Salt water solution to home escape
Car supplier identified in kidnap case
Two women commit suicide, child killed
Private tuitions necessary evil: Sen
Centre to monitor Ganga erosion

Calcutta, Nov. 10: 
They don�t know what chemistry is. But they had enough knowledge of what a simple solution of these two articles could do.

A mixture of salt and water helped 18 boys flee Dhrubashram, the state-run home for juvenile delinquents at Ariadaha, in North 24-Parganas. They used the mixture over a period of time to erode the base of the iron bars fitted to the window of the dormitory from where they fled.

The 18 boys, aged between 12 and 17, escaped from the home early on Wednesday. Though the home authorities managed to net eight of the escapees, the 10 others . some of them accused of serious criminal cases . are still at large.

As the news spread, both the state welfare department and the North 24-Parganas district administration have initiated independent investigations.

Senior officials of the welfare department visited the home on Saturday. Additional district magistrate (treasurer) Ajoy Bhattacharya and sub-divisional officer of Barrackpore Parvez Ahmed Siddiqui also inspected the site. The home authorities have been asked to submit their report within two days by the welfare department as well as the district administration.

According to Dhrubashram sources, the escapees used to save the salt from their lunch and dinner dishes. .They undertook their operation at night. Salt would be put at the base of the iron bars of a particular window. Then, water would be poured on to the salt,. an official of the home informed, on condition of anonymity.

Salty water accumulated at the base of the bars gradually corroded the iron. .

We suspect the boys had been doing this for over six months.We are interrogating the eight boys who were caught by our staff to find out the details of their operation,. the home official said.

The members of the investigating team agreed that the operation was well-planned. .They selected a particular window on which to concentrate,. said a member of the inquiry teams.

Investigators are also looking into the role of the home staff.Employees, who were on duty when the incident occurred, are being questioned.

Superintendent of the home Gautam Das said: .The district magistrate has asked me to submit a report by Monday. We are conducting our inquiry to find out under what circumstances the boys fled.. No punitive action has been taken against the staff on duty as yet, home sources said.

M. Harisena Verma, superintendent of police, North 24-Parganas, said an extensive search was on to track down the escapees. .Raids are being conducted in neighbouring districts,. he added.


Calcutta, Nov. 10: 
The CID has identified the person who had supplied the vehicle to the abductors of Parthapratim Roy Burman, vice-chairman of Khadim�s.

A senior CID official said on Saturday that .the man is being shadowed by sleuths. and will be arrested the moment they get Asif Reza alias Rajan, one of the abductors, in their custody.

Reza is scheduled to be brought to the city from New Delhi early on Wednesday. Reza will help solve the kidnap drama, planned by Dubai-based don, Farhan Malik, who is presently absconding along with another accused, Aftab, sources said.

The CID is also planning to bring a woman, identified as Poornima, presently in Tihar jail. It is suspected that Poornima had stayed in the Haroa house, too.


Calcutta, Nov. 10: 
Two women committed suicide in separate incidents on Saturday. While one had become a mother a week ago, the other took her daughter. life before taking her own. Ramani

Raghuban, the 32year-old wife of an Army employee, immolated herself at the Fort William staff quarters on Saturday, after setting her daughter, Pabitra, on fire on Saturday morning. Both mother and child died on the spot. Preliminary investigations indicate that a quarrel between the couple might have led to the incident.

Around 9.15 am, Vijay Raghuban, an employee of the Army�s medical branch, and his wife had a dispute.Vijay left for office without having his breakfast, said Soumen Mitra, deputy commissioner of police, detective department. .

As soon as Vijay left, Ramani locked the main door, doused herself and her daughter in kerosene and set themselves ablaze,. said an official of the Hastings police station. The neighbours noticed smoke billowing from a window. As the door of the flat was bolted from inside, they broke open the door and found the two charred bodies on the floor. Police are questioning Vijay to ascertain the motive behind the suicide.

In another incident, Piyali Chakroborty, a housewife, hanged herself from the ceiling of a private nursing home on Manoharpukur Road on Saturday morning. Police said 28-year-old Piyali had given birth to a boy a week ago. .

Piyali had married Dipak, a resident of Kankulia Road in Ballygunge, six years ago. The boy was born on November 3. They were scheduled to be released on Saturday from the nursing home. As soon as the relatives left the room with the baby to collect the discharge certificate for the two of them, she locked the door and hanged herself,. Mitra said.


Calcutta, Nov. 10: 
Private tuition is the worst feature of the primary education system in West Bengal. Nonetheless, it is a .regrettable necessity. for school-going children.

Nobel laureate Amartya Sen expressed this view at a press conference on Saturday. Sen said his observations were based on the findings of a survey carried out by the Pratichi (India) Trust. According to Sen, the need for private tuitions does not reflect only on students in primary classes but is also an .indicator of under-performance of primary schools in the state..

He suggested immediate measures for the improvement of schools so that lesser students would opt for private tuitions.

Sen had set up the trust in 1999 with the money he had received as part of the Nobel prize.

The trust, founded with the principal objective of seeking means for combating illiteracy and lack of schooling in the country, had conducted a survey on the primary education system in Bengal.The survey had been conducted in three districts . Purulia, Midnapore and Birbhum.

The survey revealed that approximately 45 per cent of the children at the primary level opted for private tuitions.

The Constitution guarantees free primary education for all and private tuition was therefore nothing less than a violation of a basic fundamental right, he said.

Sen also pointed out other .disturbing factors. . largescale absenteeism among pupils as well as teachers, lack of proper initiative on the part of the government in providing nutritious mid-day meals, discrimination towards children, especially those belonging to the SC and ST and lack of co-ordination between parents and teachers.

According to him, 51 per cent of the students were absent when a team of members of the trust visited a school to check the attendance. Even the attendance of teachers was dismal.

However, Sen said the investigations showed that a good number of teachers, those with the Sishu Siksha Kendras,were dedicated to their duties and the trust was happy to find that many teachers, mostly women, treated the pupils as family members. Sen said the final report of the trust was likely to be ready by January.

Airport alert: The Calcutta airport has been put on high alert following a Central warning on possible terrorist activities.


Calcutta, Nov. 10: 
The Centre has decided to recognise the erosion of the Ganga in north Bengal as a national problem, Union minister for water resources Arjun Sethi said in Calcutta on Saturday. Sethi,who had been to Farakka on Friday, held talks with chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee in this regard. .

We decided to form a Centrestate joint committee to monitor the situation and also approach the planning commission for funds,. Sethi said.The Union minister announced that his ministry will release Rs 17 crore for antierosion work.

Sethi said the Pune-based Central Power Research Station has been asked to submit a survey report by January 2002. With the Ganga changing its course eastwards near Farakka, state irrigation minister Amalendra Roy demanded that the Centre release Rs 50 crore to check this trend.

Deforestation, landslides and boulder removal in neighbouring countries were having an adverse effect on the Ganga and its tributaries, Roy said. State finance minister Asim Dasgupta and the irrigation minister drew Sethi�s attention on the dues his ministry had on flood-protection work in the state. According to Dasgupta, the Centre owed the state Rs 84 crore since 1997 and had paid up only Rs 30 crore.


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