Liquor comes and goes
Liquor shops in Guwahati and elsewhere in Assam had opened last Monday, much to the joys of drinkers. However, the euphoria lasted barely two days as the state government had to revoke its order on opening of the liquor outlets following the Centre’s guidelines on the extended shutdown that did not give any relaxation. With revenues badly hit in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown, the Assam government had granted permission for the sale of liquor. People were seen making beelines outside the shops but careful enough in adhering to social distancing.
A low-key Rongali Bihu celebration
Even as COVID-19 confined people to their homes in the Northeast state of Assam, it failed to dampen their Bihu spirit. However, unlike in the past, the Rongali Bihu — the spring festival of Assam — is being celebrated at homes. Given the government’s guidelines on social distancing, the Bihu committees in Guwahati cancelled all programmes this year. At the Latasil ground, the Guwahati Bihu Sanmilani had a brief programme on Monday where a small group of people congregated. The Rongali Bihu, which marks the onset of Assamese New Year, is among three Bihus. The others being Magh Bihu, also called Bhogali Bihu, and Kati Bihu. Rongali Bihu is a time of feasting and merry-making. To the farmers, it is a time to prepare their fields for cultivation.
CBI charge-sheets five
The Central Bureau of Investigation filed a charge sheet against a former credit manager of Bank of India in Guwahati for allegedly misusing his official position and entering into a criminal conspiracy with the proprietors of two private firms, a businessman and a surveyor of an insurance company, during 2012-14. A case was also registered against them and some others. The bank official in question had allegedly sanctioned the term loan and cash credit loans for purchasing machinery/excavators, civil contract work by violating procedures and guidelines of the bank and disbursed the loan. It was alleged that the borrowers failed to repay term loans and cash credit loans, causing loss of over `1.98 crore to the bank, sources in the federal agency said.
Assam gets PPE kits from China
Assam is the first state in the country to order and receive 50,000 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits from China. With these, the state’s stock of PPE kits has risen to around 1.5 lakh. A cargo flight, carrying the items, had touched down at the Guwahati airport on Wednesday evening. Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma received the consignment. “Another BIG reason to cheer! Keeping life first as the motive, we’re glad to have imported 50,000 PPE kits from Guangzhou, China. I am happy to receive this special flight along with @Pijush_hazarika at #Guwahati airport. A big reassurance for our doctors & nurses,” Sarma tweeted.
Our correspondent in Guwahati