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Monday, April 19, 2010

ULFA rejects Citizen Forum's peace initiative through E-mail

Sticks to demand for independence
Guwahati, Kolkata, 19 April : Stating that it would never compromise on its demand for sovereignty or independence, the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) Monday rejected the peace initiative taken by the newly floated Citizen’s Forum.
“There is no question of compromising on the main demand of sovereignty and we cannot understand how the Citizen’s Forum is thinking of peace talks without the core demand of independence. We are not acceptable to any such negotiations or solution without independence,” self-styled ULFA commander-in-chief Paresh Baruah said in an e-mailed statement to Bengal Newz.
The Citizens Forum in Assam 11 April claimed the top ULFA leadership, including its elusive commander-in-chief, would come for peace talks.

West Bengal back on investment radar : Assocham survey
Business Standard, Kolkata, 19 April : Once shunned by industrialists on grounds of non-conducive work culture, West Bengal is once again on their investment radar.
Cheap and skilled manpower, along with low cost of living compared to other cities, is drawing entrepreneurs to the state. According to the latest Business Confidence Index (BCI) by industry body Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), West Bengal has scored 6.5 on a scale of 10. READ FULL STORY

56 BDR jawans convicted in Satkhira
Satkhira, 19 April : The BDR Special Court-1 in Satkhira on Monday sentenced 56 out of 60 mutiny accused jawans of 7 Rifles Battalion to different terms in prison. The rest four were acquitted of the charges. In addition to jail terms, the court also fined each convict Tk 100. They will serve the sentences in civil jails. The highest punishment given to the BDR personnel is seven years in jail while the lowest is only four months.
Twenty-four BDR men were sentenced to seven years' term while four to five years', three to four years’ and six months', five to four years', three to three years’, one to two years’ and six months, four to two years', two to one year and six months, six to thirteen months, one to six months and another three to four months.
The judgment has been delivered following the BDR law. It was the fourth judgment given in connection with the last year's BDR mutiny.

Police fire in air to remove storm-hit protesters in NDinajpur
Raiganj, 19 April : Storm-hit people today blocked the national highway at Panisala in North Dinajpur district in protest against alleged inadequate relief, prompting police to fire in the air to disperse the crowd.
The policemen fired two rounds in the air after the 500-odd people resorted to indiscriminate brick-batting injuring two constables, the police said. Eyewitnesses, however, said the police fired seven rounds in the air to scare the demonstrators. Traffic in the busy National Highway 34 was stalled for about an hour due to the blockade. Socialist Unity Centre of India (SUCI) set up road blocks in the Raiganj town also demanding adequate relief supply for the tornado victims. The tornado had lashed four blocks of the district on 14 April leaving 43 dead.

Incessant rains,thunder storms disrupt normal life in Assam
PTI, Guwahati, 19 April : One person was killed as heavy rains lashed various parts of Assam for the sixth consecutive day today, disrupting normal life and triggering flash floods.
A man was killed during the day when lightning struck him while he was working in a paddy field at Bamunjhari village in Morigaon district, official sources said. There were flash floods in both urban and rural areas of the state, they said. Several areas of Guwahati were waterlogged since yesterday throwing vehicular traffic out of gear. The MeT department predicted heavy rains in several parts of the state in the next 24 hours accompanied by gusting wind.
The state experienced a severe storm followed by incessant rains since the onset of the Rongali Bihu or Assamese New Year celebrations on 14 April dampening the festivities. Photo : Chinmoy Roy

All aspects of 'IPL' will be probed : Pranab Mukherjee in LS
PTI, New Delhi, 19 April : With Opposition parties training their guns on Indian Premier League (IPL), the government on Monday told Lok Sabha that the investigation into the sources and routes of funding for the Twenty20 tournament had already begun and "no guilty or wrong-doer" would be spared.
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, in response to Opposition demands earlier in the day, made a statement in the House assuring members that "appropriate action as per law" would be taken if any wrongdoing was found in the manner the IPL was funded. "The concerned department has already started investigation process (into the IPL episode). All aspects including sources of funding and routes through which the funds arrived would be looked into. Appropriate action as per law would be taken. No guilty or wrong-doer will be spared," Mukherjee said.

Burdwan Police raid doctor's residence for treating Maoists
Asansol, Kolkata, 19 April : Burdwan district Police raided the residence of a doctor in Asansol's Bajghoria area, for allegedly treating Maoists.
A police team raided the residence of Samir Biswas at Bajghoria on Sunday night. As Biswas was not in the residence, two caretakers of the house - Susanta Das and Rajesh Marandi, were detained, Burdwan's Superintendent of Police R Rajsekharan told Bengal Newz. The SP said Biswas used to treat Maoists and the two caretakers knew about this, so they have been detained. During the raid in Biswas's residence police found a large number of Maoists posters and leaflets.
The police on Monday detained the brother and nephew of Biswas from Mahisilo colony of Asansol, the SP added. Meanwhile, the local people put up a road blockade at Bajghoria area to protest the police detaining the caretakers and brother and nephew of Biswas.

Opposition attacks Mamata for focussing on West Bengal
PTI, New Delhi, 19 April : Opposition parties in the Lok Sabha today criticised Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee for focussing on her home state West Bengal while announcing new projects and requested her to give equal attention to other states.
Initiating a debate on the Railway Budget, Shahnawaz Hussain (BJP) said if she announced and implemented projects for other states, particularly Bihar, it would only bolster her party's chances to rule neighbouring West Bengal.

BD Cabinet claims 80% of its decisions were implemented
Dhaka, 19 April : Bangladesh cabinet meeting on Monday claimed that 80 percent of its decisions, which were taken in the last 15 months, have been implemented.
Prime Minister’s Press Secretary Abul Kalam Azad disclosed it to reporters at a briefing after the regular cabinet meeting at the Cabinet Division of Bangladesh Secretariat. He said the cabinet has taken a total of 405 decisions on different issues. Of those, 325 were implemented and the rest 80 is under implementation, he claimed. Azad said the cabinet has approved 106 bills during this period and of those 90 have been passed in the parliament.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who presided over the meeting, expressed her satisfaction over the government activities and urged the ministers, state ministers and secretaries to perform their duties sincerely.

Gas leakage on NH34 as IOC's gas tanker skids off bridge
Raiganj, 19 April : A gas tanker of the Indian Oil Corporation fell off a road bridge on NH34 near Rupahar here resulting in a gas leak in the area and injuries to two persons, official sources said.
District magistrate Ramanuj Chakravarty told Bengal Newz, the tanker while trying to negotiate the bridge, fell into a roadside ditch yesterday and was damaged resulting in leakage of gas. The driver and the helper of the tanker were injured. Engineers at Bharat Petroleum's bottling plant nearby rushed to the spot and sealed the tanker, the DM said. NH34 was also closed to traffic for sometime while the gas was being transferred, sources said.
Tripura films highlight tribal issues
ANI, New Delhi, 19 April : Tripura’s film industry received a boost when film Yarwang, which means Roots, won the first national award for the state.
President Pratibha Patil handed over the award to Don Bosco priests Joseph Kizhakechennadu and Ft. Joseph Pulinthanath, the producer and director of the film at the 56th National Film Awards (2008) in New Delhi on 19 March this year. `Yarwang’ meaning roots is a feature film in Tripura’s tribal language Kokbarak, which highlights issues related to the tribal community. The 95-minute film tells the story of large-scale displacement of tribal people that took place in the northeastern state when a hydel project was set up there in the late 1970s.
A national award to Yarwang opens new vistas for regional cinema, which can project the indigenous way of life of the northeast. Photos : Pallab Ghosh

AL a farmer-friendly organisation : Prime Minister Sk Hasina
Dhaka, 19 April : Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday said Awami League is a farmer-friendly organisation.
"When Awami League forms government, farmers are the main beneficiaries," she said when central committee members of Awami Krishak League met her at Ganabhaban on the occasion of its 39th foundation anniversary. Hasina, also president of Awami League, said her party makes agricultural implements available and reaches those to the farmers' doorsteps, reports a private television. Farmers were killed for fertiliser during the BNP government but in the Awami League tenure, fertiliser finds out farmers, she said.

Export-import through Benapole land port comes to 'halt'
Benapole, 19 April : The export-import activities in Benapole land port came to a halt from Monday morning as Clearing and Forwarding (C&F) Agents' Employees Union enforced a strike protesting alleged corruption and irregularities by the port authorities.
The employees of the union also brought out procession in support of their strike, reports Prothom Alo.
Call 91-381-2300332 : Toll-free helpline for Tripura tourism
Agartala, 19 April : The Tripura Tourism Development Corporation Ltd (TTDC) has introduced toll-free digital helpline round the clock to provide information related to state tourism for both domestic and international tourists.
State Tourism Minister Anil Sarkar said here today that the helpline was operational in three languages - Bengali, Hindi and English - and has voice recording system to cater to the needs of tourists and it was the first of its kind in Northeast. 'Any person from any part of India can call 91-381-2300332 for information regarding the state's destinations, hotels and other relevant details at anytime and the queries would be recorded for further action from the part of the corporation,'' Sarkar said. He said the tourism sector in Tripura has registered a steady growth over the past few years and it got further impetus with the setting up of separate corporations. Both domestic and foreign tourist arrivals have also increased by 27% over the past two years in the state.
While as many as 2,41,155 tourist footfall were recorded in 2008-09, the number of tourists went up to 3,25,694 in 2009-10 and of the total tourist inflow, altogether 4,763 were from foreign countries like China, Germany, Holland, Canada and the UK and the state had earned Rs 1.6 crore.
The TTDC has already taken a number of steps to boost the tourism sector especially in the field of eco-tourism and religious tourism and the state government had sought a special financial assistance from the Centre to revive Unokati, the immortal sculpture in the state. Photos : TTDC

Orascom Tele's Bangladesh unit offers mobile remittance
Reuters, Cairo, 19 April : The Bangladeshi unit of Egyptian operator Orascom Telecom said on Monday it is offering mobile remittance services to tap a large unbanked population.
Under the service, banks will offer mobile wallet accounts through Banglalink, the country's second largest mobile operator, Orascom said in a statement. READ FULL STORY

Boro plants dying for dry spell, acute power-irrigation crisis
Pabna, Dhaka, 19 April : Boro plants on vast areas of land in several districts are getting damaged as a drought-like situation coupled with serious power crisis is hampering irrigation.
Cracks have developed in many lands and plants are gradually turning yellowish, much to the frustration of farmers. Farmers have cultivated boro paddy on 69,450 hectares in nine upazilas of the district but most of the lands have already dried up as farmers could not irrigate those due to acute power crisis, said officials of Agriculture Extension Department (AED) in Pabna. According to AED, 869 deep tube wells including 741 electricity-run ones, and 21,462 shallow tube wells including 3,342 electricity-run ones and 1,470 other local pumps provide irrigation facility in the district.
“At least 35 MW power is needed daily for irrigation in nine upazilas of the district. But we are getting only 18 to 20 MW power supply in the peak period of the season,” said an official of Pabna AED.

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