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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

India to ease visa rules for Bangladeshis : India government

PTI, New Delhi, 5 May : Building on improved relations with Bangladesh, India today said it proposes to ease visa rules for visitors from the neighbouring country.
"There is a proposal to relax the procedure relating to grant of conference visa to Bangladeshi citizens. The matter is under consideration," Home Minister P Chidambaram said in the Rajya Sabha. Answering questions, he said the categories of visitors for whom visas may be relaxed include professionals regularly visiting India and requiring longer stay than one year in rare and exceptional cases.
Visa on medical grounds including for those accompanying attendants and relatives, may also be eased, Chidambaram said. As for Indians visiting Bangladesh, he said the visa regime is reciprocal.

Bureaucrat-level talks on Gorkhaland issue on 11 th May
Kolkata, 5 May : With bureaucrat-level talks on the Gorkhaland issue scheduled for 11 May in Delhi, the West Bengal government today said it wanted a constitutional status for the proposed alternative administrative framework in the hills replacing the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council.
"The new set-up must enjoy a constitutional status to make it strong," Urban Development Minister and Siliguri MLA Ashok Bhattacharya told reporters after a meeting with Chief Secretary Ardhendu Sen and Home Secretary Samar Ghosh on the matter.

Plane landing after burqa-clad person arouses suspicion
Kolkata, 5 May : A Spicejet flight on Wednesday made a 'priority landing' here after a burqa-clad passenger with a man-like physique aroused the suspicion of crew members on board.
The Delhi-Kolkata-Dhaka Spicejet flight 208 with 123 passengers on board landed at the N S C Bose Airport here around noon after the pilot was given clearance by the ATC to make a priority landing, airport sources said. The aircraft was immediately taken to an isolation bay and was surrounded by CISF personnel, the bomb squad, fire brigade and the police. The burqa-clad passenger and another person sitting next to her were offloaded and the aircraft searched. The burqa-clad passenger, however, turned out to be a woman, the sources said.
Her large physique made the crew suspect that she was actually a man and since her identity could not be verified on board, the pilot asked for permission from the ATC to make a priority landing, the sources said. Photo : AP

Hasina government makes judiciary partisan : Khaleda Zia
Rajshahi, 5 May : BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia on Wednesday said the Awami League-led government has turned the judiciary into a partisan establishment where no one could expect justice.
Addressing a grand rally at Rajshahi city's Madrassa Maidan, Khaleda also alleged that the government had injected its party men in all spheres of the administration. “Innocent employees of the government have been made OSD (Officer in special duty) and they are being harassed by terming them opposition supporters,” the BNP chief said. Terming the government an ‘absolute failure’, Khaleda urged all to get ready for an anti-government movement.
This was the former premier's first public meeting in Rajshahi after the 2008 general election. Photo : UNB

JSW Bengal Steel to begin work on Salboni plants in Oct
PTI, Kolkata, 5 May : JSW Bengal Steel will conduct the 'ground-breaking ceremony' for its proposed steel and power plants at Salboni, in October.
"We plan to start the ground-breaking work on 1 October," JSW Bengal Steel CEO Biswadip Gupta told PTI, adding that the company has already acquired 5,000 acres of land for the purpose. "The boundary wall will be completed soon, and we are currently working on the water supply system," Gupta said.
B'desh War crimes Chief investigator Abdul Matin resigns
Dhaka, 5 May : Chief investigator Abdul Matin of the agency probing the war crimes and crimes against humanity resigned Wednesday morning.
Matin handed over his resignation letter to Bangladesh Home Secretary Abdus Sobhan Sikder at the ministry in the morning. While talking to reporters at her office in the morning, Home Minister Sahara Khatun said the chief investigator resigned as there has been raised controversy over his political identity. “As there is so much controversy centring me, I think I should not continue with this position,” said Matin, who was also present at the home minister’s office. He however denied the allegations against him.
Matin’s resignation came following allegations of his past affiliation with an organisation widely accused of crimes against humanity during the Liberation War in 1971.

Tiger reserves to remain open for tourists : Tourism Ministry
PTI, New Delhi, 5 May : India government today ruled out any plan for banning tourism in tiger reserves in the country.
"There is no intention in the government to stop tourism at tiger reserves. There is no such plan or proposal," said a senior Tourism Ministry official. Some media reports had said that the government was planning to stop tourism activities in the country's tiger reserves to protect the big cat. However, the official said, "Tourism at some reserves needs to be better regulated as revenues generated from visitors can flow back directly into the management of each of the tiger reserves."
According to the official, the government's policy is to develop a set of guidelines for eco-tourism in a sustainable way, linked to the carrying capacity of the reserves.

Rio requests P Chidambaram to ensure Muivah's safe visit
PTI, New Delhi, 5 May : Indian Home Minister P Chidambaram is understood to have asked Manipur Chief Minister Ibobi Singh to ensure a safe visit of NSCN-IM leader T Muivah to his birthplace in the state following a request by Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio.
"I met the Home Minister and requested him to see that Muivah could visit his ancestral home. The Home Minister was kind enough to call up the Manipur Chief Minister in front of me and asked him to ensure peace and do the needful for the visit," Rio told reporters after meeting Chidambaram.

Maoists kill Congress leader, 2 CPI(M) workers in Lalgarh
PTI, Jhargram, 5 May : Bodies of a Congress leader and two CPI(M) workers killed by suspected Maoists were found today near Lalgarh in West Midnapore district.
Bikash Mahato (40), working President of Jhargram Block Congress, was shot dead by Maoists this morning and his body was found near roadside at Baghmuri village, police said. Mahato was picked up by armed Maoists from his residence last afternoon. Maoists suspected him to be working as police informer.
Two CPI(M) workers Shankar Pal (35) and middle-aged Haripada Singha Deb - were also shot dead today by Maoists, the police said. Pal and Deb were picked up from their residences last night and their bodies were found at Murar and Basantapur villages respectively in Lalgarh police station. The Maoist posters left at the spot near Singha Deb's body said he was killed on charge of spying for the police, sources said.

Indian citizen held with 20 Kgs of Heroin at Dhaka airport
Dhaka, 5 May : The Department of Customs Intelligence and Investigation arrested an Indian citizen at Dhaka's Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport early Wednesday with 20 kilograms of heroin in his bag.
The arrested Indian national, identified as Maro Khamu Ju Ila Mugogu, was on his way to Singapore by a Singapore Airlines flight. With nothing found in his body, police later searched his luggage and found the narcotics. The heroin-like powder was sent to the University of Dhaka, the Department of Narcotics Control and Bangladesh Council of Scientific and Industrial Research for test.

Andaman & Nicobar to be notified as Major Indian Port soon
PTI, New Delhi, 5 May : Indian government today said that Andaman and Nicobar Islands would soon join the league of the 12 major ports in the country.
A Parliamentary Committee attached to the Ministry of Shipping informed that Andaman would soon be notified as a major port, an official statement said. The 12 major ports in the country handle close to 72 per cent of the total sea-borne traffic. The traffic of major ports during 2011-12 is projected at 615.70 million tonnes and a capacity of about 800 million tonnes is required to meet it, the statement said.
Of the total 276 projects planned under the government's National Maritime Development Programme (NMDP), 50 have been completed at a cost of Rs 5,717.28 crore, while work is in progress in 74 projects at a cost of Rs 1,6502.68 crore.

NSCN(I-M) Muivah sets out for visit to Manipur home village
PTI, Kohima, Imphal, 5 May : NSCN (I-M) general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah set out on Wednesday for his home village of Somdal in Ukhrul district in neighbouring Manipur, defying the Manipur government's decision not to allow him to enter the state.
Muivah left from Camp Hembron, the NSCN (IM) headquarters, near Dimapur in a convoy escorted by members of Naga civil society organisations and reached here this afternoon. From here he will drive to the Mao checkgate in Manipur, 40 km away, official sources said. "I must go there and no force can stop me. My parents died waiting to meet their son," Muivah, who recently arrived in Nagaland after holding the second round of peace talks with the Centre's representatives, said.
Muivah said he was surprised at the opposition to his visit agreed to by the Centre and which was for "peace and to meet family and friends and not to disturb anyone". File Photo

W Bengal govt to give employ slain EFR personnel's family
Kolkata, 5 May : West Bengal government decided to provide employment to one family member of each of the 24 Eastern Frontier Rifle personnel killed during the Maoist attack on the EFR camp at Silda on 15 February.
"The cabinet has decided to provide employment to one member of the family of each of the EFR personnel killed in the attack," Chief Secretary Ardhendu Sen said lastnight. Stating that there were 600 vacancies in the EFR, he said the cabinet decided to immediately recruit into 250 posts. Anyone from the family of the slain EFR victim will get priority in the recruitment, he added.
Newborn Snow Leopard cub debuts at 'Darjeeling Zoo'
New Tang Dynasty Television, NY, 5 May : A newborn snow leopard cub is keeping zookeepers busy at one zoo in Darjeeling. Nurturing this cub will be the zoo’s second attempt, after the first cub died in 2009, 72 days after it was born. This time around the cub is in good health and is now 42 days old.
Darjeeling Zoo's Director Alonkar Jha said, “This is a female cub and that is very important for our future breeding. Second thing is that we have learnt by our experience that if a cub is born at this time, its health will be all right. Rearing of cubs is difficult during rainy season. So, now we hope it will grow well.”
The zoo is a home to bears, leopards and tigers. It was set up in 1958 and is a great center of attraction to visitors from all over the world. Snow leopards are considered an endangered species, and are native to the mountain ranges of Central and South Asia.