Leaders of eight South Asian nations will gather in the Bhutanese capital of Thimphu and chart out a roadmap for conserving environment to face the climate change, poverty alleviation, promoting cooperation in hardcore economic areas and curbing terrorism.
Bhutan is hosting the 2-day SAARC summit for the first time since the organisation was formed in Dhaka, Bangladesh in 1985. Heads of state and government of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and host Bhutan will participate in the conference.
Bangladesh Foreign ministry officials said the Saarc members are keen to work towards building a politically harmonious and economically integrated South Asia.
Kolkata, 3 April : Union home minister P Chidambaram tonight met West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee here before his visit to Maoist-hit Lalgarh in West Midnapore district tomorrow.
"Tomorrow, tomorrow. Circuit House," Chidambaram cryptically told reporters when asked about his 40-minute meeting with the chief minister hinting that he would brief the press after his visit to Lalgarh. The minister was understood to have reviewed the situation in Maoist-hit areas where the joint operations have achieved success in last few days as also the future strategy to tackle Maoist menace.
For the ruling Left Front, regaining the constitutional body appears to be a virtual cakewalk as the Congress, the INPT, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Indigenous People's Front of Tripura (IPFT), a tribal based party, will fight the polls separately. 'At the instance of late prime minister Indira Gandhi, the Congress formed an alliance with the erstwhile Tripura Upajati Juba Samity (now INPT) in 1982. But the present party leadership severed the nearly three-decade-old coalition,' INPT general secretary and former minister Rabindra Debbarma told reporters Saturday.
The election to the 30-seat (28 elective, two nominated) TTAADC, which facilitates the socio-economic development of the tribals, would be held 3 May.
UNB, Mymensingh, 3 April : A Rapid Action Battalion team arrested seven operatives of Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh, including a top leader, at Fulbaria of Mymensingh district Friday night.
The RAB team also recovered some books on militancy, eight cell phone sets, Tk 11,773 in cash and a briefcase full of wedding clothes and cosmetics, RAB sources said at a press briefing at its headquarters in Uttara.
The landmine was planted along a roadside in Bamal area and when the CRPF jawan stepped on it, the explosive went off, police said. Security has been beefed up in Lalgarh where Chidambaram is expected to visit tomorrow, with 1000 CRPF personnel deployed along with special anti-naxal force. Twenty mobile camps of CRPF and special action force personnel are functioning at Lalgarh, Binpur, Salboni and Goaltore, besides the CRPF intelligence unit from Lalgarh, the sources said.
Chidambaram will meet senior officials from the administration and police to review the joint operations to flush out Maoists from the area. န Photo : PTI
Dhaka, 3 April : State Minister for Law Qamrul Islam on Saturday said war crimes and crimes against humanity are similar offences and both types of offenders will be put on the war crimes trial.
Referring to the comments made by BNP Secretary General Khandaker Delwar Hossain on Friday, the state minister alleged that he (Khandaker Delwar) made such statements to protect war criminals from the trial. Qamrul Islam delivered these counter statements at a discussion on “Trial of War Criminals - Demand of the Countrymen” organised by Bangabandhu Foundation at city’s Dhaka Reporters Unity auditorium in the morning.
The state minister said the people of the country know very well who the war criminals are.
The police were making every effort to make sure that terrorist outfits "exported from a neighbouring country" were unable to strike in the strategically located city, he said. A Special Task Force has been set up comprising high police officials who were keeping a strict vigil to avert any kind of disaster, he said while speaking at the Merchants' Chamber of Commerce in Kolkata.
Another problem was people crossing over from Bangladesh. "In spite of BSF's presence, the border is not really sealed and protected," Chakrabarti said. He also the police force was getting the most modern Tetra Technology to upgrade communications system.
PTI, Shillong, 3 April : Blaming the inflation on the supply bottleneck, Indian Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has said prices of foodgrains are expected to come down after the rabi harvest.
"The inflation is due to non-availability of certain commodities. The supply bottleneck is one of the reasons," Mukherjee said. "We are taking steps. After the rabi harvest, the prices of food items should come down," he said.
“An agreement has also been signed between the government and the authorities of a rental project for the installment of a 1000MW power plant and the work order will be announced within two months,’’ she said while inaugurating a 51MW private power plant, Barakatullah Electro Dynamics (BEDL), in Fenchuganj of Sylhet.
Sheikh Hasina said the government has taken initiatives to import Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) to ease the persisting gas crisis in the country. It is the first visit to Sylhet by the prime minister after assuming office. န Photo : PID
Jhargram, 3 April : A 24-hour bandh has been called tomorrow in West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia districts by Maoist-backed People's Committee against Police Atrocities (PCPA) to protest the visit of Union home minister P Chidamabaram to Lalgarh.
Announcing the bandh, PCPA leader Asit Mahato told newsmen here today that an indefinite blockade has been called in the three districts, known as 'Jungle Mahal', from Monday. "The blockade has been called against the torture of innocent villagers being perpetrated by joint security forces in the name of anti-Maoist combing operations," he said.
Sylhet, 3 April : The special court of Bangladesh Rifles on Saturday fixed 28 June for hearing on charge framing against 14 alleged mutineers of 8 Rifle Battalion in Sunamganj.
The court, led by Director General of Bangladesh Rifles Maj Gen Md Mainul Islam, adjourned the trial proceedings till the date. The 14 BDR jawans were produced before the special court-3, set up at Sylhet sector headquarters, amid tight security. Earlier on Friday, Deputy Assistant Director of the 8 Rifle Battalion Md Abdul Wahid read out the complaints brought against the accused while Commanding Officer of the battalion Lt Col Tajul Islam Thakur was the prosecutor.
According to the complaint, Subedar Maj Gouranga Chandra Das and some other border guards of the battalion revolted and took control over the arsenal on February 26 last year. They also instigated others to join the mutiny.
A general body meeting of the council for sports held here yesterday under the presidentship of Sports Minister Tapan Chakraborty passed the budget. Official sources here today said Tripura Sports Council secretary Kamal Saha presented the budget in the conference hall of the sports department which was later passed unanimously through discussions.
At the same time a sports calendar has also been prepared for this year which took a number of sports programme from September this year to January next year that included women's sports, Paika sports and participation in the North East games to be held at Shillong.
PTI, Shillong, 3 April : In a jolt to Congress dissidents demanding removal of Meghalaya Chief Minister D D Lapang, senior Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee today ruled out any leadership change in the state.
"As of now there is no proposal for any leadership change," Mukherjeesaid against the backdrop of 16 Congress MLAs demanding ministerial berths and Lapang’s ouster. "The Congress party is capable of taking care of such crisis," he said when asked about the revolt. Lapang met the Union Finance Minister at Raj Bhavan late last evening, but it was not clear if they discussed the present political turmoil in the state.
UNB, Sunamganj, 3 April : Boro paddy on 3,000 hectares of land in Kanglar haor went under water due to heavy rains and onrush of water from hilly areas.
Water Development Board (WDB) sources said water entered the haor on Thursday and Friday through different points of the Surma River as water level of the river rose sharply due to onrush of hilly waters. A total of 283,142 hectares of land have been brought under boro cultivation in the district this season, Department of Agriculture Extension sources said.
New Delhi, 3 April : India and Singapore have launched the Simbex naval wargames in the eastern seaboard which will be undertaken in two theatres, first in the Andaman Sea and then in the Bay of Bengal. Apart from helicopters and aircraft, India has deployed destroyer INS Ranvir, fast-attack craft INS Batti Malv, amphibious warship INS Mahish, tanker INS Jyoti and a kilo-class submarine for the combat exercise. Singapore, in turn, has fielded frigate RSS Intrepid and missile corvette RSS Victory.
‘‘The Simbex exercises, 16 editions of which have already been held, have graduated from being purely anti-submarine warfare exercises to complex ones involving multiple facets of operations at sea,’’ said an official.
The shipping ministry could not release the dredging subsidy of 2009-2010 to KoPT until 22 March since the finance ministry blocked the entire subsidy amount of Rs 474crore. With the minister of shipping Mukul Roy finally intervening into the matter, the finance ministry made a part release of Rs 267 crore with a warning that such dredging subsidies wouldn’t continue if the shipping lanes’ draught of Haldia and Kolkata ports, under KoPT, didn’t increase.
BSS, Rangpur, 3 April : The eight-day long caravan `Journey of Developments: Roadshow Teknaf to Tentulia' ended successfully at the country's northernmost point of Tentulia in Panchagarh with huge enthusiasm and festivity last night.
Bangladesh Bank organised the event from Teknaf and it concluded at Tentulia after the huge caravan traveled through Chittagong, Feni, Comilla, Tangail, Sirajganj, Bogra, Rangpur, Dinajpur, Thakurgaon and Panchagarh. Huge numbers of stalls were set up at all venues in the banking fairs organised on the occasion by the local lead banks where the officials and executives of the concerned banks of the country delivered elaborate information to all about their services.