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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Gorkha Janmukti Morcha presents blueprint for Regional Autho

PTI, New Delhi, 18 March : The Centre today held fifth round of tripartite talks with Gorkha Janmukti Morcha which presented a blueprint of an interim regional authority to be constituted for Darjeeling and some areas around it.
The talks were attended by Minister of State for Home Affairs Ajay Maken, GJM General Secretary Roshan Giri, interlocutor Lt General Vijay Madan besides represenatives for other political groups. Giri came up with the blueprint of the "interim authority" having powers similar to a state with a High Court of its own and also demanded ST status of Gorkhas and a Bench of Supreme Court, official sources said.
The Centre expressed the hope that some common ground could be found which will be taken during next round of talks scheduled in May. "They have submitted a proposal for having an interim authority.

Indian Oil Corporation' Haldia refinery unit to boost margins
Financial Times, Kolkata, 18 March : Indian Oil Corporation’s (IOC) Haldia refinery expects to earn higher operational margins with the commissioning of the Rs 2,869-crore hydro cracker unit as well as the Rs 1,180-crore Haldia-Paradip pipeline.
An IOC official told FE that the margin is expected to go up by $2 per barrel of crude refined and IOC is likely to feel its impact in the coming quarter of the next fiscal. The project work for a hydro cracker unit, which started in October 2006, was conceived as an Rs 1,400-crore project after it got the board clearance in 2005. READ FULL STORY

Hasina seeks Chinese cooperation in electricity, agri sectors
Chinese Premier assures access of more dutyfree Bangladesh products to China
UNB, Beijing, 18 March : According a red carpet reception to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the historic Great Hall, Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao has assured her of duty free access of Bangladesh products to the Chinese market and financial-technical cooperation to achieve the development targets.
The assurance came at hour-long official talks between the two leaders at the Great Hall on Thursday afternoon. Briefing news men PM’s press secretary Abul Kalam Azad said Sheikh Hasina requested Wen Jiabao for financial assistance to development projects and also technical assistance for achieving the development targets. As well she sought Chinese cooperation in power generation and raising agricultural production. Chinese Prime Minister also assured of cooperation in protecting the people of Bangladesh from the scourge of recurring floods and other natural calamities.
Earlier on her arrival at the Great Hall, Sheikh Hasina was warmly received by Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao at 5:05 pm (local time). She was then led to a red carpet reception at the Northern Hall of the People’s Great Hall. Photo : Feng Li Pool (AP)

Bangladesh, China sign 3 agreements, 1 MOU to bolster more cooperation
UNB, Beijing, 18 March : Bangladesh and China Thursday signed three accords and one MoU to bolster cooperation in the fields of economy and technology, infrastructure and energy.
The agreements were signed after formal talks between Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao at the East Hall of the Great Hall. The accords are: Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement with Adequate Grant, Framework Agreement for Construction of Shahjalal Fertilizer Factory, Agreement for Construction of the 7th Bangladesh-China Friendship Bridge and MOU on Bangladesh-China Cooperation in Oil and Gas sectors. Photo : Feng Li Pool (AP)

PCPA tribals attempt to storm police station in Midnapore
Jhargram, 18 March : Demanding the release of a Maoist leader, hundreds of Maoist-backed tribals on Thursday tried to storm a police station, but were pushed back by police personnel who fired in the air in West Midnapore district.
At least 1,500 tribal men and women from Chanapara, Bhetli, Jaipur, Barobigha, Jaljali, Rasua and Indrabani villagers gathered at the Sardiha railway station near Banstala and marched to the Manikpara police station that had been cordoned off by joint forces. Police fired warning shots after teargas and lathicharge failed to disperse tribals belonging to the Maoist-backed People’s Committee against Police Atrocities, official sources said.

After so-called encounter in Manipur, sparks protests
PTI, Imphal, 18 March : A suspected militant was killed in a gunbattle by the security forces, sparking protest by locals who claimed the encounter to be fake. 23-year-old militant Chongtham Nanao was killed during the encounter with a joint team of 21st Assam Rifles battalion and police commandos in Thoubal district on 14 March, officials said.
However, alleging that Nanao was picked up from his house at Sekmaijin area in Imphal West district by the security personnel and shot dead in Thoubal, a Joint Action Committee - comprising locals - blocked an important road on Thursday, linking two Manipur districts to this capital town. The JAC formed in protest against the killing of the youth blocked Mayai Lambi road connecting Imphal and interior parts of Imphal West and Thoubal.

Failure at the camp level in Maoist attack in Silda: WB's CM
Kolkata, 18 March : Virtually shielding higher officials from any blame, West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today said that failure, if any, was at the camp level leadership when Maoists attacked Silda camp of Eastern Frontier Rifles in which 24 personnel were killed last month.
"If there was any failure, it was at the camp leadership level. If they ignored the intelligence report it was a serious mistake. It will be known only after the the inquiry report is submitted," Bhattacharjee told assembly in reply to a question by Congress member Manas Bhunia.
Secretaries sit prior to 'Joint River Commission' talks
New Delhi, 18 March : Water Resources secretaries of Bangladesh and India on Thursday sat in a meeting in New Delhi, hours before the ministerial-level Joint River Commission meeting on sharing of Teesta waters and water management of other common rivers.
Sheikh Md Wahid-Uz Zaman is leading Bangladeshi team while UN Panjiyar represents the hosts at the secretary-level meeting in the Oberoi Hotel. The meeting will be followed by the ministerial-level JRC meeting, our New Delhi correspondent Pallab Ghosh reports.
Bangladesh Water Resources Minister Ramesh Chandra Sen and his Indian counterpart Pawan Kumar Bansal will lead their respective delegations at the two-day long meeting.

Bangladesh's 'Independence Award 2010' announced
Dhaka, 18 March : Bangladesh government has nominated 10 distinguished persons and an organisation for Swadhinata (independence) Award 2010 in recognition of their outstanding contributions to the nation.
AKM Samsul Haque Khan (posthumously), Awami League presidium member and deputy leader of the House Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury and Belal Mohammad (Independence and Liberation War), Prof Dr Zillur Rahman Siddiqui and Jatin Sarker (Education), Romena Afaz (posthumously) and Dr Mustafa Nur-ul Islam (Literature), and Bangla Academy, Waheedul Haq, (posthumously), Alamgir Kabir (posthumously) and Ferdousi Priyabhashini (Culture) are among the award winners.
Bangla Academy will be adorned with the award for its outstanding contribution to the development of Bangla culture.

Water transport strike in Bangladesh goes on... third day
Dhaka, 18 March : A bilateral meeting between Bangladesh's water transport owners and officials of directorate of labour did not bring any major breakthrough on Thursday when the countrywide indefinite water transport strike stepped into third consecutive day.
The meeting was held at the Department of Labour to find a way out so that the water transport workers called off their strike that has started taking a heavy toll on importers, as scores of cargo and lighter vessels are stranded at Chittagong and Mongla ports. The strike was enforced Monday midnight by the water transport workers that has been also causing immense sufferings to passengers on all river routes.
About 1.5 lakh water transport workers went on the strike for the second time within the last four months, to press home their 22-point charter of demands, after a marathon tripartite meeting among the government, the workers, and the owners had failed to reach a consensus on Monday.

Cash incentives for Bangladeshs potato export to rise
Dhaka, 18 March : Bangladesh government is considering increasing in cash incentives on export of potatoes to 20% from existing 10% to help potato growers get fair price as now the price is lower than the production cost in domestic markets.
The agriculture ministry in an inter-ministerial meeting on Tuesday proposed to increase the cash incentive to the exporters, Anwar Faroque, additional secretary of the ministry, said. The move comes when farmers are selling potato at Tk 6-7 a kg in the field level though its production cost is around Tk 10 a kg.
According to the ministry, potato production is estimated to be over 80 lakh tonnes this year, some 20 lakh tonnes more than the domestic demand in a year.

Anti-Gorkhaland body calls 24-hour shutdown in Silliguri
Silliguri, 18 March : Activists of the 'Bangla-O-Bangla Bhasa Bachao committee', a regional forum, called for a 24-hour shutdown here, protesting the fifth round of tripartite talks to be held with central officials in New today.
Most of the shops were closed with only few school and government buses running along with some private vehicles in Siliguri. Picketers blocked the road and stopped local autos and rickshaws. The committee says that the district of Darjeeling comes under the purview of West Bengal state and it cannot be divided by any means.
BDs Char people opt for chilli farming because of high yield
Gaibandha, 18 March : In Bangladesh Chilli cultivation is gaining popularity among the people of remote Deluabari Char on the Jamuna due to its high yield. Growers are now making a huge profit by cultivating chilli on the char where they could not produce anything just couple of years ago.
Afsar Mollah, who first cultivated chilli on the char (newly emerged landmass) under Fulchhari upazila of Gaibandha last year, told this correspondent that he cultivated chilli on 25 bighas of land on experimental basis and got 150 maunds of green and 30 maunds of dried chillies. Afsar earned Tk 3 lakh by selling both green and dried chillies last year. He cultivated jute and vegetable on the land couple of years ago, but it was hard for him to get back the production cost.
Afsar has cultivated chilli on 40 bighas of land this season and is expecting around 170 to 180 maunds of crop yield. News and Photo : KM Rezaul Hoque

Endangered pheasants from UK to join Darjeeling Zoo
PTI, New Delhi, 18 March : Brightly coloured Crimson Horned and Crimson Bellied pheasants will soon be seen in West Bengal's Darjeeling zoo with steps being taken to bring the winged birds from UK.
"Paradise Wildlife Park in UK has agreed to give us four Satyr Tragopan (two male and female each) and eight (4:4) Temminick Tragopan, both endangered pheasants," A K Jha, director, Darjeeling Zoo which is also known as Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park told PTI. Veterinary protocol has been already prepared from both sides in this regard. They will soon join our collection of 80 pheasants, he says.
Satyr Tragopan also known as the Crimson Horned Pheasant and Temminck's Tragopan also called Crimson-bellied Tragopan have been identified for the purpose of breeding under the Central Zoo Authority's conservation programme as only a few are left in the wild.