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Sunday, June 7, 2009

န Relief across Sunderbans, Tide not that hungry

"It seems the worst is over" : DM Dr. Khalil Ahmed
Pakhiralay (WB Sunderbans), 7 June : A sense of relief swept across the Sunderbans after two weeks of living on the edge when the hungry tide that everyone had feared came without its appetite for destruction.
Some embankments were breached, water levels of rivers rose and villages were inundated during the spring tide, but the damage was far less than what the Aila-struck residents had feared. No lives were lost, officials said. “It seems the worst is over,” South 24-Parganas district magistrate Dr Khalil Ahmed told Bengal Newz today. The water level was almost back to normal by evening after rising by five to seven feet in the afternoon. “Fortunately, there was no storm accompanying the spring tide. We had feared that the water level would rise by up to 15 feet at some places, which would have been disastrous,” Ahmed said.
The tide vigil across the Sunderbans, which began last evening, ended this afternoon. Photos : AP

Central team visits Aila-hit areas to assess damages
Kolkata, 7 June : An eleven-member Central team led by Ashok Lavasa, has started its assessment of the damage caused by recent Cyclone Aila in West Bengal.
The cyclone and its aftermath claimed 137 lives and affected 67.5 lakh people. Scarcity of drinking water and the spread of diarrhoea are some of the major problems affecting the people. Talking to reporters, State Finance Minister Asim Dasgupta said that three members of the team have left for the landslip-affected areas in Darjeeling. Though the threat of a fresh cyclone has abated, water-levels had risen by nearly a foot at some places," he added.
Reports also said that the team would cover Dhamakhali, Sandeskhali, Gosaba, Hingalgunj and Patharpratima in the two worst-affected districts in North and South 24 Parganas. The team will return to New Delhi on 9 June.
West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadev Bhattacharjee on Saturday met Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and asked for 1000 crore rupees for relief and restoration work in areas hit by Cyclone Aila. The request was made at a meeting held at Mukherjee’s Kolkata residence.
Photos : AP and Indrajit Dutta
Centre to give North East India Rs 1,400cr makeover
New Delhi, 7 June : In what might just put the "neglected" North-East on to the tourist map, the Centre is set to launch a Rs 1,400 crore programme aiming to build and revamp urban infrastructure in the far-flung area with the aim to make its natural wonders more accessible.
The Urban development ministry is making a concerted effort and has taken the initiative to showcase the scenic beauty and diverse culture by making cities modern and more liveable. The North East Urban Development Programme, for which the ministry has managed to get funds from Asian Development Bank, will cover five state capitals— Aizawl, Shillong, Gangtok, Kohima, and Tripura capital Agartala— in the first phase.
BD Detective Branch nabs another Dawood operative
Dhaka, 7 June : The Detective Branch of Dhaka Metropolitan Police detained one Arif Hossain, allegedly an associate of Mumbai underworld don Dawood Ibrahim in Dhaka early on Sunday. Forty-year old Arif was arrested at a house near Mohammadpur Krishi Market, where he has been living since 2001.
Additional deputy police commissioner Mahbub Alam of the DB said Arif had been sheltering in Dhaka since the murder of Bhaskar Shethi, a Mumbai businessman. "We suspect he was connected with several other murders also," Mahbub said.
At noon, Arif was presented before the reporters. He confessed to murdering Bhaskar Shethhi and said as soon as he had got bail in the case in 2001, he escaped to Bangladesh. File Photo : PTI
Tripura police investigating Dawood man's passage
Agartala , 7 June : Tripura police have initiated an investigation into how Abdur Rauf Daud Merchant, accused of killing Bollywood music baron Gulshan Kumar, slipped into Bangladesh through Akhaura checkpost here.
Merchant had come to Tripura on 7 April and entered Bangladesh on 27 April with a fake passport, intelligence sources said today. Police are investigating into who helped Merchant, one of the contract-killers of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, arrange for his stay in Agartala between 7 to 27 April, the sources said. Investigations are on to know how he procured the passport.
Merchant was released on 23 March on 14-days parole. During the period, he managed to escape to Bangladesh via Tripura and was arrested along with another Indian Jahid Sheikh on 27 May from South Maurali, a village in Brahmanbaria district of that country, about 30 km from here.
Dawood Ibrahim network in Bangladesh since 1995 !
Dhaka, 7 June : International mafia don Dawood Ibrahim established his terror network in Bangladesh back in 1995 and started expanding the nexus since 2000, a top police officer has said.
Dhaka Metropolitan Police Commissioner A.K.M. Shahidul Haq told reporters that Ibrahim’s accomplice Abdur Rauf Daud Merchant, caught here while in hiding in a village near Brahmanbaria in eastern Bangladesh, came to the country with a “mission” to form a terror group loyal to the underworld don. Bangladesh authorities have received several clues since the arrest of Merchant, a fugitive from Indian law convicted for the murder of Bollywood music baron Gulshan Kumar.
Analysts say what has come to light so far in investigations confirms New Delhi’s allegations about the reach of Ibrahim’s underworld network across South Asia. Ibrahim and his second-in command Chhota Shakil operate from Pakistan and Dubai, Indian authorities say.

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