Wednesday, 31 December 2008


Proposal to expand municipal area

The Congress-run Cooch Behar Municipality has submitted a proposal to expand the municipal area. But, the state government has been reportedly sitting over the proposal for a long.


The chairman of Cooch Behar Municipality Mr Biren Kundu said they submitted a proposal to the government asking its approval to expand the municipal area. Once expanded the municipality may be upgraded to a C-category municipality from its present position, that is, D-category. A C-category municipality can be able get many facilities from the Union government including additional funds under different developmental schemes.


Presently there are twenty wards in Cooch Behar Municipality. The number of wards may rise by seven to ten wards, Mr Kundu expects. A large portion of the gram panchayat areas adjacent to the municipal area like Khagrabari, Guriahati-I and Guriahati-II gram panchayats is likely to come under Cooch Behar Municipality. The residents of the proposed added areas may be able to enjoy all the civic facilities after merging of the gram panchayat areas with the town.


"We have submitted the proposal including a map of the proposed added areas but the state government is sitting over it for a long", Mr Kundu, who is also the president of the District Congress, alleged.


The CPI-M and its political ally Forward Bloc are opposing the plan for mere political reasons. "They are not considering the advantages of Cooch Behar Municipality as a C-category one because we, the Congress, are in power here. They failed to pull us down in the elections. But, they should understand that narrow minded politics can bring no good to the citizens", Mr Kundu said. For overall development new areas should be added with the existing Cooch Behar municipal area, he opined. []


The most popular picnic spot at Salbagan near Cooch Behar town is ready for the New Year.


Cooch Behar Trophy

COOCH BEHAR, Dec. 30: Mr Biswarup Dey, joint secretary of Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) will inaugurate the final match of Cooch Behar Trophy (Under-19 Cricket Tournament) that will be held on 2-5 January at Cooch Behar Stadium. The Board of Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) and CAB are joint organisers of the tournament and Cooch Behar District Sports Association (DSA) was entrusted to organise the final match this year. []


PHOTO : COUNT DOWN – A participating team practices for the final match of the Cooch Behar Trophy at Cooch Behar Stadium.

Tuesday, 30 December 2008


Book Fair begins


COOCH BEHAR, Dec. 30: The Cooch Behar district book fair organised by the Local Library Authority (LLA) in association with Raja Rammohun Roy Library Foundation and state library services department began at Raas Mela Maidan in Cooch Behar today. It will continue till 5 January. State forest minister Mr Ananta Roy inaugurated the fair. A 'walk for books' was also held in the town prior to the opening of the fair. The book fair will be kept open everyday from 12-noon to 8 a.m. []

Monday, 29 December 2008


War against ganja

COOCH BEHAR, Dec. 29: Aggrieved village womenfolk seized about 5-kg ganja from unscrupulous ganja sellers and burnt those into ashes. The incident occurred at Guriahati-I gram panchayat area in Cooch Behar today. Following rising trade of the illegal ganja in the area the women got aggrieved and came out today against the menace. []


PTTI : Indefinite dharna begins

COOCH BEHAR, Dec. 29: The members of the All Bengal Primary Teachers Trainee Association (ABPTTA) started an indefinite dharna (sit-in demonstration) in front of the office of the District Primary School Council (DPSC) in Cooch Behar from today. They brought thala-bati-kambol (empty utensils and rugs) with them as a mark of protest.  


ABPTTA president Mr Bhajan Barman said the agitators would not take food on their own during the dharna programme unless the authorities offer them food to eat. "We are ready to continue this movement till fulfilment of our demands. Moreover, we will start an indefinite hunger strike from 2 January", he said.


Md Noor Alam Hossain, Mr Ranjan Barman and others declared that they were not to lift their agitation till receiving of a specific assurance of employment.


Meanwhile, state Left Front chairman Mr Biman Bose who was in Cooch Behar yesterday had said that the government was trying to solve the problem of the trained students of the Primary Teachers Training Institutes (PTTI). Very soon a way out may be found, he hoped. []


Cong civic body threatens shaking off water responsibility

COOCH BEHAR, Dec. 29: The Congress-run Cooch Behar Municipality wants to shake off the responsibility of water supply in the town. State public health engineering department had handed over the responsibility to them in 2003.


Chairman of Cooch Behar Municipality Mr Biren Kundu said, "The state government had passed on the responsibility of water supply to the citizens and it was handed over by the PHE department in 2003. But, as the government failed to keep the promises that they agreed then, we are not eager to shoulder the responsibility any more."


The aggrieved chairman recalled that the state PHE department had agreed to extend Rs 31-lakh per year for maintenance of the tubewells as many of those were more than ten years old then. But, the civic body have to spend a similar amount to pay power bills, salaries of operators and other purposes. They also promised that they would erect two overhead reservoirs but those are yet to be constructed, Mr Kundu said.


Now, it is impossible for the civic body to carry on the responsibility of water supply in the town against Rs 31-lakh per year. "Moreover, we do not even receive that assured sum regularly. At present, we are to get about Rs 15-lakh from the PHE department", Mr Kundu said.


The chairman, who is also the president of Cooch Behar District Congress, said they had tried to build up two overhead reservoirs with money collected from a lottery-draw but the administration stopped that draw alleging it was an illegal one. Actually, the ruling party of the state did it with political motivation through the administration, he alleged.


Mr Kundu said they sank a few tubewells on their own and started construction of two overhead reservoirs in the town to ease the water crisis. He alleged that the government was doing nothing to keep the promises it made during handing over the responsibility of water supply. "In this perspective we like to shake off the responsibility and we conveyed the matter to the ministers concerned, PHE officials and the district magistrate", he said. The civic body should not be blamed if a law and order situation arises over water crisis in the town, he said.


On the otherhand, a senior PHE official in Cooch Behar said they hand over the fund to the civic body as they receive from the government. The PHE has no role in it, he said. [] 

Friday, 26 December 2008


Silver Jubilee show

COOCH BEHAR, Dec. 26: The 25-th annual competitive exhibition of flowers, fruits and vegetables will be held at Up-to-date Club premises in Tufanganj on 23-25 January, according to the secretary of Tufanganj Horticulture Society Dr Dilip Kumar Dey. The programme will be held in association with sub-divisional traders' body of fertilisers and agricultural equipments. []  


21 Bangladeshis nabbed from Dinhata

COOCH BEHAR, Dec. 26: The Border Security Force has nabbed twenty-one Bangladeshi intruders from Dinhata in the past three days. The nabbed ones failed to produce any valid document in support of their entry into Indian territory.


A group of seventeen Bangladeshis including four men, five women and eight children were nabbed from Baskotal area near Indo-Bangladesh border in Dinhata last night. Bangladeshi currency worth Taka 2,34,930, Indian currency worth Rs 2,007, a few Bhutan currency, two mobile phones and 17 compact discs (CDs) were seized from them.


The nabbed ones were interrogated to ascertain their actual purpose of intruding India. During interrogation it was reportedly revealed that the members of the group were snake charmers, BSF sources said. They illegally came to India from Dhaka sometime ago and last night they were trying to get back to Bangladesh. The CDs are under examination to ascertain whether there was any objectionable data in them, a senior BSF official said.


Cooch Behar SP Mr Devendra Prakash Singh said the BSF handed over the nabbed Bangladeshis to Dinhata Police on this afternoon. They will be forwarded to the court if they fail to produce any valid document supporting their entry into Indian soil, he said.


Earlier, two Bangladeshis were nabbed from Durganagar area adjacent to the Indo-Bangladesh border in Dinhata on Wednesday night. Another two were arrested on Tuesday night from Notafela area near Dighaltari border outpost in Dinhata. Two mobile phones with Indian SIM cards, a compass and three compact disc were seized from them. []


Novel protest by trainee teachers

COOCH BEHAR, Dec. 26: The members of the All Bengal Primary Teachers Trainee Association (ABPTTA) organised a sit-in demonstration in front of the office of the District Primary School Council (DPSC) in Cooch Behar today. They brought empty utensils and rugs with them as a mark of protest against the apathy shown to them in meeting their demands. They shouted slogans condemning the school education department that allegedly did nothing to untie the knots to help the unemployed trained youths.


ABPTTA president Mr Bhajan Barman announced that they would start a similar sit-in agitation in front of the DPSC office from Monday till fulfilment of their demands. It may be an indefinite hunger strike, he hinted. He alleged that the political parties including Trinamul Congress have expressed their sympathy with the suffering trainee teachers but all those were made as gimmicks only.


ABPTTA leader Mr Sanjay Barman said they took training in Primary Teachers Training Institutes (PTTIs) with an aim to get jobs in primary schools but they were left hopeless. Now, a better future is a mere dream to them. "We decided to stay for an indefinite period in front of the DPSC office with our empty utensils and blankets from Monday. The authorities should supply the required food to us otherwise we will have to go on fasting. We are not in a mood to lift our agitation till receiving of a specific assurance of employment", he said. []


PHOTO : At the sit-in of unemployed trainee teachers in front of the DPSC office. In Cooch Behar on Friday. – DB.

Thursday, 25 December 2008


Knockout cricket

COOCH BEHAR, Dec. 25: Cooch Behar Zilla Parishad sabhadhipati Mr Dilip Biswas inaugurated the 20-th knockout cricket tournament organised by Cooch Behar Police Lines Cricket Tournament Committee at Police Lines Parade Ground today. Cooch Behar SP Mr Devendra Prakash Singh and other dignitaries attended the inaugural ceremony.


In the first match played today, Amartala Club defeated Cooch Behar SP XI team. The tournament is to go on for about a month. 32 teams from different areas are to participate in it. []


 GOLDEN CROP - Paddy being threshed out separated from straws after harvesting at Takagachh village in Cooch Behar on Thursday. - DB

Wednesday, 24 December 2008


AIYL wants Medical College in Cooch Behar


Cooch Behar district unit of All India Youth League have been engaged in organising public opinions for setting up of a medical college and better medical facilities in Cooch Behar.


Demanding setting up of a medical college in Cooch Behar, they had staged a sit-in demonstration on 27 August. They had also submitted a memorandum containing 12-point charter of demands to the state health minister through the district magistrate and the CMOH. On Monday, the AIYL activists took out a rally in the town reiterating their demands.


General secretary of the Cooch Behar district unit of AIYL Mr Gopal Dey said the healthcare service system in Cooch Behar was almost on the verge of breakdown. There is a single medical college only for the six districts of north Bengal. Very often the patients have to depend on the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital. A large section of the doctors in the government hospitals in the districts grew a practice to refer patients to the NBMCH to avoid their responsibilities. In this perspective a new medical college and hospital is needed in Cooch Behar, he argued.


The AIYL leader demanded introduction of CT scan facility at the MJN Hospital. The state government already approved the scheme and a fund was also allocated but there is no visible initiative to add this facility in the hospital, he complained. The CT scan facility should be made available against cheap rate to the economically weaker section of the people, he said.


Mr Dey said upgradation of JD Hospital into a state general hospital, appointment of doctors in all vacant posts, availability of blood bank facility in the sub-divisional hospitals for 24-hours, halt on supply of lower grade diet to the patients, appointment of gynaecologists in all block health centres, screening of all private pathological laboratories and x-ray clinics and stopping of the middleman system in the blood banks are some of the other demands the AIYL was struggling for. []


Potato growers demonstrate in front of a bank, demanding stop of fertiliser smuggling and waiving of agriculture loans. In Cooch Behar on Wednesday.


Night guards' rooms gutted, crop damaged

COOCH BEHAR, Dec. 24: Three rooms of night guards were gutted and another one ransacked when some people set fire to them this morning. The incident occurred at the alluvial land of Singijani river at Baro-Solmari under Ghoksadanga police station in Cooch Behar.


Trinamul Congress leader Mr Binay Barman alleged that the local watermelon growers who were earlier in the CPI-M, recently joined Trinamul Congress. Out of rage CPI-M activists attacked them this morning. They set fire to the guardrooms erected in the fields to keep watch on the cultivation. They also damaged the watermelon cultivation. Five persons were injured when they tried to resist the goons, he said. A complaint was lodged with the police, he added.


Denying the allegation CPI-M leader Mr Sasadhar Barman said a few persons had forcefully occupied the land from others. When the aggrieved persons went there this morning to get their lands back the occupants set fire to the guardrooms only to pass the blame on the CPI-M. There was nothing political in the incident, he clarified.


Mathabhanga SDPO Mr Ananda Roy said a police team was sent to probe into the matter.  The situation was now peaceful and under control, he added. [] 


No plan to burn BC Roy's effigy : GCDP

COOCH BEHAR, Dec. 24: The Greater Cooch Behar Democratic Party (GCDP) is going to observe 1 January as Black Day. Wearing black badges their supporters will organise rallies and street corner meetings on that day at different block areas in the district. But, this time they have no plan to burn effigy of late chief minister Bidhan Chandra Roy on that day.


It may be recalled here that on 1 January 2008, the GCDP had observed Black Day and its enthusiastic activists burnt effigy of Roy at Dinhata. The incident had created much controversy in the district as Roy is considered the founder of new Bengal.


GCDP president Mr Ashutosh Barma said they would observe 1 January as Black Day like yesteryear because the erstwhile princely state of Cooch Behar was merged with India merely as a district of West Bengal on that day in 1950. The then chief minister of West Bengal, Bidhan Chandra Roy had chalked out the plan to include Cooch Behar as a mere district, he alleged. "We are not ready to accept Cooch Behar as an ordinary district of a state and so we decided to stage protest against that act", Mr Barma said. It is nothing but an act of treachery to the people of Cooch Behar, he opined.


A senior Congress leader and AICC member, Mrs Sabita Roy said, "It is impossible to insult a towering personality like Bidhan Chandra Roy and by burning an effigy one cannot reverse the wheel of the history. It proves lack of knowledge of the men who think so." The bid to insult 'Banglar Rupokar' BC Roy is not wise, District Trinamul Congress vice-president Mr Niranjan Dutta opined. The District Youth Congress president Mr Avijit Dey Bhaumik made an appeal to the GCDP not to try insulting the founder of new Bengal. They should not misinterpret the history by trying to convict BC Roy, he said.


The GCDP president Mr Barma however said that they had no plan to burn effigy of BC Roy on 1 January. In the previous occasion some over enthusiastic supporters did it at Dinhata but that was not done following any party instruction, he explained. []


PHOTO : GCDP hunger strike at the foot of BC Roy's statue at Shahid Baag in Cooch Behar in June 2008.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008


Police Friendship Football final

COOCH BEHAR, Dec. 23: Final match of the Cooch Behar District Police Friendship Football Tournament was held today at Police Lines Ground in Cooch Behar. Bhanukumari GP team of Baxirhat won by 4-2 goals defeating Barokoimari GP team of Sitalkuchi. At the first half the match was a draw (1-1). Deciding goals came at tiebreaker. The wining was awarded with Rs 50,000 and Sourav Ganguli signed jerseys while the runners-up team got Rs 30,000 and Sourav Ganguli signed jerseys. Eminent persons like veteran footballer Mr PK Banerjee, cricketer Mr Shib Sankar Pal, special IGP (Jalpaiguri Range) Mr Z Hassan and Cooch Behar SP Mr DP Singh were present at the final match. []


Students demonstrate demanding arrest of magician

COOCH BEHAR, Dec. 22: The students of Chhat Guriahati Sevabhavan Shikshaytan High School took out a protest-rally in the town today. They also demonstrated in front of the office of the superintendent of police demanding arrest of renowned magician PC Sorcar (Jr) who allegedly manhandled a teacher of their school last evening during a magic show.


Headmaster of the school, Mr Sujal Acharya alleged that a few teachers and students went to the evening show of PC Sorcar (Jr)'s magic last evening at Rabindra Bhavan. The magic show have been going on there for the past few days. During the show of a particular item the magician called some of audience to check the blindfold tied on his eyes. A teacher of the school, Mr Ganesh Mandal came up on the stage and started examining the blindfold. At that time the magician pushed down him forcefully alleging the man was trying to make him blind. Soon after, an associate of the magician also manhandled the teacher. Taking him outside of the stage he was again beaten mercilessly. The show came to a halt for about one hour and the magician too reportedly prayed mercy for his act. At last, the show resumed.


The teacher lodged a complaint at Kotowali police station last night. An associate of Mr Sorcar, Sanjib Roy was arrested on the same night and he was bailed out.


Today, the students and teachers took out procession demanding arrest and punishment of the magician. Students like Ms Suparna Sarkar and Mr Pankaj Das said they would continue their movement till arrest of the magician. The headmaster however said that they were not demanding end of the shows but the authorities should take action against the offenders. They submitted a memorandum to the DSP (HQ) Mr SK Das.


When asked, Mr Das said an investigation was initiated and legal steps will be taken after completion of the probe. The magician was not available for making any comment. The future of his shows at Rabindra Bhavan is also turned uncertain. Meanwhile, a police officer opined that the incident was not an intended one. When examining the teacher may have pressed a little on the eyes and the magician may have pushed him following reflex action.

Monday, 22 December 2008


Ground being prepared for the final match of the Cooch Behar Trophy Cricket Tournament. This is the first time a match of the Cooch Behar Trophy is going to be played in Cooch Behar on and from 2 January. At Cooch Behar Stadium on Monday.


Five accused get life imprisonment

COOCH BEHAR, Dec. 22: Additional sessions judge of first fast track court, Cooch Behar, Mr Prasun Kumar Bhattacharjee sentenced five men to life imprisonment for murdering a man in 2002.


According to the public prosecutor of the case, Mr Chanchal Kumar Chakraborty, a few persons had called out one Babun Dey (27) from his residence in Vivekananda Street on the night of 24 October 2002 and shot at him. He was shifted from MJN Hospital in Cooch Behar to North Bengal Medical College and Hospital in Siliguri where he died on 28 October 2002.


A case was initiated against five persons – Jagadish Choudhury alias Bula, Niranjan Sarkar alias Anath, Chanchal Chakraborty alias Bura, Parthasarathi Ghosh alias Biswajit and Jitendra Roy alias Jitu. 16 witnesses including the wife of the deceased, Mrs Sarita Ojha (Dey) were examined in the court during the legal procedure. Considering all aspects the judge convicted the five accused under Section 302/34 IPC on Saturday.


Today, the judge sentenced the five convicted to life imprisonment and slapped fine of Rs 5,000 on each of them. In default they will have to suffer an additional rigorous imprisonment for one year, Mr Chakraborty said []


GCDP to observe 1 January as Black day

COOCH BEHAR, Dec. 22: The Greater Cooch Behar Democratic Party (GCDP) will observe the first day of the New Year as Black day. They however lifted their proposed indefinite strike today that is scheduled to start from tomorrow in Cooch Behar district.


It may be mentioned here that on 8 December the GCDP had announced an indefinite strike to start from 23 December. The demands they raised are – lifting of all 'false cases' brought against GCDP activists and leaders, an end to the 'police harassment' on their supporters and punitive measures against policemen involved in harassing of their leaders and supporters.


Today, a large number of GCDP supporters gathered near the office of the district magistrate in Cooch Behar on the west bank of Sagardighi. A 5-member delegation of GCDP leaders met the district magistrate Mr Rajesh Kumar Sinha and reiterated their demands. The DM heard their points and assured of looking into those. He made an appeal to the GCDP leaders to lift the proposed indefinite strike in the interest of the common people. The DM also assured them that he would hold talks with the superintendent of police about the demands raised by the GCDP.


When asked, Mr Sinha said the GCDP leaders told him of a case of 2006 in connection which a police team recently raided the house of the GCDP president at Sitai. He said he would look into the matter and steps would be taken after that. "At first we will have to see what case was that and then we must take action against persons if found guilty", he said.


Expressing their satisfaction by the assurance given by the DM, GCDP president Mr Ashutosh Barma announced lifting of the indefinite strike that was to start from tomorrow. He declared that they would wait till 1 January to see what the administration and police do to solve their grievances. After that they may resume their stir.


Mr Barma also declared that they would observe 1 January as Black Day because on that day in 1950 the erstwhile princely state of Cooch Behar was merged with India as a district only. The then chief minister of West Bengal, Bidhan Chandra Roy had chalked out the plan to include Cooch Behar as a mere district, he alleged. "We are not ready to consider Cooch Behar as a district only and so we will stage protest against that act. Transforming of a State into a mere district was nothing but an act of treachery to the people of Cooch Behar" Mr Barma fumed. []


PHOTO : GCDP supporters agitate at the gate of the District Collectorate Office in Cooch Behar on Monday.

Sunday, 21 December 2008


For want of some warmth in the chilly afternoon. In Cooch Behar on Sunday.


BSF seized huge quantity of fertilisers in December

COOCH BEHAR, Dec. 21: The allegation raised from different quarters over smuggling of fertilisers from Cooch Behar district to Bangladesh have been reflected in a report of the Border Security Force too. Now, the Opposition got a chance to come down heavily on the administration over the fertiliser scarcity issue because their allegation turned true by the report.


In the report a senior BSF official pointed out that smuggling activities especially of fertilisers have shown an upward trend in Cooch Behar district. In this month (upto 20 December) the BSF have seized 27,963-kilogram fertiliser meant for smuggling out of Cooch Behar district through the Indo-Bangladesh border.


BSF sources said in spite of inclement weather conditions the BSF personnel deployed along Indo-Bangladesh Border under Cooch Behar Sector was dominating the border effectively. BSF troupes seized huge quantity of ganja, a particular brand of cough syrup and cattle during the ongoing year. 633-kg ganja, 5741 bottles of cough syrup and 6999 cattle were seized in this year starting from January.


BSF also apprehended 260 Indian and Bangladeshi smugglers involved in smuggling and illegal infiltration of Bangladeshi labourers. BSF sources said they are to start a special drive to nab smugglers who are exploiting the international border for smuggling activities by taking the advantage of the foggy season.


Meanwhile, the Inspector General of the BSF, North Bengal Frontier, Mr Nand Kishore visited Durganagar and Sahebganj border outposts under jurisdiction of 89 Bn BSF on Friday. DIG-BSF, Cooch Behar Sector, Mr VS Sikarwar and officiating commandant of 89 Bn BSF Mr Vikram Kunwar accompanied him. The inspection was done to check whether the Battalion is fit to perform all types of tasks.


The IG-BSF held meetings with the gram panchayat pradhans and members and villagers residing in the vicinity of the Indo-Bangladesh border under surveillance of the 89 Bn. He heard their problems related to the day-to-day functioning of the BSF in the areas concerned. The villagers expressed their satisfaction when the IG-BSF assured them that the BOP Commander would visit the bordering villagers and interact with them to sort out their problems related to the border.


The IG-BSF said that eight new BOPs would be established in coming years to strengthen vigilance along the border area adjoining to Dinhata town. At the same time he requested the locals to co-operate with the BSF troupes deployed along the border to prevent transborder crimes. []

Friday, 19 December 2008


A lone BSF jawan on duty along Indo-Bangladesh border near Choudhurihat in Dinhata, Cooch Behar.


'No fishing' order to please the winged guests

COOCH BEHAR, Dec. 19: In an aim not to disturb the migratory birds by catching fishes a prohibitory order have been promulgated in the jurisdiction of Cooch Behar Forest Division. Following this order no one will be allowed to catch fish at the waterbodies of Rasik-bil, Rasamati-jhil, Sagardighi, Dhakeswari-bil, Patikata-bil and Raichengmari. As fish is the main food of the guest birds it should be available in plenty at the waterbodies, a forest official said.


A large number of migratory birds of different species come to Rasik-bil, Rasamati-jhil and Sagardighi at the beginning of every winter. After breeding they used to get back to their own places at the end of the winter. During their staying period they used to take shelter on the big trees near the waterbodies. Most of the daytime they swim in the water. Visitors throng in a large number to see them.


A senior official of Cooch Behar Social Forestry Division said they promulgated the prohibitory order on fishing in some of the selected waterbodies. It was done to help the winged guests to get their foods adequately. Vigilance in those areas also has been beefed up to ensure no one cannot violate the order, he said.


Mentionworthy, Rasamati-jhil is a waterbody of about 9-hecter and Rasik-bil about 178-hecter. Many visitors alleged that fishing was going on clandestinely in those areas violating the order. On the otherhand, the officials of the forest division claimed that strict vigil was going on to check illegal fishing. A country boat and a few fishing nets were seized from those areas, they said. Meanwhile, environmentalists demanded strict steps against the persons found involved in illegal fishing in the selected waterbodies. []


PHOTO : A flock of Lesser Whistling Tills at Sagardighi in Cooch Behar on Friday.


'Crow flu'

COOCH BEHAR, Dec. 19: Local residents turned panicky of bird flu after spotting six dead crows at Battoala area of Baneswar in Cooch Behar this morning. On being informed animal resource development personnel appeared there. They collected samples from the dead crows to send those for laboratory test to ascertain whether the crows died of bird flu or not. []



COOCH BEHAR, Dec. 19: Clash occurred at Pachagarh in Mathabhanga, Cooch Behar on Thursday night when some people without tickets allegedly tried to enter forcefully into a variety programme that was organised with cinema artistes from Mumbai and Kolkata. Police had to intervene to restore peace. Seven persons were injured during the melee. Six men were arrested in connection with the incident. []



COOCH BEHAR, Dec. 19: Trinamul Yuva Congress supporters staged a roadblock at Dodearpar in Cooch Behar-II block today demanding adequate and immediate compensation to the people whose lands were acquisitioned for the proposed New Mainaguri-Jogighopa railway project. They also demanded employment to at least one member from each of the affected families. Vehicular traffic was disrupted during the roadblock programme. []

Thursday, 18 December 2008


After a clash over filing of nominations, an injured student at Dinhata College. (2) Policemen on duty to maintain peace at Dinhata College in Cooch Behar where a clash occurred over filing of nomination papers on Thursday. 


At the sit-in organised by Trinamul Congress. In Cooch Behar on Thursday.


Roadblock of GCPA activists at Ambari on Sahebganj Road in Dinhata, Cooch Behar before arrival of police, on Thursday.


College clash

COOCH BEHAR, Dec. 18: Violence occurred at Dinhata College in Cooch Behar today over filing of nomination papers for the ensuing Students' Union election of the college. About twenty persons including some students and policemen were injured during the clash. Six were sent to Dinhata sub-divisional hospital. Later, the agitated students staged a roadblock for sometime along Dinhata-Cooch Behar road in front of the college. []


Trinamul sit-in

COOCH BEHAR, Dec. 18: In support of their 23-point charter of demands the Trinamul Congress staged a daylong sit-in on the east bank of Sagardighi in Cooch Behar today. A large number of Trinamul supporters from different areas gathered there on the occasion. They also submitted a memorandum to the district magistrate.


Selling of fertilisers against fair price, measures to stop river erosion and construction of the building of the Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya in Tufanganj at another place leaving the earmarked place to reinstate a haat were some of the demands of the Trinamul Congress. []


GCDP may lift indefinite strike plan

COOCH BEHAR, Dec. 18: In the event of any assurance received from the district administration over their grievances the Greater Cooch Behar Democratic Party (GCDP) may withdraw their proposed indefinite strike. The strike is scheduled to start from Tuesday in Cooch Behar district.


President of the GCDP, Mr Ashutosh Barma said today that they would meet the district magistrate of Cooch Behar on Monday to reiterate their demands. He hoped that the DM would consider the matter with a realistic approach. If they receive concrete assurance of reviewing of the demands from the DM they may lift the indefinite strike plan, Mr Barma said.


It may be mentioned here that recently the GCDP had announced an indefinite strike in Cooch Behar district from 23 December. The demands they raised are – lifting of all 'false cases' brought against GCDP activists and leaders, an end to the 'police harassment' on their supporters and punitive measures against policemen involved in harassing of their supporters.


When contacted, the district magistrate of Cooch Behar Mr Rajesh Kumar Sinha said he was ready to meet the GCDP leadership on Monday. He made it clear that he will make an appeal to the GCDP leaders to lift their scheduled indefinite strike in the interest of the common people. The DM said he would hold talks with the superintendent of police about the demands raised by the GCDP.


On the otherhand, the activists of The Greater Cooch Behar People's Association (GCPA) staged a roadblock at Ambari along Sahebganj Road in Dinhata today as they did there yesterday. They were demanding reinstallation of the roadside hoardings that were removed by the police recently. Earlier, they put the hoardings depicting map of the proposed Greater Cooch Behar State. Today, senior officials including Dinhata SDO appeared at the place with a large contingent of police and the roadblock was lifted after their intervention. []

Wednesday, 17 December 2008



Symposium on the danger of terrorism


A symposium on 'terrorism, state and civil society' was held at the auditorium of the Red Cross Bhavan in Cooch Behar on Sunday. Uttar Prasanga, a socio-economic analytical quarterly journal organised the programme. The perspective of the symposium was the recent terrorist attack in Mumbai.


Dr Ananda Gopal Ghosh of North Bengal University inaugurated the programme. Among the speakers there were ex-minister Dinesh Dakua, ex-MP Prasenjit Barman, Prof Amlan Jyoti Majumder, educationist Md Bazle Rahman. A senior journalist Gautam Sarkar conducted the symposium as the motivator. Editor of Uttar Prasanga Debabrata Chaki presented the welcome address.


Dr Ananda Gopal Ghosh thanked the organisers for holding such a symposium. After the Mumbai incident no such symposium was held in any district in north Bengal against terrorism, he said. The Uttar Prasanga authority did the right thing at this moment, he opined. The terrorist activities have put the Indians at a point of uncertainty about their security. No one can stay away from it because everyone has responsibility to the country. He demanded that the source of the ongoing terrorism should be unearthed.


Ex-minister Dinesh Dakua said it is more dangerous when one tries to harm others by suicide attacks than when one harms others by saving himself. It is hard for any government to prevent or combat a suicide attack. He stressed on adequate infrastructure and political solution to the burning problem.


Analysing the present situation Prof Amlan Jyoti Majumder mentioned that the world stood by India after the Mumbai incident. He demanded strict measures to combat the attacks made on this country.


Ex-MP Prasenjit Barman emphasised on the need of internal security of the country. All Indians should unite against any attack on this country and people, he said.


Editor of Uttar Prasanga, Debabrata Chaki announced that two more such symposiums will be organised to aware citizens to act as responsible ones. []


PHOTO : Dr Ananda Gopal Ghosh speaks while Mr Dinesh Dakua looks on at the recent symposium in Cooch Behar.


State forest minister Mr Ananta Roy inaugurates the 5-day Bharat Nirman Navodaya Utsav. At Baneswar in Cooch Behar on Wednesday.


Bharat Nirman Navodaya Utsav

COOCH BEHAR, Dec. 17: A five-day Bharat Nirman Navodaya Utsav started at Baneswar in Cooch Behar-II block today. The Union government, in association with Cooch Behar district administration, is holding this public information campaign programme. The aim of the Utsav is to highlight various public welfare schemes of the government. Besides stalls of different organisations and exhibitions there will be programmes on folk culture, song and dance. []


At the Academic Book Fair. At ABN Seal College in Cooch Behar on Wednesday.


Bird Flu : Eye on migratory birds

COOCH BEHAR, Dec. 17: Following massive outbreak of bird flu in Malda and Assam the animal resources development department is not in a mood to take any chance for recurrence of the disease in Cooch Behar district. All-out preparation is being taken to combat the deadly disease in case of its outbreak here.


ARD department sources said physical surveillance was going on in all the blocks. All officials concerned in the 12 blocks have been instructed to report outbreak of the disease or suspected cases to the higher authorities immediately. Collection of blood samples is also being done. Already some samples were sent, yesterday too, for test to the Regional Disease Diagnostic Laboratory at Belgachhia in Kolkata. If required the samples will be resent to Bhopal for further tests.


Not only the backyard birds but the migratory birds also came under purview of the preventive measures. Droppings of the winged guests are being collected from Rasik-bil, Rasamati Jhil and Sagardighi. A few samples collected from Rasik-bil already sent for test. As the seasonal migratory birds like these places the ARD officials prefer to collect samples from the places in an aim to stop spreading of the disease to other areas.


As a preparatory measure the personal protective equipments required for the use of the members of the culling teams are being kept ready. Thirty teams are ready to start culling drive if an outbreak occurs, an official said. A meeting with all the SDOs and BDOs were held yesterday to keep them alert for any outbreak of bird flu.


Meanwhile, spraying of vehicles - passing through the Assam-Bengal border at Baxirhat and Indo-Bangladesh border at Changrabandha - with disinfectants is going on. No vehicle will be allowed to enter into this side of the state and international borders without disinfecting them. []


PHOTO  : GUEST BIRDS – Who are to examine the Open Stork Bills on the tree? At Nilkuthi in Cooch Behar.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008


A rural Raas Mela at Gitaldaha

COOCH BEHAR, Dec. 16: A fortnight long Raas Mela is going on at Harirhat of Gitaldaha near Indo-Bangladesh border in Dinhata sub-division. It began on 3 December and it is to be concluded tomorrow. This is the thirty-fifth year of the fair.


After the traditional Raas Mela of Cooch Behar it is the second of its kind in this district. Though Raas festival is a Hindu religious one the Raas Mela of Harirhat is a joint platform for both Hindus and Muslims. It may be termed as an example of communal harmony. Leaving religious beliefs they come here to enjoy the life.


There are all attractions and features common to all fairs in this Raas Mela - circus shows, merry-go-round, shops of stationary items, toys and cheap ornaments and perfumes, small eateries and certainly huge gathering of rural people. Cultural programmes are held everyday.


The theme of this year's fair is 'Better healthcare for mother and child'. Seminars and exhibitions are being held everyday on the need of preventive healthcare for the mothers and children.


President of the fair organising committee, Mr Lakshmi Kaloar, said, once people from the other side of the border used to come to attend this fair. But, due to the strict vigil along the Indo-Bangladesh Border it is hard for the Bangladeshis to come to attend the fair these days.


As the Rass Mela of Harirhat held during the harvesting season the villagers feel free to join the funfair because they have the ability to spend a few bucks, as they will, with their family members and children. []


A foggy morning  in Cooch Behar on Tuesday.


Ex-servicemen gather near the captured Patton Tank to pay tribute to the war heroes on the occasion of the Victory Day of Bangladesh war for independence. At Shahid Baag in Cooch Behar on Tuesday.


Academic Book Fair begins

COOCH BEHAR, Dec. 16: A two-day Academic Book Fair began at Acharya Brajendra Nath Seal College campus in Cooch Behar today. Twelve publishers and booksellers from Kolkata, Siliguri and Cooch Behar have come to attend the book fair with thousands of academic books. The speciality of this book fair is that one can get no ordinary book from here but books meant for the curricula of colleges and universities.


Today, additional district magistrate (general) Mr PK Pal inaugurated the book fair. Prof DK Naha, head of the department of Bengali, Presidency College, was present as the chief guest. Dr Nilay Ray, officer-in-charge, ABN Seal College, presided over the inaugural ceremony.


There are books meant only for colleges and universities in this academic book fair. The books on display are on about fifteen subjects and various topics. The students and teachers are to get discounts against purchases from this book fair, the organisers said. Not only the teachers and the students of the ABN Seal College but also from different colleges of Cooch Behar district came to the book fair.


Officer-in-charge of the ABN Seal College, Dr Nilay Ray claimed that this is the first time such a book fair was organised in north Bengal. He said, "As we live at great distance from Kolkata our students seldom get chance to visit places like College Street. Aiming to bridge the gap we made an appeal to the academic book publishers and they responded." Mr Ray believes the students will be greatly benefited from this two-day book fair as they have an opportunity to see and buy any book according to their choice. []

Monday, 15 December 2008


BSF-BDR meet at Digaltari

COOCH BEHAR, Dec. 15: In order to strengthen relation between two border guarding forces, a commandant level flag meeting was held at Digaltari border outpost under Cooch Behar Sector today. Mr Ajit Sudevan (Commandant of 113 Bn BSF) and Col Suman Kumar Barua (27 BDR) presided the meeting.


During the meeting various issues related to border population and better border domination were discussed. Both the commanders agreed to extend full co-operation in dealing with trans-border crimes and thereby installing a sense of security among border population of both the countries. They agreed to settle minor disputes amicably arising in border belt. Simultaneous co-ordinated patrolling and joint verification of boundary pillars were also finalised during the meeting, BSF sources said. []


CM to attend UBUP meet at Jalpaiguri

COOCH BEHAR, Dec. 15: A full-fledged meeting of the Uttar Banga Unnayan Parshad (UBUP) will be held at Jalpaiguri on 24 December. The state chief minister, Mr Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, who is also the chairman of the UBUP, will attend the meeting. Prior to that a meeting of the Cooch Behar chapter of the UBUP was held in Cooch Behar today.


After the meeting that was held at the conference hall in the district collectorate building, the state food and supply minister Mr Paresh Chandra Adhikari, said, in the Jalpaiguri meet they would review the progress of the projects yet to be completed. Today, they talked over the ongoing problem over the price of fertilisers. Emphasis was given over the need for monitoring the situation regularly. Steps should be taken against the dealers if they take price more than the maximum retail price (MRP). The dealers will be asked to display stock and price at their outlets. The SP, the principal agriculture officer and the BDOs also attended the meeting, Mr Adhikari said.


State forest minisyter Mr Ananta Roy said, they reviewed the administrative loopholes that caused the ongoing problem over availability of fertilisers. The police and the administration were asked to take steps if anyone tries to smuggle out fertilisers to Bangladesh and Assam. Measures will be taken against unscrupulous dealers, Mr Roy said.


Different new schemes for the development of Cooch Behar district and old ones too will be discussed in the UBUP meet at Jalpaiguri on 24 December, the minister said.


Cooch Behar Zilla Parishad sabhadhipati Mr Dilip Biswas and district magistrate Mr Rajesh Kumar Sinha also attended today's meeting. []


Inspector general of police, North Bengal, Mr Kundanlal Tamta talks with media persons at the Circuit House. In Cooch Behar on Monday.


Kalchini incident : Top cop admits intelligence failure

COOCH BEHAR, Dec. 15: Since the Kalchini incident the opposition political parties have been raising an allegation that the police had no prior information about any government office blockade programme and now the police too admitted that they got no tip-off.


Today, the inspector general of police, North Bengal, Mr Kundanlal Tamta admitted that there was no advance information to the police about any government office blockade programme of the Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha (GJMM) at Kalchini. The intelligence officials might have ignored the little bits of information, if there were any. The police, however, are being instructed to see reoccurrence of such incident never happens, the IGP said.


The IGP, North Bengal, talked with the media persons at Cooch Behar Circuit House this morning. Later, he went to Kalchini to take an on the spot account of the situation.


Mr Tamta denied terming the growing disputes in Dooars between GJMM activists and others as communal. It is nothing but a result of differences of mind-set between the people of hills and plains, he opined.


The IGP almost winded up the information over recent reorganisation of Kamtapur Liberation Organisation (KLO) and their subversive plans in North Bengal in association with ULFA and other militant outfits. Such information came earlier from different intelligence agencies but there was no substantial evidence to prove them. A huge fund is required to organise a militant outfit and they have to collect it forcefully from different quarters. But, no incident of coercion for raising of funds was reported from anywhere in the recent past, he said.


The ample possibility of spreading of Maoist organisation in the Dooars depends on the economic backwardness. At the first phase the Maoists generally use NGOs and other organisations to influence the people by taking advantage of their grievances against the administration and the government. At present, they are engaged in their first phase of work in the Dooars. The lower level officials and bureaucrats are responsible for this. They are not making the people avail the facilities offered by the government and the Maoists are taking this opportunity to strengthen their organisation, The IGP, North Bengal, believes.


It was learnt that the police are going to take measures during the ensuing strikes sponsored by GJMM and GCDP to ensure the common people remain free from unwanted harassments. The strike is scheduled to begin from 23 December. []

Sunday, 14 December 2008


TOURIST CATCHER - Rails being laid for a toy train project at Kholta in Cooch Behar.

Friday, 12 December 2008


District handicrafts exhibition being held at District Industries Centre in Cooch Behar on Friday.


8-year RI to five for killing a neighbour

COOCH BEHAR, Dec. 12: District and sessions judge of Cooch Behar, Mr KYS Manhas sentenced five men to 8-year rigorous imprisonment for killing a neighbour.


Court sources said, enraged with a childish act of Mamoni Khatun, a 5-year-old niece of Azimuddin Sheikh, a neighbour Latif Mian and five of his accomplices hacked Azimuddin with sharp daos on 29 September 2006 at Laukuthi village under Baxirhat police station. On the next day the injured Azimuddin expired at MJN Hospital in Cooch Behar. A complaint was lodged against six men at Baxirhat police station on 30 September 2006.


Today, the judge sentenced Latif Mian, Hazrat Ali, Abdul Haq, Alauddin Mian and Aziz Mian to 8-year rigorous imprisonment. They will have to suffer an additional RI of six months in default of paying fine of Rs 2000 slapped on each of them. Another accused, Firoz Ali was discharged as innocent. Public prosecutor Mr Ganesh Chandra Roy Karmakar was on the government side in this case. []


Bird Flu alert in Cooch Behar

COOCH BEHAR, Dec. 12: Following massive outbreak of bird flu in neighbouring Assam the district administration of Cooch Behar sounded special alert throughout the district especially in the areas along Assam-Bengal and Indo-Bangladesh borders.


When inquired, the Cooch Behar ADM (D) Mr Pannalal Mahapatra said arrangements were being taken to disinfect all vehicles coming from Assam at the entry points to Cooch Behar at Baxirhat from today. Similar disinfecting measures were taken and still going on at Changrabandha in Mekhliganj since the outbreak of the killer disease in Bangladesh sometime ago, he said.


The ADM (D) said they alerted all concerned to report any incident of unnatural death of any backyard bird or poultry or other birds. The animal resource development department officials are to send samples of bloods collected from different areas for laboratory tests. At least ten samples will be send everyday (and the process started from today) to Kolkata for test, he added. []


Silence Zone for the winged guests of winter

COOCH BEHAR, Dec. 12: A proposal to declare Sagardighi and its surrounding area in Cooch Behar town as a silence zone is under consideration of Cooch Behar district administration.


Cooch Behar ADM (Development), Mr Pannalal Mahapatra said they are considering the proposal to declare the Sagardighi area as a silence zone to retain the presence of the seasonal guests. Already he asked the police to make people abstain from cleaning clothes in the water of Sagardighi. He admitted that it would be wise for all not holding any public meeting in the vicinity of the large water-body. They may request the political parties to organise meetings and rallies at other places. "I will write to the political parties to leave the Sagardighi area as a silence zone", he said.


The beautiful Sagardighi is a large pond that was dug in the regime of Maharajas as a source of drinking water. Major government offices and courts are situated on its banks. Migratory birds too prefer the large waterbed of Sagardighi in winter. But their number started decreasing for the past few years. As it is located centrally in the town the noise of motor vehicles and air horns and loudspeakers is making the place aloof for the winged guests, environmentalists believe.


Secretary of Nature and Adventure Study Group (NASG), Mr Arup Guha said the migratory birds started coming to Sagardighi since 1980. Observing the decrease in number of the birds a few years ago the NASG had submitted a proposal to the administrative authorities to consider declaring the vicinity of Sagardighi a silence zone. Horn of motor vehicles and use of loudspeakers on the banks of the pond and practice of swimming and fishing in its water made the situation unbearable for the birds and they started disliking the place, Mr Guha said. The NASG secretary opined that government vigilance and strict measures needed to keep these winged guests here.


This year a very small flock of the migratory birds came to Sagardighi till now. Some of the migratory birds that came to Sagardighi this year are identified as Lesser Whistling Till and Mallard. They used to come from far away Siberia. It is feared that in near future no bird would come if necessary measures were not taken soon. []


PHOTO : Migratory birds in the water of Sagardighi in Cooch Behar.

Thursday, 11 December 2008


 An indigenous watchtower erected by forest villagers at Chilapata forest in Cooch Behar Forest Division to keep watch on movements of wild elephants.


Section 144 to pave way to erect Navodaya school

COOCH BEHAR, Dec. 11: Apprehending trouble during construction of the proposed buildings of the Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya the Cooch Behar district magistrate, Mr Rajesh Kumar Sinha has promulgated Section 144A of the CrPC prohibiting all persons from carrying arms in entire Tufanganj sub-division. The order will remain in force till 7 January.


The construction of the main building of the JNV was scheduled to begin from yesterday but due to massive demonstration organised by Trinamul Congress it was not possible.


A member of the Tufanganj JNV development committee Mr Tamser Ali, who is also a district secretariat member of the CPI-M, said, the classes of the JNV is going on at Tufanganj College as it has no building of its own. Referring the dispute over the land he claimed that 30-bigha of land was handed over to the state education department by the Regulated Market Committee (RMC) in 2005. Later, it was handed over to JNV authorities. Construction of the main building including class rooms, students' hostel, boundary wall and medical clinic was to begin from yesterday but Trinamul Congress supported agitators resisted it.


Mr Ali, who is also an MLA from Natabari, claimed that the Union government approved a fund to the tune of Rs 36-crore for the Tufanganj JNV. The construction work should start by 31 March of the current fiscal year otherwise it may go back unspent. He termed the Trinamul sponsored demonstration as a conspiracy to postpone the setting up of the school in Tufanganj. But, a school is not an industry, he opined.


On the otherhand, district Trinamul Congress vice-president Mr Niranjan Dutta said they too want the JNV but the building should be constructed at another place. The present site earmarked for it should be returned to the local traders, as there was a haat for a long. The Trinamul Congress will organise demonstrations in the interest of the local traders at the Tufanganj SDO office tomorrow and at the office of the district magistrate on next Thursday, he said.


It may be recalled here that the Trinamul Congress have been demanding rehabilitation of all the affected traders at the same haat from where they were evicted in September 2007. A few hundred shops were dismantled by the district administration at the haat controlled by the Tufanganj Regulated Market Committee on 25 August 2007 and the land was handed over to JNV authorities on the same day. Those shops were dismantled to clear the area for construction of the proposed JNV school building. The Trinamul Congress and the BJP had observed a bandh on 28 August 2007 against the eviction of traders from the haat


PHOTO : Trinamul Congress supported protest against construction of Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya. In Tufanganj, Cooch Behar on Wednesday.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008


COME WINTER - Migratory birds in the water of Sagardighi in Cooch Behar on Wednesday.


'Tax Free Zone needed to overcome recession'

COOCH BEHAR, Dec. 10: The global economic recession has exerted its influence on a remote district like Cooch Behar too. The Chakchaka Industrial Growth Centre (CIGC) near Cooch Behar town is now suffering from different hurdles. There are 34 units functioning at the CIGC presently. A few entrepreneurs who came forward here with an intention to set up new units are now thinking otherwise. At this moment they are not interested in investing funds to set up new units or expand the existing ones.


It may be noted that since launching of the CIGC three manufacturing units have closed down shutters. The closed three units were engaged in producing monofilament, wheat flour and biscuit. During the last two months the production rate came down by sixty percent, a few owners of manufacturing units said.


The secretary of Cooch Behar District Industrialists' Welfare Association (CDIWA) Mr Depak Mundra said that following global recession a few entrepreneurs who came up to set up about five new units to produce items like utensils made of aluminium, mustard oil and a mini rice mill are now feeling hesitant in investing funds. They like to wait for some time to see the outcome of the ongoing recession.


As the industrial units in the CIGC is dependent on north Bengal and Assam the ongoing turmoil in Assam is also became a factor. The marketing process of the produces is suffering due to the situation, Mr Mundra opined. Moreover, the increased interest rate of banks and hiked price of raw materials are also playing a negative role in decreasing the production rate and profit.


The CDIWA secretary said they would make appeal to the Central government to consider the long-standing demand to make north Bengal a tax-free zone. Once implemented, the industrialists will get benefits like waiving of excise and other taxes on produces in the tax-free zone. The Government should also liberalise the tax system including VAT to inspire the entrepreneurs to set up more industrial units, he said.