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News Updated From Silchar
 Smugglers take to petrol, cattle

Silchar, April 20: Two unconventional items have been added to the list of commodities smuggled across the Indo-Bangladesh border in south Assam’s Karimganj district. According to sources in the Border Security Force (BSF) sector headquarters at Masimpur near here, the two latest additions are petrol and cattle. Sources said while petrol, concealed in plastic containers, has been increasingly finding passage into India from Sylhet, cattle in large numbers are now being furtively ferried into Bangladesh. During a nightlong swoop last week, jawans of the 64 battalion of the BSF came upon a group of smugglers at the Bhanga sector of the international border and seized six cows and 11 buffaloes. The smugglers, however, made good their escape under cover of darkness. The BSF has already alerted its units along the international border in Cachar and Karimganj against the smuggling of cattle as well as animal hide. Sources said the smugglers usually force the cattle to wade across the Kushiara river on the border. A conservative estimate by the BSF disclosed that every year, 3,000 animals on an average are smuggled across both the land and riverine border from south Assam into Bangladesh from Karimganj and Cachar districts.

 Delhi nod to Barak power project

Silchar, April 19: The Centre has finally cleared the decks for a mega project aimed at overhauling the power distribution system in the three south Assam districts. An official said the long-awaited project under the Union ministry’s accelerated power development and reform programme would cost Rs 73.74 crore, to be granted by Delhi in two phases. Work on the project covering Cachar, Karimganj and Hailakandi districts will begin early next month and is expected to be completed in 18 months. The ASEB hopes that the project will put a stop to powercuts, a regular feature in the districts since the late eighties. Sources said most of the blackouts are caused by tripping in the lines. “Things have come to such a pass that a mild gust of wind is enough to trip the lines. Most of the sub-stations, transformers and overhead transmission wires have outlived their utility,” an engineer said. Officials said the Calcutta-based Techno Electric and Engineering Company Limited has been entrusted with the task of restructuring the power supply system in the districts. Project manager of the company D.P. Dasgupta said the firm has begun a survey of the existing network of the power transmission lines in the districts. The first phase of the project is expected to cost Rs 54.98 crore, while the remaining Rs 18.77 crore will be utilised in the second phase. As part of the project, two power sub-stations will be built at Badarpur, a railway town in Karimganj district, and Dargakona, where the Assam Central University is located. The Malini Beel sub-station of the ASEB near this town will be strengthened at a cost of Rs 1.92 crore to augment its load despatch capacity from the present 2 MW to 20 MW. The daily peak demand for power in the south Assam districts is 70 MW, but the districts currently receive 35 to 45 MW of firm power.

 Gelatin sticks recovered from Assam train

A total of 444 explosive gelatin sticks were seized from a person travelling by Silchar Express in South Assam, Police said on Tuesday. Police sources here said Government Railway personnel seized 89 gelatin sticks wrapped inside a bedding holdall of one Hrangthang Raulte hailing from Mizoram during security checks in the train at Silchar on Monday. A few hours later, GRP personnel at Lumding railway station between Silchar and Guwahati also detected another 355 gelatin sticks packed inside two bags from the same train. They said Raulte was taken into custody and investigations were on.



Submitted by: Nabarun Purkayastha
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Source : The Hindustan Times, The Telegraph

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