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Monday, July 19, 2010

Another deadly railway accident in West Bengal within 60 days

Toll climbs to 64 in Sainthia accident
Sainthia, Kolkata, 19 July : At least sixty people were killed and over 90 passengers injured when a train in high speed tore through the rear of another at the Sainthia station in Bhirbhum district, after it apparently overshot the signal in the small hours of the day.
Driver M C Dey and assistant driver N K Mandal of the Sealdah-bound Uttarbanga Express, which collided with the Ranchi-bound Vananchal Express, were among the dead in the accident for which railways are not ruling out sabotage as the cause. The guard of the Vananchal Express A Mukherjee also died in the mishap which was so severe that the roof and the sides of one of the compartments mounted the road overbridge across the tracks in the station, 191 kms from Kolkata, in Eastern Railway.
A part of another compartment of the Vananchal Express split and fell on the road along the tracks after being thrown over the bridge. “A total of 60 persons, including three railway employees, have lost their lives in the accident when three rear coaches including one luggage van and two unreserved general second class coaches of the Vananchal Express were affected,” an Eastern Railway release said here.
The accident occurred at 2:00am when the New Coochbehar-Sealdah Uttarbanga Express came on the same track and rammed into the Bhagalpur-Ranchi Vananchal Express which was leaving platform number four at Sainthia station.

Eastern Railway General Manager V N Tripathi did not rule out sabotage, which Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee hinted this morning when she said “we have doubts about the cause of the accident, the second in West Bengal in two months“.
Though the railways were hesitant to come out with the reason for the accident, the second in two months in West Bengal after the Gyaneshwari Express disaster that claimed 148 lives, an apparent overshooting of the signal by the driver of the Uttarbanga Express could be the reason behind this.
Eastern Railway sources in Kolkata and Railway Board sources in Delhi said the Uttarbanga Express, which has a scheduled stop at Sainthia, was running at a high speed, overshot the signal and ploughed into the Vananchal Express. Photos : Reuters, Timir Raha, Niraj Modi

Mamata ‘suspicious’ about cause of Sainthia rail accident
Kolkata, 19 July : Indian Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee raised suspicions about the cause of the second major train accident in West Bengal in two months on Monday while one of her top officials did not rule out sabotage.
“I am suspicious about the cause of the accident,” Ms. Banerjee told reporters before proceeding to the site of the mishap. She also said the Railways will investigate why the Uttarbanga Express was travelling 25 minutes before time.

Bangladesh's central bank says 6.7percent growth possible
AFP, Dhaka, 19 July : Bangladesh's central bank said Monday the economy could grow a record 6.7 percent this year, but only if the government solves the country's acute power crisis and ongoing labour unrest.
Last year, the global economic crisis led to nine months of export contraction, driving growth in gross domestic product (GDP) to a seven-year low of 5.54 percent. A recovery of exports could help Bangladesh clock its highest ever GDP growth of 6.7 percent this year - up from a previous high of 6.6 percent in 2005 to 2006 financial year - the central bank said in a statement on Monday.
"The growth (of 6.7 percent) targeted by the government this year is not over-ambitious," the central Bangladesh Bank said.

Bangladesh cabinet approves 'Environment Court Bill 2010'
UNB, Dhaka, 19 July : Bangladesh cabinet has approved the draft of the Environment Court Bill 2010 keeping provision of five years’ imprisonment or Tk 5 lakh fine or both against the polluters of environment.
The approval was given at the regular cabinet meeting held at the Bangladesh Secretariat on Monday with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair. Briefing newsmen at the PID conference room, Prime Minister’s Press Secretary Abul Kalam Azad said under the proposed law, there will be an Environment Court in every district. He said the law is going to be enacted to ensure time-befitting and proper action against the polluters of environment.

Heavy rains affect pineapple production in parts of Bengal
ANI, Kolkata, 19 July : Heavy rainfall has affected pineapple cultivation in parts of West Bengal.
According to Kajal Ghosh, the President of the Pineapple Merchant Association, production was normal this year but heavy rain fall and overflow of water damaged the pineapple. Farmers, who were expecting a good crop this year, are now facing losses. "This year production was good but 20-25 percent of pineapples are rotten and damaged. At the beginning of the season there was no rain. After that, heavy rainfall flooded the orchards," said Nakul Ghosh, a wholesale merchant.
Around 2,500 orchards and sixty wholesale shops are there in the area and nearly 150,000 people are directly or indirectly dependent on the cultivation and sale of pineapple.

PM Hasina seeks extension of pharmaceuticals’ IPR waiver
UNB, Dhaka, 19 July : Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday urged the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) for another fifteen years’ waiver of Bangladeshi pharmaceuticals from intellectual property rights regime.
As the exemption will expire by the year 2016, she made the appeal at the inaugural ceremony of the two-day ‘Regional Forum on Intellectual Property for the Policy Makers of the Least Developed Countries of Asia and the Pacific Region’ at Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel in the city.

Industries Minister Dilip Barua presided over the inaugural function of the forum organised jointly by the industries ministry and WIPO. Information and Cultural Affairs Minister Abul Kalam Azad and Foreign Minister Dr Dipu Moni also addressed the function as special guests while WIPO director general Dr Francis Gurry spoke as the guest of honour.
The PM said Bangladesh has achieved phenomenal growth in the pharmaceuticals sector under the intellectual property rights waiver. These high quality pharmaceuticals are being exported to over 70 countries, including many LDCs, where they are guaranteeing primary healthcare needs, she said.
“I hope the waiver, which is expected to expire within a few years’ time, would be extended by WIPO to another fifteen years for the interest of the LDCs,” she said.

At least 88 PCPA men arrested, life disrupted in Jhargram
Jhargram, 19 July : Apprehending a Maoist attack on Jhargram town, police arrested 88 PCPA activists last night, SDO Jhargram C Murugan informed.
More than 1500 PCPA activists had assembled in various areas of the town last night when the police swung into action and arrested 88 of them, the SDO said. Meanwhile, the PCPA has given a call for an indefinite road blockade throughout the Junglemahal areas of West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia districts protesting against the alleged torture on the villagers of Gosaigram and Andharia villages under Jhargram police station since the past few days.
SAIL to build new long steel rolling mill in Durgapur plant
Durgapur, 19 July : Indian state-owned steelmaker Steel Authority of India (SAIL) has awarded an order to a consortium led by Austria-based plantmaker Siemens VAI Metals Technologies (Siemens VAI) for the construction of a new rolling mill for long products in Durgapur. As from mid-2012, it is scheduled to produce one million metric tons per annum of structural steels of various sizes and cross sections. According to a statement released by Siemens VAI today, the new long steel product rolling mill in Durgapur will expand SAIL's production capacities for structural steels for the home market by about one million metric tons per year. The range of products will include round and square bars, angle and channel sections, and beams up to the maximum dimension of 300 mm.

Assurance on renaming of Silchar station as "Bhasa Sahid"
Silchar, 19 July : A delegation of Sammilitta Sanskritik Mancha (SSM), met Arun Jaitley, the leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha in the circuit house here on Saturday regarding the speedy implementation of Silchar-Lumding BG and renaming of Silchar railway station as Bhasa Sahid Station. He was requested to raise the issues in Parliament. It was pointed out by the members of Mancha while Silchar being the second important town in Assam why should it have no better roads even in this 21st century. It is also not connected by BG although the national project is still in limbo without any significant progress.
They have also raised the question why the Union Home Ministry should withhold its decision to rename Silchar railway station after the language martyrs despite specific guidelines in this regard. It has been further brought to the notice of Arun Jaitley that the State Government of Assam has already issued no objection certificate in this regard. BJP leader assured the delegation of his best efforts in raising the issue in the Parliament for positive step by the Union Home Ministry. File Photo : Rajib Kar