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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

84.8 % polling in sixth and last phase of West Bengal Elections

Jhargram, Kolkata, New Delhi, 10 May : An estimated 84.8 per cent turnout was recorded during the sixth and last phase of the West Bengal Assembly elections which covering 14 seats in the Maoist-affected Jangalmahal area spread over West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia districts, passed off peacefully, the Election Commission announced on Tuesday.
“The polls were held absolutely peaceful and totally incident free,” Deputy Election Commissioner Vinod Zutshi told reporters at the end of polling in New Delhi.

Three helicopters were used and a special observer was deployed over and above general and expenditure observers to ensure peaceful polling in 14 Maoist-hit constituencies spread over three districts, he said. There was poll boycott in one booth because of local issues, he said.
Asked about reasons for the large turnout, Zutshi said this was because people came out without any fear and reached polling stations to exercise their franchise. The Commission has also been taking all possible measures ever since the announcement of the poll schedule to instill confidence among the people, he said.
Prominent candidates in this phase include CPI(M)'s Susanta Ghosh, the most controversial minister in Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee''s government contesting from Garbeta, the party''s nominee and Law Minister in the outgoing cabinet Rabilal Moitra contesting from Gopiballavpur and jailed PCPA leader Chhatradhar Mahato, contesting as an Independent from the Jhargram seat.
The DEC said one observer will be deployed in each assembly constituency during counting on 13 May. Photos : Rupak De Chowdhuri, Sunipam Mahakul

Mime artist Partha Pratim Majumder bags top French award
Dhaka, 10 May : Famous Bangladeshi mime performer Partha Pratim Majumder has received the highest cultural award of the French government.
It was made public on Tuesday. He is the first Bangladeshi to receive the Knight in the Order of Fine Arts and Humanities award. "I am very happy to get the award as it will improve the image of Bangladesh abroad," a jubilant Partha told BD News from Paris.
Cultural minister Frédéric Mitterrand informed the performer that he had received the award. The French ministry for cultural affairs and communication honours personalities either for their remarkable creation in literary or artistic field, or for their contribution to the culture in France as well as globally.
Partha was awarded the highest honour of Bangladesh "Ekushe Award 2010" recently. He is the man who introduced mime as an art form in Bangladesh in 1974. For the last 35 years, Partha is working for the improvement of mime performance in the country.
The artist also acted in a short French film called "Bhai Bhai", which has earned 26 international awards. He has performed in Paris, Frankfurt, New York and in a film for BBC Channel 4, among others.

Ganguly shines on comeback as Pune won by Six wickets
PTI, Hyderabad, 10 May : Bengal Tiger Sourav Ganguly silenced his critics by marking his belated return to the Indian Premier League with a gutsy batting display as Pune Warriors notched up a comfortable six-wicket victory over Deccan Chargers here today.
The 38-year-old Ganguly remained unbeaten on 32 off as many balls as Pune, after being asked to bowl first, achieved the target with 10 balls to spare.
After Mitchell Marsh helped Warriors restrict the hosts to 136 for eight with impressive figures of four for 25, Manish Pandey was unlucky to miss a well-deserved half century by a run but did enough to pave the way for his team's victory.
Equally impressive was Pandey's opening partner Jesse Ryder, who made a hurricane 35 of 20 deliveries.
But it was Ganguly who stole the limelight with a fluent unbeaten knock which contained three boundaries and a six. Photos : AP
AL broke promise on Rapid Action Battalion : Rights Watch
Dhaka, 10 May : The Awami League is failing to deliver on its campaign pledge to end extrajudicial killings, torture, and other abuses by the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) and hold it accountable, says Human Rights Watch in a new report.
The New York-based NGO said two years into its term, the government seems to be allowing the British-trained paramilitary force to secretly detain, torture and kill hundreds of people with impunity. The 53-page report, 'Crossfire': Continued Human Rights Abuses by Bangladesh's Rapid Action Battalion', was released in Dhaka on Tuesday.

300voters boycott poll at Taldangra constituency in Bankura
Bankura, 10 May : Over 300 people of Belgaria village under Taldangra constituency in the district today boycotted polling for the sixth and final phase of the West Bengal assembly elections, claiming they faced logistic problems in reaching the polling station.
"The polling station is located about 2.5km away from the village. It is very difficult to go there without a vehicle to cast votes because of the distance. For this reason we have decided to boycott the poll," a spokesman of the villagers Dilip Singha Mohatpatra said.
The Block Development Officer (BDO), Saugata Maity confirmed the villagers sentiment and said because of logistic problems, no vehicle could be arranged for the villagers.
According to Election Commission's Khatra control room, which is in-charge of polling in the locality, not a single vote was cast since polling began from 7am in the polling booth set up for Belgaria villagers.
48 people fall sick after leakage of ammonia gas in Tripura
Agartala, 10 May : As many as 48 people have fallen ill, some of them critically, following leakage of ammonia gas inside a cold storage in Half-long flour mill and most of them had been hospitalised. Sub-divisional magistrate, who issued closure of the mill, said two workers of the cold storage were shifted to hospital in critical condition, while seven employees of the Tripura Fire Service also fell ill while trying to rescue the victims.
He said there was no oxygen cylinder and sulpher dust which are mandatory for preventing ammonia contamination in the atmosphere and as a result sudden leakage of the gas went out of control.
Petrol prices may go up, Diesel and LPG rates may follow
PTI, New Delhi, 10 May : India government may hike diesel and domestic LPG rates next week while an increase in petrol prices may happen later this week.
"The Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee (on fuel price hike) was to meet tomorrow evening. It has been put off," Oil Minister S Jaipal Reddy told reporters here.
EGoM was to meet tomorrow to consider raising the diesel price by Rs 3-4 a litre and domestic LPG rates by Rs 20-25 per cylinder.
"It has been postponed to accommodate some ministers...
It could be anytime on 17 or 18 (May)," he said. State-owned oil firms, however, are likely to get the go-ahead to raise the price of petrol, which they have not revised since January on informal 'advice' from the government in view of Assembly elections in five states.

Dorjee Khandu cremated with full state honours in Tawang
ANI, Tawang, 10 May : Former Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu, who was killed in a chopper crash on 30 April, was cremated with full state honours at Shepedung near his native village in Tawang District.
Thousands of people turned up to attend the last rites of Khandu, who was cremated as per Buddhist traditions of the Monpa community. The bodies were retrieved from the crash site at Lobothang near the 13,700 feet Se La in Tawang district on 5 May after six days of intense search operations.

Bangladesh' Supreme Court revokes caretaker govt system
Anisur Rahman, Dhaka, 10 May : An appellate division of the Supreme Court here today declared illegal a constitutional amendment that introduced the system of holding elections under caretaker governments in Bangladesh, but said the next two polls "might be" held under the provision to avoid chaos.
The Supreme Court bench said the 13th amendment that introduced the existing system of caretaker governments in 1996 was "ultra vires" or "beyond the powers" of constitution.
"The constitutional (13th Amendment Act, 1996) Act is prospectively declared void and ultra vires to the constitution," read verdict of the six-member apex court division headed by chief justice A B M Khairul Haque against a 2004 High Court judgement.

BSF's DG Pranay Sahaya appointed to Cabinet Secretariat
Agartala, 10 May : Pranay Sahaya, a special director general in the Border Security Force (BSF) has been appointed secretary (security) in the cabinet secretariat in New Delhi, an official said Monday.
He will succeed B.K Dey, who retired recently, the official said. Sahaya, a 1975 batch Tripura-Manipur cadre Indian Police Service (IPS) officer, is currently the special director general (east) of the Border Security Force (BSF) posted in Kolkata. He was previously Tripura’s police chief.
One Person Killed in Bus, politics over dead body in Malda
Malda, 10 May : One person was killed and two others were injured as a group of goons attacked upon their rival camp in a bus near Shahabazpur under Kaliachak police astation this morning, which has staked claim over the dead man's political allegiance.
The district superintendent of police Bhuban Mandal informed Bengal Newz that the murder was organized as a consequence of longstanding rivalry between two influential persons of the locality over a piece of land. Sources said that there had been a dispute over the right of land that went to court 10 years back. Recently the trial began. Witnesses were going to appear in the trial . But on way to court such a witness, Haren Mandal (45), was killed. Such an incident took place at Mojampur under Kaliachak police station today.
However, some relatives of the victims like Shakuntala Mandal, Lakshmirani Mandal alleged that they belonged to Congress and the CPI(M) goons attacked them. CPI(M) district secretary Jiban Maitra denied the allegation and said, “As I know, deceased was our supporter.” Though Sujapur Congress MLA Abu Naser Khan Choudhury also could not ascertained if the deceased was a Congress supporter. Photos : Uday Mandal

Rabindranath Tagore's monumental works to go up on Net
Bengal Newz Desk : The works of Rabindranath Tagore will soon be uploaded on the internet in an online electronic variorum by a group of scholars from Kolkata's Jadavpur University.
The digital library project led by former Jadavpur University professors of translation studies and literature, Swapan Majumdar and Sukanta Chaudhuri, is overseen by noted scholar and writer Sankha Ghosh. Work has begun on Tagore's collection of poems "Manasi", his first anthology of poetry and essays published in 1890. It marks the beginning of his journey into literary maturity. "Manasi" contains some of his best poems, including many in verse forms new to Bengali literature, as well as some innovative satires.
The manuscripts, mostly in Bengali, will first be digitised and then uploaded on the internet in a special archive with the help of a new software.... READ MORE @
Mizoram government seeks closer trade tie with Bangladesh
UNI, Aizawl, 9 May : Mizoram industries minister S Hiato said here today that he hopes for closer trade ties with neighbouring Bangladesh.
Hiato, who had just arrived from Bangladesh capital Dhaka where he attended a two-day Indo-Bangla Trade Fair 2011, told reporters here that during the trade fair, the Mizoram government and the Government of Bangladesh sought partnership in supplying Mizoram’s bamboo chips, ginger and turmeric. With its vast bamboo resources, Mizoram could provide raw materials to paper mills in Syhlet and Chittagong.
Another strategy that is being followed is to set up a manufacturing hub in Mizoram to manufacture garment parts. "Button-making, sleeves and such items will be made by girls in Mizoram which we will import duty free to Bangladesh and assemble them there," Hiato said.
The Mizoram government and the government of Bangladesh have drawn up a scheme under which, the Bangladesh ‘garment assembly’ unit will be eligible to send the readymade garments back to Mizoram for sale and distribution in the northeastern regions of India. With this, Mizoram will help create job opportunities for its girls, and gradually help them develop skills that could be used to climb up the value chain in the future.
Hiato urged the Bangladesh government to take necessary steps for bringing the Demagiri Land Port Custom House into operation. "The opening of land custom at Demagiri would provide huge opportunities to North East states of India as well as Bangladesh for export and import of forest products and other goods," the minister added.
Inviting the Bangladeshi investors, S Hiato said Mizoram Government extends every possible co-operation to investors, interested to invest in the state. Official sources here said today, the investors were interested in Hiato’s speeches.
State industries director R L Rinawma said at the trade fair, Mizoram was looking forward towards the deep seaport in Chittagong for establishing greater connectivity with the region. He also called upon the Bangladeshi investors to invest in oil and gas exploration in their state.
Hiato said, in a follow-up to the trade fair, a North East Investment Meet would be held at Aizawl on 25 May, to be organised by Indian Chamber of Commerce and its Bangladesh counterpart.