May 23, 2009



KOLKATA: In the haste to toady up to Mamata Banerjee and her MPs, the corporate media have conveniently let slip of the fact that in 1977, then Congress government had exceeded its quinquennial term and was banking on a new draconian Constitutional proviso (i.e., Amendment 46) to see it carry on with depleted numbers. 

The Trinamuli supremo has repeatedly ‘quoted’ members of the fawning Sushil Samaj’ of right-wing, self-proclaimed ‘intellectuals,’ that dates for the Assembly election in Bengal, due in 2011, following the Lok Sabha poll results, would be brought forward using Art 356, ‘an instrument which the Left had used in 1977 to pull down a Congress government,’ a double-lie.

It was the then Congress-supportive CPI that brought the issue up the Assembly in March of 1977 (the CPI–M had rightly chosen to boycott what was an Assembly set up in the ugly aftermath of mass-rigging in 1972).  The CPI legislators pointed out to the Speaker of the anomaly going on and also adjunctly referred to the results of the Lok Sabha elections where the non-Congress opposition had won 38 seats leaving Congress lagging way behind with four.

The 42nd Amendment was to be used principally to allow Congress-run state governments in five other states also to have an extended lease of draconian lives for six years.  The Amendment was hastily passed in both houses of parliament.  The CPI (M) had then pointed out that the defeat of the Congress in the Lok Sabha polls had been a popular verdict against all draconian measures inclusive of the counter-democratic and anti-people Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA) and the 42nd Amendment of the Indian Constitution, and all other such measures designed to build up an authoritarian rĂ©gime at the centre, leaving the states’ rights severely curtailed.

Following the pressure of the CPI (M) and five other Left parties, the new union government passed in parliament the 43rd Amendment that made the earlier amendment null and void, opening the way out for holding of elections in due time not only in Bengal but in other states as well, states that were due to go for polls.  President’s rule was clamped on in Bengal.  Elections were held.  The rest is history, and the annals of people’s struggle can never be distorted -- for the sake of trifling, opportunistic, and short-term political mileage -- enshrined as the events of the past are forever in the history of the nation’s body politic.  


KOLKATA: The Bengal Left Front and the Bengal Left Front government would continue to work with renewed vigour amidst ever wider sections of the mass of the people.  Biman Basu, LF chairman apprised the media of this at a packed briefing in the evening of 21 May 2009 at the Muzaffar Ahmad Bhavan following a meting of the Left Front.

Biman said that in the three phases of the Lok Sabha elections, scores and dozens of CPI (M) and LF workers/ supporters have been killed in clashes, pre- and post-poll.  He said that since the LF has bowed humbly to the popular verdict, such attacks from the Trinamuli-Congress-Maoist-SUCI combination were not really called for.  Biman called upon everyone concerned towards struggling for peace to prevail in the towns, cities, and in the vast countryside of Bengal.

Biman said that the Left Front had fought in a united way and even those constituents, who had no candidates at the Lok Sabha elections, nevertheless had their leadership touring the districts, campaigning deep and wide for the Left Front per se.  The LF meeting extended its felicitation to the people of Bengal for casting a large number of votes in favour of the Left Front in the circumstances of adversarial nature that prevailed.

The LF won 1, 85, 03,157 votes making it 43.30% of the votes cast.  The alliance of Pradesh Congress and the Trinamul Congress added up to a total of 1, 90, 70, 604 votes i.e., 45.67%.  The SUCI won five lakh 70 thousand-odd votes.  The BJP won 26, 25, 182 (06.14%) votes, while others including independents won 04.9% votes.

Each of the LF constituents would work out the post-poll review.  Bi-lateral talks would then be held amongst the LF parties.  Issues of commonality in the review and in the talks would be discussed at a LF meeting to be held in the near future, informed Biman Basu.  The LF meeting has also asked the LF government to speed up work on all pending governmental projects.

Biman said that there were no circumstances in Bengal for clamping down Art 356 of the Indian Constitution for advancing the dates for the Assembly polls.  He added to say that the Left Front had never asked for any such advancing of election dates in 1977 as was being drummed out in the corporate media; indeed, he dubbed the wide campaign misinformation against the LF as a big lie with a political motivation. 

The senior CPI (M) leader also refused to be pulled into the reactionary debate over the issue whether any particular community had or had not voted in full measure for the Left Front this time around, retorting that the CPI (M) and the LF worked for the masses of the people irrespective any qualification.


RGGVY to cover 244 mouzas this year

Kolkata May 22, 2009:The West Bengal power department, the implementing agency of Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana is planning to cover the 244 mouzas which could not be covered in the first phase of the rural electrification programme this year.

“We will be covering the remaining 244 mouzas that could not be covered under mouza electrification programme in the first phase due to disputes and litigation in the second phase of the RGGVY programme. By May 2009, having 6394 mouzas electified, a total of 37,666 mouzas or 99.36 per cent of the state’s 37, 910 mouzas will be electrified,” informed Sunil Mitra, additional chief secretary, department of power and non-conventional energy, West Bengal at an interactive seminar organised by the Merchants' Chamber of Commerce.

In the second phase starting this year state power department plans to intensify the electricity distribution networks in 81,967 rural habitations in 33,000 mouzas in all the 18 districts in the state, to provide access to electricity to a further 52,89,607 rural households.

By March 2009, because of the RGGVY project, around 45 lakh rural households become metered consumers of WBSEDCL.The total provisioned fund of Rs 3000 crore has been mobilised, work orders have also been issued. “We expect to complete the task by next two three years,” said Mitra.

Sipping Spirits plans rice-based distillery in Bengal

KOLKATA: Goa-based Sipping Spirits on Thursday said it plans to set up a rice-based distillery in West Bengal and a survey for the feedstock availability is being carried out.

"We are carrying out survey for availability of broken rice in the districts which would be used as feedstock for the distillery,'' Sipping Spirits Director, Mr Prasanna Natarajan said here at the launch of a new vodka brand.

The 15 kl per day distillery project would cost Rs 20 crore and would be a commodity business for the company to supply of extra-neutral alcohol to other spirit makers. **We are not going to market any branded product produced here.

It will be a commodity business for us as grain-based feedstock is gaining market,'' Mr Natarajan said. The molasses available in the country was of poor quality and in the next few years its use in distilleries was likely to decrease to 50 per cent fro m 80 per cent used now, he said.

Sipping Spirit's Goa facility is a bottling plant for the Netherlands-based Resolute brand vodka. With lowering of import duty of alcoholic spirits to 150-165 per cent down from 212-525 per cent more brands were pushing their products into fast expandin g market. - PTI

West Bengal shelves plan for Kharagpur city centre

KOLKATA: The Left Front government in West Bengal is likely to be more circumspect in acquiring land for industries and infrastructure development projects, in the light of the Lok Sabha election debacle.

The Cabinet, which met on Thursday for the first time after the results were declared, decided to set aside, for now, plans for creating a city centre on 120 acres at Kharagpur in Paschim Medinipur district, after some ministers expressed reservations about the project.

Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee told his Cabinet colleagues that there was need for more details of the nature of land, and for an assessment of job opportunities the project would generate.

It was also decided that the Land Use Board, tasked with the preparation of a map delineating land-use patterns, be brought under the Land and Land Reforms Department, instead of the Industries and Commerce Department.

Leaders of the Left parties and some ministers felt that the political implications of the debate on acquisition of farmland for industries were evident in the poll outcome. Apprehensions of land-grabbing seemed to have weighed heavily on the minds of the rural electorate, especially the minorities, and affected the Left Front’s performance.

That State-specific issues played a critical role in the elections, despite the wave across much of the country in favour of a stable secular government at the Centre, has been underscored by the leadership of the all Left parties in a preliminary assessment of the results.

To ensure a political consensus on the issues on hand, it was decided that the Chief Minister prepare a note on all works awaiting implementation in the next two years of the government’s term.

The note would be placed before the Cabinet after discussions by its core committee so that the ministers representing the various Front constituents could order their priorities and determine their line of action.


State government to continue distributing rice for Rs 2 a kg

Kolkata: After the humiliating electoral setbacks in the Lok Sabha polls, the Left Front government in Bengal has another serious concern at hand — a steep price rise that is rattling the common man.

Not taking any chances, the state government is planning to take up a few measures to tackle the situation. This was announced on Thursday by Minister for Finance Asim Dasgupta at Writers’ Buildings where he held a meeting with Minister for Food and Supplies Paresh Adhikary. “The issue of price rise has become a serious one and the chief minister has expressed grave concern over this. He is going to call a meeting with all concerned on this issue very soon,” Dasgupta said.

He, however, said that price rise was not confined to West Bengal only. “So many factors are there that determine prices. Every state has been affected by this menace. We will have to take effective measures to tackle it,” the minister said. What has become a more serious concern for the state government is the rising price of potatoes and green vegetables. Potato is now selling at Rs 16 per kg at various markets of Kolkata.

Dasgupta said the state government would be able to achieve the target of procuring 16 lakh tonnes of rice, as per the target set for this year. “We have already been able to procure 11 lakh tonnes of rice and we are sure that we will be able to procure the remaining 5 lakh tonnes in the next five months,” Dasgupta said. The finance minister said the state government was determined to continue with the scheme of distributing rice for Rs 2 a kg among the poor. “We have already allotted Rs 422 crore for this scheme,” the minister said.

Meanwhile, the state government is also planning to build more godowns for foodgrains. At present, there are 174 such godowns in the state.


Rs 1000 cr Health city in Bardhaman, will require 8000

New Delhi, May 21st, 2009: FAITH Healthcare Private Limited, one of India’s first private Human Development consulting companies has announced the launch of an Rs.1000 crore Health City Project at Bardhaman, West Bengal.

FAITH Healthcare, which has been actively involved in delivering human development projects working in partnership many global developmental organizations, has entered into a Public Private Partnership with the Bardhaman Development Authority in association with Bengal CES Infratech Pvt. Ltd. to develop the world class Health City at Bardhaman.

The project once completed is expected to generate approximately 8 million man-days of work during the execution phase over the next 5 years and provide direct employment to around 1400 people for operation and maintenance of the Health City. Once completed the Health City would require around 8000 professionals including doctors, health specialists, nurses paramedics and other support staff.

The Health City will comprise a state-of-the-art 500 bed specialty hospital, Center of Excellence for various Super Specialties, , Pharmacy, Telehealth Institute, Rehabilitation center, Medical college, Mother and Child health center hostels for staff & students, convenience stores, recreational facilities and other civic amenities.

Prof. S. S. Chakraborty, Chairman, FAITH Healthcare Private Limited said “We will march ahead with faith and commitment to Human Development through our initiatives…”.