Indian Oil Corporation said that over 8,600 people have surrendered their subsidy in Assam alone following the appeal of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to do so.
Every consumer who gives up subsidy will help in providing LPG connection to a BPL family. Official data revealed that highest 1,300 consumers under Indian Oil Corporation have given up their subsidy in Kamrup Metro district in Assam. On the other hand, consumers in 15 districts have surrendered their LPG subsidy under Hindustan Petroleum. Hoardings and banners have been displayed at public places appealing more people to give up their LPG subsidy.