Sunday, 31 May 2009

HIGHER SECONDARY STAR

Ushasi Bhaumik did it again

The students of the most prestigious girls' school of Cooch Behar district – Sunity Academy - were found in a jubilant mood on 29 May when they heard the result of this year's Higher Secondary examination. The day was like a festive one in this school that was founded by Maharani Sunity Devi in 1881. The mentionworthy success of Ushasi Bhaumik in the Higher Secondary examination was the reason behind all these.

Ushasi secured the first position in the district by securing 454 marks (90.80 percent). She got 89 in Bengali, 88 in English, 97 in Bioscience, 97 in Chemistry, 83 in Physics and 56 in Mathematics (additional subject).

Ushasi had secured the third position by getting 794 (99.25 percent) in the Madhyamik examination in this state. In that examination she got 168 in Bengali, 88 in English, 98 in Mathematics, 98 in Physical Science, 96 in Life Science, 88 in History, 95 in Geography and 97 in additional subject (Physical Education).

Though Ushasi stood first in the district in the Higher Secondary examination she is thinking of reviewing her answer scripts in a few subjects including Physics. A number of well-wishers too suggested her to do so.

Ushasi's father Dwijendralal Bhaumik is the headmaster of Baneswar Khabsa High School and her mother Sima Bhaumik is the assistant headmistress of Maruganj High School.

Before the examination, she studied for about eight hours daily but followed no scheduled routine for her study. Biology is her favourite subject. She wants to do research in Genetics in her future. Prior to that she will continue her higher studies with Biology. She prefers to stay in the academic arena and do research.

Ushasi is fond of storybooks and music. She herself is also a singer. Her favourite songs are of classical and of course of Tagore's. Composing of poems is also her pastime. A few of her poems have already published in magazines.

It is hard for many to maintain continuity of progress in consecutive examinations but Ushasi did it. She proved that by hard work and perseverance one could jump over all hurdles. Her teachers, friends, well-wishers and relatives wished her every success in her life.

Friday, 29 May 2009

MONSOON ARRIVES

Citizens anxious over uncared for dyke

As the monsoon almost arrived, the residents of Cooch Behar town started expressing their concern that the Torsa river may pose serious danger to the town in this monsoon. It may breach its main dyke following heavy rains in the catchment areas.

For the past few years, the fear is increasing here that the embankment of the Torsa that is protecting this old and beautiful town might be breached. The condition of the dyke was reported to be precarious and it might not withstand the pressure of the swollen Torsa anymore. This embankment, constructed in 1955-56, is threatened by rain-cuts, erosion and encroachments.
It was learnt that on behalf of the Cooch Behar district administration, the irrigation division was asked for regular maintenance of the dyke and repair of the damaged parts. The irrigation division officials pointed out that owing to some encroachments along the dyke in Ranibagan, Patakura, Khagrabari and some other places it has not been possible for them to maintain and repair the damaged portions of the embankment. They also mentioned problems related to lack of funds.

A few years ago, when Mr Chandan Sinha was the district Magistrate of Cooch Behar, he asked the executive engineer of Cooch Behar irrigation division, to fix a date for a drive to make the dyke encroachment-free. But, the date is yet to be fixed and the latter to submit any report to the administration over the matter. It was learnt that irrigation division never asked for any help or cooperation from the administration.
In the last few monsoons, water had seeped into the town through breaches, which came up at some portions of the dyke, but the necessary repairs along the affected stretches have yet to be done.
The dyke is the only buttress for this heritage-town from the waters of the Torsa. In many places, the boulders, which had been placed to safeguard the dyke, are missing. The iron nets, which were placed to keep the boulders in place, snapped and even earth at some places excavated and carted away by locals.
A senior officer said that the administration would take up the matter with the appropriate authorities so that the encroachments are removed and the repair work on the dyke can be taken up.
Mr Saukat Ali of 'Concern for Cooch Behar', said, the government and other bodies are spending a lot of money for the development and beautification of Cooch Behar but all would be useless if the waters of overflowed Torsa enter the town through the damaged portions of the dyke. He lamented that the authorities had adopted several flood protection work in the region but nothing was done to repair the deplorable condition of the dyke on which the future of Cooch Behar town depends.

Another CFC member, Mr Debabrata Chaki, said they had been crying for the past years to get the condition of the dyke to the notice of the authorities but all that gone to deaf ears.
District Trinamul Congress vice-president Mr Niranjan Dutta, district Congress vice-president Mr Dipak Neogy, district BJP secretary Mr Nikhil Ranjan Dey and others alleged that some dishonest officials of the irrigation division deliberately wait for the monsoons to arrive to cause the damages, because after that damage bulk orders for sand-bags are placed with those they share a vested interest.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

MADHYAMIK EXAMINATION

Two Madhyamik toppers of Cooch Behar

Sayari Saha of Sunity Academy and Saumen Saha of Dinhata High School are the probable joint toppers of Madhyamik examination of this year in Cooch Behar district. Both of them scored 752 marks.

Sayari Saha's father Dr Madan Mohan Saha is a private medical practitioner in Cooch Behar. Her mother Mrs Bipra Saha is merely a housewife. Sayari secured 177 in Bengali, 95 in English, 100 in Mathematics, 100 in Physics, 97 in Life Science, 92 in History and 91 in Geography.

Sayari grew a habit to get first in her class. Earlier, in Class VIII and Class IX she was awarded with gold medals for consecutively two years for achieving good marks in a state level examination on Mathematics. She also stood third in the scholarship examination in Class IV.

"In future, I want to do research in Mathematics", Sayari said. She loves to read detective stories of Feluda and Byomkesh Bakshi. She also loves to listen music. She followed no specific schedule of time for her studies for the Madhyamik examination.

Saumen Saha's father Mr Barun Saha is a small cloth merchant in Dinhata. His mother Mrs Radha Saha is an Anaganwari worker. Saumen secured 175 in Bengali, 90 in English, 99 in Mathematics, 96 in Physics, 100 in Life Science, 95 in History and 97 in Geography.

Saumen spent 8 to 10 hours in a day for his studies. He had seven private tutors. In the test examination he got 661 marks. In future, he wants to do research in Physics.

In his pastime Saumen plays cricket. His favourite players are Sachin and Saurav.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

MONSOON ARRIVES

 Villagers collect woods flown in by rainwater along the Torsa. At Ghughumari in Cooch Behar on Wednesday.

MONSOON ARRIVES

Rivers on rampage in Cooch Behar

Incessant downpour on Butan Hills has caused havoc in Cooch Behar. The rivers that came down from the hilly area have taken a dangerous role at villages under Tufanganj-I, Tufanganj-II, Cooch Behar-I and Mekhliganj blocks. The swelling rivers already breached several embankments. Numerous homeless people have been shifted to safer areas. The district administration is anxious of occurrence of high floods in this monsoon.

The Ridak river breached about 800-metre stretch of an embankment at Bholapara under Mahiskuchi gram panchayat in Tufanganj. More than five hundred distressed families were shifted from the area. 600-metre stretch of another embankment at Rampur and Falimari area was also breached. The condition of the embankment of Torsa at Maruganj is also alarming. The Torsa and Kaljani started fresh erosion of lands at Dawaguri. Already, the overflowing river has damaged the dyke made in 1985. The condition of Baxirkuthi village is also growing grave.

Additional district magistrate (development) of Cooch Behar Mr Pannalal Mahapatra said the block development officers of all the affected areas were asked to shift the residents of the concerned villages to safer areas.

In Mekhliganj, the rainwater from the Bhutan Hills has swelled the Tista. The alluvial lands on the banks of the river turned submerged and a large number of people got confined in the area. About 300 affected families have been shifted on yesterday evening but about 450 families are still to be rescued. Seven country boats flowed away by the river water. Vast cultivated area was damaged and many dwellings got damaged in that area.

Though the 'red' signal was withdrawn from the Tista at Mekhliganj last night, it is still 'yellow' as the water level is flowing over the danger mark. Moreover, 'yellow' signal have been flashed over the Raidak and the Kaljani in Tufanganj.

The annual district level flood preparatory meeting was held on Monday with officials of all concerned departments. It was decided there to run the Flood Control Room round the clock from 1 June. But, observing the alarming situation following the downpour that started from Monday night the control room came into effect since yesterday, the ADM (D) said.

Mr Mahapatra claimed that adequate relief materials were there in the district to meet any untoward situation. But, as there is a possibility of high floods during this monsoon more relief materials may be needed. The district administration has requested the state government to send additional relief materials and funds to meet the situation, the ADM (D) said. A few highlands have been identified to use as helipads during any situation of emergency. As Tufanganj is known as the major flood prone area more life jackets are to be kept ready there for rescue operations, Mr Mahapatra said. 

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Tuesday, 26 May 2009

STORM & RAIN

Nature's fury claimed one life in Cooch Behar

Monday night's storm and rough weather claimed one life and damaged about 14,000 dwellings in Cooch Behar district.

At Daribash-II under Gitaldaha gram panchayat in Dinhata one Chanchal Sarkar had to die last night when an uprooted tree fell on the shop that he owns. The man was inside the shop.

The heavy downpour and the storm also damaged cultivation of vegetables, jute and Boro paddy. According to a preliminary report the cultivation of jute, paddy and different kinds of vegetables of about 12,700-hectre farmland got damaged during the nature's fury. The total estimated loss is about Rs 7-crore. The administration is studying the situation carefully, the Additional district magistrate (development) of Cooch Behar, Mr Pannalal Mahapatra said.

The ADM (D) said all the block development officers of the district were asked to initiate relief measures among the distressed people. It is believed that about 14,000 dwellings were damaged during the storm. Among the damaged dwellings about 3,500 have been damaged fully.

The rainfall recorded in the past 24 hours at Cooch Behar is 74.90 mm, at Tufanganj 165.60 mm and at Mathabhanga 43.60 mm. There is a warning for more downpour and stormy weather in this region in the next 24 hours, flood control wing sources said.

Monday, 25 May 2009

POLICE! POLICE!

Proposal for new police stations gains dust

The population of Cooch Behar district is about 15-lakh but the number of police stations is eleven and the total number of police personnel is about 1500 only. The number of police stations and police personnel is not adequate enough to maintain the law and order situation of the district in these days.

The existing police stations are : Dinhata, Sitai, Cooch Behar Kotowali, Mathabhanga, Mekhliganj, Kuchlibari, Haldibari, Ghoksadanga, Sitalkuchi, Tufanganj and Baxirhat. There are three police outposts at Nayarhat in Dinhata, Nishiganj in Mathabhanga and Pundibari in Cooch Behar Sadar. Proposal for upgrading of these outposts to full-fledged police stations is gaining dust for a long.

As the number of policemen is less than required, it becomes necessary at the time of any emergent situation to bring additional forces from outer districts. Such situations are increasing day by day but the government is yet to approve more posts in this district.

Many areas that suffer from problems associated with political rivalries, threat from outlawed outfits and criminal activities are situated at a distance not less than 20-kilometre from the police stations of the concerned areas. In case of any incident the police arrive at the place of occurrence when the wrongdoers have left.

Talking with several persons from every walks of life The Statesman realised that police outposts are needed to be set up at different places in the sub-divisions like Dinhata, Mathabhanga, Mekhliganj, Tufanganj and Cooch Behar Sadar. The identified places are : Ranirhat, Jamaldaha, Ramthenga, New Changrabandha, Suktabari, Panisala, Burirhat, Sahebganj, Nazirhat, Gosanimari, Chandamari, Ambari-Kholta, Balabhut, Krishnapur, Balarampur, Diparpar, Natabari and Dhalpal. Launching of new police outposts may decrease the rate of criminal activities in these areas, local residents believe.

There is one SP, one ASP and five DSPs in Cooch Behar district. An SDPO posted at Mathabhanga looks after two sub-divisions – Mathabhanga and Mekhliganj.

Though the jurisdiction of Dinhata police station is about 600-square kilometre there is no SDPO to look after this area. The DSP (Crime) manages Dinhata and Sitai police stations from his office in Cooch Behar town.

The area under Cooch Behar Kotowali police station is about 700-square kilometre and this is the largest in the district. Bifurcation of this police station is the need of the time.

When asked about the possibility of improvement of the situation, the superintendent of police, Mr Devendra Prakash Singh admitted that a proposal to set up three police stations at Nayarhat in Dinhata, Nishiganj in Mathabhanga and Pundibari in Cooch Behar Sadar is awaiting for approval from higher authorities. After launching of the new police stations the situation may turn better, he hoped. 

CRELEBRATION

Joint victory rally of the Congress and the Trinamul Congress. In Cooch Behar on Monday.

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Sunday, 24 May 2009

RAILWAY HOPES

Mamata Banerjee brings new hope in Cooch Behar

Miss Mamata Banerjee's inclusion in the Central cabinet of ministers as the Union railway minister has ushered enormous hope among the Trinamul Congress leaders and supporters in Cooch Behar.

Sate Trinamul Congress secretary Mr Abdul Jalil Ahmed said during her first term as the Union railway minister she had laid the foundation of the proposed New Mainaguri-Joghipa railway project. Now, her come back in the railway ministry may gear up the progress of work. Mr Ahmed hoped that the project might be completed by the stipulated period that was announced earlier.

An enthusiastic Trinamul activist, Mr Narayan Modak said that the proposals for turning the New Cooch Behar and Cooch Behar town railway stations as model stations were pending for a long. These may be implemented this time under guidance of Miss Banerjee, Mr Modak hopes.

District Trinamul Congress general secretary Mr Partha Nath Sarkar hoped that the new railway minister might take up the revival of proposed railway service to Kolkata via Gitaldaha of Dinhata through Bangladesh. Previously, by this train service one was able to reach Kolkata from this region within eight hours, instead of 18 to 24 hours. Restoration of the train service through Bangladesh may boost up the local socio economic situation, Mr Sarkar believes.

District Trinamul Congress vice-president Mr Niranjan Dutta said a vast area of Cooch Behar district is suffering from annual floods and round-the-year river erosion problems for a long. Dishonest officials of concerned departments have misused the allotted funds. There is a tendency among a section of officials to let the contractors earn a lot during the monsoon. This should not be allowed forever. Mr Dutta hoped that Miss Banerjee might take an initiative to save the erosion-affected rural people of Tufanganj and other areas of Cooch Behar district.

Another vice-president, Mr Girindra Nath Barman expects implementation of the much-awaited double line between New Jalpaiguri and Bongaigaon. The introduction of the double line may ease the railway traffic in this region, Mr Roy believes.

Ex-president of district Trinamul Youth Congress, Mr Shibendra Nath Roy said, "We harvested a good result in the Lok Sabha election in this district. The people of this constituency came out to support us in larger numbers than they did in previous elections. This time we largely narrowed the difference. In the next Assembly elections we must teach lessons to the Left Front by snatching out all the seats from them.

ROLE OF COLLEGE LIBRARIES

Role of College Libraries in the context of National Knowledge Commission Report

 Dr Dilip Kumar Dey

Swami Vivekananda said more than a century ago ''Education is not the amount of information that is put into your brain as information, then Libraries are the greatest sages in the world and encyclopedias are the Rishi.''

           It is universally true that the Libraries are the gateways to knowledge. That is why, library has a recognized social function in making knowledge publicly available to all. They serve as local centres of information and learning and are local gateways to national and global knowledge. Rabindranath Thakur evaluated library as "In the library, we stand on a crossroad, as it were, where hundred of paths converge. Somepaths tend to the endless seas; some paths reachout to the high picks and some penetrate the innermost province of the human heart. Move any direction, as you like, there shall be no obstacle."

            At the dawn of new century, the prospect of which evokes both anguish and hope, is that all people with sense of responsibility turn their attention to both the aims and means of education, it is the view of the N.K. Commission that education is an ongoing process of improving knowledge and skills, more so it is perhaps primarily an exceptional means of bringing about personal development, building relationship among individuals, groups and the nation at large.

           Prof. V.S. Prasad, Director of NAAC remembered , "The objective of the librarian should always be 'total user satisfaction'. For a learner a librarian can be the best friend on an educational campus."

           The seminal objective of NAAC is to assess and accredit institution of higher learning with a view to helping them to work continuously to improve the quality of education. assessment is a performance evolution of an institution and /or units and is accomplished through a process based on self-study and peer review using defined criteria. Accreditation refers to the certification given by NAAC which is valid for a period of five years. The process of Assessment followed by NAAC is in accordance with internationally accepted practice but, with certain modifications to suit the Indian context. The application of assessment and accreditation as a quality enhancement mechanism has yielded appreciable results all over the world and has shown similar favorable indications in India also.

           In this emerging scenario of higher education libraries in India need to make a paradigm shift from their present strategy of collection on acquisition of knowledge to a strategy of knowledge access. Libraries and librarians have to recognize their social functions and their critical role in creating a knowledge society. The library and information sector are committed to support the creation of a knowledge society by providing equitable, high quality, cost-effective access to information and knowledge resources and services to meet the informational, educational, recreational and culture needs of the community through a range of national, institutional and public libraries.

           NKC has also suggested creating models for community college that would provide general education programmers as well as employment oriented programmes creating the flexibility for students to proper higher education later in life, NKC believes that all deserving students should have access to higher education, irrespective of their socio-economic background. easy access to knowledge, creation and preservation of knowledge systems. As per NKC report of 2006. Recognizing the importance of private and personal collection in the creation of knowledge and dissemination process, and the fact that there are several rich and valuable private and personal collection in existence in the country which need to be preserved for posterity, there should be an effort to include in the LIS sector. For this purpose, the National Mission/ Commission may set up a committee under the chairmanship of an eminent scholar. 

           It is well known to all that library is not a stack room of books. It is a store house of knowledge and source of information and ideas, a place for learning and inquiry, and for the generating of thought and the creation of new knowledge. Academic libraries like college libraries should have skilled & trained staff to meet the changing role of libraries, say, library and information handling skills, service orientation, ICT knowledge skills, communication and training skills, marketing and presentation skills, understanding of cultural activities, knowledge, mapping skills.

           National Knowledge Commission (NKC) Report under the chairmanship of Shyam Pitroda, 2006 inspired a great hope in educational sector, in the field of Library Administration, staff and readers community.  

           College Library has importance of its own. Like the colleges and the libraries are of integrated characters. The requirements & problems of the college libraries are also different. Though NKC working group on libraries did not throw the light separately on college library, as on public library, yet all related to college libraries are expecting that there will also be a reform in terms of collection, management, staffing and above all, service. But the picture in not so clear to as how & to what extent, it is possible. So, this is the hightime for the preparation, to absorb all the opportunities and challenges coming on the way in near future, which is not possible in isolation. The changing role of libraries includes library and information handling skills, service orientation, ICT knowledge skills, communication and training skills, marketing and presentation skills, understanding of cultural diversity knowledge mapping skills.

           As per report of NKC Academic library, college librarians keeping in view with the changing scenario of library staff in schools, colleges and university libraries should be reviewed and modified wherever required to meet the new challenges. The enlisting designation may also be reviewed by the national mission.

           The proper implementation of NKC's recommendations requires that teachers, schools, librarians should work hand-in-hand and look forward to a new digital era that includes e-book, e-journal etc. The present development in the field of information and communication technology (ICT) and changing scenario of Indian Academic Librarian will encourage the importance of software, staff patterns, collection development and management in a college library.

           All present performance as Scenario system of college library is being assessed & accredited by NAAC as quality enhancement necessary. As a result a college librarian has to perform various types of work like as, collection building, technical processing, circulation of reading materials and preservation services & information service related to carrier guidance course which includes classification & cataloging of documents for the performance measurement of college .

          Moreover, the ability to cater information from this library depends on up gradation & stands classification, cataloging, database streeting and exchanged formants. After all we can infer, in the light of NAAC visit of college library that the situation started to change in rendering library service to reader & scholars also in developing infrastructure of college library.

          Today we can't ignore that knowledge has become the driving force of social development and people's demand for more information and knowledge and it is increasing day by day. Therefore in knowledge based society college library has become a treasure house of human knowledge and participation in knowledge innovation and become an important link in the knowledge innovation chain. In the digital world, libraries are emerging as means of creation and dissemination of knowledge

          Out of my experience as a college librarian for long 33 years, it can be concluded that without proper well trained staff and proper staff pattern and the proper initiative of the Governing Bodies of respective colleges and total co-operation of teachers' council the mission of N.K. Commission will not be fulfilled.

Reference : 1. Souvenir – National Seminar of International academic libraries with the National Library. 2.  Higher Education in West Bengal and NAAC ed. By Dr. Tapati Basu. 3. NAAC news, quarterly newsletter, vol- V issue –III July- 2005. 4. University Education Vol- I, issue –IV March 2007, A Magazine on Higher Education. 5. NKC report 2006. 6. Rabindra Rachanabali Vol- VIII.

Dr Dilip Kr. Dey, Librarian, Tufanganj Mahavidyalaya.

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Friday, 22 May 2009

'NO CONFIDENCE' ON POLICE !

Left Front's mass resistance call against Trinamul

As the Left Front lost its confidence on the role of police it called for a mass resistance programme in Cooch Behar district to combat the terrorism unleashed by the Trinamul Congress. They will also organise an anti-terrorism convention on 27 May at Rabindra Bhavan.

Today, the decision for holding of the anti-terrorism convention was adopted at the district Left Front meeting. District CPI-M secretary and Left Front convenor Mr Chandi Pal, state forest minister Mr Ananta Roy, Mr Akhil Pramanik, newly elected MP (Forward Bloc) Mr Nripendra Nath Roy, Mr Debashis Banik, district CPI secretary Mr Surath Chakraborty and district RSP secretariat member Mr Ranajit Deb attended the meeting that was held at the CPI-M office.

Holding the Trinamul Congress responsible for disturbing peace in the district, the LF convenor Mr Pal alleged that the Trinamul Congress unleashed a reign of terror since the panchayat elections. Soon after the Lok Sabha election it again started terrorising people. The police too failed to control the situation, he said.

As they lost their confidence on police, they had to call for a mass resistance against the terrorist designs of the Trinamul Congress, admitted the LF convenor.

After the 27 May convention similar conventions will be held at the sub-divisions. In all these conventions the Left Front leaders will ask their activists to resist and combat Trinamul attacks on people to restore peace in the district.

When asked about the 'no confidence' of the Left Front on police, Cooch Behar SP Mr DP Singh claimed that the law and order situation was normal in the district. The police took adequate measures as soon as they received complaints about violence, he added.

It may be mentioned here that soon after declaration of results of the Lok Sabha election, a number of clashes took place in the sub-divisions in this district. The post-result clashes claimed two lives so far and several persons wounded. Proclamation of Section 144 Cr PC too failed to control the situation. 

Thursday, 21 May 2009

POST-POLL SITUATION

Bandh in Mathabhanga

The CPI-M sponsored 12-hour bandh has passed off peacefully in Mathabhanga sub-division of Cooch Behar today. Cooch Behar SP Mr DP Singh said no untoward incident has been reported from anywhere in Mathabhanga during the strike.

Following death of a CPI-M supporter, Bibek Barman (18), in a post-result clash that took place between CPI-M and Trinamul supporters on Tuesday night at Hindustan Morh in Mathabhanga, the party called the 12-hour strike at Mathabhanga sub-division in Cooch Behar today. Several persons from both sides received injuries during the clash and two persons were arrested in connection with the incident.

Normal life has been disrupted in the sub-division as passenger vehicles were off the roads. The passengers had to suffer due to the daylong strike. Offices and educational institutions too failed to function normally.

District CPI-M secretariat member and ex-sabhadhipati of Cooch Behar Zilla Parishad, Mr Jnanendra Chandra Chanda claimed that the bandh was a total one in Mathabhanga sub-division.

Countering the claim, the vice-president of district Trinamul Congress, Mr Girindra Nath Barman said the bandh evoked poor response at places like Khalisamari, Dakghara, Jatamari, Premerdanga and Ghoksadanga.

It may be recalled here that a Trinamul Congress sponsored 12-hour bandh was held in Mathabhanga on Tuesday following death of a Trinamul Congress supporter, Hafizul Mian (33), in a post-result clash that took place between CPI-M and Trinamul supporters on Sunday night at Ghoksadanga in Mathabhanga. 

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Wednesday, 20 May 2009

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AGITATION

Growers' stir

Aggrieved members of Aloo-Pat-Dhan Chashi Sangram Committee staged a roadblock at Chowpathi in Dinhata today. They were demanding compensation to the growers who suffered from rice smut in recent Boro cultivation. During the agitation the farmers have blazed smut affected paddy plants on the road.

POST-POLL INCIDENT

Post-result clash : 1 more killed in Cooch Behar

The post-result clashes claimed another life in Mathabhanga of Cooch Behar. As the killed one, Bibek Barman (18) was a CPI-M supporter the party called a 12-hour bandh in Mathabhanga sub-division tomorrow.

When contacted, Cooch Behar SP Mr DP Singh said a clash occurred between CPI-M and Trinamul Congress supporters at Manabari under Ghoksadanga police station near Hindustan Morh at about 10 p.m. yesterday. Five persons injured in the violence and one was killed. Police arrested two persons so far in connection with the incident, he said. Now, the situation is under control, he added.

District CPI-M secretariat member and ex-sabhadhipati of Cooch Behar Zilla Parishad, Mr Jnanendra Chandra Chanda alleged that a gang of Trinamul Congress activists suddenly attacked the CPI-M supporters at a place near Hindustan Morh in Mathabhanga last night. Several persons injured in the attack and one succumbed to his injuries. The CPI-M called a 12-hour bandh in Mathabhanga sub-division tomorrow demanding arrest of all the offenders involved in the attack, Mr Chanda said.

District Trinamul Congress vice-president Mr Girindra Nath Barman said a gang of CPI-M supporters attacked the Trinamul supporters at Hindustan Morh after the end of the Trinamul sponsored 12-hour bandh in Mathabhanga sub-division last night. They also attacked the residence of ex-pradhan Mr Subhash Bhaumik who recently joined the Trinamul leaving the CPI-M. Six Trinamul supporters have wounded in the attack.

Mr Barman alleged that as the Left Front candidate got lesser votes in Mathabhanga Assembly constituency than that of the Trinamul candidate in the recently held Lok Sabha election, it was trying to terrorise the people by organising attacks on the Opposition.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

STRIKE

During the Trinamul Congress sponsored strike at Mathabhanga in Cooch Behar on Tuesday.

POST ELECTION SITUATION

Bandh in Mathabhanga, roadblock in district

The Trinamul Congress sponsored 12-hour bandh has passed off almost peacefully in Mathabhanga sub-division of Cooch Behar today. Cooch Behar SP Mr DP Singh said no untoward incident has been reported from anywhere in Mathabhanga during the strike.

Following death of a Trinamul Congress supporter, Hafizul Mian (33), in a post-poll clash that took place between CPI-M and Trinamul supporters on Sunday night at Ghoksadanga in Mathabhanga, the party called the 12-hour strike at Mathabhanga sub-division in Cooch Behar today. Several persons from both sides received injuries during the clash and seven persons were arrested in connection with the incident, according to the Cooch Behar SP.

Vice-president of district Trinamul Congress, Mr Girindra Nath Roy said the bandh was total in Mathabhanga sub-division. Schools, colleges, banks, government offices and courts were found closed during the strike period. The sub-divisional officer too abstained from attending his office. Passenger vehicles and lorries including buses of the North Bengal State Transport Corporation and that of private operators have been kept out of roads.

On the otherhand, the Trinamul Yuva Congress staged roadblocks for one-hour this noon at different places in all the five sub-divisions of the district. Vehicular traffic was disrupted and passengers had to suffer due to the agitation. Claiming success of the programme, district TYC president Kumar Rajib Narayan said they organised roadblock programme demanding arrest of all the CPI-M goons that were involved in attack on Trinamul supporters and killing of Hafizul Mian at Ghoksadanga on Sunday.

Monday, 18 May 2009

POST-POLL VIOLENCE

1 killed in clash : Trinamul calls bandh, CPM lifts

Following death of a Trinamul Congress supporter in a post-poll clash that occurred last night at Ghoksadanga in Mathabhanga, the party called a 12-hour strike at Mathabhanga sub-division in Cooch Behar tomorrow.

State Trinamul Congress secretary Mr Abdul Jalil Ahmed alleged that armed CPI-M supporters dragged out their supporters from the local Trinamul Congress office and beaten up them last night. As a result of fatal injury on his head, one Hafizul Mian (33) died at MJN Hospital this morning. Several other injured men are also undergoing medical care in the hospital, Mr Ahmed said.

Refuting the allegation, District CPI-M secretary Mr Chandi Pal claimed that at first the Trinamul activists attacked the local CPI-M office at Ghoksadanga and tried to abduct a few supporters. In the attack several CPI-M supporters have been wounded.

Cooch Behar SP, Mr DP Singh said the clash occurred between two rival groups following altercations over election results last night at Station Road of Ghoksadanga, as the offices of the CPI-M and Trinamul Congress exist there at close vicinity of one another. Several persons belonging to both groups received injuries. One Trinamul supporter succumbed to his injuries and five CPI-M men and five Trinamul Congress men are still under treatment at MJN Hospital in Cooch Behar. Police took adequate measures to maintain peace in the area, the SP added.

District Trinamul Congress vice-president Mr Niranjan Dutta said they staged roadblocks at different areas of Ghoksadanga and Mathabhanga today demanding immediate arrest of the CPI-M men who attacked the Trinamul supporters last night and killed one. "Tomorrow, we will observe a 12-hour bandh in entire Mathabhanga sub-division against CPI-M sponsored hooliganism", Mr Dutta said.

On the otherhand, the Left Front has lifted its Cooch Behar-I block bandh that was scheduled to take place today. "As the SP said us that they arrested 33 persons and are taking steps against the offenders we decided to call off the strike in the interest of general public", the district Left Front convenor Mr Chandi Pal said. The Left Front had called the bandh against attack on CPI-M and Forward Bloc supporters by Trinamul activists at Suktabari on Saturday afternoon.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

OUR COUNTRY !

Trinamul supporter housewife beaten up and driven out

A CPI-M supporter beaten up his wife and driven out her, as she is a Trinamul Congress sympathiser. Mother of a child, the housewife is now under medical care at MJN Hospital in Cooch Behar.

Last night, agitated by the victory of the Trinamul Congress in many seats in the state, the husband, Paresh Chandra Sarkar allegedly beaten up his wife Mrs Pratima Sarkar (35) mercilessly at their Panisala residence. Abusing the housewife the man reportedly asked her to get out from the house to take shelter of the Trinamul Congress. "Here our candidate has won so you have no place here", he reportedly said.

The man is a staunch CPI-M supporter and works as a job assistant at Haribhanga gram panchayat office.

This morning too, the man manhandled his wife and torn her blouse and saree and pushed her out of the house. She came to Cooch Behar town and with the help of a Trinamul Congress leader she lodged a complaint to Kotowali police station. Later, she got admitted at MJN Hospital.

Trinamul Congress leader Mr Shiben Roy demanded police action and punishment of the husband. Police initiated a probe into the matter. 

CONCERN FOR COOCHBEHAR

APPEAL TO ALL

CONCERN FOR COOCHBEHAR is a platform of Cooch Behar lovers. Anyone who loves Cooch Behar can join this platform.

Cooch Behar was once known as the CITY OF BEAUTY. In these days it is no more so beautiful as it was in its earlier days. But, the residents of Cooch Behar love this picturesque town. The town enjoys heritage status and the citizens boast of it.

Not the people who reside here but also those who once lived here and now stay outside for different purposes love this town.

It is our duty to save this heritage town.

The river Torsa is flowing beside this town. About fifty years ago the river gobbled up a portion of the township. A dyke was erected to save the town but that is now a decaying one. No effort was taken to maintain the town saving dyke.

If the Torsa ever tries to change its course the town may suffer a great disaster.

Let us work together to save our lovely town.

You are welcome to join CONCERN FOR COOCHBEHAR. Please try your best to save Cooch Behar. Help the CfC's effort to do the work honestly.

HELP US

Feel free to donate to encourage the CONCERN FOR COOCHBEHAR. Please keep the initiative alive. All donations would be highly appreciated.

HDFC BANK (Cooch Behar Branch)

A/C No. 08491000005450

Contact : newsman.cob@gmail.com

POST ELECTION SITUATION

Post-poll violence, bandh on Monday

Soon after declaration of results post-poll violence has started erupting in Cooch Behar district. Violating the administrative orders supporters of different political parties took out several rallies yesterday and a few incident of violence too occurred.

At Suktabari under Kotowali police station Trinamul Congress supporters took out a procession on yesterday afternoon to celebrate the tremendous success of the party in this state. Leftists too took out a procession to celebrate the victory of the Forward Bloc candidate in Cooch Behar (SC) Parliamentary constituency.

Left Front sources alleged that the Trinamul Congress supporters attacked a car that was carrying five counting agents of the Forward Bloc who were returning from Cooch Behar. They damaged the car and manhandled the FB men. Soon after they also damaged motorbikes of two local CPI-M leaders. The Trinamul supporters attacked and ransacked local party offices of the Forward Bloc and the CPI-M too. Several persons were injured in the attack. A large contingent of police force rushed to the spot to control the situation. 32 persons have been arrested in connection with the incident.

Left Front leaders including the newly elected Forward Bloc MP Mr Nripendra Nath Roy, Cooch Behar MP (Rajya Sabha) Mr Tarini Roy, state forest minister Mr Ananta Roy and three MLAs Mr Tamser Ali, Mr Dipak Sarkar and Mr Akshay Thakur too visited the trouble torn area.

The Left Front called a 12-hour bandh at Suktabari and adjoining areas on Monday to condemn the hooliganism of the Trinamul Congress.

Trinamul Congress secretary Mr Abdul Jalil Ahmed alleged that the CPI-M supporters unleashed a reign of terror at different areas Tufanganj. At Chilakhana they forcefully closed down shops of Trinamul supporters. He demanded immediate action against the offenders.

On the otherhand, at Nakkatigachh the Trinamul supporters attacked a residence of a CPI-M activist and ransacked the house. At Taltala they allegedly attacked a CPI-M supporter. Similar incidents happened at Diparpar and Rajarkuthi, CPI-M sources claimed.

Saturday, 16 May 2009

LOK SABHA ELECTION

(1) Forward Bloc supporters celebrate the victory of Mr Nripendra Nath Roy from Cooch Behar (SC) Parliamentary constituency. (2) THE WINNER – Forward Bloc candidate Mr Nripendra Nath Roy in a joyous mood. In Cooch Behar on Saturday.

Friday, 15 May 2009

LOK SABHA ELECTION

Additional force to maintain peace today

Cooch Behar is ready for the counting of polled votes for the Cooch Behar (SC) Parliamentary constituency. Additional police forces will be deployed to avert post-poll violence tomorrow.

The district magistrate of Cooch Behar Mr RK Sinha said all arrangements have been made to hold the counting process peacefully at Cooch Behar Polytechnic. Kesab Road, the street by which the institute situated, would be kept closed for ordinary vehicular traffic. Local residents of the road however can be able to get in and out of their residences without any trouble, the DM assured.

Securitymen on duty were asked to check entrants to the counting centre premises with metal detectors. Metal detector doorframes will also be used. The EFR forces are keeping a strict vigil on the strong-rooms at the building.

Four Election Commission observers are to supervise the counting process. After each round of counting they will examine two Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) to ensure that the counting was done in exact manner. The result will be announced after each round of counting and the final result will be declared after ensuring that all was done well. It will be announced after being signed by the observers.

The superintendent of police, Mr DP Singh said 200 police forces brought from outside of the district would be deployed in addition to the existing district police forces. As the EC has instructed a three-tier security arrangement at the counting venue there will be strong security measures, the SP said.

Meanwhile, all the police stations were alerted to keep watch on the situation to avert incidents of post-poll violence. Restrictions were already promulgated asking all not to hold any procession tomorrow and the police stations were asked to take actions in case of any violation of the orders. From the day after tomorrow the political parties can be able to hold rallies but that should be done with prior permission from the police, the SP added.

On the otherhand, the sub-divisional officer of Cooch Behar Sadar, Mr Sanjib Chaki promulgated Section 144 (1) Cr PC from 6 a.m. of 16 May to 6 a.m. of 17 May in Cooch Behar sub-division. Following this order restriction has been imposed on holding of any procession in Cooch Behar Sadar. The SDO has imposed the order apprehending breach of peace on the counting day. 

Thursday, 14 May 2009

LEFTISTS' DEMAND

Smut : Leftists demand steps against seed dealers

As the paddy cultivation at different areas in Cooch Behar district is suffering from smut the Left Front demanded steps against dealers who sell non-certified seeds.

Today, a team of leaders including Forward Bloc's Mr Udayan Guha, Mr Nripendra Nath Roy, Mr Debashis Banik, Mr Buddhananda Roy and the CPI-M's Mr Benubadal Chakraborty submitted a memorandum to the district magistrate.

In the memorandum they demanded raids at seed dealers' outlets to seize non-notified varieties of seeds. They also demanded the government to take initiatives for awareness drives among the farmers. As the price of the paddy came down in the open market the leaders demanded the government to buy paddy against support price.

District Forward Bloc secretary Mr Udayan Guha said the state agriculture minister agreed with them to arrange paddy seeds free of cost to the affected farmers in the next season. "We requested the district magistrate to prepare a list of smut affected growers of this district so that they can get the free seeds", he said.

The district magistrate reportedly assured the leaders about his co-operation over the demands.

In Dinhata, the smut affected growers demonstrated at the office of the sub-divisional officer demanding steps against dishonest seed dealers and compensation to the affected farmers.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

RIVER EROSION

Erosion fear grips villagers in Dinhata

As the monsoon closes by the rural residents especially who reside near rivers have been suffering from river erosion. Those who lost their homesteads and farmlands last year now fear of a fresh disaster.

In Dinhata, the residents of the villages like Notafela, Salmara, Adabari, Daribash, Jaridharla and Gitaldaha are silent witnesses of the erosion that took away their ancestral homesteads and cultivable lands in previous years. The Kaljani played havoc in the areas adjacent to its banks. It gobbled up huge areas of farmland. The Singimari too did similar disaster. The villagers are still can remember those fearful days.

It was learnt that the Kaljani grabbed about 1,000-bigha of tilling fields at Salmara, Notafela and other villages under Nazirhat-II gram panchayat in the past years. These areas are now known as erosion prone areas.

The Dharala and the Singimari too have played havoc at villages of Gosanimari-I, Gosanimari-II, Gitaldaha-I, Gitaldaha-II and Okrabari under Dinhata-I Panchayat Samilty area. Though dry in winter the small rivers like Baniadaha and Bura-Dharla turns dangerous during the monsoon inflated by heavy rainwater.

During the monsoon months the riverside residents can never sleep in peace. Many of them have to shift to safe shelters to the residences of relatives at other villages. During the monsoon when the situation worsens it is common to almost all political parties to raise demand for a master plan to save the villagers from river erosion and annual floods. But, soon after the monsoon those demands and promises just evaporate. The ensuing monsoon may also coming to stage the similar skit.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

NO GOOD HARVEST !

Aggrieved farmers demonstrate with smut affected paddy plants at the agriculture development office at Dhaluabari in Cooch Behar on Tuesday.

Monday, 11 May 2009

AGITATED FARMERS

Demonstration demanding compensation to farmers

Demanding compensation to the affected farmers whose crops were suffering from rice smut, the peasant wing of the Forward Bloc, Agragami Kisan Sabha, demonstrated at the sub-divisional agricultural office in Dinhata today. Senior leaders like Mr Nripendra Nath Roy, Mr Sankar Dutta and Mr Buddhananda Roy led the programme.

It may be recalled here that the farmers of Nagar Bhangni village in Dinhata blazed their paddy crops in the fields yesterday as the rice corns of Boro cultivation affected by smut.

An aggrieved grower, Md Habibur Mian, who blazed his paddy cultivation yesterday, said, they bought two brands of paddy seeds – Parashmani and Nayantara – from the market. They expected a good harvest but the paddy got affected by smut, he said.

Another affected grower, Md Saiyad Mian said the government couldn't get away from the situation avoiding its responsibility, as the seeds that they purchased were available in open market.

District agriculture office sources in Cooch Behar said that concerned agricultural officers were asked to inquire into the matter. The seeds purchased from the market were non-notified and the climatic condition was not good for paddy cultivation. These two reasons may have caused the rice corns affected by smut, a senior official said. About compensation to the farmers he said it was up to the higher authorities to decide. 

PHOTO : Forward Bloc leader Mr Nripendra Nath Roy addresses at a demonstration organised by Agragami Kisan Sabha at sub-divisional agriculture office in Dinhata on Monday.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

ANGRY FARMERS

Farmars blaze paddy cultivation in Dinhata

About one hundred villagers have set fire to the paddy cultivation at Nagar Bhangni village in Dinhata of Cooch Behar this morning. As the corns turned smut they did it out of resentment.

An aged farmer, Md Sukur Ali said they cultivated the Boro paddy taking loans from moneylenders. Now it is hard to repay the money as the corns turned smut. Another farmer, Nakul Barman said they bought the seeds from the market but never thought that it would prove futile. "Out of grief we have set fire to the field", they said.

The villagers of Nagar Bhangni, mostly farmers, set fire to the paddy cultivation at about 20-bigha of farmland today.

Replying a question, the acting principal agricultural officer of Cooch Behar, Mr Pranab Jyoti Pandit said the growers purchased the paddy seeds from the open market. As the seeds were non-certified these yielded nothing. In addition, the climate was not fair enough for paddy cultivation. He held these two reasons responsible for making the corns smut. 

This afternoon, the sub-divisional officer of Dinhata, Mr Indrajit Pal said he was yet to get any information about the incident. Without assigning any reasons he preferred to switch off the phone probably to avoid any more talks on the matter. District magistrate of Cooch Behar, Mr Rajesh Kumar Sinha however assured that he would look into the matter to ascertain the actual reasons why the farmers did it.

GOLDEN HARVEST TURNED SMUT

Fire being set by aggrieved farmers in a field of paddy cultivation as the crop turned smut. At Nagar Bhangni village in Dinhata on Sunday.

STROM! STORM!

Storm havoc in Cooch Behar, 1 killed

The devastating storm that swept almost all areas of Cooch Behar district last night claimed one life and damaged about 1,500 dwellings.

During the storm a man identified as Nagarbasi Ghosh (32) struck by lightning at Chilakhana in Tufanganj, police said.

In another incident, fire broke out from an oven of a village kitchen during the storm at Baro-Halongimari of Patchhara under Kotowali police station. Six dwellings gutted in the blaze. Five cattle also killed in the incident.

At Baraibari of Mathabhanga-II block, the storm damaged several houses and three cattle died under the damaged dwellings.

In Cooch Behar town corrugated iron-sheet roof of Karunamoyee High School was flown away by the storm.

As many electricity poles and trees were uprooted the power supply broke down since yesterday night. Power supply restored in the town this afternoon.

Crop damage is also a major upshot of the storm. Jute and Boro paddy cultivation suffered a great loss. The actual volume of loss is yet to be ascertained.    

Cooch Behar district administration instructed all block development officers to survey the situation and submit reports on estimated loss of crops and dwellings by tomorrow. Reviewing the reports relief measures would be taken for the affected persons, a senior official in Cooch Behar said. 

Friday, 8 May 2009

TRAIN-BUS CLASH

The ill-fated bus that was knocked down by a train at Dinhata today.

COOCHBEHAR NEWS

Train-bus clash, 2 hurt

Two persons wounded in a collision between a passenger train and a bus at a unmanned level crossing at Dinhata in Cooch Behar today.

When the Alipurduar-Bamanhat passenger train arrived at Putimari Checkpost area in Dinhata at about 8-30 a.m. a bus suddenly came up on the track intending to cross the railway line. The train knocked the bus at its backside and it overturned into a roadside ditch. Two helpers were injured, who were in the bus. Locals have rescued them.

There was no passenger in the empty bus as it was returning after dropping a wedding party at a nearby place. In absence of the driver two helpers of the vehicle were driving it.

Locals of Putimari Checkpost area raised a demand to turn the level crossing as a manned one.  

Rapist punished

The district and sessions judge of Cooch Behar Mr KYS Manhas today sentenced a man to ten years of rigorous imprisonment for raping a minor girl in 2007.

Court sources said, one Jayanta Sil alias Sajal sneaked into the room of a neighbour and raped an 11-year-old girl on the night of 3 April 2007 at Marichbari Kholta village in Cooch Behar. He also tried to molest her mother.

12 witnesses were cross-examined during the legal procedure. Public Prosecutor Mr Ganesh Chandra Roy Karmakar was on the government side in this case.

Today, in his judgement, the judge sentenced the accused to 10-year rigorous imprisonment and slapped a fine of Rs 5,000, in default he will have to suffer an additional six months of imprisonment. 

SAVE COOCH BEHAR !

Flood control cry in face of Torsha fury – Embankment protecting town not repaired in five decades

Cooch Behar, May 7: The embankment that protects Cooch Behar town from the swelling waters of the Torsha during monsoon has not been repaired for the past five decades, raising concerns about the safety of residents.

The embankment, built in 1955-56, is threatened by erosion and also by encroachments that have come up over the years.

"Illegal encroachment has resulted in the lowering of the height of the embankment and affecting its slope over the years. We know about the vulnerability of the structure and currently are carrying out a survey to get an idea of the estimated cost to repair it," said Manoj Acharjee, the executive engineer of the irrigation department. He, however, did not provide an estimate for the work.

The CPM sabhadhipati of the zilla parishad, Dilip Biswas, admitted that not much money was spent on flood protection. He said the district required Rs 10-12 crore a year.

"However, we get barely Rs 2 crore to work with. We need to get an increased allotment immediately. Other embankments are also equally threatened like the one around this town." Biswas added.

The Torsha flows along three sides of Cooch Behar town and each year, with the onset of monsoon, hundreds of people build shanties on the embankment to escape the fury of floods.

Sources in the irrigation department said like all the rivers meandering through the district, the Torsha, too, comes down from the Bhutan hills.

In case of heavy rainfall in the Himalayas, the waters become fast and dangerous. In 1993, the Torsha had breached its embankment and flooded neighbouring Alipurduar town in Jalpaiguri district, a source said.

The convener of Concern for Cooch Behar, a citizens' body, Debashis Bhaumik, said they had been crying hoarse for the past 15 years highlighting the condition of the embankment.

"The Cooch Behar palace is close to the river and with the deterioration of the embankment, the royal structure is becoming more and more threatened. We had formed the organisation to demand its protection but have failed to make any impact," Bhaumik added.

According to him, a commission had been formed after the Alipurduar calamity in 1993, which in its report clearly mentioned that the embankment here needed to be strengthened. "The district irrigation department had sent an estimate of Rs 1 crore to the North Bengal Flood Control Commission but nothing has been sanctioned till date," Bhaumik said.

Bhaumik said the old palace had been damaged several times in floods that affected the town. The "new" or the current palace was built by Maharaja Nripendra Narayan in 1887.

Tarun Lahiri, a retired schoolteacher, said the Torsha had broken its banks in 1954, inundating a large portion of the town. "It was then that the state government constructed the present embankment in 1955-56 to protect the town from the Torsha," he added. (THE TELEGRAPH, 8 May 2009)

BACKWARD VILLAGE

Burning problems of two backward villages

The residents of Jaridharla and Daribash villages are Indian citizens but they have to depend almost on neighbouring Bangladesh to run their daily lives though the villages are not enclaves. These two most ordinary and remote villages are situated very close to the Bangladesh border in Gitaldaha under Dinhata sub-division in Cooch Behar.

Two rivers - Dharala and Giridhari - made both the villages separated from the mainland of India. Bangladesh is very close from here. Due to presence of the rivers the laying of barbed wire fencing was not possible here along the International border. Small country boats are the lone mode of transport of the area. Incidents of boat capsizing and drowning are routine events during the rainy season every year. As there is no specific borderline to prevent infiltration the villagers always have to carry EPICs to prove their identities to the BSF.

The name of Jaridharla was included in the list of backward villages in Cooch Behar district but the villagers got no mentionworthy benefit out of it. Both Jaridharla and Daribash villages are truly backward from all aspects. But, the authorities are yet to find out why these two villages are still suffering from huge problems. In recent a survey a local NGO pointed out the geographical position as the main cause of backwardness of these villages.

As mainland of Bangladesh is close to these villages the residents have to depend on that country to get medical aid at the health centre at Mogulhat in Lalmonirhat district. The nearest Indian health centre is at Okrabari. It is at a distance of about 12-km from the area and in any case of emergency at night it is almost impossible to carry a patient to Okrabari crossing the rivers. In such situation the villagers have to cross the border to avail medical aid, locals said.

There are two primary schools but the nearest high school is at Gitaldaha. The students have to cross two rivers and about 5-kilometre stretch of alluvial land to go there. It is hard for the students to attend the school during the monsoon and so almost all the girls of the area never get an opportunity to carry on studies beyond primary level. Due to the situation the rate of dropout and child marriage is growing here

Gitaldaha-II gram panchayat pradhan Md Abdul Majid Mian said they made appeals to the higher authorities on many occasions to launch a Madhyamik Shiksha Kendra (MSK) but that is yet to come up.

Considering the conveyance problem no candidate came up here to campaign in the recently held Lok Sabha election though there are 1,425 voters. When asked, a senior government official said that after conducting a proper survey in the area they would try to minimise the problems of the villagers.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

COOCHBEHAR NEWS

Clash injures six

In a clash between members of a marriage party and a local club that was engaged in forcible collection of money, six members of the club received injury at Kawerdera in Mathabhanga last night. The injured were shifted to hospital. Police rushed to the spot but no arrest has been made.

5 killers punished

Additional district and sessions judge, Mathabhanga, Mr Sukhendu Das sentenced five men to ten years of imprisonment for killing an old man in 2004.

Court sources said Amrita Kirtania, Gajen Roy, Kshirod Mandal, Khaturam Mandal and Haran Mandal had beaten one Jogesh Mandal (75) to death on 1 February 2004 at Bhojaner-Chhara village of Nishiganj in Mathabhanga. A case was initiated following a complaint lodged by the deceased's son Deepchand Mandal. 18 witnesses were cross-examined in the court during the legal procedure. Mr Shital Ranjan Saha was on the government side in this case.

Today, the judge sentenced the five accused to 10-year imprisonment and slapped fine of Rs 5,000 on each of them. In default they would have to suffer an additional six months of imprisonment.

 

PHOTO : Rally of the members of All Bengal Primary Teachers' Trainee Association in Cooch Behar demanding appointment of trained PTTI students in vacant posts of primary school teachers. In Cooch Behar on Thursday.

INDO-BANGLADESH BORDER

Cattle trafficking along Bangladesh border

Promulgation of Section 144 CrPC is there to curb smuggling across the 523-kiolmetre long Bangladesh border in Cooch Behar district but smuggling of cattle is still going on.

Under the prohibitory order the district magistrate of Cooch Behar has clamped a ban on 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. The order is still there and most likely it will be extended for another two months, as was done previously. But, no order ever was able to stop cattle smuggling though there exists barbed wire fencing and BSF patrolling along the border.

Strict vigilance was imposed along the border on 30 April to ensure smooth polling of the Lok Sabha election. But, on that night a gang of about ten cattle traffickers tried to breach the border fencing armed with wire cutters near Lalbazar border outpost under Sitalkuchi police station in Mathabhanga with an intension to send about ten cattle on the otherside of the border.

BSF sources said their jawans had to open fire when the miscreants tried to run away on being challenged. A resident of Dahikhawa of Hatibandha in Bangladesh, Rafiqul Mian (25) was gunned down and three cattle were seized. The others of the gang fled away with the remaining cattle.

Recently, the villagers seized 16 cattle from the traffickers at Panch-mile under Sikarpur gram panchayat in Mathabhanga-I block near the border. The traffickers managed to escape. Later, the villagers handed over the seized cattle to the police.

It may be recalled here that a gruesome incident was occurred in Mathabhanga sub-division on 6 January 2008. On that day locals have caught and beaten eight alleged cattle traffickers at Jhakuardham, Palashtala, Chenakata and Bargharia-garkuta villages. Three of them died on the spot. Police rescued the remaining five other injured. The growing anger of villagers against cattle lifters was ventilated by that incident, a senior police officer said.

Forward Bloc leader Md Abdur Rauf alleged that the laying of barbed wire fencing was a failure to stop cattle trafficking. Imposing of the Section 144 CrPC is also of no help. A section of the BSF and police are also involved with the traffickers, he alleged. Trinamul Congress leader Mr Partha Nath Sarkar said the cattle traffickers are still operational along the border in this district. He demanded immediate action against the offenders.

BSF sources in Cooch Behar however claimed that they are keeping a constant watch on the border and seizure of a huge number of cattle in the recent past is a proof of their activity.

NO POLL NO BRIDGE

Bridge collapse injures two in Cooch Behar

Residents of Konamai Pestarjhar village of Chakchaka gram panchayat under Cooch Behar-II block had threatened boycotting of the Lok Sabha election demanding repairing of the broken bridge over Mara-Naotara river. On 23 April they staged a demonstration too. Later, on being assured by the authorities they lifted the boycott call.

On Wednesday evening the bridge collapsed and two villagers, a father and his son, wounded.

The bridge is very essential to the residents of Mara-Naotara, Gorubhasa and Khapaidanga villages. Villagers alleged that they conveyed the matter to the authorities on several occasions but that yielded no result. Finding no alternative they had to raise a vote boycott call.

The block development officer of Cooch Behar-II assured the aggrieved villagers today that a temporary bridge would be erected near the existing one. Initiative will be taken to construct a new one too, he added.