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Monday, September 21, 2009

Maoists attack CPI(M) office in Enayetpur, 15 feared dead

Midnapore, 21 September : Scores of armed Maoists swamped a CPI(M) party office on Monday afternoon, triggering a gunbattle that has so far left at least 15 people dead. The clash took place in a town called Enayetpur, 15km from Midnapore.
No security personnel could reach the area, despite the gunbattle raging for several hours on the road between Midnapore and Dherua, in the heart of Lalgarh, an area that was for long out of bounds for police. Gunshots could be heard until 10pm, more than five hours after the fighting erupted. The Maoist gunmen are reportedly led by two powerful commanders named Kishanji or Koteswar Rao and Bikash. According to sources, about 200 CPM supporters had assembled at the Enayetpur party office over the last three weeks, apparently to stop the Maoist advance towards Midnapore town. Many of them had also taken shelter there, with the Maoists killing CPI(M) men almost every day. On Monday, most left to celebrate Eid. Only 50-odd CPI(M) cadres held fort at the party office.
In the afternoon, a 10,000-strong group of tribals, many of them carrying firearms, started marching towards the office, led by Kishanji and Bikash. At 5pm, the Maoist assault party started surrounding the building. Kishanji threatened to blow up the party office, with at least 40 CPI(M) cadres inside, unless they laid down arms. Photos : AFP

ADB provides Bangladesh total $76 million to set up rural SMEs
Micro-finance Focus, Dhaka, 21 September : The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is extending a $76 million worth loan to Bangladesh to expand the country’s non-urban small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) sector.
The loan, from ADB’s concessional Asian Development Fund, is designed to help cut poverty and create jobs outside the major urban centers. SMEs are the lifeblood of the rural economy, generating nonfarm activities that provide more than 50% of the rural population’s employment and income. But they lack access to medium to long-term credit and the need to help the sector has been heightened by the global economic crisis which is threatening Bangladesh’s exports, remittance income, and employment generation, said a statement from the bank.
“A vibrant SME sector is critical for investment, growth and employment creation and the project will boost the number and size of commercially viable enterprises,” said Syed Ali-Mumtaz H. Shah, Financial Sector Specialist in ADB’s South Asia Department. READ FULL STORY

6.3 Magnitude Earthquake shacked Bangladesh & WB
Dhaka, Kolkata, 21 September : The Bangladesh capital and surrounding districts were shaken by a 6.3 magnitude quake on Monday. The met office said it struck at around 3:55pm(BDST).
Dhaka residents said they felt it was an "unusually big jolt" for the Bangladesh capital. In West Bengal a low magnitude earthquake was felt in parts of North Bengal districts, Malda and some parts of Darjeeling including state capital Kolkata, the weatherman said. "We've received reports of mild tremors from different parts of the state. Our seismological cell is looking into the matter now," said an official of the Regional Meteorological Centre in Kolkata. In Kolkata, the tremor was felt at 2.25 pm. The quake, centred 462km north northeast of Dhaka at Bhutan-China border.
Reports came in of tall buildings in the Dhaka city swaying with the force. A tremor was felt in Mymensingh, Rangpur, Sirajganj, Tangail, Sunamganj, Nilphamari, Sylhet and Netrakona districts also. The met office said it could not immediately confirm the magnitude. Assistant met official Rasheduzzman told Bengal Newz they would need at least half an hour to get further information. The tremor spread some panic among people celebrating Eid and somewhat dampened the mood of the day, that began with thunder and downpours of rain in the morning.
The last quake to shake Bangladesh was felt in Dhaka, Chittagong and Sylhet on 4 September. The magnitude 6 quake was centred at the India-Myanmar border, east of Bangladesh.

Pay Hike issue : IIT professors to go hunger-strike
Kolkata, 21 September : Professors of all seven IITs in the country would observe a hunger-strike on 24 September to protest against alleged discrimination in pay-scales.
This was decided at a meeting of the professors held at IIT, Kharagpur, on Monday, a spokesman of the Faculty Council of the IITs said. Although professors would go on hunger-strike, classes on that day would be held as usual. The spokesman said the pay-scales had been made in a manner which would destroy the excellent status of the institutes and not attract the best of talent in future.

Eid-ul-Fitr being celebrated in Bengal with all fervour
Dhaka, Kolkata, 21 September : Eid-ul-Fitr festival, is being observed across the Bengal today with due religious fervour and solemnity amid thunder and showers. In Bangladesh capital Dhaka, the devotees braved the pouring rain. Hundreds are seen to take part in Eid congregations with umbrella.
Dhaka has been experiencing incessant drizzling with moderate rains and thunders since the morning that may lighten the Eid festivity a bit. The Eid comes ending the month-long fasting of Ramadan. Main feature of the festival is Eid congregations, where the rich and poor irrespective of their social status embraced each other demonstrating the fraternity. People in the Bengal and in different parts of the world today sought divine blessings, peace, progress and prosperity in Eid congregations.

The first Eid congregation in Dhaka city was held at 8:00am(BDST) at Baitul Mukarram National Mosque and in Kolkata main congregation was held at 9:00am at Red road and historical Nakhoda Masjid. Bangladesh's biggest Eid congregation with a likely turnout of around three lakh people was held at Sholakhia Eidgah in Kishoreganj.
The Bangladesh national flag is being kept hoisted atop government and non-government offices on the occasion. Main city streets were also decorated with flags imprinted with 'Eid Mubarak' in Bengali and Arabic. Special diets are being served in hospitals, jails, government-owned children and shelter homes, socially handicapped and vagabond welfare centres and shelter homes for the destitute.

In Bangladesh, Newspaper offices were closed until 22 September, but Bangladesh Betar and Bangladesh Television as well as private television channels and radio stations have been broadcasting special programmes on this occasion. Security measures also tightened in and around the Dhaka, Kolkata, Siliguri, Barisal, Agartala, Silchar and all other mejor towns. Photos : Sanjay Bhaduri, Reuters and Mustafiz Mamun

Sholakia host largest Eid congregation in Bangladesh
Kishoregonj, 21 September : Like every year, Sholakia hosted the largest Eid congregation of the Bangladesh on Monday. The congregation started at 11am(BDST) at the Eidgah ground with around 2,00,000 people who defied heavy rains and thunder.
One of the oldest surviving congregation grounds in Bangladesh, established in 1828, the Sholakia Eidgah reportedly held 1.25 lakh people at its first congregation. Three gunshots were fired thrice before 15 minutes, twice before five and once before one minute to the start of the congregation to draw the attention of the devotees. Hundreds of people from far and wide started flocking to the ground spanning over seven acres of land overnight.
RAB and police were deployed at the Eidgah and its adjacent areas to maintain security. Photo : Indrajit Ghosh

IND's National identity cards to be issued by 2010-11
Said Home minister P Chidambaram
PTI, Chennai, 21 September : The proposed unique multi-purpose national identity cards would be issued to all citizens by 2010-2011, Union home minister P Chidambaram said here on Monday.
In the first phase this year, 1.2 crore people in about 3,331 coastal villages and cities would receive the cards, he told reporters on the sidelines of a function here. The card will be given to 110 crore people by 2010-2011. Government has set up a Unique Identification Authority of India to implement the project aimed at obviating the need for multiple proofs of identity for citizens while availing any government service or for personal needs like opening bank accounts or seeking telephone connections.

As normalcy returns, Tripura withdraws security escorts on NH 44
Agartala, 21 September : With the security situation improving and insurgency showing signs of abating, the Tripura Government has scrapped the convoy escort system along the 70 kilometre stretch of the Assam-Agartala National Highway 44.
Since 1993, vehicles have not been allowed to ply without security escorts through the Assam-Agartala national highway 44 due to militant activities. The highway lies between Chakmaghat in West Tripura District and Manu in Dhalai District.

Keep faith on us, we won’t do anything harmful for country : Hasina
UNB, Dhaka, 21 September : Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today urged the people to keep their faith and confidence on her government and not to be confused by any propaganda of the vested quarters.
She made the remark to media personnel at Ganobhaban after exchanging Eid greetings with ministers, advisers, state ministers, MPs, foreign diplomats, leaders and workers of Awami League and cross-section of the people. People of all walks of life thronged the Ganobhaban and conveyed their Eid greetings to the Prime Minister, standing in queues defying the hour-long rain in the morning. Hasina entertained the guests with vermicelli, several types of sweets and fruits. She also exchanged Eid greetings with a number of disabled and crippled persons including children and women in particular who were entertained on the occasion.
The Prime Minister sent her greetings to the members of the Hindu community on the eve of the Durga Puja.

Pay Hike issue : IIMs, IITs Professors meet today
Kolkata, 21 September : Professors from two of India's most coveted institutions, IITs and IIMs, will meet under the umbrella of National Faculty Federation of IITs in Kolkata on Monday to give a concrete shape to their joint stand on the HRD ministry's circular on pay and service norms.
The Human Resource Development Ministry has rejected their demand for a 100 per cent pay hike and more autonomy. Today's meeting will focus on developing a future strategy, Convenor of the IIT faculty federation told the media. On Saturday, the federation had voiced its disssapointment over the revised HRD circular not addressing the basic concern of pay hike.
According to the new rules, IITs, and IIMs can recruit a professor only if the person has taught at least four years as an associate professor in these institutes. The federation believes that this new rule would prove as a hindrance in recruiting highly qualified scientists from research laboratories and industries.

Tripura cheers local boy Somdev’s Davis Cup victory
Agartala, 21 September : Crackers were burst, people danced on the streets and boxes of sweets were passed around it was celebration time in Agartala Monday as residents cheered tennis sensation and local boy Somdev Devvarman’s victory in South Africa that took India to Davis Cup world group for the first time in 11 years.
Sports lovers, cutting across age, rejoiced at Somdev’s sensational win over South African Rik De Voest in the reverse singles play-off in Johannesburg Sunday. Somdev’s father Pravanjan Devvarman, a retired income tax commissioner, said: “We are very proud of him. He put up a very good show against Rik De Voest. Somdev visited his home in Agartala two months back and was given a reception by the Tripura Tennis Association. “We are really thrilled by Somdev’s performance and energy. This boy, who descended from Tripura’s tribal nobility, will earn much credit for India in future in the field of sports,” Tripura Tennis Association secretary Sujit Roy said.
“After Somdev came second at the Chennai Open in January this year, the Tennis Federation of India (TFI) decided to develop a tennis court in Agartala for him at a cost of Rs.200,000.” Tripura Tennis Association has requested the Tripura government to provide land for the proposed tennis court.
(Click the photo to get poster size)
Eco-restoration project for (N) Andaman Coastal belt
Port Blair, 21 September : Andaman and Nicobar Administration together with the Central Agricultural Research Institute (CARI) is all set to launch a joint project for eco-restoration and proper land use of uplifted dried mangrove area. The massive earthquake of 26 December, 2004 had titled the tectonic plate on which Andaman and Nicobar Islands are situated, leaving the southern part submerged and uplift of Northern group of Islands. As a large area came out of sea in Northern group, the mangrove belt in the coastal area suffered major burnt, resulting in huge loss of mangrove belt.
To materialize this project, the PCCF-cum-Secretary (Environment and Forests), S S Choudhury visited dried mangrove belt areas near Dinghi Ghat along Kishorinagar Creek of Diglipur Islands recently. ''The PCCF has advised the forest officials of Diglipur division to re-survey these mangrove areas to know the extent of dried area and also to carry out the regeneration survey so that a proper treatment plan can be prepared for eco-restoration of the area,'' sources from Andaman Forest Department informed. The department had surveyed these areas in the year 2006 when mangroves of these areas were dying because of the uplift of land after 2004 tsunami. The department has also carried out an extensive study in changes in soil and vegetation composition of these uplifted areas.
Earlier, a meeting with CARI officials and senior officials of Forest Department was held last month for preparation of joint project, for uplifted mangrove areas, forest officials said. Photos : Andaman Tourism

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