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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Park Street's Stephen Court fire toll highest-ever in Kolkata

PTI, Kolkata, 28 March : With the death of thirty three people so far, the Stephen Court fire has recorded the highest-ever death toll in any fire incident in the metropolis even as search for the missing is still on.
"Never in the past, any fire has caused so much loss of lives in Kolkata either in any residential premises or any commercial complexes, Fire Services Minister Pratim Chatterjee told PTI here. "In my 14-year stint as minister, this is the worst fire tragedy that claimed so many lives," Chatterjee said.
The highest fire death-count was recorded at Sodepur in North 24-parganas district, bordering Kolkata, where a blaze claimed 13 lives in a ready-made garment centre on 16 August, 2008. 11 workers were charred to death in a locked room during a fire at a leather goods factory at Topsia in east Kolkata on 12 November, 2006. Photos : Avijit Mondal

Govt may seek Interpol help to track down war criminals
Dhaka, 28 March : Bangladesh government, if necessary, will seek help from Interpol to track down the accused and identified war criminals now in abroad.
Home Minister Sahara Khatun told reporters while attending an annual sports programme at a city school on Sunday, reports ATN Bangla. She also urged all to cooperate the newly formed war crimes tribunal by giving information about the war criminals.

India and Bangladesh govt to work jointly on Sundarbans
New Delhi, 28 March : India and Bangladesh will launch a joint programme, the first such in South Asia, to save the Sundarbans from the onslaught of climate change.
Sundarbans, a world heritage site, is spread over 10,000 km in the two countries, and is home to several hundred tigers and half of rare mangrove varieties found in India, has been facing the risk of disappearance because of climate change induced rising sea levels, media report today said. "There will be a joint forum between India and Bangladesh for protection of Sundarbans ecosystem that spreads from India to Bangladesh," Indian Environment and Forest Minister Jairam Ramesh told Bengal Newz.
Ramesh and his Bangladeshi counterpart Dr Hasan Mahmud will launch the joint programme in Kolkata next week, during which officials from the two countries will work out details of the programme. "They (forest officials) will work in close coordination to conserve the fragile ecosystem of the Sundarbans". According to the ministry officials, the two countries would work on conducting a joint census of tigers in the Sundarbans, 60% of which are in Bangladesh.
"As tigers migrate from India into Bangladesh and vice-versa, correct estimation of population may not be possible without a coordinated effort," an official said. Indian Sundarbans have 60-70 tigers. Another area of cooperation is adaptation to climate change.
West Bengal police not sure about leader Kishenji's injury
PTI, Kolkata, 28 March : Though Maoists have sent an e-mail to Orissa chief minister's office hinting towards injuries sustained by their top leader Kishenji in an encounter, the West Bengal police is not sure if he was indeed injured and suspect it might be an attempt to divert attention.
"We still don't have any information about injury to Kishenji or Bikram and so I cannot tell anything about this," West Midnapore superintendent of police Manoj Verma told PTI. He said this could be a ploy by the Maoists to divert attention of the police from the operation against them on Bengal-Jharkhand border so that they get time to prepare for a bigger assault.
"They have done it before and so this is not a new thing for them," Verma said.
Air India snag leaves Thai monks stranded at Agartala
Agartala, 28 March : As many as 44 Buddhist monks from Thailand were stranded Sunday at the Agartala airport after their Kolkata-bound Air India flight was cancelled due to technical snag, officials said here.
'The monks came to Tripura from Thailand last week to visit Buddhist religious places in the northeastern state. On Sunday they were scheduled to go to Bodh Gaya in Bihar via Kolkata but their Air India flight was cancelled due to a technical hitch,' an Air India official told Bengal Newz here.
Tripura govt constitutes 'police accountability commission'
IANS, Agartala, 28 March : The Tripura government has constituted a police accountability commission to ensure 'impartial and efficient' policing, an official said here Sunday.
'The four-member commission, constituted Saturday, would formulate guidelines for efficient, effective, responsive and accountable policing and identify performance indicators,' the police official told IANS. Former Tripura advocate general D.P. Kundu was appointed as its chairman while social worker Champa Dasgupta, and legal experts Bimal Bhowmik and Dipak Kumar Chowdhury are its members.
The official said: 'The commission will look into allegations of serious misconduct against police personnel or any other case referred to it by the government, the director general of police or any member of the public.' He said Tripura was the second state in northeast India after Assam to constitute such a commission.
File Photo : Parthajit Dutta
Chittagong Port workers go on eight-hour work abstention
Chittagong, 28 March : Dock Workers’ Federation of Chittagong Port started an eight-hour work abstention programme from 8:00am(BDST) on Sunday demanding reinstatement of terminated workers.
The workers gathered in front of Bandar Bhaban and besieged the building in the morning to press their demand, reports our staff correspondent in Chittagong. Cargo handling activities inside the port remain suspended following the siege. The workers said an inter-ministerial meeting between labour and shipping ministries on 26 October last year decided to appoint the terminated workers and also formed a committee in this regard.
Indo-Bangla River Initiative: WB begins to dredge Ichamati
Benapole, 28 March : Irrigation and Waterways Minister of West Bengal Subhash Naskar yesterday inaugurated dredging of the common river Ichamati.
The dredging of 20-kilometre stretch of the river at a cost of Rs 35.68 crore would be conducted from Pipili area of West Bengal to Goga, an bordering area in Benapole. Indian North 24 Parganas District Board President Bharat Das presided the inauguration ceremony of the dredging project. A joint delegation of the two countries on 9 March visited 20 km stretch of the Ichamati. Considering the mid-stream the border, it was decided that 7.5 metres of each side of the river would be widened.
Indian Ganges Flood Control Commission's Prashanto Kumar and Executive Engineer Sushanto Chatterjee of West Bengal Irrigation Department and Bangladesh Water Develop Board Executive Engineer Motaher Hossain and Executive Engineer (mechanical) Abdul Hye would supervise the dredging work.
The first phase of the dredging would be done from Bornoberia to Pipili (11km) before the rainy season sets in. The second phase would start form November. Photo : Courtesy
Tripura eager to export surplus power to Bangladesh
Dhaka, 28 March : Tripura is keen to export a major chunk of its gas-generated power to energy-hungry Bangladesh after meeting its own demand, its Chief Minister Manik Sarkar said Saturday.
The landlocked Indian state can export 304 megawatt of its surplus electricity to Bangladesh only after Dhaka and New Delhi strike a deal, the visiting chief minister told the reporters in the city.