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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Scattered violence in BNP's nationwide 'Hartal' in Bangladesh

Anbarasan Ethirajan, BBC News, Dhaka, 30 November : Bangladesh police have clashed with protesters in the capital Dhaka as a nationwide strike brought much of the country to a halt. The 24-hour industrial action shut schools and businesses, including crucial garment export shipments. The main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) called the walkout in protest at "misrule" by the Awami-League led government. BNP leader Khaleda Zia, the former PM, was evicted from her home this month. Tuesday's was the second opposition-led strike in the last fortnight.
'Political vengeance' Police used batons to disperse a group of opposition supporters near the BNP headquarters in the capital. Thousands of policemen were deployed across the country to prevent violence, said the authorities. The BNP said more than 1,000 party members and activists had been taken into custody in the days leading up to the latest walkout. It comes a day after the Supreme Court rejected an appeal by Khaleda Zia against her eviction from her military-owned home. The house was leased to Ms Zia, a year after the assassination of her husband, former president General Zia-ur-Rahman, in a military coup in 1981. The government said the lease was illegal, a finding upheld by the high court. Zia's supporters argue that the government's decision is political vengeance. The strike halted garment exports, which account for over 80% of Bangladesh's total exports. Photos : UNB
No 'interim council' for Darjeeling hills, says CM Buddhadeb
Kolkata, 30 November : Reacting to the recent call for a two-day bandh in the Darjeeling hills by the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) from 21 December if the agreement for setting up an interim regional authority is not signed by then, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said here on Tuesday that no interim council will be set up unless the people vote on it. “The GJM, merely by demanding the setting up of a committee (an interim council) does not mean that one will be set up. Not a single election has been held, not a single vote cast. Such things do not happen in a democracy. Whether the people want the GJM at all needs to be proved through elections,” he said. Bhattacharjee who was speaking at a Left Front rally in the city to highlight the issues of separatist movements in north Bengal, the Maoist affected Jangalmahal region and the ecologically fragile Sunderbans also criticised the Trinamool Congress for “joining hands with those who were trying to break up the State.”
WB government to spend 120 Cr on tourism development
Joy Roy Choudhury, Kolkata, 30 November : Taking a cue from states like Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, and the Incredible India campaign of the Union Tourism Ministry, the West Bengal Tourism Department has now decided to appoint an advertising agency for its brand-building exercise. West Bengal Tourism has decided to spend over '20 crore to upgrade tourism destinations and create new tourism circuits in the state and would invest another '10 crore in publicity and promotional campaigns.
Manabendra Mukherjee, the state tourism minister, held a preliminary discussion with Madhukar Sabnavis, country head (Discovery & Planning), Ogilvy & Mather. Sabnavis was in Kolkata recently to speak at the CII organised seminar titled 'Towards Tourism Excellence-Creating, Branding and Marketing Destinations'. Mukherjee said, “This is the initiation process. We are looking forward to a brand-building exercise for tourism with the help of a consultant. Today we had preliminary discussions with one such agency”.
O&M has been associated with famous advertising campaigns, like 'Incredible India' campaign of the Union Tourism Ministry and Madhya Pradesh Tourism’s 'Hindustan Ka Dil Dekho' campaign. O&M was also responsible for successfully promoting Gujarat with Amitabh Bachchan as the brand ambassador. Mukherjee pointed out that O&M and other potential consultants would be first asked to draw up a roadmap around which his department would build a brand strategy. “Piyush Pandey, the India head of O&M, would be visiting Kolkata soon to take things forward. Both parties are quite interested in seeing this through,” said Manab Pal, chairman of CII’s subcommittee on tourism. “The government has started making the investment to develop various tourism destinations,” said TVN Rao, MD, West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation. He pointed out that the number of accredited tour operators in the state is only three, as compared to Delhi's 285 and Maharashtra's 14. Speaking at the seminar, Rajeev Kholi, vice chairman, India Convention Promotion Bureau and Jt MD, Creative Travel, New Delhi said, “Places like the Sunderbans and Darjeeling in Bengal have huge growth potential, if marketed properly." Nakul Anand, divisional chief executive (Hotels), ITC stressed upon different issues like sustainability, environmental issues, etc. Photos : Files, Avijit Mondal