Friday, 31 October 2008


(1) An armed securityman keeps vigil on the movement of vehicles passing through the Assam-West Bengal border near Baxirhat in Cooch Behar on Friday. (2) Checking of luggage of passengers being done by securitymen near the Assam-West Bengal border at Baxirhat in Cooch Behar on Friday. (3) A motorbike rider being checked by securitymen near the Assam-West Bengal border at Baxirhat in Cooch Behar.


Assam shadow on Cooch Behar


COOCH BEHAR, Oct. 31: All the police stations in Cooch Behar district and adjoining areas have been alerted after yesterday's serial explosions in neighbouring Assam. Several wounded persons were brought to MJN Hospital from Assam yesterday and later a few of them were referred to North Bengal Medical College and Hospital considering their serious condition.


Security arrangements have been beefed up along the Assam-West Bengal border and also along the Indo-Bangladesh border in Cooch Behar district and Alipurduar in Jalpaiguri district. Motor vehicles even motorbikes passing through the state border are being strictly checked by securitymen. A long queue of stranded Assam bound lorries loaded with goods were found at Baxirhat near the state border. The truck drivers are found hesitant about entering Assam to deliver the goods they brought in from outer states. Only a few inter-state passenger buses are plying through the border. Trains are however running though with fewer passengers.


It is believed that the yesterday's Assam incident may exert a fear psychosis on the Raas Mela of Cooch Behar. The 198th year Raas Mela of Cooch Behar is scheduled to begin on 13 November. It will continue for a fortnight. All efforts will be taken to make this biggest fair of north Bengal a grand success and also a peaceful event, said Cooch Behar Sadar SDO Mr Jayanta Maity. To add additional dimension to the security measures a few watchtowers will be erected fitted with close-circuit TV cameras. Plainclothesmen will also be there in and around the fairground to keep vigil on suspicious persons, he added.


Mentionworthy, devotees and visitors come in large number to witness the Raas Yatra of Lord Madan Mohan and the Raas Mela every year from Assam and other northeast states. []

Thursday, 30 October 2008


Brothers' Day – Bhaiphonta being celebrated by offering sacred sandal-paste on the forehead of blind boys. The residents of Guriahati Road organised the programme on Thursday in Cooch Behar.


Stir plan against BTR HQ shifting


COOCH BEHAR, Oct. 30: A movement is being taking shape in Alipurduar against the proposed shifting of the headquarters of the Buxa Tiger Reserve to Jalpaiguri from Alipurduar.


Minister of state, public works department, Mr Manohar Tirkey and Alipurduar MLA Mr Nirmal Das already submitted a memorandum expressing their displeasure to the chief minister, the forest minister and the principal secretary of forest department. Several organisations of the region including Sara Bangla Bana-karmochari Samity and North Bengal Forest Mazdoor Union (NBFMU) too came out against implementation of the plan.


Alipurduar MLA Mr Nirmal Das said the headquarters of the Buxa Tiger Reserve has been functioning at Alipurduar since 1983. No situation arose here that prompted the authorities to shift the 25-year-old headquarters, he argued. "We will wait till second week of November for the government to reconsider the plan and then organise massive movement against it", Mr Das said. He is also the president of the NBFMU where Mr Tirkey is the secretary.


The Alipurduar MLA declared that he would mention the issue in the state Assembly too. It is nothing but a conspiracy to undermine the spirit of the people of Alipurduar when they are striving to get the status of a separate district for Alipurduar, Mr Das alleged.


Several attempts failed when this correspondent tried to contact the state forest minister Mr Ananta Roy to get his comments over the issue as the phone rang unanswered. []

Wednesday, 29 October 2008


Mock drill on search and rescue by Civil Defence volunteers. At Sagardighi in Cooch Behar on Wednesday.


Literacy centres in problem


COOCH BEHAR, Oct. 29: The Continuing Education Centres (CEC) in Cooch Behar district has been suffering from various problems for a long. About fifty percent of the centres are yet to come under roofs of their own buildings.


There are 1,008 CECs in this district and the number of learners in each of the centre is about 150. The total number of learners is more than 1,65,000. It is hard to run effectively a centre with so many learners. On behalf of Jela Sarbik Saksharata Samity it was proposed that there should be 2,000 centres but National Literacy Mission (NLM) failed to approve the proposal. As NLM extends the required fund to run the CECs it is not possible to launch extra centres without their consent, said the Cooch Behar Sadar SDO and also the officer-in-charge of the district literacy cell, Mr Jayanta Maity.


Many of the CECs in Cooch Behar district are running in private houses due to dearth of government buildings. They conveyed the directorate of mass education about the problem with a request to add necessary infrastructure, Mr Maity said. Presently, they have to keep the educational equipments in private houses due to lack of own buildings, he added. At the same time he admitted that they received Rs 2-crore from the NLM in 2007-08 for disbursement of honorariums of the teachers and to buy essential materials.


Mr Maity said they asked all the centres to give emphasis on motivation and monitoring to bring more learners in the CECs. Income generation programme is also being introduced to make the poor learners financially benefited, the OC of district literacy cell said. They are also trying to get the neo-literates admitted in Class IV to bring them under normal school education, Mr Maity said. []


Disaster Reduction Day observed


COOCH BEHAR, OCT. 29: National Day for Disaster Reduction was observed at Lansdowne Hall in Cooch Behar today. District magistrate of Cooch Behar, Mr Rajesh Kumar Sinha inaugurated the programme. Officer-in-charge of disaster management branch Mr Mihir Kumar Ranoo delivered the welcome address. Civil Defence volunteers presented a mock drill in the water of Sagardighi on search and rescue operations during floods.


Additional district magistrate Mr Pannalal Mahapatra delivered the keynote address. He explained the national and state policies for disaster management. Among the other speakers there were Mr Sujit Panchanan, Mr S Bhaumik, Mr Tapan Sarkar and Mr Tarun Lahiri.


As Cooch Behar is a flood prone district the speakers at the seminar emphasised on rescue and relief operations and handling of post-flood situation. Disaster and overview, vulnerability in West Bengal and Cooch Behar district, waterborne disease management, snake bite and medical camp management, situation of emergency, disaster resistant technology, concept of disaster preparedness, roll of voluntary organisations during disaster and post-disaster situation were also discussed at the seminar.


National Day for Disaster Reduction has been observed every year since 1999 as a super cyclone had struck Orissa on 29 October in that year. As the nodal ministry for co-ordinating disaster management in the country, the ministry of Home affairs sponsors the programme.


Considering the importance of observance of the day it was expected that the seminar would be a well attended one, but it was a poor show. []

Tuesday, 28 October 2008


Byayam Bidyalaya's Kali puja pandal based on Bankimchandra's novel 'Kapalkundala'. In Dinhata, Cooch Behar on Tuesday.

Monday, 27 October 2008


Children against plastic hazard


COOCH BEHAR, OCT. 27: Five students of 10-13 age-group from different schools like Rambhola High School, Jenkins School and Kalabagan High School conducted a study at Salbagan near Cooch Behar town for the past two months. They did it as a scientific project for this year's National Children Science Congress. The students of the team are Jyotirmay Sen, Rima Saha, Gaurab Saha, Debashis Debnath and Suman Saha. Mr Sumanta Saha of Cooch Behar Anasristi sponsored Creative Learning Centre supervised their work.


During the study the students observed that throwing of plastic carry bags by picnickers appeared as an environmental hazard. As Salbagan is a popular picnic spot the problem may continue unabated if no measures taken, they understood. As a part of their project the students organised a procession with placards yesterday and collected the discarded plastic products from the spot. A nature study session was also held at Salbagan alongwith drawing and quiz competition, Mr Sumanta Saha said. []


PHOTO : A rain lashed street in Cooch Behar on Monday.


Seven-day 'Greatest Show' starts on Tuesday 

COOCH BEHAR, OCT. 27: The seven-day long Diwali Utsav, cultural programme along with Cooch Behar district and Dinhata sub-divisional bodybuilding, power-lifting, weightlifting and Yogasana championship will begin at Mahamaya-Pat in Dinhata, Cooch Behar from tomorrow. Byayam Bidyalaya is the organiser of this programme acclaimed as 'Greatest Show'. It is the 48th year of the programme.


Secretary general of Byayam Bidyalaya Mr Bibhu Ranjan Saha said a top bodybuilder of the country, Mr Avijit Dan who earned Mr Asia and Mr India titles will come from Nasik to demonstrate his bodybuilding skills at the deciding round of the championship on 1 November. Quiz competition and cultural programme will also be there as added attractions. 

The Kali puja pandal of Byayam Bidyalaya is being constructed taking the theme from Bankimchandra Chattopadhyay's great literary work Kapalkundala. A renowned artist Mr Rathin Saha is now busy in implementing the theme with artworks and models. The outer look of the pandal is also attractive. It is being constructed as a chariot. Visitors will have to board the chariot to see the idol of Goddess Kali. [] 

PHOTO (BYAYAM) : The pandal of Byayam Bidyalaya's Kali puja being constructed at Mahamaya-Pat in Dinhata, Cooch Behar on Monday. [] 

Sunday, 26 October 2008


Cooch Behar SP Mr Devendra Prakash Singh with the seized six packets of brown sugar and three mobile phones. At Kotowali police station in Cooch Behar on Sunday.


Heroin seized, 3 arrested


COOCH BEHAR, OCT. 26: Acting on a tip-off a police team from Cooch Behar Kotowali Police Station arrested three persons from Kesav Road in Cooch Behar last night and seized a bag of brown sugar from their possession. There were six small packets of the contraband item in the bag weighing about 450-gram. From the label on the bag it is suspected that the seized item is 'Made in Thailand'. The arrested trio were identified as Dulal Sarkar of Falakata and Romiz Lama and Binod Chhetry of Kalchini.


The contraband drug has sneaked into Cooch Behar either from Bangladesh or Nepal and it is on its way to be smuggled out to a covert destination, a senior police officer suspects. The police are conducting an inquiry into the matter and the actual origin of the contraband. Interrogation is going on to unearth from the arrested three the whereabouts of the other members of the drug peddler gang operative in this region, police said. []

Friday, 24 October 2008


NBSTC's first journey to Nepal with tourists starts from Cooch Behar on Friday.


NBSTC's Nepal tour starts


COOCH BEHAR, Oct. 24: The managing director of the North Bengal State Transport Corporation (NBSTC) Mr Samir Kumar Bandyopadhyay flagged off the journey of a luxury tourist bus at 9 a.m. today as the first tourist service to Nepal. The route of the five-night six-day tour package is Cooch Behar –Birganj –Kathmandu –Pokhra. The MD greeted the seventeen tourists with flower bouquets. Senior NBSTC officials including the divisional manager of the NBSTC's Cooch Behar division Mr Subrata Biswas were present at the flag off ceremony at the NBSTC's tourist information bureau complex in Cooch Behar today.


Mr Biswas said the NBSTC's Cooch Behar-Guwahati service would resume from 27 October. The popular service has been lying defunct for the last five years due to some problems. After resumption of the much-awaited service the road communication between West Bengal and Assam will be smoother again, Mr Biswas said.


Another package for the tourists interested in visiting the Himalayan state of Sikkim - the Cooch Behar-Gangtok service - is also getting popularity. It is a three-night four-day journey and a tourist will have to spend Rs 3,150 only for this splendid tour, Mr Biswas said. []

Thursday, 23 October 2008


NBSTC's Nepal journey starts today


COOCH BEHAR, Oct. 23: North Bengal State Transport Corporation (NBSTC) is going to expand its services to neighbouring Nepal. It will introduce the service from Friday morning.


Following the NBSTC's plan to develop its tourism service a luxurious tourist bus will leave Cooch Behar towards Nepal on Friday for a five-night six-day journey. This is the first time the NBSTC is going to Nepal. Already it has tourist services to another neighbouring country – Bhutan.


Divisional manager of the NBSTC's Cooch Behar division, Mr Subrata Biswas said the proposed Cooch Behar –Birganj –Kathmandu –Pokhra journey would cost a tourist Rs 6,050 only. During the journey the tourists will be able to enjoy the scenic beauty of the region and experience visiting many places of historic interest.


Mentionworthy, the NBSTC's three-night four-day Bhutan trip from Cooch Behar to Thimphu and Paro costs a visitor Rs 4,100 only. Like the other tourist routes of the NBSTC the Cooch Behar-Nepal tour plan may also attract tourists, Mr Biswas believes. []


All-party meet plan to restore peace in Tufanganj


COOCH BEHAR, Oct. 23: In a bid to restore peace in trouble-torn Tufanganj sub-division the district magistrate of Cooch Behar will convene an all party meeting. It will be held at Tufanganj SDO office on Saturday. The decision over the proposed meeting was adopted at the high-level administrative meeting that was held at Cooch Behar Circuit House on Wednesday evening. Divisional commissioner, Jalpaiguri, Mr Beharilal Meena, IGP (North Bengal) Mr Kundanlal Tamta, Cooch Behar DM Mr Rajesh Kumar Sinha, Cooch Behar SP Mr Debendra Prasad Singh and other senior officials attended the meeting.


Meanwhile, no fresh incident of violence was reported from anywhere in Tufanganj since yesterday. The sub-divisional is limping back to normalcy after the past four days' disturbance. []

Wednesday, 22 October 2008


12-hour CPM sponsored bandh in Tufanganj


COOCH BEHAR, Oct. 22: The Left Front sponsored 12-hour bandh in Tufanganj sub-division passed off almost peacefully today. It received a mixed response except in Tufanganj town and Deocharai market where the bandh was almost total. A long queue of vehicles especially lorries were found along the NH-31 on both sides - Assam and West Bengal.


There was heavy deployment of police forces at different areas of the sub-division but no fresh untoward incident was reported from anywhere. CPI-M thanked the people for making the bandh successful but Trinamul Congress claimed that the bandh failed to exert influence in many areas.


District Left Front convenor and also the district CPI-M secretary Mr Chandi Pal claimed that the bandh was a grand success. The people supported the bandh against the unruliness of the Trinamul Congress and the attack on one of its MLAs, Md Tamser Ali.


Mr Pal said they drew the attention of the chief minister over the deteriorating law and order situation in Cooch Behar district. Here, the number of police personnel is not sufficient. Soon after the panchayat elections the Trinamul Congress have unleashed a reign of terror and disorder in this district. The district needs more police force to combat their evil designs.


The CPI-M leader alleged that the Trinamul Congress is supporting the 'Greater Cooch Behar' movement that is going to be organised here in Darjeeling style. Strict administrative measure is needed to combat the secessionist plans, he opined.


On the otherhand, District Trinamul Congress vice-president Mr Niranjan Dutta claimed that the bandh failed to evoke any response at many places in Tufanganj like Rampur, Falimari, Dhalpal, Andaran Fulbari and Balabhut. He condemned the police for its excesses in the name of arresting wanted accused persons.


Meanwhile, the leader of the Opposition, Mr Partha Chatterjee and chief whip Mr Ashok Deb visited trouble-torn Deocharai in Tufanganj last night. They also visited the injured Trinamul supporters at MJN hospital. They are to submit a report to the party chief Miss Mamata Banerjee. []

Tuesday, 21 October 2008


Tufanganj : Clash during Trinamul bandh, CPM calls bandh tomorrow


COOCH BEHAR, Oct. 21: A number of clashes took place in Tufanganj sub-division in Cooch Behar district during the Trinamul Congress sponsored 24-hour bandh today. More than one hundred persons including policemen were injured. Protesting the alleged Trinamul design to disrupt peace the CPI-M called a 12-hour bandh in Tufanganj sub-division tomorrow. Cooch Behar DM sought a report over today's violence and he is to call an all-party meeting within a day or two.


It may be recalled that the Trinamul Congress called a 24-hour bandh in Tufanganj sub-division today demanding steps against the police personnel who were allegedly involved in assaulting villagers at Deocharai and Bharaber-tari. Yesterday morning two Trinamul supporters were allegedly received bullet injury. The CPI-M had declared that they would oppose the bandh.


Today, clashes occurred between pro-bandh and CPI-M supporters at different places like Tufanganj SDO office, Tufanganj hospital and Deocharai market. A number of shops were ransacked in the market area. Police had to fire teargas shells to disperse the warring groups at Deocharai market. Among the injured there are Natabari MLA Md Tamser Ali (CPI-M), district CPI-M secretariat member Mrs Jaba Pal, Trinamul leader Mr Ratan Das and Tufanganj-I Panchayat Samity sabhapati Ms Dipali Roy (Trinamul). Both the parties brought complaints against one another for attacking their supporters.


District magistrate of Cooch Behar Mr Rajesh Kumar Sinha said he would call an all-party meeting within a day or two to bring back normalcy in Tufanganj. He denied making any comment over today's incident, as he is yet to receive any report from the police.


Following the trouble roadblocks were held at different places along the NH-31 disrupting vehicular traffic between Assam and West Bengal during the day. A large contingent of police force was deployment in the sub-division to maintain peace.


District Trinamul Congress vice-president Mr Niranjan Dutta alleged that Natabari MLA Md Tamser Ali and CPI-M leader Mrs Jaba Pal led the attacks on Trinamul Congress supporters at Deocharai market and Tufanganj SDO office resulting injury of many of their men.


On the otherhand, district CPI-M secretary Mr Chandi Pal blamed the Trinamul Congress for today's trouble. He alleged that the Trinamul Congress called today's bandh only to disrupt peace because no one was injured in police firing. The allegation was baseless, he claimed. As the convenor of the district Left Front he declared that they would observe a 12-hour bandh tomorrow in Tufanganj sub-division as a mark of protest to the Trinamul design to breach peace. Protest rallies will also be organised tomorrow in the district, he added. []

Monday, 20 October 2008


Trinamul supporters stage roadblock along NH-31 at Chilakhana in Tufanganj, Cooch Behar on Monday.


Tufanganj tense, bandh, 2 injured in gunshot


COOCH BEHAR, Oct. 20: The situation in Tufanganj turned worse today. Two Trinamul Congress supporters received bullet injury at early morning at Bhairaber-tari village under Deocharai gram panchayat area in Tufanganj today. They were shifted to MJN Hospital in Cooch Behar. Trinamul Congress called a 24-hour bandh in Tufanganj sub-division tomorrow. CPI-M declared its opposition to the bandh. They are to organise protest rally at different areas in the district tomorrow against Trinamul's terror-tactics.


When asked, the district magistrate of Cooch Behar Mr Rajesh Kumar Sinha said measures would be taken after receiving reports from the police.


District Trinamul Congress vice-president Mr Niranjan Dutta alleged that a large contingent of police in association with police-uniform clad CPI-M goons raided some residences at Bhairaber-tari village under Deocharai gram panchayat area at about 3-30 a.m. today. They beat and tortured the villagers including women. Many of the women fled to nearby jungle to save their modesty.


The police and the CPI-M goons ransacked some dwellings and beat the villagers mercilessly, Mr Dutta said. They also opened fire and two Trinamul Congress activists - Mujibar Rahman and Rafiqul Islam – received bullet injury in their heads. Later they were shifted to MJN Hospital in Cooch Behar. Three women – Sukurjan Beoya, Amijan Bibi and Sahida Bibi were also injured. Police arrested six persons including three women from the area, Mr Dutta claimed.


District Trinamul Congress president Mr Rabindra Nath Ghosh declared a 24-hour bandh in Tufanganj sub-division tomorrow demanding strict measures against the offenders.


Meanwhile, a 24-hour bandh was observed today at Deocharai area in Tufanganj against Saturday night's incident in which police reportedly beat many Trinamul Congress supporters during a drive to arrest some wanted persons in connection with some cases.


Today, massive roadblock was held along NH-31 starting from Dawaguri to Baxirhat. Vehicular traffic between Assam and West Bengal was affected during the roadblock.


District CPI-M secretary Mr Chandi Pal said the Trinamul Congress is trying to terrorise people. They are trying to breach the peace in this district. He said that the police went to arrest some wanted persons and the Trinamul Congress supporters resisted the police to do their duty. He denied involvement of any CPI-M supporter with the incidents. The CPI-M leader declared that they would organise rallies in the district tomorrow to thwart the Trinamul design to disturb peace. "We will also oppose the Trinamul sponsored bandh in Tufanganj tomorrow", Mr Pal announced. []

Sunday, 19 October 2008


Trinamul bandh against police on Monday


COOCH BEHAR, Oct. 19: Trinamul Congress called a 24-hour bandh at Deocharai in Tufanganj of Cooch Behar tomorrow to stage protest against alleged police atrocities committed on the villagers last night.


District Trinamul Congress vice-president Mr Niranjan Dutta alleged that a team of policemen raided several houses at Deocharai last night in the name of seeking a few accused related with some cases. They reportedly broke open and ransacked the houses and also breached modesty of the women members of the families. Today, a team of Trinamul Congress leaders including district president of the party Mr Rabindra Nath Ghosh visited the area and expressed their solidarity with the aggrieved residents.


A large number of villagers mostly women staged roadblock on NH-31 at Chilakhana today to protest against the police misdeed, Mr Dutta claimed.


On the otherhand, protests were lodged with the district magistrate and the superintendent of police on behalf of the Trinamul Congress demanding measures against the offender policemen, party sources said.


When asked the district magistrate Mr Rajesh Kumar Sinha said he received verbal complaints from both sides and a deputy magistrate was sent today to inquire into the incident. Administrative measures may be taken after reviewing of the report submitted to him.


It was learnt that police also initiated a case into the incident. Though tried several times, the SP Mr DP Singh was not available over phone to make any comment into the allegations brought against police. []


Science Congress


COOCH BEHAR, Oct. 19: District level selection process for this year's National Children Science Congress was held at Kalabagan High School premises in Cooch Behar today. District Primary School Council chairman Md Nuruddin Mian and Mr Nilratan Mandal were present at the programme.


On behalf of 'Anasristi' sponsored Creative Learning Centre Mr Sumanta Saha said 31 scientific projects were submitted today. Students of schools concerned worked with these projects for the last two months. []

Friday, 17 October 2008


Raas Mela


COOCH BEHAR, Oct. 17: The 198th year Raas Mela of Cooch Behar will begin on and from 13 November. It will continue for a fortnight. To make this biggest fair of north Bengal successful and also a peaceful event a meeting will be held on 22 October with officials of all concerned government departments according to the Cooch Behar Sadar SDO Mr Jayanta Maity. []


Evaluation of literacy centres in December


COOCH BEHAR, Oct. 17: Evaluation of the existing Continuing Education Centres (CEC) in Cooch Behar district will be conducted in December. Prior to the proposed second phase of evaluation a survey will be conducted in November. The first phase of the evaluation was done in 2005.


Advanced Survey Research Centre (ASRC), engaged by the Indian Statistical Institute is to do the survey. A team of the ASRC personnel who will visit the district on 5 November will meet the officials of the Cooch Behar Zilla Sarbik Saksarata Samity (CBZSSS). They will ask for block-wise list of the CECs and inquire about the present state of the CECs from the CBZSSS. They will visit 16 CECs to conduct a random survey. The ASRC personnel will also visit some areas in this district to find out the actual problems and reasons why a large number of CECs are not functioning well in this district.


There are 1,008 CECs in this district including 990 CECs and 18 Nodal CECs. But about fifty percent of the centres spread in 12 blocks and two municipal areas are not functioning well, admitted the SDO of Cooch Behar Sadar Mr Jayanta Maity who is also the officer-in-charge of the district literacy cell. It may be mentioned here that there exists is no CEC in the rest four municipalities.


When asked about the reasons behind the poor functioning of the CECs, Mr Maity said the Preraks (teachers) and Sahakari Preraks (assistant teachers) of the CECs and Mukhya Preraks (head teachers) of the Nodal CECs are not getting their honorariums against their service for the past seven months. There are one Prerak and one Sahakari Prerak in each of the CECs.


National Literacy Mission (NLM) extends the required fund to run the CECs. As this financial assistance have not been coming for the past seven months the Preraks are suffering from hardship in running the centres, Mr Maity admitted. But, many of them are still doing their job out of voluntary zeal, he said. "We appealed several times to the NLM in Delhi to send the required fund but that is yet to arrive here", the district literacy cell OC added. []

Thursday, 16 October 2008


CPM's protest rally against Trinamul, police


COOCH BEHAR, Oct. 16: The CPI-M took out a huge procession in the town today against the alleged terror tactics of the Trinamul Congress and inaction of a section of police. Later, they organised a gathering at Shahid Baag and submitted a memorandum to the superintendent of police. A large number of CPI-M supporters arrived here from different areas of the district to attend the programme.


In the gathering at Shahid Baag the CPI-M leaders including district CPI-M secretary Mr Chandi Pal alleged that soon after the three-tier panchayat elections the Trinamul Congress have been unleashed a reign of terror in different areas in the district where their candidates won. Though after such incidents specific complaints were lodged a section of police were found indifferent to the incidents and complaints. It should not go for a long. The police should act accordingly to maintain law and order peaceful, the speakers demanded. []


Cultural programme at border


COOCH BEHAR, Oct. 16: In order to strengthen the cordial relation and mutual trust with border population, a cultural programme was organized by 113 Bn BSF of Cooch Behar Sector at Jhaukuti border outpost yesterday.  BSF Jazz Band from North Bengal Frontier Headquarters presented the programme.  More than three thousand civilians residing in remote border villages of Jhaukuti, Madhya Balabhut, Satarasal and Agmani assembled at the local primary school ground at Jhaukuti to witness the programme. Local singers too participated in the programme.


Mr Ajit Sudevan, Commandant of the 113 Bn inaugurated the cultural programme. He assured the locals of all possible assistance in border areas.  The sabhapati of the local Panchayat Samity, Ms Dipali Roy also addressed the gathering and assured the BSF of all co-operations in border management.  She requested for organising such programme in future, as it will go a long way in developing a sense of security and mutual trust among the border population and the BSF. []


Locals' agitation affects construction of Airport boundary


COOCH BEHAR, Oct. 16: Agitated locals whose lands were acquired for expansion of the runway of the Cooch Behar Airport in its northern side started an indefinite sit-in from today. Earlier they halted the construction of the boundary wall of the airport since 3 October.


The affected locals formed a body named Chakchaka Anchal Bhumiraksha Nagarik Committee to carry on the agitation. District Trinamul Congress vice-president Mr Niranjan Dutta said they are supporting the CABNC's movement on humanitarian ground.


Mr Dutta said 29-acre land on the north of Cooch Behar Airport and on the northern bank of Mara-Torsa river was acquired for widening of the airport by which about 150 dwellings were affected. After the acquisition the local residents are not getting passage for movement and power supply in that area was also withdrawn. They are also deprived of piped water supply. In a bid to come out of the situation the local residents already halted the construction work of the boundary wall since 3 October, Mr Dutta said.


Today, a team of Trinamul Congress leaders visited the area and expressed their support to the agitated locals. They will meet the district magistrate soon to seek his intervention into the tangle, Mr Dutta said.


On the otherhand, the officials of the Airport Authority of India in Cooch Behar too reported the matter to the district magistrate. []

Monday, 13 October 2008


Housewife's body found


COOCH BEHAR, Oct. 13: Police recovered the body of a housewife from her residence at Moamari village in Dewanhat under Cooch Behar Kotowali police station this morning. The police found the body in a pool of blood with an opened throat and gagged with socks. A blood stained sharp weapon was also found from the spot but no one was arrested till now.


It was learnt that returning from a neighbour's house the 8-year-old son of Amina Bibi found his mother's body lying in a pool of blood last night. Amina's brother, Md Manik Mian, lodged a complaint to the police against her husband Khabir Mian and two other in-laws. The accused three however have been absconding since the crime committed.


Amina Bibi was a cooking helper of a local NGO engaged in a primary school. Her husband Khabir Mian goes out very often to seek jobs and comes back occasionally. Two days ago he returned. Amina's uncle Md Rajab Ali Mian told the police that there was a family dispute between Amina and her husband. They reportedly quarrelled very often. It was a pre-planned murder, he suspects. Police sent the body for post-mortem and started an inquiry into the incident. It is suspected that the husband may have stabbed her on her throat after gagging her mouth with socks. []

Sunday, 12 October 2008


Father fires at son


COOCH BEHAR, Oct. 12: The youth who was shot at on Friday night by his father is recovering at MJN Hospital in Cooch Behar.


It was learnt that Ashis Barman (25) returned to their residence at deep of the night on Friday after the immersion ceremony. He went to participate in the immersion ceremony of the local club. He is a resident of Dakshin Ambari village under Baneswar Gram Panchayat in Cooch Behar-II block. When he failed to enter through the closed front door he tried to enter the house through the backside of the house. At that time his father, Phanindra Barman (77), a retired employee of the NBSTC, who was inside the house, opened fire from his licensed gun taking Ashis as a thief. When it was found that the injured man was none but a member of the family he was shifted to MJN Hospital.


At the hospital the doctors removed the bullet from the injured man's abdomen. He is now recovering. The police seized the gun and started a probe into the incident. []

Thursday, 9 October 2008


475-yr Baro Devi immersed in Jamuna Dighi


COOCH BEHAR, Oct. 9: The four-day puja is now over. Following all traditional rituals of the Raj-days, the huge clay idol of Baro Devi was sliced into pieces and immersed in the water of Jamuna Dighi (also known as Lamba Dighi) in Cooch Behar on Thursday morning.


Before the immersion took place, Yatra-puja was performed as was done on earlier years. Sacrifice (Bali) of a pig, a fish and a pumpkin were also performed on the bank of Jamuna Dighi. Hundreds of devotees and onlookers gathered at Devibari to witness the immersion ceremony. A large contingent of police force was deployed at the area to maintain peace.


Soon after the immersion a number of people jumped into the water of Jamuna Dighi to collect remains of the idol. Those who were able to get something proudly announced that they were lucky enough. It is largely believed that these mementoes have divine power and it is good to keep these in residences for the well being of family members.


It may be mentioned here that Baro Devi is a special form of Goddess Durga worshiped by the Cooch Behar royal family. Maharaja Nara Narayan initiated the puja dated back in 1533, as the saying goes. According to traditional rituals the idol of Baro Devi is sliced into pieces and immersed into Jamuna Dighi near the Baro Devi Temple at Devibari once the three-day worship is over.


In those Raj-days the Maharaja sitting on the royal elephant (Paat-hasti) used to set a Khanjan (wagtail) bird free on Bijoya Dashami during Yatra-puja ritual. According to the sayings, the Maharajas of Cooch Behar had to start for conquering new regions following the flight-route of the bird. []


Shops gutted in fire on Mahanavami night


COOCH BEHAR, Oct. 8: Seven shops gutted completely and a few others were damaged in a devastating fire that broke out on the bank of Chandandighi along Sunity Road in Cooch Behar at about 10-15 p.m. on Wednesday night. Four fire engines rushed to the spot to douse the blaze. A bulldozer was also deployed to dismantle some shops to prevent the fire from spreading. The fire fighters were able to control the blaze after about one-and-half-hour of fight. The actual cause of the fire and the total loss of property are yet to be ascertained.


As the town was in a festive mood on Mahanavami night the streets were full of crowd. As a safety measure the authorities concerned stopped power supply in the area and the panic stricken people had to face a tough time to pass through the area. Police cordoned off the area along Sunity Road to help the fire fighters doing their duty.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008




Sacrifice at Baro Devi  puja in Cooch Behar


COOCH BEHAR, Oct. 7: Hundreds of devotees witnessed the sacrifice of buffalo, goats and pigeons that were offered to the Baro Devi at the Debibari temple in Cooch Behar on the occasion of Mahastami, today.


Baro Devi is a special form of Goddess Durga worshiped by the Cooch Behar royal family. The idol is totally different from other models of Devi Durga. It was learnt that Maharaja Nara Narayan initiated the puja in 1533 AD. According to sayings, the Mararaja saw the Devi in this form in his dream. He introduced the puja of Baro Devi and the clay-image was made following his description as he saw the Goddess in his dream. Till now the image is identical to the first one to keep the tradition alive. As a hereditary act, Punyeswar Chitrakar of Chitrakar family of Dodeyarpar was entrusted to make the idol this year.


The puja of Baro Devi is performed under Cooch Behar Debottar Trust Board, the guardian body of all temples and religious places of erstwhile Cooch Behar State. The DTB is running under the state tourism department.


The tradition of human sacrifice (Nara-Boli) is still on at the puja of Baro Devi of Cooch Behar. Since human sacrifice is not possible these days, that tradition is maintained symbolically by sacrificing a human image made of rice-powder on the Maha-Astami night during Gupta-puja (secret worship). Human blood is needed to perform the Gupta-puja. A man from Roy family of Kaljani village supplies the blood by piercing his fingers as a hereditary act. The Cooch Behar Debottar Trust Board pays him for the act.


It is said that human sacrifice was a reality at the regime of Maharaja Nara Narayan. Once he reportedly sacrificed 150 persons to Baro Devi and for that act he had earned fame in those days. Later, the system became discontinued, but the tradition of human sacrifice is still followed by symbolic sacrifice.


Sacrifice is a major part of the Baro Devi puja. Goats, buffaloes, hogs and numerous pigeons are sacrificed here. Sacrifice of hog is a speciality of Baro Devi puja, which is done during Chaliya-Bariya puja ritual.  


Though Raj-days gone, the rituals and systems for performance of the Baro Devi puja and the construction of the clay-image are almost similar to the earlier days, under the Marxist rule too. The Debottar Trust Board, running under state government patronage, is very much cautious in keeping all the traditional rituals on as-is-where-is basis.


The puja of Baro Devi ends on Maha-Navami. The large image is sliced into pieces and immersed at Jamuna (Lamba) Dighi. In those Raj-days the Maharaja, sitting on the royal elephant, had to set a Khanjan (wagtail) bird free on Bijoya Dashami during Yatra-puja ritual. The last time a Khanjan was set free in 1969.


A fair is also organised during the puja days encircling the age old Baro Devi temple at Debi Bari in Cooch Behar. Numerous devotees and puja viewers from distant places come to witness the puja and offer anjali to the Baro Devi. Visiting and offering of pranam to the Devi is a must for all devotees and pandal hoppers. []

Monday, 6 October 2008



PHOTO (1) : Puja of Mahamaya Pat at Dinhata in Cooch Behar. 

PHOTO (2) : Durga made of cane sticks at Gopalnagar (Dakshin) in Dinhata of Cooch Behar.



Doctor manhandled


COOCH BEHAR, Oct. 6: A doctor of MJN Hospital was manhandled following death of a woman last night. A complained was lodged with the police and police started a probe into the incident. The woman's body was sent for post-mortem.


It was learnt that a housewife, Mridula Saha (44), a resident of Nishiganj in Cooch Behar, was brought to the MJN Hospital last evening following an incident of snakebite. At first she was sent to Nishiganj health centre and later shifted to MJN Hospital after primary medical treatment. The doctor concerned allegedly instructed removing of the knots that were tied immediately after the snakebite. The men that came with the woman alleged that the patient died following removal of the knots. During a dispute they allegedly manhandled the doctor. Complaints were submitted from both sides to the hospital superintendent and the police. []


Trinamul-CPM clash : Bandh


COOCH BEHAR, Oct. 6: A bandh was observed at Suktabari in Cooch Behar today following last night's clash between the supporters of the Trinamul Congress and the CPI-M. Ten persons were injured in that clash. A one-hour roadblock was also staged at Suktabari today in connection with the incident. It was learnt that the supporters of the Trinamul Congress and the CPI-M clashed with each other in connection with the election of the managing committee of a local school. []

Friday, 3 October 2008


Trainee teachers' agitation


COOCH BEHAR, Oct. 3: Members of All Bengal Primary Teachers Trainee Association (ABPTTA) resisted the chairman of the District primary School Council, other officials and employees from entering the DPSC office in Cooch Behar today. The office failed to function normally due to the agitation. Later, after a tripartite meeting held among the Cooch Behar Sadar SDO, DPSC chairman and ABPTTA leaders the agitation was lifted.


The agitated ABPTTA members said they organised today's programme demanding appointment of trained candidates in all vacant posts of primary teachers in different primary schools. They also demanded assurance of appointment of all trained teachers and starting of new academic session in the Primary Teachers Training Institutes. []


Agitation at airport


COOCH BEHAR, Oct. 3: Agitated locals whose lands were acquired for expansion of the runway of the Cooch Behar Airport halted the boundary wall construction work of the airport today. The officials of the Airport Authority of India in Cooch Behar reported the matter to the district magistrate seeking his intervention. The locals were demanding adequate compensation and a thoroughfare for their easy frequenting to their residences in the area concerned. []

Wednesday, 1 October 2008


CPM-Trinamul clash, 10 hurt, house blazed


COOCH BEHAR, Oct. 1: Following a widespread violence between Trinamul Congress and CPI-M supporters ten persons were injured and three dwellings were blazed at Baro-kawerdera village under Pachagarh gram panchayat area in Mathabhanga at the early hours of today. The two warring groups lodged two separate cases against each other but no arrest was done till Wednesday afternoon. A police picket was posted at the area to avert fresh violence.


It was learnt that there was a longstanding dispute between CPI-M and Trinamul Congress supporters over pisciculture in the local Elongmari canal. Pisciculture in the canal has been disturbing cultivation of paddy in the adjacent areas. Yesterday, a conciliatory meeting was also held but that failed to douse the dispute between the CPI-M and the Trinamul Congress supporters because the CPI-M men are involved in the pisciculture in the canal.


The dispute turned violent when some angry locals set fire to three residences of Trinamul Congress supporters at the early hours of today. A house was badly damaged in that blaze. Soon after that incident some Trinamul supporters retaliated by attacking a local CPI-M activist's house. About ten persons were injured in the melee. Seven of the injured were sent to Mathabhanga sub-divisional hospital. As condition of two CPI-M supporters turned critical they were shifted to MJN Hospital in Cooch Behar.


Mathabhanga SDPO Mr Ananda Roy rushed to the troubled village with a large contingent of police to control the situation. He said the situation is now peaceful and police patrolling is on to maintain peace. Two cases were lodged from both sides but no arrest was possible till now as the accused have absconded, he added. []