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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Crucial civic polls for 81 municipalities in West Bengal tomorrow

Kolkata, 29 May : The crucial electoral battle for 81 municipalities seen as the 'semi-final' to next year's West Bengal assembly elections, the run up to which was marked by acrimony between allies Trinamool Congress and Congress, will be held tomorrow.
The 141-ward Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) is the bone of contention between the two allies with Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee and WBPCC President Pranab Mukherjee trading barbs thick and fast. For the ruling Left Front, which is in power in most of the civic bodies, it will be a litmus test after the string of electoral defeats since the 2008 panchayat polls and last year's Lok Sabha elections to ascertain whether it will reap dividends from the decision of Congress and Trinamool Congress to go alone in the civic elections.
As for Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, it will also be a crucial test to ascertain the party's strength prior to the assembly elections. The war of words between the Trinamool Congress and Congress started with the former unilaterally announcing its candidates for the KMC and offering the ally just 24 of the 141 wards. The Congress had demanded 51 wards, including the ones where it either came first or second in the last KMC poll held in 2005. Photos : Indrajit Dutta, Shankar Mondal

Gyaneswari toll to 114, Mamata alleges political conspiracy
Jhargram, Kolkata, 29 May : Indian Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee today alleged there was a "political conspiracy" behind the Gyaneswari Express derailment without blaming Maoists for the disaster and demanded a CBI probe, as the toll climbed to 114.
As Banerjee and arch rival CPI(M) indulged in a blame game, the train's driver B K Das filed a FIR with the Government Railway Police(GRP) unit in Jhargram in which he referred to an explosion on the track when the Howrah-Kurla Lokmanya Tilak Gyaneshwari Super Deluxe Express derailed in West Midnapore district, at around 1:30 am.
The FIR was filed against "unidentified miscreants" under sections 150 (maliciously wrecking or attempting to wreck a train) and 151 (damage to or destruction of certain railway properties)of the Railway Act but made no mention of Maoists.
Additional Director General Government Railway Police (GRP) Dilip Mitra said the FIR appeared to be not adequate. Photos : AP, Avijit Mondal

2 killed as abandoned warehouse collapses on Strand Rd.
Kolkata, 29 May : Two persons were killed and 10 others injured when a century-old abandoned warehouse of the Kolkata Port Trust collapsed on Strand Road this afternoon, Kolkata Municipal Corporation sources said.
The building, which had heritage status, was damaged in a fire last year.
City Mayor Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya, who visited the spot, said the KMC had earlier issued a notice to the KoPT for dismantling the dilapidated warehouse. "However, KoPT did not adhere to the KMC notice," the Mayor said. Photos : Shankar Mondal

Hasina urges peacekeepers to uphold Bangladesh’s image
UNB, Dhaka, 29 May : Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday urged the Bangladeshi peacekeepers working under the UN umbrella to carry out their missions with utmost sincerity, upholding the dignity of the national flag and brightening the image of the motherland.
Addressing a function marking the International Day of the UN Peacekeepers at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre, she also urged the blue helmets to ensure their effective participation in the worldwide peacekeeping activities and earn more fame and pride for the nation. The prime minister assured that her government would provide all out assistance to the armed forces - whatever they need to improve their standard and image.
“We’ll generously provide all sorts of assistance to you. I know this has risk… but I don’t care as I will do this for the interest of the nation,” she said.

Tripura Gramin Bank posts record profit, highest among 84
Agartala, 29 May : Tripura Gramin Bank, one of India's 84 Regional Rural Banks, posted a net profit of Rs.3,535 lakh, the highest among the RRBs in eastern and northeastern India, in the last financial year, the bank's chairman said Saturday.
'The bank with 111 branches across the state has achieved a profit of Rs.2,071 lakh in the previous FY and Rs.3,535 lakh in 2009-10,' TGB chairman Nilmani Gangopadhyay told reporters here. He claimed the TGB also attained a record in per branch business and per staff business with Rs.2,567 lakh and Rs.438 lakh respectively in fiscal 2009-10.
Security tightened in Darjeeling hill town
Darjeeling, 29 May : Security has been beefed up here with CRPF and police personnel posted in strength in view of the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha's (GJM) proposed rally to demonstrate its show of strength after the brutal killing of Gorkha leader Madan Tamang.
Adequate security measures have been made in the entire hill town to maintain law and order due to the GJM rally as police said they would take no chance. Police was also posted in strength at North Point School ground, venue of the rally.
GJM president Bimal Gurung had earlier announced to gather five lakh people at tomorrow's rally as most of the political parties, particularly CPI(M), claimed that Morcha's support was diminishing after the angry protests following the murder of Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League chief on 21 May.
Five people missing in Bogra boat capsized in river Jamuna
Borga, 29 May : At least five people went missing after a boat capsized in the river Jamuna near Sariakandi upazila of Borga Friday evening.
Halima Begum, who survived the accident, said the boat carrying 15 to 16 passengers sank in the river near Kalatali area at about 6:30pm when they were making a journey by boat after attending a bridal party. Upazila Nirbahi Officer of Sariakandi Avijit Roy however put the number of missing at six.
Smoke from Howrah-bound Dn Rajdhani Exp triggers panic
Durgapur, 29 May : There was panic among passengers of the 2306 Dn Rajdhani Express when smoke was seen emanating from one of its wheels today.
As the train was entering Durgapur station around 10.32am, a cabin man noticed smoke emanating from a wheel. The train was stopped at Durgapur and checked. On examination, it was found that a plastic bag which had got entangled in a wheel was causing the smoke as it brushed against the track. It was removed and the train left Durgapur for Howrah at 10.44am.
Bangladesh to administer multi-donor climate fund of 2008
Dhaka, 29 May : Not the World Bank, Bangladesh itself will administer a multi-donor fund formed in 2008 to finance climate adaptation programmes in the country, State Minister for Environment and Forests Hasan Mahmud said on Saturday.
The Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) created in London will be renamed as Bangladesh Climate Change Resilient Fund (BCCRF), he said. "A declaration in this regard will come soon." It was reported in a UK newspaper that Bangladesh refused to take the fund blaming the WB's authority in administering it. Civil society organisations in Bangladesh also opposed it, saying the administering of the fund by the WB will cost some 10 to 15 percent of the money.
Hasan said there would be a governing body comprised of the ministers for environment, finance, agriculture and disaster management to administer the fund totally made of grant.
He was speaking at a news briefing at the ministry’s conference room organised ahead of the two-day Asia Conference of the Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA) beginning on Sunday in Dhaka.