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Bagdogra

SpiceJet to operate special flight for stranded passengers in Bagdogra

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Low-cost carrier SpiceJet will operate a special flight on the Kolkata – Bagdogra – Kolkata route on June 10 to help tourists stranded in West Bengal's hill town of Darjeeling.
 
A press release from the airline said it would be operating its Q400 aircraft for this special flight. 
 
The special flight SG9371 will fly from Kolkata at 16.55 hrs on 10 June and will arrive at 18:15 hrs at Bagdogra. The return flight would depart Bagdogra at 18.35 and arrive in Kolkata at 19.55 hrs.
 
The flight will be in addition to the daily direct flight which SpiceJet operates on this route, the release added.
 
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GoAir increases flights to North East for Durga Puja

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Low-cost carrier GoAir today said it would launch additional flights  and feeder connections to deal with the growing demand for flights into Kolkata and Bagdogra during the busy Durga Puja period.
 
The additional flights will now ensure that GoAir flies Delhi to Bagdogra twice daily commencing on October 3 and Delhi to Kolkata thrice daily commencing from October 4, a press release from the airline said.
 
GoAir will also introduce its first ever direct flight from Chennai to Kolkata effective October 12, it said.
 
Bookings can be availed through the company website, www.GoAir.in or online travel portals, GoAir Call Centre, airport ticketing offices, through travel agents, and the GoAir App that is available on both Apple iOS and Google Android. Passengers will be required to download the latest version of the Apps to be able to make the bookings.
 
The airline had recently announced Hyderabad as its 23rd destination and will be adding to its existing tally of 144 daily flights and approximately 975 weekly flights across 22 destinations. 
 
The airline operates on these routes with its Airbus A320 fleet, the release added.
 
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Massive relief operations in Sikkim as quake toll rises to 49

Massive relief operations were underway in Sikkim and nearby states even as the death toll in the powerful magnitude 6.8 earthquake that struck the region on Sunday evening and shook most of North, East and North-East India rose to 49 on Monday.

Members of Border Roads Organisation clearing a road after a landslide at Mirik, 70 km from Siliguri on the way to Sikkim on September 19, 2011, a day afer an earthquake rocked the region. UNI PHOTO
Members of Border Roads Organisation clearing a road after a landslide at Mirik, 70 km from Siliguri on the way to Sikkim on September 19, 2011, a day afer an earthquake rocked the region. UNI PHOTO

Massive relief operations were underway in Sikkim and nearby states even as the death toll in the powerful magnitude 6.8 earthquake that struck the region yesterday evening and shook most of North, East and North-East India rose to 49 today.

Official sources said here today that as many as 35 people were killed in Sikkim, including two Army personnel as well as a junior engineer of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), who died during the rescue efforts.

At least 12 people were killed in West Bengal, while two people died in Bihar, a UNI report said.

The quake also shook neighbouring Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Tibet. Seven deaths were reported in Nepal and seven in Tibet, reports said.

At least 75 people have been hospitalised in Sikkim and several hundred public buildings and private houses had suffered damage in the quake, said to be the strongest to hit the region in decades.

The sources said the Secretariat building at Gangtok was also badly affected.

The worst affected area in Sikkim was the north district, which is close to the epicentre of the quake near Mangan, about 60 km from Gangtok, which occurred at 1812 hours yesterday.

The Sikkim government has announced ex-gratia compensation of Rs 5 lakh for the next of kin of those killed, Rs 50,000 for those who have suffered serious injuries and Rs 30,000 for those with minor injuries.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 2 lakh for the next of kin of those killed and Rs 1 lakh for those serious injured.

Rescue and relief equipments and materials being loaded on an Indian Air Force (IAF) aircraft for the earthquake victims in Sikkim in the North-East sector in the night of September 18, 2011. UNI PHOTO
Rescue and relief equipments and materials being loaded on an Indian Air Force (IAF) aircraft for the earthquake victims in Sikkim in the North-East sector in the night of September 18, 2011. UNI PHOTO

Personnel of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), who had arrived in the wee hours of today at Bagdogra airport from Delhi and Kolkata, were stranded there because the National Highway 31 A had suffered landslides at over 21 places over a cumulative length of 700 metres. Men of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) were able to make the highway functional till Singtam by this afternoon.

The sources said the damage of the 61 km road from Gangtok to Nathula wais yet to be assessed fully. The first 24 kms of road has been surveyed so far showing 12 landslides and severe damage to the road-formation over a cumulative stretch of 90 meters. Restoration of this road is unlikely to take place immediately, they said.

The North Sikkim Highway from Gangtok to Chungthang (95 km) was also affected badly, with at least 16 landslides. The road was likely to be opened for traffic today itself.

The sources said120 columns of Army including 10 engineering columns, have also been deployed in restoration and relief work.

They said the power situation had improved, with all the major power generating stations becoming operational and the 220 Kv lines fully restored. The 66 Kv line from Gangtok to Tadong was yet to be restored, however.

Landline telephone lines had been fully restored, and more than half of the mobile telephone towers were also functioning.

The sources said a team of nine doctors and 10 paramedics from Delhi has already reached Siliguri and would proceed to Gangtok once the Siliguri-Darjeeling road is restored.

ITBP personnel inspecting a damaged house in Pegong on September 19, 2011, a day after several people were rendered homeless after an earthquake of 6.8 magnituade rocked Sikkim and neighbouring states. UNI PHOTO
ITBP personnel inspecting a damaged house in Pegong on September 19, 2011, a day after several people were rendered homeless after an earthquake of 6.8 magnituade rocked Sikkim and neighbouring states. UNI PHOTO

The state governments of West Bengal and Sikkim have been advised to take care to regulate and prioritise the movement of traffic on the road to avoid blockade due to the sudden rush of vehicles and to ensure that essential manpower, equipment and supplies for relief and rescue work were able to get through first.

The sources said there was no shortage of essential commodities in Sikkim.

The Chief Secretary, Sikkim has been advised to open community shelters and feeding centres in inaccessible pockets. At present, 1500 persons have taken shelter in Army camps and 10 "langars" are being run to feed them.

The Chief Secretary, West Bengal has been advised to keep enough quantity of packets of dry foods, matchboxes, candle and medicine ready at Siliguri for air-dropping. Presently, air dropping of food packets is not possible because of adverse weather conditions/heavy rains in and around Gangtok, But Defence Secretary has been advised to drop some packets quickly, weather permitting.

The sources said the weather in Sikkim continued to be inclement. As a result, sorties by helicopters were not possible today. However, helicopters, including an MN-17 for air-dropping of supplies, are in readiness.

The National Crisis Management Committee, which met here today to assess the situation under the chairmanship of Union Cabinet Secretary Ajit Kumar Seth, was due to meet again this evening.

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Man accused of 1992 murder of Indian family in Dubai sentenced to death

A CBI court in Ahmedabad has convicted Ravjibhai Manubhai Pawar of the murder of his Indian employer and four other members of his family in Dubai in 1992 and sentenced him to death.

A press release from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said that its investigations had shown that Pawar, while working as a domestic servant in Dubai, had kileld Mr Ramesh K Sagar and four others of Mr Sagar's family on January 4, 1992.

He was also accused of rape and of stealing household articles, including clothes, ornaments and cash.

Pawar feld from Dubai on January 5 and came to India. On the basis of an Interpol alert, he was nabbed on January 10 by the Gujarat police and a first information report (FIR)was registered.

Since the accused was an Indian national and the offence took place outside India, the case was entrusted to the CBI. The Dubai Police had also registered an FIR and collected evidence, which was used by the CBI during investigation and trial of the case, the release said.

The chargesheet was filed on January 23, 1992 in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Chikhli. The trial court found him guilty and convicted him.

The case was registered by the CBI, Ahmedabad (now Gandhinagar) Branch on April 27, 1992 on the basis of the request and consent of the Government of Gujarat for futher investigation of the case filed at the Chikhli Police Station, the release added.

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All-party meet decides to rename West Bengal as Paschimbanga

File photo of Mamata Banerjee.
File photo of Mamata Banerjee.

Keeping intact the historical significance and upgrading the administrative opportunities, the all-party meeting convened by the Mamata Banerjee government today unanimously decided to rename the state as Paschimbanga.

A resolution in this regard would now be moved in the Assembly and then be forwarded to the Centre for formulation of a new Bill in Parliament.

Once the Bill is passed by both the Houses of Parliament and ratified by the President, the state would get its new name.

The meetig also reached a consensus in respect of bifurcation of five districts which would be finalised after discussing the matter at all- party meetings in the respective district levels.

Briefing newspersons on the second all-party meeting by the new government, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Partha Chatterjee and Opposition Leader in the Assembly Surjyakanta Mishra said that the meeting selected Paschimbanga as the new name of the state "in unison" after discussing at length the six short-listed names.

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"We have deliberated on many names for the renaming of the state and finally decided to rechristen it as 'Paschimbanga' keeping in mind the historical loyalty as well as administrative opportunities," Mr Chatterjee observed.

Echoing Mr Chatterjee, Mr Mishra maintained that the Opposition did not have any reservation on the renaming of the state and the decision was "unanimous".

Incidentally, while the new government was in favour of renaming the state primarily for administrative opportunities, a section of intellectuals and others wanted to delete the word "West" from West Bengal because the erstwhile East Bengal did not exist anymore.

However, noted litterateurs Sunil Ganguly and Sirshendu Mukherjee maintained that it would have been good if West Bengal were renamed as Bangla or Banga.

The six short-listed names discussed at the meeting were Banga, Bangapradesh, Bangla, Gourbanga, Bangabhumi and Pashimbanga.

After the first all-party meet on August 3, the Chief Minister had entrusted Mr Chatterjee and Mr Mishra with the task of seeking proposals from eminent persons with regard to renaming of the state.

Besides the proposals for renaming the state, both the leaders had also scrutinised the other suggestions from the intellectuals given earlier in this respect.

Referring to the proposals for bifurcation of five districts, Mr Chatterjee said the meeting decided in principle to split Jalpaiguri, Burdwan, North 24 Parganas, South 24 Parganas and West Midnapore.

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He said all-party meetings on the issue would now be held at the respective district levels under the chairmanship of district magistrates to discuss the matter at length.

"A final decision in respect of bifurcation of five districts will be taken after the district level all-party meetings," Mr Chatterjee said.

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