Power crisis to continue in State till rains come

GUWAHATI, April 29: Even as the State continues to reel under an acute power crisis, State Power Minister Pradyut Bordoloi and the Assam State Electricity Board (ASEB) are still pinning their hopes on the rain gods for the situation to improve. Although almost ten years has passed since power reforms work started in the State there has been no improvement in the power generation scenario, with the power department continuing to depend upon rainfall to generate electricity.

The State Power Minister today held a review meeting in Dispur to take stock of the power situation in the State. But while interacting with mediapersons after the meeting, he seemed helpless to do anything to solve the power crisis and it seemed that the power department has their entire hopes pinned on the rains to come.

Bordoloi said, “Almost 60 percent of the State’s power is generated from hydel power projects. But at the moment we are being able to generate only 10 per cent of power from these hydel projects. Because of lack of rainfall, these projects are being totally shut down in the daytime and they are operated only for a short while in the evenings. We have been facing the same problem for the last five years.”

The power department is presently depending entirely on the State’s thermal power plants to generate electricity, the Minister said. He said, “We now have to depend on the thermal power plants to generate electricity but the amount generated from these plants is not sufficient to meet our requirements. At present, we are getting 600 MW of power daily from Lakowa, Namrup and Kathalguri thermal power plants and Palatana Power Plant of Tripura.”

Bordoloi said that he has requested the gas companies to ensure continuous supply of gas to these stations in order to prevent the situation from worsening. “Since these thermal power plants run on gas, we have asked gas companies like Oil India, GAIL, ONGC, Assam Gas Company, etc to ensure proper supply of gas to these stations or else the situation will turn more bad.”

The Power Minister informed that the State is presently buying 390 MW of power daily from other States to meet its requirements. At present, the State requires 1350 MW of power during the peak hours but there is currently a shortfall of 200 MW of power on an average, he said.

Referring to the Subansiri hydel power project, Bordoloi said that the government wanted the project to be completed as the State would receive 600 MW of power daily from it. “This is a very important project for Assam as the plant will be generating a lot of power. However, we want the project to be done in a scientific manner so that the fears and apprehensions of the people regarding the project are removed,” he said.

Referring to the Bongaigaon Thermal Power Station (BTPS) project in Bongaigaon, the Minister said that the first unit was supposed to have been commissioned by now. “Due to various reasons, operations could not be started in BTPS although its first unit was supposed to have been commissioned by now. We are now hoping to commission it around this time next year,” he said, adding that the first unit would generate 250 MW of power daily once it starts its operations.

(Source) The Sentinel Assam – The Largest Media group of North-East India — focused on news publishing. Combined circulation of the group is over 120,000 newspapers per day, making it the largest newspaper group in the region. The Sentinel is the only English daily in the Northeast India with five editions published simultaneously from Guwahati, Dibrugarh, Shillong, Silchar and Itanagar. For all local, news from Assam, national and international news please visit  http://www.sentinelassam.com/

RTI activist accuses Himanta’s involvement in poll rigging case

Guwahati, April 29: RTI activist Dulal Bora has accused that State Education and Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sharma has been involved in the recent case of poll rigging at the Bornijorapar polling booth.

While stating that rigging in polls is an unfortunate incident for democracy, Bora said that these incidents are carried out by unscrupulous politicians, conniving government officials and the brokers who always remain hidden behind the shadows. Bora also added that Sharma has been falsely denying his involvement in the incident and has so far avoided talking of giving strict punishment to the guilty persons.

A TV news clipping had showed a VDP member, Bimal Boro, committing poll rigging in favour of the Congress party at the Bornijorapar LP School polling booth which falls under the Jalukbari LAC during the third phase of polling. The incident raised a lot of hue and cry among the other political parties and civil society groups who demanded repolling and all of this also lead to Boro’s arrest by the police.

Bora further said that the Congress party is trying to hush up the entire episode with false facts and dared Sharma to come out in the open and make his stand clear in front of the public.

Dulal Bora further directed his attack towards Congress candidate for the Guwahati seat, Manash Bora, while stating that he may also be involved in the poll rigging incident. In this context, Dulal Bora mentioned that he had written a letter on March 6 to the Central Election Commission (CEC) about the possible chances of rampant poll rigging in Assam. In response to the letter on March 14, the Election Commissioner had directed the state election commission to look into the points and investigate about any possibilities of poll rigging in this matter. But the state election commission’s inaction has ultimately resulted in several incidents like the one at Bornijorapar happen during the three phase polling in the state.

Dulal Bora also alleged that Manash Bora had cast his vote at a polling booth at Beltola using the voter ID card of a Chandra Mohan Barman. The RTI activist questioned the intentions of Manash Bora in using the voter ID card of another person. Dulal Bora stated that what Manash Bora has done is a serious crime and a clarification must be provided to the public as to why such an act was committed.

While emphasizing on the fact that the Congress party has done rampant poll rigging in various polling booths in the Guwahati seat, Dulal Bora demanded that repolling must be done at the entire Guwahati Lok Sabha seat to ensure fair polling. He also stated that Kamrup Metro district’s Deputy Commissioner, Ashutosh Agnihotri, and Returning Officer, Dr J Balaji, must be arrested for their alleged involvement in the vote rigging case. Bora also stated that the videographer who shot the footage of poll rigging must also be released from police custody as arresting him in the first place was a wrong act, and also all the video footages of all the polling booths in the Guwahati seat must be made public. And lastly, the RTI activist demanded that Manash Bora must make a public clarification over his activities and come out clean or else face the music.

(Source) The Sentinel Assam – The Largest Media group of North-East India — focused on news publishing. Combined circulation of the group is over 120,000 newspapers per day, making it the largest newspaper group in the region. The Sentinel is the only English daily in the Northeast India with five editions published simultaneously from Guwahati, Dibrugarh, Shillong, Silchar and Itanagar. For all local, news from Assam, national and international news please visit  http://www.sentinelassam.com/

Rules to check corruption exist but who follows them?

GUWAHATI, April 29: Believe it or not but if any government employee of the State receives gifts worth more than Rs 500 he has to submit a report to the government. Further if a government servant purchases movable or immovable property worth more than Rs. 10,000, he has to submit a report to the government showing the source from where he or she got the money. But it is ironical to note that these two important clauses of the Assam Civil Service (Conduct) Rules, 1965 Act is practically not followed anywhere in the State.

The Assam Civil Service (Conduct) Rules, 1965 Act was framed with the noble intention of bringing about transparency in the financial dealings of the State’s government employees. But no amendment in the value of the these two important clauses has rendered this Act almost useless as the slab cited was significant way back in 1965 –– almost fifty years back.

It is significant to note that this Act has been amended more than seven times till now but no change has been made in these two clauses.

The Assam Civil Service (Conduct) Rules, 1965 Act states that “a government servant may accept gifts from his near relatives but he shall make a report to the government if the value of any such gift exceeds Rs. 500”. The Act further states that “every government servant shall report to the prescribed authority every transaction entered into by him either in his own name of in the name of a member of the family in respect of movable property, if the value of such property exceeds Rs. 10,000”.

Talking with The Sentinel, a Commissioner–level Government official said that the government was not strict about implementing the Act as a result of which corruption has increased among government servants. The official who did not wish to be named said, “Nowadays almost every government employee purchases motorcycles or cars. But how many officials actually submit a report to the government? A section of third and fourth grade employees even have two to three cars. But when compared with their income, it is difficult to comprehend as to how they could purchase these assets.”

He further said, “The fact that the government has not bothered to amend the value of these two clauses has made this Act almost useless.”

An office bearer of the Sodou Assam Karmachari Parishad said that the Act is a very good one and it should be followed. However, the value of these two clauses are not at all significant in today’s age. The government should increase the slab of the gifts and movable and immovable properties and of these two clauses and implement the Act.”

(Source) The Sentinel Assam – The Largest Media group of North-East India — focused on news publishing. Combined circulation of the group is over 120,000 newspapers per day, making it the largest newspaper group in the region. The Sentinel is the only English daily in the Northeast India with five editions published simultaneously from Guwahati, Dibrugarh, Shillong, Silchar and Itanagar. For all local, news from Assam, national and international news please visit  http://www.sentinelassam.com/

Congress campaign exemplifies how not to do it: Jaitley

NEW DELHI, April 29: BJP leader Arun Jaitley on Tuesday said the Congress campaign in the Lok Sabha election is an example of how “not to organise it”. “As the polls enter the last two phases, the Congress party’s campaign was a textbook lesson of how not to organise it,” Jaitley said in a blog on Tuesday.

Jaitley said the Congress focused on points such as the Centre giving grants to the States, Right to Information, food and land bills as the key campaign issues but completely ignored the popular view. “Even though Narendra Modi captured the popular imagination, the Congress thought if (P.) Chidambaram, (Kapil) Sibal, (Manish) Tewari, Jairam (Ramesh), Anand Sharma and Beni Prasad were exceptionally rude and discourteous, they would demolish what they thought was the Modi myth… They ended up demolishing themselves,” he said.

Jaitley took a jibe at Congress leaders, saying: “The Jairams and the Sibals have been God’s special gift to the Congress. They then decided to manufacture a new campaign. They clapped like a child thinking that the ‘Toffee Campaign’ was working even though it was based on falsehood.”

The BJP leader said when nothing succeeded, the Snoopgate (opposition parties allege the Modi government ordered tracking of the movements of a young woman and spied on her in Gujarat in late 2009) was given a rebirth, hoping it would succeed. “But when things go wrong, they could go horribly wrong. Thus it didn’t succeed. These are the pitfalls of contesting elections without an issue and then manufacturing a campaign based on non–issues. The Congress ended up buying its own propaganda,” he said. (IANS)

(Source) The Sentinel Assam – The Largest Media group of North-East India — focused on news publishing. Combined circulation of the group is over 120,000 newspapers per day, making it the largest newspaper group in the region. The Sentinel is the only English daily in the Northeast India with five editions published simultaneously from Guwahati, Dibrugarh, Shillong, Silchar and Itanagar. For all local, news from Assam, national and international news please visit  http://www.sentinelassam.com/

Maoists influencing Naga militant groups: Centre

NEW DELHI, April 28: After developing an understanding with the Manipur–based militant outfits, the Maoists are now trying to forge alliances with the militant organizations of Nagaland. A report of the Union home Ministry has revealed that the Maoists are establishing separate networking channels in the North–East, particularly in Nagaland, for procurement of ammunition. “Procurement of arms in Nagaland is perhaps not possible without the help of the Naga militant groups,” a senior home ministry official said. Interestingly, all the three factions of NSCN (IM–K– KK) are presently in ceasefire agreements with the government. The latest revelation of the home ministry will certainly put the security establishment into a tizzy.

Taking note of the report, the home ministry has already alerted the State governments of the Northeast to take all precautionary measures. “The Government of India has alerted the State governments of the North–East in this regard. The Centre is also monitoring the situation closely,” the official said.

The Maoists has been trying to establish organizational bases in the North East with a view to forge relations with other insurgent groups to meet its military requirements. In this regard, the Maoists have developed close fraternal ties with two insurgent groups, including the Revolutionary People’s Front (RPF) and People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of Manipur. “Both the outfits have agreed upon mutual cooperation in the areas of training, funding, supply of arms and ammunition,” the official said.

Significantly, the Upper Assam Leading Committee (UALC) of the CPI (Maoist) is presently operating in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh and have been involved in incidents of looting of weapons and extortion from local villagers. “The UALC has also been engaged in recruitment and training of cadres for the outfit in Assam. These cadres have been utilized in extensive propaganda against mega dams in Assam. In this backdrop, the Assam–Arunachal Pradesh border has emerged as another theatre of Maoist activity,” the official said.

(Source) The Sentinel Assam – The Largest Media group of North-East India — focused on news publishing. Combined circulation of the group is over 120,000 newspapers per day, making it the largest newspaper group in the region. The Sentinel is the only English daily in the Northeast India with five editions published simultaneously from Guwahati, Dibrugarh, Shillong, Silchar and Itanagar. For all local, news from Assam, national and international news please visit  http://www.sentinelassam.com

’Industry expectations from new government at 20–year high

’However, there are risks of highly built–up expectations. Any deviations in the election results, contrary to expectations, can be very harmful because that can lead to a knee–jerk reaction’

NEW DELHI, April 28: India Inc. has excessive hope from the new government which will come into power post general elections, an industry survey revealed. According to a survey conducted by Assocham among chief executives across the country, the level of expectations from the upcoming government is the highest in at least two decades.

Expectations are high on several fronts from revival of economic growth to fixing inflation and bringing down interest rates and unemployment within a few months of taking over of the new government. “The expectation level is soaring by the day among different segments of the economy –– stock markets, industry, trade, multilateral institutions and foreign investors,” Assocham said in the survey report. “Heads of the diplomatic missions are also pinning their excessive hopes on the next government as they would like to reinforce their economic ties with India,” it said.

“However, there are risks of highly built–up expectations. Any deviations in the election results, contrary to expectations can be very harmful because that can lead to a knee–jerk reaction,” the report cautioned.

Most opinion polls predict victory for Bharatiya Janata Party–led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in the ongoing elections. Results are scheduled to be announced May 16.

Nearly 450 chief executives from different sectors like manufacturing, finance, real estates, banking and IT participated in the survey conducted in March. The survey covered major cities including Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Cochin, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Chandigarh and Dehradun among others.

Though they retained their optimism about India receiving a decisive, strong and stable government, as many as 67 percent of the corporate heads agreed the expectations are excessive, at least on the delivery front. “The run–up in the stock markets in the last few months is another pointer to a huge level of expectation. Our survey shows that at least in the last 20 years, there was never such level of expectations from a new government,” said Assocham secretary general D.S. Rawat.

The survey showed that the expectation level was spread across major sectors of the industry in particular but the maximum optimism was seen among those engaged in financial services, banking real estate and consumer goods.  IANS

(Source) The Sentinel Assam – The Largest Media group of North-East India — focused on news publishing. Combined circulation of the group is over 120,000 newspapers per day, making it the largest newspaper group in the region. The Sentinel is the only English daily in the Northeast India with five editions published simultaneously from Guwahati, Dibrugarh, Shillong, Silchar and Itanagar. For all local, news from Assam, national and international news please visit  http://www.sentinelassam.com

Will keep watch on Modi’s promise: AASU

GUWAHATI, April 28: The All Assam Students Union (AASU) today said that it will keep a watch on whether BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi fulfills his promise of deporting illegal Bangladeshi immigrants if his party forms the government at the Centre. Modi had on Sunday, while addressing a poll campaign meeting in Serampore of West Bengal, threatened to deport Bangladeshi immigrants if the NDA comes to power.

The AASU today said that it will be convinced of Modi’s statement only if he manages to fulfill it if he forms the government. Talking with The Sentinel, AASU advisor Sammujal Bhattacharjee said, “Our stand is clear. As per the Assam Accord, all those Bangladeshis who came to the State after 1971 will have to go back. We won’t comment anything on Modi’s statement now because he has only made a promise. We will wait and watch as to how he manages to fulfill his promise if the NDA comes to power.”

Bhattacharjee said that the students’ body hoped that Modi’s statement was not a political gimmick. “It has been generally seen that most political parties raise the issue of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants before the elections to garner political mileage. The issue of influx of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants should not be made into a political issue as the very existence of the indigenous people of the State is at stake here.”

The AASU advisor further said that whichever party forms the government at the Centre should show its sincerity to make Assam free from illegal Bangladeshi immigrants.

(Source) The Sentinel Assam – The Largest Media group of North-East India — focused on news publishing. Combined circulation of the group is over 120,000 newspapers per day, making it the largest newspaper group in the region. The Sentinel is the only English daily in the Northeast India with five editions published simultaneously from Guwahati, Dibrugarh, Shillong, Silchar and Itanagar. For all local, news from Assam, national and international news please visit  http://www.sentinelassam.com