Kolkata, 5 June : A part of the mangrove forests of the Sundarbans may be lost in future due to the rising water levels in the Bay of Bengal as a fallout of global warming, West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee cautioned Saturday.
"Areas in the Sundarbans like Basanti and Gosaba in our state have been affected by the rise in the water level of the Bay of Bengal due to global warming. The same fate awaits a part of Bangladesh," Bhattacharjee said at a function organised by the state Pollution Control Board on the occasion of World Environment Day.
"If this continues, a part of the Sundarbans may be lost. This danger is knocking at the door," he said. Located in Kolkata's neighbouring North 24 Parganas and South 24 Parganas district, Sundarbans has a vast area covering 4,262 sq km, including a mangrove cover of 2,125 sq km, in India alone. A larger portion lies in Bangladesh.
Bhattacharjee also expressed his worries over the high pollution levels caused by the thermal power stations. With thermal power constituting 95% of the state's power production, the high gas emissions were posing a big problem. "We can control the pollution caused by thermal power stations to some extent, but this is a grave problem. The faster we shift to green power, the better. But so far we have only five percent of our power requirements met by green sources like solar power and wind power," he said.
Bhattacharjee said a project to generate tidal power from river currents has been undertaken in the Sundarbans. "We are also trying to use the clean coal technology to lessen pollution. We are also using jatropha for making bio-fuel." The chief minister said to reduce the problem of harzardous gas emissions from vehicles, the state government was making efforts to get CNG stations in the state. "We will get CNG from Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) soon," he said.
President Zillur Rahman on Saturday visited people injured in the city’s Nimtoli fire at the burn and plastic surgery unit of the Dhaka Medical College and Hospital. Arriving at the hospital at about 4:30pm(BDST), president inquired the injured about their treatment. “I’m deeply sad. I’ve no words to console the people who had lost their close relatives in the devastating incident,” he said after coming out of the burn unit.
At least 117 people were killed as fire gutted eight buildings and over 20 shops at Nawab Katra of Nimtoli in old part of the capital Thursday night. The cause of the fire, biggest since independence, could not yet be known for certain. န Photos : Nashirul Islam
"We have evidence that the Maoists have come to the northeast and tried to establish links with the insurgent groups in the region," Pillai said. Thuingaleng Muivah, leader of the Isak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM), has admitted that the Maoists had approached him. Intelligence sources said that powerful Naga separatist group helped the Maoists in arms-smuggling through Myanmar and Bangladesh. The Maoists also established links with the banned United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) and the Manipur-based People’s Liberation Army militant outfit.
Asked why the army is not deployed to tackle the growing Maoist menace, Pillai said: "We are trying to reclaim all those areas where there is a vacuum in governance rather than deploying the army and we are slowly winning back the confidence of tribal people in those areas."
He said that the government has been successful in reclaiming these villages from Maoist dominance and "development works are slowly picking up in Kanker and Bastar areas of Chhattisgarh". "This is a small achievement I know, but the beginning has been great as far as a long-term solution to tackling Maoist insurgency and winning back the confidence of tribal people goes," the home secretary said.
Kolkata, 5 June : A Maoist banner was found in Kolkata on Saturday urging the people to foil the "conspiracy" hatched against the Maoists by blaming them for the Jnaneswari Express tragedy that claimed 148 lives, police said.
Police said the banner was found hanging on the walls of Madhusudhan Mancha, a prominent cultural centre at Dhakura in the southern part of the city. The banner, put up by the Maoists, was written in red ink, stating the outfit was shocked at the 28 May train tragedy. Police hold the Maoists responsible for the derailment. "We call upon the people to foil the conspiracy hatched against the Maoists regarding the Gyaneshwari Express tragedy," the banner said.
Agartala, 5 June : To stimulate awareness of the environment and enhance political attention and public action for environmental conservation an awareness rally started from the Umakanta Academy here this morning on the occasion of World Environment Day.
Messages highlighting the threat of global warming, human-induced climate change, the thinning of the ozone layer and the impact of chemical pollution and deforestation featured on the rally. Academicians, doctors, politicians, students, non-government organisation (NGO) and sports personnels participated in the rally.
The Tripura State Pollution Control Board and Agartala Municipal Council organised the main rally. Several programmes have been organised across the State to create awareness about environmental disasters and how to control them.
Kolkata, 5 June : A local court here sent Khagen Mahato, the man arrested in connection with the Gyaneshwari Express derailment, to ten days Criminal Investigation Department (CID) remand.
Mahato, who was arrested by the West Bengal Police on Thursday night, owns the vehicle that ferried the track saboteurs as they went about their deadly mission. The derailment of the Howrah-Kurla Gyaneshwari Express at around 1:30 am on 28 May by suspected Maoists took a huge toll of innocent civilian lives.
BSS, Dhaka, 5 June : The Government of Qatar has agreed to supply 500mmcf Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) to Bangladesh.
Mohamed Saleh Al-Sada, state minister for energy and industrial affairs, gave this assurance to Bangladesh's delegation during a meeting between the two countries at Doha on Thursday, a top official of the energy ministry told BSS on Saturday. To start negotiation with the Qatar government for importing LNG, a high-powered government team visited Qatar on 1 June and returned home on Saturday. Energy Secretary Md Mesbahuddin led the Bangladesh team comprising members from the IMED, CPU (Central Procurement Unit), law ministry, energy ministry, Petrobangla and GTCL (Gas Transmission Company Ltd).
"We sat with the top officials of the Petroleum Department of the Government of Qatar to discuss installations of terminal and gas transmission line, price of LNG and other related issues of LNG import from Qatar," official of the energy ministry said adding the team will submit a report on the visit to the PMO soon.
Jhargram, 5 June : Suspected Maoists on Saturday shot dead a man they held guilty of being a police informer in a kangaroo trial in West Midnapore district, police said.
The victim's body was found in Chilgora area of West Midnapore. "We have recovered the body. We have not been able to identify the man till now. The investigation is on," Superintendent of Police Manoj Verma said.
PTI, Imphal, 5 June : Manipur government has deployed state forces at Liyai Khunou and Jessami near the Nagaland border in Ukhrul district to prevent entry of NSCN-IM General Secretary Thuingaleng Muivah.
Official sources said today that about 200 police personnel and border security forces have been deployed at both the villages. Muivah, who attempted to enter Manipur along the Imphal-Dimapur National Highway 39 last month by camping at Viswema in Nagaland, had moved to Pfutsero in that state in an attempt to cross into Ukhrul district via Jessami and Liyai Khunou.
However, this is not the first time Bhattacharjee gave the Polit Bureau meeting a miss. He had earlier failed to show up for a meeting held after the 2009 Lok Sabha polls. Meanwhile, at the meeting the state unit presented a preliminary report on debacle in the recently concluded Kolkata Municipality Corporation (KMC) polls, in which Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress outshone.
“There was a preliminary report on the municipal polls. The PB decided to go into the review after the state committee reviews it. Once the State committee does that, we will go into it,” Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury.
In the wake of the KMC polls drubbing, the Chief Minister had reportedly offered to step down. These reports were rubbished earlier State CPI(M) secretary and Polit Bureau member Biman Bose, who said, “The question does not arise. The matter has not been referred to the Central Committee. It has not been discussed in the state committee." န File Photo
Agartala, 5 June : At least five people were killed and over 10 injured as a cyclonic storm accompanied by heavy rains Friday lashed several parts of Tripura, leaving behind a trail of destruction, officials here said.
"Four people, including two women, were killed in separate incidents of electrocution and lightning at Teliamura in western Tripura," police spokesman Nepal Das told reporters. The women were struck by lightning when they were working in the field while two brothers were electrocuted when live electrical wires snapped by the cyclonic storm fell on them.
Kolkata, 5 June : A 13-member delegation of MPs from Bangladesh yesterday met West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee here.
The delegation of the Parliamentary Standing Committee for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, led by Suranjit Sengupta, held wide ranging discussions with Bhattacharjee, sources said. The delegation was accompanied by Deputy High Commissioner of Bangladesh in Kolkata, Syed Masood Mahmood Khondekar.
A very interesting fact about Kolkata’s love for soccer is the local people’s divided affinity for the teams Brazil and Argentina. The city is divided between hard core Brazil and Argentina camps.
However, off late, the newer generation of Kolkatans is moving beyond Brazil and Argentina and following other super powers of soccer like England, France, Spain etc. န File Photos : AFP