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Monday, January 11, 2010

India announces $1 billion credit for infrastructure of B'desh

1. Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inspects a guard of honour at a ceremonial reception accorded to her at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi.
2. Sheikh Hasina and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh talk with the media at the ceremonial reception.
3. Sheikh Hasina places a wreath at the Samadhi of Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat in Delhi.
4. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina calls on Indian President Pratibha Devisingh Patil in New Delhi.
Photos : PID and Press Information Bureau
Dhaka, Delhi sign 3 agreements, 2 MoUs also inked
Hasina, Manmohan hold talks
ANI, New Delhi, 11 January : India today announced a $1-billion line of credit for infrastructure development in Bangladesh. The announcement came during two-hour talks between Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh at the Hyderabad House here.
After the talks in the evening, the two countries signed three agreements on fight against terrorism and organised crime, and mutual transfer of convicted prisoners. They also signed two memorandums of understanding on cooperation in power sector and cultural exchange.
In response to concerns over proposed Tipaimukh dam, India assured Bangladesh that New Delhi will not take any step that would hurt Dhaka’s interests.
It agreed to remove 47 items from its negative list to give Bangladeshi products duty-free access to its market.
The two sides decided to enhance connectivity. In efforts to that end, India will set up a 14-km metre gauge rail line between Akhaura and Agartala.

Besides, it announced it will give Bangladesh transit to Nepal and Bhutan, and export 250 megawatts of electricity from its central grid.
The discussions covered a wide range of bilateral issues that included terrorism, security, connectivity, trade and investment, and sharing of water and power resources. Hasina and Manmohan noted that terrorism and extremism respect no boundaries and agreed on the need for enhanced cooperation between the two countries. They reaffirmed commitment to solving all issues through discussions and decided to put in place a Comprehensive Framework for Cooperation in Development.
The line of credit, the highest financial assistance from India to any country, is meant for constructing railway bridges and lines and manufacturing rail coaches, a senior Indian foreign ministry official told reporters.
The agreements inked are titled Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters, Transfer of Sentenced Persons and Combating International Terrorism, Organised Crime and Illicit Drug Trafficking.
The one on transfer of convicted persons would allow those convicted of criminal offences to serve their sentences in their own country if they want. Anyone condemned to death however will not get this opportunity. If similar agreement existed with a third country, Bangladesh and India will provide transit facility for extradition of sentenced persons, said officials.
The agreement on combating international terrorism, organised crime and drug trafficking is the bilateral implementation of a protocol under SAARC. It says if terrorist activities are perpetrated in and against India and Bangladesh, the two countries can exchange intelligence and general information.
The MoU on power was signed for import and export of electricity to the tune of over 900 million units per annum, depending on availability, need and price. Under this, the Power Development Board will buy electricity from India at a price to be agreed upon by the two parties, said official sources.

The neighbours also signed an MoU on cultural exchange under which they would jointly celebrate the 150th birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore.
This apart, Hasina and Singh discussed issues relating to the 6.1-km undermarcated stretch of the 4,096-km border, “enclaves” and “adverse possessions” (pockets in each country where nationals of the other one are residing). Photos : PID, Reuters

Indian Foreign Minister S M Krishna calls on S Hasina
BSS, New Delhi, 11 January : Indian Foreign Minister S M Krishna yesterday paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her hotel suite here.
He discussed with the prime minister matters of mutual interest including terrorism, investment and trade. The Indian FM said he has discussed with Hasina about the existing relations between the two countries and how to further strengthen cooperation in all fields. Krishna expressed the hope that all issues could be resolved through discussions. Foreign Minister Dr Dipu Moni and Foreign Secretary Mohamed Mijarul Quayes were present.

Former WB's CM Jyoti Basu's condition still critical...
Kolkata, 11 January : The condition of CPI(M) patriarch Jyoti Basu, kept on partial ventilation in hospital, continued to be critical today.
"He is a critical patient and we are dealing with a critical situation," executive vice-president of AMRI Hospital T S Kuckrejja told reporters. He said the 95-year-old former West Bengal chief minister's general condition remained unchanged and his blood pressure was being maintained with a minimum dose of ionotrope, while his urine output was satisfactory.
Powerful Explosive found yards from Howrah station
Howrah, 11 January : A cylindrical metal container stuffed with explosives probably a powerful improvised explosive device (IED) was found in front of the office of Howrah’s assistant SP town (north), located barely a hundred yards from Howrah station. The spot is also one of the busiest places in Howrah town on weekdays.
Though the bomb disposal squad defused it successfully, there could have been a major accident had the explosive gone off as none of the personnel and officers were wearing any protective gear. Police are yet to identify the nature of the explosive and are still in the dark about how it came there.

Poverty-free South Asia main purpose of India visit : Hasina
PTI, New Delhi, 11 January : Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday formally began the official leg of her 4-day visit to India with a warm ceremonial reception at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, the presidential palace.
Hasina, who reached New Delhi Sunday evening, said she was impressed by the reception and looking forward to fostering "a very important" bilateral relationship. Sheikh Hasina said the main purpose of her visit to India was to help South Asia get rid of poverty. "The main problem in South Asia is poverty. We have to get the region out of poverty. That is the main objective of my visit," Hasina told newsmen in reply to a question after being accorded a ceremonial reception by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan on Raisina Hills.
Bangladesh's premier expressed the hope that her visit would help the South Asian region to come out of poverty and turn into a model of peace and development. She said she has brought with her the goodwishes of people of Bangladesh for whose liberation India had played a key role in 1971.
The mounted President's Bodyguards, an elite cavalry unit that was formed in 1773 by the then British Governor General Warren Hastings, presented national salute to the Bangladesh prime minister and escorted her to the forecourt when her car entered the Rashtrapati Bhavan at 10am (IST). Photo : PID

Two NDFB's surrendered rebels, 5 others held in Shillong
PTI, Shillong, 11 January : Seven persons including two surrendered rebels of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) were arrested by Meghalaya police from a locality in Shillong on Monday.
Acting on a tip-off, police apprehended two surrendered rebels of the NDFB-Bipul Narzary and Khumtha Daimary - and five extortionists from three different locations in Polo and Nongmyngson in the early hours and seized a 9 mm pistol from them, a police official said.

Journalist Utpal Chatterjee is new "Sheriff" of Kolkata
Kolkata, 11 January : Eminent journalist Utpal Chatterjee Monday took over as the new Sheriff of Kolkata.
Chatterjee, who was deputy editor of The Times of India for ten years besides being executive director and director of the journal Business Economics, took charge in the sheriff’s office in the Kolkata High Court. Deputy Sheriff of Kolkata Biswajeet Mitra handed over the office to Chatterjee, who was appointed Associate Editor for India of the New York headquartered global journal Leaders in 2006.
In India, Mumbai and Kolkata are the only cities to maintain this post. The sheriff presides over various city-related functions and conferences and is in charge of receiving foreign guests of the government.

Bangladesh Law Minister Shafique Ah. also against presidential mercy
Dhaka, 11 January : Bangladesh Law Minister Shafique Ahmed on Monday said the convicted killers of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman could not get any mercy since they have killed the father of the nation.
"It is my personal opinion that the three convicts who sought presidential mercy are not eligible to get any mercy, although the president has the prerogative to grant them pardon," the law minister said. The law minister was speaking to reporters at his secretariat office. Two detained convicts -Syed Farooq Rahman and Sultan Shahriar Rashid Khan-- have no scope to seek presidential mercy since they have not submitted mercy petitions by January 9 deadline, he said.
Govt website 'silent' on state's ex-CM Jyoti Basu's health
Kolkata, 11 January : The media may be closely tracking Jyoti Basu's health, but the state government's official website, www.banglarmukh.com, has no updates on. So, even as the CPI(M) patriarch remains critical and ordinary citizens pray for his recovery, they have no way of finding out the "official" report from the government on the former chief minister. Over the past week, the rumour mills have gone on the overdrive, with the news of Basu's "death" often doing the rounds.
There's only one tangential reference to the former chief minister's health on
www.banglarmukh.com, which translates as the "face of Bengal". The website displays some other photographs.
CPI(M) leader shot dead by Maoists at Simlapa in Bankura
Bankura, 11 January : Suspected Maoists killed a CPI(M) leader in Simlapal in Bankura district, police said.
Maoists shot dead Biswanath Dutta (60) in a nearby jungle last night after calling him out his home at Jambani village in Maoist-hit areas of the district, police said. Dutta was a member of a CPI(M) local committee, police said. Policemen recovered the body from the jungle on Monday morning.

40 hurt as RMG workers and Police clash in Ashulia
Dhaka, 11 January : Ashulia turned into a battlefield when several thousands garment workers demanding their pay hike clashed with law enforcers Monday morning, leaving at least 40 injured.
The workers also put barricade on Dhaka-Tangail highway halting traffic movement for about two and half an hours from 9:00am(BDST). At least 30 factories suspended operations after the clashes began in the morning to avoid any attack on their establishments. More than 9,000 workers of three factories of Envoy Group, owned by Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) President Abdus Salam Murshedi, began demonstration in front of the factories at Zamgorah as the authorities refused to provide them with increment.
Earlier, the authorities fixed Monday to start providing the workers with increment after a discussion with the workers. File Photo

Fire near Indian Oil Corporation's Guwahati Refinery
PTI, Guwahati, 11 January : A devastating fire today broke out near the Indian Oil Corporation''s Guwahati Refinery, official sources said. Kamrup (Metro) Deputy Commissioner Prateek Hajela said that the fire broke out around 6 am near the Carbon Gate of the refinery.
Several houses were gutted though there was no report of any casualty or injury, he said. Seven fire tenders were pressed into service to control the fire which was finally contained after two hours though thick smoke still enveloped the area. The fire was suspected to have been caused by a spark near a leaking crude oil-carrying pipeline, Hajela said. Refinery authorities, however, refused to ascertain the cause of the fire. Photos : Chinmoy Roy

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