Police and para military forces are on maximum alert in the tea garden areas apprehending an orgy of violence over the bonus impasse.
In a message to the DCs and SPs, the authorities have asked them to ensure round the clock vigil in the tea community dominated areas saying an impending agitation over bonus payment might take a violent turn in the run up to the Durga puja.
The Assam government has already announced 20 per cent bonus for the ACTL owned tea garden workers. But the other gardens, mostly, have denied 20 per cent bonus which might erupt protest among the workers.
A high level security meeting was held at Raj Bhawan yesterday late night in presence of Union Home Minister Shiv Raj Patil, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, Assam Govt. Chief Secretary, Director General of Police, Principal Secretary (Home), Home Commissioner and other senior officials. The Union Home Minister, Shivraj Patil asserted that stern action would be taken against those involved in the serial blasts, which resulted in the death of more than 77 persons so far. The Union Home Minister arrived in the city this afternoon and immediately after his arrival, he flew to Kokrajhar - another blast site to take stock of the situation.
The Union Home Minister expressed his sympathies to the family members of those killed in the blasts and assured that the Centre would extend all necessary help to the State in this hour of crisis. He said that the steps taken by the State Government so far were in the right direction and hoped that such actions would enable the State to cope with such eventualities in future.
The tour programme of Patil has been rescheduled and he is stayed back in the city tonight. He is likely to visit Barpeta today morning to take stock of the situation.
Mean while indefinite curfew has been relaxed in the city except Ganeshguri area. But then Bandh in protest of the Thurday's terror attack has paralyzed the city. Several organisations have called for bandhs to register their protest against yesterday's serial blasts that took over 77 lives so far. While the Sadou Assam Karmachari Parishad (SAKP) has decided to observe November 1 as a black day in protest against the blasts, the Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba-Chattra Parishad (AJYCP) today burnt the effigy of the jehadi and fundamentalist forces. Members of the All Guwahati Students' Union (AGSU), the city unit of the All Assam Students' Union (AASU), burnt the effigy of the Union Home Minister in protest against the failure of the Central Government to check illegal migration and infiltration of the Bangladesh-based jehadis.
Several other organisations have condemned the blasts. The organisations include the Assam State Commission for Women, Assam Pradeshik Mahila Samity, All India Central Council of Trade Unions, Assam Tribune Employees' Union, Save Guwahati Build Guwahati, All Assam Non-Tribal Students' Union, Big 92.7 FM, Assam Petroleum Mazdoor Union, All India Trade Union Congress, city unit of the Nationalist Congress Party, Cooperative City Bank Employees' Association, teachers and students of B Borooah College and the All Assam Muslim Council.
Candle peace rallies calling for peace and harmony and expressing condolence to the victims of the blast last evening. City based fm channel BIG 92.7 FM, some youth organizations and artists association took out peace rallies to Dighalipukhuri par.
“Please give me a cup of tea” this is the first sentence relaxed Anil says to his wife after coming back home completing tiresome day long initiatives in the Panchayat. Anil got elected recently as a ward member of the Panchayat where Anamika a lady from the neighboring ward also got elected. Both of them came back from the Panchayat at the same time but Anil reached home a little early as he came by his motor bike.
Anamika was also dead tired after her daylong work in the Panchayat. Walking home added to her tiredness. Reaching home she finds lots of unwashed dishes in the sink. Whole the family members had their lunch and dumped the dishes as they consider it as the work of the Buwari (daughter in law) in the family only. Terribly tired Anamika dragged herself to clean the dishes first after changing. Prepared tea for everybody in the family including for herself, cleaned the rooms of the house, brought the cloths from the quad which she put for sun after washing in the morning, took care of the children, made them to seat on the study table, helped them to understand the difficult lessons, started preparing the dinner for the family, took care of her husband and in-laws so on and so forth.
This is the social and cultural difference of job description of Anil and Anamika. A male elected representative and a female elected representative of Panchayat. After the 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act more than 9000 Anamikas come in to power to shape the future of the state. Involvement of women on the social and political decision making is the need of the time to secure the future of the human race.
However, the women leaders coming into power by virtue of reservation is facing problem in the family, society, bureaucracy and political party level. The women leaders could bring about a change fulfilling the aspirations of the Constitution, if there is a public support and opinion for the women leadership in the Panchayats.
Media being the master of public opinion building, no effective women leadership could be expected without partnership of media on the issue. Media and judiciary have set examples of being with the democracy in the country when legislation and executives fails to protect it. Hence, North East Social Trust (NEST) along with The Hunger Project, New Delhi is working strategically with the media of the state to strengthen women leadership in the Panchayats. The Hunger Project is also providing Sarojini Naidu Prize every year to the journalists of India highlighting positive stories on Elected Women Representatives of Panchayats.
Ever increasing numbers of newspapers and TV channels have expanded the need of rural journalists in an exponential rate in the state of Assam. However, there is very little opportunity for the new incumbents to the journalism to learn the basics of this profession before joining the print and electronic media. There was a good deal of demand from the rural journalists of Assam to have some level of interaction, if not training, from competent personality in this sector.
In the month of May 2009 three media workshops were organized in Lakhimpur, Jorhat and Golaghat districts of Assam where more than 100 rural journalists participated. Apart from discussing basics of the Panchayati Raj Institutions and women leadership in it, importance of positive reporting, development journalism and status of media in the state was discussed in these workshops.
Nava Thakuria, an independent senior journalist from the region participated in all the 3 workshops as the key facilitator and emphasized on the present Trend of Changes in the Media, Positive Development Journalism, and Role of Media on Building Opinion for Strengthening Women Leadership in the Local Governance etc.
Thakuria suggested the rural journalists to be vigilant and not to mix the literary writing with the journalistic one. He expressed his concern of harming both the sectors of ‘literature’ and ‘news’ due to mixing in the present trend of media in Assam. He also pointed that the ‘Internet Portals are coming up as a very strong viable alternative space for journalists’. When the state media get bias to special political party or a special school of thought and journalists find it difficult to get space for genuine stories, he should go for writing in Portals whose reader base is escalating phenomenally.
Mrinal Talukder, correspondent of UNI for last 17 years from this region, participated in the workshops of Jorhat and Golaghat district as resource person. He expressed his anguish to the rural journalist on the fact that the “Media of Assam is fast losing its relevance”. The ever decreasing credibility of various newspapers and TV channels among the mass people of the state is of major concern to the media as a whole, he added.
He also pointed the gap between the potential and actual readers of newspapers in Assam. “When we have more than 2.5 crore population, the volume of newspaper readers is not more than 5 lakhs”. Hence, newspaper is failing measurably on building any opinion in the true sense at the moment. Are the citizens of the state rejecting what we write or the way we write? Is the kind of negativity existing in the newspaper is the hindrance of increasing the reader base in the state? These are some of the unanswered questions carried by the rural journalist at the end of the workshops.
This story is written by Tasaduk Ariful Hussain, Executive Director of North East Social Trust (NEST). Hussain is working in the field of community development for last 13 years in various parts of India. He is also the founder of NEST, a voluntary organization working for last 7 years in exploring alternative livelihood, strengthening grassroots democracy and elementary education. Hussain completed M. Tech. and carried out scientific research and teaching before coming into the sector of ‘development’.
24 Mar 2009 - 6:43pm | editor
Several candidates have collected nomination papers from Monday from the returning officers for the first phase of polls in Karbi Anglong, NC hills and Cachar districts slated for April 16.
According to information, there was no filing of nominations on the first day but five candidates had collected their forms from the returning officers on Monday. Elections during the first phase of polling would be held in Autonomous Hills (ST) constituency along with Silchar and Karimganj parliamentary seats in Barak Valley.
The last date for filing nominations is March 30, while the date of scrutiny is March 31 and the last date for withdrawal of nominations is April 2. Elections to the remaining eleven seats would be held in the second phase on April 23, for which notification will be issued on March 28.