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Monday, July 6, 2009

Indian Budget 2009-10
Bengal gains from Mamata-Pranab duet
Kolkata, 6 July : After being showered with goodies in the railway budget, West Bengal Monday got its share of booty from the union budget in terms of grants for the post-Cyclone Aila reconstruction efforts, setting up of an Aligarh Muslim University Campus and announcement of a handloom cluster.
Expectations had been high in the run-up to the two budgets, as this was the first time in the last 25 years that both the finance and railways minister were from West Bengal. In 1984, Pranab Mukherjee was the finance minister, while A.B.A. Ghani Khan Chowdhury handled the railways portfolio. Three days back, Railways Minister Mamata Banerjee presented what is widely regarded as the best railway budget for West Bengal post-independence. Though Mukherjees budget was more balanced, the announcement of a Rs.1,000 crore central grant for reconstruction efforts in areas damaged by Cyclone Aila has been welcomed by ministers of the states Left Front government. Disaster Management Minister Mortaza Hossain said: “We had asked for the money. I welcome the proposal.”
Though the establishment of a campus of the Aligarh Muslim University in Murshidabad was announced earlier, the sanction of Rs.25 crore for the project has received positive response. Incidentally, Mukherjee was re-elected to the Lok Sabha from the Murshidabad district constituency of Jangipur. Photo : AFP
B'desh plans to explore Offshore gas in Bay of Bengal
Dhaka, 6 July : Bangladesh Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina said the country plans to issue offshore gas exploration contracts in the Bay of Bengal to international firms. This will be besides those blocks that may fall in the territorial waters that are disputed with neighbours India and Myanmar, according to an official report.
Sheikh Hasina has urged the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs(CCEA) to grant nine offshore gas blocks to two international oil firms. The US oil and gas giant, ConocoPhilips and Irish company Tullow are likely to get contracts to explore for oil and gas in the Bay of Bengal following the Executive Committee of National Economic Council(ECNEC) meeting in the second week of July, a well placed official source said.
The government is yet to take any decision to award nine offshore blocks to the two international oil and gas exploration companies despite offshore bidding a year ago, sources said.
Tension erupts on the eve of Tripura panchayat poll
Agartala, 6 July : The election situation in Tripura turned volatile today following political clash and intimidation allegedly by the ruling CPI(M) supporters against Congress and Independent candidates. Three-tire panchayat election in the state is scheduled to be held on 20 July.
The Congress has alleged that as many as 29 candidates and village level leaders were attacked by the ruling CPI(M) in various parts of the state while in few cases Congress candidates had been forced to withdraw the nomination at the closing hour.
"The Congress candidates and workers in Sabroom, Shantirbazar, Sonamura, Teliamura, Kamalpur, Kailashahar and Dharmanagar sub-divisions were either attacked or received threats from the ruling CPI(M) and in all the cases police were acting as silent spectator," Congress party leaders alleged adding despite specific complaints police did not take any action.

Bangladesh government closed down three galleries
Dhaka, 6 July : The Bangladesh government decided to close down three galleries in Dhaka Museum to recast its exhibits in a manner that would give Mujib his "due place in the country's history", an official said. The existing exhibits have sought to give him a status "parallel" to that of Gen. Ziaur Rahman, another slain president, with regard to declaration of the country's Independence.
Hasina and Khaleda Zia, Ziaur Rahman's widow, represent the two opposing political legacies and the projection of Mujib and Ziaur Rahman has depended upon which of the two women leaders is ruling the country.

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