Friday, 30 May 2008

TRAVEL

NBSTC tries to survive with tourism initiative

 

COOCH BEHAR, May 30: The subsidy-dependent North Bengal State Transport Corporation  (NBSTC) is trying its best to stand on its own feet with the tourism drive that was initiated three years ago.

 

NBSTC sources said Dooars in north Bengal is very attractive region to the domestic and foreign tourists and visitors. Taking advantage of the interest shown by the tourists the NBSTC is trying to revive its economic condition too. Two vehicles were kept solely for the tourism service and there are a few including a double-decker and two white 28-seaters to meet the growing demand.

 

Among the existing seventeen tour packages three earned very popularity among the tourists, NBSTC officials claimed. The first two are : (1) Cooch Behar –Jaldapara –Rocky Island –Lava –Lolegaon –Rickysum -Kalimpong –Cooch Behar (2 nights 3 days) and (2) Cooch Behar –Jhalong –Bindu –Jaldapara –Cooch Behar (one-day).

 

The third popular one named 'Ramgua' is originated from Kolkata. Its route goes through Kolkata –Chilapata –Rasikbil –Rajabhatkhawa –Boxa –Jainti –Jaldapara –Gorumara –Lataguri –Chapramari –Jhalong –Bindu –Chalsa –Samsing –Rocky Island –Suntalekhola –Gorubathan –Leechkhola –Lava –Lolegaon –Rickysom –Delo –Kalimpong –New Jalpaiguri (7 nights 8 days).

 

The double-decker service along Cooch Behar –Rasikbil –Rajabhatkhawa –Jainti –Baneswar –Cooch Behar is the most low-cost tour package and popular too among local visitors. By spending Rs 125 only one can enjoy a daylong tour on any scheduled holiday.

 

The tourists can arrange their own tour packages too. If they want they can re-schedule the existing tour packages. A group of fifteen to twenty tourists can avail any package of their choice, NBSTC officials said.

 

To add another feather to its crown the NBSTC is now planning a new tour package along Cooch Behar –Guwahati –Shillong –Cherapunji. Recently, a survey was completed to examine the proposed route's viability. The package may be launched after the pujas.

 

Meanwhile, talks are initiated with Assam State Transport Corporation and Assam state tourism department to extend the NBSTC's tourism drive to attract tourists of Assam and Meghalaya. It was observed that the visitors from Assam and other northeast states come to Cooch Behar to go to Madhupur-dham. Some of them visit Dooars on their own. The NBSTC wants to offer a planned package for these visitors who are interested to explore the beauty of Dooars, a NBSTC official said. []

EVENTS

Love triangle : man murdered

 

COOCH BEHAR, May 30: Recovery of the blood stained body of one Gane Mian (55) of Deocharai in Tufanganj from one of the deceased's neighbours' residence created furore in the locality since last night. No one was arrested till now in connection with Gane's murder.

 

The blood stained body of Gane Mian was found in the residence of his neighbour Sukur Ali last night. Since then Sukur Ali and his wife Abiran Bibi absconded.

 

After primary investigation the police came to know that an illicit love affair was there between Gane Mian and Abiran Bibi. The murder was committed following that relation, police suspects.

 

Questioning the neighbours the police learnt that Sukur Ali was not in his residence yesterday. The wife of Gane Mian was also out of residence. She went to attend an invitation. At night Sukur Ali returned home and reportedly found the duo in an objectionable state. Being angry he reportedly hacked Gane Mian to death with a sharp axe. When neighbours appeared at the spot Abiran Bibi ran away and Sukur too reportedly chased her crying abusive languages.

 

On the otherhand, the wife of Gane Mian, Amina Bibi told police that Abiran Bibi visited their house several times yesterday and advised her to go to attend the invitation. Police is seeking the absconded couple. []

 

CITU observes foundation day

 

COOCH BEHAR, May 30: The CITU observed its 49-th foundation day in Cooch Behar today. They organised a blood donation camp at the district CITU office on the occasion. The secretary of the organisation's district unit and MP (Rajya Sabha) Mr Tarini Roy inaugurated the camp by donating blood. More than 100-unit of blood were collected from the camp. []

  

Consumer court's verdict

 

COOCH BEHAR, May 30: The chairman of Cooch Behar district consumers' redressal forum, Mr Sukumar Chakraborty imposed a fine of Rs 36,139 to an insurance company today.

 

Consumers' court sources said one Mr Swapan Malakar of Mathabhanga bought a motorcycle in 2004. It was insured with an insurance company. On 5 September 2005 the bike was stolen from his residence. He claimed the insured money to the company but failed to realise it. Then, Mr Malakar lodged a complaint to the consumers' court in 2007. Today, the judge ordered the insurance company to pay the complainant Rs 36,139 and an additional Rs 1,000 as compensation to the cost of the case within two months. []

Thursday, 29 May 2008

CIVIC POLL

Civic poll : CPM-FB seat sharing meet inconclusive

 

COOCH BEHAR, May 29: Leaders of the CPI-M and the Forward Bloc sat across the table at the district CPI-M office today to discuss the seat sharing issue for the ensuing municipal elections in Mekhliganj and Haldibari in Cooch Behar district.

 

After the meeting the district CPI-M secretary and also the district Left Front convenor Mr Chandi Pal declared that the two LF partners would fight the civic polls jointly.

 

Replying a question Mr Pal said that discussions were held over sharing of seats but it would be finalised in the next bipartite meeting that is to be held on 3 June. As the district Forward Bloc secretary Mr Udayan Guha was absent in today's meeting the matter will be finalised in the next meeting, he clarified. He however hoped that achieving of Left Front unity would not be a problem in the municipal elections.

 

The CPI-M secretary made it clear that though the two LF partners failed to reach to an understanding in the just concluded three-tier panchayat elections in this district it may not exert any influence on the proposed unity in the civic polls.

 

It was learnt that the Forward Bloc might field candidates separately in Mekhliganj. They are not eager to make any alliance with the CPI-M. After the previous election it was decided that the two LF partners would share the chairmanship of the board for two-and-half-year each for the term but as the CPI-M failed to keep its promise the FB is not interested in entering into any understanding with the 'big brother' this time, FB sources said. The CPI-M chairman of the outgoing civic board reportedly denied leaving the chair in favour of the Forward Bloc.

 

When asked that the CPI-M failed to keep its promise to share the chair of the chairman in the outgoing Mekhliganj Municipality board, Mr Pal hoped that it would not pose as a big problem to achieve unity this time.

 

The leaders of the Forward Bloc including state food and supply minister Mr Paresh Chandra Adhikary left the CPI-M office in haste soon after the end of the meeting. Till evening they were not available to make any comment over the outcome of the meeting. []

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

SMUGGLING

Sandalwood seized

 

COOCH BEHAR, May 28: Acting on a tip-off revenue intelligence and central excise officials intercepted four Bangladesh bound trucks and seized 25-ton red sandalwood from them. Five persons were detained in this connection, police said.

 

It was learnt that four Bangladesh bound trucks loaded with mustered cakes arrived at the International Check Post at Changrabandha in Mekhliganj of Cooch Behar district from Siliguri on Wednesday afternoon. The officials intercepted the trucks and found pieces of red sandalwood beneath the mustered cakes in three trucks. The value of the seized items is worth Rs 5-crore in clandestine markets, officials said. []

CIVIC POLL

Cooch Behar getting ready for elections in two municipalities

 

COOCH BEHAR, May 28: The panchayat elections are over. Now Cooch Behar district is getting ready for elections in two municipalities on 29 June. These are Mekhliganj and Haldibari. Both are in Mekhliganj sub-division. Filing of nomination papers will begin on 29 May, according to the district magistrate of Cooch Behar Mr Rajesh Kumar Sinha.

 

There are eleven wards in Haldibari and nine wards in Mekhliganj. Mekhliganj is a Left Front dominated municipality and Haldibari is a Congress dominated one.

 

In the civic poll of 2003 in Mekhliganj, the CPI-M won in four seats, the Forward Bloc in four seats and an independent candidate won in the remaining one seat. Mr Dilip Bardhan Choudhury of the CPI-M is the chairman of the outgoing Mekhliganj Municipality.

 

In the eleven seats of Haldibari Municipality, the Congress had won nine seats and the CPI-M and the Forward Bloc won one seat each. Later, a congress councillor crossed the floor and joined the CPI-M but the power of this civic body remained with the Congress. Mr Gouranga Nag is the chairman of this civic body.

 

It was learnt that the Forward Bloc would field candidates separately in Mekhliganj. They are not eager to make any alliance with the CPI-M. After the previous election it was decided that the two LF partners would share the chairmanship of the board on fifty-fifty basis for the term but as the CPI-M failed to keep its promise the FB may not enter into any understanding with the 'big brother' this time, FB sources said. CPI-M sources however denied making any comment over the matter without discussing the issue in the Left Front meet.

 

In Haldibari, the Congress will field candidates in all the eleven seats. The outgoing chairman Mr Gouranga Nag, who is also the block president of the Congress, hoped that they would be able to win all the seats this time. Here too, the Forward Bloc and the CPI-M are yet to take any decision about seat sharing. When they are thinking over it the Congress is busy in campaigning for its candidates. []

 

Madhyamik result

 

COOCH BEHAR, May 28: Both Mr Shuvra Pramanik of Gopalnagar MSS High School in Dinhata and Ms Manjari Chakraborty of Tufanganj Netaji High School in Tufanganj scored 785 marks and became the probable joint first ranker in Cooch Behar district in the Madhyamik examination. Mr Amartya Jyoti Saha (784) and Md Masoom Raza (783) are the probable second and third position holders.

 

Among other achievers there are : Mr Biswajit Banik (769) of Rambhola High School, Mr Debashis Barman (764) of Mathabhanga High School, Miss Mandira Sarkar (760) of Sunity Academy, Miss Anamika Bhadra (758) of Manindra Nath High School, Md Usuf Shaheen Arif Rubel (735) of NNM High School and Mr Kajal Das (711) of Pundibari RGL High School. []

INQUIRY

Dinhata firing : Judicial inquiry to start from first week of June

 

COOCH BEHAR, May 28: The one-man judicial inquiry commission that was constituted by the state government to conduct a probe into the 5 February police firing occurred at Dinhata is expected to start functioning from the first week of June. The court and the office of the inquiry commission headed by an ex-judge of Calcutta High Court, Mr Justice Narayan Chandra Sil are being readied at the annexe building of the Circuit House in Cooch Behar.

 

The Justice Narayan Chandra Sil Commission was constituted after the police firing that took place on 5 February of this year at Dinhata. Five Forward Bloc supporters were killed in the firing and an NVF constable was also killed on that day. Mr Justice Sil already visited the firing spot at Dinhata for 'spot verification' and talked with district officials in Cooch Behar on 17-18 April. At that time he had said that an office of the commission would be set up in Cooch Behar to conduct the probe because there is no adequate infrastructure in Dinhata. This office is necessary here because all the witnesses are local residents, he had said.

 

Today, the district magistrate of Cooch Behar Mr Rajesh Kumar Sinha said an office of the commissioner's court and an office of the secretary of the commission are being set up at the annexe building of the Circuit House. Six retired persons were selected to man the commission's office and court. When asked the DM hoped that the court might start functioning from the first week of June. Prior to that a notification will also be released by the commission, he said.

 

It is expected that witnesses will be examined at the court of the commission to find out the truth behind the 5 February violence and the actual reasons that prompted the police to open fire on the Forward Bloc supporters who assembled at Dinhata court premises on that day to join a demonstration. []

 

PHOTO : The Cooch Behar Circuit House being readied to conduct judicial inquiry into the police firing that occurred at Dinhata on 5 February.

 

Trinamul's puja at Balaram Mandir

 

COOCH BEHAR, May 28: Hundreds of Trinamul Congress supporters gathered at the age-old Balaram Mandir of Bhuchungmari in Tufanganj today to offer special puja to Lord Balaram following the victory of Trinamul Congress candidates in the just concluded panchayat elections.

 

Cooch Behar district Trinamul Congress president Mr Rabindra Nath Ghosh said hundreds of men and women alongwith the just elected four Panchayat Samiti members and eleven Gram Panchayat members gathered at the temple premises and offered puja this afternoon. Kirtan recital and special Bhog were arranged on the occasion. After the puja prasad was distributed among the devotees.

 

Lord Balaram is considered as the guardian deity to the residents of Tufanganj as Lord Madan Mohan in Cooch Behar. The temple was constructed about 250 years ago, said 103-year-old Jaimanto Sarkar who also attended the puja. Mr Sarkar is a committed Congress supporter but this time he reportedly voted in favour of Trinamul Congress candidates. It may be mentioned here that Trinamul Congress defeated the CPI-M candidates in Tufanganj-I and Tufanganj-II Panchayat Samitis and also won in several Gram Panchayat seats in Tufanganj. []

Monday, 26 May 2008

INQUIRY

Inquiry : IG (Rail) visits New Cooch Behar Railway Station

 

COOCH BEHAR, May 26: Inspector general (railway) Mr Amar Kumar Sarkar visited New Cooch Behar Railway Station today to conduct an inquiry into the police rampage that occurred at this railway station on 19 May. Superintendent of railway police Mr Mahendra Singh Punia, NF Railway's senior divisional commercial manager Mr Sisir Kumar Roy and other senior officials accompanied him.

 

During the probe the IG talked with the station manager, railway officials and other personnel who were present at the station on 19 May. He also talked with officials of GRP, RPF and district police and even vendors to learn the actual happenings that took place on that day.

 

When asked, Mr Sarkar told the media persons that they already identified two persons involved with the 19 May incident. Legal and departmental proceedings are being taken against them. Inquiry is going on to identify a few more persons involved with the incident. Similar departmental and legal measures will be taken against them after identification, the IG (Rail) added.

 

Earlier, inspector general of police (north Bengal), Mr Kundanlal Tamta too visited New Cooch Behar Railway Station on Friday to inquire into the same matter.

 

It may be recalled here that a large contingent of police force that came from outside of Cooch Behar district mainly from Howrah for performing polling duty in Cooch Behar district started rampage at New Cooch Behar railway station on 19 May afternoon. They ransacked railway offices including that of the station manager and assaulted the station manager and an ASM. Railway staff and others fled away from the station premises.

 

On that day, the policemen were waiting at the station premises for a long. They got agitated when the scheduled Election Special Train failed to arrive. The situation restored to normalcy when the scheduled Election Special train arrived at about 8-30 p.m. Plying of all trains through New Cooch Behar railway station was disrupted following that incident. Senior police officials rushed to the spot but they also had to face the ire of the agitated policemen on that day. []

 

PHOTO 1 : IG (Rail) Mr AK Sarkar (blue shirt) comes out from New Cooch Behar Railway Station after conducting a probe. At New Cooch Behar Railway Station on Monday. - SNS.

 

PHOTO 2 : IG (Rail) Mr AK Sarkar (middle) talks with officials at New Cooch Behar Railway Station on Monday.

 

Trinamul felicitation

 

COOCH BEHAR, May 26: The newly elected Trinamul Congress members of gram panchayats and panchayat samitis of Tufanganj were felicitated at Tufanganj Community Hall today. Trinamul Congress organised the programme to celebrate its massive victory in Tufanganj-I and Tufanganj-II blocks in the recently concluded three-tier panchayat elections.

 

District Trinamul Congress president Mr Rabindra Nath Ghosh, vice-president Mr Niranjan Dutta, Mr Hiranmay Chatterjee, Mr Ratan Das and other leaders spoke on the occasion. The speakers alerted the Trinamul supporters of provocations from the CPI-M to maintain peace. They termed the Trinamul's victory as the victory of justice over misrule and atrocities of the CPI-M practiced in the past years. []

INQUIRY COMMISSION

The Circuit House being readied for conducting the inquiry under Justice Narayan Chandra Sil Commission on the police firing that was occurred at Dinhata on 5 February. Five Forward Bloc supporters and an NVF constable were killed on that violent day. In Cooch Behar on Monday.

Sunday, 25 May 2008

WILDLIFE

Pregnant female elephant's body found

 

COOCH BEHAR, May 25: Mystery shrouds over the death of a female pregnant elephant in Dooars. The body of the female elephant was found at Mantharam Beat area under Kodalbusti range of Cooch Behar wildlife division in Jalpaiguri district at early hours of today. The area is located at a distance of about 26-kilometre from Alipurduar. A male foetus was found inside its body after post-mortem.

 

It was learnt that local villagers found the body of the wild elephant on a maize field near the National Highway-31 this morning. It was identified as a pregnant 12-year-old female elephant. The villagers conveyed the matter to the forest officials. Senior forest officials including chief conservator of forests (wildlife north) Mr LC Bahuguna, conservator of forests (wildlife circle – north) Mr PT Bhutia, Cooch Behar DFO (wildlife) Mr Ujjwal Ghosh and assistant wildlife warden Mr Asitava Chatterjee rushed to the spot.

 

A veterinary surgeon of the state forest department Dr Pralay Mandal and others examined the body but no visible mark of injury was found. At first it was suspected that illegal poachers were behind the death of the elephant. But symptom of administering of poison or electrocution was not found. Then, post-mortem of the elephant's body was done this afternoon to find out the actual cause of its death. During post-mortem a male foetus was found inside its body, said the AWLW Mr Asitava Chatterjee. It is suspected that the elephant died of cardiac attack following delivery problems.

 

Locals said a heard of about fifteen elephants entered in Andaram Para near Dakshin Satali of Mantharam Beat area of Kodalbusti range at about 1 a.m. last night. Locals somehow drove back the herd of elephants into the nearby Chilapata forest. Later, at about 5-30 a.m. the body of the female elephant was found in a maize field. One Bande Oraon was the first villager who saw it and informed others. []

 

PHOTO : The body of the dead female elephant at a maize filed in Andaram Para Jalpaiguri district on Sunday.

Friday, 23 May 2008

FLOWER

Nature's fancy – Blue and white Aparajita flowers blossom in a same plant at a garden in Cooch Behar on Friday. – Debashis Bhaumik.

ELECTION RESULT

CPM's defeat caused death of trader in Tufanganj

 

COOCH BEHAR, May 23: The CPI-M's defeat in two Panchayat Samitis in Tufanganj and in some Gram Panchayats especially in Andaran-Fulbari GP caused death of a shocked trader. As the deceased trader was the secretary of the local traders' body a trade bandh was observed in Tufanganj today. A strike of motor-vehicle workers will be observed tomorrow.

 

Robin Bhawal (52) was the secretary of Tufanganj Byabasayee Samiti. He was also a member of the CPI-M's Tufanganj town local committee. As a committed party worker he took up the responsibility of the campaigning drive in favour of the party's candidates in Andaran-Fulbari GP. Knowing the result of CPI-M's debacle he became upset on Wednesday night. On his way back from the counting centre at Tuganganj College to his residence at Ward no. 4 in the market area in the town he turned sick. At first he was shifted to Tufanganj sub-divisional hospital and later to a private hospital in Cooch Behar. On Thursday night he died there.

 

The deceased trader was the nephew of the chairman of Tufanganj Municipality, Mr Subhas Chandra Bhawal. As he was a cardiac patient he failed to take easily his party's defeat at Andaran-Fulbari GP and other areas, Mr Bhawal said. The funeral ceremony was performed on the bank of Raidak river today. The deceased left his wife and a daughter.

 

District CPI-M secretariat member and Natabari MLA, Md Tamser Ali said he heard that supporters of opposition parties had hurled sour comments to him when he was returning to his residence on Wednesday night. The shock of party's defeat and the harsh comments caused the cardiac attack that claimed Bhawal's life, the CPI-M leader opined.

 

Terming the death of Bhawal as unfortunate Trinamul Congress sources denied of throwing any abusive language to him on Wednesday night. []

Thursday, 22 May 2008

ELECTION RESULT

Forward Bloc's supremacy in two Panchayat Samitis

 

COOCH BEHAR, May 22: The CPI-M lost its control over two Panchayat Samitis in Cooch Behar district but the Left Front was collectively able to retain the ten remaining Panchayat Samitis. The Forward Bloc was able to come out as the single largest party at three Panchayat Samitis and the CPI-M at seven Panchayat Samitis.

 

Out of 29 seats in Mathabhanga-I, the CPI-M bagged 24 seats and the Trinamul Congress 5 seats. In Mathabhanga-II the CPI-M got 16 seats out of 29 seats and the Trinamul Congress 13 seats.

 

In Dinhata-I the CPI-M won in 13 seats, the Forward Bloc in 13 seats, the Trinamul Congress in 2 seats and the Congress in 13 seats. Here the total number of seats is 41. In 33 seats in Dinhata-II the Forward Bloc bagged 18 seats, the CPI-M 10 seats and the Trinamul Congress 5 seats.

 

The party position in other Panchayat Samitis is as follows :

 

Mekhliganj (21) : Forward Bloc –18, CPI-M –5, Congress –2; Sitalkuchi (24) : CPI-M –19, Forward Bloc –3, CPI –1, Trinamul Congress –1; Sitai (15) : FB –10, CPI-M –2, Independents –3; Tufanganj-I (35) : Trinamul Congress –16, BJP –2, Independent –2, CPI-M –15; Tufanganj-II (29) : Trinamul Congress –8, BJP –8, Congress –1, Independent –2, CPI-M –10; Cooch Behar-I (43) : CPI-M -15, Forward Bloc –13, Trinamul Congress –5, Congress –4, BJP –1, Independent –5; Cooch Behar-II (39) : CPI-M –23, Trinamul Congress –5, Forward Bloc –3, Congress –4, BJP –3, Independent –1; Haldibari (15) : CPI-M –8, Forward Bloc –6, Congress –1. []

 

Mahajot rusticates CPI-M from two Panchayat Samitis

 

COOCH BEHAR, May 22: Tufanganj sub-division is known as the Red Bastion of the CPI-M in Cooch Behar district but the result of the three-tier panchayat election squandered that myth. The CPI-M lost its control over the Panchayat Samitis in Tufanganj-I and Tufanganj-II.

 

In Tufanganj-I CPI-M received 15 seats only. Here the Trinamul Congress bagged 16 seats, BJP two seats and independent candidates two seats. In Tufanganj-II CPI-M got 10 seats, Trinamul Congress 8 seats, BJP 8 seats, Congress one seat and independent candidates two seats. Mahajot (grand alliance) of Trinamul Congress and others is likely to form boards in these two Panchayat Samitis.

 

Secretary of Cooch Behar district CPI-M, Mr Chandi Pal admitted that their result was not good in the two Panchayat Samitis. He passed the blame on the grand alliance of forces like KLO, ULFA, GCDP, Kamtapuris and others. He however admitted of organisational weaknesses of the party too. At the same time he maintained that the Left Front done well in Zilla Parishad tire by securing 27 seats in 29 seats.

 

The result is not well enough for the Left Front, believes the district Forward Bloc secretary Mr Udayan Guha. At the same time he said that Forward Bloc did well than the previous election. About the Left Front's defeat in two Panchayat Samitis in Tufanganj he opined, "We should think over it. We should correct our errors to get rid of more damages."

 

When asked about the two ZP seats where the CPI-M and the FB wrestled against each other but the FB candidates lost to the CPI-M candidates, Mr Guha said, "We missed a chance to be glad but it is still good that no anti-LF candidate won in those seats by taking advantage of the difference between two LF parties".

 

District Trinamul Congress president Mr Rabindra Nath Ghosh termed the CPI-M's defeat in two Panchayat Samitis in Tufanganj as the verdict of the people against the CPI-M's misrule and tyranny.

 

Apprehending that Tufanganj and some other areas may pose as the turning point, political bigwigs like state CPI-M secretary Mr Biman Bose, Trinamul Congress chief Miss Mamata Banerjee, Congress leaders Dr Manas Bhuinya and Mr Somen Mitra and BJP leader Mr Rahul Sinha had visited this district to campaign in favour of their candidates. [] 

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

ELECTION RESULT

CPM rusticated from Tufanganj

 

COOCH BEHAR, May 21: Tufanganj sub-division is known as the Red Bastion of the CPI-M in Cooch Behar district but the result of the three-tier panchayat election squandered that myth today. The CPI-M lost its control over the Panchayat Samitis of Tufanganj-I and Tufanganj-II.

 

In Tufanganj-I CPI-M received 15 seats only. Here the Trinamul Congress bagged 16 seats, BJP two seats and an independent candidate one seat. In Tufanganj-II CPI-M got 10 seats and others collectively received 19 seats.

 

Secretary of Cooch Behar district CPI-M, Mr Chandi Pal admitted that their result was not good in the two Panchayat Samitis. He passed the blame on the grand alliance of forces like KLO, ULFA, GCDP, Kamtapuris and others. He however admitted of organisational weaknesses of the party too. At the same time he maintained that the Left Front done well in Zilla Parishad tire by securing 27 seats in 29 seats.

 

The result is not well enough for the Left Front, believes the district Forward Bloc secretary Mr Udayan Guha. At the same time he said that Forward Bloc did well than the previous election. About the Left Front's defeat in two Panchayat Samitis in Tufanganj he opined, "We should think over it. We should correct our errors to get rid of more damages."

 

When asked about the two ZP seats where the CPI-M and the FB wrestled against each other but the FB candidates lost to the CPI-M candidates, Mr Guha said, "We missed a chance to be glad but it is still good that no anti-LF candidate won in those seats by taking advantage of the difference between two LF parties".

 

District Trinamul Congress president Mr Rabindra Nath Ghosh termed the CPI-M's defeat in Tufanganj as the verdict of the people against the CPI-M's misrule and tyranny.

 

Apprehending that Tufanganj and some other areas may pose as the turning point political bigwigs like state CPI-M secretary Mr Biman Bose, Trinamul Congress chief Miss Mamata Banerjee, Congress leaders Dr Manas Bhuinya and Mr Somen Mitra and BJP leader Mr Rahul Sinha had visited this district to campaign in favour of their candidates. []

ELECTION RESULT

Officials busy in counting of ballot papers at Cooch Behar Polytechnic in Cooch Behar on Wednesday.

ELECTION RESULT

'Friendly fight' turned fatal for Forward Bloc

 

COOCH BEHAR, May 21: The so-called 'friendly fight' between the CPI-M and the Forward Bloc in two Zilla Parishad seats of Cooch Behar turned fatal for the Forward Bloc.

 

There are 29 seats in Cooch Behar Zilla Parishad. The Forward Bloc and the CPI-M reached to an understanding in 27 seats. Even after seven round of talks they failed to take a decision over the remaining two seats – Chandamari in Cooch Behar-I block and Bhetaguri-Putimari in Dinhata-I block. At last the Forward Bloc had declared that their candidates would go for a 'friendly fight' with the CPI-M candidates in these two seats. The CPI-M too accepted it. Leaders of both parties however had announced that Left Front unity would not be violated even after the election.

 

Today, after declaration of the results it was found that CPI-M candidate Mr Parameswar Roy defeated the Forward Bloc candidate Mr Gajendra Nath Roy in Chandamari seat. In Bhetaguri-Putimari seat Ms Bharati Sarkar of the CPI-M won the seat defeating her rival Ms Manira Chisti of Forward Bloc.

 

The CPI-M bagged 19 seats, the Forward Bloc got 8 seats and the Congress and the Trinamul Congress got one seat each. In the outgoing ZP board the total number of seats was 26 and the party position was as follows : CPI-M -18, FB -7 and independent (CPI-M supported) -1.

 

Another noteworthy event of the election is the entry of the Trinamul Congress and the Congress in the ZP tier. They bagged one seat each. There was no representation of the opposition parties in the outgoing ZP board. From now on the Left Front run ZP board may have to face trouble due to the presence of opponents.

 

Mr Dilip Biswas (CPI-M) won from Tufanganj-I and he is the most probable candidate for the ZP sabhadhipati's chair.

 

Among the heavyweight persons who failed to win there is Mr Tarapada Barman (CPI-M) of Dinhata-II block. He lost the seat to Ms Shefali Barman of Trinamul Congress. Mr Mujibar Rahman of Congress defeated Forward Bloc's Mr Debnarayan Kaloar in Dinhata-I block. []

 

PHOTO : Officials busy in compiling poll results in front of a big screen at Lansdowne Hall in Cooch Behar on Wednesday. – Debashis Bhaumik

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

EDUCATION

Alipurduar women's college

 

COOCH BEHAR, May 20: The much-awaited women's college of Alipurduar got the government approval today. The secretary of the organising committee of the Alipurduar Mahila Mahavidyalaya, Mr Nirmal Das said the state education department approved commencement of functioning of the college. Classes will be held from the 2008-2009 academic session.

 

Mr Das, who is also the local MLA, said, the government sanctioned six posts of teachers including the post of principal. Eight posts of non-teaching staff were also sanctioned. He hoped that as the result of the Higher Secondary examination was declared today the girl-students of Alipurduar and adjoining areas would get an opportunity to continue their higher studies at this college. 500 to 800 girls may come here for admission, he expected.

 

As a new building of the college is yet to be constructed the classes will be held at Alipurduar Collegiate School till construction of the new building, Mr Das said. []

EXAM RESULT

Higher Secondary result in Cooch Behar

 

COOCH BEHAR, May 20: Ms Hritwika Das of Manindra Nath High School is the probable joint-topper in the Higher Secondary examination in Cooch Behar. She scored 441 marks. He got 74 in Bengali, 85 in English, 96 in Chemistry, 93 in Mathematics, 95 in Physics, 86 in Biology and 96 in Environment science. Her father Mr Tapas Das is an employee of SDO office and mother Mrs Sudipa Das is a nurse at JD Hospital. She took help of eight private tutors to prepare for the examination.

 

Mr Tanmay Sarkar of Soni Devi Jain High School in Dinhata too got 441 marks. He received 75 in Bengali, 80 in English, 95 in Chemistry, 92 in Physics, 99 in Mathematics, 76 in Biology and 95 in Environment science. His father is Mr Tapan Sarkar is a primary school teacher and mother Bani Sarkar is merely a housewife. He too took help of eight tutors for his study. Both Hritwika and Tanmay want to be doctors in future.

 

Mr Mayukh Deb of Jenkins School is the probable second ranker who scored 440 marks. He received 81 in Bengali, 84 in English, 96 in Chemistry, 86 in Mathematics, 87 in Physics, 92 in Biology and 96 in Environment science. His father Mr Bijay Deb is the owner of a reputed advertisement agency and mother Mr Debimalika Deb is a teacher of Dinhata College.

 

Ms Ruchira Dey of Sunity Academy got 423 marks while Ms Piyali Saha of New Town Girls' High School received 414 marks. []

 

PHOTO : Ms Hritwika Das (441) of Manindra Nath High School and Mr Mayukh Deb (440) of Jenkins School.

 

Polling : Haldibari first in Cooch Behar

 

COOCH BEHAR, May 20: Haldibari block scored the first position in Cooch Behar district according to the percent of polling. Here, among 55,845 voters the number of votes polled is 51,956 (93 percent). Mekhliganj block bagged the second position where 92.7 percent votes were polled. Among the 84,958 voters 78,751 votes were polled here. Tufanganj-II block became third where 89.6 percent votes were polled. Among the 1,05,224 voters, 94,332 votes were polled here.

 

Noteworthy, there are 14,81,019 voters in the twelve blocks in Cooch Behar district and 88 percent votes were polled (13,03,233) in the just concluded rural election. []

LEFT FRONT

CPM-FB meet to maintain peace

 

COOCH BEHAR, May 20: Taking a lesson from Basanti the CPI-M and the Forward Bloc today took an initiative to avoid post-poll and post-result clashes in Cooch Behar district.

 

The leaders of the CPI-M and the Forward Bloc met today at the district CPI-M office and decided to instruct their activists and supporters to maintain peace in the district.

 

After the bipartite meet the secretary of the district CPI-M and district Left Front convenor Mr Chandi Pal said no untoward incident will be tolerated in the name of victory rally. Organising of victory rallies will be allowed but those should be held in presence of responsible leaders of both the parties. He also appealed to the opposition parties to maintain peace.

 

Admitting that a few clashes are being held at several places he said LF activists were instructed to avoid more such incidents. Today's meeting was held as a precautionary measure, he said.

 

Mr Pal said the LF leaders would discuss over formation of boards for the three-tier panchayat bodies after declaration of poll results. He admitted that in some seats 'friendly contest' was held between the CPI-M and the Forward Bloc but that was not worth mentioning. LF unity was there in this district and it will continue, he said.

 

On the otherhand, district Forward Bloc secretary Mr Udayan Guha said competition was held between CPI-M and FB candidates but they never fought against one another. The leaders of the two parties met today to maintain peace and avoid clashes among the LF partners, he clarified. The post-poll clashes that are being occurred at several places are not mentionworthy in comparison to previous elections, he opined. Referring the Basanti violence he said one should learn lessons form everything. []

Monday, 19 May 2008

UNREST

Police on rampage at New Cooch Behar Railway Station

 

COOCH BEHAR, May 19: A large contingent of police personnel who came from other districts for performing polling duty in Cooch Behar district started rampage at New Cooch Behar railway station from around 4 p.m. today. They ransacked railway offices including that of the station manager and assaulted the station manager Mr Manmohan Das and an ASM. Mr Das was shifted to the hospital. All railway staff and others fled away from the station premises. The agitated policemen resisted media persons too from entering into the station premises.

 

The situation restored to normalcy when the scheduled Election Special train arrived at about 8-30 p.m.

 

It was learnt that an Election Special train was to come at 1 p.m. to take away the police personnel from Cooch Behar. The policemen were waiting at the station premises since this morning but no train came for them till 4 p.m. They were reportedly not served with food also. At that time the exhausted and hungry policemen got agitated and started ransacking at the station platform. After assault on the station manager and the ASM the other railway personnel got panicky and fled away. Plying of all trains through New Cooch Behar railway station was disrupted following the incident. Senior police officials rushed to the spot but they also had to face the ire of the agitated policemen.

 

Taking an initiative Cooch Behar DM Mr Rajesh Kumar Sinha contacted senior railway officials of NF Railway including the divisional railway manager, Alipurduar and urged them to arrange the scheduled special train as early as possible. The situation turned normal after arrival of the Election Special train at 8-30 p.m., he said. []

ELECTION

Polling done today too in Cooch Behar

 

COOCH BEHAR, May 19: The election at the polling station at Purba Chakiar Chhara Fifth Plan Primary School under Nishiganj gram panchayat of Mathabhanga-II block was postponed yesterday due to erroneous printing of the names of the contesting candidates in the ballot papers. Following State Election Commission's instruction the adjourned polling will be held there tomorrow, Cooch Behar DM Mr Rajesh Kumar Sinha said.

 

On the otherhand, polling was conducted till 9 a.m. today at two poling stations in this district. These two polling stations are : Kalmati of Bamanhat GP under Dinhata-II block and Somaliabos of Hemkumari GP under Haldibari block. Very slow polling process caused the delay at these places, the DM said.

 

In Cooch Behar district 89 percent polling was done, claimed the district magistrate. Mentionworthy, there were 1,875 polling stations for 14,81,019 voters in Cooch Behar district. The number of seats in the Zilla Parishad tier is 29, in 12 Panchayat Samitis the total number of seats is 353 and in 128 Gram Panchayats there are 1,668 seats. []

Sunday, 18 May 2008

ELECTION

Voters wait for their turn in polling stations in Cooch Behar on Sunday.

ELECTION

Almost peaceful polling in Cooch Behar

 

COOCH BEHAR, May 18: Polling at the three-tier panchayat election in Cooch Behar district passed off almost peacefully. Fifty-five percent polling was reported upto 5 p.m., the district magistrate of Cooch Behar Mr Rajesh Kumar Sinha claimed.

 

Polling was not held at three gram panchayats of Dinhata-I, Tufanganj-II and Mathabhanga-II blocks following the death of contesting candidates and other reasons. Election will be held in these seats later, as per State Election Commission's instruction, the district magistrate said.

 

As the weather was pleasant enough till the afternoon the voters turned up in a huge number. The presence of women in queues was noteworthy. Many voters appeared at the polling booths at around 5 a.m. to exercise their franchise as early as possible. Till 10-30 a.m. about twenty percent voting was completed. At 12-noon it rose to 31 percent. At 3 p.m. the percentage rose to 42.44. At about 3-30 p.m. a massive storm lashed several areas of the district and that caused disruption of polling. Later, the situation turned normal and the electors came back to queues.

 

At Sadiyaler Kuthi AP School (polling station no. 80) under Choudhurihat GP in Dinhata-II block the polling was not started at the scheduled time due to error and inconsistency in ballot papers. Later, the polling started after taking consent from the contesting candidates. In Nishiganj-I GP under Mathabhanga-II block the polling was not held due to erroneous printing of the name of candidates. Here the polling will be held soon.

 

At the polling booth of Lakshmikanto High School of Madhupur GP in Cooch Behar-II, polling was disrupted for more than one hour following a dispute over casting of votes of an elector. The situation of Chhoto Salbari of Sitalkuchi became tense over allegation of recovery of a fake voting stamp from a political party's tent. []

 

Section 144 imposed in Cooch Behar

 

COOCH BEHAR, May 18: Cooch Behar DM Mr Rajesh Kumar Sinha promulgated Section 144 CrPC prohibiting assembly of five or more persons in the entire Cooch Behar district from yesterday. This order will remain in force till 6 a.m. tomorrow. Apprehending serious breach of peace and injury to general public and the persons lawfully employed for conducting polls and danger to human life and property from anti-social and rowdy elements, the order was promulgated, the DM said.

 

Mentionworthy, there were 1,875 polling stations for 14,81,019 voters in Cooch Behar district. The number of seats in the Zilla Parishad tier is 29, in 12 Panchayat Samitis the total number of seats is 353 and in 128 Gram Panchayats there are 1,668 seats. []

Saturday, 17 May 2008

ELECTION

GCDP rolls back from hunger strike plan

 

COOCH BEHAR, May 17: Greater Cooch Behar Democratic Party (GCDP) withdrew its indefinite hunger strike plan that was announced yesterday to start from today. Following arrest of three persons in connection with the attack on a GCDP leader the hunger strike plan was withdrawn.

 

GCDP sources alleged that a gang of armed CPI-M supporters had attacked GCDP supporters at Uttar Nababganj Balasi village of Dewanhat under Cooch Behar Kotowali police station on Thursday night. In that incident Md Ruhul Mian, a local GCDP leader, received severe injury in his head. Demanding arrest of the persons involved with the crime the GCDP decided of an indefinite hunger strike, GCDP president Mr Ashutosh Barma said.

 

Yesterday, the district magistrate of Cooch Behar Mr Rajesh Kumar Sinha took an initiative to avert the situation that may come up following the GCDP plan. Among the eight persons named in the FIR three were arrested last night and it made the GCDP leadership satisfied to come back from their hunger strike plan. []

Friday, 16 May 2008

ELECTION

Supporters of Forward Bloc and Congress jointly campaign for their candidates against CPI-M candidates in a village in Dinhata.

ELECTION

Womenfolk on peace mission

 

COOCH BEHAR, May 16: Fearing rerun of Nandigram the women of Checkpost Colony in Dinhata formed a resistance group to protect their village from trouble creators. They are reportedly guarding the village at night so that no CPI-M activist can enter the village with any unscrupulous intention.

 

In the previous three-tier panchayat election in Putimari-I Gram Panchayat of Dinhata two CPI-M candidates had won from this area. Villagers alleged that no development was done during the outgoing term of the GP. The elected representatives practiced one thing only and that is corruption. A number of complaints were lodged against them.

 

This time the CPI-M replaced their candidates apprehending a revolt in the area. On the otherhand, the Forward Bloc and the Congress entered into an alliance here and fielded one FB supported independent candidate and one Congress candidate.

 

During the first phase of campaign the male residents started guarding the village at night to prevent any move to break the peace. They alleged that the CPI-M activists from outside of the village used to enter the village to woo the poor voters with foodgrains and money. Resistance from the villagers made the CPI-M activists angry and that raised the fear of untoward incidents.

 

At this stage the women of the village came out and formed a resistance group. Nurjahan Bibi, Farijan Bibi, Anoara Khatun, Minu Das, Panchami Mohanto and others of the group believe the goons will not dare to attack the women prior to the election. They fear the CPI-M activists may try to bribe the poor voters at the night before the polling day.

 

Local FB leader Mr Kali Basunia welcomed the initiative of the womenfolk. "They are doing this to maintain peace because no one wants a rerun of Nandigram here. They may be able to prevent the other villagers from the atrocities unleashed by the CPI-M", he said. On the otherhand, CPI-M's district secretariat member Mr Benubadal Chakraborty termed the initiative as a fabricated drama of the Forward Bloc. The CPI-M has no intension to disturb the peace and bribe the voters, he said. []

 

PHOTO : Women on guard to resist trouble creators from entering in the village. At Checkpost Colony of Dinhata in Cooch Behar.