Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Assam. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Assam. Sort by date Show all posts

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


By Simantik Dowerah (Guest Writer)

Barely out of the decades old Ulfa terror, Assam is staring at another similar, and potentially bigger, menace: Maoists. While there is no concrete proof yet that the red rebels have entrenched themselves in the state, stray indications point to that fact they could be in the process of doing so. Some recent cases prove that Maoist leaders from Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh are trying hard to spread out in the state by recruiting local youth.

Saturday, April 27, 2013


By M H Ahssan / Shillong

Manir Khan's 'operational area' was Assam. The sub-inspector with Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence had executed two 'assignments' in the state. But he was third time unlucky, as Indian sleuths nabbed him from west Tripura in July 2010. 

Khan told interrogators that his duty was to ferry back “quality information” for better “tactical appreciation” of cross-national issues to his masters in Pakistan. In his initial visits, Khan had carried out “feasibility recces” of the Tripura corridor connecting Bangladesh-Tripura and Assam, says an interrogation report. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Exclusive: How ULFA Strongholds Are Falling To The Reds?

By Akshaye Mahapatro / Guwahati

Maoists in Assam tap ethnic discontent to make inroads into an already volatile region. n April, Assam Governor JB Patnaik summoned all top officials of the state’s insurgency-hit Tinsukia district to the Raj Bhawan in Guwahati. He was keen to know about the development work in the state’s eastern-most sub-division, which is part of the district. Cut off from the rest of the district by the Brahmaputra, Sadiya, 60 km from Tinsukia, has turned into a cradle for the Maoists who are trying to make inroads into the Northeast. That is why the governor wants to keep an eye on this remote area.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Special Report: Is The BJP Truly Concerned Or Playing 'Communal Politics' In Assam Political Scenario?

In an attempt to paint the seven sisters saffron, Amit Shah announced the BJP’s agenda to give Indian citizenship to Hindu refugees from Bangladesh as a part of their pre-poll promises, while simultaneously removing illegal Bangladeshi immigrants from India.

“Next elections will be fought on this issue. Assam poll will be for freeing the state of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants. Assam polls will also be for development of Assam and North-East,” said Amit Shah at a rally in Guwahati.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Dying Young Mothers In Assam’s Tea Gardens – At A Rate Higher Than Anywhere In India.


The tea industry and the government joined hands but failed to stem the deaths in the predominantly tribal community.

Babita Jayram has beaten the odds. The 21-year-old sits in one corner of the hospital bed, brushing her hair with the slow, steady strokes of a purple comb. The nine months of pregnancy mostly spent at a tea garden on the eastern fringes of Assam were uneventful. There were no complications during the delivery. A healthy newborn, curled gently on her lap, sleeps quietly.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Assam Fumes At American Website's 'Rape Festival' Spoof

By Sapna Mukherjee / Dispur

A satirical piece by an American website apparently targeting the increase in sexual assaults on women in India has left Assam seething in anger over the mention of an "annual rape festival" in the northeastern state.

The Assam director general of police (DGP) Jayanto Narayan Choudhury on Thursday ordered a probe in Guwahati after the write-up was posted on Facebook, drawing angry response from netizens.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Analysis: Why 'Asad Owaisi' Doesn’t Stand A Chance In Bihar Or WB, Unlike Badruddin Ajmal In Assam?


Asaduddin Owaisi has tossed his topi (cap) into the Bihar election ring after dithering for a month. But Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM)’s prospects in Bihar’s Seemanchal belt are bleak despite the unusually high percentage of Muslim voters in the 25 assembly seats Owaisi is eyeing in the backward region.

Thursday, May 30, 2013


By Sunderlal Behruaa / Dispur

Decades of militancy have pushed Assam back by ages, economically and otherwise. Now as the state finds a semblance of normalcy, there’s a new menace threatening to undo all the good work over the years. It’s the Maoists. While no incident of violence by the Left ultras has been registered so far, there are clear indications that the Communist Party of India (Maoist) is making a serious effort to strengthen its base in the state. The broader aim is to make it part of the zones under their control.

Thursday, August 04, 2016

The Big Expose: RSS Funded 'Operation Shuddhikaran'


Although it did not make headlines, 31 poor tribal girls, all minors, from Assam brought to Delhi on June 11 last year have ended up in RSS-run schools in Gujarat and Punjab, as INNLIVE finds, which is part of a well-orchestrated conversion programme targeting children from poor minority communities to initiate them into Hinduism at a young age. Given the resources and reach the RSS and its sister organizations command, what INNLIVE investigation reveals may just be the tip of the iceberg.

Monday, March 09, 2015

Special Report: Why Blame Mufti On 'Masarat Alam', When BJP Wooed 'Separatists'?

The saffron party allegedly reached out to NDFB insurgents in Assam during the Lok Sabha elections.

It is very easy to adopt a hardline national interest view and hurl fire and brimstone at Mufti Mohammad Sayeed for ordering the release of Masarat Alam, supposedly the architect of the 2010 protests.

The BJP, being part of the ruling coalition in Jammu and Kashmir, is party to the government's decision to release Alam.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Where Healthcare Comes Floating On A Boat Once In A Month


For millions on Brahmaputra’s shifting islands, the only source of health services are boat clinics.

It had been raining all morning but Debika Mikum was still waiting. About a dozen women stood with her, huddled under their umbrellas.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Molesters Beware In Assam! The 'Veeranganas' Are Here

An all-woman commando platoon has made women feel more secure on the streets of Guwahati. It has set a model that should be emulated across the country.

It’s early in the morning. Bismita stands in front of the bathroom mirror, brushing her teeth. Her roommates are giggling and talking among themselves, waiting for their turn to freshen up and get ready for the day ahead. Suddenly, a siren wails and everyone stands still.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Panic In Assam After Transfusion Of HIV Infected Blood

By Sarita Deshpande / Guwahati

On World Blood Donor Day, that is today (14 June), the world came crashing down for Mukul (name changed) when he was told that he was HIV positive. It was never his fault. He contacted the disease after being administered infected blood at Mangaldoi Civil Hospital in Assam. He was admitted in the hospital in September 2012 for melena (a form of stomach ulcer) and needed blood transfusion. The blood was arranged by the blood bank of the hospital.

Friday, June 12, 2009

A DIFFERENT KIND OF BANK: Dispensing clothes, not cash

By M H Ahssan

Xavier's Foundation in Guwahati has come up with the idea of establishing a Clothes Bank for the poor. It estimates that up to 3 million people may have need for its clothes.

For thousands of poor and downtrodden families living on embankments, relief camps, and slum areas in Assam, buying a pair of clothes or winter garments are luxuries that they cannot afford. In sharp contrast, for thousands of families in Guwahati city and other urban areas as well as well-off families in rural areas, every time they buy a new pair of clothes or new winter garments they do not feel like using the old ones. They, however, happily give away the old clothes to those needy, who knock their doors and ask for used clothes either for themselves or for their children.

Keeping this untapped resource in mind the Xavier's Foundation in Guwahati has opened a clothes bank, similar to the ones running elsewhere the country, to undertake cloth charity for thousands of poor and needy people in Assam and other northeastern states.

For a start, the Xavier's Foundation has started collection of clothes in different localities of Guwahati. It plans to install drop boxes shortly in busy areas including commercial hubs, shopping malls and financial institutions so that people willing to donate clothes to the Clothes Bank will be able to drop their used clothes whenever they visit these places. The Clothes Bank was formally inaugurated in Guwahati on December 2 by popular Assamese film actor Kopil Bora. Former Assam Chief Secretary Haren Das received a packet of clothes on behalf of Xavier's Foundation from Examination Controller of Krishna Kanta Handique State Open University Dr. P B Lahkar at the launching of the Clothes Bank to mark the symbolic beginning of clothes collection drive. The Foundation has appointed a team of volunteer and employee for the purpose.

After collection, the collected clothes will be properly washed, mended and segregated into different packets for children and adults. Apart from the dresses, other cloth materials including blankest, bed covers will also be collected and suitably converted into smaller blankets or bed-sheets to cater to the requirement of children in need.

The Foundation has estimated that on an average one cluster of 20 households generate up to 500 sets of reusable clothes in a year. With little repairing and redesigning these clothes can easily be converted into nice looking and attractive pair of dresses and can be provided to the needy in a dignified manner.

The poverty situation in the state reveals that large number of poor people are living in acute misery. According to statistics tabled on the floor of the Assam assembly in December 2007, there are 12 lakh Below Poverty Line (BPL) card holders in the state. the average annual income of these BPL families is only Rs.1250 a month, which clearly reveals acute poverty condition in which they survive. There are over 400,000 homeless families in the state.

Ravaging annual floods and erosion caused by river Brahmaputra and its tributaries have made a sizeable 64,000 families to live on embankments in acute poverty and without all basic human amenities including housing facility, livelihood support, health, education and others. The state has as many as 149 flood and erosion prone rivers. Chief minister of Assam Tarun Gogoi in a press conference told reporters in September this year that between 1954 and 2007, the state has lost 4,25,932 hectares of its land due to erosion, which amounts to a size of a district.

The state also has a large number of internally displaced persons living in relief camps for more than a decade without any livelihood support and proper housing. These people were displaced from their orginal habitats due to series of ethnic clashes in different pockets. For instance, during a series of clashes in 1993, 1996 and 1998, between the Bodos - the single largest plains tribe in Assam - and the religious minority community and Between Bodos and Adivasis altogether 3,14,000 people were displaced in lower Assam's Kokrajhar district. Of them 65,000 people still live in relief camps in sub-human condition.

Those who returned home have to face similar livelihood risks in their villages, as the state government has no scheme to rehabilitate conflict induced displaced people. The clashes between the Bodos and immigrant Muslim settlers in early part of October this year, displaced more than 200,000 people from their original places and thousands are yet to return home. Apart from food and social security, clothing is a big issue for these people, particularly during winters.

In the initial years of their displacement, clothes were provided to some of the displaced families by various organizations. Similarly, help do come in the form of distribution of clothes, medicine, food items among the flood affected people but this happens only during the flood period and such charity is done in a systematic and sustained manner. While many families, particularly those affected by erosion, are forced to live in makeshift camps for months and sometimes years together such one time charity fail to provide relief. These families have to wait for elections to come to get only one blanket and sometimes mosquito nets distributed among by the candidates of some parties seeking votes. This is more common in tea-garden areas as garden workers and their families live in penury.

Another group that could benefit from clothes distribution is those formerly employed with the tea industry. The state has 780 tea-gardens with a workforce of over 5 lakhs. With the liberalisation of Indian economy that was introduced in the earlier part of the 90s, the tea industry has been suffering form several critical issues resulting in huge number of joblessness. At least 70 plantations in Assam have been closed down since the late 1990s, with almost a 100,000 people being rendered jobless.

Hence Xavier's Foundation wants their Clothes Bank to run in a professional and systematic manner so that it can cater to the constant need of clothing among these underprivileged people, and not restrict the activity to a one-time charity. The foundation also plans to involve the panchyats, NGOs and various charity organisation to reach out to the maximum number of needy people.

Friday, May 20, 2016

India Verdict 2016: BJP's Gains Wrested By Learning Previous Lessons Of Defeats


The victory in Assam restores Narendra Modi's image and strengthens party president Amit Shah's position.

Pushed on the backfoot after the Bharatiya Janata Party’s battering in the Delhi and Bihar assembly polls, the results of the assembly elections declared on Thursday proved to be a personal triumph for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party president Amit Shah.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Special Report: 'Terror At Crossroads In South Asia'

Burdwan in West Bengal, a city about 150 kilometers from Kolkata, was the location in early October of a blast inside a house which resulted in the death of two men, Shakil Ahmed and Swapan Mondal. Another man injured in the blast was later detained with with two women who were also present at the time of the blast and reportedly disclosed that those present at the time were all members of the terrorist outfit Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JuM-B/JMB) - and were planning to carry out attacks across Bangladesh. 

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Kill The ‘Daayni’: Witch Hunts, Death Haunt Assam Villages

Superstitions are increasingly being exploited to settle scores and arbitrarily persecute people.

Saloki Mardi tried to escape violence but it snared her in the end. On November 18, the 45-year-old was hacked to death by unidentified men in Assam’s Udalguri district, where she had taken refuge after being declared a “witch” in her native village of Goraimari in Bongaigaon district in October.

Debjani Bora too could not evade brutality. A national-level medal-winning javelin thrower, she was branded a “witch” in her village in Assam’s Karbi Anglong district in October after the death of four people there. She was then dragged to a prayer hall, tied in fishing nets, and assailed severely.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

SILK INDUSTRY - Sericulture gets a boost

A cluster plantation scheme promoted by the state government in Assam is providing new opportunities in silk production for thousands of families. Ratna Bharali Talukdar reports on the effort and the challenges it faces.

In December, Newson Marak, a Garo tribal from Jeera village of Krishnai block in Goalpara district of lower Assam produced around 25,000 cocoons of Muga (Antheraea Assama), the state's unique golden silk. He earned Rs.25,000 - double what he earned in February last year. A traditional silkworm grower in one of the state's richest silk cocoon producing pockets, Marak has a plantation of 1500 Som (Persea Bombycina) trees, the food plant of the Muga silkworm, covering an area of 1.25 hectares. He reared commercial Muga silkworms in February, August and October 2008 and produced over around 66,000 cocoons. In 2007 he produced around 65,000 Muga cocoons.

Marak is happy that price per cocoon has increased by about 100 percent this winter. The rising price is partly attributed to high demand for Muga silk in the state with relatively low production, and partly to the initiative of the Department of Sericulture to fix the sale price of cocoons and free the growers from the clutches of middlemen, who previously made off with most of the profits from the trade.

Enthusiastic over his increase in income, Marak is now planning to go in for Muga seed production simultaneously, as every kilogram of quality seed of Muga silkworm will fetch him an additional income of Rs.6000. He has successfully completed two training camps to learn about scientific rearing of silkworms, organised by the Department. Head of a five-member family, which entirely relies on sericulture for living, Marak also produces Eri (Samia Ricinii Cynthia) silk cocoons, another indigenous silk variety, which too fetches him some money.

Marak's story is that of an individual silk grower, but others are profiting through group efforts. Another tribal silk grower, Dinesh Chandra Rabha of the Rabha tribe, another colourful plains tribe of Assam, produces Muga cocoons as a member of a Self Help Group (SHG). The Sunnery Self Help Group of which Rabha is a member produced 65,000 Muga cocoons in November 2008. Rabha is a school teacher, and for him sericulture is a secondary source of income.

Cluster plantation
Both Marak and Rabha are beneficiaries of a "cluster plantation" scheme, initiated by the state government in 2005-06 and 2006-07 to ensure increased production of silk cocoons. Various activities of the production process are clustered together in traditionally sericulture-rich pockets, and these are then tasked out to different families in the cluster, which together constitute the full chain of production. Financial and other support is also available to the families depending on the roles they play in the chain.

The department identified 350 traditional silk-growers in the block and provided them financial assistance, training and the necessary tools for quality seed production. Of these, 200 families were identified for commercial cropping, 100 as seed cocoon growers and 25 for setting up of scientific grainage. Each cropping family was given Rs.8000 per acre for food plantation for commercial rearing of silk cocoon, while the seed cocoon growers have been given tools including microscope, nets, desks and others. The Department allocated Rs.25,000 per family for those selected to construct grainages. For 2007-08 the Department selected another 290 families for Eri and Muga silk cultivation in Lakhipur block, under the cluster plantation scheme.

The objectives of the scheme include increasing raw silk production in the state, generating employment in rural pockets as well as upgradation of the silk industry in the state. The department has covered 10 districts so far; during 2008-09 another 11 districts are being added to the schemed, and these will create an additional 24 cluster plantations of Eri, Muga and Mulberry silkworms. The sericulture department has nearly 400 silkworm seed production farms, grainages and centres in different silk growing pockets. A number of other departments have extended technical and financial support in the implementation of various developmental programmes for development of Eri and Muga silk industry in the state.

Interestingly, the tribal people with their rich heritage of rearing silkworms - both Eri and Muga - do not themselves wear or weave silk clothes, but the pupae of both varieties of silkworm form a delicacy of tribal cuisine in the north-eastern region. Tribal silk-growers also earn some money additionally by selling the pupae. After extraction of the pupae from the cocoons through a drying process, businessmen procure the cocoon-shells to supply to major silk-weaving pockets in the state, such as Sualkuchi, Bijaynagar and Palasbari in Kamrup district. These businessmen buy the cocoons either at the doorstep of the growers or in village markets where tribal people bring them for sale.

Official support
The Director of the Department of Sericulture P K Goswami tells India Together that with its rich tradition of rearing silkworm, Assam contributes almost 90 per cent of Muga silk and 65 per cent of Eri silk production in the country. He claims that the number of families associated with sericulture in the state increased from 1.85 lakhs in 2006 to 2.39 lakhs in September, 2008. This, he said, has been possible due to constant push of the department by way of providing financial assistance, training and awareness campaigns. The Department has also succeeded in freeing the silk growers from the clutches of the middlemen by fixing market price of per thousand cocoons, the Director says.

The Eri silkworm is the easiest of the three silk varieties to produce, as the worms are grown indoors and not very sensitive to temperature or humidity, unlike the Muga worms. Humidity is especially a problem, and the monsoon limits Muga production to two or three commercial harvests a year, whereas Eri can be harvested up to six times. Eri is also genetically more diverse, and resistant to outbreaks of disease, whereas Muga is not. Moreover, food plants for Eri are abundantly available in the state, unlike Muga which needs continuous nourishment to be provided by the growers.

As a result, Eri contributes 87 percent of the entire silk production in the state, while Muga accounts for 12 per cent and the contribution of mulberry is only one per cent. During 2008 the per-thousand cocoon price of Muga went up to Rs.1100 from Rs.500 in 2007. Eri cocoons ranged between Rs.250 and Rs.300 per thousand. Women are actively involved in sericulture, accounting for two-thirds of those employed in the industry.

The intervention programmes of the Department of Sericulture have helped raise production of Eri cocoons from 585 million tonnes (MT) in 1995-96 to 1046 MT in 2006-07. The Muga yarn production during this period, however, has been modest, from 85 MT to 98 MT in 2005-06. The production, in fact, declined to 96 MT in 2006-07, but the department is working to correct this, and has set a target 100 MT of Muga yarn production for 2008-09.

The area under food plantation of silk worm has increased from 12,580 acres to 17,939 acres in Muga, and from 14,236 acres to 18,620 acres in Eri between 2001-02 and 2006-07 (the large differences in productivity for the two varieties are explained by the factors listed above). The workforce in the industry has also grown robustly, with 43 per cent more people now employed in Eri cultivation and processing.

Strengths and weaknesses
According to the final report of a Marketing Study of Muga and Eri Silk Industry in Assam, conducted by Central Silk Board (CSB) under the Ministry of textiles, the state has about 3000 commercial looms engaged in Muga fabric production, which is about 12 per cent of the total silk looms. The report prepared in February 2008 states that despite the shortage of yarn, the Muga weaving ventures is increasing due to entrepreneurship development programme and income generation. It also reveals that considering the present production of yarn and its utilization, there is shortage of about 40-50 MT yarns.

The study, conducted by a team of experts of the CSB headed by P K Das, a scientist of Muga Silkworm Seed Organisation of CSB, Guwahati, has identified the strengths of the traditional silk industry to be abundance of food plants, favourable agro-climatic condition, presence of large network of development agencies for supporting, and recognition of Geographical Indication (GI) to Muga silk of Assam in respect of raw silk yarns and threads for textile use.

The weakness of the industry identified in the study are inconsistent supply of raw materials due to low productivity, vagaries of nature, poor absorption of technology, unorganized market, absence of storage facility, absence of formal and informal credit flow to the silk sector as well as absence of market orientation and trade awareness among others.

As a result, notwithstanding the recent positive interventions by the Department of Sericulture, its officials themselves admit more needs to be done. Their first objective has to be to ensure that families traditionally skilled in growing silkworms do not leave the trade. A large number of traditional silk growers have shifted from Muga food plantation to other commercial cash crops including tea and rubber. While in Upper Assam large numbers of such families have turned into small tea growers, in Lower Assam many have opted for rubber cultivation. Officials of the department also admit that while insurance cover for the risk of crop failure is available, it is not adequate.

"In such a situation, only a constant push for human resource development of sericulture-associated families, establishing an organised market base, innovation and introduction of new technologies, and diverse products targeting national and international consumers can ensure the sustenance of the raw-silk heritage in the state," says Paban Dutta, Deputy Director of the Department.

Ensuring authenticity
The golden Muga silk, despite being the pride of Assam is adulterated to a large extent due to high demand and shortage of sufficient silk yarn. The adulteration is done by mixing Muga yarn with local and Chinese Tasar silk or Tasar-like silk polyester during weaving, thereby camouflaging the products as that of original Muga. Similar adulteration also takes place with Eri silk products.

To check such illicit practices and to protect the purity of the silk, the Central Silk Board under the Ministry of Textiles has introduced the Silk Mark for pure silk products, since 2005 separately for Eri and Muga weaving products. Mamata Sharma, a senior official of the CSB says that there are around 80 authorised users of the Silk Mark in the northeastern states. Muga silk has also received official 'Geographical Indication' status during the year 2007 under the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999; it is first commodity from Assam to get this protection against fake substitutes.

Monday, April 07, 2014

World’s Largest Democratic Excercise As Voting Begins In Assam, Tripura - Technical Snag In EVMs Hamper Voting

INNLIVE | Election Bureau

People queued up at polling booths in Assam's five constituencies as balloting began in the first phase of the Lok Sabha election Monday. The state recorded 12 percent voting in the first two hours, officials said here. 

The polling started at 7 am in most of the polling stations, barring a few polling booths under Kaliabor and Tezpur Lok Sabha constituencies where the process was delayed due to some technical snags in the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). People were seen queuing up at most of the 8,588 polling booths since early hours in the morning. 

Saturday, April 05, 2014

'Small Bite, Big Threat Looms Over Assam's Tea Gardens'

By Nanak Ram | Johrat

IN FOCUS It's an annual affair in Assam's lush tea gardens. As sporadic showers from March build up to a full-blown monsoon a few months later, what looms is the threat of malaria and other vector-borne diseases that often cause death, with children the most vulnerable.

As WHO focusses on vector-borne diseases this World Health Day April 7, experts say that serious steps must be taken to stop the cyclic prevalence of these diseases among the tea tribe every year.