Showing posts with label Assam. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Assam. Show all posts
01 August 2013

Demand for Bodoland grows stonger in Assam

Demands for formation of separate state of Kamtapur, Karbi-Anglong have started rending the airs of Assam
With the Union government putting in motion formalities for the formation of the new state of Telangana, the demand for separate statehood for Bodos in Assam has grown stronger. Also, demands for formation of separate state of Kamtapur, Karbi-Anglong have started rending the airs of Assam.

For the North-Eastern state of Assam, which sits on a tinderbox full of sub-nationalistic aspirations, and a state that has been a witness to many secessionist movements in the past, Telengana precedent might put the state on boil.

From rallies to bandhs, rail-blockade to economic blockade, Assam is set to witness all in coming days as Bodo organisations and Koch-Rajbongshi organisations have announced them as part of their plan of action to press for their statehood demands.

To start with, All Bodo Students' Union (ABSU) has announced a 12-hour rail-blockade on August 2, followed by a 60-hour Assam bandh from August 5 and finally a 1,000-hour economic blockade later this month.

As per their preliminary action plan, the All Koch Rajbongshi Students' Union (AKRSU) has called for a 36-hour Assam bandh from August 1.

The Bodoland People's Front (BPF), the ruling party of the autonomous Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC), has taken a resolution too to revive the separate Bodoland-state demand in the wake of the Centre's promise to create separate state of Telangana.

Hagrama Mohilary, chief of BTC as well as BPF, has asked both the Assam government and the Centre to pave the way for creation of Bodoland soon. "If Centre can bifurcate Andhra Pradesh and create Telangana, why can't it bifurcate Assam and create Bodoland. Bodoland demand is not new, it is one of the oldest demands. BTC had already passed the resolution in February 2010 for the creation of Bodoland. The Centre should also table the Bodoland state bill in Parliament soon," said Mohilary.
23 July 2013

Reliance Jio Mulls 4G Rollouts In Assam

Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance

Guwahati, Jul 23
: Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd (RJIL), the telecom arm of Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries has started work for rolling out 4G networks services in two telecom services of Assam and Northeast which encompasses seven states.

Top company executives including Tarun Jhunjhunwala, business head and state mentor (east), Reliance Jio met Assam chief minister, Tarun Gogoi recently and informed him about the roll out plan of the fourth-generation services .

In the first phase the company will be investing around Rs 600 to Rs 700 Crore, which will be gradually scaled up. Mukesh Ambani had telephonic conversation with Gogoi and Ambani expressed his willingness to visit Assam shortly.

Gogoi while talking to ET exclusively said, "Ambani has informed me about his company's plan to come here in big way and roll out 4G services. This venture will create job opportunities for more than 3000 people."

He added that Ambani has expressed his desire to visit Assam. An RJIL official added that company has taken an office in Guwahati and recruited around 100 engineers to carry forward the roll out plan.

The official elaborated work of laying optical fiber network (OFC) work has started across the region.

"Around 800 mobile towers will be installed across Assam alone. We are expecting to finish this work by the year end or early next year and things will be ready for roll out by April next year."
28 June 2013

Over 100 villages, 50,000 people hit by floods in Assam

Over 100 villages, 50,000 people hit by floods in AssamOver 100 villages, 50,000 people hit by floods in Assam

DHEMAJI/GUWAHATI: The flood situation in Assam took a serious turn today with over 100 villages inundated and nearly 50,000 affected people so far.

Ten more villages have been affected in worst-hit Dhemaji district taking the total to 35. An additional 10,000 people have been hit, the district administration said.

"There has been no casualty so far," an official said. The Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) said that apart from Dhemaji, 70 villages have been affected in Golaghat, Kamrup, Karimganj and Jorhat districts.

While about 35,000 people are affected in Dhemaji, nearly 15,000 people are suffering in the other four districts.

The people in the villages have left their homes to take shelter on highlands.

Besides, over 900 hectares of agricultural land with standing crops are under water and nearly 5,500 animals and poultry are affected, ASDMA said.

People alleged that they have not received any relief and there were no rescue measures from the government, leading to protests during the day.

However, official sources said the district administration has directed the authorities concerned to provide adequate relief to the affected people.

The flood this season has also damaged six roads in Golaghat and a bridge. Embankments were breached at two places in Karimganj.
17 June 2013

Assam Government Blood Bank Spreads HIV

By Prasanta Mazumdar

Guwahati, Jun 17 : Four persons have tested positive for HIV after they were transfused blood at a government-run hospital in Assam, sparking off protests.

The matter has came to light on the World Blood Donor Day on Friday. All four of them claimed they received blood from a professional donor at the Mangoldoi civil hospital in Darrang district. The state government immediately ordered a probe, to be conducted by additional chief secretary PP Varma.

A statement from the chief minister’s office said four persons were infected while health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma put the number at two.

One of the victims alleged that he was forced by hospital authorities  to buy blood from the professional donor. “I was suffering from malina and required blood. So, I arranged a donor but the hospital authorities forced me to buy blood from the man,” he alleged. The donor said he had donated blood only on four occasions.  “Every time my bl
10 June 2013

Assam Arrests 18 After Brutal Witchcraft Killing

Guwahati, Jun 10 : At least 18 tribal villagers in India's northeast were arrested for hacking to death a man they suspected of practising witchcraft, police said Saturday.

An Indian soldier patrols the road to Gorubakha village in Assam, on July 22, 2012.

At least 18 tribal villagers in India's northeast were arrested for hacking to death a man they suspected of practising witchcraft, police said Saturday. They claimed they were told to kill the victim by a Hindu goddess who appeared in their dreams.

Mobs have killed at least 200 people over the past five years who they have accused of practising sorcery and witchcraft -- mainly in tribal-dominated areas of western and northern Assam state, Indian police say.

The killing took place on Friday at a tea estate village in Assam's Cachar district, 300 kilometres (180 miles) south of the impoverished state's main city of Guwahati.

Cachar district police chief Diganta Bora told AFP by telephone that the attack was "barbaric with a group of hysterical villagers sacrificing the man by piercing his neck with sharp weapons and chanting religious hymns".

The villagers who took part in the killing of the 55-year-old man believed the victim was practising witchcraft and were seeking to "appease the goddess Kali", the Hindu deity of destruction, Bora said.
"Villagers said during police questioning the goddess told them in their dreams to kill this man to prevent disease and other ills from spreading into their village," Bora said.

Superstitious beliefs, black magic and demonology are integral to tribal customs in parts of Assam, Tripura and other northeastern states, authorities say.

"Most of the people were drunk and dancing with the dead body in front of them and later they buried him a pit," the police official said, adding the investigation into the death was still under way.
"We will soon pick up some more people directly involved in this heinous crime that was inspired by superstitious beliefs," Bora said.

Assam's police inspector general, Kula Saikia, called such killings "a really big problem" for authorities.

"Most of these cases are inspired by superstition. It is shocking to hear about such incidents in this modern world," he said, adding that the victims are often killed "very brutally".

Police in the state have set up a programme, called Project Prahari (Vigilance), that involves community policing and holding regular education campaigns among tribal chiefs and village elders.

"Simply enforcing the law and punishing the guilty are inadequate measures. There has to be an attitudinal change," Saikia said.
06 June 2013

Ngamrothang Hmar elected as North Cachar Hills Autonomous Council chairman

Guwahati, Jun 6 : Ngamrothang Hmar of Congress was elected the chairman of the 11th North Cachar Hills Autonomous Council (NCHAC) unopposed on Wednesday.

Returning officer Barun Bhuyan declared Hmar the chairman after no other nomination was filed for the post.

Ngamrothang, a non-Dimasa tribal leader of DimaHasao district, is also the secretary of the district Youth Congress.

Meanwhile, KulendraDaolagupu, a Congress member, proposed that election for the post of the chief executive member (CEM) of the council be held on June 13.

The proposal was sent to Assam governor JB Patnaik for consideration and will only be held after the governor gives his nod.
05 June 2013

Assam-Nagaland Border Still Tense, Forces Deployed

Guwahati, Jun 5 : The situation on the Assam-Nagaland border in Assam's Jorhat district continued to be tense Tuesday and forces were deployed after the killing of a labourer there Monday, an official said.

The man was killed at Naginijan area after suspected miscreants from the Nagaland side fired on a group of labourers.

Local groups, including the All Assam Tea Tribe Students Association (AATTSA), started an indefinite economic blockade Tuesday at three places along the Assam-Nagaland border in Jorhat, Sivsagar and Golaghat, protesting the killing.

The blockade left many Nagaland-bound trucks stranded on the Assam side.

The Assam government has deployed additional forces along the border in the area, particularly in Mariani area, to stop recurrence of similar incidents.

"There has been no fresh incident since yesterday (Monday). We have deployed additional forces in and around the area," said an official of Jorhat district.

The Assam government has announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs.5 lakh to the next of kin of Sanjay Bhumij, who was shot dead.

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said the Nagaland government has assured the state government to book the culprits involved in the killing and that they would be handed over to Assam Police soon.

A delegation of Assam's opposition party Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) visited the Mariani area Tuesday and took stock of the situation.

The AGP, which protested outside the office of Jorhat deputy commissioner Tuesday, submitted a memorandum to Assam Governor J.B. Patnaik demanding an inquiry into the incident and punishment for the culprits.
03 June 2013

Assam Minister Files Defamation Case Against Saradha Chief

BHimanta Biswa Sarmah in Guwahati on Saturday.

Guwahati, Jun 3 : Assam Health and Education Minister Himanta Biswa Sarmah on Saturday filed a criminal defamation case against Saradha Group and its chairman Sudipta Sen for allegations against him in a purported letter to the CBI.

Sarmah is the first person to initiate legal action against Sen although names of several politicians and businessmen figured in the purported letter to the CBI after the chit fund company went bust.

The minister filed the case in the court of Kamrup first class magistrate under various sections of the IPC alleging that Sen had made false and defamatory allegations which has harmed his reputation.
Sen, in the purported letter to the CBI, had written that Sarmah had received some money from Saradha Group by signing vouchers.

''This is totally false, baseless and such allegations have damaged my reputation in public life and, therefore, I am filing the criminal defamation suit,'' he said.

The court accepted his statement and ordered a magisterial inquiry under the provisions of Section 202 CrPC and fixed June 16 as the next date of hearing.
31 May 2013

APSC Seeks To Alter Exam Syllabus

Prelims not to have optional subject


Guwahati, May 31 : The Assam Public Service Commission (APSC) is planning to do away with the optional subject in the preliminary examination for the combined competitive examinations.

The revision of syllabus will be on the lines of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), which recently revised its syllabus for IAS and allied services examinations.

The commission will also introduce an online application system soon to enable candidates to apply for competitive examinations online.

The new syllabus, which proposes to do away with the optional subject, will test candidates appearing for the prelims on 200 marks objective-type questions on general studies, 70 per cent of which will be on history, geography and culture of Assam. Another 200-mark paper will test their general English.

The commission’s chairman, Rakesh Kumar Paul, told The Telegraph today that they have moved the state government, seeking its nod to introduce the syllabus in the next civil services examination. “After the UPSC decided to do away with the optional subject, Karnataka and Maharashtra followed. We want to do the same here. There are 32 optional subjects and but it will be more helpful for candidates if we follow a uniform curriculum. Besides, most of the optional subjects are old and in the new pattern we can test their knowledge on diverse subjects,” he said.

“The candidates should be tested for their suitability as civil servants and not as a source of information. Besides, according to the revised syllabus, candidates will write the same papers and their answers will be evaluated on the same standards. It will also encourage candidates to study history, culture, geography, society and people of Assam as 70 per cent of the paper will be on Assam,” Paul added. After the prelims, a candidate appears for the mains, in which he/she is tested on 1,400 marks divided into four papers. The viva voce carries 200 marks.

Paul said the online application system will reduce paper work for applicants as well as the processing time. “Besides, there will be no fear of delayed submission of applications.” He said the commission has reached an agreement with State Bank of India, through which candidates would be able to pay their examination fees online.

The APSC has already computerised its examination procedure and is using the optical mark recognition technology to screen answer scripts. The APSC had started its website, which shares recruitment information and results, in 2009.

He said they had also moved the state government for financial autonomy. “At present, we require government sanction for release of funds and this delays our activities. In Mizoram and Jammu and Kashmir, the state public service commissions enjoy total financial autonomy but here we have partial autonomy. We have to take clearance from the state government for funds before initiating any activity,” he added.

The commission will also set up a medical unit and an ATM on its office premises at Khanapara here to assist its 280 staff members.
30 May 2013

Assam House To Vote Today For PM’s 5th Term in RS

Guwahati, May 30 : The Assam assembly is set to elect Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday for his fifth straight term in the Rajya Sabha. He has been representing the Upper House from Assam since 1991.

The election follows a week of dissension within the Congress over the nomination of Shantius Kujur, a lesser-known Adivasi party activist, for the second Rajya Sabha seat to fall vacant in Assam after June 14.

The ruling Congress played down the trouble. But Assam parliamentary affairs minister Nilamani Sen Deka said a three-line whip would be issued to all party legislators to ensure 100% turnout.

The Congress has 79 legislators in the 126-member assembly. Singh and Kujur also have the support of 12 MLAs of the Bodoland People’s Front (BPF), the Congress’ alliance partner, two Independents and the lone Trinamool Congress legislator.

With the Asom Gana Parishad (nine MLAs) and BJP (five MLAs) having decided to abstain from voting, the Prime Minister and Kujur need 38 votes each to win. The pro-Muslim All India United Democratic Front has fielded its general secretary, Aminul Islam, but the party has only 18 legislators.

“All the Congress and BPF legislators will be divided into two groups for casting their votes,” Deka said. The Congress Legislature Party strategy entails 49 votes for first-candidate Singh and 45 for second-candidate Kujur.

Earlier this month, the Prime Minister’s nomination attracted criticism for an age mismatch. The nomination papers were resubmitted with his age changed from 82 years to 80 years.
24 May 2013

Female Population in Assam Records Growth

Guwahati, May 24
: In Assam where the social status of women is high in comparison to some other states, female population recorded a growth rate of 19.7 per cent during the last decade compared to 18.2 per cent males against the previous decade's 18.5 per cent and 15.7 per cent.

The growth rate of the female population in the state over males continued to be high during 2001-2011 as in the previous decade recording a final total population of 31,205,576 as on March 1, 2011, according to the Primary Census Abstract (PCA) data released here today.

There was an increase of 2,162,406 males and 2,387,642 females in the ten-year period, according to the first set of final data released for the state by Director of Census Operations, Assam R K Das here.

With a sex ratio of 958 females per thousand males in 2011 against 935 in 2001, Das said the rural ratio is 960 and 944 respectively and the urban ratio 946 and 872 respectively.

The Child Sex Ratio (0-6) as on 2011 increased to 962 against 935 in 2001 with Udalguri district heading the top five districts with 973 and Hailakandi with 954 leading the bottom five districts, said state Census Operations joint director Bharati Chanda.

The decadal population of the state has grown by 17.07 per cent during 2001-11 against 18.92 per cent in the previous decade, as per the PCA from the Population Enumeration exercise held in February 2011.

Dhubri district on the Indo-Bangladesh border recorded the highest population growth rate of 24.44 pc and Kokrajhar district the lowest of 5.2 per cent during 2001-2011, Chanda said.

Out of the 27 districts, 14 districts -- Dhubri, Morigaon, Goalpara, Darrang, Nagaon, Karimganj, Hailakandi, Barpeta, Bongaigaon, Cachar, Dhemaji, Kamrup(Metro), Karbi Anglong and Lakhimpur - recorded a population growth rate above the state growth rate of 17.1 per cent, she said.

It was observed that Urban Area Growth Rate (27.89 pc) is higher than the Rural area (15.47 pc) in the state, she added.

Kamrup (Metro) is the most densely inhabited district with 1313 persons per sq km followed by Dhubri (896), Barpeta (742), Nalbari (733) and Nagaon(711) district.

The lowest density of population was reported from Dima Hasao district with 44 persons per sq km.
21 May 2013

80% Voting in NC Hills Autonomous Council Polls

Haflong (Assam), May 21 : Over 80 per cent votes were cast in the 11th N C Hills Autonomous Council election in Assam's Dima Hasao district which was held peacefully amidst tight security.

The election will decide the fate of 138 candidates for the 28 Member of Autonomous Council seats.

Polling was held in 200 polling stations across the district which has a total electorate of 1,21,297 voters. Election office sources said the polling was peaceful with no untoward incident reported from any part.

Former insurgent leaders of the Dima Hasao Daogah- Nunisa (DHD-N) and DHD(Jewel), besides Congress, BJP, Indigenous People Party, Dima Hasao Dol and Independents are in the fray.

Counting of votes will be held on May 24, the sources added.
24 April 2013

Assam: Preliminary Medical Report Finds No Rape Sign On Injured Minor

Assam minor was not raped: Medical test

Assam minor was not raped: Medical test 

, Apr 24 : A day after angry protestors hit streets over alleged rape of 9-year-old girl in Assam, the preliminary medical report on Tuesday failed to confirm any sexual assault on the minor.

According to the police, the medical report confirmed that there was no injury in the girl’s private parts and there was no sexual attack on the girl.

"Preliminary medical tests conducted by the attending doctors at the Silchar Medical College Hospital have found no sign of rape or sexual assault on the girl, Cachar Superintendent of Police Digonta Bora said.

The final medical report of the tests carried out on the girl was, however, yet to come, Bora said.

The nine-year-old from Karimganj had gone to visit her grandfather in Pechachora village under Kallain police station of Katigora sub-division when she was kidnapped by two unidentified persons, with their faces covered, on Sunday evening, they said.

The girl was taken to a house in Section 9 of Kallain Tea estate and gang-raped before being abandoned in the tea garden outside the house.

Tea garden labourers returning from work found the girl crying and rushed her to a hospital in a critical condition from where she was later shifted to Silchar Medical College Hospital.

Injury marks were found on her neck and the police suspect that the rapists had attempted to kill her after raping her.

Angered over the incident, agitated villagers had demonstrated outside a local police station demanding immediate arrest of the perpetrators. - See more at:
16 April 2013

A Golden Gecko recovered from traders in Assam

A Golden Gecko recovered from traders in Assam

Guwahati, Apr 15:
Guwahati police arrested two people and recovered a Golden Gecko lizard from them, police said Sunday.

Geckos are an endangered species, and under the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972, trading or killing them is a punishable crime.

"We received a tip-off that some people were trading in wildlife parts in Guwahati. We sent a team to search a hotel in Paltan Bazar area of the city today. A Golden Gecko was recovered from their possession," Senior Superintendent of Police A.P. Tiwary told IANS.

The lizard was alive and was handed over to authorities of the Assam State Zoo at Guwahati, Tiwary said.

He said the two arrested are as Thingom C. Singh and Thangliansum Paite from Manipur.

"They came from Manipur to Guwahati to sell the endangered species," Tiwary said the SSP.

Guwahati police had recovered another Golden Gecko from Dispur area in the city from another trader a few months ago.

Some communities in countries like China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan believe that the Geckos can heal deadly diseases like cancer and HIV.

Wildlife experts, however, say that there is no truth in that belief and that Golden Geckos are needed to maintain the ecosystem.
15 April 2013

Holy Water Of Haflong

Miracle of Maboram village

The ‘Holy Water’ trickling out of a pipe

Maboram Village 10 kilometres from Haflong, the headquarter town of Dima Hasao district of Assam is where a Biblical prophecy seems to have come true. “Jesus predicted in Jerusalem that a source of holy water will spring out from the height of a mountain and we believe that this is the Holy Water.

We think that God has his own way to shower His blessings up on the believers, we have come to collect this water which has a healing effect” said Reverend R.D. Haichang president of the Northeast Baptist churchafter offering a silent prayer near the blessed pool, after coming all the way from Jaluki of Nagaland to collect the blessed water from Maboram village.

The village has become the centre of attraction for thousands of Christians  who come here every day to collect this water for its miraculous affect, thronging to the village from nearby villages and from distant places like the Karbi Anglong district of Assam, Nagaland, Mizoram and Manipur. From quite a distance one can see people rushing to the village to collect water in containers of every shape and size, a long queue of men and women coiling the high ridge of the steep hill inching forward near the source has become a common sight in Maboram village now.

“We heard that Bodoruddin Azmal of Hojai gives blessed water to the needy and the water of Garampani geyser located in Karbi Anglong Golaghat border has therapeutic effect but this is completely different from all this, I have never seen people from Karbi Anglong rushing to a village of Dima Hasao with a container to collect water, this is incredible” Sanju Bora eminent an journalist said.

A signboard has been put up near the source where it simply written ‘HOLY WATER’. “If one has a bath with this water surely he will be cured from any skin infection or any other untreatable disease” Sema Zemi the village headman claims.

“The whole matter came to light during a meeting of the village women on 13th February this year. During the meeting a village woman revealed that after bathing with the water from the pool she was cured of a very old infirmity. Since then lots of people have been cured from incurable illnesses, even the blind have got their sight back,” Sema Zemi informed.

Whether one believes it or not, thousands of people including the clergy from Nagaland and simple village dwellers like Nune Rankhel have walked great distances to collect the holy water with great expectation and a strong faith in God’s mercy which can also flow from a pool of water.


Jatinga: Where Birds Commit Suicide

The tranquillity of Jatinga, a scenic village nestling among the Borail Hills range, is shattered every night by a disturbing occurrence - the 'mass suicide' of hundreds of birds. Locals have been witnessing the eerie phenomenon from September to November for the last couple of years. As the sun sets, hundreds of birds descend on the village and fly full speed towards buildings and trees, crashing to their deaths. The repeated episodes are confined to a 1.5 km strip of the village.


With lush greenery and plentiful freshwater, Jatinga, the headquarters of the Dima Hasao district, some eight kilometres from here, is a resting place for many migratory birds. Haflong is 350 km from Guwahati.

Birds that have been sighted here over the years include the kingfisher, Indian pitta, green breasted pitta, green pigeon, black drongo, racket tailed drongo, whistling ducks, spotted doves, emerald doves, and grey heron. But come September, and the locals brace for the ghastly sight.

Is it really suicide, or something else? "It is not a suicide, to be precise. But the fact remains that birds are attracted by light and fly towards any object with a light source. This phenomenon still puzzles bird specialists," said Anwaruddin Choudhury, a well-known ornithologist in Assam, on the sidelines of the First International Jatinga Festival.

The 'suicide', however, is just a part of the mystery. The more baffling question is why birds fly after sunset at all, as reserach shows that most birds are diurnal, that is, active only during the day.

The late Salim Ali, the country's pre-eminent ornithologist, too was struck by this oddity. "The most puzzling thing to me about this phenomenon is that so many species of diurnal resident birds should be on the move when, by definition, they should be fast asleep. The problem deserves a deeper scientific study from various angels," he had written.

Jatinga was originally inhabited by the Zeme Nagas, who came across the bird phenomenon while guarding their paddy fields on a moonless, dark night. Frightened, the Nagas sold the land to Jaintias and left the place way back in 1905.

Jaintias, the new inhabitants of Jatinga, also witnessed the phenomenon but interpreted it as a gift from the gods. "The phenomenon has generated tremendous interest in wildlife circles across the world and has made Jatinga world famous," Brahma said.

The earliest reference to this phenomenon was made by E.P. Gee, a British tea planter in his book "Wild Life of India" in 1957. The Zoological Survey of India had sent a team to visit the place in 1977. Later, leading ornithologists from Europe, the US and Japan too studied the mystery. However, no case of migratory birds plunging to their deaths has been recorded yet.

Some bird specialists attribute the phenomenon to the electro-magnetic forces of Jatinga, which is surrounded by geographical faultlines all round. But no conclusive evidence has emerged till now. The deaths, though perplexing, are not mourned. Locals are quick to trap the birds using bamboo sticks, which are then consumed with relish.

Those desiring a first-hand experience of the phenomenon can visit Haflong - with Silchar (110 km) and Guwahati (350 km) being the two nearest airports. If travelling by train, board a broad gauge train from Guwahati till Lumding, from where another meter-gauge train will take you to Haflong. The route from Lumding to Haflong passes through many tunnels and it is an exciting journey somewhat resembling the Kalka-Shimla track. By road, it takes around 10-11 hours as you have to negotiate bumpy roads.
09 April 2013

India Use Drones To Protect Rhinos From Poachers

 Mahouts return with their elephants after collecting fodder at the Kaziranga National Park at Kaziranga in Assam state, India, Monday, April 8, 2013.Wildlife authorities used drones on Monday for aerial surveillance of the sprawling natural game park in northeastern India to protect the one-horned rhinoceros from armed poachers. The drones will be flown at regular intervals to prevent rampant poaching in the park located in the remote Indian state of Assam. The drones are equipped with cameras and will be monitored by security guards, who find it difficult to guard the whole 480-square kilometer (185-square mile) reserve. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)<br />
Anupam Nath
Mahouts return with their elephants after collecting fodder at the Kaziranga National Park at Kaziranga in Assam state, India, Monday, April 8, 2013.Wildlife authorities used drones on Monday for aerial surveillance of the sprawling natural game park in northeastern India to protect the one-horned rhinoceros from armed poachers. The drones will be flown at regular intervals to prevent rampant poaching in the park located in the remote Indian state of Assam. The drones are equipped with cameras and will be monitored by security guards, who find it difficult to guard the whole 480-square kilometer (185-square mile) reserve. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)
GAUHATI, India - Wildlife authorities are using aerial drones to oversee a sprawling natural game park in northeastern India to protect the one-horned rhinoceros from armed poachers.
Security officers conducted flights of the unmanned aircraft over the Kaziranga National Park on Monday and will fly drones at regular intervals to prevent rampant poaching in the park in the remote Indian state of Assam.
The drones are equipped with cameras and will be monitored by security guards, who find it difficult to guard the whole 480-square kilometer (185-square mile) reserve.
"Regular operations of the unmanned aerial vehicles will begin once we get the nod of the Indian defense ministry," said Rokybul Hussain, the state's forest and environment minister.
The drones will also be useful during the annual monsoon season when large areas in the Kaziranga reserve are flooded by the mighty Brahmaputra River and three other rivers that flow through the game park, park officials said.
Hussain said the Central Bureau of Investigation, India's equivalent of the FBI, will soon begin investigations into the steep rise in rhino poaching this year.
Poachers armed with automatic rifles killed 22 rhinos last year, but have killed 16 rhinos already this year.
Rhino horn is in great demand in China and Southeast Asia where it is believed to have medicinal properties.
A rhino census conducted in Kaziranga reserve two weeks ago put their number at 2,329, up from 2,290 in 2012.
In recent weeks, wildlife authorities in Assam have deployed 300 armed guards to protect the rhinos in Kaziranga but they have been no match for organized gangs of poachers who have been managing to strike at the rhinos with increasing regularity.
"What worries us is the use of automatic weapons like Kalashnikovs by the poachers," said Assam police chief Jayanta Narayan Choudhury.

Assamese Gamocha Makes it To Guinness

Guwahati, Apr 9 : The traditional Assamese gamocha is making headlines - at home and abroad.

In the presence of Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi, the Assamese gamocha was given an international recognition on Monday under the category of "the world's longest hand-woven feat of silk" in New Delhi.

Measuring at mammoth 1455.3 metres, the feat was accomplished by Abhijeet Baruah in the national capital and was recognized by the Guinness World Records. Baruah broke the previous record held by one J Mammato from Indonesia.

The silk gamocha had imprints of different historical and heritage symbols of Assam like the Rang Ghar, Majuli, Sankardeva, Bhupen Hazarika and the one-horn rhino.

"It was my idea on which I have worked for the last six months. The main purpose of this was to showcase the Assamese gamocha in front of the world and to tell people that we have more to show and represent. Ten people were involved in making the gamocha and the entire thing weighs around 138 kg," said Baruah.

Baruah, who already has 11 different world records, now has two Guinness records with this feat.

"With the recent Sualkuchi incident, it is now required to protect indigenous items and give them the respect. I want to offer my thanks to Kaziranga University, Joon Hazarika, Sumnagal Dutta and Manna Dey for their help," said Baruah.

The gamocha was put on display at the India Gate lawns. Union DoNER minister Paban Singh Ghatowar and other dignitaries were present. As it was rolled out, the gamocha left everyone spellbound. Baruah was given a certificate by Fortuna Burke, an official of the Guinness World Records. Gogoi was so impressed that he announced incentives for Baruah and the workers.

With Bihu around the corner, it was a perfect gift for Assam and its people.

It may be mentioned that cheap polyester-made gamochas are giving a tough fight to the traditional hand-woven ones these days.

Though the shopkeepers say the sale of traditional gamochas are satisfactory ahead of Bihu, the polyester-made gamochas are surely a threat to the weavers as they are being sold as cotton gamochas in many places.
06 April 2013

Leopard gets into a spot of bother... by falling down a well: Amazing rescue in India

  • Leopard saved after falling down a well on food hunt in northeast India
By Sara Malm

A young leopard found itself in a deep trouble, after it fell down a well in northeast India.
The poor animal was discovered trapped in the pit at Kamakhya temple in Guwahati, India. 
Forest officials, temple staff and volunteers all rallied around the narrow well to save the leopard and bring it back to the surface.
Not so s-well:The young leopard fell down the well at a temple in north east India
Not so s-well:The young leopard fell down the well at a temple in north east India
According to locals, the leopard had been scouring for food at the temple fell down the narrow well.
Forest officials were called to the scene where they were forced to tranquilize the animal before climbing a ladder and going down the pit.

They tied a rope around the groggy leopard and it was successfully pulled out of the hole.
After drying off the animal, forest officials transported it to a safe place for the leopard to recover before it is to be released into the wild.

Saviors: Forest officials and volunteers gather around the narrow well to prepare for the rescue mission
Saviors: Forest officials and volunteers gather around the narrow well to prepare for the rescue mission

Trapped: The leopard stares into the light from the well
Trapped: The leopard stares into the light from the well as forest officials get ready to tranquilize it

Forest officers carry a tranquilized leopard after rescuing it from a well on the premises of the Kamakhya temple in Gauhati, India, Thursday, April 4, 2013
Spot on: A member of the rescue team climbed down the well and after securing the animal with a rope, the leopard could be hauled out of the hole
Spot on: A member of the rescue team climbed down the well and after securing the animal with a rope, the leopard could be hauled out of the hole

The Indian leopard is smaller than its African relative, with the Indian leopard normally between 4ft 2in and 4ft 8in long, compared to the sub-Saharan leopard, which can grow to be 5ft 4in long.
The leopard can be found across the Indian subcontinent, but as it is under threat from poachers and habitat loss is rarely found outside protected areas.
It is currently classified as ‘Near Threatened’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) but as a result of the downward population trend it may soon qualify for a ‘Vulnerable‘ status.

Knocked out: Officers lift the tranquilized leopard onto a truck following the successful rescue mission
Knocked out: Officers lift the tranquilized leopard onto a truck following the successful rescue mission

Safe and sound: A rescuer pets the knocked-out leopard as it is placed in a cage before being taken to recover before its release back into the wild
Safe and sound: A rescuer pets the knocked-out leopard as it is placed in a cage before being taken to recover before its release back into the wild
05 April 2013

Assam Not To Recognise Off-Campus PhD Degrees

Guwahati, Apr 5 :  With a view to maintaining standard in teaching, Assam government has decided to go for quality parameters under which, off-campus PhD degrees will not be recognised during recruitment and promotion of faculty.

Even serving faculties with off-campus PhD degrees who have got time-scale promotions during recent years will be affected, state Education and Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said in the Assembly today.

“In the past few years we have seen a rising trend of research scholars opting for universities where rules are relaxed and there is less academic pressure. In many cases, even to find details about such Universities is a work of research in itself,” Sarma said.

“Such scholars are not capable of proper research work, and when confronted they seek excuse in the name of ’humanity’ and even threaten to commit suicide at times. If we do not take steps against such blackmailing, the education scenario will only worsen,” he said.

“Those who have got promotions due to PhD secured in off-campus stream will also be affected. No doubt it will create some issues, but we are going as per UGC rules,” he said.

“The state government will form a committee, which will prepare a list of teachers having off-campus PhDs after contacting principals of all colleges, who will be served notices and we will take action,” Sarma said.