Sunday, 27 July 2008

Byayam Bidyalaya

Blood donation camp

 

A blood donation camp was organised by the Byayam Bidyalaya on 26 July at the institution's premises at Mahamaya-Pat in Dinhata, Cooch Behar. The sub-divisional officer of Dinhata, Debabrata Chakraborty inaugurated the camp. He also donated blood at the camp. Both male and female members of Byayam Bidyalaya donated blood at the camp. Eminent citizens of Dinhata too attended the ceremony to encourage the youngsters in their praiseworthy initiative.

 

The website of Byayam Bidyalaya was also inaugurated on the occasion. Secretary general of Byayam Bidyalaya, Bibhu Ranjan Saha said one can learn about the aims, objectives and the facilities available in the institution through the newly launched website. The social activities of the organisation will also be posted in the website, Saha said.

LIONS CLUB

Plantation programme

 

In association with the volunteers of the National Service Scheme (NSS) the members of the Lions Club of Cooch Behar (Greater) organised a tree plantation programme on 26 July at Acharya Brajendra Nath Seal College premises. NSS programme officer Dhananjay Bhattacharya and lecturers of the ABN Seal College Saikat Naskar, Dipayan Chattopadhyay and Nirmalendu Das were present during the programme along with the Lion and Leo members of the LCCG and NSS student-volunteers. A number of saplings of useful trees were planted on the occasion. Secretary of the LCCG, Jhumka Guha said they organised the programme as a part of their commitment to the society and aware students and people about the importance to keep the city green.

 

PHOTO : At the Plantation ceremony of Lions Club of Cooch Behar Greater.

Friday, 25 July 2008

ALIPURDUAR MUNICIPALITY

Cong, BJP, Trinamul alliance won in Alipurduar

 

COOCH BEHAR, July 25: Elections for the posts of the chairman and the vice-chairman for the Alipurduar Municipality were held today. Mr Dipta Chatterjee of Congress was elected the chairman and Mr Aurobinda Roy of the BJP became the vice-chairman.

 

In the recently concluded civic polls in the 20-ward Alipurduar Municipality the party position is as follows : CPI-M 5, RSP 2, CPI 1, Congress 8, BJP 1 and the Trinamul Congress 1. A Congress supported independent candidate and the chairman of the outgoing board (independent) too won in the remaining two seats.

 

Today, the Congress, the Trinamul Congress and the BJP fielded Mr Dipta Chatterjee (Congress) as the candidate for the post of chairman, who defeated the Left Front's candidate. They also elected Mr Aurobinda Roy (BJP) as the vice-chairman. The chairman of the outgoing board, Mr Ashis Dutta, who won as an independent candidate and later joined Trinamul Congress, did not participated in today's election. []

 

PHOTO : Jubilant supporters of the Congress, the BJP and the Trinamul Congress after formation of board of Alipurduar Municipality. In Alipurduar on Friday.

AGITATION

Demonstration of forest personnel

 

COOCH BEHAR, July 25: Members of Cooch Behar district unit of INTUC affiliated West Bengal Forest Service Employees' Federation (Unified) staged a daylong sit-in demonstration at the divisional social forestry office in Cooch Behar today. They were protesting against the sudden transfer of their Cooch Behar district unit secretary Mr Smarajit Sarkar.

 

The agitated forest workers alleged that the transfer was uncalled for especially during the ongoing plantation season.

 

Mr Smarajit Sarkar said about one hundred aggrieved casual daily labourers recently left the CITU union and joined the WBFSEF (U). Recently a list of 529 CDLs was prepared but in that list no one was from Cooch Behar, Jalpaiguri and Baikanthapur divisions and so they deserted the CITU affiliated union. This may be one of the reasons behind his transfer, he suspects.

 

One of the rebel CITU supporters, Mr Niranjan Amin explained that they joined the INTUC union because they have to work for 18 hours per day against Rs 40 only. At the time of absorbing of such labourers they were kept out of the list and this prompted them to leave the CITU union.

 

Mr Sarkar alleged that ransacking of funds in the name of observing Forest Week is a regular feature in Cooch Behar social forestry division. "We have been protesting such things for a long and so they are trying to teach me a lesson by transferring me from here", he alleged. He also said that the toy train facility at Narendra Narayan Park in Cooch Behar town is running at a loss, but work is on to launch another toy train project at Kholta in Cooch Behar-II with an inflated fund. "Protesting against misuse of government money earned my transfer", he said.

 

The Cooch Behar DFO (Social Forestry) Mr Apurba Sen said the transfer order came from higher authorities but he has no knowledge about the reasons behind it. A transfer beyond the Cooch Behar division is not under his purview, he explained. Mentionworthy, Mr Sarkar is a range officer of social forestry division engaged in Mathabhanga. In a recent order he was transferred to West Bengal Forest Development Corporation from Cooch Behar social forestry division. []

 

PHOTO : Sit-in demonstration of forest workers at the office premises of Cooch Behar social forestry division. In Cooch Behar on Friday.

PROTEST

Farmers' roadblock

 

COOCH BEHAR, July 25: Protesting against price hike of fertilisers a group of farmers staged roadblock at Kalachand near Dewanhat along the busy Dinhata-Cooch Behar road for about two hours today. Vehicular movement was disrupted due to the agitation. Later, the farmers lifted the blockade following assurances from the agricultural development officer of Cooch Behar-I block Mr Rajat Roy. []

Thursday, 24 July 2008

RIVER EROSION

Torsa embankment breached in Tufanganj

 

COOCH BEHAR, July 24: An embankment of Torsa was breached at Balarampur in Tufanganj sub-division causing concern of the villagers of the area. The earthen embankment was constructed under soil conservation scheme.

 

The pradhan of Balarampur-I gram panchayat Mr Koushik Narayan said the embankment that was erected to save the villages nearby the Torsa from the erosion of the river got damaged due to overflowed river water. At Arampur village a large section of the embankment was washed away and the water of the river is now flowing through the village. At least 800 families turned helpless. The pradhan said he already conveyed the situation to the authorities concerned to initiate measures.

 

The BDO of Tufanganj-I Mr Saikat Das said protective work was started at the area to save the dyke from more damage.

 

It was learnt that at Soladanga too the embankment of Torsa was breached. The condition of the 3-kilometre embankment from Taptipara to Soladanga in Balarampur-I gram panchayat is alarming. Tosarkuthi village is also under threat.

 

On the otherhand, the swelling Torsa posed as danger at Salmara under Madhupur gram panchayat. The pradhan of the gram panchayat Mr Nirmal Kumar Karjee said the river washed away eleven dwellings of the village during the past five days. The homeless families took shelter on the Salmara-Nayarhat road under the open sky. The BDO of Cooch Behar-II was conveyed of the situation, he said.

 

When contacted, the officer-in-charge of the district disaster management cell, Mr Chiranjib Ghosh said the executive engineer of the Cooch Behar irrigation division was asked to assess the situation of the river erosion. Examining the reports protective measures and repairing of damaged embankments may be undertaken after receding of river water, he said. The BDO concerned is to take steps to help the villagers who were rendered homeless due to erosion, Mr Ghosh added. []

 

PHOTO : Erosion of the Torsa at Salmara in Cooch Behar-II block.

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

NEWS

Jail escapee Naxal leader arrested after 23 years

 

COOCH BEHAR, July 23: A Naxilite leader associated with COC-CPIML (2nd CC), Mr Ajit Chakraborty, who escaped from Cooch Behar District Jail in 1985 was produced at a court here today. He will be produced again in the court of the additional district and sessions judge Mr PK Bandyopadhyay on 28 July.

 

It was learnt that Mr Chakraborty alias Tyara Master, a resident of Diamond Harbour, was engaged in different political activities in north Bengal on behalf of his organisation. In 1981 a case of sedition was brought against him in Jalpaiguri. There were several cases against him in Cooch Behar district too. During trial of the cases he was in Cooch Behar District Jail but he managed to escape from there with five others on 16 May 1985. Since then he was absconding.

 

The police nabbed the Naxilite leader from Hanskhali in 24 Parganas on 3 April of this year. On being informed Cooch Behar Police brought him and produced him in the court of the additional district and sessions judge today. In the court Mr Chakraborty, who is now 68, claimed himself as a Maoist. Mr Pijush Barman appeared on the government side in the court today. A large contingent of police force was deployed around the court premises to maintain peace. []

 

New chairman of Mekhliganj Municipality

 

COOCH BEHAR, July 23: Mr Sailen Das of Forward Bloc was appointed as the chairman of Mekhliganj Municipality today. He is the brother-in-law of state food and supply minister Mr Paresh Adhikary. In the previous board Mr Das was the vice-chairman.

 

Mentionworthy, in the 9-member Mekhliganj Municipality official Forward Bloc candidates won in five seats and dummy FB candidates bagged the remaining four seats. Though the CPI-M and the Forward Bloc had entered into an alliance here and the chairmanship was earmarked for an elected FB candidate, the 'big brother' failed to capture any seat. In the previous board a CPI-M candidate was the chairman but the FB had failed to taste the chairmanship though an agreement was there to share the chair for two-and-half years. This time the local FB activists taught a lesson to the CPI-M for not keeping the promise.

 

It is yet uncertain who will be the vice-chairman in the new board. The minister, Mr Paresh Adhikary denied that there was any dispute in the party over the post of vice-chairman. Meanwhile, the dummy elected candidates expressed their willingness to join the party. []   

NEWS

Yellow signal over Torsa, Mansai and Raidak

 

COOCH BEHAR, July 23: On Wednesday noon, at the break of the incessant downpour that was continuing since Saturday the citizens heaved a sigh of relief. But, the water levels of three major rivers are still flowing over the danger mark. Yellow signal is still flashing over the Torsa at Hasimara, the Mansai at Mathabhanga and the Raidak at Tufanganj, though the water levels of other rivers are below the danger mark.

 

Officials of the Flood Control Room in Cooch Behar said that the rainfall recorded in the past 24-hours is 56.80-mm in Cooch Behar, 112.60-mm in Tufanganj and 102.80-mm in Mathabhanga. There is no warning for heavy rainfall in the next 24-hours, the officials claimed. However, the sky is still cloudy. []

 

Elephant attack

 

COOCH BEHAR, July 23: One Robin Sangma (27), a forest-villager of Garam Busty near Rajabhatkhawa in Alipurduar, was trampled to death by a wild elephant on Tuesday night. He was returning home when the elephant came out from the nearby forest and attacked him, locals said. The elephant also damaged three dwellings in that forest-village. []

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

FLOOD SITUATION

Tista crosses danger mark, flood alert in Cooch Behar, Dooars

 

COOCH BEHAR, July 22: Torrential rainfall of past two days on the upper catchments areas and on the plains turned people of a vast area in Cooch Behar and Jalpaiguri districts panicky of probable flood. Water levels of all the rivers are rising in Cooch Behar and Dooars. The downpour is still continuing.

 

As the water level of Tista has crossed the danger mark yellow signal was flashed on the river at Mekhliganj in Cooch Behar and Domohini in Jalpaiguri. In Mekhliganj the water level of Tista is rapidly increasing towards Red danger mark. The water levels of other rivers are still flowing below the danger mark in Cooch Behar district.

 

The rainfall recorded in the past 24-hours in Cooch Behar is 134-mm. It is 152-mm in Tufanganj and 69.80-mm in Mathabhanga during the same period. The officer-in-charge of disaster management department of Cooch Behar district, Mr Chiranjib Ghosh said the average rainfall till date in Cooch Behar and Tufanganj is more than that in the same period in the previous years except in Mathabhanga.

 

Mr Ghosh said, all the SDOs, BDOs and other personnel of concerned departments of Cooch Behar district were alerted. They were requested to keep constant vigil towards the situation. The Flood Control Room is functioning round-the-clock to monitor the changing situation of the rivers, he said.

 

On the otherhand, almost all the wards in Cooch Behar town turned waterlogged. Normal life is being disrupted due to incessant downpour. The overflowed Raidak-II turned Ghonapara and Mahishkuchi in Tufanganj sub-division submerged. Two flood rescue camps were opened there for the distressed people.

 

As the water levels of the rivers are rising in the Dooars the overflowed river water cut off Totopara and Jainti in Alipurduar sub-division of Jalpaiguri. About one-kilometre stretch of a road was breached at Uttar Haldibari in Kumargramduar. At Falakata the water level of Mujnai is flowing over the danger mark. Water level of Torsa is rapidly increasing to cross the danger mark in unprotected areas. []

  

PHOTO : Erosion of Torsa at Dalsingpara in Alipurduar, Jalpaiguri.

Monday, 21 July 2008

FIRING

Girl killed in BSF firing, two hurt

 

COOCH BEHAR, July 21: A 10-year-old girl named Khaleda Khatun died of BSF firing and two other villagers were wounded at Paglimari border outpost area under Sitalkuchi police station in Cooch Behar district on Monday afternoon.

 

Police said a dispute brew up in the village initially between a woman and BSF jawans over grazing of cattle near the Indo-Bangladesh border in the afternoon. At the peak of the quarrel the BSF jawans allegedly opened fire on the angry villagers resulting death of a minor girl. A large contingent of police force led by the sub-divisional police officer (SDPO) of Mathabhanga Mr Ananda Roy rushed to the spot to control the agitated villagers. Mr Roy said the situation is now under control.

 

The district magistrate of Cooch Behar, Mr Rajesh Kumar Sinha sought a detailed report into the incident.

RIVER EROSION

The residents of Dalsingpara village in Jalpaiguri district of West Bengal are worshiping Lord Shiva on Monday to protect their lives and property from the erosion of Torsa river as the river is changing its course.

Sunday, 20 July 2008

BANESWAR SHIV MANDIR

Water fountain installed to save Mohans of Baneswar

 

COOCH BEHAR, July 20: In a bid to save the tortoises of the historic Shiv Dighi of Baneswar in Cooch Behar the Debottar Trust Board (DTB) has installed a water fountain in the pond that started functioning from Sunday evening. The DTB is the guardian body of the temples and religious places of the erstwhile princely state of Cooch Behar. The tortoises of Shiv Dighi are known as 'Mohan' to the devotees and locals.

 

The plan behind installing the Rs 1.5-lakh coloured water fountain is to oxygenate the water of the pond to make it healthy for the Mohans. It may also beautify the area that attracts devotees and visitors round the year.

 

Following deaths of a number of tortoises of the Shiv Dighi locals got agitated and demonstrations including bandhs and roadblocks were also held in the past. The issue also rolled to the courtroom. Several investigations and tests were conducted but the actual cause behind the deaths is still shrouds under mystery. On 30 October 2006 the principal chief conservator of forests, Mr Sampat Singh Bist, sent a twelve-point recommendation to the Debottar Trust Board as measures to stop the death toll but most of the recommendations were not implemented so far.

 

Locals alleged that around 60 tortoises of the Shiv Dighi died since 2005. It may be mentioned here that examining the water of the pond and its surroundings the experts had identified pollution of the water of the pond, over population of the turtles and concrete banks of the waterbody as some of the causes behind the problem. Pisciculture at the pond was also held responsible. They however opined that 10 to 20 percent death might be taken as natural especially during mating season.

 

Cooch Behar Sadar SDO and the executive member of the DTB, Mr Jayanta Kumar Maity said they removed about 11-quintals of fish from the pond. Removal of the concrete banks was done following recommendations. Rs 3.5-lakh were spent for the job. Seven earthen ramps were also made so that the turtles feel free during laying of eggs.

 

Mr Maity claimed that they took all possible measures following recommendations from the experts and leaders of all political parties. After every incident of death post-mortem of the tortoises were done. To make the water clean lime and potassium permanganate were sprayed to the water. Enough feed are also being arranged daily so that no Mohan suffers from malnutrition, he said.

 

Mr Maity said that they took every possible measure to save the Mohans and now the people and the devotees turn to maintain the cleanliness of the water of Shiv Dighi. [] 

 

PHOTO : The historic Shiv Mandir of Baneswar in Cooch Behar.

Friday, 18 July 2008

Potato Issue

Roadblock by potato growers

 

COOCH BEHAR, July 18: A large number of potato growers blocked the Alipurduar-Falakata road at 18-mile near Baburhat in Alipurduar sub-division of Jalpaiguri district on Friday noon for about one-and-half hours. They made the traffic movement standstill by placing sacks of potatoes on the road. Following the agitation the vehicular traffic was disrupted along the road for a long time.

 

An agitated potato grower, Mr Ramesh Roy said they staged the roadblock demanding waiving of bank loans and rental charge of cold storage. As the price of potato is very low in the wholesale market it is difficult to realise the cost of production or rent of cold storage by selling their potatoes. Today they brought about 12 bags of potato to block the road, he said.

 

On the othrhand, supporters of the Congress too staged a sit-in at the office premises of the Alipurduar SDO expressing their support to the poor potato growers.

 

It may be mentioned here that similar demonstrations were held at Birpara yesterday and at Buxa Feeder Road in Alipurduar town on the previous day. []

 

PHOTO : Unclaimed bags of potatoes on a village road in Alipurduar, Jalpaiguri.

TRADE UNION

Stir plan for workers in unorganised sector

 

COOCH BEHAR, July 18: The Unorganised Wing of the Cooch Behar District INTUC is getting ready to organise intensive movements for the interest of the workers engaged in unorganised sector.

 

President of West Bengal Pradesh National Trade Union Congress  (WBPNTUC), Mr Subrata Mukherjee recently nominated Mr Pranesh Kumar Dhar as the president of Cooch Behar district unit of the organisation and requested him to undertake all possible measures for overall development of unorganised sector.

 

Soon after being nominated Mr Dhar constituted a 31-member district committee with Mr Biplab Bihari Rudra as its general secretary.

 

Mr Dhar said, they will organise movements demanding absorption of unorganised casual workers, issuing of appointment letters, introduction of old age allowance and assistance to physically incapable workers, extension of provident fund, life insurance and accidental insurance schemes to all unorganised workers and all other benefits according to government norms. []

NORTH EAST INDIA

Inner Line Permits: what link between law & reality?

BY JB LAMA

IT is inconceivable that despite the Inner Line Permit system under the 1873 East Bengal Frontier Hills Regulation Act being in vogue, Mizoram claims the presence of more than 10,000 outsiders in its capital town of Aizawl alone. There must be thousands more elsewhere in the state. Had the government been strict at the time of issuing permits or checking on those overstaying and their activities, it would not have faced such a situation. Mostly Bangladeshis, these "outsiders" are either engaged in petty business or are daily wage earners. Mizoram is also shelter for more than 40,000 Chin and Myanmarese refugees after they fled their country following the military junta's takeover in the late 1980s.

Aizawl's bid to flush out infiltrators received a setback last June when Gauhati High Court stopped the state government from arresting and deporting "any Indian nationals on (the) ground of not possessing (an) Inner Line Permit". However, on Aizawl's plea, it has allowed the state government to "verify (the) credentials of those whom the state government suspects are not Indian citizens". Of significance is the high court's order that this task of verifying credentials be entrusted to a police official not below the rank of DSP — ostensibly to ensure that no students are involved in identifying and detecting foreign nationals.

In Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland, where the Inner Line system is also in force, students' branding non-indigenous residents as "foreigners" gained acceptance with the support of local governments. Their voluntary service has often led to unpleasant situations, like harassment of bona fide citizens. There is no denying that the Inner Line system helps tribals in their battle against economic exploitation by outsiders, but their rights and privileges are well protected by the Constitution. There are specific laws and enactments besides political commitments and international agreements to determine citizenship status, but in the North-east the Centre is yet to define who "foreigners" are and also whether an Indian citizen has the right to live in any state he/she chooses. Tribals have resisted the move to repeal the 1873 regulation but there has to be a meeting point between the law and reality. If a law cannot be enforced strictly, is it worth persisting with?

***
ASSAM, Manipur and Meghalaya have new Governors. The Bodos must be proud to see a man from their community, 62-year-old Ranjit Sekhar Mooshahary, gracing Raj Bhavan at Shillong. He was the first Bodo IPS officer and the first from the North-east to be appointed Director-General of the Border Security Force. An IPS office of the 1967 Kerala cadre, Mooshahary held several important posts like the DGP in the state and also served as Director-General of the National Security Guards. He comes from Odlaguri village in Kokrajhar and was reportedly in Shillong between 1961-67 earning a livelihood and at the same attending evening classes at St Anthony's College. Not even in his wildest dream could he have ever thought that in the next 40 years he would be the occupant of Raj Bhavan in the same state.

The first among tribals to hold the post of Governor was the late Hokishe Sema, who served as Nagaland's chief minister before being appointed Governor of Himachal Pradesh. The next to follow was PR Kyndiah of Meghalaya, who became Governor of Mizoram and is now Union minister for tribal affairs. SC Jamir, who was the longest serving chief minister of Nagaland, served as Governor of Goa before being shifted to Maharashtra, where he now remains. Former Arunachal Preadesh chief minister Mukut Mithi is Governor of Puduchery. May their tribe increase. (The Statesman)

Thursday, 17 July 2008

COOCHBEHAR NEWS

Body found

 

COOCH BEHAR, July 17: Body of one Manik Debnath (45) was recovered from Dodearhat area beside the railway track on Thursday morning. There was mark of injury on his head. Debnath was a resident of Khagrabari area. Police said he was suffering from mental disorder and went to the spot last night probably to commit suicide. The body was sent for post-mortem to ascertain the actual cause of death. []

 

Body of newborn found

 

COOCH BEHAR, July 17: The body of a newborn child was found at a pond at Ranirhat in Mekhliganj on Thursday morning. Police rescued the body but its identity is yet to be ascertained. Recovery of the body created sensation in the locality. []

 

Workshop

 

COOCH BEHAR, July 17: A workshop on dowry, child marriage and empowerment of women will be held at Tufanganj Community Hall on Saturday. The sabhadhipati of Cooch Behar Zilla Parishad, Mr Dilip Kumar Biswas will inaugurate the workshop. District information and cultural affairs department and Tufanganj Municipality will organise the programme jointly. []

 

Blood donation

 

COOCH BEHAR, July 17: Cooch Behar Zilla Parishad sabhadhipati Mr Dilip Kumar Biswas will inaugurate a blood donation camp organised by Pashchimbanga Group-D Sarkari Karmochari Samiti at Karmochari Bhavan in Cooch Behar on 22 July. []

TORSA BRIDGE

'World record' in procrastination

 

COOCH BEHAR, July 17: The state government made a world record in making a bridge over Torsa. From survey to construction - it took about 55 years to complete the bridge. It may be termed as a world record in procrastination too. In 1985 it was estimated that the bridge may cost about Rs 13.71-crore to be completed but till its inauguration in 2008 the total cost was Rs 67.16-crore.

 

State PWD minister Mr Kshiti Goswami inaugurated the long awaited third road bridge over Torsa river in Cooch Behar on Wednesday afternoon. The newly constructed bridge is situated between Falakata and Pundibari along National Highway-31.

 

PWD officials said that Rs 67.16-crore was spent to construct the 854-metre bridge and the 23-kilometre approach road along NH-31. The survey for the project was initiated in 1953 but the work was done by 17 years only, PWD officials claimed. During his address the PWD minister too admitted the delay in constructing the bridge.

 

The distance from Cooch Behar to Assam and Meghalaya will be shortened by 53-kilometre from now on.

 

Convener of Pundibari Torsa Setu Nirman Sangram Samity, Mr Debabrata Chaki recalled that the actual initiative to construct the much-needed bridge was taken in 1984. The work for the concrete bridge was started in 1991. Construction work was suspended in 2001 for different problems. In 2003 the PTSNSS was formed to put pressure on the authorities to resume work. An ex-member of the Parliament (now the Jalpaiguri MLA) Mr Debaprasad Roy took the initiative and in 2005 construction work was resumed, Mr Chaki said. Mentionworthy, the PTSNSS received no invitation to the inaugural ceremony.

 

Forest minister Mr Ananta Roy, minister of state (PWD) Mr Manohar Tirkey, Cooch Behar MP (Lok Sabha) Mr Hiten Barman, Ms Kumari Kujur (MLA) and sabhadhipati of Cooch Behar Zilla Parishad Mr Dilip Biswas were present at the inaugural ceremony. []

TORSA BRIDGE

 

PWD Minister inaugurates bridge over Torsa

 

COOCH BEHAR, July 17: State PWD minister Mr Kshiti Goswami inaugurated the third road bridge over Torsa river in Cooch Behar on Wednesday afternoon. The newly constructed bridge is situated between Falakata and Pundibari along National Highway-31.

 

Forest minister Mr Ananta Roy, minister of state (PWD) Mr Manohar Tirkey, Cooch Behar MP (Lok Sabha) Mr Hiten Barman, Ms Kumari Kujur (MLA) and sabhadhipati of Cooch Behar Zilla Parishad Mr Dilip Biswas were present at the inaugural ceremony.

 

PWD sources said that Rs 67.16-crore was spent to construct the 854-metre bridge and the 23-kilometre approach road. The survey for the project was initiated in 1953 but the work was done by 17 years only, PWD officials claimed. During his address the PWD minister too admitted the delay in constructing the bridge.

 

On the otherhand, on behalf of the Pundibari Torsa Setu Nirman Sangram Samity Mr Debabrata Chaki recalled that the actual initiative to construct the much-needed bridge was taken in 1984. The work for the concrete bridge was started in 1991. Construction work was suspended in 2001 for different problems. In 2003 the PTSNSS was formed to put pressure on the authorities to resume work. Ex-MP Mr DP Roy (now the Jalpaiguri MLA) took the initiative and in 2005 construction work was resumed, Mr Chaki said. Mentionworthy, the PTSNSS got no invitation to the inaugural ceremony. []

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

DEMAND

Trained unemployed teachers' stir

 

COOCH BEHAR, July 15: The members of the All Bengal Primary Teachers' Trainee Association (ABPTTA) staged demonstrations at the office of the District Primary School Council (DPSC) in Cooch Behar on Tuesday. They also took out a protest rally in the town.

 

Later, the chairman of the DPSC, Md Nuruddin Mian asked the agitators to meet him again after 24 July. By that time a development may turn up into the problems, he assured.

 

President of the ABPTTA, Mr Bhajan Barman said there were 138 Primary Teachers' Training Institutes (PTTI) in this state. Among them 122 were marked as illegal following an order of the High Court because they failed to earn recognition from the National Council for Teachers' Education (NCTE).

 

As a result, more than one-lakh trainees and teachers are suffering since then. The problem is pending for about three years. In the meantime, the trainees of the PTTIs had organised different types of movement under ABPTTA banner. But the authorities concerned took no initiative to end the tangle, a fumed Mr Barman said.

 

Secretary of the APPTTA Mr Ranjan Barman and assistant secretary Mr Sanjay Barman said that they would organise fresh movements throughout the state demanding the government to take initiative to solve the problems related to PTTIs, engagement of all trained candidates in the vacant posts of primary teachers and withdrawal of all cases brought against the trainees of the PPTIs. []

ETC

FM declares increase of elephant attack compensation

 

COOCH BEHAR, July 15: State finance minister Mr Dasgupta declared that construction of the much-awaited bridge over Singijani river at Adabari-ghat in Dinhata may be initiated in the next fiscal year. The long demanded bridge is necessary to connect Dinhata with Sitai. Survey for construction of the proposed Rs 150-crore bridge over Tista to connect Mekhliganj with Haldibari already started. To make the bridge a reality the state would have to take assistance from the Centre, he indicated.

 

At the same time the finance minister declared that all the six old wooden bridges existing between Falakata and Alipurduar in Jalpaiguri district would be converted to concrete ones. The state government already initiated talks with the Centre urging financial assistance for the purpose, he said.

 

It may be recalled here that Mr Dasgupta had promised in presence of chief minister Mr Buddhadeb Bhattacharya at the inauguration ceremony of the Siltorsa Bridge in 2003 that all the six wooden bridges along Alipurduar-Falakata road will be converted into concrete bridges but nothing happened till now.

 

Alipurduar MLA Mr Nirmal Das, who attended today's programme, said, he demanded several times in the past years that the finance department should hand over the required fund to the public works department (PWD) for the construction of six concrete bridges replacing the older ones. He had even raised the demand in the Assembly but no initiative was taken till now.

 

The finance minister Mr Dasgupta was addressing at the inauguration ceremony of the Forest Week sponsored by the forest department at Kholta High School premises in Cooch Behar on Monday afternoon.

 

During his address, the finance minister said all casual and temporary forest workers would be absorbed as permanent staff. The process already started and about 400 workers are still there to be absorbed within the next three months. Temporary forest workers will also get uniforms from now on.

 

Mr Dasgupta declared that the government would increase the compensation against incident of death by wild elephant attack. Instead of Rs 50,000 the next kin of a deceased would get Rs 1,00,000 from now on. The farmers are also to get Rs 8,000 per hectare of damaged cultivation instead of Rs 4,000 that they receive presently against damages done by wild elephants, the minister said.  []

 

PHOTO : As the atmospheric temperature fluctuation continues the number of patients at the outdoors of the MJN Hospital being increased. In Cooch Behar on Tuesday.

Monday, 14 July 2008

FOREST WEEK

FINANCE MINISTER

Finance minister gifts bouquet of promises

 

COOCH BEHAR, July 14: State finance minister Mr Dasgupta declared that construction of the much-awaited bridge over Singijani river at Adabari-ghat in Dinhata may be initiated in the next fiscal year. The long demanded bridge is necessary to connect Dinhata with Sitai. Survey for construction of the proposed Rs 150-crore bridge over Tista to connect Mekhliganj with Haldibari already started. To make the bridge a reality the state would have to take assistance from the Centre, he indicated.

 

The finance minister Mr Dasgupta was addressing after inaugurating the celebration of government sponsored Forest Week at a function held at Kholta High School premises in Cooch Behar on Monday afternoon. State forest department is observing the Forest Week in this state through various programmes.

 

In the colourful inauguration ceremony the state forest minister Mr Ananta Roy and other ministers like Mr Jogesh Chandra Barman and Mr Manohar Tirkey were present.

 

During his address, the finance minister said all casual and temporary forest workers would be absorbed as permanent staff. The process already started and about 400 workers are still there to be absorbed within the next three months.

 

At the same time the finance minister declared that all the six old wooden bridges existing between Falakata and Alipurduar in Jalpaiguri district would be converted to concrete ones. The state government already initiated talks with the Centre urging financial assistance for the purpose, he said.

 

It may be recalled here that Mr Dasgupta had promised in presence of chief minister Mr Buddhadeb Bhattacharya at the inauguration ceremony of the Siltorsa Bridge in 2003 that all the six wooden bridges along Alipurduar-Falakata road will be converted into concrete bridges but nothing happened till now.

 

Alipurduar MLA Mr Nirmal Das, who attended today's programme, said, he demanded several times in the past years that the finance department should hand over the required fund to the public works department (PWD) for the construction of six concrete bridges replacing the older ones. He had even raised the demand in the Assembly but no initiative was taken till now. []


The Torsa bridge at Pundibari, Cooch Behar, is ready for inauguration.

AGITATION

AIYL stir against price rise

 

COOCH BEHAR, July 14: The activists of the All India Youth League (AIYL) made all the offices of the Central government and nationalised banks standstill in Cooch Behar on Monday. They also organised a daylong sit-in demonstration in front of the Head Post Office in the town.

 

The general secretary of the Cooch Behar district unit of the AIYL, Mr Gopal Dey said the programme was organised to stage protest against the souring price hike of fuels and essential commodities. Sit-in demonstrations were also held at the Central offices and banks in the sub-divisions, he said. []

 

PHOTO : Sit-in demonstration of AIYL activists against fuel price hike. In front of the Head Post Office in Cooch Behar on Monday. - Anjan Chakraborty.

FOREST WEEK

Forest minister inaugurates Forest Week

 

COOCH BEHAR, July 14: By planting saplings on the south bank of Sagardighi in Cooch Behar the state forest minister Mr Ananta Roy inaugurated celebration of Forest Week on Monday. The newly appointed sabhadhipati of Cooch Behar Zilla Parishad Mr Dilip Biswas too planted saplings on the occasion.

 

Forest department sources said that an ambitious plan was adopted to bring back the greenery beside the streets in Cooch Behar district as it was in the days of Maharajas. Under this plan 25,000 saplings of different kinds of trees will be planted throughout the district. In Cooch Behar town, which is considered a heritage town, they will plant 5,000 saplings beside the roads. A fund to the tune of Rs 25-lakh was allocated for the purpose, forest officials said.

 

Forest minister Mr Ananta Roy said the volume of forestland in this state is 16 percent but it is merely two percent only in Cooch Behar district. "We should bring back the greenery of past days to keep the environment clean in the greater interest of the people of Cooch Behar ", he said. []

 

PHOTO : After planting a sapling the state forest minister Mr Ananta Roy waters it on the occasion of Forest Week. In Cooch Behar on Monday. – Anjan Chakraborty.

Sunday, 13 July 2008

SUNDAY NEWS

Torsa bridge naming on Chilarai demanded

 

COOCH BEHAR, July 13: The construction of the long awaited bridge on Torsa river along Falakata-Pundibari road was completed recently and it is now waiting for inauguration. It was learnt that state PWD minister Mr Kshiti Goswami might inaugurate the bridge on 16 July.

 

Meanwhile, Pundibari Torsa Setu Nirman Sangram Samity (PTSNSS) raised a demand urging the government to name the bridge after the great hero of Cooch Behar royal dynasty – Chilarai. Several organisations including a few political parties too expressed their support to the demand.

 

On behalf of the PTSNSS Mr Debabrata Chaki said the initiative to construct the much-needed bridge was taken in 1984. The work for the proposed 700-metre long concrete bridge was started in 1991. Construction work was suspended in 2001 for different problems. In 2003 the PTSNSS was formed to put pressure on the authorities to resume work. Ex-MP Mr DP Roy (now the Jalpaiguri MLA) took the initiative and in 2005 construction work was resumed.

 

Mr Chaki said a sum of Rs 61.70-crore was allocated till now for construction of the bridge. Once opened it will be of immense help for improving the road communication system in north Bengal as well as in the entire northeast region. At the same time he maintained that the bridge should be named after Chilarai. People of this region will be happy if the authorities pay heed to this demand, he said. []

 

Would-be teachers on warpath

 

COOCH BEHAR, July 13: The members of the All Bengal Primary Teachers' Trainee Association (ABPTTA) is getting ready to start a fresh state-wide movement. On 15 July they will organise rallies at different districts. They will also 'gherao' the District Primary School Council offices on that day.

 

President of the ABPTTA, Mr Bhajan Barman said there were 138 Primary Teachers' Training Institutes (PTTI) in this state. Among them 122 were marked as illegal following an order of the High Court. The problem is pending for about three years. In the meantime, the students of the PTTIs had organised movements under ABPTTA banner but no development was observed, Mr Barman said.

 

The APPTTA president declared that they would organise fresh movements starting from 15 July throughout the state demanding engagement of all trained candidates in the vacant posts of primary teachers by ironing out all obstructions. []

SUNDAY NEWS

Science workshop held

 

COOCH BEHAR, July 13: A guide teacher orientation camp cum workshop for the National Science Congress for Children was held today at Kalabagan High School complex in Cooch Behar. Creative Learning Centre of 'Cooch Behar Anasristi' was the organiser of the workshop.

 

The workshop was organised with an aim to popularise science education among the students belonging to 10-17 age group, the organisers claimed. 47 teachers attended the workshop.

 

District co-ordinator Ms Tooli Ghosh said that about thirty projects might come up in the next three months on this year's theme 'Planet Earth'. Mr Pradip Das of Science Communicators' Forum, Kolkata, was present today as the resource person of the theme-projects. []

 

BJP minority cell

 

COOCH BEHAR, July 13: The Cooch Behar district conference of the BJP's Alpo-sankhyak Morcha (minority cell) was held at the party's district unit office in Cooch Behar on Sunday. In the afternoon, the open session of the conference was organised at Chilakhanma High School ground.

 

In the conference resolutions were adopted demanding legislation of similar laws for all, identification of infiltrators and dissolution of Congress led Central government. About 150 delegates from the Muslim community attended the conference.

 

At the open session the speakers came down heavily on the CPI-M run state government. They demanded measures to stop the souring price rise of essential commodities and fuels. Among the speakers there were the state unit president of the Alpo-sankhyak Morcha Md Sakeel Ansari, general secretary Md Ali Hossain, state BJP secretary Mr Indra Mohan Rava, district BJP president Mr Nityananda Munsi, vice-president Mr Bimal Sarkar, general secretary Mr Utpal Kanti Deb and secretary Mr Nikhil Ranjan Dey. []

Friday, 11 July 2008

EX-SERVICEMEN

Hunger strike ends

 

COOCH BEHAR, July 11: On the fifth day of their indefinite hunger strike, the members of Cooch Behar District Ex-servicemen Association (CDEA) withdrew the strike on Friday evening. They started the hunger strike since Monday at Shahid Baag in Cooch Behar in support of their 12-point charter of demands including formation of a Sainik Board for the welfare of ex-servicemen.

 

Secretary of the CDEA, Mr Tapan Choudhury said they agreed to withdraw the hunger strike following assurance from the district administration over fulfilling of their demands. []

WOMAN POWER

Volunteer – Though not a traffic police constable a woman voluntarily controls the traffic movement at the busy Harish Pal Choupathi (the crossing of Sunity Road and Biswa Singha Road) in Cooch Behar town regularly.

AGITATION

Cease work against Trinamul attack on govt staff

 

COOCH BEHAR, July 11: Protesting against the attack of Trinamul Congress supporters at the block land and land revenue office in Mathabhanga-I block on Thursday, the members of the state co-ordination committee observed cease work in the government offices in Mathabhanga on Friday. They also demonstrated at all the government offices in Cooch Behar town and other sub-divisions condemning the act of the Trinamul Congress.

 

Mentionworthy, the supporters of the Trinamul Congress had ransacked the Mathabhanga-I BL&LRO office during an agitation yesterday. It was alleged that they even assaulted the employees of that office. Following the violence an injured employee was shifted to hospital. The Trinamul supporters went there to submit a memorandum in support of their demands but suddenly they turned violent.

 

Following the incident a case was initiated and four persons were arrested, police said. Condemning the incident and demanding arrest of all the agitators the members of the state co-ordination committee took out protest rallies in Mathabhanga yesterday.

 

President of the Cooch Behar district unit of the state co-ordination committee, Mr Pulak Biswas alleged that the Trinamul men committed crime by assaulting government employees and ransacking the office in the name of submission of memorandum. He demanded arrest of all the attackers involved with the incident. Mr Biswas threatened of continuation of their movement till arrest of all the offenders.

 

On the otherhand, Trinamul Congress sources claimed that their supporters went to the BL&LRO office yesterday to submit a memorandum but they were not involved with the so-called attack on the office staff. []

Thursday, 10 July 2008

AGITATION

AIYL to gherao Central offices

 

COOCH BEHAR, July 10: Activists of the All India Youth League (AIYL) will make all the offices of the Central government standstill in Cooch Behar on 14 July. The general secretary of the Cooch Behar district unit of AIYL, Mr Gopal Dey said their supporters would not allow functioning of the Central government offices in Cooch Behar on that day in protest against the souring price hike of fuels and essential commodities. []