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Thursday, April 30, 2009


West Bengal registers 64% polling
Kolkata, 30 April : The Left citadel of West Bengal registered a 64 percent voter turnout in 14 Lok Sabha constituencies by Thursday evening. But the largely peaceful poll was marred by a landmine blast, triggered by suspected Maoists, that injured two security personnel.
'There was around 64 percent polling till 5 pm. But the figure will go up as people were still queuing up to vote' by the closing time, state chief electoral officer Debasish Sen told reporters here, describing the election as 'peaceful and secure'.

Maoists trigger landmine blast in Jamboni, 3 died
Jamboni (West Midnapore), 30 April : A landmine blast triggered by the Maoists claimed the lives of three persons, including two polling officials in West Midnapore district Today.
The blast, which took place at around 6:00 pm in Jamboni region of West Midnapore district of the state, was triggered using a remote device. The blast was aimed at the polling officials returning from election duty under the security of paramilitary personnel. Two polling officials and the driver were killed in the blast.
Bangladeshi nationals dies of swine flu in Mexico
Tripura govt sounds swine flu alert
Dhaka, Agartala, 30 April : The Bangladesh health minister said Thursday the government was on alert after Mexican officials confirmed one of eight foreign nationals who died of swine flu there was from Bangladesh. And in Tripura government has sounded an alert in the state to check an outbreak of the deadly swine flu, official sources said on Thursday.
The decision to issue the alert was taken on Wednesday night at a meeting chaired by Principal Secretary of the Health Department, Yash Pal Singh. Two health directors S R Debbarma and R K Dhar were also present at the meeting. Debbarma said four district level meetings would be organised soon with the chief medical officers and other health officials for making people aware of the disease.
The health director said piggery workers were also being told about the do's and don't's. "People should not panic because adequate drugs for treating swine flu are available in the state," he said. The drugs, he said, were procured by the state during the outbreak of bird flu in the state last year, he said.

Polling fails to kick off in Naxalite hit areas in Bengal
Kolkata, Midnapore, 30 April : The spectre of Maoist violence was literally stalking the first phase Lok Sabha elections in West Bengal today as polling could not start in most of the special booths in Naxal-dominated areas in West Midnapore due to high tension. A large number of cans looking like landmines were recovered from Pirakata forest by the side of the Pirakata special booth. In all, 20 cars and busses carrying Central forces along with polling personnel had been stopped near Laljal by the PCAPA activists not allowing them to proceed further. Polling personnel for Laljal booths had been denied to proceed further towards their booths apprehending greater trouble. The entire tribal belt of Belpahari, Banspahari, Lalgarh, Jamboni, Bhulaveda, Goaltore and Salboni was worst hit by the Naxalite menace.

Ghulam Rahman appointed as new Anti-Corruption Commission chief
Dhaka, 30 April : Ghulam Rahman, chairman of Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission, has been appointed chairman of the Anti-Corruption Commission, officials said today.
Sources at the cabinet division confirmed the appointment but there was no official announcement. “An order is expected to be issued on the appointment of Ghulam Rahman as ACC chief,” an official of the establishment ministry told reporters preferring anonymity.
Sources said Bangladesh President Zillur Rahman signed the appointment today.
Polling begins in West Bengal amid tight security
Kolkata, 30 April : Polling began in West Bengal for 14 of its 42 Lok Sabha seats amid tight security in the northern and Maoist-hit western regions on Thursday. The polling centers opened at 7 am to enable 16 million voters to choose their nominees to the Lok Sabha from among 134 candidates in the first phase of the polls in a state ruled by the Left Front without a break for 32 years.
The three Maoist-hit districts of Bankura, Midnapore West and Purulia pose the biggest security challenge. Authorities have requisitioned three Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopters for constant air surveillance and shortened polling time by two hours in six pockets most affected by Maoist violence in Jhargram, Binpur and Bandwan in Midnapore West and Balarampur, Bagmundi and Jaipur in Purulia.
Tension soared Wednesday as Naxalites posters asking people to boycott polls appeared in various parts of the state, including Kolkata, throwing the adminstration and police into a tizzy.

In Lalgarh block in the Jhargram constituency of Midnapore (West) district, agitating tribals blocked the movement of central security personnel. The securitymen could finally move out of the area, but not before furnishing bonds. The polling officials in the Maoist belt were kept in clusters on Wednesday and moved to the booths early Thursday, ringed by security personnel.
Besides five seats in the three districts, nine constituencies in six north Bengal districts; Darjeeling (where GJM is hoping to realise its dreams of a new Gorkhaland state out of parts of northern Bengal with the help of the saffron party BJP), Jalpaiguri, Coochbehar, North Dinajpur, South Dinajpur and Malda - are going to the hustings. Besides Jaswant Singh in Derjeeling, other high profile candidates in this phase include Deepa Dasmunsi, the wife of ailing Congress heavyweight Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi who is contesting from his constituency Raiganj against the CPI (M) Bireshwar Lahiri and a formidable independent Abdul Karim Chowdhury.
West Bengal has 42 Lok Sabha seats. While 17 seats go to the polls 7 May, the other 11 vote 13 May.
Photo : Reuters
2,000 kg 'chemical explosives' seized in Dhaka
STAR, Dhaka, 30 April : Police arrested one person and recovered 2,000 kg of 'chemical explosives' from the city's Jatrabari early this morning.
The arrested was identified as Abdus Sobhan, who claimed the chemical, phosphate, were meant to be used as ingredients for anti-mosquito products. Md Moniruzzaman, officer-in-charge of Jatrabari Police Station told The Daily Star that experts would examine the chemicals to determine whether these can be labeled as explosive.

2 jawans injured in landmine blast
Near polling station at Biramdih
Purulia, 30 April : Maoists exploded a landmine near a polling booth at Biramdih in West Bengal's Purulia district on Thursday, injuring two Central paramilitary force jawans.
The jawans were patrolling the area when the Maoists exploded the landmine at around 7.50 am following which polling was suspended at the booth, Superintendent of Police Rajesh Yadav told Bengal Newz. The SP said security reinforcements have been rushed to the area.
The main contest in Purulia Lok Sabha seat is between Narhari Mahato (All India Forward Bloc) and Shantiram Mahato (Congress) supported by the Trinamool Congress. Photo : Reuters

Abandoned tiffin box triggers panic in W.Midnapore
PTI, Midnapore, 30 April : An abandoned tiffin box stuffed with some crackers triggered panic near a polling booth at Pirakata in Maoist-hit West Midnapore district on Thursday.
As soon as the news spread, police rushed to the area and found some crackers inside the tiffin box that was removed, the state's IGP (law and order), Raj Kanojia, told PTI in Kolkata. Polling was, however, not disrupted, he said.

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