Friday, 28 August 2009


'Greater Cooch Behar' : Merger Agreement Day observed

After splitting into two groups over method and way of movement about four years ago the proponents of the separate 'Greater Cooch Behar' state joined hands again.

On Friday, the activists of the Greater Cooch Behar Democratic Party (GCDP) and The Greater Cooch Behar Peoples' Association (GCPA) jointly observed the day of the historic agreement by which the erstwhile princely state of Cooch Behar merged with India. The agreement was inked between the then ruler of Cooch Behar, Maharaja Jagaddipendra Narayan and the representative of Government of India VP Menon on 28 August 1949.

The main programme was staged at Shahid Baag in Cooch Behar. Not only the GCDP and the GCPA but also activists of a few other similar minded organisations like the Kamtapur Peoples' Party attended the programme. They also observed the day at different areas in the district.

President of the GCDP Mr Ashutosh Barma said according to the agreement it was expected that Cooch Behar would become a C-category state under the framework of Indian Constitution but due to some conspiracy it was transformed into a mere district of West Bengal. The loyal subjects of the Cooch Behar State never acknowledged it from their hearts.

Mr Barma said the government of India should observe the historic day of the signing of the agreement but they never take any initiative about it. "Today we are observing the day but in future the government should do it. Otherwise we will have to organise a massive movement", he said.

Today, the proponents of the 'Greater Cooch Behar' state organised a daylong programme after hoisting of the National flag and their organisational flag. During their addresses the leaders highlighted the demand for the proposed 'Greater Cooch Behar' state. They also paid homage to the recently demised princess of Cooch Behar royal family, Gayatri Devi.

Sunday, 23 August 2009


Madok Birodhi Divas in Cooch Behar

The Heritage Society of Cooch Behar has called upon all to observe 24 August as Prohibition Day in Cooch Behar.

Kumar Gajendra Narayan (Senior) was the great grandson of Maharaja Harendra Narayan. He had born on 24 August at Patakura in Cooch Behar. Being a barrister he came back from England and married Savitri Devi, the second daughter of the great social reformer of Bengal and a religious leader of Brahmo sect, Brahmananda Kesav Chandra Sen. The elder sister of Savitri Devi was Maharani Sunity Devi, the wife of Maharaja Nripendra Narayan.

On behalf of the HSCB, Mr Arup Jyoti Majumder said Kumar Gajendra Narayan (Senior) had initiated a movement for prohibition to keep the youths away from intoxicants 122 years ago. He was the founder of the temple of Nava Bidhan Brahmo Samaj, Keshav Ashram, Arya Naree Samaj, Brahmo Pally, Brahmo Library and Brahmo Boarding. He also established a technical school for the women.

On 20 June 1887 he established the Surapaan Nibarani Sava to save the poor people from the addiction of toxicants. It turned into a widespread movement in Cooch Behar. As the movement for prohibition has never lost its appeal the Heritage Society of Cooch Behar called upon all to observe the birthday of Kumar Gajendra Narayan (Senior) as Madok Birodhi Divas in Cooch Behar, Mr Majumder said. 

Friday, 21 August 2009


Flood : Army's rescue operation continues

The overall flood situation in Cooch Behar district has been improved a little today. The water levels of almost all the rivers have shown a downward trend. But, the water in the Teesta is still flowing over the danger mark. Yellow signal has been flashed on that river. Yesterday it was Red. The water level again started going upward from this afternoon. To add insult to injury, soil erosion began afresh.

The jawans of the Army are conducting rescue operation at several waterlogged villages in Mekhliganj sub-division from this morning. They are doing the job armed with three speedboats and a few country boats.

The district magistrate of Cooch Behar Ms Smaraki Mahapatra said more than 400 water-marooned persons have been rescued. They have been shifted to relief camps. Already 29 rescue shelters opened in that area and a few more would start operating soon, she said. The situation has improved and it is now under control. They requested the state government to provide more relief materials like tarpaulin sheets, rice and contingency fund to meet the situation if it turns grave in near future, Ms Mahapatra added.

Earlier, the civil administration of the district failed to rescue the people from the submerged areas because they failed to convince those people to come out from the flooded areas. At last, finding no other alternative they called the Army yesterday to help the civil administration. The rescue operation started this morning. It was learnt that still about 1,500 people are waiting to be rescued.

On the otherhand, the Block Development Officer of Mekhliganj, Mr Shuvashis Ghosh and other officials today tried to convince the marooned people to co-operate with the Army jawans to rescue them. They conveyed their appeal using loudspeakers. As there is a weather forecast about more heavy rainfall during the next 48 hours they asked the stranded people to come out from the submerged areas to take shelter in relief camps.

It was learnt that many dwellings of the lower lands especially of alluvial land of the Teesta damaged in the flood like situation and about 30 cattle floated away towards Bangladesh by the current of the river water. The most affected areas are Paniyar-char, 40-Nijtaraf, Hossener-char and Hakimer-char. 

Thursday, 20 August 2009


Flood situation grave in Cooch Behar, Army called

Due to incessant downpour in the catchment areas water levels of all the rivers in Cooch Behar are rising. The water levels of Teesta, Torsa and Mansai already crossed danger marks. Residents of the areas near the rivers have been alerted and advised to shift to safer places. The district administration called the Army to start rescue operation in Mekhliganj to save the stranded people.

As the water levels have crossed danger marks Red signal has been flashed on the Teesta and the Jaldhaka in Mekhliganj sub-division and on the Mansai in Mathabhanga sub-division upto the Bangladesh border. Yellow signal has been flashed on the Torsa in Cooch Behar Sadar-sub-division. Water levels of other rivers like Kaljani, Raidak-I and Raidak-II are also rising rapidly towards the danger mark.

The district magistrate of Cooch Behar Ms Smaraki Mahapatra has called the Army to rescue the marooned people of areas like 25-Teesta Payosthi, 40-Payosthi, Nijtaraf, Kuchlibari and Paniyarchar in Mekhliganj. It was learnt that the Army left to the area from Binnaguri.

When asked, the DM said as the water level of the Teesta crossed the danger mark they called the Army to help the administration to rescue the marooned people. About 1,500 people got water-marooned in an alluvial land of the river. On the otherhand, about 400 families have been rescued from different areas in Tufanganj there and shifted to higher areas, she added. The administration is ready to combat any situation. Adequate quantity of relief materials is there to help the distressed people, she claimed.

Local sources said that more than 5,000 people got marooned at Mekhliganj as the water of the inflated Teesta sneaked into the lower areas. More than 1,000 residents of villages in Tufanganj-II block got stranded in the overflowed river water. 

Tuesday, 18 August 2009


Plan to shut down 4 blood banks and launch malaria-testing labs

The state government is going to shut down four blood banks that are not attached with any government hospital. Presently, there are 107 blood banks in the state. The four that are identified for close down are suffering from different technical problems including lack of adequate equipments and accessories. Lack of necessary infrastructure is also a reason for which the government prompted to take the step.

On Tuesday, during his visit to Maharaja Jitendra Narayan Hospital Blood Bank in Cooch Behar, the joint director of state health services, Mr Amar Mukherjee told the reporters about the government's decision. The measures are to be taken following the guidelines and norms of National blood transfusion and blood bank policy, he said. He however denied naming the four blood banks.

It was learnt from health department sources that there are complaints against the tainted four blood banks. An inquiry is also going on against the blood banks. Soon after receiving of the inquiry reports the government would take steps against them. On the otherhand, the government may ask the blood banks that are not associated with hospitals to improve their infrastructures, the sources added.

Mr Mukherjee expressed his satisfaction by observing the conditions and facilities of the MJN Hospital Blood Bank. He also visited the instruments, equipments and facilities for testing of HIV/AIDS.

As Cooch Behar, Jalpaiguri and Alipurduar are the most malaria prone areas of north Bengal, the joint director of health services, Mr Mukherjee said that sophisticated and ultramodern facilities to examine blood samples are to be launched in the government hospitals in this region. Presently, complicated tests of blood samples are done at outer laboratories and it takes a lot of time to get the results. After launching of the proposed ultramodern laboratories it would be easier for the doctors to diagnosis the suspected malaria patients, he believes.

Monday, 17 August 2009


River water levels rising in Cooch Behar

Incessant downpour at the plains and also on the catchment areas turned the rivers inflated in Cooch Behar district. As the water levels have crossed the danger marks Red signal has been flashed on the Teesta and Yellow signal on the Torsa.

Rainfall in the past 24 hours (till this morning) recorded at Tufanganj 300-mm, in Cooch Behar 121-mm and at Mathabhanga 49-mm, according to Flood Control Room sources.

Red signal have been flashed on the inflated Teesta at Mekhliganj upto Bangladesh border. The irrigation division is keeping constant watch on the situation.

In Cooch Behar town the Torsa has crossed the Yellow danger mark. Following orders issued by the authorities concerned the ferry services at Fanci-ghat and Hanskhawa-ghat have remained closed since yesterday.

Water levels of Raidak-I, Raidak-II, Kaljani, Ghargharia and Mansai are also rising. All the SDOs and the BDOs in the district have been asked to keep watch on the situation according to the Cooch Behar ADM (D) Mr PL Mahapatra.

At Mekhliganj sub-division, the areas like 25-Teesta Payosthi, 40-Payosthi, 72-Nijtaraf, Kuchlibari and Paniyarchar turned submerged by overflowed water of the Teesta. Many dwellings of the lower areas got submerged.

A senior irrigation division official hoped that as the downpour stopped from this afternoon the situation may turn to better very soon. 

Friday, 7 August 2009


Trinamul Congress demands exchange of enclaves

In a bid to make the party popular among the residents of the chhitmahals (enclaves) the Trinamul Congress adopted a plan to organise a massive movement highlighting the plights of those people who live almost literally in 'no men's lands' encircled by mainland of another country.

Sending a memorandum to the Union home minister Mr P Chdambaram the Trinamul Congress demanded exchange of the enclaves of India and Bangladesh as early as possible. They also demanded laying of the barbed wire fencing along the International border maintaining the scheduled distance from the zero-point of the border.

President of Cooch Behar district Trinamul Congress, Mr Rabindra Nath Ghosh said there were 131 Indian chhitmahals in Bangladesh territory and 95 Bangladeshi chhitmahals inside Indian territory. The population of Indians in the enclaves is about 2.5-lakh. He alleged that the residents of Bangladeshi enclaves enjoy facilities like ration card and voter card from India but the residents of the Indian enclaves have to live almost in a countryless situation. They have to live without basic facilities like hospitals, schools and security. Bangladeshi miscreants are stealing their cattle and lift young girls and they have to live under constant fear of attacks, dacoities and anti-social activities.

The Trinamul leader said in 1992 at the time of handing over of Tinbigha corridor to Bangladesh it was announced that the enclaves of the two neighbouring countries would be exchanged by two years but nothing was done till now. He demanded the Union home minister to take initiative to implement the promises.

According to schedule the barbed wire fencing was to be laid along the border at a distance of 150-yards from the zero-point of the border but at many places it was laid upto 500-yards from the zero-point. The Indian residents are the worst sufferers, as they had to leave the lands that are mostly cultivable lands. This indiscrimination should be corrected immediately, Mr Ghosh urged.

The Trinamul leader also pointed out that time schedule at many of the border gates along the barbed wire fencing never being maintained. As a result the locals have to suffer to attend schools and markets. They have to face difficulties to go even to the hospitals due to closed gates. The BSF should be instructed to maintain the time schedule and the gates should be kept opened from 6 a.m to 6 p.m., he demanded. As the BSF jawans come from other provinces there is a regular problem of communication due to difference of languages, he said. The Union home minister should look into this problem and arrange deploying of BSF jawans who know Bengali, the Trinamul Congress leader appealed.