Another bridge collapses in West Bengal, none injured

Three days after a portion of the Majerhat bridge collapsed in Kolkata, another bridge caved in at Mangach in Darjeeling district of West Bengal on Friday, police said. No casualty or injury has, however, been reported so far.
The bridge over Pichla river in Phansidewa block came down when a lorry carrying bricks was crossing it, they said.
North Bengal Development Minister Rabindranath Ghosh, who visited the spot after the incident, blamed the lorry driver and Siliguri Mahakuma Parishad for the mishap.
The 30-year-old bridge was built and maintained by the Siliguri Mahakuma Parishad.
"The lorry driver should have given a thought as to whether the bridge was capable of withstanding the load of the heavy vehicle. Many drivers are reckless. This is one such example.
"Our panchayat representatives have also time and again given representation to the Siliguri Mahakuma Parishad requesting that the bridge be repaired. But no one paid any heed to their pleas," said the Minister.
On August 11, an under-construction flyover had come crashing down at Goaltuli of Phansideoa Block.
Three people were killed and 19 injured when the Majherhat bridge in south Kolkata collapsed on Wednesday.

(Our News Desk can be contacted at

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DRI seizes 32 kg of smuggled gold worth Rs. 10.32 crore from Siliguri

Officers of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) have seized 32 kgs of gold worth Rs. 10.32 crore, smuggled from China into India through Sikkim, from Siliguri in West Bengal.
This is one of the biggest seizures fo smuggled gold in the recent past in East and North-East India, an official press release said.
The release said the DRI had received a tip-off that a huge quantity of gold of foreign origin, that had been smuggled into India from China through the border state of Sikkim, would find its way to Kolkata via Siliguri.
The information said the gold would be carried by three persons who would be travelling by a hired vehicle from Gangtok to Siliguri and would thereafter go to Kolkata by train.
Acting on the tip off, the officers of DRI led strict surveillance over the area on Sevoke Road, Siliguri, near Payal cinema hall, where they intercepted a white Maruti Wagon R late in the night of May 31.
On preliminary enquiry, it was found that the Wagon R vehicle was taken on hire by three passengers. All these three passengers are natives of Maharashtra and they had hired the vehicle for their journey from Siliguri to Gangtok and back, the release said.
The three intercepted persons admitted that they were carrying on their persons gold bars of foreign origin that had been smuggled into India from China. They were taken to DRI office at Siliguri where, on search, three specially-tailored cloth belts having several pockets and secured by metal zip fasteners were found to be fastened around their waist. On opening of the belts, a total of 32 pcs of primary gold bars bearing foreign inscription were recovered. Each of the gold bars was found to weigh 1 kg, bringing the total haul to 32 kg, the release said.
According to it, the intercepted persons were found to have a temporary residence at Siliguri, which was searched by the DRI officers yesterday and Indian currency worth Rs. 20.19 lakh was recovered. The men said this was part of the sale proceeds of smuggled gold.
The release said that, in the current financial year, the DRI had seized more than 137 kg of gold and smuggled jewellery, valued at close to Rs. 24 crore in the market, smuggled from Bangladesh, Myanmar, Bhutan and China from West Bengal and the North-Eastern states. In the previous financial year, 2017-18, DRI had seized close to 430 kg of gold and gold jewellery, valued at more than Rs. 100 crore from the region, it added.
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Seven killed as vehicle falls into pond in Bengal

Seven persons, including three members of a family, were killed when their vehicle fell into a pond in West Bengal's Cooch Behar district, police said on Saturday.
The accident happened in Tupamari area at around 4 a.m., police said.
The deceased have been identified as Sadhan Saha, 36, Gopal Saha, 32, Nishita Saha, 5, Balaram Saha, 45, Subrata Saha, 28, Gopal Deb, 42, and Bapi Burman, 22.
According to police, the victims were on their way home in Bhetaguri after attending a wedding party in Baxirhat. The vehicle was submerged in deep water and the bodies were recovered in the morning, police added.
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Tri-Nation JK Tyre Himalayan Drive 6 Rally to be flagged off on Friday

India’s only Tri-Nation TSD (Time, Speed & Distance) rally, the J K Tyre Himalayan Drive 6, presented by Biswa Bangla, will be flagged-off from here on Friday.
The 1,650 kilometres long rally over five days will traverse through the Dooars and Darjeeling Hills in North Bengal, and various picturesque routes in Bhutan and Nepal.
Being held in association with West Bengal Tourism, this unique rally aims at promoting motorsports, showcasing the enormous tourism potential of North Bengal and the contiguous areas of Bhutan and Nepal, and boosting people-to-people connectivity and drive tourism between the three neighbouring countries.
The rally is distinct from other TSD rallies since it covers a wide variety of terrain, ranging from tarmac, river beds, dirt tracks, forest roads and mountainous roads. It will skirt steep slopes that will not only present a tough challenge to the participants but will also offer a lot of thrill to them as well as to spectators.
More than 100 participants, including top rallyists from the country, will take off from Silliguri on Friday morning and will journey through North Bengal’s lush forests that are home to a rich variety of flora and fauna, including the Royal Bengal Tiger, the one-horned rhino and the Asiatic elephant. It will go through picturesque tea gardens too before entering Nepal trough the Kakarbita border hitting the East West highway to the famous jungle paradise Chitwan in Nepal.
On Day 3, the participants will journey to the famous jungle roads on the fringes of the Chitwan Reserve Forest areas through the gravel and dirt tracks before coming back to Chitwan for a well deserved rest.
The rallyists drive back from Chitwan through the Dooars on Day 4 and after driving through the heart of Terai region in Nepal will enter India through the Kakarbita border en route to Murti in the Dooars for the night halt.
The participants spend the next day driving through the Dooars region going through serene terrain with its tea gardens, jungle tracks and river beds before entering the Bhutan at Phuntshoeling.
For the fifth and final leg, they will leave Phuntshoeling through amazing and adventurous hill tracks and climb up the hills to reach Darjeeling, the ‘Queen of Hill Stations’ where the rally finishes. 
The gala prize distribution ceremony will take place in Darjeeling on February 28.
The fifth edition of the hugely successful Himalayan Drive Car Rally, which has become a landmark event in India’s motorsports calendar, saw more than 100 participants last year.
Biswa Bangla is the presenting sponsor while JK Tyres is the Title Sponsor and West Bengal Tourism with its “Experience Bengal” theme while Gorkhaland Territorial Administration and North Bengal Development Department are the Principal Sponsors along with Techno India Group, City Centre Silliguri, Club Montana Vista, Neotia Getwell Hospital and Bisleri who have joined in as associate sponsors. Radio Misty is the radio partner of the event.
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Wild elephant trapped in pond in West Bengal

Forest officials trying to rescue a wild elephant which fell into a pond at Bengdubi near Siliguri in West Bengal on September 2, 2011. UNI PHOTO
Forest officials trying to rescue a wild elephant which fell into a pond at Bengdubi near Siliguri in West Bengal on September 2, 2011. UNI PHOTO
Forest officials trying to rescue a wild elephant which fell into a pond at Bengdubi near Siliguri in West Bengal on September 2, 2011. UNI PHOTO

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.


School Children celebrating I-Day

Children participating in Independence Day celebrations at their school in Siliguri in West Bengal on August 11, 2011. UNI PHOTO
Children participating in Independence Day celebrations at their school in Siliguri in West Bengal on August 11, 2011. UNI PHOTO
Children participating in Independence Day celebrations at their school in Siliguri in West Bengal on August 11, 2011. UNI PHOTO

Couple trampled to death by wild elephants in West Bengal

Wild elephants trampled to death a middle-aged couple at Jamidarguri village under Siliguri sub-division in West Bengal in the wee hours today, official sources said.

Divisional Forest Officer, Kurseong, Y T Adden said a huge herd of 110 elephants, including 15 calves, had entered the Kalabari forest under Panighata Forest Range near the Indo-Nepal border.

Some four to five pachyderms reached Jamidarguri village under Bagdogra Forest Range after midnight last night and attacked the couple's house in search of food. The animals trampled to death Madan Chhetri(52) and his wife Parvati(38). The house was also damaged.

Circle Inspector, Bagdogra, Goutam Ghosal said angry villagers blocked the Siliguri-Naxalbari road for two hours this morning disrupting peak time traffic. The blockade was lifted after police intervened.

Mewanwhile, forest officials arrived on the scene with domesticated elephants and drums and crackers to drive out the elephants.

So far three persons have been killed and four injured and some fifty houses flattened since the group of elephants started shuttling between the borders of India and Nepal with the onset of monsoon.

Two critically wounded men are undergoing treatment in the hospitals. One of them, Dil Bahadur Chettri, who suffered bone injuries, was referred to the Bangur Hospital in Kolkata.



Storms and rain disrupt poll campaign in Bengal

Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi campaigning in the West Bengal assembly elections, at Naxalbari near Siliguri on April 14, 2011.
Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi campaigning in the West Bengal assembly elections, at Naxalbari near Siliguri on April 14, 2011.

Rain and storm put a brake on campaigning for the first phase of the assembly elections in West Bengal today as several high-profile leaders were either forced to remain indoors or find alternatives to catch up on lost time.

Official sources said rain and storm disrupted life in major parts of north Bengal, which go to polls on April 18 for 54 seats spread across six districts.

Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi had to cut short his speech at the Mal in the Dooars. Following the rains, his trip to Malda is uncertain now.

After addressing a meeting at Naxalbari in the morning, Mr Gandhi was flown to Mal by a helicopter.

"Mr Gandhi was driven to Bagdogra and from there he was flown to Purnia in Bihar," Ranvir Kumar, Inspector General of Police, North Bengal, said.

He said he was not sure whether Mr Gandhi would come back to Malda to campaign.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L K Advani, accompanied by party president Nitin Gadkari, arrived here for campaigning. But they could not proceed to Jalpaiguri as scheduled. Party sources said they would move after the weather cleared.

Official sources said rain and storm had affected life as many electric poles and trees were uprooted and corrugated roofs of houses blown away.

They said podiums for campaigning were flattened and many temporary party offices blown away by the strong wind.


Flour mill gutted in fire in Siliguri, West Bengal

A flour mill here was gutted when a fire broke out in a multi-storied building at Sevoke road here in the wee hours today.

Fire-brigade sources said six fire tenders doused the flames after battling for nearly three hours.

The fire was probably caused by an electrical short circuit, the sources added.

No casualties were reported so far and the extent of damage was being ascertained, police added.


Rhino census on anvil at Jaldapara Sanctuary in West Bengal

A rhinoceros census is slated to be conducted from March 10 to 12 at Jaldapara Sanctuary here, official sources said today.

"The census will be conducted from March 10-12 at the Jaldapara Sanctuary. A video footage will also be taken to identify the pachyderms," Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) B K Soodh said.

The sanctuary will not be open for tourists during this period, he added.

According to a census conducted two years ago, there were 130 rhinoceros in Jaldapara.

The wildlife authority also has plans to extend the sanctuary to Patlakhawa Wildlife-III Division by 2011, official sources said.

The one-horn rhino is a precious species which can only be found in Jaldapara and Gorumara National Park here.


Toll in West Bengal accident rises to six

With two more persons succumbing to injuries today, the toll in yesterday's accident in the Teesta river rose to six.

Four labourers were killed on the spot and eight injured when a Border Roads Organisation (BRO) truck fell into the turbulent river under Kalimpong sub-division last night.

The truck, carrying road menders, skidded off the road near Melli.

The deceased have been identified as Pramila Rai (45), Sanju Rai (35), Sunil Chettri (8) and Ashok Chettri (45).

Additional, Superintendent of Police, Kalimpong, J Dorjee said, "Two of the injured in yesterday's accident have succumbed to their injuries." Six others are battling for life, he added.

The truck was going towards Gorubathan from Melli when the mishap occurred.


4 prisoners flee from Siliguri jail in West Bengal

Four prisoners have fled from the Siliguri Special Correctional Home, Superintendent of Jail, T R Bhutia said today.

"During the roll call in the morning hours of Sunday, at least four prisoners were found to be missing," he said.

He said details of the fugitives were not known immediately. The jail, situated at Subash Pally, is home for many hardcore criminals convicted for murders.

At least 18 convicted Bangladeshi criminals, whose term has expired, were also lodged in the jail.


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