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Saturday, October 31, 2009

န Bengal's Traditional Folk Art at National Institute of Design

Bengal's traditional artist Khandu Chitrakar hangs up Patta Chitra Katha paintings during a workshop at the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad. Patta Chitra Katha is a traditional Bengali folk art of storytelling using visual language. Photo : AFP
WB to get five Passport Seva Kendra
Kolkata, 31 October : West Bengal will get five of the seventy seven “Passport Seva Kendra”s being set up by the Centre to expedite the process of issue of new passport and renewal of passport much faster. Of the five centres, two will come up in Kolkata itself, union minister of state for external affairs, Shashi Tharoor, told newspersons here on Saturday.
The passport facilitation centres will come up at Siliguri, Behrampur, Kharagpur and two in Kolkata, he said. The Kolkata and Behrampur centres will be the larger ones. Earlier, Tharoor chaired a conference of passport officers from Eastern and Northern region in the city.

Responding to queries on illegal immigrants from across the border, the minister said, “Infiltration is not a new phenomenon. But issuing of passports involves stringent processes like police verification, which is virtually impossible to fake." He said that in West Bengal, issuing of ration cards and voter's ID cards to such illegal immigrants were more rampant rather than passports.
BSNL 3G services inaugurated in Agartala
Agartala, 31 October : BSNL 3G services was on Saturday launched here by Tripura Rajya Sabha MP, Mati Lal Sarkar.
He inaugurated the service by making a call to the BSNL Shillong office. BSNL General Manager Tripura, Deb Kumar Chakraborty said, the service would be available to customers from November three. It was planned to cover all district headquarters of the state soon, he said. "As a matter of policy, 3G will be available in urban areas. For rural areas, we will very shortly be launching wireless broadband services namely Wimax.
Every part of Tripura including villages and remote areas would also be brought under wireless broadband coverage, he said.

More central paramilitary forces for W Midnapore dist
Kolkata, 31 October : The West Bengal government Saturday said the centre had agreed to send six more companies of central paramilitary forces to the state to carry out anti-Maoist operations in West Midnapore district.
"The centre has informed us that they are sending six companies of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) to the state. We'll deploy these central forces in and around Lalgarh region," state Home Secretary Ardhendu Sen told reporters here at the Writers' Buildings, the state secretariat. He said the central forces would arrive in the state in the next three days. "These six companies of central forces will be used to conduct intense operation in the Maoist-infested areas," he said.
Altogether 17 companies of CRPF are currently deployed in West Bengal's violence-hit Lalgarh region.

Crude supply helps Bangladesh refinery back to life
Reuters, Dhaka, 31 October : Bangladesh's Eastern Refinery Limited (ERL) has resumed production after being idle for nearly two weeks on a shortage of crude, officials said on Saturday.
Two tankers carrying around 1 million barrels of crude have arrived at the country's main Chittagong port near ERL over the last three days. The suspension did not create a shortage of petroleum products because there had been sufficient stocks to meet demand. The supply chain to the 30,000 barrel-per-day capacity refinery was disrupted after a tanker carrying crude failed to sail from Abu Dhabi following mechanical trouble in late September. ERL is managed by state-owned Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation, which is the sole importer and distributor of crude and petroleum products in Bangladesh.
During the suspension authorities carried out some repairs and overhauled the refinery. It also helped ERL exhaust its stock of furnace oil, a by-product consumed in the country.

Ban on PCPA needs legislation : Ardhendu Sen
Kolkata, 31 October : A ban on the Maoists-backed People's Committee against Police Atrocities (PCPA) required an amendment to the criminal law, West Bengal Home Secretary Ardhendu Sen said today.
"The PCPA can be banned if the government wants it, but this needs legislation and amendment to the criminal law. There has been no such need as yet in the state," Sen told Bengal Newz.
"Such a decision is partly a political decision and partly an administrative decision," Sen said, replying to a question on Union Home Minister P Chidambaram saying it was upto the state government to decide on a ban on the outfit.
4 feared dead in Bangladesh Tongi factory clashes
Tongi, 31 October : Four persons, including policemen, were feared dead and over 100 others injured on Saturday when angry workers clashed while protesting against a factory’s closure without paying their wages, officials and witnesses said.
Unconfirmed reports stated that two workers and female cops each were killed in the clashes at Tongi area, outskirts of the capital Dhaka, as the closure angered the workers, prompting police to intervene. Police confirmed reports of two deaths but declined to validate whether any of its personnel were killed at the clash in the Nippon Garments factory that eventually spread in nearby areas blocking the capital’s road links. Gazipur’s police chief Mahfuzul Haque Nuruzzaman told a private news channel that two female staff were “missing”.
“The workers were notified that they would be given their outstanding wages today but they saw the lay off notice on reaching the spot,” a local journalist told Bengal Newz over the phone from the scene. Riot police initially tried to confine the workers inside the factory complex but they eventually broke the cordon, and set on fire a number of vehicles on the Dhaka-Mymensingh Highway, he added. Witnesses said police fired rubber bullets and gas canisters at the mob while trying to bring the situation under control. Photos : Reuters, Firoz Ahmed

Withdraw sanctions, release patriots: Cuban envoy tells US
Agartala, 31 October : Cuban Ambassador to India Miguel Angel Ramirez Ramos has urged the US to withdraw the embargo on Cuba and release five of its citizens, who have been in American jail for the past 11 years.
“My country has lost more than $92 billion in trade and commerce since the embargo started in the early 1960s,” Ramos said while addressing a seminar here Friday night on 50 years of Cuban revolution. Ramos, who came here Friday on a two-day visit to Tripura, unveiled a bronze bust of Ernesto Che Guevara, the icon of the Cuban revolution, in Agartala.
The seminar, organised by the CPI(M)'s youth wing DYFI, was also addressed by party’s central committee members Mohammad Salim and Bijon Dhar, who is also the secretary of the Tripura unit of the party. Photo : Desher Katha

Fully Air-conditioned Kolkata Metro by next summer
Kolkata, 31 October : If it’s your dream to see the Metro air-conditioned and running at 180-second intervals, it’s about to come true. By next summer, a majority of the rakes will be fully air-conditioned.
After the Metro started running above ground on the Tollygunge-Garia stretch in August, the issue of AC coaches became crucial. Even under the monsoon sky, waiting at the platforms between Tollygunge and New Garia was sweltering and uncomfortable. In summer, it will be torture.
“As long as the train moves inside the tunnel, we can blow cool air to reduce heat and humidity in compartments. But, when it moves above the ground, some discomfort would be inevitable. Two fully AC rakes are being brought from the Integrated Coach Factory at Chennai shortly. Before next summer, we hope to have 13 AC rakes,” said Metro Railway’s chief PRO R N Mahapatra
. Photo : Avik
Peace would bring in prosperity : WB gov GK Gandhi
Midnapore, 31 October : West Bengal Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi yesterday said peace could bring in prosperity in the under developed areas of the state.
"If there is peace than prosperity would also come in the under developed areas of the state especially in the tribal areas," Gandhi said while addressing the Pulin Bihari birth anniversary celebrations at Sabong in West Midnapore district. He said the development of rural areas was very slow compared to the fast growth of towns and cities. But for development and growth you need a peaceful environment, he said.


Friday, October 30, 2009

5 Ivory pieces worth One crore seized in Tripura, Two held

Agartala, 30 October : Five pieces of ivory worth rupees one crore were seized from a house at a remote tribal hamlet in North Tripura district, police said.
On a tip-off, police raided the house of one person, Birsen Reang, at Shantipara and allegedly recovered the pieces from there yesterday. Police said Birsen and another person, Padmajoy Reang, were arrested and had confessed to have earlier smuggled ivory to neighbouring Bangladesh. Police suspected the duo was involved in the killing of wild tuskers for ivory.

B'desh Govt asked to stop delaying War Crimes Trial
People had waited for long 38 years and now we would like to see our 'blood debts' repaid : Pataka Michhil
Dhaka, 30 October : Pataka Michhil, a pro-Liberation War organisation, on Friday called upon the government to arrest and try the war criminals immediately.
Pataka Michhil activists took out a procession carrying national flags in the morning from the Central Shaheed Minar, assembled in front of the High Court building and held a rally there. Sculptor Ferdousi Priyobhashini kicked off the procession. Motahar Akhand, Sheikh Md Ali Aman, Firoza Begum, Lovely Yasmeen, Sohrab Uddin, Sharif A Kafi, Pataka Michhil president Sheikh Abdur Razzak and others addressed the processionists. The government and its ministers have only been making announcements from time to time, signifying nothing, they said. They should put an end to such mockeries, the speakers demanded. They said they have taken to the street to see the war criminals put on trial.
Pataka Michhil has announced that they will have a similar 'national flag procession' in November in Tangail which will be replicated all over gradually. Photo : Mustafiz Mamun

VB employees & teachers start relay hunger strike
Santiniketan, 30 October : The employees and teachers of Visva Bharati University, who are on strike since 24 October demanding a CBI probe into alleged corruption by Vice Chancellor R K Roy, today started a relay hunger strike to press the demand.
The employees and teachers union said the relay hunger strike would continue till the government announces a CBI probe. The CPI(M) MP from Bolpur Ramchandra Dom met the striking employees and teachers and heard their views.
Later talking to reporters, Dom said "I had come here to express my solidarity with the agitation by the employees and teachers of Visva Bharati University. I think some probe should be ordered into the allegations levelled by the employees and teachers against the Vice-Chancellor. 24 Oct. Photo : Timir Raha

This may be my last term as minister : Pranab Mukherjee
New Delhi, 30 October : Indian Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, the senior most member of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s cabinet, Friday hinted his present tenure may be the last after which he would like to call it quits in politics and indulge in his “large collection of books” waiting for him in his study.
“By the time this tenure is over, ladies and gentlemen, I will be 79,” the finance minister told the audience at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit, when asked where he saw himself after five years and if he had aspirations to become the president of the country. Photo : Reuters

Damage control in Rajdhani Exp hijack drama
CRPF finally files second FIR against Maoists !
Kolkata, Jhargram, 30 October : In an apparent damage control in the Rajdhani Express hijack drama, a second FIR naming Maoists and a group backed by them has been filed by the Central Resreve Police Force (CRPF) after the Railway Police Force (RPF) filed the first report against “unknown persons”. Unlike the railway officials, the CRPF personnel, in their FIR at the Jhargram police station, also mentioned the name of Asit Mahato as one of the kingpins involved in holding up the Delhi-Bhubaneswar train. Asit Mahato is the younger brother of Chhatradhar Mahato, and now heads the People’s Committee against Police Atrocities (PCPA) after his brother’s arrest. The train was held up by people under the banner of PCPA, which also demanded the release of Chhatradhar.
It has put the Centre in a piquant situation where two of its departments took disparate and contrary positions. The CPI(M) leaders, including their general secretary Prakash Karat, accuse the Trinamool Congress of having a clandestine link with the Maoists, which has been vociferously denied by both the TMC and its ally Congress.

Maoists loot Rs.4 lakh from WB Irrigation dept office
Kolkata, 30 October : Suspected Maoists looted around Rs.4 lakh (Rs.400,000) from an irrigation department office in West Midnapore district Friday afternoon, police said.
“Five motorcycle-borne Maoist rebels looted a state irrigation department office at Jhargram sub-division this afternoon,” Inspector General of Police (Law and Order) Surajit Kar Purakayastha told Bengal Newz. He said one of the armed Maoists was caught by the locals and later handed over to police. Four fled from the scene with the money. In another incident, Maoists set a forest department outpost on fire in the wee hours Friday in Shilda forest near Binpur in the district. Maoists also set ablaze a CPI(M) office there.
Nothing suspicious in Sankrail OC's statement : CID
IANS, Kolkata, 30 October : There is "nothing suspicious" about police officer Atindranath Dutta, who was abducted and then released by Maoists last week, the West Bengal Criminal Investigation Division (CID) has said after his interrogation.
"We've got nothing suspicious after interrogating Dutta. We called him to the CID headquarters for some routine questioning," Deputy Inspector General of CID (special operations) Ajoy Ranade told IANS Thursday. Asked about Dutta's frequent statements before the media following his release that was termed a violation of the police code of conduct by some quarters, Ranade said: "We're not looking into that aspect. There's a disciplinary committee of state police to address that issue."
Dutta, the officer-in-charge of Sankrail police station in West Midnapore district, was abducted by a group of armed Maoists 20 October and later released unharmed by the rebels after 51 hours of captivity. Photo : Avijit Mondal

India may allow passage for Nepal trucks to B'desh
Dhaka, 30 October : India is considering granting passage to trucks from Nepal going to Bangladesh, media reports said.
The possibility of a trilateral arrangement was considered when commerce ministers of the three nations met at the South Asian Free Trade Agreement (Safta) ministerial council meeting in Kathmandu Wednesday, United News of Bangladesh (UNB) news agency reported citing an official release. The discussion took place between Bangladesh Commerce Minister Faruk Khan and his Indian counterpart Anand Sharma.
W Bengal-Sikkim Railway Link foundation stone laid by VP & Mamata
Rangpo (Sikkim), 30 October : The most awaited occasion for the people of Sikkim and North Bengal is now over, the 53 Kms Sevok–Rangpo Railway link foundation stone has been flagged by the Vice President of India, Hamid Ansari and Railway Minister Mamta Banerjee at Rangpo today. The estimated cost for building up this project said is Rs 1340 Cr and would be completed by the end of 2015 or earlier said.
The Railway Minister Mamta Banerjee stated that Government is planning to extend Railway links to Darjeeling and Mirik in another phase. The Railway link to Sikkim is a big challenge since during monsoon the NH31A frequently gets blocked due to landslides as such the Rail link could be a justified alternative for such case CM said. The 53 kms broad gauge Sevok–Rangpo Rail link would be a big achievements since there shall be 100 bridges, 13 tunnels, longest of all tunnel would be around 2 km. Photo : Sanjit Mitra

Kolkata-bound Rajdhani Express blocked in Dankuni
Dankuni, 30 October : The Kolkata-bound Rajdhani express was blocked by a group of passengers at Dankuni station in the Hooghly district, about 20 km north west of Kolkata.
The train was finally allowed to move at about 11:30 am. The incident happened at about 9-40 a.m. when the train, proceeding towards Howrah station, was stopped by a CPI(M)-backed passengers’ organization. They agitators were demanding inadequate infrastructure of the railways and lack of local trains resulting in passenger harassment. They demanded that senior officers of the railways should arrive at the spot to address their grievances.
Petrochemical cluster to be developed in WestBengal
New Delhi, 30 October : The India government Thursday signed an agreement with West Bengal to develop a Petroleum, Chemicals and Petrochemicals Investment Region (PCPIR) at Haldia in the state.
'The PCPIR policy is a window to ensure the adoption of a holistic approach to the development of global scale industrial clusters in the petroleum, chemical and petrochemical sectors,' the coal ministry said in a statement. It said the idea was to set up industrial estates in a planned manner with a view to achieve synergies and ensure value-added manufacturing, research and development.
The West Bengal government has estimated an investment of Rs.93,180 crore in the proposed PCPIR, which will be spread over 250 sq km.

UPDF man killed in Rangamati by armed PCJSS men
Rangamati, 30 October : An activist of United People’s Democratic Front (UPDF) was allegedly killed by the armed cadres of Parbatya Chattagram Jana Sanghati Samity (PCJSS) in Rajasthali upazila in Rangamati few hours after his abduction early Friday
UPDF, in a press release issued on Friday morning, said an armed gang of PCJSS men stormed into the house of Mithuching Marma at Khagrachharipara in Rajasthali and picked up Lanka Moni at gunpoint from the house at about 12:00am.(BDST). The kidnappers killed him after taking him to their den in the deep forest, the release said. No detail was mentioned in the press release.
5.2 scale Moderate quake shakes North Bangladesh
Mymensingh, Dhaka, 30 October : An earthquake measuring 5.2 on the Richter scale jolted north Bangladesh, including capital Dhaka early Friday morning.
According to on-duty forecasting officials, it hit at about 0:28 a.m. local time on Friday and the epicenter was monitored at Bhutan, 458 km north of Dhaka. Immediate report of damage of casualty has not been available. But a resident in northern Mymensingh town, said they felt the tremor and many people ran out of their houses. Mild and moderate earthquakes often shake Bangladesh as the country is sitting on an earthquake zone. The experts of the country are fearing a major tremor, which might kill hundreds of thousands of people in Bangladesh.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Bangladesh rounds up 3,000 in anti-militancy drive
Reuters, Dhaka, 29 October : Bangladesh police have detained 3,000 suspected Islamist militants in just two days after a bomb attack on a lawmaker and threats against Indian interests and a top prosecutor, a security official said on Thursday.
Eight grenades, 28 firearms, dozens of ammunition and 30 motorbikes were seized in the nationwide crackdown, launched on Wednesday and the biggest since the government took power in January. "We have detained 15 hardcore Islamists and about 3,000 suspected militants in the past two days," a senior police officer said. READ FULL STORY

FIR in 'Rajdhani hostage' has no mention of Maoists
Kolkata, 29 October : The First Information Report that was filed against the hijackers of the Rajdhani Express didn’t have any mention of any Maoists or the armed wing of the People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCPA).
The FIR filed by the Railway authorities in Midnapore’s Rajdhani hostage case is being seen as a move to shield the Maoists. The FIR was lodged with the Jhargram GRP. The railways on Thursday filed an FIR against “unknown persons” for holding up the train, “heckling passengers” and preventing staff from “discharging their duties for a long time”.
The move is being questioned over why Mamata Banerjee's Railways Ministry has not mentioned any names in the FIR when the Maoists and the PCPA had claimed responsibility for the hijack of the train. Photos : Deepak Malik

Eighteen tribals fell sickafter consuming wild potatoes
Agartala, 29 October : Eighteen tribals, including eight women, have fallen sick in a tribal hamlet in South Tripura district after consuming wild potatoes, official sources said today.
The Reang community tribals, appointed as labourers for construction of roads under NREGA schemes at Tainani, were digging earth when they found some wild potato's and consumed them yesterday, they said. After about two hours, all of them fell sick and were admitted to Tripura Sundari Hospital, where condition of two women is stated to be serious.

Maoists kill 2 CPI(M) cadres, abduct 3 in West Bengal
Midnapore, Kolkata, 29 October : In separate incidents, suspected Maoist killed two activists and kidnapped three others in West Midnapore district, an official said Thursday.
CPI(M) activist Tapan Mudi, abducted from his residence late Wednesday by a group of Maoist, was found shot dead Thursday morning. “Mudi’s body was found at Binpur this morning with bullet injury. And Dilip Mahto, another CPI(M) member of Manidaha local committee, was shot dead last night. He was kidnapped from his house in the Kotwali police station area,” West Midnapore District Magistrate N.S Nigam told Bengal Newz.
In a separate incident, three CPI(M) sympathizers were reported missing from Goaltore area in the district Wednesday evening. “The three are still missing. They were local CPI(M) sympathizers. Police are carrying out search operations to find them,” Nigam said.

First 'Nat'l Tiger Action Plan' adopted in Bangladesh
UNB, Dhaka, 29 October : In a tiger-sized leap for conservation in Bangladesh, the forest department has adopted the first National Tiger Action Plan for the country.
In view of guiding tiger conservation efforts for the next eight years, the first 'Bangladesh Tiger Action Plan 2009-2017' was developed with support from Wildlife Trust of Bangladesh, Zoological Society of London, US Fish and Wildlife Service and University of Minnesota, says a press release yesterday. The action plan contains a set of activities to tackle the threats to tigers in the country.
The conservation activities include strengthening the Sundarbans forest protection and law enforcement to protect tigers, spotted deer and the forest; raising awareness across the nation to encourage sustainable use of natural resources; implementing activities to reduce the number of fatal tiger attack incidents in the Sundarbans and resulting retaliatory killing of tigers by villagers; and increasing the number of tiger conservation researchers.

Above all, the action plan calls for more people and organisations to get involved in active tiger conservation efforts, and an overall strengthening of national skills in tiger conservation to ensure the implementation of the action plan.

Pirated version of Windows 7 on sale at Rs 50per CD
Kolkata, New Delhi, 29 October : Even as Microsoft, the world’s biggest software maker, prepares to launch Windows 7 in India next week, pirated version of the Windows 7 is already being offered by several retail shops in major metros and can even be downloaded for free from various internet websites.
Software piracy is the biggest concern for top software makers, especially in countries such as India and China where consumers are tempted to buy cheaper and at times free versions of the latest software. For instance, the Indian software industry loses nearly $2.8 billion every year because of piracy. The exchequer also loses tax revenues worth around $200 million annually because of unauthorised software sales in the country.
Ex-DIG quizzed in Chittagong's 2004 arms haul case
Chittagong, 29 October : The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) here yesterday interrogated former deputy inspector general (DIG) of police Shamsul Islam in connection with the sensational Chittagong arms haul case.
Shamsul Islam was the DIG of special branch and a member of the five-member probe committee the home ministry formed following the seizure of ten truckloads of firearms on 2 April, 2004. The investigators quizzed Shamsul Islam at the CID Chittagong divisional headquarters at Dampara Police Lines.
They inquired about the high-level probe committee's findings that implicated only five persons creating scope for most of those involved in the incident escape the charge, said the sources in CID.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

New wing of PCPA behind Rajdhani hijack drama ?

PTI, Kolkata, 28 October : A newly-raised armed wing of tribal agitators, aided by Maoists in West Midnapore district, were responsible for the seven-and-a-half half hour hijack drama of the Delhi-bound Rajdhani Express in a jungle area of West Midnapore district.
"The way the incident took place yesterday doesn't suggest that it was planned and executed entirely by Maoists. They were definitely present during the incident, but they didn't participate," a source in the joint forces engaged in anti-Maoist operations in the district told PTI on condition of anonymity. "The Maoists also provided covering fire when the joint forces were trying to go from Jhargram to the trouble spot, Banstala. Their intention was to resist us so that the tribal agitators could leave the spot safely," the source said.
The name of the PCPA's armed wing, according to the district police, was 'Sidhu-Kanu Gana Militia'.

B'desh's 10 mln poor families to get food assistance
Xinhua, Dhaka, 28 October : The Bangladesh government will distribute 10 kilograms of rice each among 10 million poor families of the country under its Vulnerable Group Feeding program within next month, a senior official said Wednesday.
Senior Spokesman of Bangladesh's Food Ministry SM Golam Kibria told Xinhua Wednesday, "The government has already allocated 100,000 tons of rice for distribution among poor families ahead of Eid-ul-Azha." He said district administrations have been asked to collect rice by 15 November for distribution among Vulnerable Group Feeding (VGF) card holders ahead of Eid-ul-Azha. READ FULL STORY
Central forces to be deployed during WB by-elections
Kolkata, 28 October : Central forces will be deployed in West Bengal on 7 November when by-elections to 10 assembly seats take place. These para-military jawans will man all the booths of the 10 assembly segments where elections will take place.
West Bengal chief electoral officer (CEO) Debasish Sen said altogether 19.56 lakh voters will exercise their franchise during the by-elections. Some 49 candidates are in the fray for the 10 assembly seats. Results of the by-elections will be announced on 10 November, he added. Already 17 companies of central forces have arrived in West Bengal. But these, many would be deployed in Maoist-infested Lalgarh and Jangalmahal and they have nothing to do with electioneering.
Of the 10 assembly seats, Rajgunj and Belgachia East belonged to the CPI(M). Sujapur and Goalpokhor were won by the Congress. Kalchini was the seat where RSP had defeated the Congress during 2006 assembly elections. Contai (South), Egra, Serampore, Alipore and Bongaon were won by the Trinamool Congress candidates in 2006.

Keep politics out of BPL listing : CM Buddha to panchayats
Kolkata, 28 October : West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today asked panchayat functionaries to ensure that inclusion in the state's BPL list was made on the basis of a person's economic condition and not on his political affiliation.
"The list must be prepared on the basis of poverty and not political affiliation," Bhattacharjee said, inaugurating a workshop organised by the Department of Panchayats and Rural Development.

PM Hasina eyes German market for drugs, ceramics
Dhaka, 28 October : Bangladesh Prime minister Sheikh Hasina invited German businessmen and entrepreneurs on Wednesday to import medicine and ceramic products from Bangladesh and invest in the country.
The businessmen expressed keen interest in energy and telecoms sectors, the prime minister's press secretary Abul Kalam Azad said after she met with a German delegation. Peter Clasen, member of the OAV-German Asia Pacific Business Association Board and chairman of OAV's Bangladesh committee, led an eight-member delegation. German ambassador Holger Michael was also present during the meeting.
The prime minister said the government was undertaking measures to encourage foreign investment. She pointed out, "Bangladesh now exports ships to Europe." Photo : Mustafiz Mamun

Security forces begin hunt for Rajdhani Exp attackers
Jhargram, 28 October : Security forces Wednesday began combing the jungles near Jhargram in West Midnapore district to hunt down the Maoist-backed tribals who held the Bhubaneswar-Delhi Rajdhani Express and its 667 passengers hostage Tuesday.
Apart from the Antapani jungles near Jhargram town, paramilitary forces and the police conducted door-to-door searches in several adjoining villages to look for Maoists and members of the People's Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA) responsible for the daring attack on the express train. 'We are carrying out search operations to nab the culprits,' said a district police officer. Meanwhile, PCAPA leader Asit Mahato alleged that people were fleeing from 15 villages in the area between Banstala and Manikpara 'as they are unable to bear the torture by the security forces'. Photo : PTI
6 Jamaatul Mujahideen suspects arrested in Naogaon
Naogaon, 28 October : Bangladesh Police arrested six suspected members of banned Islamist outfit 'Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh' early on Wedneasday at Banshbarhia of Raninagar upazila in Naogaon district.
Raninagar police chief Abbas Uddin told UNB, tipped off that some JMB members in a bid to carry out sabotage activities were holding a meeting at Khabiruddin Sheikh's house at Banshbarhia, police surrounded the place at 4:30am(BDST) and arrested six persons.
Trains face regular threat in West Midnapore district
Kolkata, 28 October : Yesterday’s audacious attack on the Bhubaneswar-Delhi Rajdhani express was yet another glaring instance of the supreme vulnerability of railway passengers in what has now emerged as a troubled route in West Midnapore district.
If anything, it had also exposed the huge threat faced by superfast trains recently announced by railway minister Mamata Banerjee like the newly-launched non-stop Sealdah-Delhi Duranto Express or the soon-to-be-launched Delhi-Kolkata Yuva train. Moreover, with tracks supposedly replete with landmines, most trains even running at average speeds are in danger. In case of a superfast or non-stop trains, the looming threat can be much more severe. Small wonder, as many as 13 long-distance trains had to be detained on the Kharagpur-Tatanagar section purely for security reasons.

Afriqiyah launches Dhaka-Tripoli-Dhaka direct flights
Dhaka, 28 October : Afriqiyah Airways - the national airlines of Libya on Tuesday introduced Dhaka-Tripoli-Dhaka direct flights acting as the gateway to Africa and East Europe.
A 300 seater Airbus 330 aircraft of the Afriqiyah Airways landed at Zia International Airport as the first ever African based airlines. It was scheduled to take-off for Tripoli at mid-night on the same day. With Airbus 320-200, 319-11 and 330-200 category aircraft, the national flag carrier of the North African oil-rich state would initially operate one direct flight per week, catching-up Bangladeshi travellers on their way to Africa and East Europe, official said.
A modest inauguration ceremony was organized at the Zia International Airport in presence of high officials of the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) and Afriqiyah Airways' delegation from Libya.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Rajdhani Express secured, Motormans freed : Govt
New Delhi, Kolkata, 27 October : Indian Home secretay on Tuesday evening stated that the driver of the New Delhi-Bhubaneswar Rajdhani Express and his assistant, kidnapped by Maoists-backed tribals at Banstala station between Jhargram and Sarna stations of the SE Railway this afternoon, have been released.
Rajdhani Express has been secured from the Maoists. The drivers too are safe,” home secretary G K Pillai informed media. Pro-Maoists group PCPA had claimed responsibility for the attack stating that the train drivers had defied the bandh call.

Armed tribals blocke train in Jhargram, abduct driver
Motorman has not been abducted by Maoist : Maoist leader Kishenji
Jhargram, 27 October : Two drivers of the New Delhi- Bhubaneswar Rajdhani Express were kidnapped by Maoist-backed tribals at Banstala station between Jhargram and Sarna stations of the South Eastern Railway this afternoon.
The motorman of the train has reportedly been abducted by them. Tribals are blocking the railway track due to a bandh called by the People's Committee Against Police Atrocities. They are holding a day-long bandh to send out a message that they will not put up with police 'invading' their villages. The primary objective of the security forces at the present is to get back the motorman. The second objective is to negotiate with the tribals to remove the blockade. However, conflicting reports state that it is not tribals but Maoists who have blocked the railway tracked. Maoist leader Kishenji has told Bengal Newz that the motorman "must have fled on his own, and has not been abducted by Maoist".
CRPF forces have arrived on the spot and reports state that one CRPF personnel has been injured in the ensuing firing between security forces and the Maoist. The passengers have been majorly inconvenienced due to the ongoing chaos. Last week, the Railway Ministry had decided to run the Bhubaneswar-New Delhi Rajdhani Express six days a week instead of five. Photos : AP

Atindranath Dutta violated rule by speaking to media
Kolkata, 27 October : Police officer Atindranath Dutta, kidnapped by Maoists on 20 October in West Midnapore and subsequently released unharmed, violated service conduct rules by speaking to media about the whole episode, a senior West Bengal police officer said today.
"He has violated the conduct rules by speaking to media and divulging every detail of the case," inspector general of police (Western Range) Kuldeep Singh said, shortly after Dutta was questioned by the CID here for the second consecutive day. "We are probing about any possible role of Dutta and other police personnel of the Sankrail police station in the attack by Maoists. If some anomalies are found, action will be taken," Singh said. "The superintendent of police has served him notice to join duty immediately. He was released on 22 October and we gave him three days to recoup. We found him hale and hearty during his appearance on television after his release," Singh said.
A senior CID officer said, "There were some inconsistencies in his statement and so we questioned him again."
Photos : AP, Avijit Mondal
Indian NHRC summon West Bengal Health secretary
New Delhi, 27 October : The NHRC has directed West Bengal Health Secretary to appear before it following the state government's failure in submitting a report about the steps taken in connection with the death of 14 infants at a government hospital two years ago.
The Commission has directed the state health secretary to appear before it on 23 November. However, it also said his appearance is not required, if the report sought by it is submitted "on or before" 16 November. Fourteen infants had died allegedly due to negligence of doctors at Midnapore Medical College Hospital within a span of four days in May 2007.
Centre to retain security forces to combat Maoists
Kolkata, 27 October : The Centre has assured the West Bengal government that it will not withdraw the 1,700 personnel of central security forces from the three Maoist-hit districts of West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia, even though Assembly elections in adjoining Jharkhand is round the corner.
The assurance was given by Union Home Minister P Chidambaram to West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee when the latter met him in Delhi recently, Bhattacharjee was quoted as having told a Left Front meeting here yesterday.
A CPI state leader, who preferred anonymity, said that the chief minister gave a briefing of his meeting with Chidambaram and expressed his government's firm determination to take on the Maoist challenge. He was also keen to find out the whereabouts of the two policemen missing since 30 July. Photo : AFP

'2004 grenade attack' was conspiracy to kill Hasina
Dhaka, 27 October : The grenade attack on prime minister Sheikh Hasina in 2004 was a conspiracy to kill her using banned Harkatul Jihad (HuJI) which was hatched by opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) leaders at the office of party chief Khaleda Zia's son, according to a media report here today.
The Daily Star in an investigative report said the "chilling conspiracy" to kill Hasina was hatched at Hawa Bhaban, the office of Zia's elder son Tarique Rahman. "On 14 August, 2004 nine people sat at Hawa Bhaban to discuss a recommendation coming from a series of meetings in the past where Hasina's Awami League was branded as the arch enemy for the country and Islam, and it was recommended that she must die.

WB fit case for promulgation of Article 356 : Mamata
Mamata slams Buddhadeb, says he 'misled' nation on abducted cops
IANS, New Delhi, 27 October : Demanding information on two policemen missing for months, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday met the home minister and then accused West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee of misleading the country. The two cops were abducted by Maoists on 30 July.
"I along the families of two missing constables met the home minister. He said he was upset and equally concerned. Though law and order is a state subject, he assured of all possible help in searching for them," Banerjee said after meeting Chidambaram here. The two constables Kanchan Garai and Sabir Ali Mollah had been whisked away by Maoists on 30 July from Lalgarh bazar, and there has been no trace of them since. Last Saturday at a press conference here, Bhattacharjee made a remark regarding the "death" of two policemen. That created a furore in the state, though the chief minister and his officials promptly said he was not referring to these two constables.
Banerjee said Bhattacharjee had misled the country, distorted the facts and misled the people and families of abducted policemen. It's a matter of great concern," she said.

Maoist-sponsored shutdown hits normal life in 3dists
Jhargram, 27 October : An indefinite shutdown called by a pro-Maoist organisation PCAPA disturbed normal life in Jhargram region of Midnapore district in West Bengal on Tuesday.
The shutdown is observed on the call of the People's Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA), a pro-Maoist organisation that represents local tribesmen, against the anti-Maoist operations by para-military forces in the forest areas. Shops, educational institutions and business establishments remained closed in the Jangalmahal area of West Midnapore district. Similar shutdowns were also witnessed in the Bankura and Purulia districts.
Meanwhile, residents said the administration should initiate dialogue instead of using force to solve the issue.

Non-Banking Financial Institutions asked to freeze Hizb-ut-Tahrir's A/Cs
Dhaka, 27 October : The central bank of Bangladesh has ordered the non-banking financial institutions (NBFIs) to freeze accounts of the banned Hizb ut Tahrir Bangladesh, officials told reporters.
The Bangladesh Bank (BB), the country's central bank, issued a fresh order in this connection on Monday and asked the chief executives of the country's 29 NBFIs to find out the organization's accounts and freeze them. The fresh order came a day after the central bank asked the chief executives of the country's 48 commercial banks to freeze accounts of the banned Islamic outfit.
Andaman Viper Island, for historic-pleasure vacation
Andaman & Nicobar Blog, 27 October : Viper Island is a tourist destination as well as a destination with historical importance. Viper Island is the place where British constructed the first jail in British-India. The major attraction in Viper Island is the jail which is open for tourists. Tourists can explore the jail and learn the inhumanity faced by the freedom fighters from the British. Until a new cellular jail was constructed in Port Blair, the jail in Viper Island was the only place convicts where kept. Sher Ali the one who killed Lord Mayo the viceroy of India in 1872 was hanged here. The Island is named after the vessel “Viper” on which Lieutenant Archibald Blair reached this island in 1789.
The accessibility to Viper Island is through Port Blair. Port Blair has an airport which has flights from different parts of India via Cochin and a few flights from Kolkata and Chennai. Port Blair offers local ferries to reach Viper Island. There are several hotels and resorts in Port Blair for tourists to stay.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Tripura boy Somdev Devvarman
Attains career best rankings
PTI, New Delhi, 25 Octobr : Tripura boy Somdev Devvarman continued his upward journey in the ranking list, as India's new tennis star rose by three rungs to career best 121 on Monday.
Somdev, who took a short break last week, had achieved his career best ranking of 124 recently. Also improving his ranking was Prakash Amritraj, who after making the singles quarterfinals at the Calabasas Challenger event in US has jumped 17 places to 232. Indias Sania Mirza maintained her singles ranking (58) but lost two positions in the doubles list to stand at 38 in the new WTA list, issued on Monday.

Maoist again kill CPI(M) leader in West Midnapore
Midnapore, 26 October : Suspected Maoist guerrillas shot dead a CPI(M) leader in West Bengal’s violence-hit West Midnapore district Monday afternoon, police said.
Pratap Nayak was shot dead by a group of motorcycle-borne unidentified miscreants suspected to be Maoists near Binpur bazaar when he was returning home in the afternoon,” a police official said. Nayak was a local CPI(M) leader and member of the Singhpur Panchayat committee.

Kishenji had contacted me, says WBengal minister Kshiti Goswami
Kolkata, 26 October : West Bengal's PWD minister Kshiti Goswami today said Maoist leader Kishenji had contacted him three months back alleging "atrocities" by combined security forces in Lalgarh and adjacent areas.
He said Kishenji had rung him up when he was in Agartala three months back. "I had told him that such talks can not be held over telephone and suggested that he sit with the state government to submit his views and proposals," the senior RSP leader told reporters here at the end of Left Front meeting here. Meanwhile, Left Front chairman Biman Bose said he is not aware of such talks. "Maybe Goswami had talked to the chief minister about this," he said.

Tripura SR troopers secure top Commando honours
IANS, Agartala, 26 October : Troopers of the Tripura State Rifles (TSR), who played a key role in curbing terrorism in the state, have bagged all the 14 top positions in the Police Commando Instructor Course (PCIC) at the National Security Guards (NSG) campus in Manesar, Haryana.
“The daredevil TSR troopers bagged all 14 top positions in the 75-day course held earlier this month at the NSG academy in Manesar,” Deputy Inspector General Nepal Das told IANS Monday. “The TSR jawans outshone their counterparts from Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Orissa, Assam, Delhi and Chhattisgarh in quick shooting, commando actions, running and other events.”
The course ended 21 October and they returned home 24 October. Congratulating the troopers, Tripura police chief Pranay Sahay asked the elite combatants to train other TSR personnel group by group so that any extremist elements in the northeastern state bordering Bangladesh could be thwarted. Photo : Reuters

"Darjeeling Toy Train" receives Vestibule Coaches
Darjeeling, 26 October : World famous toy train of Darjeeling in West Bengal has received vestibule coaches, which will now enable it’s passengers to move from one coach to another coach easily. Earlier the passengers had to jump off the train to enter another compartment of the train.
Speaking to media after conducting the first successful trial run, Subrata Nath, Director of Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR), disclosed it to media persons on Sunday. “We are going to introduce vestibule coaches where a person can move from one coach to another coach. And we are taking a trial run. We have already taken one trial. We will take another one or more trials. This will be the first time in any of the India hill railway that vestibule coaches are introduced,” said Subrata Nath, Director, DHR.
This narrow gauge train is referred as ‘Toy’ because of its relatively small size and snail pace. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR), which runs the toy train, was conferred world heritage status in 1999. It is the second railway line in the world to be declared a UNESCO heritage site, the first being the Zemerin in Austria.

Mamata eyes Lalgarh’s missing cops to put WB govt on backfoot
Kolkata, 26 October : The Maoist attack on Sankrail police station and the continuing situation in Lalgarh is now slowly snowballing into a major political issue.
The Opposition Trinamool Congress is gearing up to highlight the issue of two constables, who had gone missing from a police station in Lalgarh on 30 July. Leader of the Opposition in the state Assembly Partho Chatterjee will escort the family members of the two missing constables Sabir Ali Mollah and Kanchan Gorai to New Delhi on Monday. “We will ensure justice for the family members of the two constables, who are still missing in Lalgarh. The state government is making no attempt to rescue them,” said Chatterjee.
Apart from meeting Union Home Minister P Chidambaram, the family members are expected to hold a press conference in New Delhi. The Trinamool has also planned to launch an agitation demanding the rescue of the two constables.

Massive green drive to save forests by Tripura govt
Agartala, 26 October : The Tripura government has decided to launch a massive afforestation drive across the state, particularly in two categories of forest areas, given the rapidly denuding forest cover and environmental degradation.
All kinds of trees, especially those with rich timber content like sal, teak, mahogany, sandhi, gamai, koroi, etc will be planted across the forest areas of the state. This was disclosed by the forest minister Jiten Chowdhury in a speech delivered at Tepania under Udaipur subdivision of South Tripura after inauguration of two newly built tree houses, “Prashanti” and “Banbithi”, in the eco park. The houses have been built atop trees in the Tepania eco park to attract tourists.
“We have known since long that 60 per cent of Tripura’s geographical areas are under forests. However, the state’s forest cover has calamitously come down and there is hardly any deep forest cover fit for habitation of wild animals. This was exposed by a census based on satellite photography,” Choudhury said.

Suspension of work at Hindustan Engineering & Ind.
Howrah, 26 October : The management of famous Hindustan Engineering and Industries Ltd (HEI) of Satragachi in Howrah put out the suspension of work notice at the factory gate, official sources said today.
The HEI mainly manufactures wagons, the sources said. The HEI management in the suspension of work notice said" they have to suspend operations in the factory as they were incurring losses.
Suchitra Sen Film Fest in her Bangladesh hometown
Dhaka, 26 October : A festival of films starring legendary Bengali actress Suchitra Sen is being hosted in her Pabna hometown, where a lawmaker has demanded that her ancestral home be preserved for posterity.
The home of the actress is now under "illegal occupation" and must be freed, demanded Bangladeshi actress and lawmaker Kobori Chowdhury who opened the week-long festival. Chowdhury, along with film director Soovas Dutt, opened the festival to honour the screen legend who lives as a recluse in Kolkata, The Daily Star said Monday. Along with the festival's opening Friday, a rally was organised that was joined by thousands, including cultural activists and students. They marched through the streets before converging at the Town Hall premises for the festival.
The festival kicked off with the screening of "Harano Sur", one of Suchitra's better-known films. Eight films, including "Agni Parikkha", "Deep Jele Jai", "Shilpi", "Shath Pakey Bandha", "Shap Mochon" and "Shagorika" will be screened at the festival.

Mohiuddin Babar to chair Asian CSR jury
Dhaka, 26 October : Mohiuddin Babar, columnist, researcher on CSR and a broadcaster, has been selected by the Manila-based Asian Forum on CSR to chair the jury for Asian CSR Awards for 2009.
The Asian Institute of Management in the Philippines organises the conferences of Asian CSR Forum in different Asian cities every year, says a press release. Babar is heading the panel of judges drawn from academia, NGOs and think tanks from different countries in the region. The Forum awards businesses in the region for remarkable practices and achievements in the field of CSR, including best workplace practices, health, education and environment.
A total of 132 business establishments from 14 countries are in the race for the prestigious regional award this year. Earlier, Babar was made a judge for the awards in 2007 and 2008. He is currently working on a project on Climate Change Adaptations and CSR.
Maoists network can't be cracked overnight : WBP
Kolkata, 26 October : Cracking the Maoists network in West Bengal will not be easy, top police and administrative officials admit days after the rebels cocked a snook at the authorities with the dramatic abduction of a cop in Sankrail near the Lalgarh region.
"It would not be right to call the Lalgarh operation totally successful right now. The Maoist network can't be cracked overnight and it's not a very easy task either. You have to give some more time," Surajit Kar Purakayastha, the state inspector general of police (Law and Order), said. It has been over four months since a massive security offensive was launched in the Lalgarh region of West Midnapore district to flush out Maoists. While it has not seen much success yet, police insist that investigations into the rebel network are yielding positive results.
"The outcome of the investigation has been satisfactory, especially after the arrest of tribal leader Chhattradhar Mahato," Purakayastha said.

Six 'Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh' men arrested
Dhaka, Khulna, 26 October : Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) on Sunday night arrested two Majlis-e-Shura members and four other members of Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) after busting their dens in Narayanganj, Khulna and Jamalpur.
The two arrested Majlis-e-Shura members were identified as Mehedi Hasan Abir, in-charge of the country's southern part of the outfit, and Badal. The four other arrestees could not be named immediately. Maj Shakhawat Hossain, deputy director of the Legal and Media Wing of RAB, confirmed the arrests to The Daily Star and said Badal was recently included in the Majlis-e-Shura (top decision making body) of the JMB. During the drives, the elite crime busters also recovered grenade bodies and explosives from their processions.
Further details about the arrest could not be known initially.

Cox's Bazar Airport set for expansion of runway
Cox’s Bazar, 26 October : The Bangladesh government has moved to expand the runway of Cox’s Bazar airport, aiming to upgrade it to international standards and offer foreign holidaymakers a hassle-free trip to the world’s longest unbroken sea beach.
“We have taken steps to expand the runway at Cox’s Bazar airport and develop other facilities,” GM Quader, the civil aviation and tourism minister, told The Daily Star. Airliners and tour operators welcomed the move but said the government should also develop other tourism-related infrastructure and recreation facilities to lure overseas tourists. Officials of the ministry however said the government had planned to develop an exclusive tourism zone for foreign tourists, refurbish the golf course to international standards and establish a cricket stadium in the beach town.
In line with the move to upgrade the airport, its runway will be expanded from 6,775 feet to 9,000 feet long and the width from 125 feet to 200 feet. Various navigational instruments will be installed, with the total cost estimated at Tk 302 crore.