Mystery death of woman at Belgharia
ATM card route to insurance racket arrests
Trinamul moots state bandh
Vocational course revamp mulled
Dum Dum project gets Central nod
Cong chants CM mantra
Mystery over body
Teachers see little merit in tuition Bill

 
 
MYSTERY DEATH OF WOMAN AT BELGHARIA 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, Sept. 29: 
A woman’s body with her throat slit was found lying in the middle of a road in Belgharia on Saturday. A bag, containing a letter with addresses in Bijpur and Belgharia, was found near the body.

The letter helped the police trace the woman’s relatives. She was identified as Mousumi Ghosh, 25, a resident of Bijpur, in North 24-Parganas. The Belgharia address belongs to her in-laws. The police are trying to trace her husband, a local businessman, who is absconding.

After a year of her marriage, Mousumi separated from her husband, Shyamal Ghosh, 32, two months ago and shifted to her father’s house in Bijpur.

According to Mousumi’s father, Promothesh Roy, she used to complain of torture by her husband, which ultimately led to their separation.

On Friday, she had come to her in-laws’ residence in Belgharia to spend the night. The day before, she had received a letter from Food Corporation of India (FCI), which stated that her father-in-law, Jagannath Ghosh, a retired employee of FCI, had not collected his dues, amounting to Rs 78,000. The letter further stated that if Ghosh was unwell, then a family member could collect the money.

Mousumi left for her in-laws’ place, accompanied by her father. From there, the duo left for the FCI office in the city, accompanied by her estranged husband, Shyamal. However, FCI officials said no such letter had been despatched. A bewildered Mousumi went back to her in-laws’ place with Shyamal to meet her ailing father-in-law. “Although she did not return to Bijpur on Friday night, her father did not worry, thinking that the couple had sorted out their differences,” a police official said.

On Saturday, a resident of Belgharia called up the local police station around 5.30 am to report a young woman lying dead near his house. “Somebody had slit her throat, possibly with a razor. She was left on the road to bleed to death,” said inspector in charge of Belgharia police station, Mahadeb Chatterjee.

Taking the lead from the letter, the police reached her in-laws’ place, only to find Shyamal absconding. Mousumi’s father also rushed to Belgharia on being informed.

Mousumi had a three-year-old daughter from a previous marriage in Bijpur, police said.

“A few years ago, she used to identify herself as Rita Chatterjee. She was then married to a local youth, Amal Banerjee. Last year, she opted for a separation from him and married Shyamal,” police said. Amal, too, cannot be traced.

   

 
 
ATM CARD ROUTE TO INSURANCE RACKET ARRESTS 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, Sept. 29: 
A complaint from a bank put the police on the trail of a gang involved in forging dividend warrants of Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC). Five persons, including a teenager, were picked up during an overnight raid on Friday from different areas of Calcutta and Howrah on charges of running the racket.

The sleuths tracked down all five within hours of receiving the complaint. Three forged warrants valued at Rs 1.32 lakh, that they had deposited in two leading banks in Calcutta, were also recovered, Somen Mitra, DC, DD-I, said. The police are on the look-out for a woman, Radha Das, believed to be an accomplice.

Mitra said Central Bank of India (CBI), through which LIC makes its monetary transactions, lodged a complaint with the Hare Street police on Thursday, stating that the bank had received three forged warrants.

During investigation, police came to know that two of the culprits, Radha and Tarun Agarwal, opened two accounts with ICICI and UBI and collected ATM cards. They deposited the forged warrants with the two banks. According to the transaction norms, the bank authorities contacted CBI for clearance. CBI authorities declared the warrants as forged.

The sleuths asked the two banks to alert its ATM counters about the two cards.

Vishal Agarwal, a gang member, went to the Park Street ATM counter of ICICI Bank around 4.30 pm. As soon as he inserted his ATM card, the machine was locked. As he could not retrieve the card, he contacted the branch officials. “According to prior instructions, Vishal was asked to contact the Ballygunge branch, where the police were waiting for him,” said Mitra.

After questioning him, police nabbed Ajay Agarwal from Salkia, in Howrah. Later, the cops picked up Soumya Banerjee, a former employee of Standard Chartered Bank who was sacked on charges of forging bank papers, from his central Calcutta residence late in the night. The youngest gangmember, 19-year-old Tarun Agarwal, was held from Malipanchghara, in Howrah. “Interrogation of the four youth revealed another name — Gobindo Mandal, a worker of Kamarhati Jute Mill, who is reportedly the mastermind behind the operation. We arrested him from the mill staff quarters,” said Mitra.

The city detective chief said the case was one of the quickest to be solved in recent times. Ten officers of the detective department’s special cell were engaged to track down the culprits.

   

 
 
TRINAMUL MOOTS STATE BANDH 
 
 
OUR BUREAU
 
Calcutta, Sept. 29: 
Trinamul Youth Congress on Saturday decided to ask party leader Mamata Banerjee to call for a state-wide bandh before the Pujas to protest “the CPM’s politics of violence and the eviction of settlers along Tolly’s Nullah”.

Meanwhile, Trinamul workers blocked 14 intersections across the city on Saturday, causing traffic congestion during peak hour. Altogether 153 supporters, including 11 women, were arrested.

The agitators said the police had resorted to a lathicharge to disperse them. City police officials, however, denied the allegation, saying only “minor scuffles” had taken place.

The K.K. Tagore Road-Strand Road crossing in central Calcutta was the first to be blocked. Activists also squatted at Hatibagan in north Calcutta, Park Circus and India Exchange place in central Calcutta and at Bijon Setu and Gariahat crossing in south Calcutta. Traffic came to a standstill at Moulali, too. The last blockade, held in front of the Tea Board office around 12.50 pm, was lifted at about 1.10 pm following police intervention.

Later, briefing newspersons, Trinamul general secretary Madan Mitra said the state government’s “inhuman attitude towards the settlers of Tolly’s Nullah and the CPM’s post-poll terror” has compelled the party’s youth wing to recommend a ‘Bangla bandh’. “We will formally place the proposal before Mamata Banerjee when she returns from Delhi,” he asserted.

Mitra said the party would resort to “unannounced agitations throughout Bengal” after the Pujas if the state government did not “change its mindset and look after the people’s interests.” The Trinamul Youth Congress also intends installing a plaque at the site of eviction where Mamata was “manhandled” by the police on September 22.

   

 
 
VOCATIONAL COURSE REVAMP MULLED 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, Sept. 29: 
The government is considering a proposal to introduce changes in the syllabi of vocational courses in Higher Secondary and under-graduate levels in the state. The move is aimed to boost entrepreneurship. “We can get good entrepreneurs only if large numbers take up the vocational courses,” said Sparshamani Chatterjee, technical education advisor to the state government.

Few enrol for the vocational courses, as job prospects are not bright. The government had set up a one-man committee, headed by Chatterjee, to review the vocational education system. Chatterjee has recently submitted the report to the chief minister.

The government had introduced full-time courses in vocational studies in the Higher Secondary and under-graduate levels in the late 1980s. Courses were opened in about 1,000 Higher Secondary schools and 100 colleges in the state in the past 10 years. Though the response in the initial stages was good, the enrolment figures gradually dwindled. An official said a move was also on to introduce short-term vocational courses for students in the secondary level.

But in the following years it was noticed that students were not enthusiastic to opt for such courses and seats in most of the vocational teaching institutions remained empty.

However, according to an official of the state technical education department at present 70 per cent of the youths in the entire state is unemployed and the government would be in a position to improve the situation only if it lays more emphasis in promoting vocational coourses.

“One of the best way we can reduce unemployment problem is to produce more and more number of entrepreuners. A single entrepreuner can provide employement to at least three more persons. The government is determined to improve the vocational education at any cost,” said the official.

However, the official said a move was also on to introduce short-term vocational courses for students in the secondary level.

   

 
 
DUM DUM PROJECT GETS CENTRAL NOD 
 
 
FROM JAYANTA ROY CHOWDHURY
 
New Delhi, Sept. 29: 
The railway ministry on Friday agreed to clear West Bengal government’s traffic dispersal scheme for Dum Dum station, which calls for setting up under-passes below railway lines, overbridges and two vehicle terminals.

The Centre is also mulling over a project, mooted by the state government to allow it to set up car parking-cum-shopping complexes between Metro rail lines and overhead city roads.

At a meeting with transport minister Subhas Chakraborty, minister of state for railways Digvijay Singh cleared the Dum Dum project and assured that if the car park proposal did not pose any security hazard, the Centre would consider it. “The project will help some six lakh commuters, who use Dum Dum station regularly,” Chakraborty said.

The Dum Dum project, which will cost Rs 40 crore, had got stuck as the Railways refused to clear it. The Centre wanted the department to levy an annual maintenance fee of Rs 7 lakh. However, with the state government shouldering the responsibility for maintaining the system, Singh relented on Friday.

The government now wants to draw up similar projects within and near Calcutta. The chosen sites include Barrackpore, Burdwan, Kharagpur and Chakdah.

   

 
 
CONG CHANTS CM MANTRA 
 
 
BY OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
 
Calcutta, Sept. 29: 
The Congress today moved closer to the ruling CPM by echoing chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s stand on rail and road blockades.

Bhattacharjee, in his effort to showcase Bengal’s improved work culture and rope in investors, has convened a meeting of all political parties on Monday to discuss the matter.

Announcing that party representatives will attend the meeting, PCC chief Pranab Mukherjee said this afternoon that blockades of main thoroughfares and railway tracks were not desirable on flimsy issues. “We must condemn when people resort to demonstrations on national highways in support of their local demands. Such modes of protest are bound to stall traffic much to the inconvenience of daily commuters,” he said.

However, former chief minister and politburo member Jyoti Basu had said yesterday that while it was desirable to end blockades, such protests had become tools of the organised trade union movement over time. “A government will lose the popular mandate to be in office if it tries to effect a ban on the legitimate tools of the trade union movement. These are part and parcel of any trade union movement,” Basu had told a convention in Durgapur.

Asked to comment on Congress workers’ proposed dharnas at railway stations on Monday to protest against the railway fare hike, Mukherjee said there would not be any blockades of railway tracks. “Instead, party workers will assemble at railway stations and disperse after submitting memorandum to respective station superintendents,” he added.

The state Congress chief was also opposed to calling bandhs on flimsy grounds. “Bandh is the last resort left with a political party to get its demands fulfilled. But this should not be a daily affair.”

The Trinamul Congress, however, perceived the PCC leader’s view as an attempt to keep the ruling Marxists in good humour. “This has exposed once again that the state Congress is nothing but the CPM’s B team,” alleged Trianmul general secretary Madan Mitra.

The Trinamul was uncertain about attending Monday’s meeting. A decision will be taken only after party chief Mamata Banerjee returns from Delhi. However, the state BJP representative will attend the meeting.

The SUCI has, however, decided to attend the meeting even though its supporters will block railway tracks in various stations for half an hour on Monday to protest against the fare hike.

“We feel political parties cannot be barred from demonstrations to put pressure on the government for redress of their problems,” SUCI leader Manik Mukherjee said.

   

 
 
MYSTERY OVER BODY 
 
 
FROM PROBIR PRAMANIK
 
Siliguri, Sept. 29: 
The body of a suspected Maoist leader from Nepal was reportedly recovered from the Indo-Nepalese border in Naxalbari last evening.

Though police said they are not aware of it, intelligence sources said the dead leader has been identified as Puspakamal Thapa. However, intelligence officials are not sure of the circumstances of Thapa’s death. “He might have been shot in an encounter inside Nepal but might have died after crossing over to the Terai region of Bengal,” an intelligence official said. The underground Maoists of Nepal have been holding a series of meetings along the border in the neighbouring Jhapa district of eastern Nepal for the past couple of days.

Top Maoist leaders, including Krishna Prashad Mahara, Bahadur Raimajhi, Agi Prashad Sapkota and Dhaijan are believed to have attended the Jhapa meet.

At the same time, there were strong rumours that top Maoist leaders – Puspakamal Dahal alias Prachanda and his second-in-command, Baburam Bhattarai – had been killed in a shootout somewhere near Siliguri. But intelligence sources based in Nepal denied the reports and said the two were safe in their Kathmandu hideouts.

   

 
 
TEACHERS SEE LITTLE MERIT IN TUITION BILL 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, Sept. 29: 
The CPM’s teachers’ wing today ridiculed school education minister Kanti Biswas’ threat to introduce a Bill to put an end to private tuitions.

At its conference in Durgapur today, the All Bengal Teachers’ Association said introducing the Bill would not solve the problem.

The government had banned private practice by government doctors through legislation. “But could the government execute it?” Adhikram Sanyal, general secretary of the organisation, asked.

“The way certain ministers have all of a sudden started making a hue and cry about private tuition by teachers gives an impression as if the teachers have overnight become antisocials,” Sanyal said.

Addressing the ABTA’s district conference, Sanyal said his organisation would soon send a delegation to the government asking the ministers to refrain from making such statements in public.

“We are opposed to private tuition. We have already started a campaign against those who are engaged in private tuition. They are being warned. But if they do not fall in line they will be ousted from our organisation,” the association secretary said.

The ABTA chief also countered the education minister’s claim that over 20 per cent teachers were engaged in private tuition.

“The number could at best be 15 per cent. Most of them would give up after a sustained campaign is launched against them. A legislation to stop private tuition is totally uncalled for,” he added.

Sanyal also advised the education minister to get in touch with his counterparts in some other states where private tuition had been banned through framing a law and learn if legislation had actually helped stop private tuition.

   
 

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