“We are not on a rigid position. Come to parliament and if you have any formula spell it out,” she said in her opening remarks at the Awami League central working committee meeting at Ganobhaban in the afternoon. Questioning the Sunday’s hartal called by the opposition, Hasina said why have you called hartal? For what, in whose interest and depending upon whom?”
Referring to the BNP’s call of boycotting next elections under party government, she again questioned: “Depending upon whom have you called for boycotting the elections? Most people in your party are champion turncoats.” Reiterating her commitment to run the country through constitutional means, the Prime Minister said the election commission will function independently and her government will not interfere in it.
“We want introduction of the electronic voting machine (EVM). We don’t know why BNP opposes it and what they want?”
Referring to those who defend the system of caretaker government, she said there is no guarantee that those who had not suffered during the past caretaker regime would not be the victims in the future. “We can’t allow the tiger to guard the goats time and again,” Hasina said, adding that many are taking preparations to stay in power for a long time by staging another 1/11.
A large caches of illegal arms have been recovered from different parts of West Bengal by the state police with the help of the central forces and the new Mamata Banerjee-led government wants the exercise to continue, government officials said.
"Unless some major emergency occurs, the forces will remain in West Bengal as long as the state government desires.
They are engaged in maintaining law and order and recovering illegal arms," an official said.
Altogether 701 companies of Central Armed Police Forces (one companies comprises roughly 100 personnel) were deployed for the peaceful conduct of elections in West Bengal.
Rahima Begum (40) took bullets during a RAB-11 drive against drugs in Panchabati of Bhairab municipality on Friday afternoon. She was taken to Narsingdi Sadar Hospital and later transferred to Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) in critical condition. RAB-11 camp commander Col Ahsan admitted to the incident which he termed as an 'accident'.
Rana Dasgupta, General Secretary of Hindu Boudhha Christian Oikya Parishad, a key organisation of religious minorities in Bangladesh, said the entire nation wanted the restoration of the spirit of secularism.
Rana Dasgupta said the country's nearly 2.5 crore minorities were "deeply concerned" as a parliamentary constitution amendment committee reportedly decided not to touch the provision that declared Islam as the state religion.
The Parisad warned of tough actions against plans to retain Islam as the state religion. It said Islam was incorporated as the state religion in 1988 when an autocratic regime was in power that wanted to divide the nation on religious lines.
Kolkata, 3 June : Five Congress MLAs were sworn-in today as ministers of state, taking the strength of the Mamata ministry in West Bengal to 43, one short of the sanctioned strength of 44.
The five, sworn-in by Governor M K Narayanan, were Pramathanath Roy, Manoj Chakraborti, Abu Naser Khan Chowdhury, Sunil Chandra Tirkey and Sabina Yasmin.
In Garbeta area, villagers attacked CPI(M) leader Tapan Ghosh's house and informed police, who found a small assembling unit for guns, they said.
1000 round of bullets, twelve .99 mm pistols, 2 rifles and a handmade pistol were among the recoveries, police said .
Four guns were found in Kotwali's Angua area, eight from a feild in Jhargram's Boita while another two guns were found in Keshpur's Charka area, they added.
Kolkata, 3 June : The West Bengal government has decided to streamline recruitment of teachers and PTTI students by bringing them all under the school education department.
Selection of students for Primary Teachers Training Institutes, para-teachers, teachers working under the Madhyamik Siksha Kendra and Sarba Siksha Kendra will all be brought under the ambit of the school education department, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee told reporters here today.
The identity of the deceased, however, could not be known immediately. Police and local sources said the accident occurred at about 3:15pm when a Moulvibazar bound private car collided with a Sylhet bound passenger bus.
"Tourism is a key factor for development of North Bengal and all steps will be taken for betterment of infrastructure," North Bengal Development minister Gautam Deb told newsmen at the state secretariat here today.
"Initially education, health and agriculture will be given priority, but we will ensure all around development of North Bengal with tourism being given due importance," he said.
Stating that the allocation for North Bengal has been increased from a mere Rs 60 crore granted by the previous government to Rs 200 crores, he said the Left Front government had given Rs 291 crores to it in the last ten years.
"I have briefed the chief minister about the problems in North Bengal. She knows what is affecting it," Gautam Deb said.
PTI, New Delhi, 3 June : CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury today left for Dhaka to attend a crucial conference on peace and security in the region.
The conference will be inaugurated tomorrow by Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Yechury would be addressing the inaugural session of the two-day Asian Peace Conference, being organised by the World Peace Council and the Bangladesh Peace Council, party sources said here.
"My heart started pounding, I guess," Sukanya (14) said, after winning the championship, considered as a coveted prize for students in the US.
"I couldn't believe it...It's just amazing. It's hard to put into words," the Class 8 student of Pennsylvania's Abington Heights Middle School said. She was declared winner following the finals between 13 candidates last evening.
The teenager earlier participated in the 2009 and 2010 Scripps National Spelling Bees, tying for 12th place in 2009 and 20th place in 2010. န Photo : Reuters
Dhaka, 3 June : Bangladesh government will sign a credit assistance agreement on Monday (6 June) under which the Asian Development Bank (ADB) will provide US$ 615 million for the construction of the Padma Multipurpose Bridge to help accelerate growth and reduce poverty in the country.
ADB is providing over 21 percent of the total investment cost of nearly US$ 2.92 billion for the bridge across the Padma River linking the country’s southwest to the northern and eastern regions.
Guwahati, 3 June : The proscribed ULFA Paresh Baruah faction on Friday served a 'quit notice' to a private oil and gas company in Assam alleging that it was exploiting the state's natural resources against the local people's interest.
"We are giving them the notice to stop all their operations in the state and leave within one and half months from today," said an ULFA statement. The 'quit notice' was sent to Shiv-Vani Oil and Gas Exploration Services Ltd in Upper Assam.
"The generation of electricity would start from the (363 MW) first unit of the power project in December. The project would be fully operational by March next year," Sudhindra Kumar Dube, managing director of the ONGC Tripura Power Co Ltd (OTPC), told IANS.
ONGC, a Fortune 500 company, has formed OTPC to set up the Rs.9,000-crore project in Palatana, 60 km south of this Tripura capital, for which Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had laid the foundation stone in 2005.
The oversized heavy turbines and other heavy machines for the project, carried on massive 132-wheeled trucks, had reached the site in April from Haldia port in West Bengal after being trans-shipped through Bangladesh. Some more turbines and big machines are on their way to Tripura.
India developed a jetty at the Ashuganj river port, 45 km from Agartala, widened the roads in Bangladesh and developed around 25 bypasses across the border and inside Tripura to ferry the heavy equipment for the power project. The Bangladesh government had earlier agreed to allow India the use of its waterways to transport the equipment for the project.
Due to incessant rains and heavy showers in the past one week, some bypasses, built over Tripura's rivers, have either been washed away or badly damaged, putting the authorities in a tizzy for transporting the heavy machinery in the mountainous state. "We are talking to the BRO (Border Roads Organisation) and associated organisations to build alternate bypasses to carry the turbines and other machinery," Dube said.
On 19 April, one of the 280-tonne turbines was damaged when it fell off its transporter. After 41 days of frantic efforts, the engineers and workers again placed it on the transporter earlier this week. "Work on commissioning the power project is in full swing despite the transportation difficulties," Dube said. A consortium comprising US-based General Electric and India's state-run BHEL has been contracted to supply the all-important gas turbines for the thermal power project," ONGC officials added.
ONGC owns significant natural gas reserves in Tripura. However, these reserves are yet to be commercially exploited due to the low industrial demand in the northeastern region. The complexities of logistics and costs limit the economic viability of transporting gas to other deficit parts of the country. It is to optimally utilise the gas available in Tripura that ONGC proposes developing the 726- MW Combined Cycle Gas Turbine (CCGT) thermal power plant close to its gas fields in the state to supply power to deficit areas of northeastern India.