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Vertical split in Assam BJP over president

Simmering difference seems to have crippled Assam BJP unit hardly six months before the assembly polls. The party in rank and file are heading for a verticle split over the new president as Siddharth Bhattacharya’s tenure ends. Bhattacharya and his loyalists want extenion till the assembly polls while many others are dead opposed to it. But who will be the new president to lead the party in the assembly polls early next year?

Bhattacharya is believed to have sought the extention in view of the assembly polls. Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma who is also learnt to have urged the central leadership to retain Bhattacharya as the state unit president triggering stiff resistance from many senior leaders including a few sitting MPs and MLAs.

 A cricle of senior leaders and MPs has already apprised the central leadership of the possible adverse impact in the polls if Bhattacharya is allowed to continue the post. They have told the leadership that the party would have to pay the heavy price under Bhattacharya’s leadership. The Central leadership want Sarbananda Sonowal to replace Bhattacharya. But a senior party leader who refused to be named told Assam Times that the Union minister is not at all interested to accept the offer.

 “He is not happpy with the state of affairs in the state unit. That’s why, he is least interested to take the rein. Then he will have to quit as Union minister,” said the senior BJP leader. “Definitely, if BJP president asks him to go and take over as state unit president Sonowal has no option but to do so. But he is not interested,” he said.   

 Rajen Gohain, Ram Prasad Sarma, Ramen Deka, Rameswar Teli and Bijaya Chakrabarty don’t want Bhattacharya as president while Kamakhya Prasad Tasa is ready to folllow what Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma wants. Notably, the central leadership has yet to allow 9 sitting Congress MLAs promising poll tickets only acting on the protest from the state leadership.

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Lampi: torn in between ‘development’ and loyalty

Stockpile of electric posts for Rajiv Gandhi Rural Electrification Scheme have been for months at Upper Lampi
25 Apr 2013 - 2:00pm | Chandan Kumar Duarah
No doubt, it is one of the most beautiful places in the state of Assam, India. Lampi or Langpih—as the Khasi people calls it—is a hamlet cradled in the hilly terrains of Assam bordering Meghalaya,a neighbouring state. Surrounded by hills where the humming of cascading streams fills the silence, Lampi is yet to witness the boons and banes of a modern life. So pollution, thankfully, is absent. But also absent are the basic amenities like health services, schools, electricity, good cooking fuel, sanitation and nutrition that deprive its residents of the rights which are constitutionally guaranteed to them. 

With a population of about eleven thousand, mostly Nepalis and Khasis, Lampi falls under the Boko sub division of Kamrup district in Assam. Agriculture and live stock rearing continue to be the mainstay of its people. Jhum or shifting cultivation is still prevalent. However, in the recent years much of Lampi’s forests are gone.

The road condition from Boko to Lampi is beyond description and so there is no regular bus service. People hire pick-up vans when they travel from Lampi Bazar to Boko and vice versa. One has to stand all the twenty kilometers distance. The business center is the Lower Lampi Bazar, with hardly 10 shops around. A marbled inscription constantly reminds the residents the day when the state health and education minister inaugurated the programme of road construction. Arjun Sarma, a local youth from Boko said that a total amount of Rs 12 crore was allotted for the construction project. But five years down the line, it is still the old kuchha road.

Electric posts without cables stand as lonely sentinels by the roadside all the way from Boko to Lampi. From Lower Lampi to Upper Lampi, such posts are seen lying in stockpile. Electricity or no electricity, contractors meanwhile collected their cheques issued under the scheme--Rajiv Gandhi Gramin Vadyutikaran Yojona (RGGVJ)--alleges Dipak Sarma, a youth leader. Same is the story with the rural water supply scheme.

The Lower Lampi Middle English School established in 1988 with 65 students awaits provincialization. Chandra Sarma, the headmaster said that he and his six assistant teachers are yet to get their salary. It is been two decades now that these six teachers are providing services without any salary. After passing out the VIIth standard, students have to move out of Lampi to Boko or other distant places for their admission in a high school.  Omprakash Shirish  is another teacher working in Brindaban Lower Primary School at Makaribari village in Lampi for 27 seven years without any government assistance.

The apathy shown by the Assam Government has meanwhile encouraged a section of local leaders to be more inclined towards the Meghalaya administration. This camaraderie grew in recent times so much so that Meghalaya started calling Lampi as a part of its own territory and asked the Khasi community of Lampi to cast their vote in the Meghalaya state election. This has been the reason for the turmoil in Lampi a few years back. Meanwhile, the bordering neighbor started grabbing land in Lampi .Vast stretches of forestland cleaned overnight and the neighboring administration started implementing schemes meant for Meghalaya in Assam’s Lampi to attract the Khasi community’s vote. The Meghalaya Government went a step further and started issuing land pattas to the people living along the border.  Now they are trying to woo these people with basic facilities like electricity and water.

It is to be seen in the near future, whether it is loyalty to the state or electricity and drinking water that wins over the residents of Lampi!

Tight security along Assam-Nagaland border

12 Aug 2009 - 10:18am | editor

A group of ULFA cadres is waiting along the Assam- Nagaland border to monger trouble in upper Assam in the run up to the Independence Day. These are what the inputs available with the intelligence agencies forcing the authorities to go for a beefed up security measures in these areas.

According to information, a group of militants had entered Nagaland from Myanmar and were trying to enter Assam to cause disturbances ahead of the Independence Day.

The police has also received information that two ULFA militants Rupantor Kakoty and Niren Sarma who entered Sonari from Mon district in Nagaland have also brought three Improvised Explosive Device (IED) with them.

Meanwhile, Security has been tightened along the inter-state border and other parts of the district following the reports and a massive combing operation has been launched to nab the militants.

Eviction of illegal saw mills welcomed in Udalguri district

20 Oct 2010 - 2:32am | Jayanta Kumar Das

The Udalguri district administration has taken strict actions against illegal saw mills operating at various places of the district.At the direction of SS Meenakshi Sundaram, Deputy Commissioner,Udalguri, a joint team of civil,police and forest officials, headed by TR pegu,SDPO (Bhergaon Sub-division) raided the premises of a few illegal saw mills located at Kalaigaon on October 11.The saw mill had been run by-Saiful Haque,Rahabul Haque,Rashid Ali and asraf Ali of Kalaigaon.The team seized huge amounts of saw timber.The team also raided the premises of another two illegal saw mills Kabirali (10 KM from Kalaigaon)The saw mills had been run by Edward Daimari and Prahar Daimari.According to official sources approximately 500 CFT of swan timbers had been seized from both the places.In another operation,forest officials seized 25 nos of bi-cycles carrying 200 CFT of saw timber at Mazbat,Orang and Rowta areas till October 11.

Bankim Sarma,DFO,Udalguri told this correspondent that the eviction had been possible for coordination and cooperation among police,forest and civil authorities of the district.He also thanked ABSU Udalguri for offering full support to the process of eviction.It needs mention that a number of illegal saw mills had been operating in the district causing untold harm to environment and ecology.People living in the villages had made it a habit of felling even small immature trees to be sawn in the illegal saw mills for earning money.

TR Pegu,SDPO,and in-charge of the operation told this correspondent that any size of timber could be saw in such mills,thereby encouraging village people to sell their immature fruit and valuable household trees.He said that if things were not stopped,Udalguri would turn into a treeless district in future.He appealed people not to fell trees but to plant more and more trees under “Mission Udalguri Green” launched by Udalguri district administration.

It may also be mentioned that a meeting was held at Udalguri Dcs conference hall on October 7 to discuss the matter.Several high ranking officials and heads of organizations ,including- Col.S Upadhaya, CO,315 Field Regiment; Dipen Boro, President,district ABSU; Govinda Basumatari,General Secretary of NDFB (P); leaders of ARSU; AASAA, ABSYF; AAGSU and AKRSU etc attended the meeting which was presided over by SS Meenakshi Sundaram, Deputy Commissioner,Udalguri.It was agreed in the meeting that threat posed by deforestation due to illegal tree felling by a section of antisocial elements would be stopped in the district by evicting all the illegal saw mills including the eviction of Sastrapara timber auction market in the first phase under “Mission Green Udalguri”.

NB:Attached photo shows a portion of the seized timber at Kalaigaon Police Station.