More tracks, parts of NH 34 go under water
Met office predicts dry spell in city
Clash over parking, shops closed
OC has links with promoter, says mayor
Talk offer to Khasi outfit
Two NLFT rebels killed in Tripura

Calcutta, Sept.23: 
As rail and road links between Calcutta and Assam via North Bengal remained cut off for the fourth consecutive day, Indian Airlines on Saturday decided to operate additional flights on the Calcutta-Bagdogra-Calcutta route on September 26, 28, 30 and October 1 for the convenience of thousands of stranded passengers.

The additional flight, IC-1721, leaving Calcutta at 9.15 am will reach Bagdogra at 10.10 am. The return flight, IC-1722, will leave Bagdogra at 10.50 am and reach Calcutta at 11.45 am.

A transport department official said buses between Calcutta and Siliguri could not be run as parts of NH 34 are submerged.

Eastern Railway on Saturday cancelled a number of trains, scheduled to leave from Howrah and Sealdah stations because of water-logging on tracks. They include Ganadevta Express, Shantiniketan Express, Purbanchal Express, Howrah-Darbhanga Mithila Express, Janata Express, Kanchenjungha Express, Darjeeling Mail, Sealdah-Mughalsarai Express, Gour Express and Teesta-Torsa Express. Several Down trains — Hatey Bazare Express, Bhagirathi Express, Bhagalpur-Patna Intercity Express, Vikramshila Express, Bananchal Express, Tata-Patna Express, Pataliputra Express and Mourya Express — too have been cancelled.

However, Uday-Abha Toofan Express, Amritsar Express, Bagh Express and Chapra-Tata Express are scheduled to leave Howrah on Sunday and run via the grand chord section.

Railway sources said tracks were submerged at three places between Kalna and Katwa and also between Salar and Khagraghat stations on the Bandel-Katwa-Ajimgunj section.

On Chatra-Bansloi and Pakur-Gumani sections, tracks have been damaged by flood water. A 1.5-km-long stretch of track between Swadhinpur and Nalhati has been washed away by flash floods.

Owing to severe breaches on railway tracks and inundation at several points on the Krishnanagar-Lalgola section, train services are being run from Sealdah till Krishnanagar. Services could not be restored up to Lalgola since the flood situation has worsened in Murshidabad district.

Railway authorities are running a skeleton service between Ranaghat and Bagula as the Ranaghat-Gede section, too, has been affected.

The Churni is flowing above the danger level under the railway bridge near Kalinagarpur station on the Ranaghat-Krishnanagar section. Shantipur-Krishnanagar locals are being run up to Phulia. The Ranaghat-Bongaon section is also becoming difficult to operate.

A special train containing relief materials left for Rampurhat on Saturday morning. About one lakh victims have taken shelter on several railway stations.    

Calcutta, Sept.23: 
After six days of rain and overcast skies in Calcutta and Gangetic West Bengal, the downpours will hopefully subside soon. With a little bit of luck, the sun will show its face on Mahalaya.

The weather office on Saturday expected a dry spell by Monday, though the skies may continue to be cloudy. Intermittent drizzles are, however, expected to continue over the next 48 hours.

Though this will inconvenience Puja shoppers, the condition will not be as bad as it was during the past four days.

“The heavy downpours have already reduced to light rain on Saturday,” said R.N. Goldar, Alipore met office chief. The Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) catchment area in east Bihar and Gangetic West Bengal received much less rain, he added.

The low pressure that existed over the region from Monday continued till Thursday night, and was replaced by an upper air cyclonic circulation over the Bihar plains and adjoining sub-Himalayan West Bengal.

“The rain that the city and many parts of the southern districts of the state experienced on Saturday was due to this and the development of an axis of monsoon trough over central Bihar and Gangetic West Bengal,” Goldar said.

This normal monsoon activity will result in moderate rain at many places in the state. There may be isolated heavy rain in some districts and the monsoon is expected to persist till October 8, the weather official said.

The heavy rain in seven southern districts of the state over the last six days has made up for the dry spell that preceded it.

“Till September 17, Bankura, Burdwan, Howrah and Hooghly received less than average rainfall from June 1. But the downpours after that have brought this to normal,” the met official said.

“As of today, no district in the state, except Purulia, is deficient in terms of rainfall,” he added. Birbhum and Nadia have received 78 per cent and 68 per cent excess rainfall, respectively, following the current spell of downpour.


Calcutta, Sept.23: 
There was trouble at Rifle Range in the Karaya area over parking of a two-wheeler in front of a shop. Two persons were injured when the police resorted to a lathicharge to disperse a gang throwing stones and exploding bombs.

Traders kept their shops closed throughout the day in protest. So far, three persons have been arrested and a revolver with four rounds of ammunition and three bombs have been seized from them.

DC, headquarters, Nazrul Islam, said Rajesh Shau parked his scooter in front of a shop around 11 am and was asked by the shop-owner to remove it. The two got involved in heated exchanges and soon a scuffle ensued.

Rajesh returned later with a group of men who hurled stones and bombs at the shops. Officers from nearby police stations, Beniapukur and Tiljala, chased the gang away.    

Calcutta, Sept.23: 
Mayor Subrata Mukherjee lodged a complaint with police commissioner D.C.Vajpai on Saturday against the officer-in-charge of West Port police station for not allowing Calcutta Municipal Corporation workers to demolish an illegal construction in the Kidderpur area.

Lal Bazar sources said Vajpai has sought a report from the OC concerned, Tarun Kumar Mitra, and assured Mukherjee of all possible help to carry out the demolition.

A team of CMC men, led by member, mayor-in-council (conservancy) Mala Roy, had gone to 65/1, Karl Marx Sarani to demolish the illegal portion of the building on the pavement. The team was escorted by policemen deputed by deputy police commissioner, headquarters, Nazrul Islam. But Mitra asked the CMC men to submit a copy of the demolition order.

Mukherjee said: “The OC surely has links with those engaged in the illegal construction.”

Mala Roy said CMC will demolish the illegal construction within a week.    

Shillong, Sept. 23: 
The Centre has reportedly sent “feelers” to the top brass of the Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) through some of their “family members” in an attempt to bring the Khasi outfit to the negotiating table.

High-level sources told The Telegraph here today that the Union home ministry has recently “redefined” its strategy in resolving the “crisis” in Meghalaya and has decided to extend an olive branch to the HNLC, which is fighting for a “greater Khasiland.”

Earlier, joint secretary, Union home ministry (in-charge of Northeast), G. K. Pillai had said the Centre was “seriously considering” banning the HNLC as it was carrying out “hit-and-run” raids in the state capital for the past few years.

The issue of banning the outfit topped the Union home ministry’s agenda after Independence Day celebrations last month, when Khasi militants, aided by the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN), struck in rapid succession, killing a CRPF havildar.

Sources said the Union ministry decided to send “feelers” through the “family members” of the leaders as they did not respond to repeated appeals by the E. K. Mawlong-led government in the state.

Without elaborating, sources said, the first feeler which was routed through a “lady” from Jaiaw, has reached the leaders of the outfit and they are reportedly “discussing” the issue. The woman is a “close relative” of a senior HNLC leader.

The Centre has informed the HNLC leadership that it can “directly” negotiate with the Union government without any “mediation” by the state government.    

Agartala, Sept. 23: 
Two more hardcore National Liberation Front of Tripura militants were shot dead by police in an encounter in the remote Tuhamura area under Sabroom sub-division of South Tripura today.

Altogether five NLFT rebels have been gunned down by the police during last 24 hours. The police and Tripura State Rifles jawans yesterday gunned down three NLFT rebels during a raid at a hideout at Mikrossapara under Jatrapur police station in Sonamura sub-division.

According to sources, the Shillacherri police outpost in Sabroom sub-division received information that a group of armed NLFT militants had been hiding in a tang (elevated house) in the remote Tulamutra area.

In the raid, a large contingent of the police and TSR jawans led by sub-inspector Prabir Debbarma and assistant sub-inspector R. Debbarma trekked up to 4 km of steep hills before closing in on the rebels at 4 am today.

Having sighted the police, the militants opened fire, inviting strong retaliation. The encounter lasted for half-an-hour before the rebels gave up and fled the scene. Later, the police recovered the bullet-riddled bodies of two NLFT rebels identified as Dhanmoni Chakma and Radha Mohan Tripura. Sources said the slain militants were involved in killings, abduction and extortion.

Since August 10, altogether 12 NLFT militants have been killed in encounters with security forces. Police sources said counter-insurgency operations in the state would continue.

Assam boat capsize

A 12-year-old girl was drowned when a countryboat capsized at Four Mile in the Mora Bharali river in Sonitpur district, reports our Guwahati correspondent.

Deputy commissioner of Sonitpur N.K. Chetia said the countryboat was carrying nearly 12 persons, many of them school children. “A nine-year-old schoolgirl, Anita Das, is reported missing while others have been rescued,” he added.    


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