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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Centre, WB agree to declare 164km rly line as elephant corridor

Kolkata, 26 Septmber : Indian Railways and the Wildlife officials of both the West Bengal government and Centre today unanimously agreed to declare the entire 164-km stretch between Siliguri and Alipurdiar on the North East Frontier Railway as an “elephant corridor” and put a speed restriction of 45 kmph on all the trains - day and night.
Both the sides formulated and agreed on a number of other steps to prevent recurrence of such animal dashing by speeding trains, official sources said. On Wednesday night as many as seven elephants were knocked dead by a speeding goods train at Moraghat on this stretch.
Apparently, the Railway Board, as directed by Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee, sent an advisory to the railway officials in North Bengal to enforce the speed restrictions and also ensure that the drivers running trains on this stretch are vigilant enough to prevent a recurrence. File Photo : PTI

US representative seek Bangladesh troops for Afghanistan
AFP, Dhaka, 26 Septmber : The United States has urged Bangladesh to send combat troops to Afghanistan to help the multinational effort bring stability to the war-torn country, Dhaka's foreign ministry said Sunday.
The request was made during meetings in New York between Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dr Dipu Moni and the United States Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke. Holbrooke said the US needed the "help of friends like Bangladesh" to ensure security in Afghanistan, according to a government statement released in Dhaka. "He sought for any kind of help like deploying combat troops, providing economic and development assistance or giving training among the law enforcement agencies," it said.
Dr Moni said the government would consider the request. Bangladesh is a major contributor to United Nations peacekeeping missions around the world, but has no troops in Afghanistan. File Photo : AFP

Khairul Haque appointed new Chief Justice of Bangladesh
Dhaka, 26 Septmber : Bangladesh President Mohd Zillur Rahman today appointed A B M Khairul Haque as the country''s new Chief Justice.
66-year-old Haque, a judge of the Appellate Division, will assume office on Thursday following the retirement of incumbent Mohammad Fazlul Karim on Wednesday, an official statement said. In 1998, Haque was appointed as an additional judge in the High Court Division of the Supreme Court and after two years he was elevated as a judge. He became a judge of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court on 16 July, 2009.

GJM delegation meets Mamata, submits charter of demand
UNI, Darjeeling, 26 Septmber : A 27-member GJM delegation led by its chief Vimal Gurung and secretary Roshan Giri today met Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee, who is on a two-day visit to this hill station.
Talking to media, after the meeting, Roshan Giri said the GJM delegation discussed various issues pertaining to the development of hills and also urged Ms Banerjee to include Terrai and Doars into interim council. The Railway Minister appealed for peace in the hills and asked the GJM leaders follow democratic means of protest. On the memorandum submitted by the delegation, Mamata said she would look into the matter and discuss the same with Home Minister P Chidambaram as well as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Besides GJM, Bharati Tamang, wife of slain Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League(ABGL) leader Madam Tamang, also meet the Trinamool Chief and urged for an CBI inquiry in her husband's murder case. Ms Banerjee assured Ms Tamang that she will discuss the issue with the Central Government. Photos : AFP

Bangladesh anthrax outbreak hits Beef & Leather industry
AFP, Dhaka, 26 Septmber : Bangladesh's government says it has gone onto a war footing to combat a major outbreak of anthrax that has infected hundreds of people and threatens to wreak havoc on the country's beef industry.
Anthrax does not spread directly from one infected human or animal to another, but is spread through spores. Humans can contract anthrax from handling diseased animals or eating infected meat. A high-level government committee tasked with containing the outbreak before the mid-November Muslim festival of Eid al-Azha, traditionally celebrated with the mass slaughter of animals, has been formed.
North East’s enrolment rate in higher education increasing
IANS, Agartala, 26 Septmber : Enrolment levels in higher education in urban areas of the northeastern region are higher than the national average, University Grants Commission (UGC) chairman Sukhadeo Thorat has said.
The enrolment ratio in higher education in urban areas is 27.58 percent and the national average is 27.08 percent. However, he said, the all-India enrolment rate in higher education in rural areas was 8.40 percent and 5.20 percent in the northeastern region. “Over the years, the northeastern region has made considerable progress in the higher education. Compared with the all India enrolment rate of 13.59 percent, the enrolment rate for post higher secondary education for the region is 9.46 percent,” Thorat told reporters late Saturday.
Pranab launches pension scheme for unorganised sector
PTI, Jangipur, 26 Septmber : Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee today launched a new pension scheme for workers in the unorganised sector who do not have access to the social security net.
"I launched the scheme today to coincide with the 78th birthday of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. This scheme will help those who are not covered under any social security scheme," Mukherjee said after unveiling the programme at a function here in Murshidabad district.
Under the scheme named 'Swabalamban', the subscribers would get Rs 1,000 from the government each year for a subscription amount of Rs 12,000 per year. The particular scheme would remain valid for this financial year and for the next three consecutive fiscals. The finance minister had already allocated Rs 100 crore for this scheme in the budget for 2010-11.

Rack panel collapses in Chennai-bound aircraft, no injured
PTI, Chennai, 26 Septmber : An overhead luggage compartment panel in an Indian Airlines flight from Port Blair to Chennai collapsed during landing at the Chennai airport today but no one was injured.
The rack panel in the economy class of flight IC-550 gave in but some alert passengers immediately held the falling panel. A team of journalists from Bangalore were among the passengers travelling on board the A-320 aircraft from Port Blair to Chennai.

Bangladesh discovers gas field with huge reserves in NE'
IANS, Dhaka, 26 Septmber : A new gas field with a possibility of a two to three trillion cubic feet (tcf) reserve has been found in Bangladesh, an official said.
The gas structure in the Sunamganj-Netrakona districts of the northeastern region has been discovered by the state-run Bangladesh Petroleum Exploration Company (Bapex). The company is preparing to drill an exploratory well in the new oil and gas structure determined after a survey, Bapex Managing Director Mortuza Ahmad Faruque told The Daily Star Sunday. ‘This is a high prospect zone. It is located in the Surma basin. The Bibiyana field is located in the eastern part of this basin while this zone is located in the western part. This zone has all the geological characteristics required for oil or gas deposits. The size of this structure can accommodate two to three tcf gas,’ said Faruque.

The structure has been given the name ‘Sunetra’ combining the names of Sunamganj and Netrokona as the structure spreads across both the districts. Bapex is now preparing a high priority proposal for the government to drill one exploratory well in March-April next year at a cost of $11.5 million in Fulor village in Sunamganj by the Monai river.
This could be the biggest find by the lone Bangladeshi exploration company that had over the years discovered 10 small to medium fields. The biggest field discovered by Bapex so far is in Shahbazpur in Bhola that has around 600 billion cubic feet (bcf) reserve, the newspaper said. Gas from this field can be made available to Netrokona or Mymensingh within a couple of years. The energy ministry is already working on a pipeline project on priority basis to transmit the new find.
The structure was discovered through a seismic survey covering a line of 260 km conducted last year and earlier this year. The interpretation of the survey data was completed in July and Bapex submitted it to its parent company Petrobangla. Bangladesh has high gas reserves, but says that it is short of gas and signed a contract with India this year to import it.