February 23, 2011

Sports Complex inaugurated by West Bengal Law Minister Rabi Lal Moitra

Kolkata, 7 Feb: West Bengal Law Minister Rabi Lal Moitra on Saturday inaugurated a multi-purpose sports complex on the northern fringe of the city. Soccer personalitiesr P.K.Banerjee and Sayed Nayemuddin besides former hockey player Gurbux Singh were among those present at the inauguaration ceremony. Built by Jagriti, a non-government organization, the sports complex will host various sports events of football, cricket, volleyball, gymnastic and swimming.  

Buddhadeb writes to Chidambaram on 'Trinamool-Maoist nexus'

NDTV Correspondent,

Updated: February 03, 2011

New Delhi: West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today wrote to the Union Home Minister P Chidambaram on suspected Maoists sheltering in Trinamool Congress run relief camps.

After two inmates of a Trinamool-run relief camp were arrested by joint security forces on Monday for alleged links with Maoists, Bhattacharjee had issued a late night statement saying that he would inform the Home Minister about 'Trinamool-Maoist nexus' and would be forced to take administrative steps against Trinamool leaders involved in sheltering Maoists.

Mamata Banerjee had said that she too would inform the Centre about the incident. On the arrest of the alleged Maoists, she said the entire incident was the handiwork of pro-CPM police forces.

Alleging arbitrary action of the joint forces, Trinamool Congress activists had blocked the station road in the town, stalling traffic movement for hours after the arrest.

West Bengal to set up 31 cold storage facilities

Kolkata, Feb 2 (IANS): West Bengal will establish 31 cold storage facilities and several food parks across the state to give farmers better rewards for their produce, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee Wednesday announced.

The cold storages will be built in association with the state agricultural marketing department, Bhattacharjee said while inaugurating the 'Horti Food Fest 2011' organised by the state's department of food processing industry and horticulture here.

'Along with production, it is essential that there are storage facilities. Marketing of the goods is also very important. These cold storage facilities and food parks will play an important role in enabling the farmers to get better rewards for their produce,' he said.

Describing the state's agriculture productivity as 'very encouraging', the chief minister said: 'We need to consolidate on this growth. We have collaborated with several companies for providing quality seeds and bio-fertilisers to the farmers.'

Bhattacharjee also said that under the food processing and horticulture policy, the government will be providing land, electricity and marketing strategies to encourage small entrepreneurs.

Declaring agriculture as the success story of West Bengal, he said: 'There is no doubt we have had a marked success in agriculture. We are the highest producer of rice, cabbage and cauliflower.'

'The annual vegetable produce of the state last year was 130 lakh tonnes. We also produced 28 lakh metric tonnes of fruits and 5580 tonnes of flowers,' he added.

Agartala-Kolkata bus service via Dhaka

Mon, Jan 31st, 2011 4:17 pm BdST

New Delhi, Jan 31 (bdnews24.com) – Bangladesh may soon launch a direct bus service between India's West Bengal and its landlocked state of Tripura through Dhaka.

Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation (BRTC) may tie up with Tripura Road Transport Corporation for the bus service.

BRTC's director (admin and operation) S M Faisal Alam, now in West Bengal leading a delegation of senior BRTC officials to Agartala and Kolkata, told journalists that the trial run of the proposed bus service might start within two months.

They met transport officials of the Indian states and discussed the proposed direct bus-service between the two Indian cities through Dhaka.

A bus service between Agartala and Dhaka has been operational since 2003. The passengers travelling to Kolkata from Agartala have to change buses in Dhaka. But the bus service could not be popular and it became economically unviable as it takes too much time.

The Kolkata-Dhaka bus service has been operation since 1993.

Tripura transport minister Manik De said the travel time between Agartala and Kolkata would significantly come down if the direct bus service via Dhaka could be launched.

The BRTC delegation met Manik De and officials of the Tripura Road Transport Corporation in Agartala. Later, they traveled to Kolkata and held meetings with officials of the West Bengal State Road Transport Corporation.

Sources in the Indian government said New Delhi and Dhaka were discussing the possibility of simplifying visa regime, exclusively for the benefit of the passengers who would like to travel by buses between Kolkata and Agartala.

Dhaka and New Delhi are also exploring the prospects of BRTC's collaboration with its counterparts in West Bengal and Tripura state of India to launch tour packages to promote tourism.


Water plant lag in arsenic belt


The Telegraph, Issue Date: Monday , January 31 , 2011

Purbasthali, Jan. 30: A Rs 40-crore government scheme to provide purified drinking water to an arsenic-prone zone in Burdwan has been held up for the past six months because of delay in getting power connection.

Officials of the West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (WBSEDCL) said a portion of the high-tension power line would have to be laid under a stretch of railway tracks near the water-treatment plant at Purbasthali but the railways was yet to give permission.

WBSEDCL requires to lay the cable under the tracks between two stations on the Bandel-Katwa section to supply power to the plant from a 132KV substation.

The project was started by the public health engineering (PHE) department in 2008. Once completed, the plant will supply arsenic-free water to around 1.75 lakh people in 100 villages in Kalna, where the arsenic level in underground water is high. Purbasthali is under Kalna subdivision.

“Work on the water-treatment plant has been completed. We have also laid the pipeline and built four water reservoirs,” said Arabinda Sahu, the executive engineer (mechanical) of PHE, Burdwan. “But we have not been able to supply water to the people as we are yet to get electricity connection,” he added.

Sahu said WBSEDCL had given a temporary connection earlier this month but it was not enough to run the plant, which has a capacity to purify 10.8 million litres a day. He said the PHE department had applied for power connection in early 2009 and had paid Rs 95 lakh to WBSEDCL.

PHE officials said water would be fetched from the Bhagirathi river, 700 metres from the plant, and supplied to the villages after purification.

Anindya Kishore Manna, the WBSEDCL divisional engineer of Kalna, said the power utility had applied to the Howrah divisional railway manager for clearance but was yet to get the permission. “We had submitted necessary documents and project details to the railways but nothing has been done yet,” Manna said.

Howrah divisional railway manager P.S. Mandal, however, said he had already given the clearance. “As far as I can recall, I had given the clearance. I don’t know why the decision had not been communicated to WBSEDCL. I will look into the matter,” Mandal said.

Around 100 villages in and around Purbasthali’s Kamalnagar, where the plant has come up, are dependent on underground water.

“We use underground water for cooking, washing and bathing. But because of the presence of arsenic in the water, we suffer from skin problems,” said Dwarkanath Thakur, 53, a marginal farmer.

Krishnendu Haldar, the medical officer of Purbasthali block II, said villagers frequently came to the local health centre with symptoms of arsenic poisoning.

“They suffer from rashes, swellings, headache, drowsiness and discolouration of the skin and nails. We often refer such cases of arsenic poisoning to Calcutta’s SSKM and NRS. About 200 villagers from Purbasthali are now receiving treatment at the two hospitals,” Haldar said.

CIL, NMDC to join hands to set up coal-to-liquid plant

Priyadarshi Siddhanta
Posted online: Sat Jan 29 2011, 01:12 hrs

New Delhi : Arguing for hedging against extremely volatile global crude prices, two navratna mining giants, Coal India Limited and National Mineral Development Corporation have decided to form a consortium in setting up a Coal To Liquid (CTL) project at an estimated expenditure of nearly Rs 15,000 crore in West Bengal’s Birbhum district.

The move comes close on the heels of a recent visit by Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal and CIL top brass to South Africa, where they saw the positive impact being created by the world’s oldest CTL plant being run by Sasol in the country’s Mpumalanga province. The liquid fuel generated have provided 27 per cent energy security to the African nation. “In a recent letter CIL Chairman Partha S Bhattacharya has offered to partner with NMDC to jointly execute a CTL project in the Deora-Pachami coal block in West Bengal’s Birbhum district,” Jaiswal told The Indian Express. The West Bengal government has sought a minority partnership in the proposed venture, he said.

Accordingly the CIL-NMDC consortium should be given the preferential allocation of the block which has an estimated reserve of 19 billion tonnes of coal, Bhattacharya said and reminded that the steel ministry too has made similar requests to the coal ministry in this connection. “The Sasol experience has clearly demonstrated the relevance of such a large CTL facility in enhancing energy security along with a hedge against extreme volatility of global oil prices. It would also lead to industrial rejuvenation of the eastern part of the country known for its industrial backwardness,” Bhattacharjee argued in his letter justifying the project.

Trade relations will strengthen further: Vietnam envoy

Kolkata, Jan 28 (IANS): Vietnam has been exploring ways of investing in the field of information technology (IT) in West Bengal, the country's ambassador to India Nguyen Thanh Tan said here Friday.

Speaking at an interactive session on Indo-Vietnam trade relations organised by the Bharat Chamber of Commerce, the ambassador exuded confidence that trade and investment relations between his country and West Bengal will increase in the near future.

'During the past few years, we have witnessed with satisfaction the development of friendship and co-operation between Vietnam and West Bengal. Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung on his visit to India in 2007 met leaders of the state and business circle,' the ambassador said.

'Kolkata also sent business delegations both in 2007 and 2009 to Vietnam, during which several contracts had been signed.'
'I am confident that with continuous efforts of businessmen of both sides, the trade and investment relations will be further strengthened and developed with every passing day,' he added.

Asked if his country faced land acquisition problems in the wake of rapid industrialisation, he said: 'As of now we have dealt with the issue in a systematic manner. We have special committees set up to ensure that the land givers are provided adequate compensation and rehabilitation.'
However, Indian steel giant Tata's plan to set up a steel plant in Vietnam has been delayed due to land acquisition problems.

He said there was a need for a direct flight from Vietnam to Kolkata.

Mamata Banerjee treats railways as TMC property: CPI(M)

26 Jan, 2011, 02.15AM IST, Tamal Sengupta, ET Bureau
KOLKATA: After the Netai massacre , the ruling CPM in West Bengal isn't keen to focus on the terror issue while campaigning for the upcoming assembly elections. Rather, the party plans to run a "propaganda against Mamata Banerjee for virtually turning the railways into her party's property".
In a recently published document considered as the party's guideline for running its campaigns, the CPM claims, "Indian Railways has virtually been transformed into a TMC property. The party is engaged in stunts. The minister introduces trains even when there's been no budgetary provision or clearance from the Planning Commission."

The CPM in a 16-page document on Mamata Banerjee and her party says, "Introducing new trains without budgetary allocation and clearance from the Planning Commission will hinder passengers safety. The minister is also not making any effort to fill 2 lakh vacancies in the railways, most of which are connected with the aspects of passengers safety."

It is expected that the CPM leaders will harp on this issue while running their campaign for the ensuing assembly elections. The CPM further says that "attempts are being made to encourage the entry of private agencies in the day to day functioning of the railways. Draconian laws are being used to buy land for the railway projects and the minister has transformed the railways into the property of her party."

The document, which has been recently released by the state CPM leadership, will soon reach the districts and the party leaders across the state will run their campaigns against the Trinamool Congress on the basis of the document.