Tuesday, 30 June 2009


SEASONAL BLOOM – A pair of Lily in Cooch Behar on Tuesday.

Monday, 29 June 2009


Budding swimmers at Sagar Dighi in Cooch Behar on Monday.

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CPM detains Rajdhani at New Cooch Behar

The passengers of the Delhi bound Rajdhani Express had to face a tough time due to a Rail Roko stir that was staged at New Cooch Behar Railway Station by two frontal organisations of the CPI-M today. The blockade continued for about an hour.

The Cooch Behar district units of the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) and the Centre for Indian Trade Unions (CITU) staged the Rail Roko programme at 11 a.m. at New Cooch Behar Railway Station today. They also organised a gathering on the platforms of the station. Among the speakers at the gathering there were Cooch Behar MP (Rajya Sabha) and district CITU secretary Mr Tarini Roy and district DYFI secretary Mr Mahananda Saha.

District DYFI secretary Mr Mahananda Saha said the Rail Roko programme was planned to highlight their nine-point charter of demands including better amenities for the passengers. They also submitted a memorandum to the Alipurduar Divisional Railway Manager of the Northeast Frontier Railway through the station superintendent of the New Cooch Behar Railway Station.

During the demonstration when the 2423 Dn Guwahati-Delhi Rajdhani Express arrived at the station the agitators halted it amid heavy downpour. Though there were law enforcing forces like police and GRP they failed to convince the agitators from detaining the train. The agitators continued their blockade for about an hour.

Among the demands raised by the DYFI and the CITU there are : launching of double-line facility along New Jalpaiguri-New Alipurduar-New Cooch Behar section, speedy completion of New Mainaguri-Jogighopa railway project, introduction of train service between New Cooch Behar and Dhubri, plying of Uttar Banga Express up to Dinhata, stoppage of Garib Rath at New Cooch Behar and introduction of a chair car train between New Cooch Behar and Siliguri.

Sunday, 28 June 2009


NCC annual combined camp ends

The ten-day combined annual training camp of the National Cadet Corps organised by the 13 Bengal Bn NCC at Jenkins School and Maharaja Nripendra Narayan High School in Cooch Behar concluded yesterday. 516 cadets of different units attended the camp. Group Commander Col MS Gaur visited the camp on 26 June and encouraged the cadets.

The participating cadets practiced various activities including military and non-military ones and cultural and social awareness programmes were also conducted during the camp days according to the camp adjutant Surajit Kumar Dhar. (END)

PHOTO : Target practice by NCC cadets at the annual training camp. At Jenkins School in Cooch Behar on Saturday.


The rest-shed of passengers turns a paan-shop along Cooch Behar-Dinhata road. At Bhetaguri in Dinhata on Sunday.


Cultivable lands being gobbled up by widespread erosion of Dharala river. At Baro-Soulmari in Dinhata on Sunday.


Forest Minister faces Trinamul women demonstration

State forest minister Mr Ananta Roy had to face demonstration at his own Assembly constituency (Mathabhanga) today. Police had to intervene and detain three agitators to control the situation. Women activists of the Trinamul Congress organised the demonstration. Later, they also demonstrated at the police station.

The minister went to attend a joint programme named 'Mathabhanga Sabujayan' (drive for a green Mathabhanga) organised by the forest division and Mathabhanga Municipality at Melar Math Mukta Mancha near Mathabhanga police station today. At about 11-30 a group of women supporters of the Trinamul Congress appeared there and started demonstrating against the minister. It went on for about an hour. During the agitation they threw off chairs of the pandal and also threw a Saree to the minister on the dais. At last, police resorted to lathi-charge to control the situation. Three agitators were also nabbed.

Demanding unconditional release of the nabbed three a demonstration was also held at the Mathabhanga police station.

District Trinamul Mahila Congress chairperson Ms Kalyani Poddar said Mr Ananta Roy got elected from Mathabhanga Assembly constituency but did nothing for the people of this constituency. In the recent Lok Sabha election the CPI-M failed to retain majority in Mathabhanga Constituency. Now, he has no right to represent Mathabhanga in the state Assembly.

Ms Poddar alleged that the peoples of Mathabhanga are suffering, as there was no bridge on Sutunga river for a long. Foundation for a new one was done about two years ago but the minister took no initiative to construct the much-awaited bridge. In the name of Sabujayan there is a plan to evict roadside traders from Shani Mandir to Madan Mohan Bari in the town, she alleged. "The people will not allow these anti-people policies for ever", she said.

Ms Poddar also said there was a plan to organise a Mamata Action Brigade in the district to fight against misrule of the CPI-M and anti-people policies of the authorities. Today's demonstration is a dress rehearsal of the proposed MAB.

Criticising the role of the police the forest minister said the police should have to stop the rally of the Trinamul supporters that was proceeding towards the Mukta Mancha. They failed to intervene quickly and so the pandemonium went on for an hour. Mr Roy said he conveyed the matter to the SP in Cooch Behar. Tomorrow, he will also tell it to the chief minister in Kolkata.

Cooch Behar SP Mr Devendra Prakash Singh said three persons were detained but later they have been released. He however denied of any incident of lathi-charge.

Friday, 26 June 2009


The remains of the abandoned railway bridge near Jainti in the Dooars.


The historic Rajbari Dighi needs renovation. In Jalpaiguri on Friday.

Thursday, 25 June 2009


Members of the Bhumihara Bastoohara Sangram Committee demonstrate at the office of the district magistrate demanding immediate compensation and rehabilitation for the landless people who were displaced for land acquisition for the New Mainaguri-Jogighopa railway project. In Cooch Behar on Thursday.


The members of the Cooch Behar district unit of the All Bengal Electricity Consumers' Association stages a sit-in demonstration at the office of the WBSEDCL to protest against frequent power cuts for indefinite periods. In Cooch Behar on Thursday.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009


Parthenium menace near Dinhata College Halt Station. In Dinhata on Wednesday.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009


SEASONAL BLOOM – A flower in a Chalta tree at Prince Victor Nityendra Narayan Road near Sunity Academy in Cooch Behar.


CPM-Trinamul clash : Twin bandh in Mathabhanga

Normal life was disrupted in Mathabhanga during the 12-hour bandh called by the CPI-M and the Trinamul Shramik Congress today. Cooch Behar SP Mr Devendra Prakash Singh said the bandh passed off peacefully.

Yesterday, a clash occurred between the supporters of the CPI-M and the Trinamul Congress at Sikarpur of Mathabhanga. A few houses including that of the Sikarpur gram panchayat pradhan were damaged during the clash.

CPI-M leader Mr Prasenjit Barman alleged that recently the villagers had seized 26 cattle during smuggling out of those to Bangladesh. Latter, those were auctioned and sold out. Following this the raged cattle smugglers yesterday attacked the gram panchayat pradhan Mr Bhabendra Adhikary's house. The Trinamul Congress provoked the smugglers to do the crime, Mr Barman alleged. They called today's bandh to protest the Trinamul's attack.

A local Trinamul leader Mr Nazrul Haque alleged that a gang of CPI-M activists assaulted a Trinamul supporter yesterday morning and after that incident the Trinamul supporters chased the attackers away. Protesting the attack the Trinamul Congress supporters had staged a demonstration at the Mathabhanga police station on yesterday night.

President of Mathabhanga unit of the Trinamul Shramik Congress, Mr Alizar Rahman said they called today's bandh against the hooliganism of the CPI-M and the anti-people role of the police.

Cooch Behar SP Mr DP Singh said a Trinamul man and a CPI-M man were arrested in connection with the trouble.

On the otherhand, district Trinamul Congress president Mr Rabindra Nath Ghosh said today's bandh in Mathabhanga was called without any prior permission of the party. In this case the party would not take any responsibility of any ill effect of the bandh. A probe was initiated on behalf of the party to reveal the actual reason behind yesterday's trouble, Mr Ghosh said.

In another incident, five CPI-M activists have been injured in a clash between the CPI-M and the Trinamul Congress supporters at Bhawer-thana under Sitalkuchi police station yesterday. Among the injured three were shifted to Mathabhanga sub-divisional hospital.

CPI-M sources alleged that a gang of Trinamul supporters suddenly attacked their party supporters. On the otherhand, Trinamul Congress sources claimed that the clash was an internal one of the CPI-M supporters. Police started a probe into the incident.

Nature and Adventure Study Group

Sons of the soil

With a view to help Cooch Behar tide over its water woes, the Nature and Adventure Study Group has picked up the gauntlet, writes Swaati Chaudhury

THE Nature and Adventure Study Group is a voluntary outfit in Cooch Behar that aims at fostering nature-minded citizens all over North Bengal. It is currently engaged in a dozen or more environmental projects, none of which run on government assistance. With a view to tide over Cooch Behar's water woes, the organisation has launched a one-year programme themed "Water crisis" and has roped in school students between six to 16-year-olds. 
Around 8,000 students from Cooch Behar and the Dooars region have spontaneously participated in the project. Cooch Behar is heading towards acute water shortage and the scenario has worsened in the past couple of decades or so. Arup Guha, secretary of the Group, says, "The ground water level in Cooch Behar has come down considerably and some parts of the Buxa Tiger Reserve that lie at Jayanti Range are reeling under acute water crisis. Rivers like the Oslung and Katlung usually run dry in the summer months causing acute drinking and bathing water shortage for the faunal residents. The tusker populace bathes for about 12 hours daily for which they require a huge amount of water everyday. Acute water shortage often compels elephants to leave their natural habitat in search of congenial dwellings. If this goes on for, say, another five years or so, it can prove disastrous for both humans and animals." The NASG's project has brought relief to more than half the local population. 
Established in 1980, the group also conducts campaigns to raise awareness on water-borne diseases. Given the presence of 0.2 mg of aluminum in the water available chances of contracting Alzemeheir's is acute. 
"Children are prone to stomach disorders because of the presence of an alarming 0.02 mg of nickel in the water we use. They are susceptible to intestinal problems with traces of copper in drinking water," says Guha. 
The Central government has declared places like Cooch Behar, Toofangunj and Dhubri in Assam as high-risk seismic zones. The group has also launched a campaign to raise awareness on the causes of earthquakes by displaying CDs and is also in the process of roping in volunteers to build a rescue operation team to help citizens in need. These efforts, says Guha, go a long way, to raise their confidence. 
"We want to reach out to the entire student community to lend a helping hand in our environment-related activities. We also need local clubs, the gram panchayat and the local administrators to help us steer our project forward," adds Guha.
The group has activists from far-flung destinations like Jamshedpur and Guwahati. It has also taken a cue from Gujarat and is currently promoting a rainwater harvesting model in Cooch Behar. 
"We have already approached both local residents and the upcoming hotels to adopt rain water harvesting on rooftops that would, we believe, considerably reduce the pressure on ground water," rounds off Guha. - THE STATESMAN (NB EXTRA)

Sunday, 21 June 2009


Trinamul Congress gains strength in Tufanganj

The lone independent councillor of the Tufanganj Municipality Mr Biswajit Dey joined the Trinamul Congress today. By his joining the Trinamul Congress got its first councillor in the CPI-M run civic body.

There are 14 wards in the municipality. The CPI-M has 12 councillors and the Forward Bloc has one member.

District Trinamul Congress president Mr Rabindra Nath Ghosh said the elected councillor of Ward Number 11 of Tufanganj Municipality Mr Biswajit Dey had submitted an appeal to join the Trinamul Congress. Accordingly he has been included in the party today. On the occasion, a mass gathering was held at Tufanganj today.

Mr Ghosh claimed that not only Mr Dey but also 850 CPI-M activists from different areas of Tufanganj joined the Trinamul Congress today. "From now on it may be easier for us to organise our movement against the Leftists in Tufanganj", He hoped. In the next municipal election the Trinamul Congress may be able to pull down the CPI-M from the power of Tufanganj Municipality as it did in the two Panchayat Samitis of Tufanganj sub-division in the last three-tier panchayat elections, he added.

It may be mentioned here that till the last three-tier Panchayat elections Tufanganj was known as the red citadel of the CPI-M. In the panchayat elections the Trinamul Congress pulled down the CPI-M and captured power of the two Panchayat Samitis. They also got a number of seats in different Gram Panchayats. 


Cooch Behar poets honoured

Two eminent poets of Cooch Behar, Shashwati Deb and Amal Deb have been felicitated at a programme held in Kolkata recently. Academy of Bengali Poetry organised the programme at National Library of India Auditorium.

The director of National Library of India Kishor Krishna Bandyopadhyay, the president of Academy of Bengali Poetry Avijit Ghosh and the inaugurator Nirendra Nath Chakraborty signed the certificates of 'Saraswata Samman' that were awarded to the poets.

In his message, the governor of West Bengal Gopal Krishna Gandhi welcomed the initiative of the Academy of Bengali Poetry for its endeavour to consolidate friendship and solidarity among all communities of West Bengal through regular cultivation of literature and holding of "Kabi Sammelan"s (poetical conferences).

Shashwati Deb is the better half of a popular poet of North Bengal, Ranajit Deb. She is editing a literary weekly Tribritta since 1974. She is also a member of the Juvenile Justice Board, the vice-president of North East Development Academy, the associate editor of Uttar Banger Nirbachito Galpo, the assistant secretary of Cooch Behar Small Papers Society and the general secretary of Tribritta Award Committee. She is the author of Pahartolite Mohua Jhare, Cooch Behar Parichay and Dooars Jure Brishti Elo.

Amal Deb is a known and widely acclaimed poet of Cooch Behar. He is editing Adhunik Kabita Parichay for the last 19 years. He is the author of Tushare Padachinha, Tista Bazare Picnic, Hiranmoy Aakashe Raatri and Manchitra. Till now he edited three anthologies – Uttarer Nirbachito Kabita, Uttarbanger Nirbachito Kabita and Uttarbanger Shreshtha Kabita. ---- Tripti Bhaumik


A fruit lover at Subhas Pally of Hamiltonganj in the Dooars.


The trainees of the National Cadet Corps (NCC) parade past. In Cooch Behar on Sunday.

Friday, 19 June 2009


Trinamul Youth Congress supporters demonstrate at the gate of the WBSEDCL office against frequent power cuts. In Cooch Behar on Friday.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009


The abandoned Changrabandha Railway Station in Mekhliganj of Cooch Behar waits for restoration of railway service between Changrabandha and Siliguri.


Trinamul plan to boycott police in Cooch Behar

The Trinamul Congress is considering a plan to boycott police in Cooch Behar district. They are to opt for this plan as the police are acting following diktats of the CPI-M, Trinamul sources said. The call to boycott the police socially may come into effect from next Monday, they said.

President of Cooch Behar District Trinamul Congress, Mr Rabindra Nath Ghosh said the police are working under the behest of the CPI-M at everywhere in this district. Many false cases have been fabricated against Trinamul Congress activists. After any incident of political clash between the CPI-M and the Trinamul supporters the police run after the latter and initiate cases against them.

A number of Trinamul activists including Abu Bakkar Siddiqi of Deocharai, Debabrata Pramanik of Baraitola and Hafizul Mian of Ghoksadanga were killed in attacks made by CPI-M goons but the police are yet to arrest the actual offenders as they are enjoying CPI-M shelter, Mr Ghosh alleged.

The Trinamul leader said the police made it a habit to harass the Trinamul Congress leaders and supporters in any incident. Last Saturday, a gang of armed CPI-M men attacked Trinamul supporters during a meeting at Choukhusi Balarampur in Tufanganj. Complaints were lodged against 39 CPI-M men but no one was arrested till now. A CPI-M leader and Natabari MLA Mr Tamser Ali instigated the attack but no action was taken against him. Infuriated locals had confined him for a few hours inside the local CPI-M office. "We are not in a mood to allow such things for ever and to make things straight we are considering a plan to call for social-boycott the police", Mr Ghosh said.

Recalling the attack on district CPI-M secretary sometime back, Mr Ghosh said that was a baseless allegation and it was fabricated to harass the Trinamul Congress leaders and activists. Police handled the case in a partisan manner, he alleged.

On the otherhand, district CPI-M secretary Mr Chandi Pal said the police are not active enough and so the Opposition are creating troubles. The police should take prompt steps to control disturbing situations, he opined.

When asked, the Cooch Behar SP, Mr Devendra Prakash Singh said the police are active enough and they are working as needed. The police take actions following each complaint lodged, he claimed. Referring the incident of Choukhusi Balarampur the SP said police started a probe into the matter and measures would be taken soon. The accused may be arrested within a day or two, he indicated. He however denied making any comment over the proposed social boycott plan of the Trinamul Congress. 

Monday, 15 June 2009


LOVE THY NATURE – At Gorumara National Park on Monday.


Cop kills self at police station

A police constable allegedly committed suicide by his service rifle at Cooch Behar Kotowali police station today. A probe started to reveal whether it was a case of suicide or accidental death.

The constable, Pravas Chhetry (32) joined his duty today at about 1 p.m. Hearing a sound of firing at about 2-45 p.m. policemen and others rushed to the Shiva temple that is situated inside the police station complex. They saw the constable is lying on the portico of the temple in a pool of blood. Immediately he was shifted to Maharaja Jitendra Narayan Hospital where the doctors declared his brought dead. On being informed of the incident senior officials rushed to the spot.

A few policemen at the Kotowali police station said they suspect that Chhetry committed suicide by firing a bullet on his throat that gone through his head. But, no one was available to explain the actual cause of suicide of Pravas Chhetry.

Later, police sources said Chhetry was a resident of Kalimpong in Darjeeling. He joined at Cooch Behar Kotowali police station in 2007. Recently he was reportedly suffering from mental fatigue, as his son was ill at their Kalimpong residence.

The body of the constable have been sent for post-mortem. Police initiated a probe into the matter to know whether it was a case of suicide or death occurred by accidental firing. (END)

PHOTO : A man washes the blood stains from the stairs of the Shiva temple at Kotowali police station. In Cooch Behar on Monday.

Sunday, 14 June 2009


In search of flown in firewood in the swollen Tista.

Friday, 12 June 2009


Roadblock by Congress supporters at Harinchawra in Cooch Behar on Friday.


Rain cloud over the Torsa. In Cooch Behar on Friday evening.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009


Police outposts demanded in government hospitals

In the wake of recent spurt of violent incidents in the government hospitals the district health department requested the district administration to set up police outposts in the hospitals. District police sources said the proposal is now under consideration.

On Monday, alleging that three newborn babies died following bursting of an oxygen cylinder at Maharaja Jitendra Narayan Hospital (the district hospital of Cooch Behar), the activists of Trinamul Congress ransacked the office room of the hospital superintendent. They also staged a demonstration at the office of the chief medical officer of health in Cooch Behar.

Earlier, on 1 June, the activists of the Forward Bloc and the CPI-M demonstrated at Dinhata Sub-divisional Hospital. They were protesting against bad diets, poor services and irregularities. During the agitation they threw rotten potatoes and other rotten vegetables to the hospital superintendent and the doctors. A doctor was also manhandled. Following the incident the doctors of the hospital observed cease work at the outpatients department. They also abstained from attending their private chambers for a few days. Later, the hospital superintendent surrendered his responsibility and a new one was posted at his chair.

Mathabhanga Sub-divisional Hospital too suffers from regular troubles. It is hard to maintain normal functioning in that hospital as trouble may break out at any moment, a senior medical officer alleged.

Welcoming the district health department's initiative, the Indian Medical Association's Cooch Behar unit secretary Dr Amal Basak said there was a demand for a long to set up police outposts in the district hospital and all the sub-divisional hospitals. At MJN Hospital, room for a police picket was provided but it comes to no effect at the time of requirement. Dr Basak also said that ransacking of hospital properties and attack on doctors is non-bailable offence in several provinces like Andhra Pradesh. This rule should be introduced in West Bengal too, he opined.

The Cooch Behar CMOH, Dr Radha Raman Banik said he reported the recent incidents to the district magistrate Ms Smaraki Mahapatra and requested her to arrange setting up of police outposts at all the sub-divisional hospitals. As incidents of ransacking and attack on doctors are taking place very often the police outposts are required for quick intervention for the security of the doctors and to protect the hospital properties, he said.

A senior official of Cooch Behar District Police said the proposal is under consideration.

Monday, 8 June 2009


Trinamul demonstration at hospital

Alleging that three newborns died following bursting of an oxygen cylinder at MHN Hospital this morning, the activists of Trinamul Chhatra Parishad ransacked the office room of the hospital superintendent today. Chhatra Parishad activists too demonstrated there. Trinamul Congress supporters submitted a memorandum to the Cooch Behar CMOH demanding punishment to the offenders involved with the death of the newborns.

Trinamul Congress leader Mr Tarun Roy said they submitted the memorandum to stage protest against the incident that claimed three lives. He however denied of involvement of any Trinamul activist with the ransacking of the hospital.

Cooch Behar CMOH Dr Radha Raman Banik said a probe was ordered into the entire incident. Though he admitted of bursting of an oxygen cylinder during its installation he denied its connection with the death of any newborn. Refuting the allegation of death of three newborns he claimed that only one newborn baby was died in the ward. "One cannot extend guarantee of no death in any hospital anywhere", he said. A complaint was lodged with the police in connection with the rampage, the CMOH added.

Trinamul Congress sources alleged that three newborns - an one-month-old, Aman of Khagrabari, a 3-day-old of Sitai and an one-day-old kid of Baxirhat died when an oxygen cylinder exploded at the children's ward in MJN Hospital this morning.


Old dykes : Mathabhanga in danger

The sub-divisional town of Mathabhanga is suffering from fear of floods. The embankments of the Mansai and the Sutunga are saving the town for years from the inflated rivers. But, encroachers now occupy a large stretch of these embankments. Political blame game is on but no visible initiative has been taken yet to save the citizens of the town during the monsoon.

Embankments as long as about 5-kilometre are protecting the town from the Mansai and the Sutunga. No maintenance was done for a long to strengthen the embankments. Encroachers captured the dyke upto Shaktinagar Colony in Ward Number 3 of the town along the Sutunga. They breached the embankment to make dwellings and dug out huge volume of earth. The situation is similar at Ward Number 2 along the embankment of the Mansai. The irresponsible act made the embankments weak and it is inviting disaster to the town and the residents.

A senior irrigation division official said the department needs co-operation of the civic body and the administration to make the embankments encroachment free. He however assured that there is no fear of any danger as the irrigation personnel keep regular watch on the embankments that are saving the town.

District Trinamul Congress vice-president Mr Girindra Nath Barman alleged that the CPI-M is providing shelter to the illegal occupants only to keep their vote-bank intact. The number of encroachers is increasing under the CPI-M's encouragement, he alleged. But, the embankments should be cleared and properly renovated in the greater interest of the citizens of the town, Mr Barman opined.

Another Trinamul Congress leader, Mr Shibendra Nath Roy demanded that the embankments should be cleared of any encroachment. As there exists no arrangement of illumination along the embankments the area has turned into den of miscreants and anti-social elements, he alleged. The civic body should take notice of the situation, he opined.

The chairman of Mathabhanga Municipality Mr Arun Chaudhury said the irrigation division is the caretaker of these embankments. They were asked several times to evict the illegal encroachers but they did nothing. If they take any initiative to clear and strengthen the embankments the civic body would extend helping hands, he said.

Mr Chaudhury, who is also a senior CPI-M leader, denied that the CPI-M was providing shelter to the encroachers in political interest. 

Friday, 5 June 2009


Demands to new railway minister

Following Miss Mamata Bannerjee's re-entry into Union cabinet as the railway minister expectations and demands are increasing in different quarters.

In his letter to the Union railway minister an ex-MP (Rajya Sabha) of Cooch Behar Mr Prasenjit Barman demanded introduction of double broad gauge line from New Jalpaiguri to New Bongaigaon, completion of the new broad gauge line from New Maynaguri to Jogighopa, restoration of Malbazar-Changrabandha railway route, setting up of a coach manufacturing unit at New Cooch Behar, extension of better railway facilities upto Bamanhat from Alipurduar Junction, extension of Uttar Banga Express and Kanchan Kanya Express upto Dinhata, stoppage of Howrah-Guwahati Garib Rath at New Cooch Behar, manning of all railway level crossings and setting up of offices of Railway Recruitment Board and Railway Service Commission in Cooch Behar.

In another letter, district Trinamul Congress president Mr Rabindra Nath Ghosh appealed to their Didi to set up a coach-repairing factory at New Cooch Behar. It may create vast opportunities for the unemployed youths of this area, he believes. He also mentioned the need of introduction of BG double line upto New Bongaigaon, daily running of Uttar Banga Express, speedy completion of New Maynaguri-Jogighopa railway project, setting up of an office of Railway Recruitment Board in Cooch Behar, introduction of intercity super-fast train service from Cooch Behar town station to Malda via Siliguri, new passenger train from Bamanhat to Baharampur via Raiganj and Malda, a new Dinhata-New Delhi super-fast train, restoration of Changrabandha-Malbazar train service and stoppage of Garib Rath at New Cooch Behar.

President of Cooch Behar Zilla Byabosayee Samity, Mr Bimal Kumar Saha too placed an 11-point charter of demands to the railway minister. In his letter he pointed out the need of introduction of computerised ticket booking counters at Dinhata, Mathabhanga, Tufanganj and Mekhliganj. Making of Cooch Behar and New Cooch Behar railway stations as model stations, as promised previously, also came up in Mr Saha's letter.

Thursday, 4 June 2009


Application forms for admission being issued under police vigilance following last two days violence in Dinhata College. In Dinhata on Thursday.


Plight of villagers of Bandherkuthi

Bandherkuthi is a small village under Gitaldaha-II gram panchayat of Dinhata-I block. One has to arrive there after crossing the Dharala river by country boat from Kasemghat of Gitaldaha and then about 5-kilometre on foot along the alluvial land of the river upto Giridhari river. From here one have to walk again a few kilometres to reach the village. The area is very close to the Bangladesh border.

Once, Bandherkuthi was an intact village but due to the change of course of the Dharala the village is now divided in two parts. It is now resembles like an island. In total, about 40 families reside in this God's forgotten village. The villagers have no clear idea from where our country is separated from Bangladesh.

Like other underdeveloped and underprivileged villages the residents of Bandherkuthi too suffer from various problems. The indifference of the authorities made them to depend on neighbouring Bangladesh for different requirements.

As there is almost no road for plying of vehicles even rickshaw-vans, the villagers have to go on foot along the earthen ridge of farmlands to move from one place to another. Even during any election no leader or high official takes the pain to visit this area, complained the poor villagers. There is no modern facility like school, health centre, electricity, market, and drinking water supply in this area. The situation is similar in adjacent Jaridharla and Daribash villages.

During any emergent situation the villagers of Bandherkuthi have to go to Dinhata sub-divisional hospital after crossing two rivers and a few kilometres of alluvial lands and earthen ridges. Due to the difficulties they have to depend on the hospital at Mogulhat in Bangladesh, which is comparatively nearest than that of India's. Even, during the floods the villagers very often go to school buildings or other safer places in the neighbouring country. As no barbed wire fencing has been laid in this area to separate the two countries, the villagers of Bandherkuthi consider the people of that country as their actual neighbours.

Admitting the problems, the pradhan of Gitaldaha-II gram panchayat, Md Abdul Majid Mian said the village is like two divided islands and the villagers are deprived of many legitimate facilities. Though the matter was conveyed to the higher authorities several times but nothing was done yet, he said.

District Trinamul Congress secretary Mr Partha Nath Sarkar said they are planning a massive movement for the development of the area.

Dinhata-I Panchayat Samity sources said initiative was taken for setting up a subsidiary health centre and a Madhyamik Shiksha Kendra. A senior official of district administration too said that a proposal for construction of a bridge and a MSK is under consideration. However, the work may commence after receiving of funds, he added.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009


Leftists' demonstration against food dept

Activists of three constituent parties of the Left Front – the Forward Bloc, the CPI and the CPI-M staged a demonstration at the office of the food and supply office in Dinhata today. They also submitted a memorandum to the circle inspector of the department, Mr Tapas Sen. The stir was organised over complaints related to issuing of ration cards and bureaucratic indifference of a section of officials.

District Forward Bloc secretary Mr Udayan Guha alleged that about 450 ration cards are lying in the files of the office for delivery. More than 4,500 applications for new cards are also pending in the office. Due to the ongoing price hike of essential commodities the people are suffering without ration cards. Now, about 6,000 new cards are needed for the residents in Dinhata, he claimed.

A large number of tribal people of Atialdanga village are yet to get ration cards but no official initiative has been taken so far to provide them of the facility, Mr Guha added.

Mr Guha warned that the Left Front would initiate a massive movement if the food and supply department fails to meet the genuine demands of the people within a month. CPI leader Mr Pallab Chaudhury and CPI-M leader Mr Tarapada Barman also spoke on the occasion.

On the otherhand, the members of the SUCI sponsored Aloo-Pat-Dhan Chashi Sangram Committee staged a roadblock at Dinhata Chaupathi today. Traffic movement was disrupted for a long due to the agitation. The farmers were demonstrating demanding compensation to the growers of Boro variety of paddy that had to suffer due the smut of rice. They also demanded punishment of the dishonest dealers who sold the inferior quality of paddy seeds from their outlets.

At Court Morh in Cooch Behar too, the farmers staged a roadblock and blazed smut affected paddy plants to ventilate their grievances. 

Tuesday, 2 June 2009


Crowd of students at a college in Cooch Behar to collect application forms for admission. On Tuesday.


Doctors' agitation paralyses hospital in Dinhata

COOCH BEHAR, June 2: The doctors of Dinhata Sub-divisional Hospital observed a cease-work agitation at the hospital today. As a part of their agitation they denied attending the outpatients department (OPD). Due to their strike the normal functioning of the hospital suffered a lot today. The doctors however ran a parallel 'outdoor' at the hospital today to attend the emergency cases. The doctors observed the strike following yesterday's demonstration organised by the Forward Bloc and the CPI-M.

Yesterday, the FB and CPI-M activists led by Mr Udayan Guha and Mr Benu Badal Chakraborty staged demonstrations at the Dinhata Sub-divisional Hospital. They were protesting against bad diets, poor services and irregularities. During the agitation some agitated men threw rotten potatoes and other rotten vegetables to the hospital superintendent and the doctors. They picked up those rotten items from the hospital kitchen. The superintendent, Dr Pranab Kumar Roy assured the agitators that he would convey their grievances and complaints to the higher authorities.

Today the health service doctors of the hospital observed a daylong strike alleging that during the demonstration doctors on duty were manhandled. They demanded security of the doctors on duty.

The local private practitioners of Dinhata however attended their chambers as usual today. Condemning the attack on doctors at the hospital, IMA member Dr Bidyut Kamal Saha said the private practitioners attended the patients at their chambers due to social responsibility. "We do not support the hooliganism but as we are local citizens we cannot abstain from our duty to the suffering people", Dr Saha added.

When asked, the Cooch Behar CMOH Dr Radha Raman Banik said the doctors of Dinhata hospital observed a token strike at the OPD today but attended emergency patients. They are suffering from fear psychosis. A police picket has been posted at the hospital premises from yesterday evening.

Dr Banik said the superintendent of Dinhata hospital Dr Pranab Kumar Roy expressed his unwillingness to continue in his existing post. He already submitted a letter conveying his desire. Dr Roy is now under medical care at MJN Hospital in Cooch Behar, the CMOH said. Dr Sujan Mandol too was manhandled during the demonstration, he added. Following yesterday's happenings he ordered an inquiry into the incident, Dr Banik said.

The CMOH said he reported the matter to the district magistrate Ms Smaraki Mahapatra today and asked her to arrange setting up of police outposts at all the sub-divisional hospitals. 

Monday, 1 June 2009


Madhyamik passed students of Nripendra Narayan Memorial School demonstrate at their school gate demanding admission in Higher Secondary section. In Cooch Behar on Monday.


No hospitality in government hospitals

One Mrs Prabha Roy of Baneswar received serious injury when a chunk of the damaged roof came down on her head at the female medical ward at MJN Hospital in Cooch Behar today. She came to the hospital to visit her ill daughter. Mrs Roy is now under medical care in the hospital. The Cooch Behar CMOH, Dr Radha Raman Banik ordered a probe into the matter and instructed repairing of the damaged portion of the roof.

In Dinhata, activists of the Forward Bloc and the CPI-M led by Mr Udayan Guha and Mr Benu Badal Chakraborty staged demonstrations at the Dinhata Sub-divisional Hospital today. They were protesting against bad diets, poor services and irregularities. During the agitation some agitated men threw rotten potatoes to the hospital superintendent and the doctors. The superintendent, Dr Pranab Kumar Roy assured the agitators that he would convey their grievances and complaints to the higher authorities.


Demand to restore the status of North Bengal State Library

The then ruler of Cooch Behar, Maharaja Nripendra Narayan had established a library in 1870. It was then known as Cooch Behar State Library. In 1969, the State Library and the Cooch Behar District Library had been amalgamated and renamed as North Bengal State Library.

Till 1969, prior to the merger, the old library was enjoying 'A grade' status, as it was a State Library. But after soon after the merger of the State Library with the District Library its status was degraded to 'B grade' as other district libraries of the state. Since then, the matter has been brought to the notice of all concerned authorities on several occasions but nothing was done to restore the status of the NBSL.

There are more than 84,000 books in the North Bengal State Library. Among the books 16,000 are rare ones as those are 100 to 200 years old. There are many rare manuscripts too.

As the NBSL is a huge storehouse of books, magazines, periodicals, manuscripts, scriptures and rare scripts, it is hard for the readers or booklovers to find out a particular book. The existing index card system is not sufficient for searching of books, said several readers and researchers. Computerisation may ease the situation. After completion of the computerisation the readers would be able to get the right books of their choice. At the same time the readers or researchers of any country can be able to get any information of the books kept in this library through Internet.

The Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), Kolkata, a Central government unit, already completed digitisation of about 4,000 rare Bengali books. The digitisation work had started in June 2005. But, the vast collections of English rare books are yet to be digitised.

The state governor Mr Gopal Krishna Gandhi had visited the North Bengal State Library on 6 May. The visit was not in his pre-scheduled programme and so the administration and the authorities of the library were found unprepared to receive the VVIP guest.

During his short visit, the governor had inquired the present situation of the NBSL. He asked the librarian Mr Ranu Dey about the age-old manuscripts and rare books kept in the library since the Raj days and the procedure of their maintenance and preservation.

As the governor reportedly got displeased seeing the deplorable condition of maintenance of the rare books, he asked the librarian to submit a detailed report on the condition of the library including its staff pattern and the requirement of annual funds for purchasing of furniture and books and preservation of rare books and manuscripts. When asked, the librarian Mr Ranu Dey said that following the governor's desire the report have been submitted to the state government a few days ago.

It was learnt that the NBSL receives about Rs 50,000 a year for buying of books, newspapers and magazines. It also receives Rs 5,000 for binding, preservation and maintenance of the books but the actual requirement is much more than that. There are two posts lying vacant for a long in the sanctioned 12 posts. As it is a state library it needs more staff, opined a few library workers.