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Friday, March 19, 2010

West Bengal state assembly clears 'Presidency Varsity Bill'

Kolkata, 19 March : The Bill to convert 192-year-old Presidency College, India’s oldest, into a university was passed in the West Bengal assembly on Friday.
The Opposition walked out before the Bill was passed by voice vote without a debate. “Presidency College is now ready to touch the sky,” said WB Higher Education Minister Sudarshan Roychowdhury, who tabled the Bill. Once the governor gives his assent and the gazette notification is issued both formalities, Presidency College will turn into Presidency University, the 18th state university in West Bengal.
The college was placed under the University of Kolkata in the latter’s foundation year -1857. Photo : Indrajit Dutta

West Bengal govt withdraws Land Reforms Amendment Bill
Kolkata, 19 March : The West Bengal government today withdrew the Land Reforms Amendment Bill seeking to relax land ceiling provisions for industries.
The minister for Land and Land Reforms Abdur Rezzak Mollah announced withdrawal of the bill in the Assembly. The bill, which came in the backdrop of controversies over acquisition of agricultural land for Tata Motors, was referred to an all-party Select Committee of the Assembly in 2006.
Hasina seeks China's help for deep-sea port in Chittagong
Beijing, 19 March : Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Friday sought China's help in building a deep-sea port at Chittagong and invited Chinese companies to invest heavily in her country offering them government support and 100% foreign equity.
"China can be benefited by using the deep seaport while all neighbouring countries also can use it," she said at the Bangladesh-China Business Forum here. PM Hasina, who arrived here as part of a five-day visit, had held talks with top Chinese leaders, including Prime Minister Wen Jiabao and President Hu Jintao. Though reports said China proposed USD 8.7 billion funds for setting up the Chittagong port and constructing a highway linking Kunming to Chittagong in Bangladesh via Myanmar to get access to the port, there was no official word on it.
Hasina is scheduled to visit Kunming, capital of Southwest China's Yunnan province, where she is expected to inspect a section of road and railway links from Kunming to Chittagong.
Addressing the Bangladesh-China Business Forum today, she invited Chinese industry to invest heavily in her country. "Bangladesh offers immense investment potentials with high return for investors," she was quoted as saying by official Chinese news agency Xinhua. Photo : AP
Ind. foreign ministry decided to launch websites in Bengali
New Delhi, 19 March : India’s diplomats may be good speakers and writers of the English language. But that is proving insufficient to win friends and influence people, particularly in the non-English speaking world. Fortunately, this is on the mend.
The ministry of external affairs has decided to launch websites in Arabic and Bengali to reach out to 300 million Arabic speakers in 20- odd countries in North Africa and West Asia and 150 million Bengali speakers in Bangladesh.
For long, the ministry had websites only in English and Hindi. Last year, an Urdu one was set up to reach out to people in the subcontinent who speak the language. “The website received tremendous response within months of its launch, particularly in Pakistan. Now, it averages 6,000 hits a day,” a ministry official said.
Officials say websites in Urdu, Bengali and Arabic will help India spread its message to a wider non-English speaking population in its immediate neighbourhood.

Kolkata-based jute PSU to get Rs 1,200-cr revival package
New Delhi, 19 March : A revival package of Rs 1,200 crore for restoring the Kolkata-based National Jute Manufacturers Corporation will come up at the Cabinet committee of economic affairs meeting on Friday. The board for reconstruction of public sector enterprises approved the Rs 1,200 crore revival plan and another Rs 6,000 crore has been approved towards waiver of loan and interest for capital restructuring. The company has been non-operative since 2001.
According to sources, the revival plan of the company has been on the Cabinet’s agenda for over a year. The jute company operates six plants, five of which are in West Bengal and one in Bihar.
The Cabinet note was mooted by the ministry of textiles. A senior company executive of National Jute Manufacturers Corporation told FE that the firm was hoping for a quick solution. The company has urged that at least three of its six dysfunctional plants be restored. File Photo : Reuters
Bangladesh Malaria Research Group wins British award
BSS, Chittagong, 19 March : Malaria Research Group of Bangladesh in collaboration with Tanzania and Ghana won British Medical Journal (BMJ) Group Award- 2010 for the best scientific research publication.
BMJ Group Award, an international unique recognition for service in research and academic arena, offered the Award for the scientific research study on Malaria published in The Lancet in 2009. The BMJ Group Award- 2010 was declared on 10 March at Hotel Hilton at Park Lane in London in a ceremony, according to a message received by the Malaria Research Group, Bangladesh, which was formed at Chittagong Medical College.

High-level meeting on improving water supply situation in Andaman & Nicober
Port Blair, 19 March : Considering the growing drinking water crisis in the Andaman and Nicobar (A and N) Islands, Lt Governor Bhopinder Singh have directed all agencies to address the water situation on a priority basis.
To handle the situation, a high-level meeting on improving the water supply situation in the Islands was held under the Chairmanship of the Lt Governor at Raj Niwas on Tuesday evening. Various measures for improving the water supply situation were discussed in detail. The Lt Governor instructed Andaman PWD for expediting works on all water projects which are nearing completion.
''In order to augment the water situation, several water projects are at various stages of progress,'' the Lt Governor said during the meeting and directed Andaman PWD for timely execution of all water projects.
Life back on waterways after Inland water transport resume
Dhaka, 19 March : Inland water transport resumed plying today after the workers called off their indefinite strike following a tripartite meeting with the government and vessel owners Thursday night.
General Secretary of Noujan Sramik Federation Ashiqul Alam Chowdhury said all their leaders and workers resumed working soon after the strike was withdrawn.
ULFA asked fuel dealers of Assam to reduce their prices
Guwahati, 19 March : The banned outfit ULFA today asked fuel dealers of Assam to reduce their prices by Rs 5 within the next three months. ULFA's central publicity committee member, Anu Buragohain, threatened to launch a "mass protest" if the fuel prices are not reduced. "The central government is hiking the fuel product available in the state which has affected the common people," a statement issued by him said. The oil found in the state is refined outside and sold at a higher price in the state itself which is amounting to 'injustice', Buragohain said.
8 Northern Dists : Off season mung bean cultivation begins
BSS, Rangpur, 19 March : Rangpur-Dinajpur Rural Service (RDRS) has started its programme for large-scale off season mung beans farming in Rangpur division as an additional cash.
The programme is expected to help meet the country's pulse demand side by side bring huge profits to the farmers of the northern districts. Executives of the NGO told the news agency that repeated successes achieved in farming the item during the past few years have encouraged the growers to go for large-scale cultivation this month. RDRS achieved tremendous results while conducting field level researches on mung beans farming in recent years jointly with Bangladesh Agriculture Research Institute (BARI) and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Agriculture University (BSMRAU).
Head of Agriculture of RDRS, MG Neogi said mung beans could be cultivated in large scale in only 60 days and its massive farming programme has been taken this time with the help of Krishi Gobeshona Foundation (KGF). He said the item could be one of the most profitable cash crops especially in the poverty and monga-prone region as its cultivation is more profitable than any other crops under the aman-potato-mung beans-aman cropping patterns.
This time, around 5,000 farmers will cultivate mung on 5,000 bighas using their seeds preserved last season with the assistance of RDRS in Rangpur, Dinajpur, Lalmonirhat, Kurigram, Nilphamari, Gaibandha, Panchagarh and Thakurgaon.