Weatherman promises wet weekend
Zoo rush to beat tiger bug
Celeste up against IIM students
STAR trek on decoders
Curfew on in Tripura
Traders decry police action
Villagers on fast to protest arrests

Calcutta, July 7 
Calcuttans can finally breathe easy. After a scorching spell lasting nearly two weeks, the weatherman is finally predicting some showers for this weekend.

The city and many parts of south Bengal can expect �showers or thundershowers� from Saturday, says the Alipore Meteorological Office.

According to Mihir Guha, additional director general of the Met office, the Monsoon Trough Line (MTL) over north Bengal and Assam causing non-stop rains in those areas has started to move towards south Bengal, Calcutta and south Bay of Bengal area from Friday.

MTL, also known as the central line of monsoon low pressure area, helps to create low pressure. �This movement should result in rainy days for Calcutta and other parts of south Bengal,� Guha said. �Under its influence, the city and most parts of south Bengal will experience cloudy skies and intermittent rains for some time.�

On the �uncharacteristic� 12-day dry spell that Calcutta has been wilting under, Met officials said: �The city experienced its last downpour on June 26. Normally, the MTL causes heavy rain during this period. But the absence of the MTL resulted in the dry spell.�.

The effect of the MTL could be felt in the city from Friday with the temperature dropping to a normal of 32.6 degrees. For the last few days, temperatures had been hovering around the 35-36 degrees mark.

�As the MTL has moved from north Bengal towards south Bengal and Calcutta, a low pressure zone should be created, bringing the temperature down and causing rainfall,� said Guha.

SOS to Delhi: Commerce and industry minister Bangsha Gopal Chowdhuri has urged the Union coal ministry to take immediate steps to check the frequent cave-ins in the vast coal mine areas of Durgapur, Barakar and Rani- gunj.

Road death: Biswajit Das, 30, a UBI employee, was run over and killed by a private bus in Mullickbazar on Friday morning.    

Calcutta, July 7 
Alarmed at the death of 11 tigers in Orissa�s Nandankanan, the Left Front government has instructed Calcutta zoo authorities to take �adequate preventive measures� to protect the cat family here from the mystery virus.

A special team of veterinary doctors now visiting Nandankanan to find out the exact cause of the tragedy is scheduled to inspect the Alipore zoo shortly. Officers from the Central zoo authority will also visit the city zoo.

Among other things, the experts will ascertain whether the health check-up system at Alipore zoo is maintained as per the guidelines of the Central zoo autho- rity.

State forest minister Jogesh Burman, on Friday, asked the director of Alipur Zoo, Adhir Das, to conduct special health check-ups on tigers, leopards, jaguars and giraffes. The minister also instructed the authorities to clean up the entire zoo area to eliminate flies.

�We do not want to take risks. What happened in Orissa might happen in Calcutta, too. Who can say what kind of virus may strike and when? We are taking all preventive measures to save the animals from infection,�� Burman said.

The minister admitted that the area of Alipore Zoo was �too little� to accommodate so many animals and birds. �But we are not getting any suitable land in the vicinity where the zoo can be shifted,� he said.

Zoologists have put the Nandankanan deaths down to a virus carried by a fly bred in stale food, garbage dumps or solid waste. Tigers, leopards, jaguar and giraffe are said to be vulnerable to the virus which causes �sleeping weakness�. Though the disease is familiar in Africa, it is new to the country.

Police PRO role probe

Calcutta Police commissioner D. C. Vajpai has ordered an inquiry against the public relations officer of Lalbazar police headquarters, Manab Bandopadhyay, for dereliction of duty and misbehaviour with journalists.

The probe was ordered after journalists covering the city police beat lodged a complaint with Vajpai on Friday, alleging that the public relations officer failed to gather information on time, often misled the press and even misbehaved with members of the media.    

Calcutta, July 7 
If US ambassador Richard F. Celeste had notions that his Friday morning outing to the sprawling Joka campus of the Indian Institute of Management would be nothing but a pleasant chat session with students, he had obviously thought wrong.

Thrust-and-parry was the name of the game at IIM�s lecture theatre with the budding managers intent on pushing the US ambassador on to the back foot.

Questions, probing and challenging, were fired from all corners. Surprisingly for a temple to careerism, there was no query on immigration laws or availability of H1B visas. Instead, the students focused on �the US stance on cross-border terrorism in the subcontinent� and granting �the largest democracy a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council�.

After Celeste had outlined the factors which would pave the way for �Indo-US cooperation in business and industry� and create a �win-win situation for both the countries�, the students took over.

�You have not been able to get the CTBT ratified by the US Congress. What right do you have to impose it on others?� demanded one. After fielding questions from CTBT to cyber laws, Sudan to sanctions against Iraq, Celeste bowled over the B-school students with: �Earlier, the sight of three Americans in India would set alarm bells ringing about a CIA conspiracy being hatched. Now, when three Indians are spotted in Silicon Valley we are sure that something new and exciting is going to come about.�

Later at a press conference , Celeste said he expected substantial e-business to be generated by American companies who are tying up with Indian partners, many of them Calcutta-based.

The US ambassador predicted a greater involvement of �American business in the revitalisation of West Bengal�.

He suggested industry leaders and trade unions should sit together to work out how to promote Bengal and woo investors.

Bengali software: The state government is all set to introduce Bengali for all computer-based work. A Bengali software package was presented to minister Manab Mukherjee on Friday. This is essential, said Mukherjee, as all government transactions will be in Bengali.

Rights workshop: A five-day workshop on the role of the police in protecting human rights concluded on Friday at the Central Detective Training School with a panel discussion.    

Calcutta, July 7 
The impasse over STAR channels will linger for a few more days, feels the Joint Action Committee of Cable TV Operators which met on Friday evening but failed to arrive at a solution.

But STAR Plus and National Geographic were back on beam on Shakespeare Sarani, Camac Street, Lord Sinha Road and parts of Park Street, Elliot Road and Mayfair Road on Friday after seven operators procured decoders, said a STAR official.    

Agartala, July 7 
Police recovered bodies of two non-tribals while four persons were abducted from different parts of Tripura during the past 24 hours.

Police sources said the corpse of a non-tribal was recovered yesterday afternoon from the remote Betcherra area under Fatikroy police station. Sources said Kaushik Ranjan Datta (60), a farmer of Dudhpur village, had gone to tend cows in Betcherra yesterday. On being informed by family members that he had not returned till the afternoon, officers and jawans of Fatikroy police station launched a search operation and recovered Kaushik Ranjan Datta�s body which bore multiple injuries.

The recovery of the body has triggered serious ethnic tension in the trouble-torn Fatikroy police station area.

Police sources said curfew was reimposed today in the trouble-torn Fatikroy police station area because of ethnic clashes. Security measures have been beefed up all over Kailasahar to prevent clashes.

In a separate incident this morning, the police recovered the body of a youth Tuku Mia (33) from the Jarulbachai area under Takarjala police station of West Tripura. Police sources said Mia, a resident of Ananda Nagar village, had gone to Jarulbachai area yesterday to tend cows. He did not return till late at night. A police party from Takarjala reached Jarulbachai and recovered the youth�s body which also bore multiple injuries.

In separate incidents, four persons were kidnapped from different parts of the state.

A group of National Liberation Front of Tripura militants raided Durga Cherra village under Chhawmanu police station of Dhalai district yesterday and kidnapped two Bengali farmers � Jiten Chowdhury and Nitai Chowdhury, the police said.

Besides, a teacher and a contractor were also kidnapped from South Tripura.

Police sources said a Bengali contractor, Chandan Chowdhury, was kidnapped yesterday morning from the Baishnabpur area under Sabroon sub-division. He had gone there to make payments to labourers.

In another incident, Sudhir Debnath, a teacher of Sarbong Para school in Amarpur subdivision was kidnapped yesterday. All the kidnapped persons are untraced.    

Dhanbad, July 7 
The business community of Bokaro are up in arms over the alleged �misbehaviour� of police with the general secretary of the Bokaro Chamber of Commerce and Industries, Sanjay Vaid.

The members of the chamber staged a dharna before the office of the superintendent of police to protest against the arrest of Vaid. Later, a delegation of the chamber called upon Bokaro SP R.S. Bhatti demanding departmental action against the police officials who had allegedly misbehaved with Vaid at the police station.

Bridge damaged: A bridge was partially damaged in a gelatine blast in Shillong yesterday, reports PTI. Police said the Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council was behind the blast.    

Dhanbad, July 7 
Hundreds of villagers are sitting on a hungerstrike at Muraidih bustee near Barora in Dhanbad district since the past four days. They are demanding the unconditional release of at least 53 arrested villagers.

The Bhrashtachar Virodhi Janwadi Manch, which is spearheading the agitation, had earlier threatened to launch a hungerstrike if the arrested villagers were not released unconditionally and the cases against them not withdrawn.

On May 23, armed dacoits had forcefully entered the house of one Sonaram Mahato and opened fire. They also exploded bombs, critically injuring Sonaram�s 15-year-old son. Agitated villagers gheraoed the Barora police station, alleging police inaction and connivance with the gangsters.

The situation, however, went out of control when someone from the crowd pelted a stone at the policemen. In the ensuing clash, several policemen were injured and the mob also torched a police jeep.

The police filed two cases in this connection � one for dacoity and another for attack on the personnel. While 10 persons were named in the first FIR, another case was registered against 255 people of whom 55 were arrested.

The superintendent of police said the incident was a sequel to the ongoing tussle between different groups over collection of �rangdaari tax� (extortion) from the Muraidih colliery dump of the Bharat Coking Coal Limited.

The police said the attack on the police station was a conspiracy by a section of the beneficiaries of the trade.

But the villagers said it was they who had opposed the collection of the rangdaari tax at the dump, as a result of which the goons had attacked Mahato�s house.

�It is a fact that the villagers gheraoed the Barora police station after the attack on Mahato�s house. But the attack on the police station was a well-planned conspiracy by mafia henchmen,� Suresh Thakur, national general secretary of the manch said.

Thakur alleged that the mafia gangs had connived with the police to frame the villagers opposing the collection of rangdaari tax. �By doing so they have killed two birds with one stone,� he said.    


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