Three ONGC employees abducted in Assam

New Delhi, Apr 21  Three employees of state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) were abducted by unknown armed militants from a rig site in Assam on Wednesday, the company said.

The employees were abducted in a company vehicle from the Lakwa field of Sivasagar district, in Assam.

"3 ONGC employees, 2 Junior Engineer Assistants (Production) & a Junior Technician (Production) have been abducted by unknown armed miscreants in the early hours of 21 April 2021. The abduction took place on a rig site of ONGC in Lakwa field of Sivasagar District," the company said in a tweet.

Whereabouts of the kidnapped employees were not known and kidnappers have not made any contact with the family or the company so far, a source in ONGC said.

"The abducted employees were taken by the miscreants in an operational vehicle belonging to ONGC. Later, the vehicle was found abandoned near the Nimonagarh jungles close to the Assam-Nagaland border," ONGC said in another tweet. "A complaint has been lodged by ONGC with the local police."

ONGC has been exploring and producing oil and gas in the Upper Assam region since the early 1960s.

"Higher officials of the State Police are on the site. Local administration has been informed about the incident and ONGC is in constant touch with the higher authorities," it added.

SEBA issues guidelines for schools in Assam for compulsory learning of Assamese language

The Board of Secondary Education Assam (SEBA) has given two options to the students under the state board for compulsory learning of the Assamese language.

This has been done as per the provisions of the Assamese Language Learning Act 2020 in a bid to make learning Assamese compulsory for the students of schools under SEBA.

As per the guidelines, for schools belonging to areas other than the 6th Scheduled areas, Barak Valley and Bodo medium schools of other areas, two options have been given to the students for compulsory learning of the Assamese language.

In the 6th Scheduled areas, Barak Valley and Bodo medium schools, however this rule won’t be compulsory, but they will get the option to choose Assamese as an elective subject, and obtain a proficiency certificate as an incentive.

The rules will be effective from Class IX registration for the year 2021. As per the first option, any student not opting for Assamese as MIL, can choose Assamese (E) as ‘elective subject’.

In such case, the total number of subjects for such candidates will be six.

At present, there are 11 MIL subjects under the Board and the list of the elective subjects comprises 31 subjects.

For the students who neither opts for Assamese as MIL nor takes Assamese (Elective)as an ‘elective subject’, there is another option to choose Assamese (Elective) as one additional subject.

Such students will have to appear for seven papers instead of six papers. The additional paper would contain 100 marks.

As per a Board notification, the marks obtained in the additional seventh paper won’t be counted for merit purposes and will be shown separately in the marks sheet.

However, it will be mandatory for the student to appear in the Assamese (Elective) examination to qualify in the HSLC examination.

In schools belonging to the 6th Scheduled Areas and Barak Valley and the Bodo medium schools, if any student selects MIL subject other than Assamese, he or she will get the option of selecting the additional seventh paper of Assamese (E), which, however, will not be compulsory for them.

Assam makes RAT mandatory for all air passengers arriving in the state

  • If a passenger tests positive, he/she will have to undergo home isolation or get admitted in a private hospital or government health institution depending on his/her medical condition, the order said.

GUWAHATI : Assam government Tuesday made it mandatory for all air passengers arriving in the state to undergo the rapid antigen test(RAT) which will be done free of cost. The order issued by the state health and family welfare came into force with immediate effect, officials said.

If an air passenger tests negative, then he/she will have to undergo confirmatory RT-PCR test at the airport at the maximum approved rate of 500, it said. After the RT-PCR sample is collected, the passenger will be allowed to leave the airport premises but will be required to be in quarantine till the test result is known. Hand stamping of the passengers after the sample collection must be done.

An undertaking in this regard will have to be furnished by each passenger, who can then continue with his/her normal activities in compliance with COVID-19 appropriate behaviour and norms, the order said.

There will be no exemptions from undergoing the tests and all earlier standard exemptions in this connection have been withdrawn, it added. Residents of other north eastern states who arrive in any airport in Assam airports from outside the state and are directly travelling onwards and all transit passengers of intra-Assam and inter-North Eastern states routes willl be exempted from testing provided they are asymptomatic.

These passengers will be required to produce proof of address in the north eastern states. Any person violating these instructions will be liable to be prosecuted as per the provisions of Section 51 to 60 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, besides legal action under Section 188 of IPC and other legal provisions, it said.

Covid negative report from other states will not be accepted in Assam: Himanta Biswa Sarma

Air and train passengers to Assam will have to undergo corona tests on reaching the state : Himanta

Guwahati: All air and train passengers travelling to Assam will have to undergo COVID-19 tests on reaching the state as its present coronavirus situation is primarily linked to people with travel history, Minister for Health and Family Welfare Himanta Biswa Sarma has said, PTI reported.

COVID-19 negative certificates from other states will not be accepted and those entering Assam will be required to undergo both rapid antigen and RT-PCR tests on arrival, Sarma told a press conference here. "The results of the tests will be available within 24 hours but till then the passengers should stay in isolation", he said. "In Assam the current cases are linked with travel and there is no indigeneous COVID-19 here. There is no plan of any lockdown or restriction being imposed in the state," the minister said.

Sarmah said that most of the recent cases are connected with travel history and have been reported from commercial and trading centres like Guwahati, Dibrugarh, Tinsukia, Jorhat, Tezpur and Cachar, he said.

Assam Covid-19 tally

Assam on Saturday reported 876 new COVID-19 cases taking the tally to 2,23,816, the National Health Mission said in a bulletin. Two fresh fatalities registered in Kamrup Metro and Kamrup Rural districts also took the death toll to 1129, it said. The number of active cases in the state is currently 4,794.

No shortage of Remdesivir in Assam

"It was unlikely that there will be any shortage in the near future," he said adding there are adequate Remdesivir in the different hospitals and orders for more have been placed.

Remdesivir, used for the treatment of the contagion, will be provided free of cost for the treatment of below poverty line patients. In the case of non-BPL patients, it will be provided at a concessional rate equivalent to its procurement rate by the Assam National Health Mission.

Online ‘census’ for Assamese Muslims launched by indigenous associations

The census is “modelled on the lines of the National Register of Citizens (NRC)” and aimed at "distinguishing Assamese Muslims from Bengali-speaking migrant Muslims."

BPF’s Candidates sent to Chhattisgarh amid horse-trading speculations

Guwahati : A total of eight candidates of Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) which was a part of Congress led Grand- Alliance were sent to a resort in Chhattisgarh amid the fear of horse-trading. After AIUDF which sent 18 of their candidates to Rajasthan, BPF is second to have moved candidates to a Congress ruled state. “The candidates are brought to Chhattishgarh and are staying at the Mayfair Resort. They will be here till May 2 when the counting of votes take place,” said by a senior Congress leader.

“BJP are the masters of horse-trading. We have seen many such instances in past where they used every possible way to lure the elected representatives. This time we have taken preventive measures to not let the same things happen and I don’t see any harm in this,” said Assam Congress leader and Lok Sabha MP Pradyut Bordoloi.

While BPF spokesperson Khampa Borgoyary said the party candidates are on a vacation. “Our candidates have gone to Chhattishgarh for a vacation after the long Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) polls followed by Assam assembly election.

It is worth mentioning that BPF was part of ruling BJP-led coalition in Assam and had recently tied with Congress. BPF has a strong hold in Bodoland and has ruled BTC for 17 years. The party is expected to see a keen fight with United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL), which is now heading the council with BJP.
“The fact that Congress is moving its allies to states outside Assam shows that they don’t trust on them. Our party is not bothered about it and we are forming the government with majority,” said BJP spokesperson Subhash Dutta.


Also Read: MBoSE to hold HSSLC and SSLC examinations amid the COVID-19 surge.


Congress led alliance urges EC to maintain transparency

The Congress led ‘Mahajot’ combining AIUDF, BPF CPI(M), CPI(ML) Liberation, Anchalik Gana Morcha, Adivasi National Party, RJD and Jimachayan Peoples Party submitted a memorandum today to Election Commission urging it to maintain transparency and fair counting of votes on May 2. It has to be noted that Election Commission has been immensely criticised during the second phase of voting when EVMS were found in a car of a ruling party, BJP’s candidate Krishnendu Paul after which the Election Commission has suspended three polling officials and ordered for a re-poll on 20th April 2021.

In the memorandum they requested the EC to direct all the returning officers to maintain table-wise details of the officials engaged in the counting of votes to all the contesting candidates. They also demanded to ensure proper video recording of the counting tables and the whole process. They urged the EC to allow the agent of contesting candidates to be present in the strong room when it would be opened and till the counting process is over.

The parties strongly demanded that the returning officers be directed to furnish details to all candidates about the number of postal ballots issued, those received so far and the number of absentee voters. The alliance also demanded that directions be issued to count all the postal ballots, ballots collected from homes of absentee voters and election duty certificates before the counting of EVMs is taken up. They urged the EC to direct all the returning officers not to begin the next round of counting till a round is completed and recorded.
A copy of memorandum was submitted to Nitin Khade, Assam Chief Electoral Officer in presence of all the party leaders.

CMSonowal checks the COVID-19 situation of Assam

Guwahati: Assam Chief Minister SarbanandaSonowal had a meeting with Deputy Commissioners, Joint Health Directors and other stake holders associated with COVID-19 management to take stock of COVID-19 situation in Assam. As the sudden spike of daily corona positive cases in various states, CM Sonowal on a virtual meeting asked the DCs to focus on micro-containment zones adding with extensive testing to prevent the worst effect of pandemic. According to a data of National Health Mission (NHM), Assam, a total of 2717 cases were detected in the state between March 27 and April 12. CM said that while many states have been seeing the spike of corona positive cases, Assam has not fully witnessed it yet. He asked the DCs to increase testing and adopt the test-trace-treatment protocol. He explained the importance of micro containment zone in containing the local transmission of virus and testing will help in tackling it clinically.  He therefore,requested the DCs to identify the places of concentration where people gather and use the man and machinery to speed up testing in those places. He also asked the Joint Directors of health to go strenuously on contact tracing and try to fulfill the target of at least one lakh testing per day across the state.

He also emphasised in strengthening the infrastructures like Covid Care Centres, isolation beds, oxygen cylinders etc. to overcome any demand. He asked the DCs to ensure the success of Prime Minister Call for ‘TikaUtsav’ and told the DCs to take the help of popular personalities in their respective districts to generate awareness for taking the vaccine and go for testing. He also calculated the need of following COVID-19 norms drafted by the Health Ministry.

He requested all the frontline workers to offer their services this time also like the last year and to make Assam a model state in COVID care management again. He then extended his greetings for RongaliBihu and Ramadan and appealed the people of Assam to follow the COVID norms.

Also Read: COVID-19: Re-closing schools will depredate private school teachers

Illegal Aadhaar Card Racket Busted In Assam's Dibrugarh, 3 Detained

Police have seized desktop computers, laptops, Aadhaar card forms and ₹ 5,000 in cash from the men. A Tata Nixon car has also been seized.

Spike in COVID-19 cases dampens Rongali Bihu festivities in Assam

Guwahati April 13 : A spike in the COVID-19 cases in Assam and strict guidelines issued by the State government has dampened the festive spirit ahead of Rongali or Bohag Bihu beginning Wednesday.

Officials of the Health and Family Welfare Department said 583 out of 1,02,182 people tested on Monday were positive, taking the active cases count to 2,387. The positivity rate of 0.75% was “manageable”, but the spread of the cases has been a cause for concern.

More than 33% of the cases were detected in Kamrup (Metro) district, which comprises mostly of Guwahati where the major Bihu functions are organised.

The Bihu organisers are miffed with the standard operating procedures issued by the district authorities on April 9, asking them to obtain prior permission for the programmes, sanitise the venues twice and wind up programmes by 11 p.m. every night. All members of Bihu organising committees have been asked to undergo tests for COVID-19.

“A lot of investment goes into organising Bihu functions that have traditionally carried on well past midnight. After 2020 was lost to COVID-19 lockdown, people have been looking forward to enjoying Bihu this time, but the strict regulations have come in the way,” said Kailash Nath Sarma, advisor to the Brihattar Guwahati Bihu Sanmilani Sanammay Raksha Samiti, a coordination body of Bihu committees in the city.

He said the festival organisers have protested and demanded relaxation of restrictions as well as assignment of volunteers by the district administration at Bihu sites for testing and sanitising.

“The guidelines have virtually ensured a subdued Bihu,” Mr .Sarma said.

Assam’s neighbours too have geared up to prevent the spread of the new strain of the virus. Meghalaya imposed night curfew from Sunday but has resisted deferring high school and higher secondary school leaving exams under the State Board from April 16.

D.P. Wahlang, the State’s Principal Secretary for Education admitted that many parents were wary of sending their wards to the examination centres. “But we need to take decisions that are locally relevant,” he said.

The government, however, has convened a meeting with the heads of the institutes on Wednesday for “sharing ideas and concerns” over the State Board exams.

Mizoram, on the other hand, has not taken any chances although the number of active cases there is among the lowest. The State government has closed schools for students up to Class 8. Schools in the State had reopened only on March 1 after a long pandemic-induced gap.

The Mizoram government has also banned night church services and extended the duration of the existing night curfew in State capital Aizawl and the other district headquarters.