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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Declare cyclone Aila disaster a national calamity : LF
Kolkata, 9 June : The ruling Left Front in West Bengal on Tuedsay demanded that the devastation caused by cyclone Aila be declared a national calamity.
"The Left Front discussed the issue of cyclone Aila at its meeting and demanded that the disaster be declared a national calamity," Front chairman Biman Bose told reporters.
He said that an appeal should be made to MPs and MLAs to give assistance from their area development funds for cyclone victims. A central team, which arrived here on 6 June, visited areas in South and North 24 Parganas districts which bore the brunt of the cyclone besides the Darjeeling hills. The team would make an aerial survey of the devastated areas and discuss the issue with the state government.
WB Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee had earlier written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh urging him to declare the disaster a national calamity and sought assistance of Rs 1,000 crore.
Photos : AP
Five powerful bombs retrieved in Benapole village
Benapole, 9 June : Bangladesh Police recovered five powerful bombs from a village in Benapole early on Tuesday.
Benapole Port Police Station sub-inspector Iqbal said they had recovered the bombs wrapped in a polythene bag in an overnight drive from the house of one Ruhul Amin from Sadipur. Nobody was arrested, he said. A case was filed accusing Amin, Iqbal said.
Tea industry in Tripura on the verge of extinction
Agartala, 9 June : Unfavorable climatic conditions and shortage of labourers is taking a toll on tea industry in Tripura. To sort out the problem facing the industry, tea estate owners of the state met the Forest Minister of Tripura Jitendra Choudhury.
Choudhury told Bengal Newz that if the labourers were given additional facilities this could mitigate the problem to some extent. "The labourers can be given some facilities and we believe by doing this the labour shortage can be mitigated and the absenteeism can be reduced too," he added.
The tea estate owners have been asking the state government for working out some solution to solve their problems. S.K. Choudhury, owner of a tea estate said that unless something is done urgently the tea industry would die a natural death in Tripura.
"Although it is an established tea growing area today it (Tripura) has been relegated to a non-traditional tea growing area. Unless a massive effort is made the tea industry will die a natural death in Tripura," said Choudhury.

Aila causes Rs 500-cr crop damage
But insurers to pay only Rs 7 lakhs
Kolkata, 9 June : Cyclonic storm Aila, which ravaged the eastern part of the country in the last week of May, has caused massive agricultural damage. But the claims under weather-based crop insurance may not exceed Rs 7 lakh.

According to informal estimates by government officials, the total damage in the agriculture and horticulture sectors is pegged at around Rs 500 crore. Damages in the horticulture segment alone could be around Rs 300 crore, a senior government official confirmed. State-run Agriculture Insurance Co (AIC), ICICI Lombard General Insurance and Iffco-Tokio are the three companies which offer weather-based crop insurance in West Bengal.
However, the entire payout of Rs 7 lakh is likely to be made by AIC in two subdivisions (Contai and Egra) of the East Medinipore district, according to company officials. Even though two of the worst-affected areas in North 24-Parganas (Bashirhat and Baduria) are covered under AIC’s weather insurance scheme, there would not be any payout. Reason : The huge damage in the area was caused more by wind and tides, than rainfall. According to AIC parameters, weather-based crop insurance claims are given in areas with over 75 mm of rainfall, whereas in the North 24-Parganas, the rainfall recorded by the meteorological department was only 62 mm.

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