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Saturday, January 31, 2009

East-West Metro work to start in March

The current alignment of the East-West Metro touches Sector V, Sector II, Central Park, Sector-I, Salt Lake stadium, Sealdah, Bowbazar, Writers' Buildings (Mahakaran), Howrah station, Kadamtala and Dasnagar. The route will intersect with the present Metro alignment at Central station
Kolkata, 5 February : Work on the much-awaited and much-debated East-West Metro is slated to begin in March at the Salt Lake end of the project.
The terminal Metro station at Salt Lake will be at the IT hub-Nabadiganta township. There will be a depot at Central Park as well.
This year, Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation (KMRC) has set a target of finishing work that would involve a total expenditure of Rs 253 crore, which is 5.4% of the total project cost of Rs 4,676 crore.
However, transport experts maintained that the opposite should have happened. Construction should have begun at the Howrah Maidan end. Even before its completion, trains could have been run between Howrah Maidan and Mahakaran (Writers' Buildings). Demand on this stretch is much higher than on the elevated stretch between the IT hub and Salt Lake stadium.

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Rs 5 crore for Subhas Sarobar revamp
Kolkata, 5 February : The state has received money to implement a green project that was long overdue. The Union ministry of tourism has just sanctioned Rs 5 crore to revamp Subhas Sarobar, the lungs of east Kolkata. The lake, an eyesore for years, is all set to turn into a beautiful landscape in the next 20 months.
After lobbying for nearly two years with the Union ministry of urban development, the state government highlighted the rejuvenation of Subhas Sarobar as a key tourism project while seeking funds from the Indian ministry of tourism. Result? MoT has now sanctioned Rs 4.91 crore to rejuvenate the lake.

Pakistan's Federal Investigation Agency Indicates
Bangladesh HuJI Link In Mumbai Attack
Howrah, 5 February : The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) of Pakistan came out with new revelation on
26/11 Mumbai attack stating that banned Harkat-ul-Jihad-al Islami (HuJI) of Bangladesh may have played a role in the terror incidents. The investigation report of FIA claimed that the banned terrorist outfit had been involved in planning the November Mumbai killings and the training of the terrorists. The probe report will be soon shared with India. According to media report, the investigation of Pakistan's FIA indicates that an international network of Muslim fundamentalists operating in South Asia was behind the planning and execution of
terror attacks on India's financial capital. As per a close source, the contents of the probe report will stress on the fact that Mumbai incident is not strictly a Pakistan-India issue. The FIA also said that it is investigating the fact if one of the attackers is of Bangladesh origin. According to a senior Western diplomat, it is very much possible that one of the Mumbai attackers belong to Bangladesh.
Dhaka ready to give India transit facilities
IANS, Dhaka, 4 February : Five days ahead of Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee's visit here, Bangladesh Wednesday said it was ready to provide transit facilities to India, a move that would help New Delhi trim its mounting trade deficit.
Dhaka has had reservations about a transit pact, a long-pending demand of India, for economic and security reasons. But the new government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina that took office last month is now pushing the deal.

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8 Huji men face arrest for Ramna Batamul blast
The Ramna Batamul blast took place during Pahela Baishakh celebrations on 14 th April, 2001, left 10 people dead and scores injured
Dhaka, 4 February : A Dhaka court today issued arrest warrants against eight Harkatul Jihad al Islami (Huji) men after accepting the charge sheets in connection with the Ramna Batamul blast case. Judge of the Dhaka Metropolitan Sessions Judge's Court, issued the warrants after accepting the charge sheets against the accused for the trial in the case filed under Explosive Substances Act. The next hearing on the case will be held on 18 February. Total 14 people including Huji chief Mufti Abdul Hannan were accused in the case. The Ramna Batamul blast took place during Pahela Baishakh celebrations on 14 April, 2001 left 10 people dead and scores injured.
Rajshahi Metro Police assault Rajshahi journalist
Police assistant commissioner witnesses beating, says action will be taken against those responsible for assault on journalist
Rajshahi, 3 February : Members of the Detective Branch (DB) of Rajshahi Metropolitan Police (RMP) assaulted an on-duty journalist at Ganakpara in the city today.
M Masud, a reporter of the local daily Raj Barta, was beaten up mercilessly when he was collecting information after raid of the DB men at a city hotel at noon.
A policeman asked Masud's identity and as soon as he was identified as a journalist they started beating him. Mahfuzur Rahman, assistant commissioner of the DB at RMP, was present on the spot. When Masud's colleagues and locals came forward protesting the beating, the policemen left the scene.
Mahfuzur Rahman told reporters that the constables who were unaware about journalists assaulted Masud. "We are taking action against the responsible persons."
Preparation for filing a general diary was on when this report was uploded today.

Centre clears Nayachar chemical hub
New Delhi & Kolkata, 3 February : The gloom over the industrial scenario in Bengal, reeling under the setbacks in Nandigram and Singur, lifted to a great extent on Tuesday, when the Centre cleared its much-touted chemical hub project in Nayachar.
The project now only needs a formal approval from the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs. The project has the potential of creating up to one lakh direct jobs and generating 10 times more the number indirectly.
WB Chief minister Buddhadeb Bha-ttacharjee, predictably, was visibly happy with the development. He was all smiles while leaving Writers’ Buildings for the day. “It is good news,” he said. The development is a small victory for the CM, who had to relocate the hub from Nandigram to Nayachar after police firing at the former site turned land acquisition into a burning national issue and the district into a political battleground.

Again CPM leader shot dead in Purulia
Purulia, 3 February : Again a CPM leader was shot dead in Purulia today in what a party member said was a tit-for-tat murder.
Haradhan Majhi, 50, was returning home with a bag of vegetables from the weekly bazaar at Balarampur when three men, waiting for him under a culvert, fired.
Son Rabi and a relative, Chandrasekhar Majhi, were with CPM local committee member Haradhan on a motorcycle. Police said they were passing through a forest, when attacked.
A local CPM activist, Lakshindar Majhi, said: “Today’s killing was carried out to avenge yesterday’s incident in Lalgarh (90km away) in which three tribals were killed.”

Lalgarh on the boil again : 3 killed in firing, Tribals block roads
Lalgarh, 3 February : Bengal's Jangalkhand is once again on fire. Tribal groups Today blocked several roads in West Bengal’s Maoist-dominated West Midnapore district, protesting the death of three tribal activists in a clash with CPIM supporters Monday.

"Activists of Police Santras Birodhi Janagan Committee (Anti-police atrocity committee) blocked several areas today morning in and around West Midnapore’s Lalgarh locality,” West Bengal Inspector General (Law and Order) Raj Kanojia told reporters.
The tribals blocked several roads by placing big tree trunks at Ramgarh, Kantapahari and Jhitka areas, the official said.
A skirmish broke out between CPIM supporters and tribals, Monday over the death of CPIM leader Nandalal Pal the day before. Pal was shot dead Sunday allegedly by tribals at Lalgarh.
Tribals also damaged police vehicles when officials tried to bring the situation under control. Four tribals were injured in the clash, an official said.

Emirates launches 3 additional flights to Dhaka
Logistics Business Review, Dubai, 3 February : Emirates Airline has launched three additional flights per week to Dhaka, Bangladesh from Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Emirates currently operates double-daily services between Dhaka and Dubai. The additional services will bring Emirates's weekly operation to 17 flights and add over 800 seats per week on the Dubai-Dhaka route one-way.
The airline will operate the three additional flights on every Monday, Wednesday and Sunday using A330-200 aircraft.

Tribeswomen remarry in Andamans
BBC News, Kolkata, 2 February : The Onges are one of the oldest tribes in the Andaman Islands. Officials in India's Andamans Islands have arranged remarriages for at least four Onge tribeswomen, it has emerged.
The move is aimed at halting the decline in the Onge population. Remarriage is rare in the tribe.
The Onges numbered just 100 until eight of their men died in December after mistaking toxic chemicals for alcohol. The tribe is one of the oldest in the Andaman Islands. Anthropologists say the Onge's presence there dates back between 30,000 and 50,000 years.

Fresh clashes erupt in Khejuri
Fire and bomb exchange, 25+ houses torched, 14 injured
Khejuri, 2 February : After a brief lull, Khejuri turned into a battlefield yet again on Monday. Following an alleged attack on two Trinamool Congress supporters, there was an exchange of fire and hurling of bombs by both CPM and Trinamool men.

While CPM alleged that 12 of their supporters were beaten up, Trinamool said two of their block members were hacked with choppers and had to be admitted to Kanthi Hospital. Several houses were torched in areas like Borokosharia and Harijanpally, which witnessed heavy firing till late in the evening. Though a large police contingent was sent to the area, no arrests were made.
Trinamool has called a 12-hour bandh in Khejuri on Tuesday. Late on Monday evening, a large police contingent was sent to the area. Two fire engines were pressed into service to douse the flames. "We are keeping an eye on the situation. No one has so far been injured in the firing," said a senior police officer.

BANGLADESH : Arsenic-free drinking water by 2013 ?
IRIN, Dhaka, 2 February : The government of Bangladesh has reaffirmed its goal to make the country's drinking water arsenic-free by 2013.
www.the-united-nations.com (News from the UN)
Bangladesh approves Climate Change Trust
Reuters, Dhaka, 2 February : Bangladesh, which is affected by deadly cyclones and floods almost every year, approved on Monday a climate change trust and allocated an initial $43.5 million (30.8 million pounds) fund, a government spokesman said.

The trust would be formed with environment and disaster management experts as soon as possible, spokesman Abul Kalam Azad said. It would seek the causes of climate change and would adopt policies to protect people and property from its adverse effects. Experts say a one-metre rise in sea levels would displace some 30 million Bangladeshis and deal a catastrophic blow to economic growth and development. They say climate change will affect Bangladesh's population of more than 140 million over the next 50 years, with sea levels rising in the south and droughts in the north. River erosion will increase as glaciers melt and the risk of disease will grow with increasing humidity.
Bangladesh blamed climate change for floods and Cyclone Sider that killed some 4,500 people, destroyed crops and infrastructure worth nearly $2 billion and also displaced some two million people in 2007.

CPM leader shot dead in Lalgarh, Bandh call
Midnapore, 1 February : A CPM leader was shot dead by suspected Maoists this afternoon, barely 200 metres from his home in West Midnapore's Lalgarh.
Nandalal Pal, 50, a member of the party's Binpur zonal committee, was a well-to-do farmer with over 1.5 acres. Since his mother's death last week, Nandalal's daily ritual used to be bathing in a canal and watering plants. "As he stepped out of the water and turned towards home around noon, four men in shirts and trousers walked up to him and fired," said Subhendu Nandi, who was bathing in another part of the canal.
Nandalal was killed on the spot. "We believe it was a Maoist job. But we'll also find out whether it was the result of a political or other feud," said district police chief Rajesh Kumar Singh.
The CPM has called a 12-hour Binpur-I block bandh tomorrow. Local leaders said the area had become a free zone for Maoists.

Books were my companions in jail : Hasina
Dhaka, 1 February : Bangladesh prime minister Sheikh Hasina says books sustained her during the "lonely" days of her detention between 2007 and 2008.
"Books were my only companions in my lonely life in prison," said the PM on Sunday as she opened the month-long Amar Ekushey Boi Mela at the Bangla Academy.

"My time in jail was a great opportunity for me to read, and I realised once again the importance of books," Hasina said of the 11 months she spent in special jail, from July 2007 to June 2008, facing graft charges.
The habit of reading books can be useful in everyone's daily life, she said. The prime minister advised the younger generation to read more books as, she said, a nation cannot develop without a well-educated people.
The 'Amar Ekushey' Boi Mela or "Immortal (February) 21st" Book Fair commemorates the 1952 Language Movement. 21February, has been observed worldwide as International Mother Language Day since UNESCO declared the day in 1999.
As visiting Indian activist and writer Mahasweta Devi arrived at the venue, the prime minister asked for her to be brought to the dais. Devi, seated beside Hasina.

Boi, boi, boi…it’s the Boi Mela again !

Bangladesh PM Inaugurates Amar Ekushey Book Fair
Dhaka, 1 February : Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the month-long Amar Ekushey Boi Mela 2009 at the Bangla Academy premises on 1 February.
Commemorating the Language movement, the highly anticipated annual fair will be special this year as there will be special visiting hours for women and children only on three days. Around 436 stalls, alloted to 297 institutions and publishing houses, will be selling their books and products at the mela this year. The fair will remain open for all from 3pm to 9pm on weekdays and from 11am to 9pm on weekends.
On 21 February, the International Mother Language Day, the fair will remain open from 8:00 in the morning till 10:00pm.
The special timings for women and children will be from 11am to 3pm on 6, 7 and 27 February . This special arrangement will make it easier for this particular segment to enjoy the fair without crowds and associated hassles. On these days, the fair will be open to all again from 3pm.
Everyday a seminar will be held on the theme of 'Potentiality of Bangladesh', which will focus on different sectors of the country. As usual, there will also be daily cultural shows. All information regarding the fair is available at three websites :
www.banglaculture.com, www.boiwala.com and www.ekusheyboimela.info.
Flower show at Indian Horticultural Society
Kolkata, 1 February : It promises to be a treat for nature lovers. The annual flower show organised by the Agri-Horticultural Society of India begins next week (5-8 February).
Founded in 1820 by William Carey, the society has been organising the show since 1828. Visitors to this year's show will be treated to a gathering of professional growers showcasing their prized plants and flowers.
The flower show will provide tips, techniques and ideas that visitors can use for their gardens at home. The vendors participating in the show will offer modern gardening tools, organic nutrients and habitats for those with a gardening fetish. Garden furniture and sustainable plantations will also be available. Visitors waling through the society gardens - which is all dressed for the grand occasion - will see differently styled green patches in the Japanese Garden, Bhesaj Udyan, Rockeries and Waterfalls, Meditation spots and the nurseries.

Bird flu strikes in Cooch Behar
Cooch Behar, 1 February : After Malda and Darjeeling, bird flu has now spread to Cooch Behar. The administration has been asked to begin culling from Sunday.
"The Mathabhanga and Dinhata areas of Cooch Behar have been hit by bird flu. I have ordered culling operations from today," state animal resources development minister Anisur Rahaman told Bengal News.
Thirty culling teams, comprising five members each, would kill the birds from Today. The minister said the borders with Bangladesh have been sealed and trading and transport of chicken from the affected areas prohibited. "We have alerted BSF so that birds can't be smuggled in or out," said Rahaman.
Saraswati Puja ::
Students of Dhaka university worship the Goddess Saraswati during Puja in Dhaka. Saraswati is the goddess of wisdom and knowledge. The Puja is being held all over Muslim majority Bangladesh as West Bengal and Tripura, especially in the educational institutions. Educational institutions across the country will remain closed on the day.
Photos : Rafiqur Rahman (REUTERS)

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