Twelve paintings of Tagore, including a portrait of a woman with a fan, will go the hammer at Sotheby's on 15 June. The paintings belong to the Dartington Hall estate in London's South Devon and have a combined pre-sale estimate of 250,000 pounds. Tagore visited Dartington a number of times. Apart from the paintings, it holds a huge archive of photographs, letters and other ephemera relating to Tagore.
Singh's comments come a day after West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee wrote to him requesting him to take measures to bring to India the 12 paintings. Several organisations in West Bengal and cultural centres across the country have also appealed to the government to take steps to bring the paintings back.
A total of 175 army personnel of Sector Reserve Infantry Company-2 will be replaced by Sector Reserve Company-1 in the United Nations African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID). Under this programme, an army contingent, consisting of 50 officer and personnel, led by Lieutenant Colonel A K M Nazmul Hasan left Dhaka for Sudan by the first flight last night by a UN chartered plane. Remaining members are expected to leave Dhaka for Sudan by 28 May.
Malda, 20 May : At least eight persons were killed in lightning as a thunderstorm lashed different parts of Malda district this evening.
District Magistrate Sridhar Ghosh told Bengal Newz that while four persons were killed in Ratua block, three died in Old Malda and another in Harischandrapur. All the eight were out in the open when they were struck by the thunder bolt. Besides the three blocks, the squall, accompanied by rains and thunder, also struck Kaliachak, uprooting trees and snapping electric lines, plunging the areas into darkness.
Singh also said the government should use the occasion to create cultural institutions and structures that honour the memory of the great poet, and which have lasting value. Noting that Tagore travelled to the farthest corners of the globe and is remembered with reverence and affection in many countries, Singh said embassies in different countries should be involved to rekindle interest in Tagore and to build on these historic cultural links.
Singh made the remarks at the first meeting of the National Committee for Commemoration of the 150th birth anniversary of Tagore. "We need to pay special attention to the university of his dreams, the Visva Bharati.
State Minister for Water Resources Mahbubur Rahman Talukdar, chairman of parliamentary standing committee on Ministry of Shipping and Jatiya Sangsad Whip Nur-e-Alam Chowdhury accompanied the shipping minister. They are expected to visit estuaries of Ramnabad and Andhar Manik rivers.
PTI, New Delhi, 20 May : Accusing Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee of "stoking panic" amongst Muslims in West Bengal, the CPI(M) today asked the Government to take note of her statements and set at rest the apprehensions caused by them.
Seeking Home Minister P Chidambaram's intervention in the matter, CPI(M) leaders Sitaram Yechury and Basudeb Acharia accused Banerjee of "deliberately stoking panic and terror amongst the Muslim minority population claiming that she has secret information that a section of the police will help the Left Front in unleashing communal violence in the state." In a letter to Chidambaram, they said if Banerjee genuinely possessed such "secret information", then Home Ministry should "obtain it and act on it in consultation with the state government".
Siliguri, 20 May : Four members of a river rafting team were today drowned after their boat capsized in the turbulent Teesta in Darjeeling hills.
The bodies of three members were fished out while another was still missing, a police officer said. The 11-member team had set off in the morning to locate the mentally-challenged brother of one of its members who went missing from home earlier and was believed to have been spotted in the area, he said. The light boat, which was moving along the stream to track any movement near Rambhi, suddenly toppled around 10:30 am and those on board were swept by the swift current, the officer said.
The customs department of the National Board of Revenue has drafted a circular regarding the trans-shipment and sent the proposal to the law and parliamentary affairs ministry for vetting, NBR sources told New Age newspaper. According to the proposal, Indian cargo can have a stopover at the Ashuganj land port before passing over to the northeastern states of India.
Bangladesh and India have designated land ports to facilitate faster goods movement along their 4,300 km border. The government is likely to issue a circular before 10 July to allow the trans-shipment of Indian cargo. An announcement in this regard is also expected in the annual budget next month. During the visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to India in January, Bangladesh designated Ashuganj as a 'port-of-call'.
"No weapons or ammunition will be allowed for trans-shipment through Bangladesh," shipping secretary Mohammad Abdul Mannan Howladar told New Age Wednesday. Bangladesh hopes to annually earn a revenue of Taka 32 billion ($46 million) from the trans-shipment. It would initially begin with transportation of heavy equipment to set up power plants in India's Tripura state.
Jhargram, 20 May : Suspected Maoists killed a CPI(M) worker at a village in West Midnapore district, police said today.
65-year-old Gurucharan Mahato, a retired primary school teacher, was kidnapped by Maoists from his residence at Kaliam village in Jhargram area yesterday. His bullet-riddled body was found near a pond in the village today, they said.
Sporadic incidents of river erosion were also reported from the char and riverside areas alongside with the Brahmaputra and Ganges basins with the rise in the water levels in Nilphamari, Lalmonirhat, Kurigram, Gaibandha, Bogra and Sirajganj districts.
The Teesta marked a sharp rise by 59 cm during the past 24 hours and was flowing at 27.71 m, which was 229 cm below its danger mark, at Kawnia point in Rangpur at 6 am this morning, the WDB officials said.