Tuesday, 31 March 2009

ELECTION INITIATIVE

Leaders and activists of student and youth wings of Congress and Trinamul Congress with the alliance candidate in front of district Congress office. In Cooch Behar on Tuesday.

ELECTION INITIATIVE

Congress-Trinamul students' joint stir plan

COOCH BEHAR, March 31: After the joint programme of the Congress and the Trinamul Congress to support the alliance candidate Mr Arghya Roy Pradhan, the students wings of the two parties too came up to follow the line.

Today, the youth and students wings of both parties declared their joint plan in presence of the candidate. They will organise a massive rally at Sagardighi Square on 17 April in support of Mr Roy Pradhan. The presidents of Youth Congress and Trinamul Youth Congress - Mr Avijit Dey Bhaumik and Kumar Rajiv Narayan - too promised their support to the students' programme.

District Chhatra Parishad president Mr Rakesh Chaudhury and district Trinamul Chhatra Parishad president Mr Samir Chakraborty announced that they would organise motorbike and bicycle rallies in all the Assembly constituency areas under Cooch Behar Lok Sabha constituency after the Higher Secondary examination.

The CP and TCP leaders said the girl members would canvass among the women voters in girls' hostels, colleges, offices and in all residences.

As there were no engineering college, law college and medical college in Cooch Behar, the leaders hoped that if Mr Roy Pradhan gets elected he would do his best to add these facilities to this district. He may fulfil the plan of Mr Rajul Gandhi to form a Young Brigade, they said.

The CP and TCP leaders said they would organise joint movement to establish women's colleges in Tufanganj, Dinhata and Mathabhanga.

The Congress-Trinamul Congress alliance candidate Mr Arghya Roy Pradhan said, if elected, he would do his best to better the education sector in Cooch Behar. An AIIMS-style medical college and a Central university are needed in Cooch Behar, he said. 

Monday, 30 March 2009

ELECTION

Trinamul supports separatists, alleges top FB leader

COOCH BEHAR, March 30: The Trinamul Congress always supports the secessionists and so there is nothing new in their visiting the leader of the 'Greater Cooch Behar' movement inside the jail, said the All India Forward Bloc general secretary Mr Debabrata Biswas. The Trinamul effort will make no difference as the Forward Bloc's candidate is going to win the Cooch Behar seat, he said.

Mentionworthy, four Trinamul Congress leaders led by Mr Mukul Roy visited 'Greater Cooch Behar' leader Mr Bangshi Badan Barman inside the Cooch Behar District Correctional Home yesterday to seek his support for the Trinamul candidate. They tried to convince Mr Barman saying that the CPI-M was the common enemy of both parties. It is believed that they went there following instruction of party chief Miss Mamata Banerjee who came her yesterday to address a meeting at Dinhata.

The senior FB leader believes the third front led by the Leftists is going to come into power at the Centre. In that case, the Leftists should join the cabinet and the FB must join in that government as it would be a Left-sponsored government, he said. He recalled that the formation of the United Front made way to form the Left Front in this state.

Refuting the allegation raised by Miss Mamata Banerjee yesterday that the Forward Bloc forgot the five martyrs of Dinhata police firing and turned servant of the CPI-M, the FB leader said, "We never forgot the martyrs. We staged protest against the police firing though we are in the government." Not the CPI-M but the police had opened fire, clarified Mr Biswas.

About the rebellion of the outgoing MP, Mr Hiten Barman, who is also the president of district Forward Bloc, Mr Biswas said they received no resignation letter from him yet. Mr Barman is a good organiser. He would continue to serve the party. Replying a question, Mr Biswas said in 1999 Mr Barman was made the candidate without intimating him earlier and this time he was replaced by another candidate without asking him. There is no wrong and the party leadership did it in the greater interest of the party, explained Mr Biswas.

ELECTION

Election : Violation of model code of conduct

COOCH BEHAR, March 30: The model code of conduct has come into effect since 2 March in Cooch Behar and it will exist till 22 May. 17 teams have been formed at five municipal areas and 12 blocks to keep watch if there was any violation of the rule.

The authorities already received several complaints on defacement of private and public properties. After receiving of complaints on painting of graffiti on walls of 108 private buildings the political parties were served with notices. Later, they have produced permission letters from the owners. In case of 506 public buildings, the political parties acted promptly and removed the graffiti and so no FIR was lodged against them, the district magistrate of Cooch Behar, Mr RK Sinha, said.

A complaint came related to the use of the official car of the Cooch Behar Zilla Parishad sabhadhipati. Action was taken immediately and the sabhadhipati was conveyed about the complaint on violation of model code of conduct issued by the Election Commission, the DM said. There will be 356 micro-observers and some reserve ones to supervise the situation in 1621 polling booths and 476 auxiliary booths.

The DM claimed that Cooch Behar has achieved success in issuing of EPIC cards. 98.29 percent voters got the EPICs. There are 16,57,299 voters in the district and 13,29,035 in Cooch Behar Parliamentary constituency.

ELECTION

Election : Section 144 promulgated in Cooch Behar

COOCH BEHAR, March 30: As electioneering in Cooch Behar district is going on in full swing, political feelings are running high and serious tension is built up, the district magistrate of Cooch Behar Mr RK Sinha promulgated Section 144 CrPC prohibiting all persons carrying arms and weapons in public processions and public meetings in entire Cooch Behar district.

In his order the DM mentioned that he promulgated the prohibitory order following reports from received the SP, OCs and other sources.

As processions are being taken out by various political parties and others in support of their candidates armed with firearms, lathis, dandas, stout bamboo-sticks, sharp cutting weapons, daos, tangis, etc with a view to show dominance in an area and to threaten the rival groups and people in general and major clashes have been reported from some parts of the district during these processions in the recent past resulting injury to several persons the DM had to impose the order.

The DM, Mr Sinha stated that he enforced the order to prevent disturbance of public peace and for preservation of public safety for the entire election period and even in the post-election period. The order will remain in force till 26 May, he added.

 

Election : Six EC observers

COOCH BEHAR, March 30: Six Election Commission observers will be there in Cooch Behar district to supervise the election process. They are Mr Samir Chitkara, Mr KP Mishra, Mr Raju Narayan Swami, Mr Banamali Sinha, Mr Akhilesh Kumar and Mr SE Hossain. Candidates and political parties can be able to submit complaints to the EC observers related to the election including violation of model code of conduct.

 

Election : Complaints on missing EPICs

COOCH BEHAR, March 30: Complaints on missing of Elector's Photo Identity Card (EPIC) are on the rise in Cooch Behar district. Already, several complaints have been submitted at different police stations in the district. The Cooch Behar SP Mr DP Singh said he was aware of the matter. But, he failed to say the number of such EPIC missing complaints.

The police are yet to finalise the quantity of requirement of para-military forces in the district to maintain peace during the election. The number of critical and non-critical areas are being finalised after reviewing all aspects including the history of violence in areas concerned. But, may it be critical or not, there will be at least two armed guards in each polling booth.

Reviewing the situation adequate measures have been taken in vulnerable areas to maintain peace, the Cooch Behar SP, said. Talks have been held with officials of the Border Security Force over beefing up of vigilance along the Bangladesh border during the election process. Another meeting of top police officials of four districts of Assam and West Bengal will be held on 4 April over security measures that to be taken along the state border, Mr Singh said.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

ELECTION VISIT

(1) Miss Mamata Banerjee addresses at Samhati Maidan in Dinhata on Sunday. (2) Miss Mamata Banerjee with district Trinamul Congress president Mr Rabi Ghosh, Congress MLA Dr Md Fozle Haque and Trinamuls Dinhata MLA Mr Ashok Mandal. At Samhati Maidan in Dinhata on Sunday. (3) Miss Mamata Banerjee in a jubilant mood with Congress candidate (Jalpaiguri) Mr Sukhbilas Barma, Trinamul candidate (Cooch Behar) Mr Arghya Roy Pradhan, state Trinamul general secretary Mr Mihir Goswami and district Trinamul president Mr Rabi Ghosh. At Samhati Maidan in Dinhata on Sunday.- SUMON MONDAL.

MAMATA VISITS COOCH BEHAR

Mamata wages war against Left Front in Dinhata

COOCH BEHAR, March 29: Since the panchayat elections a wind of change has started blowing in Cooch Behar district, hitherto known as the Red Bastion of the Left Front. The CPI-M had to surrender two Panchayat Samitis and a number of gram panchayat seats to its archrival, the Trinamul Congress.

Today, the Trinamul Congress chief Miss Mamata Banerjee came here aiming to fan the suppressed anger that the local Trinamul supporters kept hidden in their hearts against the CPI-M. The Trinamul supremo came down heavily on the CPI-M led Left Front during her address in a large gathering organised at Dinhata in support of the Trinamul Congress candidate, Mr Arghya Roy Pradhan.

In her own style Miss Banerjee said they would convert North Bengal a Switzerland if they come to power. Criticising the state government she alleged that nothing was done to better the tourism sector and false promises have been given in the name of industrialisation. Many tea workers are suffering, as a number of tea gardens are lying closed. Work for the much-awaited bridge at Adabari in Dinhata is yet to start. If they ever come to power they will build up a new North Bengal. Setting up of a separate secretariat for North Bengal is no separatist act and it is possible to do it from within the framework of state government machinery, she said.

The Trinamul chief said the CPI-M has no ideology. They were with the Congress at the Centre and so the Trinamul Congress kept a distance from the Congress. Now the CPI-M is trying to float a Third Front. It is nothing but an act of political circus, she said.

Miss Banerjee also criticised the Forward Bloc. She said five FB supporters were killed in Dinhata during a movement but the FB leaders are acting as tail of the CPI-M. They forgot the martyrs.

Referring the proposed visit of the Chief Minister, the Trinamul chief said the CM speaks of industrialisation but he sans any ideology or ethics. The state government is also betraying the PTTI students. The CPI-M led government is running armed with a section of the police force but they also deceiving the police as a whole, she alleged.

She recalled that during her days as Central Railway minister she launched the Uttarbanga Express. The New Mainaguri-Jogighopa railway project also got a momentum during her regime.   

As Dinhata is the stronghold of Forward Bloc and the FB candidate Mr Nripendra Nath Roy too is from this sub-division, Miss Banerjee choose this place to launch her missile attack against the Left Front.

The ex-Forward Bloc MP, who won eight times from the Cooch Behar seat, Mr Amar Roy Pradhan, now the chairman of Janabadi Forward Bloc, a Trinamul alliance ally, accompanied her. It is believed that she selected Mr Roy Pradhan's son as candidate to use his image as weapon against the LF. Mr Abu Ayesh Mondal, Mr Mukul Roy, Jalpaiguri candidate Mr Sukhbilas Barma and Congress leaders Mrs Sabita Roy, Md Fozle Haque (MLA) and Mr Biren Kundu also spoke.

Her visit may also act as a balm to soothe the grievances of the local leaders and their followers who got aggrieved over the selection of candidate. 

Friday, 27 March 2009

ELECTION

JOINT FAMILY – (Left to right) State Trinamul Congress general secretary Mr Mihir Goswami, secretary Mr Abdul Jalil Ahmed, district Trinamul president Mr Rabi Ghosh and district Congress president Mr Biren Kundu, at the poll manifesto realising ceremony. In Cooch Behar on Friday.

TOP COP

IGP, North Bengal, Mr KL Tamta after the meeting of police officials at Araksha Bhavan. In Cooch Behar on Friday.

A TRUE CONGRESSMAN

One-man army redefines loyalty to Congress

COOCH BEHAR, March 27: As the Lok Sabha election closes by, Mr Kanta Shah started his voluntary drive again in support of the Congress. Since the Congress entered into an alliance with the Trinamul Congress and expressed its support to the Trinamul candidate, Mr Shah is also campaigning for that candidate.

A young man of 51-year, Mr Kanta Shah is a loyal and devoted man. He is a one-man army of his kind. He is a staunch supporter of the Congress and calls himself as a Sevak (servant) of the party. The self-appointed Sevak never fails to campaign in favour of the Congress. A few months ago he attended the Panchayati Raj conference organised by the Congress in Siliguri where state Congress president Mr Pranab Mukherjee was present. As usual, he went there riding his bicycle.

Mr Shah is a resident of Palashbari Road at Ward Number 20 in Cooch Behar town. A father of four daughters and three sons he maintains his family by his business of fish trading. He married off his two daughters. Two of his sons help him in running his business.

"Since the days of my grandfather, all our family members are Sevaks of the Congress. I can't resist myself from doing campaign for the Congress. Soon after the declaration of the Lok Sabha election I started campaigning for the Congress-Trinamul candidate", Mr Shah said.

As a small trader he have to keep himself busy round the year but he never fails to attend programmes of the Congress. Prior to any election he appoints himself as a diligent worker of the party and takes up dawn-to-dusk campaigning for the Congress candidates. He always carries a tricolour party flag on his bicycle. Before any election he adds a few more flags on his bicycle. This time he added flags of the Trinamul Congress too on his bicycle as the two parties reached to an alliance. To make the candidate a winner he started his electioneering since 20 March.

Mr Shah starts his day at 5 a.m. He takes with him five pieces of homemade 'roti', a little pickle and a bottle of drinking water as the fuel for the day. On his self-declared mission he already toured bordering areas like Changrabandha and Mekhliganj. He also covered Baxirhat adjacent to Assam-Bengal border. He declared that he would go to all the sub-divisions in the district to campaign for the Congress supported candidate.

ELECTION

Top leaders of the Congress and the Trinamul Congress in a joint campaign along with their alliance candidate. In Cooch Behar on Friday.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

PLAYTIME

The exams are over. Let's go for playing. In Cooch Behar.

ELECTION SECURITY

Special security cover for Cooch Behar

COOCH BEHAR, March 26: After the recent blast in neighbouring Alipurduar town in Jalpaiguri, the Cooch Behar District Police are in no mood to take any chance in maintaining peace during the Lok Sabha election.

The IGP (North Bengal) Mr KL Tamta and Special IGP (Jalpaiguri Range) Mr DT Lepcha are to visit Cooch Behar tomorrow. They will attend a meeting of senior police officials of the district and review the ongoing situation.

Though the district requires additional forces for conducting a peaceful election the number of required personnel are yet to be ascertained. Meanwhile, the police are busy to arrange a tight-knit security net for the next Sunday's meeting of Trinamul supremo Miss Mamata Banerjee in Dinhata. As the Trinamul leader enjoys a Z-plus category of security the district police will provide adequate security measure for making her visit trouble-free, according to the Cooch Behar SP, Mr DP Singh.

The number of sensitive booths in this district is yet to be ascertained. Identification of the areas is going on. The Election Commission observers are to take the final decision based on reports submitted by the DM and the SP.

During the identification of a sensitive booth its distance from the nearest police station, all kinds of connectivity and history of violence occurred in the particular area are being examined, the SP, Mr DP Singh, said. There exists no special threat to the election till now from any underground outfit, but a general threat is there, as usual, he said.

The history of the KLO activists those were once active in this area and their surrendered counterparts is under examination. As the KLO activists of sixth to tenth batches who received training in Bangladesh are staying underground, they may pose troubles in this area in near future, Intelligence officials believe. Cooch Behar Police should keep strict watch on the surrendered KLO activists, suspected Maoists and all other persons with suspicious history to avert troubles, the Intelligence agencies advised the police.

ELECTION

Bid to bring back voters from outer states

COOCH BEHAR, March 26: As the Lok Sabha election closes by the political parties are becoming anxious about the fate of their candidates.

About 3-lakh voters of Cooch Behar district stay at outer provinces. They had to go out to seek jobs. Except the family members their absence never felt by others (read political leaders). But, as their votes are precious the leaders are now chalking out plans to bring back them, not to engage in new jobs but to obtain their votes. The deserters are engaged in Delhi, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Gujarat and Bihar. They work in brickfields and other factories to earn wages.

The BJP is preparing a list of persons who left Cooch Behar in the past years. District BJP president Mr Nityananda Munsi said they started contacting their supporters in outer provinces asking them to come back for the election.

President of the Greater Cooch Behar Democratic Party Mr Ashutosh Barma claimed that many of their supporters had to leave the district as they failed to get jobs here. "We are trying to make contacts with them over mobile phones because their presence is necessary", he said.

District Trinamul Congress president Mr Rabi Ghosh said in the 13-lakh voters more than 3-lakh left the district during the Left Front regime. The ruling Left Front government failed to offer suitable jobs to the large number of people especially of rural areas. "We are sending them postcards to come back to vote against the Left Front candidate. We believe they will return to teach the LF a lesson", Mr Ghosh said.

The constituent parties of the Left Front, especially the CPI-M and the Forward Bloc, are also preparing lists of persons who left the district to seek jobs. District Forward Bloc secretary Mr Udayan Guha said they have no need to send postcards like the Trinamul Congress. "We maintain an office in Delhi to keep contact with the sojourners from Cooch Behar to take care of them. Efforts will be taken to bring back them prior to the election", Mr Guha said.

CULTIVATION

 A man nourishes his arum cultivation in Cooch Behar.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

DINHATA

 A death trap at Dinhata town in Cooch Behar where a Left front run civic body functions.

ELECTION

CITU campaign in favour of Left Front candidate and against the Trinamul-led alliance. In Dinhata on Tuesday.

WORKERS

AS YOU SOW SO YOU REAP - Harvesting of mustard seed plants in Cooch Behar.

ELECTION

BJP dream in Cooch Behar

COOCH BEHAR, March 24: The Bharatiya Janata Party is gaining its support base in Cooch Behar district. Till recently, this district was known as a Leftist bastion but the BJP started making its presence felt here for the last few years. The changing scenario is helping the party to dream of attaining of a seat in the Lok Sabha election.

The BJP declared Mr Bhabendra Nath Barman as its candidate in Cooch Behar seat. Earlier, Mr Barman fought in 1991 and polled 1.23-lakh votes. Next time he polled about 83,000. In 2004, the party left the seat to their alliance partner, Trinamul Congress. But, this time, as there exists no Trinamul-BJP alliance, the BJP decided to field a candidate again.

In the last three-tier Panchayat election the BJP got 12 Gram Panchayat members including one pradhan from Cooch Behar-I block. They got 16 Gram Panchayat members including two upa-pradhans from Cooch Behar-II block. In Tufanganj-I, they got two Panchayat Samiti members and one GP upa-pradhan. In addition, two BJP supported independent PS candidates won from the area. In Tufanganj-II, there are 8 Panchayat Samiti members, one GP pradhan and two upa-pradhans. In Mathabhanga-II, there are one GP pradhan and two upa-pradhans.

District BJP secretary, also the party's state executive member, Mr Nikhil Ranjan Dey said there were only a few party workers in 1991 but the BJP was able to poll 1.23-lakh votes. Now, as the number of party activists and supporters rose and the organisational strength got a boost, the party can hope of better result.

Explaining his calculation, Mr Dey said the followers of the outgoing Forward Bloc MP Mr Hiten Barman might pose danger for the Left Front candidate as many FB supporters got aggrieved over selection of a new candidate, Mr Nripendra Nath Roy. A large number of Trinamul Congress supporters too got aggrieved following replacing of the earlier candidate Mr Girindra Nath Barman. The new candidate Mr Arghya Roy Pradhan is the son of a Leftist leader who won from here eight times but did nothing to improve the condition of this region. It is also a point to be unhappy with the new candidate. Mr Dey expects that the votes of the dissidents of the two parties may help the BJP candidate to come out with flying colours.

The BJP leader feels that the lower level supporters of the two parties have not greeted the fresh alliance of the Congress and Trinamul Congress. It is an alliance of leaders only.

There is another factor too. A confidential meeting between the leaders of the Greater Cooch Behar Democratic Party and the BJP was held recently. Though they are yet to take any decision the BJP expects votes of a large portion of the GCDP supporters in the election.

The neighbouring area in Assam is also a stronghold of the BJP. Earlier, the Assembly seat in Golakganj was of the BJP. This time, a BJP candidate is contesting from the Dhubri Lok Sabha seat as an AGP-BJP alliance candidate. The Assam wind may blow over Cooch Behar, local BJP leaders hoped.

 

Aamra Bangalee

COOCH BEHAR, March 24: Aamra Bangalee declared Mr Dalendra Nath Roy as their candidate in the Cooch Behar Lok Sabha constituency. In the campaign they are to demand arrest of the persons involved in the conspiracy to divide Bengal, exclusion of Darjeeling and Dooars in the proposed Gorkhaland and use of Bengali in all government and non-government official work, said the district AB secretary Mr Haribola Roy.

Monday, 23 March 2009

BEE KEEPING

 A seven-day residential training programme on bee- keeping conducted by Ramakrishna Mission Samaj Sevak Shikshan Mandir started at Ramakrishna Mission in Cooch Behar on Monday. 20 participants joined the programme.

ELECTION

CM, Mamata in Cooch Behar

COOCH BEHAR, March 23: State chief minister Mr Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee is coming to Cooch Behar district on 19 April to campaign in favour of the Left Front's Forward Bloc candidate, Mr Nripendra Nath Roy. District Forward Bloc secretary Mr Udayan Guha said the first meeting will be held at Tufanganj and the second at Dinhata.

District Trinamul Congress president Mr Rabi Ghosh said the proposed meeting of party supremo Miss Mamata Banerjee will be held at Dinhata on 29 March. She is coming to campaign in favour of Congress-Trinamul alliance candidate, Mr Arghya Roy Pradhan. As both the meetings will be crowd-puller ones the police are preparing tight-knit security plans. 

FB emphasis on anti-division of Bengal

COOCH BEHAR, March 23: The Forward Bloc has taken up separatism as the main target issue to campaign against. As the Greater Cooch Behar Democratic Party declared their intention to field Mr Bangshi Badan Barman as a candidate in the Cooch Behar Lok Sabha constituency the Forward Bloc is apprehending that they may grasp a large slice of the vote-cake. The GCDP's main agenda is formation of a separate state and the FB is trying to convince people against the danger of further division of Bengal.

After the district secretariat meeting of the Forward Bloc, the secretary Mr Udayan Guha said a deep-rooted conspiracy was there to divide Bengal once again. Among the political parties some are supporting the move openly and some are covertly. "During our electioneering we are explaining the people the danger of the secessionist forces active in this region", Mr Guha said. "Reviewing the polling we like to know how many people of this district support the separatists and the division of Bengal", he added. He however denied naming the political parties that are extending support to the separatists, because people know everything".

Explaining the campaign strategy the FB leader said they have taken up man-to-man contact plan because it is impossible to get in touch of all the voters through large meetings. No one of the 13,20,000 voters of Cooch Behar constituency will be left unattended. The meetings will be held on Assembly constituency-wise instead of holding any central rally.

The Forward Bloc is apparently confident about victory of its candidate. Ruling out the possibility of any danger coming out of the Congress-Trinamul alliance, Mr Guha, who is also a state FB secretariat member said, "In 2001 we fought against such alliance and in the last panchayat election too we had to fight against them. This time too we will unitedly fight them out."

The Left Front have attained unity down to the booth level and the booth level LF committees have been formed not for the Lok Sabha election only, these will be kept operational for future too, Mr Guha said. There was a longstanding demand to form such committees and at last that came up, he admitted.

To gear up the poll campaign in Cooch Behar a number of FB ministers and leaders are to appear. Mr Debabrata Biswas, Mr Rabindra Nath Ghosh (minister), Mr Barun Mukherjee (MP), Mr Naren De (minister), Mr Murtaja Hossain (minister), Mr Subrata Basu (MP), Mr Hafiz Alam Sairani and Mr Gobinda Roy are among them. 

Sunday, 22 March 2009

ELECTION

Unity wind blowing over Cooch Behar

COOCH BEHAR, March 22: The supporters of the Congress and Trinamul Congress have experienced a taste of unity today.

The Trinamul Congress organised a party convention at Sukanta Mancha in Cooch Behar today. The Congress too held a similar programme at Paromita Bhavan. From there, the district Congress leaders appeared at Sukanta Mancha with a large number of supporters and the auditorium turned over crowded. The overwhelmed Trinamul leaders welcomed them.

In his address, a senior AICC member, HM Fazle Haque said there was no difference between the two parties. The slogans and ideology are also similar. Once the party got divided for some reasons but it may unite again in near future. The two parties should follow the path of unity for the next civic polls and the Assembly elections too. The supporters of both the parties cheerfully welcomed his speech.

The leaders including district Congress president Mr Biren Kundu, district Trinamul Congress president Mr Rabi Ghosh and state and district level leaders of both the parties hoped that the unity will come down to the booth level to uproot the Left Front.

It was declared that the district presidents will talk over joint campaign strategy and joint committees will be formed to conduct the campaign drive in the district.

The Congress-Trinamul alliance candidate for the Cooch Behar Lok Sabha constituency, Mr Arghya Roy Pradhan sought blessings from the leaders of the two parties. He was the main attraction of today's joint programme.

During the joint programme the senior leaders and supporters were found recalling the days of the united Congress.

The Left Front partners are also anxious about unity. Yesterday, a programme was held at Maharaja Nripendra Narayan Memorial Hall in Dinhata. State industries minister Mr Nirupam Sen was the chief speaker there. Leaders of the CPI-M, the Forward Bloc, the CPI and the RSP too attended the programme. The senior CPI-M leader, Mr Sen devoted the most part of his address on the need of unity among the LF partners. Without united effort it is hard for the FB candidate Mr Nripendra Nath Roy to retain the seat that is of the FB for a long, the leaders said.

As the relation between the CPI-M and the Forward Bloc was never cordial in this district it may affect this time the fate of the FB candidate. For this reason the unity is necessary more than earlier occasions, many LF leaders observed.

Saturday, 21 March 2009

ELECTION

Mr Nirupam Sen addresses at a Left Front election meeting at Maharaja Nripendra Narayan Memorial Hall in Dinhata, Cooch Behar on Saturday.

AVIAN FLU

Centre for poultry-free Bangla border

Anindita Chowdhury 
KOLKATA, March 14: The Centre has proposed that areas within 5 kms from the international border with Bangladesh, will be kept poultry-free, in a strategy to prevent avian influenza from flaring up in border states like Assam and West Bengal. 

Authorities suspect that the H5NI virus which afflicted the backyard poultry in the state, last year as well as this year, had its origin in Bangladesh. 

The Centre has proposed that areas within 5 km from the international border will be designated as zone I and kept poultry free to prevent flaring up of avian flu in states bordering Bangladesh. 

Areas within five to 10 km will be designated as zone II. In this zone the Union Agriculture Ministry has proposed that integrated companies will be asked to develop and demonstrate a "secure model of poultry rearing " before the local population. These integrated companies will distribute chicks among the local populace and ensure sanitised conditions and will buy back the reared birds at a later stage. 

This will make poultry rearing much more remunerative and prevent bird flu in unorganised sector, feels officials of the department of animal husbandry, dairying and fisheries of government of India. 

The Centre has also asked the state animal resources department to identify areas and the poultry population in these areas along the international border to implement the strategy. 
According to the 2006 animal census conducted by state ARD department, the existing poultry population in zone I is more than 47 lakhs and in case of zone II is more than 52 lakhs.  

The Centre has proposed that initially this should be taken up in a small area and then it can be introduced in the rest of the border areas in a phased manner. 

However, in recent pasts it has been seen that owners of backyard poultry defying culling orders or ban on transportation after outbreak of bird flu in neighbouring areas even after awareness drive. Hence, state government officials are skeptical about implementation of the strategy, particularly about keeping Zone I free of backyard poultry. (THE STATESMAN)

Friday, 20 March 2009

AGRICULTURE

It's the time to dry the tobacco leaves. At a village in Cooch Behar.

ELECTION

Graffiti in support of Left Front's Forward Bloc candidate Mr Nripendra Nath Roy. In Cooch Behar.

FUEL CONSERVATION

NBSTC to felicitate good drivers

COOCH BEHAR, March 20: With a view to boost up the productivity of the drivers, the North Bengal State Transport Corporation has adopted an ambitious programme. Under this programme the drivers of all the four divisions of the NBSTC had to undergo a fortnight-long training of fuel saving measures starting from 2 February.

During the programme experienced personnel and officials from different reputed organisations and motor vehicle manufacturers like PCRA, Eichher, Telco and Ashok Leyland taught the participant drivers on techniques of fuel saving during driving.

The drivers of the six depots and one station under Cooch Behar division also received the training on fuel efficiency. As a result of the depot-wise programme the Dinhata depot alone saved fuel worth Rs 15,270 in February.

Earlier, the kilometre per litre (KMPL) consumption of fuel was 3.89. Recently it rose to 3.98. Now, it is 4.06 KMPL. Such saving is boosting up the revenue of the subsidy-fed NBSTC.

The assistant engineer-in-charge of NBSTC's Cooch Behar division, Mr Dipankar Dutta said tomorrow they would felicitate three best performing drivers for their ability to save fuel. The fuel saving programme is helping the NBSTC to save a large sum of money over fuel, he claimed. 

ELECTION

SUCI not invited yet to Mamata's meeting 

COOCH BEHAR, March 20: The leaders of the Socialist Unity Centre (SUCI) are yet to receive any invitation from the Trinamul Congress to attend the proposed meeting of Miss Mamata Banerjee that is to be held at Dinhata on 28 March. The Trinamul Congress, however, already extended invitation to the Congress and requested them to share seats on the dais. Accordingly, five senior Congress leaders may be found on the same dais from where Miss Banerjee is to deliver her address.

If invited, district SUCI secretary Mr Sisir Sarkar, said, they might attend the meeting. But it may not be possible for them to attend and share the dais with the Congress. They have reservations about the Congress and the BJP. The party's policy is to keep equal distance from both the parties. At the same time the SUCI leader made it clear that they will not attend any joint programme with the Trinamul Congress in presence of Congress.

Mr Sarkar said as the SUCI entered into an alliance with the Trinamul Congress it will not hesitate to campaign for the candidate of the alliance. "We must invite the Trinamul to attend our programme and we will participate to their programme. But, we will not share any programme with the Congress", he cleared.

On the otherhand, no meeting between the SUCI and the Trinamul Congress on joint campaign took place till now. It is yet uncertain when such a meeting will be held. "The Trinamul Congress leadership met the Congress leadership but we are yet to sit with them", Mr Sarkar said. He however said that as a partner of the alliance they already started campaigning in favour of the alliance candidate Mr Arghya Roy Pradhan. The SUCI will take out its first election rally in Cooch Behar town on Monday, Mr Sarkar added.

When asked, district Trinamul Congress president Mr Rabi Ghosh said they would invite all member-parties of the alliance led by Miss Mamata Banerjee to attend the Dinhata meeting. As there exists an understanding with the Congress, all partners of the alliance should honour it, Mr Ghosh said. Talks on joint campaign will also be held with the SUCI following the policy declared by the state Trinamul leadership, district vice-president Mr Niranjan Dutta, added.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

NCC EXAMINATION

NCC cadets at the 4-day examination for 'C' certificate that started on Thursday. 212 cadets appeared from Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar districts. At Jenkins School in Cooch Behar on Thursday. 

ELECTION

Cong asks Trinamul to severe ties with BJP in rural boards

COOCH BEHAR, March 19: The Congress asked the Trinamul Congress to severe its ties with the BJP in the panchayat boards. The Congress is not ready to accept the relation in a good mood. In presence of Trinamul-BJP alliance at a number of Panchayat Samiti and Gram Panchayat boards it may pose an uneasy situation for the Congress to conduct joint campaign in favour of the Congress-Trinamul candidate in the Lok Sabha election.

The leaders of the Congress and the Trinamul Congress met at the Congress office yesterday to chalk out joint campaign strategy for the election. During the discussion, the Congress leaders asked the Trinamul Congress to cut off their relation with the BJP in the Panchayat Samiti and Gram Panchayat boards.

The Trinamul Congress and the BJP entered into alliances at a number of areas in Tufanganj-I, Tufanganj-II, Cooch Behar-I, Cooch Behar-II, Mathabhanga-I and Mathabhanga-II blocks. They formed boards in two Panchayat Samitis at Tufanganj-I and Tufanganj-II and 11 Gram Panchayats in six blocks.

District Congress president Mr Biren Kundu said the existing Trinamul-BJP alliance in rural bodies should not exert any shadow on the Congress-Trinamul alliance in the Lok Sabha. To convince the lower level activists and supporters of the two parties the Trinamul-BJP alliance should be winded up. It may better the new relation between the two parties, Mr Kundu opined.

Assuring the Congress leaders the district Trinamul Congress president Mr Rabi Ghosh said they would take the right decision at the right moment. At the same time he requested the Congress leaders to participate in joint programmes.

On the otherhand, district BJP president Mr Nityananda Munsi said the people of this district supported the Trinamul-BJP tie in the three-tier panchayat election. The boards came up to honour their opinion. Now, if the Trinamul Congress rolls back from the tie it is upto them. "They should decide whether they will continue the relation in the joint boards or not. We will not say anything about their intention", Mr Munsi said. 

INTERNATIONAL BORDER

Section 144 along international border to curb smuggling

COOCH BEHAR, March 19: The district magistrate of Cooch Behar, Mr RK Sinha has promulgated Section 144 CrPC along the entire International border in Cooch Behar district. The said order shall remain in force for two months from now on. Any person violating the order shall be liable for prosecution under Section 188 IPC.
According to the district magistrate, the Section 144 CrPC was promulgated aiming to prevent breach of peace and large scale smuggling of essential commodities to Bangladesh.
Following the order, the persons and agencies lawfully employed in connection with maintenance of law and order, prevention of smuggling and for gathering of intelligence inputs are exempted from the purview of the order.

No one will be allowed to carry 24 scheduled commodities within a distance of one-kilometre from the Indo-Bangladesh border in eight police station areas in the district, from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. without prior written permission of the DM. These eight police stations are : Mathabhanga, Mekhliganj, Kuchlibari, Haldibari, Tufanganj, Dinhata, Sitai and Sitalkuchi.
Twenty-four commodities described in Schedule-A in the order, were restricted for carrying. These are : rice and paddy, wheat and wheat products, kerosene, sugar, mustard oil, coconut oil, fertiliser, textile goods, iron and steel, bidi leaves, tobacco, machine parts, baby food, cycle parts, salt, tea, tyre and tubes, dry batteries, petrol and diesel, raw jute, dal (pulses), cattle, cement and betel nuts.
Following the order, markets and shops of that zone shall not be allowed to transact business from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. The restriction on assembly for haat or shopping purpose will remain in force during the stipulated period.
By the same order, a ban was also clamped on the grazing of cattle within 300 metres of the Bangladesh border from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. This step was taken to check cattle lifting by miscreants from the other side of the border and stop smuggling of cattle, Mr Sinha said.
In his order the district magistrate mentioned that the prohibitory order was promulgated following information that there was serious apprehension of breach of peace in the Indo-Bangladesh border areas of the district due to shortage of essential commodities caused by large scale smuggling into Bangladesh by miscreants and anti-social elements. 

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

EXPLOSION

Special team to probe Alipurduar blast : Spl IGP

COOCH BEHAR, March 18: A special investigating team is to inquire today's blast in Alipurduar. All senior police officials and officials of plainclothes wing are to be included in the team. Meanwhile, all the police stations adjacent to Alipurduar were alerted to keep strict vigil on persons with suspicious records. Special IGP, Jalpaiguri Range, Mr DT Lepcha said forensic experts are also to come from Kolkata to examine the remains at the site of explosion to ascertain the type of explosive materials used for the crime. Though no militant outfit yet claimed their connection with the blast the police are examining all reports of recent movement of militants associated with organisations including KLO, Mr Lepcha said.

Cooch Behar SP Mr DP Singh said special security checks were instructed along Indo-Bangladesh border, Assam-West Bengal border and Cooch Behar-Jalpaiguri border. Plainclothesmen have been alerted to keep watch on parking places near Cooch Behar Palace and markets. Appeals were made to all to report immediately if they found any unclaimed article including bicycle or motorbike, the SP said. 

PROTEST

 Protest rally against blast in Alipurduar. In Cooch Behar on Wednesday.

ELECTION

Trinamul starts election campaign

COOCH BEHAR, March 18: The Trinamul Congress began it's electioneering in Cooch Behar from this morning. Prior to that they went to Madan Mohan Temple and Nutan Masjid with their party candidate Mr Arghya Roy Pradhan to seek divine blessings to win the poll battle.

After conducting campaign in several areas in the town starting from Ward Number 5 the Trinamul leaders went to district Congress office at Police Line Chaupathi. Here they discussed joint electioneering policy with the district Congress leaders. This is the first ever meeting of the leaderships of the two parties.

Among the leaders on the Trinamul side there were state Trinamul secretary Mr Abdul Jalil Ahmed, district president Mr Rabindra Nath Ghosh, vice-president Mr Niranjan Dutta and candidate Mr Arghya Roy Pradhan. Among the leaders on the Congress side there were PCC member Mr Shyamal Choudhury, district president Mr Biren Kundu, vice-president Mr Dipak Neogi and general secretary Mr Sudha Ranjan Mukherjee.

In the meeting it was decided that joint campaign committees would be formed down to the booth level. The leaders will meet again on 22 March at Panthanivas after a convention of party workers.

As Miss Mamata Banerjee is to visit Cooch Behar on 28 March to address a meeting at Samhati Maidan in Dinhata, the district Trinamul president Mr Ghosh invited the district Congress president Mr Kundu to attend that meeting with five leaders to take seat on the dais. Mr Kundu accepted the invitation.

From now on the Trinamul Congress leaders will fix programmes after consulting with their counterparts in the Congress.

After the joint meeting, Mr Ghosh said lack of unity between Congress and Trinamul Congress was a baseless propaganda only. "We will fight jointly to defeat the Left Front", he said. Echoing him Mr Kundu too said that joint efforts would be taken to pull down the Left Front from the power. 

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

JOURNEY

Such risky journey along Dinhata-Gitaldaha route is a regular scene. In Dinhata, Cooch Behar.

KITCHEN GARDEN

 VEG FLOWER - Violet cauliflowers at the rooftop kitchen garden of Mr Tarun Roy. At Devibari in Cooch Behar.

ELECTION

Congress-Trinamul to talk over joint campaign

COOCH BEHAR, March 17: Leaders of the Congress and the Trinamul Congress are to sit over the table tomorrow for talks on joint campaign strategy in Cooch Behar. This is probably the first time the district presidents of the two parties are going to meet face to face.

District Trinamul Congress president Mr Rabindra Nath Ghosh said they will go the Congress office tomorrow to discuss joint poll strategy. As the Trinamul Congress fielded candidate and there is an alliance with the Congress, it is necessary to chalk out a well-knit plan to ensure defeat of the Left Front candidate, he said.

Mr Ghosh said Trinamul Congress supremo Miss Mamata Banerjee will come to attend a workers convention of the party to be held at Samhati Maidan in Dinhata on 28 March. Mr Abu Ayesh Mondal and Mr Mukum Roy also accompany her, Mr Ghosh Said. There is also a probability about a visit of Mrs Sonia Gandhi for electioneering in Cooch Behar in favour of the candidate of Congress-Trinamul alliance, Mr Ghosh added.

On the otherhand, the Trinamul Congress is to start its campaign from tomorrow morning. Prior to that they will go to the Madan Mohan Temple and Nutan Masjid with their candidate Mr Arghya Roy Pradhan to seek blessings. After that they will begin campaigning starting from the red-light area of Ward Number 5, Mr Ghosh said. 

INDO-BANGLADESH BORDER

Paresh Adhikary's appeal to CM to talk with Centre

COOCH BEHAR, March 17: State food and supply minister Mr Paresh Adhikary had to face a demonstration of farmers at Haldibari in Cooch Behar yesterday. He went there to campaign for the Forward Bloc candidate of Cooch Behar Lok Sabha constituency. The agitated farmers told him that they were being deprived as they were debarred from cultivation of jute, maize and banana in their fields near the border. As they have been suffering due to the prohibitory order imposed on them they demanded lifting of the ban on cultivation of the selected crops.

Smelling problems prior to the election, the minister immediately conveyed the matter to the district administration yesterday. This morning, Mr Adhikary requested the chief minister to take up the matter with the Union government in the interest of the poor farmers of the bordering areas. The CM reportedly assured him that he would talk with the appropriate authority at the Centre.

Mr Adhikary said cultivators of ten districts of this state are suffering due to the ban along the 1,200-kilometer Indo-Bangladesh border. As the length of the border in Cooch Behar district is 523-kilometre, a large number of peasants are suffering, he said.

It is learnt that an order exists there banning cultivation of lengthy crops along the border as the plants may pose problems to the border guards to maintain vigil along the area.

When contacted, the district magistrate of Cooch Behar Mr RK Sinha said they received an order from the government to discourage the cultivation of high-rise crops. He however denied commenting anymore over the issue.

On the otherhand, district Congress president Mr Biren Kundu said the order was promulgated due to security reasons. The farmers have every right to demonstrate. The state government did nothing to compensate the suffering farmers of the border areas, he alleged.

District Trinamul Congress president Mr Rabindra Nath Ghosh said no one should snatch the right of cultivation from the growers. It is nothing but violation of elementary rights of the farmers. The authorities should restore the right of the suffering farmers, he opined. 

BORDER SECURITY FORCE

BSF bid to woo villagers

113-Batallion of the BSF has organised a Civic Action Programme on 9 March at Madhya Balabhut border outpost in Tufanganj of Cooch Behar district. Commandant Ajit Sudevan inaugurated it. He distributed stationery and sports items among the needy students of the area. Deputy Commandants Mayank Upadhyay and Marcus Masih, assistant Commandant VP Durai, gram panchayat pradhan KK Barman, upa-pradhan Pradip Roy, Saukat Ali Bepari, headmaster of Madhya Balabhut Primary School Sushil Chandra Sarkar, teacher of Char Balabhut Primary School Nurul Islam, about 230 students and local people participated in the function.

Commandant of 113-Bn distributed stationery items to the poor and needy students of Madhya Balabhut, Char Balabhut and Jhaukuti villages. In addition, he distributed sports items like volleyballs, footballs and skipping ropes to encourage them.

In his address, Sudevan emphasised on better co-operation between BSF and civil populace of the bordering area. The motto of BSF is security of the border and to create sense of security among border populace.

Civic action programme organised by the BSF was highly appreciated by the locals. They requested the BSF authorities to organise such programmes in future too. Wives of Ajit Sudevan, Mayank Upadhyay and Marcus Masih also attended the function and interacted with local women and children.

Monday, 16 March 2009

HERITAGE BUILDING

Initiative to save age-old Haldibari building

COOCH BEHAR, March 16: Brahmananda Kesav Chandra Sen came to Haldibari by railway in February 1978. Cooch Behar town was not connected by railway till then. During their journey to Cooch Behar they had to cross Teesta and pass through Mekhliganj, Patgram, Mathabhanga and Rajarhat. The journey was related to the historic marriage of Maharaja Nripendra Narayan with the daughter of Kesav Chandra Sen. The Brahma Samaj got divided over this marriage but the modernisation of Cooch Behar started from then on.

A six-bedded medical dispensary came up at the place near the Haldibari railway station in 1904 where Sen and his associates had camped for taking rest in 1878. The beautiful building was built in the then European style of architecture. Earlier, Maharaja Nripendra Narayan had established an aided non-bedded dispensary at Haldibari in 1885.

Later, Prince Victor Memorial Library also came up at Haldibari. After Independence, a new hospital was established at Haldibari in 1955 and the old one left abandoned. Now, the large ground adjacent to the age-old building turned a grazing ground and almost all the remains of the decaying building are getting evaporated. It is now a den of antisocial persons.

A senior citizen of Haldibari, Mr Paritosh Chandra Roy alleged that a building established in 1904 was going to be totally destroyed but no one came forward to save it. All efforts gone to deaf ears, he exclaimed.

The Heritage Society of Cooch Behar took up the issue and appealed to the state forest minister Mr Ananta Roy, state food and supply minister Mr Paresh Chandra Adhikary and the chairman of Haldibari Municipality to take initiatives to consider the age-old building as a heritage one and protect it from being demolished. HSCB president Mr Dipen Chanda said they requested the authorities to make a garden at the ground adjacent to the dilapidated building, in memory of the great social reformer Kesav Chandra Sen. 

--
ADDRESS : Debashis Bhaumik, Maharaja Harendra Narayan Road, Patakura (Near Bundh), Cooch Behar-736101 (West Bengal).
E-mail : newsman.cob@gmail.com
Webpage : http://coochbeharcalling.blogspot.com
Skype : debashisbhaumik

ELECTION

Leftist Pranibondhus want polling duty

COOCH BEHAR, March 16: In their district conference a CITU dominated union have raised demand to be included in polling duty. On the otherhand, it asked its members to participate in campaigns in favour of the Left Front candidate. In this perspective, it is clear what the leftists may do if they get engaged in election duty, commented leaders of Opposition parties.

The second district conference of Pashchimbanga Pranibondhu Samanway Samiti (PPSS) was held at Atithi Nivas in Cooch Behar today. Cooch Behar Zilla Parishad sabhadhipati Mr Dilip Biswas inaugurated the conference.

After tabling of the secretarial report by Mr Anjan Kumar Sinha an eight-point charter of demands has been adopted at the conference. Engagements in polling duty and also in work for correction of voter lists are among the demands raised in the report.

In the programme of the association it was mentioned that the members would participate in campaigns in favour of the Left Front candidate. It also declared its plan to organise united movements in favour of the Left Front's industrialisation policy and against anti-LF designs.

In the secretarial report, the secessionist efforts of Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha, Greater Cooch Behar movement and Jharkhandi movement have been criticised. The PPSS would fight against any bid to divide West Bengal, the report said.

Commenting over the matter, district Trinamul Congress vice-president Mr Niranjan Dutta said one can imagine what the CITU men may do if they get any chance to do polling duty. The Trinamul Congress may convey the matter to the Election Commission, Mr Dutta said.

As the CITU is yet to officially recognise the PPSS, it adopted a decision today to take membership of the CITU. From now on the PPSS will organise stir for absorption of Pranibondhus as government employees and a monthly wage of Rs 6,000 till absorption, life insurance coverage for Rs 2-lakh and health insurance coverage of Rs 50,000. 

Sunday, 15 March 2009

LOK SABHA ELECTION

 CPI-M rally in favour of Forward Bloc candidate of Cooch Behar seat. In Dinhata on Sunday.

GREATER COOCHBEHAR

GCDP bid to bail out its candidate from jail

COOCH BEHAR, March 15: Though their proposed candidate, Mr Bangshi Badan Barman is still behind the bars, the Greater Cooch Behar Democratic Party (GCDP) began its campaign in favour of his candidature in different areas in Cooch Behar district. At the same time the GCDP is trying to strengthen its organisation in rural areas.

The president of the GCDP, Mr Ashutosh Barma, came to Cooch Behar today. He met their counsel Mr Shibendra Nath Roy to find out ways and means to bail out the leader of the 'Greater Cooch Behar' movement Mr Bangshi Badan Barman from the jail. They want Mr Barman's presence during the poll campaign because it may yield a good result, they believe. Mr Roy assured him that he would do his best to bail out his client.

The GCDP president said, "The great leader of Greater Cooch Behar movement, Mr Barman is in the jail for about three years since his surrender to the court on 25 May 2006. Now, he is eligible to get released on bail." At the first phase they would knock the doors of the High Court to bail out Mr Barman. If failed, they would proceed to the Supreme Court, Mr Barma said. This decision was adopted at the central committee meeting of the party that was held yesterday, he said.

Meanwhile, an effort started to unite the GCDP and The Greater Cooch Behar People's Association (GCPA). Presently the two organisations reportedly reached to at an understanding to support Mr Bangshi Badan Barman in the Lok Sabha election. Terming the move a pre-poll adjustment, the GCDP president said the lower level workers of the two organisations were trying to get united. He however admitted that they might proceed further after the election to restore the united organisation. As the aims and objectives of both the organisations are similar it may not be hard to be united. The only difference between them is that the GCDP adopted the path of Parliamentary politics while the GCPA has no faith in election. This difference may be sorted out during talks and the process has already started, Mr Barma added.

Trinamul protest

COOCH BEHAR, March 15: Protesting attack on a party activist and demanding arrest of offenders, Trinamul Congress supporters staged a roadblock from this morning till 12-noon. District Trinamul Congress vice-president Mr Niranjan Dutta alleged that CPI-M goons attacked Mr Ashis Chaudhury of Guriahati-II village who was shifted to hospital. An FIR was lodged but no one was arrested so far, Mr Dutta alleged.

PROTEST

Roadblockade of Trinamul Congress supporters at Baburhat under Guriahati-II GP in Cooch Behar on Sunday.

Friday, 13 March 2009

DEMONSTRATION

Protesting against using of non-bailable section (Section 304 CrPC) in cases brought against drivers of motor vehicles, the Forward Bloc dominated TUCC staged roadblocks at different areas in Cooch Behar district on Friday. At Chaupathi in Dinhata. 

--
Debashis Bhaumik, Maharaja Harendra Narayan Road, Patakura (Near Bundh), Cooch Behar-736101 (West Bengal).
E-mail : newsman.cob@gmail.com
Webpage : http://coochbeharcalling.blogspot.com
Skype : debashisbhaumik

LOK SABHA POLL : COOCHBEHAR

Trinamul starts campaign with new candidate

COOCH BEHAR, March 13: Trinamul Congress supremo Miss Mamata Banerjee is coming to Cooch Behar on 21 March to address a party workers' convention aiming to gear up the party activists.  On the same day she will also visit Alipurduar in Jalpaiguri. District Trinamul Congress president Mr Rabindra Nath Ghosh believes the proposed visit may encourage the party activists to fight against the Left front candidate.

As expected, Mr Arghya Roy Pradhan of Haldibari, who joined the Trinamul Congress only in July last year, was declared the official candidate of the party for the Cooch Behar Lok Sabha constituency. He replaced Mr Girindra Nath Barman who was fielded in the previous Lok Sabha election. Mr Roy Pradhan is the younger son of Janabadi Forward Bloc chairman Mr Amar Roy Pradhan who won eight times from Cooch Behar as a Forward Bloc candidate.

Mr Roy Pradhan's nomination sent shockwaves to many Trinamul leaders who expected nomination of a well-known party leader as candidate. But as the Assembly elections may take place in 2011 the aggrieved leaders preferred to keep mum considering their political fate in that election. But, they are expressing their displeasure over selection of a new candidate to the lower level activists and also to the media persons.

When asked, Mr Girindra Nath Barman, also a vice-president of district Trinamul Congress, said, they started campaigning in Mathabhanga with his followers since last evening in favour of the official candidate. Though known as an aggrieved leader he denied to comment anything over the selection of Mr Roy Pradhan.

Ex-president of district Trinamul Youth Congress, Mr Shibendra Nath Roy, who also expected party ticket, said, he will join electioneering in favour of the party candidate from tomorrow.

Mr Roy Pradhan was not the first choice of district Trinamul Congress president Mr Rabindra Nath Ghosh. But, following the tide, he is organising the campaign in favour of the candidate selected by Didi. He said there was no dispute in the party in this district over the selection of the candidate. "We should work in an united effort to defeat the Left Front candidate, Mr Nripendra Nath Roy, who failed to retain his seat in the previous Assembly election," Mr Ghosh said.

District Congress president Mr Biren Kundu said it was upto the party concerned to select their candidate. Mr Arghya Roy Pradhan has no political identity in this district. He is the son of ex-MP Mr Amar Roy Pradhan. "But, we have no objection against him", he added.

Sources in Janabadi Forward Bloc said they wanted the Cooch Behar seat as an alliance member. Though Mr Arghya Roy Pradhan is their chairman's son, he is not a JFB man. "We cannot consider him as our candidate", a JFB leader said. 

Thursday, 12 March 2009

DOL YATRA

Holi at Madan Mohan temple in Cooch Behar on Thursday.

HERITAGE

Save heritage demand in Cooch Behar

COOCH BEHAR, March 12: Demands are gathering momentum for conservation of historic buildings and articles of heritage status. The Heritage Society of Cooch Behar took an initiative to mobilise public opinions and another organisation named Concern for Cooch Behar also supported the move.

A printing press started functioning in Cooch Behar in 1875 that was installed during the regime of Maharaja Nripendra Narayan. Maharaja Narendra Narayan bought the machineries from Kolkata in 1861. 'The Select Records of Cooch Behar, Volume I' is considered the first book printed in this press in 1882. In 1899-1900 a new printing machine was purchased from London for printing of judicial stamps, non-judicial stamps etc. Many books were printed in those days from this press.

New printing machines replaced the old ones and the three hand driven machines of the initial years of the press are lying unused. Already they acquired antique value too. The six-kilometre long Garh (rampart) of Gosanimari is also a piece of history of Cooch Behar. It is yet to be ascertained when this rampart was built but even in 1498 it was there to save Gosanimari, the capital of the kingdom of Khen dynasty. Historian Buckhannon Hamilton visited this Garh in 1808 and described it in detail in his writings.

Sabitri Lodge was the residence of Kumar Gajendra Narayan (Senior), who was the great grandson of Maharaja Harendra Narayan. Once, the great patriot Deshabandhu Chittaranjan Das stayed here for several days. Now, the decayed building turned as a Bhoot Bungalow (haunted house).

Kumar Gajendra Narayan (Senior) married the second daughter of Brahmananda Keshav Chandra Sen on 13 August 1881. The elder daughter, Sunity Devi was married to Maharaja Nripendra Narayan and following that marriage the Brahma society of Bengal got divided.

The construction of the residence began in 1885-86. Gajendra Narayan named the house after his beloved wife as Sabitri Lodge. A normal school was set up at Sabitri Lodge to teach moral education to the boys and girls. A technical school was established in 1908 for local womenfolk. Arya Naree Samaj and anti-liquor consumption society were also launched here. The building turned into a shelter for the preachers of Nava Bidhan sect of Brahma society.

The Heritage Society of Cooch Behar demanded preservation of the heritage printing machines, the Garh and the Sabitri Lodge. They already placed their appeal to the state PWD minister Mr Kshiti Goswami and others to take initiatives in the interest of saving the history of Cooch Behar. 

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

DIRTY MAKERS

 Making a site along the Dinhata By-pass as dumping ground turns the area a hell. In Dinhata, Cooch Behar on Tuesday.

MAHARAJA JAGADDIPENDRA NARAYAN

FACELIFT - The Maharaja Jagaddipendra Narayan Indoor Stadium wears a fresh coat of paint. In Cooch Behar on Tuesday.

GREATER COOCHBEHAR

'Greater' plan to bail out Bangshi Badan Barman

COOCH BEHAR, March 10: On the otherhand, the Greater Cooch Behar Democratic Party (GCDP) is trying to bail out the 'Greater Cooch Behar' leader Mr Bangshi Badan Barman who is now behind the bars. As he is in the jail for about three years since his surrender to the court on 25 May 2006, he can get released on bail, argued GCDP general secretary Mr Phanindra Nath Barman. "We want him to contest the Lok Sabha election from Cooch Behar and we need his presence during the electioneering", he said.

It was learnt that top GCDP leaders met Mr Shibendra Nath Roy at his residence recently and offered their support to him if he can get nominated from the Trinamul Congress. In that case they may withdraw their proposed candidate Mr Bangshi Badan Barman from the poll fray.

The Mr Roy is the lawyer of the 'Greater Cooch Behar' cases and has a good relation with the GCDP leaders. Out of gratitude, the GCDP may support him in the election, instead of fielding a candidate of their party. When asked about it, the GCDP leader, Mr Barman, said, the party officially adopted no such decision yet. It depends on the changing situation, he opined. But, there is no controversy in nominating Mr Bangshi Badan Barman as he is a great leader of Greater Cooch Behar movement, the GCDP general secretary said. 

LOK SABHA ELECTION

Poll plan of parties in Cooch Behar

COOCH BEHAR, March 10: Taking it granted that a Congress-Trinamul Congress alliance is coming up, both the parties are now busy in working out their poll strategies. As Trinamul Congress id confident that they are to get the Cooch Behar Lok Sabha seat of the proposed alliance, their prospective candidates are anxious about their fate.

In a meeting of district Chhatra Parishad activists held in Cooch Behar today, the district Congress president Mr Biren Kundu termed the relation with the Trinamul Congress as of a temporary nature. "They are our weak enemy and we should not consider the friendship with them as permanent. If the alliance fails to turn up we should work hard for our own candidate", Mr Kundu said.

Later, Mr Kundu, who is also the chairman of Cooch Behar Municipality, told The Statesman that they kept names of three candidates ready. If they have to fight alone the candidate would be selected from these trio. They are Mr Sailen Barma, Mr Paresh Barman and Mr Keshab Roy. Mr Barma contested earlier too and he is the first choice of the district Congress, Mr Kundu hinted.

About Trinamul Congress candidate, the Congress leader said, "It is upto the party concerned to select their candidate but the acceptability to all should be considered." Mr Arghya Roy Pradhan has no political identity in this district. His name came up as he is the son of ex-MP Mr Amar Roy Pradhan. "We have no objection against him", he added. About another prospective Trinamul Congress candidate Mr Shibendra Nath Barman, Mr Kundu said, he is a good candidate with a political background. He was the district president of Trinamul Youth Congress and active in politics. As an alliance candidate he may be acceptable to all, the Congress leader opined.

Mr Kundu however denied that they have any plan to field a dummy candidate against the official Trinamul candidate. 

Monday, 9 March 2009

DEMONSTRATION

Demonstration of Trinamul Youth Congress activists against frequent power cuts. In Cooch Behar on Monday.

LOK SABHA ELECTION

Vigil on ultra forces in Cooch Behar

COOCH BEHAR, March 9: The recent change of power in Bangladesh emerged as a problem to the militant organisations of northeast region that are camped inside Bangladesh. They are now shifting their base from Bangladesh and started moving to other neighbouring countries like Bhutan and Nepal. The intelligence agencies too are keeping watch on the movement of the ultra outfits active in this region.

Apprehending the bid of militants to move from Bangladesh to Bhutan and Nepal through Indian territory, police patrolling in Dinhata and other bordering areas have been beefed up. Human sources of intelligence agencies are also being pressed into service to collect information on the future plans of the militant outfits.

Intelligence agencies also came to know that the outfits like Kamtapur Liberation Organisation (KLO) and Maoists were trying to build up their organisational bases in Cooch Behar district and adjoining areas. Recent arrest of a hardcore Maoist activist revealed that they are active here and trying to recruit new ones to their organisation to widen it. Already about three persons joined the Maoists from Cooch Behar-Jalpaiguri district border areas, intelligence sources said. But, it is hard for the Maoists to establish a strong base here like other underdeveloped areas because the society here is multidimensional, a senior police official said.  

Three trained KLO activists have been arrested in the past three months from West Bengal-Assam border area in Tufanganj. They came from Dhubri in Assam. It is believed that the KLO conducted training camps in Bangladesh till recent change happened there. They had to shift to Bangladesh after the Operation Flushout that was conducted at Bhutan Hills a few years back. Trained activists upto 8-th batch were arrested but in the next phase two more batches took training in camps situated in Bangladesh. No one of the recent batches were however arrested till now, police sources admitted.

As the Lok Sabha election is on the corner the police are keeping close watch on the movement of the members of the militant outfits though no specific threat came yet from their end. When asked, the Cooch Behar SP Mr Devendra Prakash Singh said, "We are not in a mood to take any chance over security as we want to maintain peace during the election procedure." 

TRINAMUL CONGRESS

High speculation over Trinamul candidate

COOCH BEHAR, March 9: As the Trinamul Congress is waiting to reach an alliance with the Congress it is yet to announce its candidates for the Lok Sabha election. In Cooch Behar there are several persons eagerly waiting to be nominated as the official candidate of the party.

Mr Girindra Nath Barman of Mathabhanga contested in the previous election. A schoolteacher, Mr Barman is also the vice-president of the party's district unit. This time too he was hopeful about his candidature. But, Mr Arghya Roy Pradhan of Haldibari shattered his dream. Many Trinamul supporters started believing that Mr Roy Pradhan is the man to be nominated by the party supremo.

Mr Roy Pradhan, a businessman of Haldibari, is a newcomer in Trinamul Congress. He is the son of Mr Amar Roy Pradhan who represented Cooch Behar in Lok Sabha eight times consecutively as an MP of Forward Bloc. At first, Janabadi Forward Bloc chairman Mr Amar Roy Pradhan was offered to contest from Cooch Behar seat as a Trinamul supported candidate, but the senior leader denied the proposal due to his advanced age and illness. Considering his image and influence in Cooch Behar district the Trinamul Congress began considering his son who joined the Trinamul Congress recently.

But, after the recent rebellion of the outgoing Forward Bloc MP, Mr Hiten Barman, the Trinamul Congress tried to woo him and offered him to contest. He was invited to meet Miss Mamata Banerjee in Kolkata. As he failed to appear there the possibility of his candidature also turned bleak.

The ex-president of district Trinamul Youth Congress and a prominent lawyer Mr Shibendra Nath Roy's name is also coming up as the probable candidate. It was learnt that if he were nominated from the Trinamul Congress, the Greater Cooch Behar Democratic Party (GCDP) would not field Mr Bangshi Badan Barman. Mr Roy is the lawyer of the 'Greater Cooch Behar' cases and has a good relation with the GCDP leaders. Out of gratitude, the GCDP may support him in the election, instead of fielding a candidate of their party. This 'Greater' factor may help him to grab the nomination, believes many. A band of senior Trinamul leaders too extended their support to Mr Roy's candidature.

The rank and file of the party however are not happy with the situation. When the Left Front started campaigning after announcing of their candidate the Trinamul Congress is yet to select its candidate. In the previous election the difference or votes was about 2.5-lakh and it may go higher if the high command fails to nominate an acceptable candidate this time, said many. Outsider, newcomer and son-of-the-soil are the terms being used during discussions over probable candidates everywhere among the local Trinamul leaders and activists.