One lakh farmers to be covered in 2015-16


GUWAHATI, Oct 5 – The State government is working to expand coverage of crop insurance schemes in Assam to at least one lakh farmers in 2015-16.

Official sources told The Assam Tribune that as part of the plan, all companies have been asked to focus on non-loanee farmers and to raise awareness about the benefits of crop insurance.

The coverage of farmers under both the National Agricultural Insurance Scheme (NAIS) and the Weather-Based Crop Insurance Scheme (WBCIS) in Assam is very low. We are working to expand coverage and we are hopeful of covering at least one lakh farmers this year, said an official.

In 2013-14, altogether 57,874 farmers and 48,348.17 hectares of farmland had been covered under the two schemes, in addition to the ten existing modified National Agricultural Insurance Scheme (NAIS), which had been implemented in two districts.

However, the coverage came down the following year. In 2014-15, both the NAIS and the WBCIS together were able to cover 46,982 farmers and 27,866.95 hectares of farmland.

The term sheet was delayed. In the Kharif 2014 season, coverage was done through WBCIS in all 27 districts for both agricultural and horticultural crops. But in the Rabi 2014-15 season, WBCIS only covered horticultural crops, while NAIS covered all agricultural crops, the official said.

A total of 21,656 farmers were covered by WBCIS in Kharif 2014 season. The scheme covered 1,593 farmers for horticultural crops in the 2014-15 Rabi season, while another 23,642 farmers were covered by the NAIS for agricultural crops.



Public ransack Sonapur hospital


JORABAT, Oct 5 – A chaotic situation prevailed at the 200-bed district civil hospital at Sonapur, when an irate public went on the rampage alleging that proper treatment was not given to a girl who had been admitted for treatment of stomach pain.

The guardians of the school student, Pronita Mazumdar (14), alleged that she was admitted to the hospital around 3 pm, but for two hours no treatment was given to her even as she lay in excruciating pain. Treatment was given to her only after 5 pm.

After getting wind of this, a section of the public gathered at the hospital and went berserk, breaking tables and chairs. They alleged that the doctor concerned, Dr Kalpajyoti Saikia, instead of attending on the patient was just using his mobile phone, and that after 5 pm he asked her parents to take her to the GMCH. This further infuriated the public.

The doctor, however, said that the hospital lacked many facilities and equipment as it is new, and the advice to take the patient to the GMCH was given keeping her wellbeing in mind. But the public alleged that the 108 ambulance by which the girl was to be taken to the GMCH, did not even have the facility to provide oxygen to a patient.

The doctor alleged that many people attacked him physically. CRPF personnel were later called in to control the situation. Meanwhile, the Dimoria AASU unit flayed the absence of basic equipment at the hospital.



Padma likely to join BJP

Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, Oct 5 – The Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) may soon face a severe jolt as a senior member of the party and legislator Padma Hazarika is likely to switch over to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) soon. However, Hazarika said that he would announce his decision on whether to shift to the BJP only after detailed discussion with the party workers.

Hazarika told The Assam Tribune today that he would announce his decision only after October 15. He admitted that he had preliminary talks with the leaders of the BJP, but till today, I am a member of the AGP and I have not given any assurance to the BJP leaders.

The AGP legislator said that he has some dissatisfaction over the functioning of the AGP. He revealed that he is having meetings with the local level committees of the AGP in Sootea constituency, which he represents. He has so far held talks with 12 of the 19 local committees of the AGP in the constituency and all the members supported the idea of switching over to the BJP. However, he will finalise his decision only after completing the process of talks with all the local committees.

Hazarika was first elected to the Assam Assembly in 1996 in an AGP ticket. Though he lost in 2001, he was re-elected again in 2006 and 2011. In 2007, he had a narrow escape when militants belonging to the National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB) attacked him for raising his voice against militancy in Sonitpur district.



Gopinath Das remanded to police custody


MIRZA, Oct 5 – Boko AIUDF MLA Gopinath Das was today remanded to two- day police custody in connection with a sexual harassment case lodged by his former domestic help about 28 days back.

Gopinath Das was arrested yesterday at Hajo Chowk near Amingaon. He was produced before the court at Amingaon today. Though police had earlier sought 10 days police custody for the MLA, but the court permitted only two days.

The suspended AIUDF leader is presently being interrogated at Palasbari Police Station. However, police has, till the time of filing this report, not divulged any details about breakthroughs in the investigation.



Indranis judicial custody extended till Oct 19

MUMBAI, Oct 5 – The judicial custody of Indrani Mukherjea, her former husband Sanjeev Khanna and driver Shyam Rai was today extended by a local magistrate till October 19 in connection with the Sheena Bora murder case.

While Khanna and Rai were produced before Magistrate M R Natu at the Esplanade court here via video-conferencing, jail officials sent Indranis warrant to the court in view of her hospitalisation at the State-run JJ Hospital, where she was admitted on Friday in an unconscious condition after she allegedly overdosed on anti-depressant pills.

The 43-year-old media magnate regained consciousness yesterday and is now out of danger. She may be shifted back to the Byculla jail in a couple of days.

Seeking extension of the judicial custody of all the three accused, CBIwhich is now probing the sensational murder casetold the court that they would need further remand for further investigations as it was transferred to them recently, Defence advocate Shreyansh Mithare told PTI.

This is the first time that a Mumbai court has extended the trios custody after the case was transferred to the central agency in mid-September.

On September 7, a fortnight after their arrest and prolonged interrogation, the court had remanded Indrani and her driver Shyam Rai to judicial custody till September 21, which was later extended till October 5.

A day after on September 8, Khanna too was remanded in judicial custody.

Indrani, Khanna and Rai have been arrested on the charge of murdering Sheena and disposing of her body in a Raigad forest in April 2012.



Jorhat, Oct. 3: Poachers killed a rhino at Kaziranga National Park in the wee hours today but failed to take away the horn because of prompt action by the forest guards.

Forest guards and the poachers also engaged in a fierce gun-battle but the group of poachers managed to escape under cover of darkness.

The carcass of the rhino was found near Sarali forest camp under Burapahar range of the national park.

Empty cartridges of AK-47 rifles were recovered from the encounter site.

Official sources said forest guards rushed to the area after hearing a gunshot from near Sarali camp and accosted the group of poachers.

The carcass of the male rhino was recovered later. “The poachers failed to take away the horn because of prompt action by the forest guards,” a Kaziranga official said.



Imphal, Oct. 3: A group of citizens from Manipur valley today reached out to troubled Churachandpur town to share the grief of the relatives of the nine people who died during the ongoing agitation against the three bills passed by the state Assembly.

The 12-member delegation of the Citizens Committee Manipur paid customary respect to those who died during the agitation.

The delegation, headed by former chief minister and chairman of the citizens’ committee Radhabinod Koijam, presented sugar, milk, shawls and financial assistance to the relatives of those who died, according to customary practice to show respect to the victims.

The citizens’ committee is the first organisation from the valley to reach out to Churachandpur town to condole the deaths after trouble broke out in the town on August 31 night, hours after Manipur Assembly passed the Protection of Manipur People Bill, Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms (Seventh Amendment) Bill and Manipur Shops and Establishments (Second Amendment Bill).

Nine persons died during the three days of violent agitation and many were injured.

The agitation against the bills transformed into a movement for creation of a separate administration for the five hill districts.

The town shut down after 1pm today as a part of the ongoing agitation.

The delegation visited the office of the Joint Philanthropic Organisation, a conglomerate of citizen organisations of Churachandpur district, located at the town’s hospital and interacted with the leaders of the philanthropic organisation.

The delegation handed over milk, sugar, shawls and financial assistance to the relatives of the victims through the leaders of the organisation, which is taking care of the relatives of those who died and the injured.

A prayer session was also held for the departed souls.

“We came here today to show respect to the departed souls, to show sympathy to the people suffering in the town and also to appeal to the agitators to find a way to get the ongoing agitation resolved,” Koijam told the organisation.

Stating that the visit has nothing to do with politics and is meant only to show brotherly love, Koijam offered help to the people of the town in their efforts to restore normalcy in the area.

Citizens of Manipur Valley concerned with the development at Churachandpur town formed the citizens’ committee on September 20 with the motto “living together, progressing together and maintaining harmony”.

Today’s visit was the first effort of the committee for maintaining a cordial relationship between the various communities living in Manipur.

Mangcha Thangjom, convener of the philanthropic organisation, welcomed the visit by the delegation and said he was happy with the gestures of the valley committee.

By Khelen Thokchom


Kokrajhar, Oct. 3: Mission Tejaswee – Anaemia Free Assam was launched in Kokrajhar today at a ceremonial programme with vows to prevent anaemia.

Bodoland Territorial Council principal secretary Anupam Roy attended the programme and declared the mission open.

The mission includes a set of activities to be implemented till October 31 for the prevention and treatment of anaemia across the state.

Kokrajhar health joint director J.C. Boro said the mission is to ensure high coverage of iron-folic acid administration in pregnant women and efforts to increase the administration and compliance of iron-folic acid syrup among children aged six-60 months.

Roy said it is a way to increase awareness and knowledge on prevention and treatment of anaemia and also to reduce its incidence in the state.

Niranjan Baruah, assistant deputy commissioner (health) addressed the participants and said anaemia is a serious public health problem among pregnant women, infants, young children and adolescents.

Five militants belonging to Muslim Tiger Force of Assam were apprehended from Guwabari area in Kokrajhar district this morning.

Five arrested: Police sources said based on “secret information”, a joint operation was launched by Kokrajhar police and the army that apprehended five members of the Muslim Tiger Force.

The arrested rebels have been identified as Aminur Islam, Nijam Ali, Anirudin Mondol, Najir Hussain, Nur Hussain, all residents of Kamalsingh Kurshakati village in the district.

Five countrymade rifles, 10 rounds of live ammunition of 7.62mm pistol and other documents were recovered from them.

By Our Correspondent


Villagers block the tracks at Dautuhaja railway station. Telegraph picture

Haflong, Oct. 3: Altogether 245 families of 14 villages of Dautuhaja constituency under Maibang police in Dima Hasao district of Assam have threatened to block rail tracks at Dautuhaja station between Maibang and Mahur on the Lumding-Silchar stretch if compensation is not paid for their land accrued and damaged by the railways for broad gauge conversion.

The blockade started yesterday and continued today also.

“We will continue the blockade till we do not get compensation,” a villager said.

A civil suit was filed by 14 gaonburahs (village heads) of the affected area on June 6, 2005, before the regional court in Haflong which was set up under the provisions of the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.

On December 10, 2013 the court ordered the Northeast Frontier Railway to pay nearly Rs 34 crore to the affected people within a period of 30 days failing which the railways will have to bear the cost together with interest at 9 per cent per day from the date of the order.

The railway authorities then filed a writ petition (civil) before Gauhati High Court. The court registered a case (No. 761/2014).

Justice B.K. Sharma, after hearing both sides on July 24 this year, directed the railways to release the compensation amount to the affected villagers.

“The authorities of the Northeast Frontier Railway have caused heavy and extensive damage to the property of the tribal people during the course of implementing of the project for broad gauge conversion. But the railways has not yet paid a single penny to us; we will not withdraw our agitation till we do not get compensation. We have been fighting for our right for the last 10 years,” Haichungbe Zeme, a villager, said.

Bipul Langthasa, a gaonburah of N. Simplangdisa village, said: “Our fertile land has been accrued or damaged by the railway authorities; our paddy fields were damaged by random earth-cutting. Dumping of earth has also affected the villagers. We have written to all the higher authorities in the district and also to the Prime Minister. Without compensation we will not withdraw the blockade.”

According to reports, the general manager of the NF Railway, R.K. Gupta, told reporters in Guwahati on September 28 that there are chances of beginning passenger services on the section from the first week of November.

By Samsul Alam


Guwahati, Oct. 3: A 44-year-old cancer patient from Hailakandi district was found dead in a lodge here at Ganesguri last night. Police suspect it to be a suicide.

Sources at Dispur police station said the body of Nizamuddin Barbhuiya was found hanging from the ceiling of room number 30 of AR Lodge at Ganeshguri, where he was staying for the past two days. Police said he had come to the city for treatment.

“In our preliminary investigation, we found CT scan reports of the victim that indicated that he had lung cancer. We are suspecting that he might have committed suicide,” police said.

Barbhuiya was a teacher of Fayetbon ME School at Algapur in Hailakandi district in Barak Valley, 400km from here.

In another incident, a 17-year-old girl reportedly committed suicide today in the city’s Satgaon area.

The police said tenants of her rented house rushed her to GNRC Hospital after she was found hanging from the ceiling of her room last night. The doctors at the hospital, however, found her dead.

Her body was handed over to the police by the hospital this morning. She was a student of Class XI in a city college.

“We received a note purportedly written by her where it was written that no one is responsible for the incident. We have sent the letter for forensic examination to ascertain whether it was written by her,” police said.

“However, it is not yet clear on why she had taken the extreme step. So, we are still investigating in the case,” said the investigating officer at Dispur police station RB Baniya.

The body has been send to Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) for autopsy, police said.