Indian Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh and his Bangladesh counterpart Hasun Mahmud on Sunday said steps had already been initiated in the two countries in this regard. Speaking at an international workshop 'Climate Threat to Sundarbans Across India and Bangladesh', in Kolkata on Sunday where both the ministers were present, Ramesh said he was optimistic about the forum being set up by next September.
Bangladesh's Environment Minister Hasun Mahmud said Bangladesh had taken up several action plans with an investment of Rs 700 crore to protect the Sundarbans from climate change impact. န Photos : Reuters
Kolkata, 4 April : Indian Home minister P Chidambaram has asked West Bengal officials to tighten coastal security as there are intelligence inputs that the porous coastal borders of the state can be used by Maoists to smuggle arms from Bangladesh, South-East Asian nations or even Sri Lanka.
With security agencies cutting off supply routes on land, the cornered Maoists are desperate for alternative ways to get weapons. There are intelligence alerts that the Maoists have links with LTTE and can use their contacts to bring in arms to Jangalmahal via the sea and the Orissa and Andhra routes. They are also tapping their contacts with Nepal Maoists to smuggle in weapons.
Lalgarh, 4 April : On his first visit to the heart of Maoists territory in West Bengal, Indian Home Minister P Chidambaram today ruled out involvement of military in anti-Maoist operations and made a fresh offer of dialogue with the Maoists.
"No, we are not contemplating military action against Maoists and state police, state armed police and paramilitary forces alone will be deployed to fight the Maoists," he told reporters after an hour-long meeting with top police and administrative officials here.
He said he has appealed to the villagers not to support the Maoists, which they were doing out of fear. "I appealed to them not to provide any moral or material support to the Maoists who can do no development for the people," he said. Agreeing that the villagers had reasons to be aggrieved due to lack of development, Chidambaram said, "I told them Maoists are killing you and will continue to kill you and they have no place in the society."
Chidambaram, who flew in here by a helicopter from Kolkata, described as "mixed" the outcome of the joint anti- Maoist operations saying that certain "weaknesses" need to be rectified.
He also said that intelligence reports suggested that Maoists were constantly regrouping to carry out low-intensity conflict and that there was a need for constant vigilance in the fight against them. န Photo : Arunangsu Roy Chowdhury
"This is what we had been worried about," Vineet Gahalaut at the National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI) in Hyderabad told IANS in an interview. He and his colleagues had warned that a segment of the "plate boundary fault" left unruptured after the deadly 2004 Andaman earthquake would be a source of high magnitude earthquakes. READ FULL STORY
After handing over the documents to Chief Investigator MA Matin at his Old High Court Bhaban office, WCFFC Convener Dr MA Hasan told reporters that the documents include 18 books, names and addresses of 1,775 alleged war criminals and detailed accounts of crimes including murders. Of the 1,775 war crimes suspects, 400 to 500 are alive, he said.
The WCFFC convener said the names of Jamaat-e-Islami leaders including its chief Matiur Rahman Nizami, former chief Golam Azam, Secretary General Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed and Assistant Secretary General ATM Azharul Islam are on the list. The WCFFC also gave a sketch map of mass killing grounds in Dhaka, forensic exhibits including bones, earrings and parts of dresses of victims to the investigators.
Earlier on 25 March, Bangladesh government announced a special tribunal, prosecution team and the investigation agency to try the crimes against humanity committed during the Liberation War of the country in 1971.
Dhaka, 4 April : The avian flu situation in Bangladesh has remained stable with significantly less outbreaks reported during 2009 and 2010, the World Bank said Sunday.
But, the bank said, "Bangladesh still faces the risks of further outbreak as it is probable that the virus exists in dormancy in the country, as 50 percent of its national poultry flock is backyard poultry." The South Asian country has a large duck population (about 39 million) and is visited annually by about 21 species of migratory birds that can carry the virus, it said, adding "these coupled with the fact that Bangladesh has a high population density, contributes to building up the threat of future avian influenza outbreaks."
Many villagers, who support suspected Maoist rebels, took part in the protest. Effigies of Chidambaram were burnt amid slogans asking the minister to go back. The Home Minister's visit has upset the locals, as they oppose the joint forces operation against Maoists. "We just want to say, 'Go back, Chidambaram!' We want peace and want them (Indian government) to withdraw joint forces. We can't enter jungle areas although we are the resident there. We don't even have food to eat," said Kamala Sing, a villager.
UNB, Dhaka, 4 April : Bangladesh Shipping Minister Shahjahan Khan asked for a list of goods India wants to transport to its northeastern states through Akhaura and Ashuganj when Indian High Commissioner Rajeet Mitter met him at the Shipping Ministry today.
The Indian High Commissioner was believed to have stressed early implementation of the accord reached during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to New Delhi in January extending transit facility to India. During the hour-long meeting, discussions featured use of Chittagong, Mongla and Ashuganj ports, dredging of river routes from Kolkata to Ashuganj, setting up of new landing stations and building container jetty.
The meeting also discussed the use of India’s territory for Bangladesh’s trade with Bhutan and Nepal. After the meeting, the Shipping Minister told reporters that the High Commissioner assured him of India’s assistance for dredging of rivers in Bangladesh.
PTI, Lalgarh, 4 April : Indian Home Minister P Chidambaram today refused to lend credence to a report that Maoist leader Kishenji, whose whereabouts were not known after a recent encounter with the joint forces, was holed up in the jungles of West Midnapore.
"Police have said they don't buy the story that Kishenji has given the interview. The police, of course, can do more and find out," Chidambaram told reporters here when asked about a purported interview of the top Maoist leader in a national daily.
“We got democracy through a free, fair, credible and acceptable election and we want to establish it properly,” she said when Pakistan High Commissioner in Dhaka Ashraf Qureshi called on her at the Prime Minister’s Office. The prime minister said it is not possible to do any real welfare for the people of the country without democracy. “It was the people who suffered most in absence of democracy.”
Mentioning that poverty is the main enemy of the South Asian region, Hasina emphasised on collective efforts to eradicate poverty from the region. She stressed the need for exchanging parliamentary and business delegations between Bangladesh and Pakistan.
PTI, Lalgarh, 4 April : Indian Home Minister P Chidambaram today expressed unhappiness over recurring inter-party clashes in West Bengal and said he had told Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee "the buck stops with you".
"I told him the buck stops with you and he must ensure that the buck stops with the SP or the officer in-charge," Chidambaram told reporters here on his meeting with Bhattacharjee, who holds the Home (Police) portfolio, at Writers' Building last night. "If the buck does not stop, it is a failure of the administrative machinery," Chidamabaram said.
"There are different perceptions. I have my own. I shared my perceptions with the Chief Minister during my meeting with him at Writers' Buildings last night. I wanted inter-party clashes to end," he said.
The court, headed by Director General Maj Gen Md Mainul Islam, sat at Panchagarh Battalion Headquarters will start recording depositions of the witnesses in the afternoon. One of the accused, Mizanur Rahman, confessed to his involvement with the 25-26 February mutiny.
Earlier on 3 February, trial of the 29 alleged mutineers began as complainant Subedar Major of 25 Rifles Battalion Aminul Haque Sheikh read out the allegations against them before the same court. Of the 29 accused, 21 were in jail after mutiny while eight other BDR men were arrested on 3 February from the battalion ground following a court order.
Dhaka, 4 April : The size of the Bangladesh's upcoming fiscal year's budget will be between Tk 1,30,000 and Tk 1,32,000 crore, Finance Minister AMA Muhith revealed on Sunday.
Primary projections put the size of the next Annual Development Programme (ADP) at around Tk 38,000 crore. The finance minister announced these at a pre-budget discussion with Economic Reporters' Forum (ERF) at his ministry in the morning. He also said the next fiscal year's budget would set a target for achieving 6.7 percent growth in gross domestic product and keeping the inflation rate within 6.5 percent. Prior to the budget, the government will initiate a roadmap for power generation and development, Muhith added.
Kolkata, 4 April : Tata Motors has paid the lease rent of Rs. 1 crore till March next year for its land at Singur, where the company’s small car ‘Nano’ was initially scheduled to roll out from.
Officials of the West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation (WBIDC) said the company paid the advance annual lease rent of Rs. 1 crore last month for the year 2010-11. Tata Motors had withdrawn the ‘Nano’ project from Singur in West Bengal in October 2008 and shifted it to Sanand in Gujarat as it faced opposition from displaced farmers. When asked whether Tata Motors was willing to retain the land, a company spokesman said, “Paying the rent indicates that the land is with us on lease“.
The West Bengal government had sought the return of the Singur land from the Tatas for the purpose of having an alternate project as proposed by the Railways Ministry. However, Tata Group Chairman Ratan Tata had categorically stated that the land would be returned only if the company was adequately compensated for the lost investment it had made at Singur. န File Photo : Sanjay Bhaduri
B'desh wants India to join the cause, meeting at Kolkata
Kolkata, Dhaka, 4 April : Bangladesh will place a proposal to India for a trans-boundary taskforce aiming to save the Sundarbans.
Wildlife Trust of Bangladesh, Zoological Society of London, Jahangirnagar University, and Dhaka University jointly have completed an assessment of the main threats to the Sundarbans' biodiversity using internationally accepted methods.They have identified 24 threats and, of them, six are high on the list of priorities to be addressed immediately for the protection of the Sundarbans' ecosystem. The home of Bengal Tigers and half of the world's mangrove varieties is on the verge of going below water due to sea-level rise induced by climate change.
Indian Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh and State Minister of Bangladesh for Environment and Forest Hasan Mahmud will attend a programme today in Kolkata where they will discuss the issue.
ANI, Darjeeling, 4 April : A large number of tourists are thronging Darjeeling as scorching heat begins to turn unbearable for public at large in plains.
"Darjeeling is having a good number of tourists. The weather is also pleasant here. We expect the number to go up this year as compared to the last," said Gopal Lama, Deputy Director of Tourism, West Bengal government. The tourism industry is anticipating a further rise in the number of tourists in coming months, as it is just the beginning of the tourist season. Most of the population in the region depends upon the tourism industry. "The temperature is quite good this year in Darjeeling. We are expecting a good tourist flow this time with a good start from now on. We are booked out till the end of May already," Sameer Singh, manager of a hotel in Darjeeling.
Darjeeling has been a favourite place of people who wish to spend a quality time with friends or family at hill stations, especially during summers. Moreover, the toy train, which has been declared as a world heritage by the UNESCO, is a major tourist attraction here. Also, the region has a good number of lush green tea gardens that also attract number of tourists. န Photos : Sankar Das