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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Mamata Banerjee welcomes Maoist leader Kishenji's talks offer

PTI, Kolkata, 18 August : Unfazed by criticism, Trinamool Congress chief, Mamata Banerjee stuck to her stand that the killing of a top Maoist leader Azad was murder and welcomed Maoist leader Kishenji's ceasefire offer saying, all problems should be solved through dialogue.
"In a democratic set up we are for amicable and peaceful solution. I have heard the Independence day speeches of the President and the Prime Minister. They also spoke on the same lines," the Railway Minister told reporters here before leaving for Delhi. "If they (Maoists) respond to the President's and Prime Minister's appeal it is good for the country. Let the problem be solved through democratic process," she said.
Referring to Kishenji's statement calling for a three-month ceasefire by both sides and that they have no problem if Banerjee mediates, she said " It is the government to decide. I have seen only media reports (on Kishenji's statement). Let me cross check all details." File Photos : AFP, Arpan Mukherjee
Bangladesh announces $2million for Pakistan flood victims
Dhaka, 18 August : Bangladesh on Wednesday announced 2 million US$ humanitarian aid for flood relief work in Pakistan which has affected an estimated 20 million people.
"Bangladesh announces this commitment as an expression of solidarity with the people of Pakistan," the foreign office said. Bangladesh would also send a medical team to Pakistan while relief assistance would include tents, blankets, water purification tablets, mineral waters, life saving drugs and vaccines, oral saline, hygiene kit, biscuits and packed dry food, it said in a statement. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had earlier in a statement expressed her deep sympathy to the Pakistani government and people on this human tragedy.

WB Congress welcome Mamata as mediator for peace talk
Kolkata, 18 August : West Bengal Congress today welcomed Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee as a mediator in the peace talks with the Maoists.
"I have no objection to accept Mamata Banerjee as mediator in talks with the Maoists for peace process," WBPCC president Manas Bhuniya told reporters to a question about Maoist leader Kishenji's offer to Banerjee to mediate in the peace process. "However the entire process depends on the opinion of the Centre and the state government," Bhuniya said.

SAIL to develop Kulti wagon unit with RITES in W Bengal
PTI, New Delhi, 18 August : State-run SAIL on Wednesday said it will enter into a pact next month with RITES, a subsidiary of Indian Railways, for jointly setting up a railway wagon making unit in Kulti, in West Bengal.
"We will sign the agreement next month for the joint-venture unit with RITES," SAIL Chairman CS Verma told reporters on the sidelines of a book launch function organised by the Dainik Bhaskar group. Verma said the proposed JV unit will have an annual production capacity of 1,200 railway wagons. The project is estimated to cost Rs 100-200 crore. SAIL, which has an annual production capacity of about 14 million tonnes, will supply its specialised steel products to the proposed wagon-making unit, Verma added.
For the project, SAIL may give its surplus land in Kulti near Asansol. The location of the plant could be near Chittaranjan Locomotive Works.

ULFA protalk for hastening peace process with government
Guwahati, 18 August : The pro-talk group of ULFA today demanded speeding up of the peace process saying delay will only force it to take up arms again.
"We demand that the peace process should be taken forward as no one can wait indefinitely," president of the pro-talk group Mrinal Hazarika told reporters here. He said the former ULFA cadres will be forced to take up arms again if the peace talks are not held.
Workers block Dhaka-Mymensingh over RMG worker death
UNB, Gazipur, 18 August : Protesting RMG workers blocked the Dhaka-Mymensingh highway for half an hour on Wednesday, following the death of a garment worker in a road accident at Taragach Barabari in Gazipur Sadar Upazila.
The deceased, Sujan Mian, 30, was run over by a bus while he was going to the mosque to offer his fazr prayers.

Trinamul Congress forms 39-member committee in Tripura
Agartala, 18 August : Trinamul Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, with an eye on seat-sharing prospects with the Congress for the nagar panchayat and municipal elections, has replaced the party’s 39-member committee in Tripura with an 11-member steering committee headed by former Congress leader Manik Deb as convener.
Nine other members of the previous committee, including former chairman Arun Chandra Bhowmik and president Dulal Das, have been included in the current one.

Bangladesh to free 1000 prisoners from over-crowded jails
AFP, Dhaka, 18 August : Bangladesh is set to free nearly 1,000 long-serving prisoners to ease pressure on the country's crammed jails, a home ministry official said Wednesday.
Bangladesh's 67 prisons currently accommodate three times their capacity, with 77,000 prisoners in facilities designed for a maximum of 28,000 people. "We have drawn up a list of nearly 1,000 well-behaved prisoners who have already served 20 years and will release them to ease overcrowding in our jails," home ministry secretary Iqbal Khan Chowdhury told AFP. The home ministry will send the release order to the prison authorities Wednesday, Chowdhury said, adding that the list will include a number of female prisoners.
Prison overcrowding is particularly severe in women's facilities. Dhaka's central jail is currently holding 540 female prisoners, although the facility has capacity for only 134 people. Photo : AFP

Indian Army chopper crashes in Nagaland, three dead
Kolkata, 18 August : Two pilots and an Army officer were killed when a Cheetah helicopter crashed in a jungle of Dzukou Valley in Nagaland today. The crash apparently took place due to bad weather.
Policemen, accompanied by locals of Viswema village, recovered the bodies from the forest, Eastern Command's spokesperson Wg Cdr Mahesh Upasani told Bengal Newz in Kolkata today. He said the 'Cheetah' helicopter had left the Army's 3 Corps headquarters Rangapahar near Dimapur at around 8:25 am for Imphal on a routine sortie. It lost ground contact when it was flying over the mountainous terrains of Dzukou Valley.
Eight suspected Maoists held after gunbattle in Salboni
Jhargram, 18 August : Eight suspected Maoists were arrested following a gunbattle between the Maoists and security forces at West Midnapore's Kolsidanga forest in Salboni early on Wednesday. Security forces claimed that the PCPA secretary Asit Mahato and spokesman Manoj Mahato had been hiding there, but managed to escape.
The security forces, comprising COBRA jawans and state policemen, marched towards the forest from Pirakata, Patharkumkumi, Changshol and Nayagram camps. "We have recovered several arms and ammunition from the arrested Maoists," said Pandey Santosh, additional superintendent of police (HQ). Two 12 bore guns with eight round of cartridges, seven landmines, 60 kg of explosives, five rounds of cartridges of countrymade guns and detonators were recovered from the area.
Shabbir Ali gets another term as Bengal Football coach
Kolkata, 18 August : Having coached Bengal to the Santosh Trophy title this season, Shabbir Ali has been given the charge for another term in the upcoming edition of the Senior National Football Championship.
Under Ali's coaching Bengal ended their 11 years wait of the Santosh Trophy title as they emerged champions for a record 30th time this year, beating Punjab 2-1 in the summit clash on 8 August. "Shabbir Ali has been reappointed the coach and he will be assisted by Debashis Mukherjee who will be the goalkeeping coach," said IFA in a statement.

Four arms traders held after gunfight with RAB in Sylhet
UNB, Sylhet, 18 August : Three people, including a Rapid Action Battalion personnel, sustained injuries in a gunfight between the elite force members and illegal arms traders in South Surma upazila of Sylhet early Wednesday.
Following secret information, a plain clothes team of RAB-9 conducted a drive in Firojpur area at about 12:30am(BDST) to nab the arms traders. A scuffle took place between the RAB men and the arms traders leading to the gunfight where RAB official Shafiul Islam sustained injuries. Injured arms traders Kayes and Wahid were taken to Sylhet Osmani Medical College and Hospital.

Interim set-up in Darjeeling to be set up before WB polls
PTI, New Delhi, 18 August : In a bid to resolve the issue regarding demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland, the Government is likely to put in place an interim Regional Authority for the Gorkhas in Darjeeling ahead of next year''s assembly polls in West Bengal. Top Government sources said the Central and West Bengal governments were working on the subjects and departments which are expected to be handed over to the interim authority.
Representatives of the Centre, West Bengal government and the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today discussed the modalities on how to carry forward the dialogue process on the demands of the GJM. "There has been near consensus on the 22 subjects and 54 departments that would be handed over to the authority by the state government," GJM general secretary Roshan Giri told reporters here after the meeting yesterday. However, Giri admitted that there was no consensus in the meeting on the issues of territorial jurisdiction of the authority, electioneering process and the proposed authority's composition.
Another round of talks will take place on 7 September. The term of the current West Bengal Assembly ends on May 2011.
Giri said the GJM delegation said at the meeting that the situation in Darjeeling hills was peaceful as promised by them and it was now the duty of the government to fulfil the demands of the GJM. Sources said both the Central and the state governments were for limiting the proposed Darjeeling Regional Authority to just the hill sub-divisions of Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong. Since its inception in 2007, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, has been demanding a separate Gorkhaland state that includes the Siliguri subdivision of Darjeeling district in the plains and contiguous areas in neighbouring Jalpaiguri district.