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Friday, February 26, 2010

I didn’t advise WB govt on Operation Green Hunt : Narayanan

Shilda, 26 February : West Bengal governor, MK Narayanan has denied having given any advice to the state government on Operation Green Hunt, though he has said that he talked to chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee as the 15 February Maoist attack on the Eastern Frontier Rifles camp at Shilda.
“I have my own views on Operation Green Hunt. I have not given any advice to the state government. Yes, I had discussions with the chief minister (after the attack),” Narayanan, former National Security Adviser, was quoted as saying while talking to reporters after a visit to the EFR’s 3rd battalion headquarters.

Pranab's budget gift for West Bengal
Kolkata, 26 February : Two days after Mamata Banerjee showered goodies on West Bengal in the railway budget, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee brought more cheer for the people of West Bengal.
Mukherjee's proposal to include embankment schemes along rivers Bhagirathi and Ganga-Padma in the Central Sponsored Flood Management Programme, is good news for people in a vast stretch of north Bengal, where river erosion is a major problem. In the process, Mukherjee also served his constituency Jangipur in Murshidabad district, which is hard hit by the erosion. The Ganges-Padma erosion has impacted the lives of thousands in Murshidabad, with many of them displaced due to tides, especially between Farakka and Jalangi and from Jangipur to Sagardighi area.
While mentioning the 'Mission Clean Ganga 2020' under the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) with the objective that no untreated municipal sewage or industrial effluent will be discharged into the national river, Mukherjee said in his budget speech: "I propose to double the allocation for NGRBA in 2010-11 to Rs.500 crore." He added: "I am happy to inform the honourable members that schemes on bank protection works along river Bhagirathi and river Ganga-Padma in parts of Murshidabad and Nadia district of West Bengal have been included in the Centrally Sponsored Flood Management Programme.

Mukherjee also provided budgetary support for drainage schemes of river-basins in East Midnapore and West Midnapore districts besides for the flood master plan on Kandi in Murshidabad district. "I also propose to provide budgetary support for drainage scheme of Kaliaghai-Kapaleswari Baghai basin in the district of Purba and Paschim Midnapore, and Master Plan of Kandi sub-division in Murshidabad, West Bengal," the finance minister said.
He also said that there is a need to develop an alternate port at Sagar Island in South 24 Parganas district. "Recognising the need for developing an alternate port facility in West Bengal, it is proposed to develop a project at Sagar Island. Necessary funds will be provided in due course," he said. Photos : AP, PTI

Effect of Budget : Petrol, diesel prices hiked from midnight
IANS, New Delhi, 26 February : Fuel prices in the country are set to increase with Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Friday announcing restoration of basic duty on petrol, diesel and crude petroleum and a rise of Re 1 in central excise duty.
In his Budget speech 2010-11, Mukherjee said the government had exempted fuel from basic customs duty to give relief to the oil marketing companies. The global oil prices rose alarmingly to $112 per barrel last year. But, with global prices comparatively low right now, the government has taken the step to improve the fiscal position by restoring basic duty and increasing excise duty.
"In view of the pressing need to move back to a fiscal consolidation path, I propose to restore the basic duty of 5 % on crude petroleum; 7.5 % on diesel and petrol and 10 % on other refined products. I also propose to enhance the central excise duty on petrol and diesel by Re 1 per litre each," said Mukherjee. File Photo

PM Sheikh Hasina condoles deaths of 21 garment workers
UNB, Dhaka, 26 February : Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina expressed profound shock at the death of 21 garments workers died from suffocation in a fire at a garment factory in Gazipur Thursday night.
In a message, the prime minister conveyed sympathy to the bereaved family members and prayed for the salvation of the departed souls. She also asked the concerned authorities to remain cautious so that this kind of incident doesn’t occur in future.
CM Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee distributes 'pattas' to tribals
Purulia, 26 February : West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhedeb Bhattacharjee today distributed 'pattas' (land rights) of forest land to 513 tribals at a function here in Purulia district.
The chief minister said the 'pattas' were distributed in keeping with a Bill passed in Parliament in 2006 which recognised the rights of tribals over forest land which they have been occupying for generations. Bhattacharjee will leave for Bankura tomorrow.
Jumbo calves in Jaldapara, specially trained for patrolling
ANI, Jalpaiguri, 26 February : Wildlife authorities here are imparting special patrolling training to rescued elephant calves at the Jaldapara wildlife sanctuary in West Bengal's Jalpaiguri District.
Buddhadeb Mondal, a forest ranger at the sanctuary, said six calves, ranging from three to four days to a year, are being trained. "We have already rescued six elephant cubs and their age varies from 3-4 days old to 1 year old. Some experienced Mahouts (elephant riders) are giving training to these cubs so that we can use these cubs when they grow up for patrolling purposes," said Mondal.
Ravi Biswasarma, a mahout, said, "These elephant calves are fed by us, and when they grow up, they will patrol the forest." According to forest sources, there are 17 captive elephants at the rehabilitation center.
India has over 50 percent of the world's Asiatic elephant population. A 2005 census showed there were 25,000 to 28,000 elephants in India, including 1,500 male tuskers of breeding age. Photos : Reuters

Gazipur Sweater Factory Catches Fire, At least 21 killed
Dhaka, 26 February : At least 21 people, including 15 women, were killed and 50 injured in a major fire which broke out in a garment factory in Bangladesh's Gazipur town, around 50 km north of Dhaka, police said Friday.
The blaze engulfed the Garib & Garib Sweater factory at around 9:30pm (BDST). Thursday when workers were preparing to leave, said Suman, one of the workers who escaped the fire. At least 50 were injured, suffering burns or smoke inhalation. Of them, 20-25 were taken to hospitals, a senior police officer said. Gazipur General Hospital's Md Ataul Islam said, "Around 20 people were brought in, of which 11 were pronounced dead".
While seven workers were declared dead at Tongi government hospital, three deaths were confirmed by doctors at Tairunnessa Memorial Medical College and Hospital. The fire started on the first floor of the seven-storey building. Several workers were stuck on the second floor as the fire spread and firemen had to cut the window grills to rescue them.
The cause of fire and total number of workers present in the building at that time was yet to be ascertained.