Crossword puzzles, CM's musings, 'engagement' with citizens: It's Assam govt's new monthly newsletter

Amit Shah will launch the first issue today, coinciding with the one-year anniversary of Himant Biswa Sarma's government.

ByNL Team
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Crossword puzzles, CM's musings, 'engagement' with citizens: It's Assam govt's new monthly newsletter
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To coincide with the one-year anniversary of Himant Biswa Sarma's BJP government in Assam, home minister Amit Shah will today unveil the first issue of Asom Bartaa monthly newsletter on the "developmental journey of the state".

The newsletter – and its website is careful not to call it a newspaper – will be printed in Assamese, English, Bengali and Hindi, and aims to "facilitate a direct engagement of the people of Assam with their government".

The first issue is spread across 16 pages, with the lead story on page 1 about Modi ushering in a "new cancer care model" in Assam – referring to seven new cancer hospitals announced in the state on April 28.

Page 2 contains a message from Sarma, titled "Musings of a Chief Minister". Quoting from Robert Frost's Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, Sarma writes about how the motto of his government is to be "inclusive" and "focused on development with a human touch".

Citing his own "modesty and humility", he writes, "I have no doubt that we managed to deal with Covid better than many other States." Perhaps he is unaware of his own party's touting of the UP model of Covid handling.

The newsletter continues in this vein. Page 3, for instance, describes how "India's first citizen falls in love with Assam", referring to president Ram Nath Kovind attending a conference in the state last week.

Page 9 notes that Assam is experiencing "economic buoyancy", managing to "put up a show that more fancied states can envy". Among the state's achievements in the past year is the rescue of 9,454 cattle and coaxing 1,613 militants to "join mainstream".

To appeal to younger readers, page 11 has a crossword puzzle, titled "Youth Corner", where all the answers appear to be names of state government schemes. There's also a "Vox Pop" featuring citizens' impressions of Sarma's government. Teacher Elizabeth D'costa, for instance, is succinct in her praise: "Better than the previous government."

If you're curious about the newsletter's editorial board, here you go.

Editor in chief Bishnu Kamal Bora is the director of information and public relations in Assam, and former deputy commissioner of Sivasagar.

Bijay Sankar Bora is a senior journalist who previously worked with Tribune, Statesman and others. Anuradha Sarma Pujari is a writer and journalist who won the Sahitya Akademi Award last year for her novel. Wasbir Hussain is a writer and executive director of the Centre for Development and Peace Studies, according to his Twitter bio.

Editor in chief Bora said the government's "target in the first phase is to reach 1 crore readers via various new media and social media platforms". Issues will be distributed at state government offices and to "eminent citizens across the country", the Hindu reported.

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