February 8, 2011

West Bengal Fisheries minister Kiranmoy Nanda attacked by Trinamool

Kolkata, Jan 27 (PTI): West Bengal Fisheries Minister Kiranmoy Nanda today alleged he was attacked by supporters of the opposition Trinamool Congress while returning from a meeting in his Assembly constituency of Mugberia in East Midnapore district.

Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee told reporters that he had "heard" about the incident.

Nanda was on his way back yesterday after attending a Socialist Party meeting at Mugberia when some Trinamool Congress supporters waved black flags at him while some others pelted stones at his car but he was not hurt, the minister claimed before reporters.

Socialist Party is a partner in the Left Front government.

The minister said the attacks took place in the wake of local Trinamool Congress leaders and supporters cautioning him against holding any meeting in the area.

"But I went ahead with the meeting, which was attended by many people although several others could not, threatened by the opposition camp".

Nanda, however, neither filed an FIR nor took up the matter with the Chief Minister.

"Let the police do their duty suo motu", he said.

In reply to a question regarding the alleged attack on his cabinet colleague, Bhattacharjee said, "I have heard about the incident. I shall look into it".

ONGC gets shale gas indication in West Bengal

India Infoline News Service / 10:03 , Jan 27, 2011

The shares of ONGC are currently trading at Rs 1,133 up marginally. It opened at the day's high of Rs 1,145 and went on to touch a day's low of 1,129.

Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has reportedly found shale gas indication from the shale gas pilot R&D project in West Bengal.

According to reports, ONGC got shale gas indication from the first well they had drilled. However, the Company did not reveal any further details, as tests were not yet over.

If the results of the first well comes prosperous then three more wells would be drilled. ONGC engineers and technical staff had started first shale gas well exploration in the state from September 2010, adds report.

The shares of ONGC are currently trading at Rs 1,133 up marginally. It opened at the day's high of Rs 1,145 and went on to touch a day's low of 1,129.

1.25 families became legal landowners in 2010


19 JAN, 2011, 11.18AM IST, PTI

WASHINGTON: In the year gone by about 1.25 lakh families in India became legal landowners, said a US-based non-profit organisation which has worked with the local government agencies.

"In 2010, more than 124,000 poor families in India became legal landowners and now have the opportunity to build a better future for themselves," said Landesa, the Seattle-based rural development institute.

According to a media release, as many as 65,000 families benefited in Karnataka, followed by 52,000 in Andhra Pradesh, 4,000 in Orissa and 3,000 in West Bengal.
For the next two years it has set a target of three lakh families. Since 2001, it has benefitted some 433,000 families in India.

"To our beneficiaries, their new land title is more than just a piece of paper. It is the foundation for a new life. With this title, they can--often for the first time--send their children to government residential schools, grow the food they need to feed their children a balanced diet, and take advantage of government programs designed to help the poor improve their lives," the statement said.

Landesa said it partners with state and national governments across India to design, implement, and evaluate programs that put small plots of land into the hands of the world's poorest.

India has an estimated 15 million rural families who are poor and completely landless.

Most till other people's fields for cents a day with little hope or chance of improving their life, Landesa said.
"For these people, the most effective route out of poverty is owning a micro-plot of land--a homestead of less than 1/10th of an acre. Micro-plots provide families with a place to live, grow their own vegetables, and supplement their income. The small size of a micro-plot belies its big impact," it said.
"These tennis-court-sized plots are Landesa's innovative tool that allows many of India's cash-strapped state governments to help large numbers of the poor in a cost efficient manner. In some states the total cost of providing legal rights to a micro-plot of land for a poor family and forever changing their lives is as little as USD 3 per family," it said.

"From the hamlet of Kharibandha in Orissa, to the Village of Peace in West Bengal, hundreds of communities are being transformed thanks in part to legal control over a small piece of land," the statement said.

Rly financial position worsens: All PPP projects put on hold

Press Trust of India / New Delhi January 27, 2011, 9:42 IST

Faced with a financial crisis, Railways have put on hold all PPP projects including proposed plants at Kanchrapara in West Bengal and Madhepura and Marhora in Bihar.

Railways have to commit approximately Rs 8,000 crore per annum for these three projects - an EMU/coach factory at Kanchrapara, diesel locomotive factory at Marhora and electric locomotive plant at Madhepura - for assured purchase orders.

"In the current situation, the railways is finding it difficult to commit for the assured offtakes," sources in the Railway Ministry said and added that "due to the fund crunch, railways have put a temporary hold on these PPP projects and have set up a committee to examine how funds can be provided to PPP projects and also to its own production units."

Multinational companies mainly from the USA and Europe are involved in the bidding of these three PPP projects in Kanchrapara, Marhora and Madhepura.

"The committee comprising six senior railway officials is to examine how assured purchase contracts can be provided because railways also have their own production units. If assured offtakes are entertained then there will be very little funds left for its own units," they said.

Railways' annual purchase is estimated at Rs 15,000 cr to Rs 18,000 crore for wagons, coaches and locos.

"If Rs 8000 crore is being kept for the three PPP projects then limited funds will be left for its own production units as well as for purchase of wagons," they said.

The committee has to examine the contradictory demands on railway funds. The committee has been given 15 days time to suggest ways and means to fund PPP projects as well as its own production units.
"So till the committee's report, there is a temporary hold on all these three projects," the sources said.

Rs 107 crore environment plan for Bengal's Bantala SEZ

Indo-Asian News Service

Kolkata, January 18, 2011

The West Bengal government has prepared a Rs 107 crore plan to address the environment problems at Bantala special economic zone (SEZ) in the eastern part of the city, Industries and Commerce Minister Nirupam Sen said on Tuesday.

"We were apprehensive whether investors would invest in Bantala SEZ, because of the environmental hazards caused by the tanneries located nearby. We are reluctant to have it happen where red category marked leather industries are located," Sen said at a programme.

"The investors and developers have faced lot of environmental problems. Even the Cognizant authorities complained that their employees are reluctant to come here because of non-friendly environment and poor infrastructure," Sen said at the inauguration function of the second campus of Cognizant Technology at Bantala.

He said the state government was concerned about the problem. "We are committed to address the problem at the earliest. A plan to renovate the common effluent treatment plants (CETP) and construction of solid waste management has been prepared by the government to resolve the problem at an estimated cost of Rs 107 crore," he said.

At present there are four CETPs, which are not running with full capacity due to lack of renovation. Two more CETPs will be constructed apart from setting up a solid waste management facility.
A plot of 60 acres has been identified for the solid waste management project and a guard wall will be set up to arrest the flow of water from the tanneries. The entire project will be completed at the earliest to improve the environment at the Bantala campus.

Sen said the state government will appeal to the union ministry of environment and forests for providing 70 per cent of the estimated cost as grant. The minister will take up the matter with the ministry officials in Delhi. "But even if the ministry refuses to fund the project, we will initiate the project at our own cost," he said.

After the tendering process, the project has been awarded to Ramco Environmental.

The minister also emphasised that foreign and domestic investors are doing good business here despite negative publicity in the media about the industrial growth of Bengal.

"Actually the foreign and domestic companies are doing good business. All of them are either undergoing expansion plan or have expanded their capacities."

Environment in the state is one of the major issues for development of the industries, said Sen.

Freedom fighter Sushil Dhara passes away

Tamluk, January 28, 2011

Legendary freedom fighter Sushil Dhara, who along with others had liberated Tamluk (then Tamralipta) in the East Midnapore district from British rule for a few days back in 1942 and formed a national government there, died in the district today. He was 101.

A true Gandhian, Dhara was a bachelor and spent his last days at an ashram attached to Prajnananda Smirit Bhavan at Mahisadal.
A redoubtable figure among freedom fighters, Dhara was the 'defence minister' in the 'Free and nationalist Tamralipta (now Tamluk) government' under the commandant of illustrious Satish Samanta in 1942.

Dhara, along with his close associate veteran Gandhite and former West Bengal chief minister Ajoy Mukherjee, retained control over the free Tamralipta government for some days before succumbing to the intense pressure by British government.

A former industry minister in the first government of West Bengal (after independence), Dhara actively participated in the post-independence politics of the state during 1967-69.

Elected from Tamluk Lok Sabha constituency in 1977, Dhara was the chief whip of the Janata Dal parliamentary party at that time.

On February 3, 2010, he became a centurian. President Pratibha Patil felicitated Dhara, a Tamrapatra recipient, on his attaining 100 years by sending a representative at his Mahisadal residence.

"I deeply mourn and express my heartfelt condolence at the death of Shri Sushil Dhara," Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya said in a condolence message.