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Sunday, December 26, 2010

New "Silk Route" via Bangladesh to connect NorthEastern India

IANS, Agartala, 26 December : State-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) will build a new ‘Silk Route’ via Bangladesh - a 50 km road connecting India’s landlocked northeastern states with neighbouring countries - a top company official said.
ONGC will invest Rs.250 million ($5.5 million) in Bangladesh for the project that will will also see a port coming up in the country. ‘With the establishment of the new ‘Silk Route’ via Bangladesh, a new trade road would be established between northeast India, Bangladesh and neighbouring countries,’ ONGC chairman and managing director R.S. Sharma told reporters.
The old ‘Silk Route’ between India and China is accessible only after crossing West Bengal’s Siliguri. ‘ONGC’s new subsidiary - ONGC Tripura Power Company (OTPC) - signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Bangladesh government last month to open up a new transport corridor to carry heavy equipment for its 726 MW power plant in Triupra,’ the company chief said.
To develop the port and the road, ONGC has engaged six Bangladesh contractors to complete the work on a war-footing. ‘The work on all the required infrastructure has commenced and is expected to be ready by mid-February 2011,’ Sharma said. File Photos

Group of 80 Elephants on rampage in West Midnapore dist
Jhargram, 26 December : A group of around 80 wild elephants destroyed several acres of cultivation and posed threat to human settlements at various places in West Midnapore district, officials said today.
A group of 30 elephants, including 10 tuskers, returned from the Orissa border to Jhargram's Lalgram forest on Friday, threatening human settlements and agriculture, Jhargram's forest range officer Samir Majumdar said. The wild elephants have already destroyed some vegetable cultivation even as the forest department officials are trying to push out the animals from near the town.

Onion prices down, will be in control soon, says Pranab
Kolkata, 26 December : Indian Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee today said prices of onions have come down from the sky-high levels seen earlier this week and the situation will be in control soon, as the government is taking all steps.
"Export of onion has been banned and the import duty has been made zero, besides some imported onions are reaching the market. The prices have come down," he told reporters at his residence here. "Some fruits, vegetables and milk have an element of seasonality in them and sometimes in the market, there is gap in the demand and supply of products, which leads to the increase in their prices... Ultimately, it depends on the series of the core chain," Mukherjee said.
Onion prices had jumped to as high as Rs 85 per kg in retail markets earlier this week, due to a severe supply crisis. Photo : PTI

Dhaka International Trade Fair (DITF) begins on 1 January
Dhaka, 26 December : The month-long 16th Dhaka International Trade Fair (DITF) will begin in the city 1 January with the participation of 14 countries, including host Bangladesh.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will formally inaugurate the fair at about 11am(BDST), said an official at the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB). The 13 foreign participating countries are Pakistan, India, China, Iran, South Korea, Thailand, USA, Turkey, Singapore, Japan, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and UAE. Ten countries apart from Bangladesh participated in the last DITF, said Sayed Bealal Hossain, deputy director and also member secretary of the trade fair secretariat.
Can bombs with 50 kg explosives recovered by joint forces
Jhargram, 26 December : Security forces today unearthened a total of 50 kg of explosives in five can bombs in Maoist-hit West Midnapore district and detained two locals who were later taken away forcibly by a group of women, police said.
Acting on a tip-off, personnel of joint forces went to Panchami and Pukhuria villages and recovered the can bombs, ASP Mukesh Kumar said. The five cans contained 50 kg explosives in total.
Indian ship detained at Chittagong port after a court order
Dhaka, 26 December : An Indian ship was today detained at Chittagong port after a Bangladeshi court issued an "arrest order" against it over a suit claiming Rs 12 crore as compensation for the alleged loss of cargo.
'MV Ocean Pearl' was detained after the arrest order was issued by the High Court on Thursday, a senior customs official was quoted as saying by 'New Age'. "The ship cannot depart from Chittagong port until the case is settled," he said.
The supplier firm Desh Trading Corporation filed the admiralty suit, an official of Sigma shipping, the local agent of the owner of the vessel, said. He said that the supplier claimed compensation of over Taka 19 crore (Rs 12 crore) for shortage and loss of cargo carried by the ship. "The ship was scheduled to call at Mongla port to unload the cargo.

Heavy snowfall in Arunachal State, normal life out of gear
PTI, Itanagar, 26 December : Heavy snowfall has been recorded in several districts of Arunachal Pradesh during the past couple of days, throwing normal life out of gear.
According to official sources, Tawang district bordering China, has been experiencing heavy snowfall since 23 December. Sela Pass situated at an altitude of 14,000 feet on Bomdila-Tawang road has been covered by five feet snow since the last couple of days, they said. Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has stationed its men to clear blockades due to heavy snowfall which could disrupt road transport, the sources said. Several feet of snowfall was also recorded at Mechuka during the last couple of days.

PM urges physicians to reach medical service to the poor
Dhaka, 26 December : Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today called upon the physicians to help make the medical service available for the common people, especially the poor, who cannot take the service by spending huge amount of money.
"You have to keep in mind that each of the people in the country has to spend hard-earned money to produce a physician. So it is your sacred duty to pay the debt of the common people by rendering improved and proper services to them," she said.

NSC body discusses plans to beef up cyber security
PTI, New Delhi, 26 December : Disturbed over repeated cyber attacks where security gets compromised, the National Security Council(NSC) under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had a meeting and deliberated on various plans to beef up cyber security.
During the meeting, the present level of preparedness to deal with cyber security issues and a future plan of action was discussed by the National Security Council(NSC), official sources said here today.

4 killed, 20 injured in bus-truck collision in Bogra-Rangpur
UNB, Bogra, 26 December : Four people were killed and 20 others injured in a head-on collision between a bus and a truck at Baghupara in sadar upazila on Bogra-Rangpur road Sunday morning.
Witnesses said a Sonatola bound bus collided with a Bogra bound truck at 7:45am(BDST), leaving two people dead on the spot and injured 22 others. Among the injured, two died at a private hospital. The injured were admitted to the private hospital and Shaheed Ziaur Rahman Medical College Hospital.

Separate state demand in insurgency-hit Nagaland state
PTI, New Delhi, 26 December : Six major tribal groups in insurgency-hit Nagaland have now come together to demand carving out of a separate state.
The demand for "Frontier Nagaland" was raised by Chang, Konyak, Sangtam, Khiamniungan, Yimchungru and Phom communities under the aegis Eastern Nagaland People's Organisation (ENPO). The demand is considered to be a setback for the outfits like NSCN (IM), which is now engaged in peace negotiations with the government after leading a six-decade- long bloody insurgency movement. The NSCN(IM)'s key demand is unification of all Naga inhabited areas comprising entire Nagaland and some areas of Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam.

Farmers busier in Boro farming after bumper Aman harvest
BSS, Rangpur, 26 December : The enthusiastic farmers have now put maximum efforts in making the current Boro farming programme successful after harvesting bumper T-Aman crop everywhere in Rangpur Agriculture Zone (RAZ) in Bangladesh's northern region.
They have already prepared Boro seedbeds in 41,209 hectares land, which is two percent higher than the fixed target of 40,295 hectares, to bring 16,75,179 hectares land under Boro farming to produce 67,41,979 tonnes Boro rice this season in the RAZ. At the same time, transplantation of the early variety Boro seedlings has been continuing in full swing in the low- lying beds of the dried- up water bodies, beels and haors to harvest those before commencement of the next rainy season, officials said. The special government initiatives like further reductions in fertiliser prices, increased subsidies and ensured smooth supply of fertilisers, power and other inputs, have made the farmers more enthusiastic in Boro farming this time.
Officials in the DAE today told BSS that all agri-related departments, BMDA, PDB, REB, RAKUB and other Banks have taken comprehensive steps to ensure maximum facilities to the farmers in making the Boro farming successful. Rice scientist Dr M A Mazid today told BSS that the farmers are being suggested for plantation of Boro seedlings in the maximum land area within February 15 to get the maximum yields and the overall seedling plantations will completed by 15 March next.
Officials said that the government has fixed an all-time record target of producing 1,91,69,400 tonnes Boro rice from 48,50,000 hectares land this season in the country including 67,41,979 tonnes Boro rice from 16,75,179 hectares land in the RAZ.