The CPI(M) office near Dherua locality in West Midnapore district was torched by the rebels. "The incident took place this morning as a group of Maoist rebels damaged and set afire a party office near Dherua," a senior state police officer said. Normal life in three tribal-dominated western districts - Bankura, Purulia and West Midnapore continued to be affected Wednesday as the indefinite strike received good response, especially in the rural pockets, considered as Maoist strongholds. Schools, colleges, shops and offices remained closed for the second consecutive day while public transport kept off the road due to the shutdown. According to police sources, the Maoists also opened fire at the security forces' camps near Gohomidanga and Kantapahari area near Lalgarh.
"We're carrying out additional patrolling mainly in and around the forest terrains and railway tracks to prevent any untoward incident in the region," a police official said.
Bangladesh Army and police personnel in a joint drive Monday arrested the five Indian nationals who they believe are members of the separatist National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) of Assam. Al Mamun Suman of Dighinala army zone and sub-inspector Rafiqullah of Dighinala police station arrested them in connection with illegal entry to the country. Quoting the NDFB separatists, Dighinala Police Station officer-in-charge Suvash Chandra Paul told the newsmen that they had entered Bangladesh through a border with Tripura.
Bangladesh and India have stepped up cooperation in the last two years. It was earlier confined to criminals and has been extended to militants this year.
The bus tour programme will help international tourists to know more about the various facets of Kolkata.
Guwahati, 19 Augugust : An earthquake measuring 4.9 on the Richter scale shook India’s northeast Wednesday, officials said.
An official at the regional seismological centre in Shillong, capital of Meghalaya, said the tremor took place at 4.15 p.m. and had its epicentre along Sonitpur in northern Assam, about 180 km from Assam’s main city of Guwahati. The quake shook houses and other structures in Assam and adjoining Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh. People ran out of their homes and offices with the tremor lasting for about 15 seconds. “There has been no immediate report of damage caused by the quake,” officials said.
The seven northeastern states Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Tripura, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur, considered by seismologists as the sixth major earthquake prone belt in the world, experienced India’s worst earthquake, measuring 8.7 on the Richter scale, in 1897, killing 1,600 people.
“In a joint operation, the Tripura police and Border Security Force led by BSF Deputy Inspector General A.K. Singh recovered a large cache of arms and live ammunition Tuesday night from Karingicherra village in western Tripura,” police spokesman Nepal Das said. “The arms and ammunition were concealed beneath earth. Outlawed militants are suspected to have placed them there,” he told reporters. While no arrests have been made yet, security forces have launched a manhunt in the area. The seizure included eight AK 66 rifles, 23 fully loaded magazines and 700 rounds of live ammunition. “The banned All Tripura Tiger Force (ATTF) might have hidden the arms and ammunition in the area as they could not enter the state by crossing the India-Bangladesh border due to the border fencing,” a BSF official told reporters.
At least 30 base and training camps of two Tripura insurgent outfits, the ATTF and the National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT), are in Bangladesh, which shares a 856-km border with Tripura.
Kolkata, 19 August : CPI(M) MLA from Naihati in North 24-Parganas district Ranjit Kundu was today sworn-in as the new Transport Minister in West Bengal. The post fell vacant after the death of incumbent Subhas Chakraborty.
Along with Kundu, two Ministers of State Narayan Biswas and Anadi Sahu, who were promoted to cabinet rank, were also administered the oaths of office and secrecy by West Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi. Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and a host of his cabinet colleagues, besides CPI(M) state secretary and Left Front chairman Biman Bose were present during the swearing-in. Nobody from the Opposition parties was present.
UNB, Dhaka, 19 August : Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina directed the authorities to install two separate water-supply lines to supply water for dirking and general uses for the city-dwellers to stop wastage and thereby resolve the existing problems.
She issued the instructions for the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) during discussions when a 19-member delegation of Bangabandhu Prokaushali Parishad and Institution of Engineers Bangladesh (IEB) led by its president professor Dr. S M Nazrul Islam met her at the Prime Minister’s Office. Sheikh Hasina also emphasized preserving rainwater to use for domestic purposes. She said these would help fulfill the demand for pure drinking water as well as reduce waste of water and additional supply cost that goes for purifying the total WASA water.
Regarding the growing demand for electricity, the Prime Minister said introducing solar panels in the cities’ educational institutions can play a vital role in reducing pressure on the national grid.
Kolkata, 19 August : With nine more persons testing H1N1 positive and the total number of swine flu cases in the state climbing to 56, West Bengal today became the second state after Tamil Nadu to quarantine worst-hit Maharashtra, saying trains from that state would be stopped at its borders for screening.
“Trains from Maharashtra will be stopped at some station bordering West Bengal and doctors will board the trains to check people coming from Pune and Mumbai. Those with fever and cough will be given red slips and those who are well will be given green slips. People with red slips will have to go for swine flu tests once they reach their destination,” Chief Secretary Asok Mohan Chakrabarti said after a meeting attended by government officials and representatives of the Railways, Kolkata Port Trust and Kolkata Airport.
There are six trains from Howrah to Mumbai, one to Pune. Of the seven, three are daily trains. န Photo : AP