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Saturday, December 11, 2010

90 percent turnout in Tripura civic polls, which ended peacefully

Agartala, 11 December : Balloting in the civic polls in the Left Front-ruled northeastern state of Tripura ended peacefully Saturday evening with around 90 percent turnout, election officials here said.
'About 90 percent of the 434,512 electors have cast their ballot across the state,' State Election Commission secretary Gobinda Chandra Bhattacharjee told reporters. Women and aged voters queued up in large numbers well before polling booths opened at 7 am and first-timer young voters too cast their votes. The state government declared a holiday Saturday to enable the voters to exercise their franchise.
The civic poll will decide the electoral fate of 533 candidates, including a record number of 279 women, in the elections to the 140-year-old Agartala Municipal Council (AMC) and 15 Nagar Panchayats (urban councils) across the northeastern state. Over 70% of the aspirants, especially women, were contesting the polls for the first time. Candidates belonging to the ruling CPI(M)-led Left Front, the Congress, and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are contesting these civic polls to the total of 230 seats, including 35 seats in the AMC.
The polls were held under a heavy security cover with an additional deployment of 4,700 personnel of central and state security forces. The votes will be counted Tuesday. Photos : Parthajit Dutta (File), PTI

Boman Irani can play Pranab Mukherjee on 'silver screen'
PTI, Mumbai, 11 December : Bollywood actor Boman Irani is best suited to play the role of Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on silver screen, renowned film director Raj Kumar Hirani said today.
"Boman Irani" quipped Hirani when asked who would play Mukherjee if a film is made on the life of Mukherjee. Hirani, director of Hindi blockbuster "3 Idiot", made these comments at India Business Leaders award function organised by the television channel CNBC TV 18.

Again Bangladeshi beaten to death by "BSF" in Benapole
UNB, Benapole, 11 December : A Bangladeshi cattle trader was beaten to death by Indian Border Security Force (BSF) at Gatipara border here early Saturday.
The deceased was identified as Amir Hossain of Gatipara village. BDR and local sources said BSF troops of Indian Pirojpur border chased a group of Bangladeshi cattle traders late at night while they were returning from India after purchasing cows. At one stage Amir was caught by the Indian border guards. Later, they beat him to death and dragged the body into their territory.

Jackal on Kolkata airport runway, Jet's pilot aborts take off
Kolkata, 11 December : A jackal today strayed onto the runway of the NSC Bose International Airport forcing the pilot of a JetLite flight to Bangalore to abort take off, airport sources said.
The JetLite flight to Bangalore was taxing for takeoff at around 5:40 pm when the pilot noticed the jackal on the runway and aborted take off and brought the aircraft back, the sources said.

MV Jahan Moni anchors at pirates' den in Somalian coast
UNB, Chittagong, 11 December : Hijacked Bangladeshi flagged ship M.V. Jahan Moni anchored at the den of pirates at Garakat in east coast of Somalia early Saturday.
The merchant ship, owned by Brave Royal Shipping Management Ltd, reached Garakat at 1:41am(BST) Saturday. Suspected Somali pirates hijacked the ship with 25 crew in Arabian Sea near Lakkha islands off Kochin in west coast of India seven days ago. Meherul Kabir, General Manager of Brave Royal Shipping Management, told UNB they were keeping constant contact with a US-based satellite which was tracking the ship since it was pirated last Sunday.
He said the pirates did not make any contact with anyone till 5pm(BST) today. "If they (Somali pirates) contact and want ransom in return for freeing the ship we are ready to pay", Kabir said.

4 suspected Maoists arrested by Joint Forces in W Mid dist
Jhargram, 11 December : Four suspected Maoists were arrested and arms and ammunition recovered from them in Ramchandrapur area in West Midnapore district, police said today.
The four suspected Maoists - Nisith Ranjan Mahato, Shaktipada Rana, Chaitanya Mahato and Narayan Sabar were arrested last night during the massive search operation launched by the Joint Forces at Ramchandrapur area near Jhargram, they said. The Joint Forces also seized two rifles, two revolvers, some cartridges and Maoist posters and banners from them, they added.
PCAPA leader Chhatradhar Mahato on hunger-strike in jail
Midnapore, 11 December : Chhatradhar Mahato, the former convenor of the People's Committee Against Police Atrocities, has gone on a hunger-strike along with other prisoners at the Central Jail here.
Mahato, who was among 220 prisoners arrested on the charge of having links with Maoists, went on the hunger-strike last night, jail sources said. The prisoners alleged that they had been arrested on false charges and demanded that they be immediately released. Mahato was arrested from Birkar village near Lalgarh in West Midnapore district on 26 September, 2009 by policemen posing as journalists.
Four lakh tourists at Andaman & Nicobar Islands in 2 years
Port Blair, 11 December : More than 4 lakh tourists visited the Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands during last two years. The total number of tourists during the year 2008 and 2009 were 1,83,466 and 2,21,900 respectively. The Eco-Tourism sites visited by the tourists are Chatham Saw Mill, Wandoor Beach, Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park, Chidiyatupu, Mount Harriet, Limestone Caves, Mud Volcano, Yerrata, Amkunj Beach, Curt Burt Bay Beach, Karmatang Beach, Ross and Smith Islands, Ramnagar Beach and Radhanagar Beach.
As per the information received from the Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, there was Plan allocation to the Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands Forest Department for promotion of Eco-tourism during 10th and 11th Five year plan. However, there was no allotment during 8th and 9th Five year plan for Eco-tourism. Further, there was no plan allocation for promotion of medicinal plants to the forest department in the Union Territory during 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th Five year plan periods. No amount has been surrendered during this period.
This information was given by the Minister of State for the Ministry of environment and Forests, Jairam Ramesh in a written reply to a question by Andaman MP Bishnu Pada Ray in Lok Sabha recently.

Wild elephant tramples youth to death in Jalpaiguri district
PTI, Jalpaiguri, 11 December : A wild elephant trampled a 25-year-old youth to death today at Alipurduar in the district, a senior forest official said.
The elephant came out of Nimti forest and moved in the nearby areas before killing Vernabet Kheria, a tea garden worker, who was out on the road, Deputy Field Director (Buxa west), Rajendra Jakhar said. The pachyderm returned to the forest after locals raised an alarm.

FBCCI urges Chinese invest in renewable energy in B'desh
Dhaka, 11 December : Federation of Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FBCCI), the country’s apex business body, urged the Chinese entrepreneurs to invest in renewable energy sector in Bangladesh.
The FBBCI made the call during a meeting with a nine-member Chinese (Wuxi) business delegation at its auditorium this afternoon. FBCCI first vice-president Jasim Uddin said energy is essential to promote the country’s trade and business.

Migratory birds give famous "Santragachhi Wetland" a miss
PTI, New Delhi, 11 December : Once a favourite with migratory birds, Howrah's famous Santragachhi Wetland seems to be no longer on the itinerary of the winged visitors who are skipping the water body invaded by proliferating aquatic weed, says a study.
"In the past 12 year since 1998, arrival of migratory birds has declined by more than 55% while three important species have abandoned the wetland which is invaded by water hyacinth," says the study published in the latest edition of the 'Current Science' journal. Researcher TN Khan from Kolkata-based Maulana Azad College had recorded a total of 195,866 migratory waterbirds belonging to 15 species during the period and found that their visits have declined with proliferation of water hyacinth which has reduced the surface water area and consequent waterbirds feeding areas.
"The waterbird abundance and community composition corresponded significantly with the water hyacinth cover of the wetland.
Abducted Tripura tribals taken to Chittagong hill in B'desh
Agartala, 11 December : Outlawed tribal extremists who abducted 11 tribals Tuesday have taken nine of the hostages to Bangladesh and released two, police said here Friday. The militants have demanded a ransom of Rs.15 lakh to release the captives.
According to the police, heavily armed National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) militants raided a labourers' temporary shed at Govindabari village Tuesday night and kidnapped 11 workers at gunpoint. The labourers had a contract to construct a bridge on Chawmanu rivulet on Chawmanu-Govindabari highway in northern Tripura. "The NLFT rebels have taken away the hostages to the neighbouring Chittagong hill tracts of south-east Bangladesh as there is no fencing in certain portion of India-Bangladesh border of that area," Tripura Director General of Police K. Saleem Ali told reporters.