Basirhat, 13 June : West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhatacharjee today exuded satisfaction over the pace of reconstruction of the river banks in the Aila-ravaged areas of Hingalgunj and Sandeshkhali I and II in North 24 Parganas.
The district administration informed the Chief Minister that at least 60 per cent of the collapsed banks had been repaired so far. Bhattacharjee, during his tour, was accompanied by Irrigation Minister Subhas Naskar, District Magistrate Binod Kumar, Superintendent of Police Supratim Sarkar and the Sub-divisional officer along with a few of his party leaders from the district.
Apart from visiting the designated areas of Dhamakhali, Sardarpara and Jogeshganj, the Chief Minister also visited other areas of the affected Sunderbans. Official sources said Bhattacharjee and Naskar gave a patient hearing to the people in distress when his launch was passing through Atapur, Manipur, Situlia and other villages on either sides of the river Raimangal, Chhoto and Bara Kalagachi. He also held a discussion with the district officials during the trip inside the launch and held meeting with the panchayat chiefs of Hingalgunj block and district officials at the Jogeshganj High school premises besides talking to the local people. န Photos : Sanjay Bhaduri
Maoists kills CPI(M) leader, 15 injured in clashes
Midnapore, 13 June : Maoists shot dead a CPI(M) leader at Belpahari, sparking clashes between tribals and Leftist extremists which left 15 injured in West Midnapore district.
45-year-old Shankar Tudu was shot dead by three motorcycle-borne Maoists at a tea shop at Bhulabheda village in Belpahari, police said. The naxals pumped six bullets into him before escaping, they said.
As the news of Tudu's death spread, clashes between CPI(M) cadre and tribals erupted at Bahulbani village near Salboni and Jeerapara and Dharampur villages in Lalgarh.
Timber smugglers find alternative means of livelihood
Siliguri, 13 June : A village of timber smugglers, Kholachand, in Siliguri in West Bengal, has turned to more legal means of livelihood, with the help of the forest department.
They are making Sal leaf plates and selling them for a decent price. Over 200 families with nearly 1000 people altogether inhabit the village. Until recently, most of the adult male members of the families used to cut timber from the adjacent forests and sell them to earn their daily bread. These villagers, living in poverty, were involved in smuggling, in absence of other means of livelihood. And being adjacent to the Baikunthpur forest area, with timber in abundance, timber smuggling was a lucrative option. The forest officials found it difficult to curb illegal smuggling. They hence decided to address the cause that was leading to smuggling. They motivated the people to make Sal leaf plates and provided them with the necessary equipment.
The making of Sal leaf plates gives occupation to an entire family with children collecting the leaves, and adults stitching and selling them.
Mamata Banerjee meets CPM veteran Jyouti Basu
Kolkata, 13 June : After routing his party in the Lok Sabha elections in West Bengal, railway minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee on Saturday met veteran CPI(M) leader Jyoti Basu at his Salt Lake residence to inquire about his health.
"I have come here just to meet Jyoti Basu and we did not discuss any political issues. Basu congratulated me thrice for our party’s performance in the Lok Sabha elections and I, too, inquired about his health condition," Mamata told reporters waiting outside Basu’s Salt Lake residence on Saturday evening.
"The Governor wants to be relieved of his responsibility at the end of his term," his press secretary Dhruba Basu told Bengal Newz.
Sources said that the "language used" by the ruling party against the Governor for his reaction to incidents like in Singur and Nandigram, were "shocking to a man of his stature". The Governor's term will end on December 13. However, if the President wants him to be appointed for a second term, "that depends on Gandhi", Basu said.
Gurung also asked GJM leaders to stock foodgrains in the three hill sub-divisions of Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong, Giri said. The date of the bandh would be finalised at a meeting of the GJM central committee shortly, he said.
The Morcha had not called any bandh in the last few months in view of the general elections, annual examination in schools and the peak tourist season, Gurung said. န File Photo
Agartala, 13 June : The northeastern states have urged the central government to release funds for the speedy implementation of flagship development and infrastructure projects in the region, said Tripura Finance Minister Badal Chowdhury Saturday.
The gauge conversion project of the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) between Lumding and Badarpur in southern Assam, which was taken up in 1996, is yet to make noticeable progress, the minister said. He added that the project for four-laning of Assam-Agartala national highway (NH 44) has been languishing for almost four years now. Chowdhury said fully government-owned projects were good for the region. န Photos : AP
"The fair showcases various kinds of mangoes that are grown in the state. Mangoes have a rich heritage and have demand from international countries," he said. Seminars, buyer-seller meets and other events have been planned during the fair. Though India is the largest producer of mangoes in the world, it accounts for less than one percent of the global mango trade.
Two districts of West Bengal - Malda and Murshidabad - are famous for mangoes. But this year production was hit due to the storm during the budding season and also due to Cyclone Aila that hit the state last month. Aila is said to have ruined mango produce worth Rs.180 million.