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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

12 Maoists killed in an encounter at a forest in West Midnapore

Midnapore, Kolkata, 16 June : In a major crackdown on Maoists, security forces killed at least twelve Maoists, including three women, in an encounter at a forest in West Midnapore district early Wednesday morning.
After getting a tip-off that a group of 42 Maoists had taken shelter in Ranja forest near Duli village in the Salboni police station area, the joint forces - comprising Central Reserve Police Force, Border Security Force, COBRA and the state police - raided the area, West Midnapore District Magistrate N S Nigam said.

Nigam said the Maoists first opened fire and the forces retaliated, killing the eight Maoists, including three women. Eight bodies had been recovered, but were yet to be identified.
The entire area from Bhadutala to Pirakata in Salboni along the forest has been declared off limits to people and vehicles following the encounter. The vigil along the border with Jharkhand had been intensified, the DM said, adding more Maoists might be hiding in the area.
Arms including four self-loading rifles, three AK-47s, two AK-56s and cartridges had been recovered, Nigam said, adding some landmines, detonators and IEDs have also been seized from the spot. One person has been arrested. Nigam said those killed were between 18 and 25 years of age. Additional reinforcements from state police and CRPF have been sought. Photos : AFP, Arpan Mukherjee

Bangladesh researchers finally decodes Jute Plant Genome
Dhaka, 16 June : Bangladeshi researchers have successfully decoded the Jute Plant Genome.
With the successful sequencing of jute genome, Bangladesh has become only the second country after Malaysia, among the developing nations, to achieve such a feat. Researchers from Dhaka University, Bangladesh Jute Research Institute and Software Company DataSoft in collaboration with Centre for Chemical Biology University of Science Malaysia and University of Hawaii, USA has decoded the genome.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina made the announcement of Bangladesh’s scientific adherence in the Parliament on Wednesday.
Dubbing it a ‘historic scientific advancement’, Sheikh Hasina said the discovery would rejuvenate the lost heritage of ‘golden fibre’ as gene mapping of jute would now help breeders develop jute varieties resistant to pests and climate adversities.

APL Logistics opens new container freight station in B'desh
Dhaka, 16 June : APL Logistics, the logistics arm of Neptune Orient Lines, has opened its new 114,000sqft container freight station in Bangladesh.
The new facility is 6km from the port at Chittagong. It is located near two special economic zones; the Chittagong and Karnaphuli export processing zones. The freight station replaces two other locations that APL Logistics shared previously with competing logistics providers. The new station will be used only for APL Logistics's customers. APL Logistics said that the station's location and operation will improve transit time efficiency for shippers and contain costs.
Siddharth Adya, managing director for APL Logistics in South Asia, said: "This is the most efficient, up-to-date facility of its kind in the country. It has been built exclusively for our customers and there's room to grow as we grow our business here."

Mamata loyalist TMC's Shovan takes over as Kolkata Mayor
Kolkata, 16 June : Mamata Banerjee loyalist Shovan Chattopadhyay was today sworn-in as the city Mayor with his first announcement being there would be no water tax on middle and lower middle class.
"There will be no water tax on middle class and lower middle class in keeping with the party's election manifesto," Chattopadhyay, who was elected unopposed in the newly-constituted board of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation, said. Farzana Alam of TMC took over as Deputy Mayor. The Mayor announced the names for ten-member Mayor-in Council. The 141 councillors of the KMC had taken oath yesterday.

Distribution of CFL bulb starts 19 June in 27 B'desh' dists
Dhaka, 16 June : Bangladesh government will distribute energy saving Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL) bulb to the households in 27 districts simultaneously on 19 June.
Prime Minister's Energy Adviser Dr Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury disclosed it to newsmen on Wednesday at a press briefing at the Ministry of Power and Energy. The bulb will be distributed free of cost, said Tawfiq-e-Elahi. People need to submit the existing used normal bulbs and latest paid electric bill to get the CFL bulb, ministry sources said. The government will distribute the energy-saving lights for free aiming to replace the incandescent bulbs.

Local manufacturing makes B'desh river dredging cheaper
Dhaka, 16 June : Bangladesh’s massive river dredging drive is for the first time using locally manufactured dredgers that are more cost effective and also energy efficient.Dredge Bangla (Private) Limited has manufactured two dredgers that have been engaged in dredging the river Gorai, which was almost dead due to siltation caused by inadequate flow of water from the river Padma.
“This is for the first time that locally manufactured dredgers are being used. These dredgers are less expensive and energy efficient,” said Mohsin Ali, sub-divisional engineer of Bheramara Dredger Division of the Water Development Board. The firm began working under a Taka 60 million ($1 million) pilot project to develop indigenous dredgers, New Age said Wednesday.
Little dredging was conducted in largely riverine Bangladesh since the British left in 1947. As a result, most rivers are heavily silted. According to a recent study of Bangladesh Water Transport Authority, over 600 km of rivers are unfit for navigation.

Assam govt wants P C Haldar as interlocutor for ULFA talks
IANS, Guwahati, 16 June : The Assam government Wednesday urged the central government to appoint former Intelligence Bureau chief PC Haldar as peace interlocutor for opening talks with the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA).
"I met the home minister (P. Chidambaram) in New Delhi and requested him to appoint P.C. Haldar as the interlocutor for ULFA talks as he has the experience to deal with such matters," Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi told IANS over telephone from New Delhi. Gogoi said a majority of the ULFA leaders have expressed their desire for sitting in peace talks with the government.

Landslide disrupts supply lines between Siliguri, Darjeeling
Siliguri, 16 June : Supply lines between Siliguri and Darjeeling were disrupted Wednesday following a landslide on national highway 55 in the Kurseong sub-division of Darjeeling district, officials said.
No casualties were reported. The landslide destroyed a 21-metre length of the highway completely besides damaging partially another 22-metre stretch. 'The landslide occurred due to overnight rains. It will take few days to repair the road,' Kurseong sub-divisional officer S.T. Bhutia said. A North East Frontier Railway press statement said toy train services between Kurseong and New Jalpaiguri were suspended due to the landslide, which affected narrow gauge tracks between Rongtong and Tindharia.
Kurseong is a hill station in the Darjeeling district. Heavy monsoon precipitation is a common cause of landslides in the Darjeeling hills, which are formed of recent rock structures.
Photo : Sanjit Mitra
Eight die in Manikganj road crash on Dhaka-Aricha Highway
Manikganj, 16 June : Eight people, including three of a family, were killed and 20 others injured as a bus plunged into a roadside ditch after hitting a truck on the Dhaka-Aricha Highway at Pukuria in Ghior upazila of Manikganj Wednesday afternoon.
Assistant Superintendent of Police of Shibaloy circle Nur-e Alam told reporters that a Dhaka-bound bus collided head-on with a truck coming from opposite direction and fell into the ditch at about 12:45pm (BDST). Two firefighting units and police rescued the bodies from the spot and the operation was still on, the ASP said.

India asks Bangladesh to maintain status quo till a solution
UNI, Shillong, 16 June : India today asked Bangladesh to maintain status quo in 'areas of adverse possession' till a solution is reached between the two neighbouring countries.
New Delhi's appeal to Dhaka came a day after Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) resorted to 'unprovoked firing' on Indian villagers under Meghalaya sector. Border Security Force (BSF) officials had also held a telephonic conversation with the BDR wherein they protested against yesterday's firing incident and asked them to maintain status quo. A primary school teacher was injured in her right leg when the BDR bullet hit her.
Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul M Sangma, who is on his way to Shillong from New Delhi, said he has taken has taken up the matter with Union Home Minister P Chidambaram. ''I have asked the Home Minister to take appropriate action (BDR firing) on an urgent basis, as the attack is perceived by us as a threat on our local people residing in those areas,'' Dr Sangma told UNI over phone. He said the Centre must take urgent steps to ensure security to the people residing along the Indo-Bangla border.
Inspector General of BSF (Assam-Meghalaya) frontier RC Saxena said the situation in the Jaintia Hills sector was tense in the border areas.

Biodiversity severely threatening food security in Barisal
The Nation, Barisal, 16 June : Rapidly spreading salinity decreasing fertility of the croplands and increasing cost of crop production and also severely affecting aqua life, biodiversity and threatening food security in Barisal region.
Affected fishermen and farmers are now penetrating for alternative livelihood and urging for research to find out salinity resistant varieties of crops to save them from incurring losses and burden of loans. Sources of regional offices of Agriculture Extension Departmen,t hydrograph department of Water Development Board and Soil Resource Development Institute said rapidly expanding aggression of salinity on croplands reached to 4.28 lakhs hectors in 2009, from 3.77 lakh hectors in 2000 and 2.78 lakh hectors in 1973 and shows increasing more than 27 percent in 2000 and, more 47 percent in 2009 from 1973.
In 1973 the salinity affected lands were 2.18 lakh hectors in Barguna and Patuakhali districts and 0.60 lakh hectors in Bhola and Pirojpur districts. This affects spread in more than to 3.77 lakh hectors in 2000 within 27 years.
However the aggression of salinity became speedier within next 9 years and expanded to 4.28 lakhs hectors more 20 percent areas in 2009 in all of the six districts of Barisal division. Even it now affecting at least 15 thousand hectors lands of Barisal and Jhalakati districts, which are more than 110 kilometers far away from the coast and rapidly spreading to upper stream of north, acknowledged Ikhtiaruddin, scientific officer of Barisal office of SRDI.

Flash flood in Barisal, tidal water enters Patuakhali villages
UNB, Patuakhali, 16 June : Flash flood caused by heavy downpour hit at least 50 villages in Barisal while tidal water flooded five villages in Patuakhali in the last two days. The flash flood in Barisal followed continuous downpour and onrush of water from upstream, reports UNB.
The district relief and rehabilitation office said, at least 50 villages and shoals of five upazilas of the district went under water. A large number of people in the affected areas of Mehendiganj, Hizla, Muladi, Wazirpur and Agoiljhara have taken shelter on high land and in educational institutions, upazila administration sources said.