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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Bangladesh to buy 250mw power from India,opposition angered

IANS, Dhaka, 27 July : In a “landmark deal” between once bickering neighbours, Bangladesh has signed a 35-year power transmission agreement with India to import 250 megawatt of electricity from late 2012, a move that drew flak from opposition parties.
Representatives of the Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd (PGCIL) and Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) signed the deal Monday evening, Daily Star newspaper reported. Describing it as “a landmark deal”, it said top ministers and officials of the Bangladesh government witnessed the ceremony. This deal has taken place following Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s New Delhi visit in January when India pledged to help Bangladesh with infrastructure, trade, connectivity and a soft loan of $1 billion.
The agreement keeps the provision for Bangladesh to export power to India in the future, and the transmission system will have the capacity to exchange 500 MW of power soon after the system is launched. “This is a small step for Bangladesh and India, but a giant leap for regional cooperation,” said Hasina’s energy adviser Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury.

Pro-Maoist group to observe ‘martyr’s week’ for slain Sidhu
Kolkata, 27 July : Vowing to avenge the death of Maoist Sidhu Soren, the pro-Maoist Peoples’ Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA) and its militant wing has called a two-day shutdown across West Bengal starting 3 August and a week-long agitation programme to mourn the killing of their supreme commander.
Soren was among six Maoists gunned down by security forces during a fierce clash at the Metla forest under Goaltore police station Monday.
PCAPA spokesperson Manoj Mahato said a martyr’s week will be observed in West Midnapore’s Lalgarh and its adjacent areas between 29 July and 4 August in memory of Soren, the founder-member of PCAPA and its armed wing Sidhu Kanu Gana Militia.

UPA govt trying to corporatise agriculture: CM Manik Sarkar
Agartala, 27 July : Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar Tuesday accused the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in New Delhi of trying to “corporatise” the agricultural sector in order to hand it over to a few people.
“Without land reforms India’s agricultural development is not possible. In the National Development Council (NDC) meeting, this vital issue was not raised by any chief minister, central minister or the prime minister except by Tripura,” CM said.
Sarkar was speaking after inaugurating northeast India’s first private sector bio-fertilizer plant in west Tripura’s Radha Kishore Nagar, 15 km north of Agartala. The plant, with over 600 metric tonnes initial production capacity, was set up at a cost of Rs.20 million without government support.
Sarkar said: “As land is a most productive resource, it should be utilised properly. Land reforms, as a tool for equitable distribution and productive use of an economic asset, should be given the highest priority with an aim of providing land to the actual tillers instead of confining it in fewer hands in the name of corporatisation of agriculture.” Referring to the bio-fertiliser plant, he also said: “In many parts of the world, bio fertilizer-based food products are most valued and in real terms it has ten times higher value than products grown through chemical fertilizers.” File Photo

BD H court rejects Jamaat challenge to war tribunal judges
IANS, Dhaka, 27 July : The High Court here Tuesday summarily rejected a writ petition challenging the appointment of two judges to Bangladesh's International Crimes Tribunal set up for trying the 1971 'war crimes'.
The challenge came from a lawyer, who is a senior member of the Jamaat-e-Islami whose top brass has been arraigned before the tribunal that began its work Sunday. Jamaat chief Motiur Rahman Nizami, secretary general Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojahid and senior assistant secretary generals Muhammad Kamaruzzaman and Abdul Quader Molla are the first batch of those being brought to trial for targeting unarmed civilians during the freedom movement.
They are accused of belonging to Islamist militia Al Badr that engaged in rape, loot and murder of the sympathisers of the freedom movement and religious minorities.

Mamata to declare launch of Trinamool in Andaman: TMC
UNI, Port Blair, 27 July : Trinamool Congress today declared that party chief Mamata Banerjee will launch TMCs Andaman Branch within this week at Kolkata.
''Manoranjan Bhakta former Member of Parliament of Andaman and Nicobar Islands will join TMC and will be Andaman Unit President,'' TMC General Secretary, West Bengal, Dr Biswapati Biswas told media persons during a press conference here. Talking to mediapersons before leaving for Kolkata after his three-day visit to the Islands, Mr Biswas said, Ms Banerjee will declare the launch of TMC in Andaman at Kolkata within this week. However, talking to UNI over phone from Kolkata, Manoranjan Bhakta said that he hasnt given his nod yet to TMC.

PCAPA leader involved in Gyaneshwari tragedy surrenders
Jhargram, 27 July : A pro-Maoist leader allegedly involved in the Gyaneshwari Express sabotage has surrendered in a Jhargram court, police said Tuesday.
Jiten Giri, a leader of the People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA), was sent to 14 days judicial custody after he surrendered. He was allegedly involved in 10 cases including the 28 May Gyaneshwari Express sabotage, which led to the deaths of 148 people.

Central govt to assure 'NIT seats' for Andaman students
Port Blair, 27 July : The central government has agreed to look into the matter of discontinuation of reserved seats for students from Andaman and Nicobar Islands in NIT-Pondicherry, ANTCC president Kuldeep Rai Sharma said.
Andaman and Nicobar Territory Congress Committee (ANTCC) president Sharma said he met union HRD minister Kapil Sibal in New Delhi recently and had apprised him on the discontinuation of 44 reserved seats for the island students in the institute this year. "I told Sibal about the plight of the island students and he has assured me to look into the matter," he said. "When the decision to shift the NIT from Port Blair to Pondicherry was taken, it was decided that 44 seats in NIT-Pondicherry will be reserved for island students. But that has not been done this year," Sharma said.
Bishnupada Ray, MP of Andaman and Nicobar, demanded that an NIT should be established in Port Blair. (With PTI inputs)
Micro-credit pioneer Yunus to star on The Simpsons show
BBC News, Dhaka, 27 July : The Bangladeshi anti-poverty banker Muhammad Yunus is to feature in an episode of hit US TV show The Simpsons.
Mr Yunus's appearance will focus on his Grameen Bank and work on micro-credit, which has helped millions of people lift themselves out of poverty. The Nobel laureate's voice has already been recorded for the episode, which will air in October. READ FULL STORY

JSW Steel to start Salboni project by 2010-11 fiscal-end
Kolkata, 27 July : JSW Steel would start construction of its 10-million-tonne Salboni plant in West Bengal before the end of the current fiscal (2010-11), a top company official said Tuesday.
The company would be pumping in Rs.35,000-crore for the project in West Midnapur district. "The work of boundary wall has already started. We are doing the designing of the steel plant now. Construction of the plant would start before end of this fiscal," Sajjan Jindal, managing director, told reporters here through a video-conference from Mumbai.
He said three years would be required to complete the construction work of the plant from the day of ground breaking. Asked about the financial closure of the project, Jindal said: "We have not yet concluded financial closure for the Salboni project."

After over two decades, Cooch Behar airport set to take off
Kolkata, 27 July : After lying idle for over two decades, flight operations are expected to resume at Cooch Behar Airport in late August or early September. Though efforts to kickstart operations at the airport had failed three years ago when Air Deccan conducted a test flight but never went ahead with commercial operations, AAI regional executive director Gautam Mukherjee said he was hopeful that flights would begin within the next month or so.
"Non-scheduled flight operator Deccan Charter has applied to Director General of Civil Aviation and Airports Authority of India for a daily service between Kolkata and Cooch Behar with an 18-seater Beechcraft 1900 Delta aircraft. If the service becomes popular, they may introduce more flights and encourage other airlines who operate small aircraft to touch down at Cooch Behar," Mukherjee said. Deccan Charter's Kolkata pointsman said the Beechcraft would do one trip to Cooch Behar in the morning and three trips to Jamshedpur thereafter. "We hope to start next month. The fare structure is being worked out," he said.
Though the airline is yet to get a state government commitment for at least eight bookings per flight to make the operations viable, aviation industry experts said 48-seater ATR operations would be more viable as fares would be a lot lower than an 18-seater Beechcraft. "Trains to Cooch Behar are always packed. A lot of businessmen and traders will travel by plane if the fare isn't exorbitant," he said.
At present, the runway length is 1,069 m. AAI is adding 60 m and there is a proposal to increase it by a further 259 m to allow ATRs to operate comfortably. The last airline to operate a scheduled service to Cooch Behar was Vayudoot in the late 1980s. After that, the airport lay idle for a while before AAI expressed its intent to upgrade the airport in the mid-1990s.