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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

PCAPA calls bandh in West Bengal's 3 Maoist-hit districts

Jhargram, 20 April : Maoist-backed People's Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA) has called an indefinite bandh from tomorrow in three Maoist-hit districts of West Bengal to protest the alleged illegal arrest of some tribals.
"The bandh in West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia has been called to protest the illegal arrest of tribals in the Jhargram and Bhalukbasa," PCAPA members said. They claimed that those arrested were not being produced in court.

Hizb-ut-Tahrir Bangladesh' chief coordinator held in Dhaka
Dhaka, 20 April : Bangladesh Police arrested Mahiuddin Ahmed, chief coordinator of banned Islamist outfit Hizb ut-Tahrir, at his Green Road residence in city early Tuesday.
Deputy Commissioner Nisarul Arif of Dhaka Metropolitan Police told reporters that they picked up Mahiuddin, also an associate professor of the Institute of Business Administration of Dhaka University, on charge of instigating subversive activities in the city. Mahiuddin is facing three cases filed with Uttara Police Station for alleged attempts to reorganise the group that was banned on 23 October, 2009. "We produced him before a Dhaka court seeking a seven-day remand," he informed.
Earlier on Saturday, Uttara police arrested three activists of Hizb ut-Tahrir at Uttara with two petrol bombs and huge number of leaflets and festoons.

€1.2m EU fund to aid Chittagong Hill Tracts rodent crisis
Dhaka, 20 April : The European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid Department has allocated 1.2 million euros as humanitarian aid to address the impact of rodent crisis in Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT).
The commission earlier allocated 3.65 million euros since the crisis began to assist the most affected population with food and income generating activities. The people living in the remote areas of the CHT are still facing severe food insecurity due to a three-year-long rat plague, which affected their crops. Every 40-50 years the bamboo plants produce flowers and when those are consumed, the rats reproduce at an accelerated rate, said a press release of the European Union Delegation to Bangladesh Tuesday.

Guwahati flooded, troopers deployed to rescue residents
IANS, Guwahati, 20 April : Authorities on Tuesday deployed paramilitary troopers to carry out rescue operations in Assam's main city of Guwahati hit by massive flooding, triggered by heavy rains since Sunday.
Troopers of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), using rubber boats and rafts, rescued more than 200 people from various city areas reeling under waist deep water. "We have already rescued scores of people trapped inside homes filled with water, mud, and slush and we are on the lookout for more who could be desperately looking for help," Anil Chauhan, NRDF commander, told IANS. Heavy rains accompanied by cyclonic storm in the past two days crippled normal life in most parts of Assam, especially in the state's main city of Guwahati with several areas submerged - the worst hit being Lachit Nagar, Rajgarh, Zoo Road, Nabin Nagar, Hengarabari, and G.S. Road areas.
Guwahati recorded 80.4 mm rainfall since Monday with forecast of more rain accompanied by thundershowers on Wednesday and Thursday. Photos : Chinmoy Roy

RBI lifts key rates, CRR by 25 bps, matching forecasts
Reuters, Mumbai, 20 April : The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Tuesday raised key interest rates by 25 basis points, as expected, to battle near double-digit inflation, signaling gradual tightening ahead to sustain growth and manage record government borrowing.
The Reserve Bank of India's measured steps, which included raising the cash reserve ratio (CRR) requirement for banks by 25 basis points, increased the likelihood of another rate rise before its next quarterly review in July, some watchers said. READ FULL STORY
Rice, paddy procurement prices fixed
Dhaka, 20 April : Bangladesh government on Tuesday set the procurement prices for rice and paddy at Tk 25 and Tk 17 a kilogram, respectively, aiming to collect 11 lakh tonnes of rice and 1.5 tonnes of paddy in the upcoming boro season.
The procurement will start from the beginning of May and continue till August. Food Minister Abdur Razzaque told reporters after presiding over a meeting of Food Planning and Monitoring Unit under the food ministry. “We have increased the procurement rate of rice by Tk 3 this year for encouraging the farmers across the country,” the minister said. The rate was Tk 22 last year. Replying to a query, Razzaque said, “We took alternative steps to procure rice and paddy from the farmers directly but it did not work due to shortage of food godowns.”
Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury, Finance Minister AMA Muhith and Commerce Minister Faruk Khan were, among others, present at the meeting. File Photo
Two senior officials arrested in Andaman Islands over graft
UNI, Port Blair, 20 April : The Anti-corruption unit of Andaman and Nicobar Police has arrested two senior government officials for indulging in corruption and asking bribe from general public.
The first official was arrested on 17 April while the second one was arrested yesterday evening following traps laid down by the Anti-Corruption unit of Andaman and Nicobar Police. In first case the Anti-Corruption received a complaint from a poor lady regarding demand of bribe for survey of land by one Gopal Krishna Sikdar, a Patwari of Circle No 6 of Ferrargunj Tehsil of Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Commuter train to be introduced between Dhaka & districts
Dhaka, 20 April : Bangladesh government would take initiative to introduce commuter train service between Dhaka and its adjoining districts to improve the communication system in the capital.
Once the service initiated, anybody from the adjacent districts will be able to come to the capital for work by the commuter trains and return the same day, said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina after formally opening the Bijay Sarani-Tejgaon Link Road on Tuesday. She said her government earlier in 1996 took initiative to start commuter train service and launched it in some districts, including Narayanganj and Brahmanbari, but it was not continued during the tenure of four-party alliance government.
Hasina said the river and rail communications, the most neglected sectors of the country, are now being given extra attention.
Dhubri port in Assam to be modernised in next Three years
UNI, New Delhi, 20 April : In order to modernise Dhubri port in Assam, a permanent terminal with shore facilities will come up within three years, the Rajya Sabha was informed today.
Union Shipping Minister G K Vasan told the House that the Government had identified a suitable location at Dhubri for developing the permanent terminal. The location was selected based on a study conducted by IIT, Guwahati.
Budget to be announced on 10 June: Finance Min Muhith
Dhaka, 20 April : The upcoming budget for 2010-2011 fiscal year will be announced on 10 June. Bangladesh Finance Minister AMA Muhith disclosed it to reporters after a pre-budget meeting with the Non-Medium Term Budgetary Framework ministries at the Finance Division on Tuesday.
The finance minister said the figure of this years’ budget will be over Tk 1,30,000 crore and the Annual Development Programme size is likely to be more than Tk 38,000 crore.
WB rehabilitates surrendered Kamtapuris
ANI, Jalpaiguri, 20 April : West Bengal Government has launched a special scheme at Jalpaiguri to rehabilitate the surrendered rebels of Kamtapur Liberation Organisation (KLO), a banned militant outfit.
To herald this project, a function was organised here when the surrendered persons interacted with district administration officials, the top brass of the police and also the media persons. They are being trained in productive vocations under a scheme named Rashtriya Sam Vikash Yojana (RSVY). Biswajyoti Das, the coordinator of this programme said that the initial response has been quite encouraging and they are hopeful reforming almost all the surrendered KLO persons.
Out of the 150 and odd surrendered KLO rebels, 52 have been attending the rehabilitation programme mooted under RSVY.

Squally weather may prevail over North Bay, Maritime Ports
UNB, Dhaka, 20 April : Squally weather may prevail over the North Bay and the Maritime Ports area due to steep pressure gradient over the North Bay.
Maritime Ports of Chittagong, Cox’s Bazar and Mongla have been advised to keep hoisted local cautionary signal no three. Sea will remain rough, said a bulletin of Meteorological department. All fishing boats and trawlers over North Bay have been advised to remain close to the coast and not to the venture in sea until future notice.
B'Bank bans loan for tobacco farming
Dhaka, 20 April : Bangladesh Bank has directed all banks not to grant any kind of loan facilities for tobacco farming as it poses a serious health hazard.

The central bank yesterday in a circular said no loan for tobacco farming would be given to farmers directly or in any other form. The circular also said the loan given earlier must be realised on time and their payment schedule would not be extended. The central bank said the decision was taken to improve people's health, financial condition and to discourage tobacco farming, which is harmful to the environment. The Bangladesh Bank advised the banks to increase the flow of agricultural loans to the farmers who are now engaged in tobacco farming so that they can produce alternative crop under bank loan facility.
Apart from tobacco users, people including children directly involved in the tobacco farming and production are exposed to health hazard. As a result of expansion of tobacco cultivation the amount of agricultural land is shrinking which is increasingly creating food crisis in a densely populated country like Bangladesh.
Huge amount of fuel is burnt for drying green tobacco leaves, which emits smoke with tobacco odour and carbon-di-oxide. It also encourages felling of trees and thus contributing to the adverse impact of climate change, the circular said.

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