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Tripura hikes employees' salaries before assembly polls

Agartala, December 11 (IANS): Barely two months ahead of assembly polls in the country's lone Left-ruled state, the Tripura government Tuesday decided to increase the emoluments of its 209,000 employees and pension holders, officials said here. "The council of ministers chaired by Chief Minister Manik Sarkar decided to follow the basic pay fixation formula of the central government's sixth pay commission," a state government official told IANS. According to the official, the additional expenditure for the move will be around Rs.90 crore in the remaining months of the current financial year. An additional Rs.251 crore would be annual additional expenditure in the next financial year (2013-14). The decision would be effective this month. According to a political observer, the Left Front government took this decision to defuse the resentment of the state government employees and pension holders before the assembly polls scheduled to be held in February next year. "Despite the state government's severe financial crisis, the government last month announced seven percent dearness allowance (DA) hike for employees and pensioners," the official added. The Tripura government recently raised the upper age limit of retirement for employees from 58 to 60 years.

No fencing along India-Myanmar border

New Delhi, December 11 (IANS): India shares a 1,631 km border with Myanmar, and sanction has been given to fence a 10-km stretch in Moreh area in Manipur, the government said Tuesday. Minister of State for Home M. Ramachandran said Mizoram accounted for 511 km of the border with Myanmar followed by Arunachal Pradesh (506 km), Manipur (400 km) and Nagaland (213 km). He said that presently border fencing along a 10-km stretch between border pillars 79 and 81 in Moreh area had been sanctioned. The India-Myanmar border was manned by Assam Rifles.

Cash withdrawal racket busted

Itanagar, December 11 (PTI): A racket allegedly involved in unauthorised withdrawal of cash from SBI customers' accounts through online transaction has been busted by the police here and four persons were arrested from Assam’s Barpeta district in this connection. The police arrested Mukibul Islam, Habib Ahmed, Razzaqul Islam and Rafikul Islam on Sunday, two months after the arrest of Shariful Islam, another accused, here on September 25, capital SP Surinder Kumar said here today. A laptop, a mobile handset and two memory cards were seized from the house of one of the arrested, the SP said. Kumar said that the arrests followed several complaints of unauthorised withdrawal of money to the police a few months ago from SBI customers. The accused said that they collected unsuspecting SBI customers' ATM card details, including passwords, by visiting ATM counters in Itanagar. After collecting the ATM card details, they used to sent an SMS containing the data to their associates at Barpeta who in turn made withdrawals by ordering electronic goods through various online payment gateways. The accused sold the electronic goods at discount from their shops at Barpeta. Till now Rs 12 lakh from around 20 SBI customers have been looted, the SP said. The arrested were produced before the judicial magistrate yesterday, who remanded them to seven days police custody.

Elephant carcass found in Assam

Jorhat, December 11 (PTI): The carcass of a tusker, suspected to have been killed about four days ago, was found today with both its ivory hacked away in Hollongapar Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary under Jorhat Forest Division. The carcass of the fully grown and mature elephant was recovered between Madhupur camp and Boi Diha camp within the Sanctuary, forest officials said. Samples of the carcass has been sent to the forensic laboratory for further tests as the exact cause of the death could not be ascertained in the postmortem. Veterinarian Numol Chandra Doley, who performed the post mortem said the exact cause could not be ascertained and the tusker could have been poisoned or shot at as two holes were found but they did not find any ammunitions near the spot.  Senior forest officials pointed out that the value of the two missing teeth (ivory) was estimated to be about Rs one crore.

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