Though the apex court will hear the matter again on 10 August, the writing is on the wall: there will be no compromise on citizens’ right to clean air as per Articles 21, 47, 48A and 51A(g) of the Constitution. People in Kolkata cheered the development. With much of city transport off the roads, lakhs have been braving long queues in the heat and rain, determined not to let transporters take them for a ride.
The forum of transporters has moved the Supreme Court, pleading that they be made a party to the pollution case and given a chance to put forth their argument.
As the holiday season enters full swing, Survival International today names three destinations holidaymakers should avoid
• Barefoot Resort, South Andaman Island, India
• Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Botswana
• ‘First contact’ expeditions, West Papua
Barefoot India has established a tourist resort near the edge of the reserve created to protect the Jarawa tribe. The resort puts one of the world’s most recently-contacted tribes at risk from swine flu and other diseases to which they are likely to have little immunity.
Survival’s director Stephen Corry said today, ‘Responsible tourists should keep well away from areas where uncontacted or recently-contacted tribes live. There are numerous cases where at least half of a tribe has died from disease soon after their first contact with outsiders.
‘There’s nothing wrong with tourists visiting tribal peoples who have been in routine contact with outsiders for some time, but only if the tribal people want them to, have proper control over where they go and what they do, and get a fair share of the profit. Unfortunately, this hardly ever happens.’ READ MORE
Protesters gather for a demonstration outside the Indian High Commission in central London on 12 June. န Photo : AFP
Dhaka, 4 August : Bangladesh's parliamentary Tipai visit team head Abdur Razzaq today said India assured them that the dam project would not harm Bangladesh's interests.
"We are absolutely convinced with the Indian assurance that they will not implement any project that would harm Bangladesh," Razzak told a press conference at the ZIA International airport on the delegation's return from New Delhi. Referring to the Indian government, Razzaq said the dam was designed to generate hydroelectricity, not for irrigation. The team had talks with Indian power minister and officials concerned in New Delhi.
The 10-member delegation left Dhaka on 29 July to meet Indian ministers and visit the site of the planned dam over the Barak, which enters into Bangladesh as the Surma and Kushiara rivers. The members of the parliamentary team include Awami League MPs Abdur Rahman, ABM Anwarul Haq and Jahir Hossain, Jatiya Party's ABM Ruhul Amin Hawlader and independent MP Fazlul Azim. It also has two experts, professor Monwar Hossain and Sajjad Hossain of the Bangladesh-India Joint Rivers Commission, water resources secretary Waheduzzaman and foreign ministry director general Emran Ahmed. Jamaat-e-Islami MP Hamidur Rahman Azad did not join the delegation at the last moment as he fell ill. Bangladesh's main opposition BNP failed to name two members for the team, even though the party has been among the loudest critics of the Indian dam in recent months.
Damian Grammaticas, BBC News, Delhi, 4 August : Police in India are guilty of widespread human rights violations, including beatings, torture and illegal killings, a new report alleges.
The US-based group Human Rights Watch says India's policing system facilitates and even encourages abuses. It says there has been little change in attitudes, training or equipment since the police was formed in colonial times with the aim to control the population. It says the government must take major steps to overhaul a failing system. There was no immediate response from the Indian authorities. READ MORE
PTI, Malda, Agartala, 4 August : Two alleged Bangladeshi smugglers were shot dead by Border Security Force jawans and a border guard was injured in stone-pelting during a cross-over attempt at Anantapur close to the international border in Malda district today.
BSF sources said Suber Sheikh (27) and Moti Sheikh (25) were trying to cross over to Bangladesh with three cartons of Fencidilin cough syrup, to be used as drugs, when they were challenged by the patrolling guards. As the duo, hailing from Nawabganj in Bangladesh, pelted stones, the BSF men opened fire killing both on the spot.
The Financial Express, Rangpur, 4 August : Increased tea cultivation is bringing economic solvency to the people, especially empowering the distressed women in the district. Over the recent years, farmers at all levels side by side with big investors have been showing their utmost interest in tea cultivation, now considered as a cash crop in the Bangladesh's sub-Himalayan districts.
Tea production has been increasing continuously, prompting a faster growth of the sector in changing the socio-economic condition of common people, including the small and marginal farmers as well as the poor women. After the recent prolonged drought, as mush as 175 mm rainfall over the week helped the tender tea plants grow excellent in all the gardens in the district, farmers and officials said.
The recent drought had a temporary adverse affect on the normal growth of the tender tea leaves, newly pruned branches and saplings, but the plants are now regaining their full strength wearing a greenish look.
Kolkata, 4 August : Last journey of Subhash Chakraborty began this morning. His body is being taken to different areas in the city during the day before his cremation at the Keoratala crematorium this afternoon. The state transport minister and veteran CPI(M) leader, Subhash Chakraborty breathed his last at 11.30 am yesterday. He was suffering from cancer and other ailments.
Agartala, 4 August : Hundreds of Left Front supporters in Agartala on Monday staged a demonstration to protest against the Railway Ministry’s decision to defer the completion of major 16 railway projects in north-east India by two years.
Under the banner of the ruling Left Front, the protestors assembled at the Badharghat Railway Station and also in front of all the Government establishments, located between Bishalghat to Sabroom, in the extreme south of Tripura to demonstrate against the Railway Ministry. The protestors blamed the Central Government of a step motherly treatment.
"We all know that Minister of State for Railways, E Ahmed announced in the Parliament that the Agartala-Sabroon railway line completion target and that of conversion of Dharmanagar-Agartala to broad-gauge has been deferred to year 2014. Similarly, other projects in north-eastern states of India have also been deferred. We are protesting against this decision of postponing the completion deadline of these projects and demand they should be completed by 2012 as scheduled earlier," said Amal Chakraborty, a DYFI leader of the Left Front. န Photo : Desher Katha