Photo was taken at Arambag today by Chandan Pal >>
Kolkata, 6 March : Large parts of the Kolkata and Howrah suffered power cuts on Friday morning and evening as the state power utility restricted supply following a sharp decline in generation.
The scene was even worse in the districts and Madhyamik examinees there had to take the exams without fans in the hot afternoon. The shortfall in the evening stood at around 700 MW.
Kolkata suffered 75-90 minutes of loadshedding in the morning. Madhyamik students were, however, not affected as the state electricity board removed restriction from 11.30 am to 3.30 pm.
"In the morning, CESC areas recorded a shortfall of 50-60 MW. Restrictions were in place from 8.55 am to 11.30 am. They were reimposed after 3.30 pm and sparked a peak shortfall of 125 MW in the evening," a CESC official said. "Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee is concerned about the power crisis," said the state's chief secretary.
Frequent power outages make life miserable also in Bangladesh
Dhaka, 6 March : The power situation in the capital continues to worsen as the mercury rises every day forcing the city dwellers to consume more electricity at home and offices.
The city dwellers are experiencing one to two hour long power cuts, in cases three to four times on an average daily. The shortfall in electricity supply is mainly caused by inadequate gas supply at power stations. Power Development Board (PDB) sources said the official load-shedding today was 810 megawatts (MW).
"It is like a game…power is on and off. I am worried what will happen in the coming days when the whole country experiences the scorching heat," says Nazrul Islam, a resident of Kathalbagan.
Advani alleges Cong and CPI-M have "Unwritten Understanding"
Ex Dum Dum MP Tapan Sikdar returns to BJP
Kolkata, 6 March : BJP's prime ministerial candidate L K Advani alleged that Congress and CPM have hidden ties and there was an "unwritten understanding" between the two parties. And nearly four years after his unceremonious exit from BJP, Ex Dum Dum MP Tapan Sikdar came back to the saffron fold in the presence of L K Advani on Friday.
"There has been a unwritten understanding between the Congress and CPM that in West Bengal the Congress would act as the B team of CPM while the CPM would act as the B team of Congress at the Centre," Advani said addressing a party workers' conference at the Netaji indoor stadium that marked the start of the BJP's election campaign in the state.
Advani dismissed the possibility of a Third Front forming the next government at the Centre saying India is now divided into a bi-polar polity and it is not possible to form a government without the BJP or the Congress. Predicting a debacle for the Left in Kerala and a set-back in West Bengal in the coming Lok Sabha polls, he said "people in these states want a change".
Barapukuria coal mine in trouble
Barapukuria, 6 March : Just when Barapukuria Coal Mine Company Ltd (BCMCL) was dreaming about making profit for the first time, its coal production became uncertain due to resistance against mining by villagers and retrenchment of at least 800 miners yesterday.
While villagers stopped the company from mining coal from a new area since 18 February demanding compensation for loss of arable land, the mine’s Chinese operator CMC-XMC yesterday served notice to retrench 800 miners. The CMC-XMC paid the miners and told them not to attend work from today.
This prompted miners to protest and bring out a procession inside the mine against the CMC-XMC decision. Later, the BCMCL authorities quelled the agitating miners and requested CMC-XMC to extend their deadline for resuming coal mining to Sunday. Sources said CMC-XMC agreed with BCMCL.
Now, as the mine could not continue coal production as per schedule, its Chinese operator is threatening to leave Bangladesh.
Kolkata, 6 March : Soon after midnight on Thursday, the first couple' of Bollywood were seen at an unlikely location in the city.
Abhishek Bachchan and wife Aishwarya were present at the Kolkata railway station at Chitpore to shoot for Mani Ratnam's upcoming film Ravana. This is the first time the couple shot at Eastern Railway premises, officers said.
Before shooting started, a senior ER officer said, "Mani Ratnam scouted a lot for an ideal location before deciding on the Kolkata terminus. We are providing two trains that will arrive from opposite directions on platforms two and three. The film unit has paid Rs 4.4 lakh towards hire charges. Filming will start after the last train has left the station at 9.40 pm."
Directors like Shyam Benegal, Pradip Sarkar and Aparna Sen have used facilities provided by ER. Officials say nearly 10-12 Bengali, Hindi and even English films are shot at ER's facilities around Kolkata every year.
"From Saturday evening, another film Bhoomi will be shot at the yard. Naseeruddin Shah is expected to be present too," the officer added.
Tripura IPFT revived Autonomous Status demand
Agartala, 5 March : Following differences in leadership, a group of dissident workers of tribal based opposition Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (INPT) have revived its previous name "Indigenous People's Front of Tripura" (IPFT) after about seven years.
The newly elected president of IPFT and former Indian Information Service (IIS) cadre N C Debbarma alleged here today that they were forced to rename it because of insincerity and lack of political will among INPT leaders.
"The basic demands of tribal people to recognise Autonomous District Council (ADC) formed under Sixth Schedule of the Constitution in early eighties as separate state within the state of Tripura for ensuring political and social development of indigenous population was virtually ignored by INPT,” Debbarma said.
He observed that there was substantial influx of Bangladeshis in ADC area and INPT had ignored their demands like major political parties - Congress and CPI(M) on the issue.
IPFT had captured ADC in 2000 by defeating Left Front and within a short while of winning the elections the party faced dissidence and INPT emerged in the state politics. Later, three more parties emerged due to conflict in INPT.
Bangladesh Army asks civilians to carry ID Cards
Dhaka, 5 March : Bangladesh army has stepped-up security in the capital, directing civilians to carry their identity cards while passing through the cantonment area, a day after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina warned that the country could face "more sabotage" from "conspirators".
The statement by the Inter-Services Public Relationon came today as officials and reports said "For the sake of security, people are requested to carry their national identity card while crossing the cantonment."
Hasina yesterday warned that "conspiracies against Bangladesh are not over yet. There is still a plot to foil the country's democracy, independence and sovereignty." "The game is still on and the conspirators are not taking a break," she said.
Commission calls for demilitarization and Jumma land rights
Mark McEvoy, Survival International, 5 March : An international commission has urged Bangladesh’s new government to demilitarize the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) and return stolen land to its tribal owners, the Jummas. READ MORE....
West Bengal banks project credit potential for ailing poultry sector
Howrah, 5 March : In step with the UPA government's attempt to support poultry farmers in West Bengal, banks operating in the state have collectively projected a credit potential of Rs 367 crore for developing the state's ailing poultry sector.
Pakistan's cricket tour of Bangladesh postponed
Dhaka, 5 March : Pakistan's cricket tour of Bangladesh scheduled to start later this week has been postponed, the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) announced on Thursday.
Pakistan was due to reach Dhaka on Saturday to play two Twenty20 matches and five one-day internationals from 10-22 March. The BCB did not say why the tour had been postponed or when it will take place. "The Bangladesh Cricket Board has postponed Pakistan’s tour of Bangladesh 2009 as advised by the Government authorities," it said in a brief statement. A fresh itinerary will be announced later.
The decision to call off the tour comes two days after the Sri Lankan cricket team was attacked by armed gunmen in the Pakistani city of Lahore, which injured seven players and the team's assistant coach.
Pakistan and Bangladesh are co-hosts of the 2011 World Cup along with India and Sri Lanka.