Kolkata, 14 April : The WB state government is planning to increase vigil around thermal plants following an alert by central intelligence agencies. The Indian home ministry has issued an alert about a possible terror attack on thermal plants and also asked for increased security around groundwater reservoirs in the state.
The five thermal plants located in Santaldih, Kolaghat, Bakreswar, Bandel and Sagardighi would soon be placed under the surveillance of watchdogs. A power department official said they will hire agencies to supply dogs to the power plants along with dog handlers. For Santaldih, the WBPDCL requires nine dogs, while Bandel would need five. Fifteen dogs would be required for Bakreswar, 13 for Sagardighi and eight for Kolaghat power plant.
The home ministry has asked for increased vigilance around industrial hubs like Haldia dock complex and Asansol and Durgapur industrial areas. Educational institutes like ISI and IIM, along with Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics and VECC, could also be treated as probable terror targets, said an official. The home ministry has also called for increased vigil in the Metro, shopping malls and major hospitals.
Durgapur, Kolkata, Hooghly, 14 April : Sitting on a pavement on a sultry April afternoon is sure to be a nightmare. It's worse if you are a hawker without customers to keep you busy during Chaitra sale.
Usually, more than 30% queries made by buyers at the stalls of the hawkers at Benachity's Natan Road, Gariahat and Hatibagan translate into sale. During festive seasons, like Durga Puja and Poila Baisakh, more than 90% visitors are prospective buyers. Stall owners at Gariahat and Hatibagan claimed there were hardly any this year.
"I remember missing my evening tiffin several times last year to cater to the rush. Forget about prospective buyers, this year, there have been hardly any queries even on Werekend days," said the owner of a garment stall near the Gariahat Bata showroom. Hawkers feel it's the weather that has reduced footfall. The few customers whom Bengal Newz could spot on Tuesday afternoon agreed. Lopamudra Bhaduri and Monimala Ghosh was shopping at the Sreerampore railway station side market. "Prices at Chaitra sale are so cheap that they won't affect the pocket. We believe it's the excessive heat that's forcing people to stay in the house," they said.
In the first phase of polls, voting will be held on Thursday 16 April for 124 seats across seventeen states and union territories. Voting will be held Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and some seats in Orissa, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, 13 seats in Maharashtra and Chattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep.
This year, the Bengali New Year saw the first broad gauge train, the Silk City Express from Rajshahi, plied to and from the capital's main Kamalapur Station. "Even a couple of years back, arrival of broad gauge trains to Kamalapur station was unthinkable," Md Belayet Hossain, the Bangladesh railway's director general told reporters.
People of Rajshahi have had to wait 147 years, since the introduction of railway in Bengal by the British in 1862, to reach Dhaka's Kamalapur Station direct by broad gauge.
Agartala, 14 April : The Tripura Home department has identified as many as 571 booths as sensitive and violence prone for the 23 Aapril Lok sabha elections. Official sources here today said after review of the security scenario following intelligence input, the state authority classified about 19 per cent of total 3008 polling booths as sensitive which needed more security forces for fair and peaceful elections The Ministry provided additional 30 companies of the Central Paramilitary Forces to Tripura for poll duty.
Out of 571 vulnerable booths more than 30 per cent were so far identified as hypersensitive, which required at least 16 security personnel for each booth on the poll day, a senior home department official said. Despite the fact that law and order situation in the state had improved radically during past year, threat during elections looms large as the security personnel are less in number.
The state CEOs and district returning officers have been told not to keep more than 4% of EVMs on standby. From past elections, the EC has found that on voting day only 1% EVMs need to be replaced. So, instead of keeping a reserve of 15% or more EVMs, these should be placed in booths, it has ordered.
With more EVMs, queues of voters would be shorter, said an official. Bengal will have 80,000 EVMs, of which 76,000 could be used in 52,000 booths. "An EVM can display 16 names. In case there are more candidates in the same constituency, we need to have two EVMs. But till date the maximum number of candidates are from Purulia, where 14 are in the fray," CEO Debashis Sen said.
Kolkata, 13 April : Representatives of the Chinese First Automobile Works(FAW) today met WB's CM Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and said they were exploring the possibility of setting up a car plant on the Singur plot from where the Tata Nano was to roll out.
However, the Chinese are unlikely to get any land in Singur as the Tatas are set to renew their lease with the government. “Faw (First Automobile) wants about 600 acres in Singur but the lease with Tata Motors for the land is likely to be renewed by the state if the Tatas so desire,” an industries department official said.
Industries secretary Sabyasachi Sen said: “The Chinese company is now conducting a study on the Indian market. After completing the study, it will submit a proposal to the state government.”
According to an official of the chief minister’s secretariat, Faw officials would like to visit Singur to find out if a manufacturing unit can come up there. “Their intention is not to set up only a small-car plant but to explore other options relating to buses and mini-trucks. If there’s a manufacturing set-up in Singur, they’d want to do the assembling in Haldia, where Faw is working on an expansion of a bus-manufacturing unit with Ural India.”
This year’s conference, is being held at the Eastern Naval Command headquarters, in Visakhapatnam, from 13 to 15 Apr 09. The conference will be inaugurated by Admiral Sureesh Mehta, the Chief of the Naval Staff. Other senior officers from the navy, the three naval command headquarters, the Andaman and Nicobar Command, and the two fleets, will also attend. ။ READ MORE
Khulna, 12 April : A honey collector 'Mowali' collects honey from a honeycomb hanging in a mangrove forest of The Sundarbans near Khulna. The Sundarbans is the largest single block of tidal halophytic mangrove forest in the world. "Sundarban" literally means "beautiful jungle" or "beautiful forest" in the Bengali language. The name Sundarbans may also have been derived from the Sundari trees that are found in Sundarbans in large numbers. The forest lies at the sweaty feet of the Ganges and is spread across areas of Bangladesh and West Bengal, forming the seaward fringe of the delta. The seasonally-flooded Sundarbans freshwater swamp forests lie inland from the mangrove forests. The forest covers 10,000 sq.km of which about 6,000 are in Bangladesh. It became inscripted as a UNESCO world heritage site in 1997. ။ Photo : Reuters
Kolkata, 13 April : A dreaded Harkat-ul-Jihadi-Islami Bangladesh activist, wanted for at least two failed attempts on the life of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and several other terror attacks in the country, was nabbed by CID officers from a hideout in Baguiati on Sunday.
Mufti Ibrahim, alias Jalauddin, is the cousin of HuJI-B commander Mufti Abdul Hannan, now in a Bangladesh jail, police said. He hails from Kotalipara in Gopalgunge and joined HuJI-B after Hannan returned from Afghanistan in 1993 where he fought for Taliban as a mujahid. Ibrahim is wanted for planting 76 kg explosives near the venue of a Hasina meeting at the Kotalipara helipad in July 2000. The explosives were detected just minutes before the rally. Four years later, he is suspected to have played a role in a grenade attack on an Awami League rally on Bangabandhu Avenue. Mufti Hannan was arrested for masterminding the attack.
Soon after, Ibrahim fled, took shelter in North 24-Parganas and got in touch with other Bangladeshi gangsters hiding in the state.
Kolkata, 13 April : The environment department is asking all municipalities in the state to explore the feasibility of setting up new plastic waste recycling units in consultation with the pollution control board to minimise the problem of plastic waste as much as possible.
Officials said most municipalities and municipal corporations have done precious little to keep their areas free of plastic waste. "Only a few municipalities like Bally, Kalyani, Raiganj and Cooch Behar have been doing a good job by working on the disposal of waste. But it is true that most civic bodies are not complying with norms laid down for plastic waste disposal last year. We are reviewing the compliance and will soon discuss the matter with the state municipal association," said a senior environment department officer.
The environment department is now forming a committee to look into the matter. "We had sent a detailed proforma to the municipal association on how the norms could be complied with. We are asking them to have a separate agenda on environmental issues," an official said.
These intellectuals are the ones who, as representatives of the "civil society", stood by the Opposition during the
Starting from 6 pm, the show will go on till midnight, much like New Year's Eve parties on December 31 something that has perhaps not been tried out in case of Poila Boishakh yet. The event has been christened Joi Hok...Joi Hok Naba Arunodoy, which would definitely remind you of Debabrata Biswas, but it also reminds you of the song Jai Ho from the Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire, which is being used by all political parties as an election slogan this time.
Noted painter Shuvaprasanna is organising the event and he is being assisted by names like Bibhas Chakraborty, Bratya Basu, Saonli Mitra, Aparna Sen, Joy Goswami, singer Abhijit and Mamata Shankar, among others.
Poll fever make parties tryout borrowed prescriptions
။ Kolkata, 12 April
Trinamool Congress supporters wear masks of party leader Mamata Banerjee during an election rally in Kolkata today.
Kolkata, 12 April : After keeping West Bengal Police out of Maoist-dominated Lalgarh for six months, the protesters might eventually allow police forces from other states into the troubled zone on election day, 30 April.
Chhatradhar Mahato, leader of the People’s Committee against Police Atrocities (PCPA), met state chief electoral officer Debashis Sen in the city on Sunday after the latter invited him for talks on how elections can be held there. Though the meeting ended inconclusively, the ice seemed to have been broken.
Mahato, sources said, promised to get back to Sen after conferring with PCPA members. There are signs of an agreement with the administration for the sake of polls.
Dhaka, 12 April : The Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) arrested eight Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) militants including three suicidal squad members in the city's Khilkhet area last night. The Rab personnel also recovered a huge number of Jihadi books, CDs and power gel (explosives) used in making bomb from their possession.
Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Kamruzzaman of the Rab-1 told The Daily Star that the Rab intelligence made the arrest from different places of the area. The Rab arranged a press briefing at the Rab-1 headquarters in Uttara at 3:15pm (BDST) to elaborate the arrest.
"We expect 250 companies of para-military forces to be in the state at least a week before the first phase of Lok Sabha polls," IGP (Law and Order) Raj Kanojia said in Kolkata on Saturday. He said that 20 companies of the Central forces would be spread over areas infested with ultra outfit Kamtapur Liberation Organisation (KLO) in North Bengal and in areas where Maoist rebels are active such as West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia districts for smooth conduct of polls.
Force deployment plan in districts, landmine removal measures, air surveillance in ultra-infested areas and other security steps were discussed at a high-level meeting attended by WB Chief Secretary Asok Mohan Chakraborty, Home Secretary Ardhendu Sen, state's Chief Electoral Officer Debasish Sen and IGP Raj Kanojia.
Broadband firms offer 16 Mbps faster downloads!!
Kolkata, 11 April : Watching www.bengalnewz.com, downloading movies, music or data from the Internet has just got easier.
It is now possible to download a 4GB file, such as a high-definition movie bought online, within 30 minutes using a 16 mega bits per second (Mbps) broadband launched by Airtel. Reliance Communication (R-Com) has also launched its wireless high-speed Internet in Kolkata, which will offer up to 3.1 Mbps downlink speed and a separate uplink speed of up to 1.8 Mbps.
The Airtel service will be initially available in Delhi, Chennai and Bangalore. The company plans to roll out the service in Hyderabad, Pune, Mumbai and Kolkata very soon. Airtel’s offer comes with a fixed line connection and costs Rs 2,999 per month (data transfer limit 20GB) and Rs 4,999 (50GB). In India, the average broadband speed is 256 Kbps, while in countries such as France and Korea, this is in excess of 16 Mbps. Normally, a 256 kilo bits per second (Kbps) Internet connection takes over 12 hours to download a 4GB movie. Till date the highest available broadband speed in India was 8 Mbps.
Starting from 256 Kbps, Bharat Sanchar Nigam (BSNL) offers bandwidth up to 2 Mbps. Tata Indicom offers broadband speed of up to 4 Mbps in some cases, starting from 256 Kbps. Reliance Communication (R-Com) aims to treble its Internet user base this financial year from the present 20,000 with its faster broadband service. Other broadband service providers include MTNL (up to 2 Mbps) and Sify (256 Kbps to 512 Kbps).
“Each service provider will have to increase the bandwidth they provide currently,” a telecom analyst said.
At least 50 people injured in Sirajganj clash
UNB, Sirajganj, 11 April : At least 50 people were injured in a clash between two groups of villagers over a trifle matter in Shahjadpur upazila of the district this morning.
Police and witnesses said the clash began between two youths one from Alokdia village and another from Nukali village over enjoying a cultural programme at Nukali High School ground yesterday. In a sequel to the dispute, two groups of villagers equipped with sharp weapons and sticks attacked each other at about 9:00am(BDST), leaving 50 people from both sides injured. The feuding groups also put up a barricade on nearby Dhaka-Bogra Highway and looted a shop and a house.
On information, police rushed to the spot and removed the barricade after one hour.
West Bengal to get its first Film City in Dooars area
Siliguri, 11 April : The state is all set to get its very own film city. Slated to be as plush and picturesque as the sprawling Ramoji Film City in Hyderabad, the Rs 400-crore project will come up in the Dooars in next 18 months. Quite expectedly, it has been christened Dollywood!
Located 17 kilometres from the New Mal station, Dollywood will come up in Chalsa, close to the Gorumara forest, on 270 bighas of sylvan land surrounded by rivers Jaldhaka and Diana. The location has a full view of the Bhutan hills. The project is being developed by city-based Vibgyor Group.
"Since a large number of film shootings happen in North Bengal, we were planning a film city near Siliguri but it petered out because of the ongoing trouble in Darjeeling," said Asok Bhattacharya, WB state minister for urban development and municipal affairs. As CPM's MLA from Siliguri, he is the key man for all matters related to North Bengal and heartily welcomed the news.