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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Rail to launch special train to Bangladesh on Tagore anniversary

Name could be "Sanskriti Exp : Epar Bangla Opar Bangla"
New Delhi, 24 February : Indian Railway will launch a new train service linking West Bengal with Bangladesh to mark the 150th birth anniversary of Ravindranath Tagore in May next year.
Indian railway minister Mamata Banerjee announced the launch of the special service across the Bangladesh-India border while presenting the rail-budget for 2010-2011 in the Lok Sabha, the Lower House of the India's Parliament, on Wednesday. "Tagore is the only poet in the world whose poems have been adopted as National Anthems by two countries, Amar Sonar Bangla for Bangladesh and Jana Gana Mana for India. Tagore lived and produced many of his literary jewels in undivided Bengal," Banerjee told the House.
"In homage to this great savant and to strengthen the maitree (friendship) between Bangladesh and India, it is proposed to run a special train in consultation with the Government of Bangladesh across the border so that the two countries share the opportunity of celebrating his 150th birth anniversary jointly," she added. Officials of the Indian railway ministry said that the new train could be named the 'Sanskriti Express : Epar Bangla Opar Bangla".

2,500 years needed to fulfil rail budget promises: Left Front
Kolkata, 24 February : West Bengal's ruling Left Front Wednesday denounced Mamata Banerjee's railway budget as a political gimmick with an eye on the state's assembly poll next year, saying 'it would take 2,500 years' to fulfil the promises that had been made.
CPI(M) that leads the Left Front slammed the budget for making fake promises without allocating funds. 'The projects announced in the railway budget would take 2,500 years to become a reality. They don't have money and they have already announced that they will build hospitals, universities and run hundreds of new trains. Where will the funds come from ?' CPI(M) central committee member Shyamal Chakraborty asked.

No hike in fares, 54 new trains in "Indian Railway Budget"
PTI, New Delhi, 24 February : The Indian Railway Budget for 2010-11 on Wednesday proposed no increase in passenger fares and freight rates while reducing the tariff by Rs 100 per wagon in transportation of foodgrains, kerosene and fertilisers to tackle the price rise.
The budget, presented by Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee in the Lok Sabha, also proposed to reduce the maximum limit of service charge on e-booking of tickets to Rs 10 for sleeper class and Rs 20 for AC class. The present maximum charge is Rs 15 and Rs 40 respectively.
This is the seventh year in a row that passenger fares have not been raised.Announcing a slew of concessions for passengers, Banerjee proposed free travel for cancer patients going for treatment in three-tier AC and sleeper class and continuance of concessions for students of madrassas and journalists.
The minister said 101 new suburban services will be introduced in Mumbai and more services will be launched in Kolkata and Chennai. Special tourist trains called 'Bharat Teerth' will be started on 16 routes while six long-distance non-stop Duronto Express and four short-distance Duronto day trains will be introduced, the Railway Minister said.
The budget estimates for 2010-11 pegs the freight loading target at 944 million tonnes, an increase of 54 million tonnes over current year's revised estimates. The passenger traffic is likely to grow by 5.3 per cent. Photos : Reuters, UNI

West Bengal Police's SIM card used to make Kishenji call !
Kolkata, 24 February : A SIM card once belonging to a policeman was used by Maoist chief Kishenji's aide on Monday to call up media houses and offer a conditional 72- day ceasefire.
The police tracked the calls made on Kishenji's behalf by Raju and found that the SIM card owner was constable Shishir Kanti Nag who had been abducted by the rebels from Lalgarh last September. The Maoists had, in return, demanded the release of People's Committee Against Police Atrocities leader Chhatradhar Mahato. Nag was later released the night he was abducted.

Preparation on for holding war crimes trial : B'desh Law Min
Dhaka, 24 February : Bangladesh Law Minister Shafique Ahmed on Wednesday said the government has taken all necessary logistic arrangement for starting the trial of 1971’s war crimes.
The appointment of the investigators will be completed within March followed by the appointment of prosecutors, chairman and members of the tribunal, he said. He said this at a press briefing in the morning at the old High Court building where the tribunal will be set up. Shafique also expressed the hope that the trial would begin between March and April.

Shouts & smiles, as Mamata reads her Rail budget speech
IANS, New Delhi, 24 February : Combative, hectoring and ploughing on regardless of the commotion around her, Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee was at her feisty best Wednesday when she presented the railway budget for a marathon two hours.Dressed in a white and green sari and her trademark rubber slippers, Banerjee presented her second budget speech in the Lok Sabha with a constant din from the opposition that attacked her for being pro-West Bengal.
But she was not one to be deterred. "Where is Cuttack?" she shouted at opposition MPs. At various other points in the speech, during which her Bengali pronunciation led to some laughter, she sternly asked MPs to quieten down.While Speaker Meira Kumar asked the MPs to sit down and let Banerjee finish her presentation, the minister did her bit by frequently interrupting her speech to tell them to let her complete the job. "I am also a human," a frustrated Banerjee said at one point. And carried on gamely, not even stopping for a sip of water. Photo : UNI
Railway line to connect Port Blair - Diglipur in Andaman
Port Blair, Kolkata, 24 February : After all struggles and fights in the Parliament, the lone Member of Parliament of A&N Islands was finally successful in making the Indian Railway Minister Mamta Banerjee commit for a railway line connecting Port Blair to Diglipur.
Mamata Banerjee while presenting the Railway Budget 2010-11 announced today that the Railway Line Project to connect Port Blair and Diglipur is under consideration. On getting the approval from the Planning Commission, it will be implemented, she said. It was also recorded that Mamta Banerjee while making the announcement looked at the Shri Bishnu Pada Ray with a smile, who has been raising his voice in the Lok Sabha for the fulfillment of this demand.
Banned cough syrup worth Rs 4 L seized in Agartala airport
Agartala, 24 February : A banned cough syrup worth Rs 4 lakh has been seized from the cargo base of Agartala airport, officials said on Wednesday.
"Acting on a tip-off, a team of police personnel conducted a search operation at cargo base of the airport last evening and seized 4000 bottles of cough syrup, phensidyle," Officer-in-Charge of Airport police station, S S Kar said. The bottles kept in 20 trunks were smuggled from New Delhi airport in a flight, he said. "Nobody claimed the consignment and the bottles were handed over to customs authorities," Kar said. No one was arrested in this connection, the police said.

Spl court's BDR Pilkhana carnage trial adjourned till 15April
Dhaka, 24 February : The special court, formed to hold the trial of BDR Pilkhana carnage, on Wednesday adjourned the trial against 86 mutineers of Dhaka Sector Rifle headquarters till 15 April.
The court is scheduled to resume at 9:00am(BDST) on 15 April to hold hearing on the charge framing in the BDR mutiny case. Major Matiur Rahman, prosecutor in the case and officer-in-charge of Dhaka Sector Rifle, informed the court about the allegations brought against the BDR personnel. He said according to the BDR Act, the accused were involved in mutiny and they should be tried as per the act. The court asked the prosecutor to produce all the accused before the court on 15 April. The court also asked the prosecutor to publish advertisement in newspaper within seven days asking the accused to surrender before it.
A total of 74 people including 57 army officers killed during the mutiny in Pilkhana headquarters on 25-26 February. Photos : Nashirul Islam

Maoists backed organisation PCPA calls for weeklong strike
Jhargam, 24 February : Maoists backed People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCPA) has called for a weeklong strike across West Bengal starting from Wednesday to protest against the killing of their top leader in an encounter.
On Tuesday, the PCPA leader Lalmohan Tudu was shot dead during a so-called encounter with security forces in trouble hit Lalgarh area. According to police, Tudu was killed while leading an attack on a camp of the security forces in Kantapahari. But the PCPA claims that the forces killed him near his house. Shops and other business establishments in Maoists dominated areas were closed and public transport also remained off road today.
Solar power changes lifestyle of char people in 3 upazilas
New Age, Noakhali, 24 February : Solar power has brought about a change in the lifestyle of char people in three upazilas of Noakhali, Bangladesh providing them with a little touch of modern world.
The char people, who had never thought of power supply in their areas, now switch on lights to remove darkness from their houses and watch TV thanks to solar power. Some 3,800 solar power connections have so far been provided to nine villages in three upazilas by a Grameen Bank project named Grameen Shakti, according to project official sources. About 4,200 households and shops are benefiting from solar power by taking parallel connections, the sources said.
Many users, while talking to New Age, said solar power has greatly changed their lifestyle and that they are very happy with the solar power connections. “Now we can light our houses with bulbs, use electric fans and watch TV. There is no disruption in supply of solar power,” they said. န Photo : Grameen Shakti
14-member Meghalaya team to visit Bangladesh tomorrow
PTI, Shillong, 24 February : Meghalaya Chief Minister D D Lapang will lead a 14-member delegation tomorrow to Dhaka, where he is expected to meet Bangladesh premier Sheikh Hasina and raise the issue of North east militants taking shelter in that country.
Lapang, who will be accompanied by his two deputies Mukul Sangma and B M Lanong, besides top government officials, will also discuss a host of issues ranging from improvement of connectivity and cooperation in tourism, health care and education with Hasina and Bangladesh foreign and industry ministers during the four-day visit, his advisor Anish Gandhi told PTI. "We will be attending the international trade fair organised by India Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

70 held by Joint forces members in Khagrachhari curfew
Khagrachhari, 24 February : Joint forces members during the overnight 10-hour curfew arrested 70 people, including 42 indigenous and 28 Bangalee settlers, from Khagrachhari district town and its adjacent areas in connection with Tuesday’s violence that left a Bangalee settler dead.
Khagrachhari Municipality Councillor Abdur Rab Raza was among the arrested, reports our Khagrachhari correspondent. The curfew, which was imposed Tuesday night following the eruption of fresh clashes between Bangalee settlers and indigenous people, withdrawn at about 7:00am(BDST).
The authorities however did not withdraw the section 144 that was also imposed on Tuesday. File Photo : Focus Bangla


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