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Friday, May 1, 2009

န RAIN : Relief And Ruin

Nor’wester cools sizzling Kolkata and adjoining area
But claims eleven lives in Districts
Kolkata, 3 May : At 3.20 on Sunday afternoon, the sky went ominously dark. But, across the city, the mood lifted magically. As gusty winds swept up and twirled around dust, dry leaves and even garbage, the cheer spread. And, then came the rain. The long overdue Nor’wester was here at last. The temperature immediately plunged by a cool 6.6 degrees to 29°. Gasping as they were under a prolo-nged spell of heat wave, men, women and kids stepped out of their homes for the season’s first rain dance.
The Alipur met office claimed this was not the season’s first Nor’wester. “The first occurred last month,” said an official. But that did not have the intensity to bring down the temperature.
Sunday’s squall, however, had both the punch and the power to trigger a sharp drop in the degrees and cause some destruction. Kolkata and Howrah escaped with a few uprooted trees, but two persons died each in North and South 24-Parganas. Four grids of Eastern Railway at Ashoknagar, Titagarh, Sonarpur and Lakhikantapur were hit, stalling train services from Sealdah. In the Howrah section, too, there were some disruptions on the Basberia-Katwa line. Normal train services were restored by evening. In the morning, another severe thunderstorm in Malda left eight people dead. While two persons were struck by lightning, another two were buried alive when their houses collapsed. The remaining deaths were mostly due to electrocution. The storm, which lashed the district around 10.30 am, caused severe damage to the mango crop. Photo : Reuters
Mamata chopper makes emergency landing
The private chopper carrying Mamata Banerjee took off from Dhanekhali at 2.22 pm and was halfway to Krishnagar when the weather god decided to play his tricks. With the chopper flying at an altitude of 2,000 feet where air turbulence is high, the pilot decided to turn back and got in touch with air traffic control at Kolkata airport. He was given the nod and made an emergency landing at 2.43 pm.
West Bengal re-polling held at six booths peacefully
Kolkata, Howrah, 3 May : Peaceful re-polling was held at six booths of three Lok Sabha constituencies in West Bengal Sunday, state Election Commission officials said. ‘The polling was peaceful. There were no untoward incidents,’ state Chief Electoral Officer Debasish Sen told reporters here. The highest polling was 92 % at a booth at Salboni in the Jhargram constituency, he said.
Repolling was held in two booths in the Siliguri assembly segment of the Darjeeling parliamentary constituency, in Nayagram and Salboni of Jhargram, and two booths under the Bishnupur constituency.

Nearly 5000 tribal villagers demolish police camp
5000 villagers raze govt building in Salboni to keep polices out
< Villagers tear down the Kalaimuri police camp. Photo : AP
Midnapore, 3 May : Nearly 5,000 tribals in Salboni, wielding shovels, axes and hammers and allegedly led by Maoists, today demolished a government building that till last week was a police camp. The structure at Kalaimuri near Lalgarh in West Midnapore the first government building to be torn down by the tribals took three hours to destroy. Nearly 5,000 villagers with bows, arrows, axes, iron rods and shovels gathered within half an hour. Some in the demolition squad were women.
Chhatradhar Mahato, who leads the People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities that is at the forefront of the Lalgarh tribal resistance, said: “We had appealed to the villagers not to demolish the building as we planned to set up a health care centre there, but we could not persuade them.” He added: “The people have lost faith in the police and they feared the security forces would return.” “Now the police won’t be able to return to Kalaimuri,” tribals said. Manoj Kumar Verma, the West Midnapore superintendent of police, said he had received news of the demolition and had informed his superiors.
Border outposts for Assam's N Cachar Hills districts
Guwahati, 3 May : The deteriorating law and order situation in the North Cachar Hills district has prompted the authorities to revive the inter-state border outposts along Nagaland, Meghalaya and Manipur to check hit-and-run strikes by militants.
The 14 border outposts, of which 10 are in Nagaland and Manipur, were closed down in a phased manner by 1994 as the situation as the district was hardly the “hell” it is now, sources in Dispur said today. The objective is to effectively guard the border to block entry and exit routes in North Cachar Hills and mount an all-out offensive against the rebels. The district, spread over 4,890 square km in southern Assam, is surrounded by Nagaland and Manipur in the east, Cachar district in the south, Meghalaya and part of Karbi Anglong district in the west and part of Karbi Anglong and Nagaon in the north.
Besides re-opening the border outposts, three additional companies of CRPF personnel are being moved to the district. The police, army, BSF and CRPF personnel are also holding co-ordination meetings in Haflong at 4pm everyday.

Protect dignity of Aparajeyo Bangla sculpture : DU
Dhaka, 3 April : Students and teachers of the department of Development Studies at Dhaka University today urged all not to paste posters on the 'Aparajeyo Bangla' sculpture to protect its dignity, says a press release. They also called on all not to throw rubbish at the altar of the sculpture as it reflects the national unity and it is part of the glorious history of the country.
They made the call while conducting a cleanliness drive at its altar. Students of the department started the drive at around 9.30am(BDST). Chairman of the department Dr Taibur Rahman and two teachers of the department took part in the drive.

One killed in Bankura village after elephant attack
Bankura, 3 May : One person was killed when an elephant went berserk at Madhabpur village in Bankura district on Sunday, said police.
"Rasomoy Das, a villager, was trampled to death when the elephant suddenly attacked the residents of Madhabpur," said Bankura superintendent of police, Vishal Garg. He said the pachyderm used to stay in the forests of the district and had, so far, not caused any harm. But it suddenly went berserk on Sunday and started attacking the locals.

Prospect for a 3rd front brightens every day : Manik
Bongaon, 2 May : Tripura chief minister and Polit Bureau member of the CPI(M) Manik Sarkar, has been touring along various districts of Bengal during the phased elections taking place. Addressing two big rallies at Bongaon and Basirhat in support of the Left Front nominated candidates, Manik sarkar said that with three phases of the elections over, the prospect for a Third Front government in Delhi was becoming brighter every day. This has made the Congress and the BJP confused, afraid, and directionless.
Manik Sarkar also said that the UPA government would not react in any way to the galloping price-rise, and that it would not bother to listen to the sane advice of the left that the public distribution system in the country should be strengthened. Photo : Ajoy Dasgupta
CPI(M) forgetting poor and backward in WB : Rahul
Domkal, 2 May : Keeping up the tirade against the CPI(M) on his second visit to West Bengal, AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi on Saturday accused it of "forgetting" the poor, the backward classes and minorities in the state.
"I am shocked. What kind of a communist government is this which forgets the poor, backward and minorities?" Gandhi asked at an election rally here, a day after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's attack on Left parties for their 'failure' to usher in development.
"This is my second visit to West Bengal. When I first came here, I thought here is a government for the poor. But I was surprised to see that against eight lakh job cards, only 60 were given jobs (under the NREGS). While they were supposed to get 100 days work, they only got jobs for 17 days," he said. The CPI(M), he said, had praised the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme in Delhi, but failed to implement it in West Bengal. Photo : PTI

CPM supporter, joined TMC, shot dead in Nandigram
Nandigram, 2 May : A CPI(M) supporter who had joined the Trinamool Congress recently was shot dead and his wife allegedly raped at their residence at Sherkhanchowk on the Nandigram's border with Khejuri, a CPI(M) stronghold in East Midnapore district, police said.
Prosanta Mondal was gunned down on Friday night at around 1 am and his wife raped, additional superintendent of police Chhoten Lama said. The victim's wife has been sent for medical tests, he said.
He said both the Trinamool Congress and the CPI(M) claimed Mondal to be their supporter. According to the sources, Mondal's house was surrounded by CPI(M) cadre before both the incidents took place. Later hundreds of TMC supporters blocked the Tekhali bridge in Nandigram. Photo : Raghu Nandan Mallick

B'desh govt to set up Information Commission soon
Right to Information forum pledges to work with B'desh government
Dhaka, 2 May : The Right to Information (RTI) Forum, a network of more than 80 organisations and individuals, has welcomed the publication of Right to Information law 2009 in the official Bangladesh Gazette.
In a statement, the forum said it believes that enactment of RTI Act has demonstrated the present government's commitment to meeting its electoral pledges to create an environment conducive to establishing accountable governance and preventing corruption. Commending the government in this regard, Shaheen Anam, convener of the forum, stressed the importance of setting up, as soon as possible, the Information Commission, as provided by the Act.
To facilitate this, she demanded that the selection committee for the appointment of commissioners be formed immediately in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Act.
Passengers of international flights being screened
Kolkata, 2 May : Special measures have been launched by the WB government to screen passengers of international flights for the suspected H1N1 virus at the Netaji Shubhas Chandra Bose international airport in Kolkata.
A team of 20 doctors of the Central and State Health services were carrying out the screening operations on passengers to check for the suspected virus, airport sources said. Assistant General Manager (Medical) Airport Authority of India, Dr Sujit Bakshi, said passengers of connecting flights, mainly from Mexico and United States, were being throughly screened. Besides, all passengers of international flights were being checked, he added.
Anti-virus spray operations, used in all international and domestic flights as a routine measure, were being intensified, he added.
Photo : AP

Manmohan Singh calls for change in West Bengal
Howrah, 1 May : Attacking the Left in its backyard, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Friday said West Bengal is lagging behind because of the communist parties’ policies, and called for a change in the state. Addressing an election meeting here in Howrah's Dumurjala, Manmohan Singh also alleged that the Left was helping the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to come to power by dividing the “secular votes”.
“Their stand on a lot of issues has not kept pace with time… I advice them to change their thoughts to remain on par with the needs of the time.” “In a way, they are helping the BJP in these elections by dividing the secular votes,” Manmohan Singh said.
He also said the Third Front, led by the Left parties, had no chance of coming to power. “The Third Front parties do not have any programme. They don’t have any long-term vision for the country’s development. Their single point programme is to thoughtlessly oppose every work done by the Congress.”
Photo : Jayanta Ghosh
Great May Day being observed all across the Bengal
Bangladesh Garment Workers' Oikya Federation takes out a procession from Muktangon to observe International Workers' Solidarity Day or May Day Friday.
န Photo : Firoz Ahmed
B'desh PM Hasina promises workers minimum wage
Kolkata, Dhaka, 1 May : The historic May Day is being observed today in Kolkata and Dhaka as elsewhere in the world with a vow to institutionalise the socio-economic rights of the workers. Apart from the government, different trade and labour unions, human rights organisations, professional bodies, socio-cultural bodies and political parties are observing the day in a befitting manner by holding rallies, seminars, discussions and cultural programmes in Kolkata and the Bangladesh capital Dhaka. Today is a public holiday both in West Bengal and Bangladesh. A good number of city-dwellers thronged parks and amusement spots in both city.
May Day, also known as International Workers' Solidarity Day, commemorates the historic uprising of working people in Chicago, USA, at the height of a prolonged fight for eight-hour workday. In 1884, the Federation of Organised Trade and Labour Unions passed a resolution stating that eight hours would constitute a legal day's work from and after 1 May, 1886. And that was achieved with blood spilled in a vigorous movement in the American city of Chicago.
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina this morning inaugurated a three-day programme organised by labour and employment ministry at Osmani Memorial Auditorium in the city to mark the day.

Bengal's eco-friendly green jute bags a big hit outside
Kolkata, 1 May : The WB state government's initiative to use eco-friendly green jute carry bags instead of the conventional plastic bags has attracted the attention of the some other state governments as well.
The Pollution Control Board of Delhi recently requested the West Bengal Green Energy Development Corporation (WBGEDC) to send a few jute bags so that they could check out their efficacy. WBGEDC managing director S P Gon Choudhuri said two such bags have already been sent to Delhi. "They wanted to see the product. They have plans to introduce such bags in the Delhi region, too."
It was earlier this year that WBGEDC had come up with the idea of introducing eco-friendly recyclable green jute bags at malls and other commercial establishments in the city to tackle the increasing environment hazard caused by conventional plastic carry bags.

Bengal's singing legend Manna Dey turns 90 today
Howrah, 1 May : Bengal's renowned singing legend Manna Dey celebrates his 90th birthday today. Born as Prabodh Chandra Dey in 1920, he is known by his nickname Manna.
He started his career in playback singing with the film Tamanna in 1943. The musical score was set by his uncle Krishna Chandra Dey and he had to sing a duet with Suraiya. The song was an instant hit. People across the country loved the song. In 1950, Mashal was the second film where Manna Dey got the opportunity to sing a solo Upar Gagan Vishal and this time the melody was created by Sachin Dev Burman.
Perhaps his talent received his best accolade from the legendary Mohammad Rafi who once told the journalists: "You listen to my songs. I listen to Manna Dey songs only".
Musicians like Sachin Dev Burman and Anil Biswas agreed that Manna Dey could sing any song of Mohammad Rafi, Kishore Kumar, Mukesh and Talat Mehmood, but Rafi, Kishore, Mukesh and Talat would not be able to render vocally much of the technically perfect songs of Manna Dey. Manna Dey is arguably the greatest trained singer of Hindi film music. He has also sung a number of great songs in Bengali.

The entire Begal Newz team extends its wishes to him for a healthy and peaceful life
Bangladesh CB to consider lifting ban on ICL players
Dhaka, 1 May : Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) likely to follow the same move adopted by BCCI and PCB as to lift the ban on Indian Cricket League (ICL) players from Bangladesh.
Indian cricket board on Wednesday said players who joined the unauthorised league would be allowed to play domestic competition if they cut ties with the unofficial cricket by 31 May. "India took the decision in line with a directive from International Cricket Council (ICC) and we will also consider the same in our next board meeting on 9 May," BCB vice-president Mahbubul Anam told a news conference. Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has also officially called ICL players to resign the rebel ICL to be considered for the selection for the national side however would have to face penalties before being allowed back into the national selection fold.
The International Cricket Council earlier this month rejected an application for the ICL to be approved as unofficial cricket with a clear message that “players could not swap between official and unofficial cricket at will” and in relation to the possibility of players returning to official cricket from the ICL, the Board reiterated to members the importance of protecting the fabric of the game.
Bangladesh suspended 14 cricketers for 10 years last September for joining the renegade league, who were more interested in playing for an unofficial Indian Cricket League (ICL) rather than playing for their own country.

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