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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Buddhadeb urges Centre to talk to Bangladesh on enclave issue

Cooch Behar, 13 February : West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today asked the Centre to talk to Bangladesh to resolve the problem of enclaves in adverse possession of the two countries.
"Since the time of former chief minister Jyoti Basu, we have been taking up the issue of these enclaves with the Centre but nothing has been done. The Centre should talk to the friendly Sheikh Hasina government in Bangladesh to resolve the problem", Bhattacharjee told a public meeting here. "A chaotic condition now prevails in those enclaves. It is difficult to ascertain citizenship of the people living in those enclaves", he said as a section of the crowd waved placards demanding the enclaves be exchanged.
In 1974, both India and Bangladesh had agreed to exchange the enclaves or at least provide easy access to the enclaves but since then little has materialised. Talks between the two countries on the issue resumed in 2001 but lack of a concrete time frame has relegated the issue to the back burner. There were a total of 126 Indian enclaves on the Bangladesh side and 96 Bangladesh enclaves on this side of border. Photo : Aritra Roy
Bangladesh Jatiya Sangsad to have own TV channe
Proposed channel will named 'Sangsad Bangladesh'
Dhaka, 13 February : The Jatiya Sangsad, Bangladesh's parliament, will soon have an exclusive television channel to telecast its proceedings.
Bangladesh joins neighbour India and several parliamentary democracies across the world that have exclusive TV channels for their parliament. The government accepted a private member's bill on the subject. The proposed channel will be named Sangsad Bangladesh. All ruling Awami League lawmakers voted 'yes' when the speaker put the proposal to vote for approval. Information Minister Abul Kalam Azad accepted the proposal.
"The government will take necessary steps to set up a special television channel for the parliament," the minister said.
ULFA not keen for peace talks but wish to resolve P issues
Guwahati, 13 February : ULFA chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa, arrested over two months ago, on Saturday said his outfit was not for peace talks but was keen to resolve long-drawn contentious political issues through negotiations.
"Santir alochana nohoi, samadhaner alochana bicharisu aami (I do not want peace talks, but want talks to resolve the problems facing the state)," Rajkhowa told reporters at the Regional Dental College Hospital where he was brought for treatment on Saturday afternoon. People will not be kept in the dark on the issue of talks and they will be the first to be taken into confidence when the time comes, the ULFA chief said, adding "we will call you and talk about it".
West Bengal IG suspended for ‘sexually abusing’ constable
Kolkata, 13 February : Inspector General of the Police (Planning) Gourav Dutta was today suspended on the charges of sexually abusing a police constable.
“The Inspector General (IG) (Planning) has been suspended. The suspension letter has been issued,” said Director West Bengal Director General of Police Bhupinder Singh. Earlier, Dutta was transferred from IG, IB (North Bengal) to IG (Planning) after the state Human Rights Commission, which heard a complaint filed by the constable’s wife, found the officer “guilty”. In her complaint, the constable’s wife had alleged her husband was even beaten and tortured for refusing sexual favours. Dutta was also accused of sexually abusing his juniors when he was in-charge of the Police Training School.
Meanwhile, top officials in the state home department said Dutta had earlier applied for leave that had already been sanctioned.
Suspected Maoists abduct Dalbhumgarh Off in Jharkhand
IANS, Ranchi, 13 February : Suspected Maoists abducted a government official from Jharkhand's East Singhbhum district on Saturday, police said.
"Prasant Kumar Layak, a block development officer (BDO) posted at Dalbhumgarh block of East Singhbhum district, very near to West Bengal was abducted by four armed men on Saturday afternoon from near the block office," police spokesman V.H. Deshmukh told IANS. "The borders of the district have been sealed and combing operations have been launched to rescue the abducted official," he added. Dalbhumgarh block of East Singhbhum district is around 160 km from Ranchi.
Layak is the third BDO who has been abducted by the Maoist rebels in the last six months in Jharkhand. Two BDO rank officers, posted in Hazaribagh and Palamau, were abducted last year but later released after police launched combing operations. BDOs are the highest authorities at the block level responsible for development work. File Photo : PTI

Russ PM Putin visit : India may sign for 29 MiG-29K fighters
IANS, New Delhi, 13 February : India is likely to ink a deal to purchase an additional 29 MiG-29K fighter jets, valued close to $1.12 billion, from Russia during the visit of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in March.
The deal will be signed along with two other major defence contracts - for the joint development of fifth generation aircraft and multi role transport aircraft. "The deal will be inked during Prime Minister Putin's visit. The decision will be formally announced a few days before the visit," a senior Russian official said in New Delhi. The visit by Putin, a former president, will be his first to India after becoming prime minister.
Experts voice concerns at a seminar over climate fund
Dhaka, 13 February : The climate change fund pledged by the developed countries at the Copenhagen climate summit has so far been mere rhetoric in terms of delivery, said environmentalists at a seminar on Saturday.
The climate finance promised at the Conference of Parties (COP-15) is very inadequate with sourcing of money uncertain, they said at an international seminar on Financing Climate Change: Post-Copenhagen Challenges and Way Forward. Campaign for Sustainable Rural Livelihood (CSRL) and Oxfam International jointly organised the seminar at the city's Spectra Convention Centre. The COP-15 pledged 30 billion US dollars as global climate fund for adaptation and mitigation of climate change impacts.
As Copenhagen pledge is not legally binding, there has not been any institutional arrangement to conduct the climate fund and it remains unclear whether overseas development assistance (ODA) will be treated as climate fund, said CSRL convener Dr Ahsan Uddin Ahmed.

Bajrang Dal threatens to disrupt Valentine's Day festivities
Behrampore, 13 February : After halting a beauty contest and stalling an opening show of Shah Rukh Khan-starrer My Name is Khan, the Bajrang Dal today threatened to disrupt Valentine's Day celebrations.
The right-wing outfit threatened to marry off youths celebrating Valentine's Day in this Silk City and said those who defied their appeal would be handed over to police or to their parents with advise not to repeat it any more. The saffron brigade will move to vulnerable locations like parks, restaurants and other places, where young boys and girls were likely to date on the occasion, state chief of the outfit Ramakanta Rath told reporters here.
4 siblings burned to death in Chittagong city early Saturday
Chittagong, 13 February : Four minor siblings were burned to death as a fire broke out at a slum in Aturer Depot area of Chittagong city early Saturday and gutted at least 36 shanties.
The children were asleep when the fire broke out. Three fire fighting units from the city’s Bayezid Fire Station rushed to the spot and doused the fire after one and a half hours of frantic efforts. The extent of loss caused by the fire was estimated at Tk 3 lakh, fire service sources said.
Darjeeling's peak tourist season in Gorkhaland shadow
Kolkata, Darjeeling, 13 February : The tourism industry in the Sikkim-Darjeeling region is staring at a lack-lustre peak season of March-June due to the Gorkhaland agitation. Already, the sector has been losing Rs 5-6 crore per month from October 2009 because of bandhs and highway blockades. While domestic tourist flow has dwindled by 30-35%, foreign tourist arrival is down 50%.
According to West Bengal Tourism Development managing director TVN Rao, occupancy in December 2009 has been at 28%, which is a little higher than 15% in December 2008 but is 10% lower than December of 2007. “The strikes and disturbances are most definitely affecting the region. We cannot say anything now, but if this continues, the peak summer season will also suffer,” said Rao. Occupancy has come down by 40% compared with 2008.
If strikes continue, tourists are going to stay away from the region in summer, says East Wind Holiday Tour director Samrat Sanyal. Almost 65% of the business from tourism is garnered from these peak season months.


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