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West Bengal

Mukherjee to visit West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar from April 1-3

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President Pranab Mukherjee will visit West Bengal, Jharkhand and Bihar from April 1-3 during which he will, among other engagements, attend the 52nd annual convocation of Indian Institute of Management Calcutta (IIMC) in Kolkata as the chief guest.  
 
On April 2, the President will lay the foundation stone of Rabindra Bhawan and Haj House at Ranchi in Jharkhand. On the same day, he will also inaugurate the 44 km Deoghar-Basukinath Solar Street Light Project and lay the foundation stone of Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) Centre; Employees State Insurance Corporation Hospital and Driver's Training Centres at Deoghar in that state.
 
On April 3, Mr. Mukherjee will visit Vikramshila University Monuments and Museum at Vikramshila in Bihar.  He will also visit Guru Shyama Charan Lahiri Peeth, Gurudham-Bounsi before returning to Delhi, an official press release added.
 
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Ernakulam-Howrah Antyodaya Express, Sri Ganganagar-Tiruchirappalli Humsafar Express flagged off

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Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu today flagged off two trains -- the first Antyodaya Express between Ernakulam in Kerala and Howrah in West Bengal and the fourth Humsafar Express between Sri Ganganagar in Rajasthan and Tiruchirappalli in Tamil Nadu.
 
Antyodaya Express is a long-distance, fully unreserved, superfast train service, for the common man to be operated on dense routes. It will have facilities like  cushioned luggage racks which can serve as seats additional hand holds in doorway area, J-Hook near longitudinal luggage racks, multiple unit cables at both ends of the coach, vestibuled ends for internal movement of the passengers, drinking water dispenser, mobile phone charging points, fire extinguisher with anti-theft lock, FRP (Fibre Reinforced Plastic) modular toilets, toilet occupation indication display board, LED lights, anti-graffiti coating for exterior painting, and so on.
 
Humsafar Express is a fully air-conditioned 3-AC service with facilities like GPS-based Passenger Information System, Passenger announcement System, fire and smoke detection and suppression system, CCTVs, comfortable seats, mobile and laptop charging points, integrated Braille display, LCD display above compartment doors in the aisle, fire retardant curtains, and so on.
 
Mr. Prabhu said the Railways would soon launch Tejas and Uday Express trains also.
 
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Netaji great son of motherland, says Mukherjee

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President Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated here yesterday the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Netaji Research Bureau founded by Dr. Sisir Kumar Bose in 1957 at Kolkata, West Bengal.
 
He also unveiled and sat in the restored Wanderer car used by Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose on his ‘Mahanishkraman’ in January 1941.
 
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Mukherjee described Dr. Sisir Kumar Bose as a close personal friend of many years. He remembered how Netaji had asked Dr. Bose in December 1940: “Amaar ekta kaj korte parbe?” (Can you do some work for me?) 
 
The President said Dr Bose never stopped doing Netaji’s work until he passed away. He built the Netaji Research Bureau with singular determination and devoted his entire life to the work of Netaji. 
 
The President pointed out that Netaji's birthday falls a few days from now, on January 23 and paid homage to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose as a great son of the motherland who dedicated his life to the nation and the people. 
 
He congratulated the Netaji Research Bureau for having refurbished the 'Wanderer' which was a mute witness to the 'Great Escape' of this extraordinary personality serving the nation over the last 60 years. He called upon the Research Bureau to continue its important work in the days to come. 
 
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Mukherjee to unveil Netaji's restored Wanderer car in Kolkata

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President Pranab Mukherjee will pay a three-day visit to Jharkhand and West Bengal from tomorrow during which he will, among other engagements, inaugurate the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Netaji Research Bureau in Kolkata.
 
He will also unveil the restored Wanderer car used by Netaji Subash Chandra Bose on his "Mahanishkraman" in January 1941.
 
Also tomorrow, Mr. Mukherjee will inaugurate the centenary Year Celebrations of Jhalda Satyabhama Vidyapith at Jhalda, Purulia, an official press release said. 
 
On January 19, the President will inaugurate the 28th Dantan Gramin Mela-2017 at Dantan, Paschim Medinipur. He will also attend the 35th Anniversary celebrations of Aajkaal at Kolkata on the same day.
 
On January 20, the President will inaugurate the Bengal Global Business Summit-2017. On the same day, he will inaugurate the Bicentenary Celebrations of the Hindu School. The President will also inaugurate the Bicentenary Celebrations of Presidency University at Kolkata before returning to Delhi, the release added.
 
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BHEL commissions 500 MW thermal unit in West Bengal

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The public sector Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) today said it had successfully commissioned another 500 MW thermal unit in West Bengal.  
 
The unit is the second 500 MW set to be commissioned at Sagardighi Thermal Power Station (TPS) Phase II project in Murshidabad district of West Bengal. 
 
The first unit of the 1,000 MW project was commissioned earlier by BHEL in December, 2015. 
 
The project has been set up by the state-owned West Bengal Power Development Corporation (WBPDCL).
 
A press release from the company said BHEL’s scope of work in the contract envisaged design, engineering, manufacture, supply and erection & commissioning of Steam Generators, Steam Turbine Generators and auxiliaries, electrical equipment, switchyard and state-of-the-art Controls & Instrumentation (C&I), along with associated civil works.
 
The equipment for the project was manufactured at BHEL’s Trichy, Ranipet, Haridwar, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Bhopal plants, while the company’s Power Sector - Eastern Region undertook erection and commissioning of the equipment.
 
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Six women die in stampede during Ganga Sagar Mela in West Bengal

 
Six women dead in stampede during Ganga Sagar Mela in West Bengal
As many as six elderly women died when they were caught in a rush of pilgrims at Kochuberia in South Parganas district of West Bengal on Sunday evening during the annual Ganga Sagar Mela, a religious fair held during the Makar Sankranti festival.
 
The incident occurred near a jetty when a part of the crowd surged forward to get on to a boat.
 
The victims were rushed to a nearby hospital but could not be revived, sources said.
 
There were conflicting versions about details of the tragedy but some sources said people had been waiting for a long time for a boat and had become restless, leading to a stampede-like situation.
 
The West Bengal government announced compensation of Rs 5 lakh for the next-of-kin of those killed in the incident.
 
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Bye-elections to be held on November 19 to fill four LS, eight Assembly seats

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The Election Commission (EC) today said it would hold bye-elections to fill casual vacancies in the Lok Sabha from three States and eight seats in the Legislative Assemblies in seven States.
 
The vacancies in the Lok Sabha are from Lakhimpur in Assam, Shahdol (ST) in Madhya Pradesh and Coochbehar (SC) and Tamluk in West Bengal, an official press release said.
 
The Assembly seats vacant are 20-Baithalangso (ST) in Assam, 45 – Hayuliang (ST) in Arunachal Pradesh, 179-Nepanagar (ST) in Madhya Pradesh, 263-Monteswar in West Bengal, 195-Thiruparankundram in Tamil Nadu, 4-Barjala and 25-Khowai in Tripura and 17-Nellithope in Puducherry.
 
The release said the notification for the bye-elections will be issued on October 26 and the last date for making nominations is November 2. Counting of votes will be taken up on November 22.
 
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Mukherjee inaugurates Berhampore Military Station

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President Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated the Behrampore Military Station in West Bengal today.
 
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Mukherjee said the station had great importance because it was the only such station between Siliguri and Kolkata which is very near to Bangladesh border.
 
He appreciated the sacrifices of the soldiers and said that they had shown exemplary courage in every battle field. He saluted the bravehearts whose sacrifices are unparalleled. 
 
The foundation stone of the Berhampore Military Station was laid by Mr. Mukherjee in February 2014.
 
Members of Parliament Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and Abhijit Mukherjee, West Bengal Labour Minister Zakir Hussain and Lt. Gen. Praveen Bakshi, GoC-in-C, Eastern Command were among those present on the occasion. 
 
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Actress-turned-politican Roopa Ganguly nominated to Rajya Sabha

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The President has nominated well-known Bengali film actress and playback singer Roopa Ganguly, who played the role of Draupadi in the television serial Mahabharat, as a member of the Rajya Sabha.
 
"In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-clause (a) of clause (1) of article 80 of the Constitution of India, read with clause (3) of that article, the President is pleased to nominate Smt. Roopa Ganguly to the Council of States to fill the vacancy of nominated member," an official press release said.
 
She fills the vacancy caused by the resignation of nominated member Navjyot Singh Sidhu, who is a former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) member of the Lok Sabha.
 
Ms. Ganguly, 49, had joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is in power at the Centre, last year ahead of the elections to the West Bengal Legislative Assembly, in which she was one of the party's star campaigners. She, however, lost in the elections from Howrah North to Trinamool Congress candidate Laxmi Ratan Shukla, a former cricketer.
 
She has appeared in films like Padma Nadir Majhi (1993) by Gautam Ghose, Yugant (1995) by Aparna Sen, and Antarmahal (2006) by Rituparno Ghosh. She made her debut in the Hindi film Saaheb, starring Anil Kapoor, in 1985 and then appeared in a Malayalam film, Ithile Iniyum Varu, which had superstar Mammootty in the lead.
 
In all, Ms. Ganguly has appeared in more than 40 films in Bengali, Hindi, Odiya, Kannada and Assamese.
 
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Cabinet okays closure of Hindustan Cables Limited, Kolkata

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The Union Cabinet today gave its approval for closure of Hindustan Cables Limited (HCL), Kolkata as per the provisions of the Companies Act, 1956/2013, Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 and other relevant Acts. 
 
The employees will be offered VRS/ VSS Package at notional 2007 pay scales and other employees’ related liabilities including payment of salary and wages from April 2015 till they are separated from the company on VRS/VSS will be settled as well, an official press release said.
 
The disposal of assets of company will be in terms of the guidelines of Department of Public Enterprises on time bound closure of sick/loss making Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) and disposal of movable and immovable assets, itsaid.
 
Total cash infusion for closure of company will be Rs. 1309.90 crore and non-cash infusion of Rs. 3467.15 crore in the form of conversion into equity of Government of India's loan (including interest) outstanding as on 30.09.2016. 
 
"Secured creditors of HCL, Kolkata, led by State Bank of India (SBI) as consortium lenders to the company, have been generous in their support. The One Time Settlement (OTS) terms include complete waiver of interest and settle on principal amount of Rs. 305.63 crore in settlement of all pari-passu collateral held by them," the release said.
 
According to the release, there is no production activity in the company since January 2003. 
 
The employees of the company are in 1997 pay scales. Due to non-payment of salary & wages, it is very difficult for the employees to survive and meet their immediate financial obligations. With the VRS/VSS package and clearance of other outstanding liabilities, the employees will come out of their present financial crisis. It will also help the employees in their post retirement rehabilitation, the release said.
 
"With the present time bound closure of the company, the valuable assets of the company will be available for other optimum utilization," it said.
 
HCL was established in the year 1952. It had four manufacturing units at Rupnarainpur (West Bengal), Hyderabad (Telengana), Naini (Uttar Pradesh) and Narendrapur (West Bengal). The registered office of HCL is located in Kolkata. 
 
The company was set up to cater to the needs of Government-owned telecom companies BSNL and MTNL for manufacture of telecom cables. Due to rapid change in telecommunication technology (wire-line to wireless), the demand for telecom cables has been drastically reduced. Several attempts were made by Department of Heavy Industries for revival of the company but they failed. Attempts to transfer HCL units to Ministry of Defence/Department of Defence Production also did not yield results. 
 
The proposal for closure of the company has been made as per the recommendations of BIFR, BRPSE and the roadmap approved by CCEA on 29.12.2014 for phasing out non-plan budgetary support to sick CPSEs. 
 
The company is a BIFR referred company since 2002. Government of India's decision for closure of the company will be conveyed to BIFR for seeking their approval, the release added.
 
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Minor earthquake shakes Darjeeling region of West Bengal

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 3.2 on the Richter scale, shook the Darjeeling region of West Bengal this evening, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 26.7°N and longitude 88.3°E, occurred at 2004 hours at a focal depth of 10 km, an IMD bulletin said.
 
Earlier this morning, a tremor of magnitude 3.2 had been recorded in the Sonitpur region of Assam. The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 26.9 N and longitude 93.6 E, occurred at 1058 hours at a focal depth of 10 km, the IMD said.
 
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Minor earthquake shakes Jalpaiguri region of West Bengal

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 3.5 on the Richter scale, shook the Jalpaiguri region of West Bengal in the early hours of today.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 26.6 N and longitude 89.4 E, occurred at 0216 hours at a focal depth of 10 km, a bulletin from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) added.
 
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BHEL commissions 40 MW hydro power plant in West Bengal

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The public sector Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) today said it had successfully commissioned the fourth and last unit of the 4x40 MW Teesta Low Dam Hydro Electric Project (HEP) Stage-IV in West Bengal.
 
A run-of-the-river greenfield project located in Darjeeling district of West Bengal, Teesta HEP has been set up by NHPC Limited, on the river Teesta.
 
A press release from BHEL said power generation from the project would result in reduction of green-house gas emissions and help in achieving a low carbon development path.
 
BHEL was entrusted with the electrical & mechanical (E&M) works for four units of 40 MW each by NHPC Limited. BHEL’s scope of work in the project comprised design, manufacture, supply, installation and commissioning of complete E&M equipment including vertical shaft Kaplan Turbines and matching generators. The equipment was supplied by BHEL units at Bhopal, Jhansi, Rudrapur and Bengaluru and the execution of work on site was carried out by the company’s Power Sector Eastern Region.
 
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Environment Minister seeks report on elephant deaths in West Bengal

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Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Anil Dave has sought a detailed report on the train accident in Bishnupur area of West Bengal yesterday, in which three elephants were killed. 
 
An official press reease said Mr. Dave had asked all concerned local authorities to ascertain the exact reasons behind the train accident. 
 
He has also directed the State Forest Department officials to discuss the issue with the Railways and put in place appropriate measures for the conservation of elephants.
 
The release said the Environment Ministry had initiated steps to prepare a Regional Landscape Plan for the conservation of elephants in the East Central Elephant Landscape, comprising the states of West Bengal, Odisha, Jharkhand and other elephant areas. 
 
The West Bengal Forest Department has also prepared a three-year action plan for controlling human-elephant conflict in South Bengal. 
 
The State Forest Department will send SMS alerts to Railway authorities on the movement of elephants near railway tracks to prevent accidents. State Forest Department officials will also hold a meeting with Railway authorities today, following yesterday’s mishap, the release added.
 
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Former Bihar, West Bengal and Haryana Governor A R Kidwai passes away

A R Kidwai
A R Kidwai
Dr. Akhlaq Ur Rahman Kidwai, a distinguished scientist and educationist who also served as the Governor of Bihar, West Bengal and Haryana, passed away at a private hospital here today after a brief illness.
 
He was 96. He is survived by two sons and four daughters. His wife Jamila Kidwai had predeceased him. His funeral will be held tomorrow, sources said.
 
According to them, he was admitted to the Escorts Hospital here about ten days ago after complaining of breathing difficulties.
 
Dr. Kidwai served as Governor of Bihar from 1979 to 1985 and again from 1993 to 1998. He also served as Governor of West Bengal from 1998 to 1999 and Haryana from 2004 to 2009.
 
In between, he also held charge for some time as Governor of Punjab and of Rajasthan and Administrator of Delhi. He was a member of the Rajya Sabha from 2000 to 2004.
 
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Born on July 1, 1920 in Baragaon village of Barabanki district of Uttar Pradesh, took a BA degree from Jamia Milia Islamia University here and went on to complete M. Sc. at the University of Illinois in the United States and Ph. D. from Cornell University, also in the US.
 
He worked as Professor and Head of the Department of Chemistry and the Dean of the Faculty of Science at the Aligarh Muslim University. He also served as Chairman of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) from 1974-77. He was Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University from 1983 to 1992.
 
Dr. Kidwai was associated with several bodies, incuding the National Committee on Science and Technology, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), the University Grants Commission (UGC), the Central Advisory Board of Education and the Central Council of Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs).
 
The Government honoured him with the Padma Vibhushan, the country's second highest civilian award, in 2011.
 
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Progress not possible without knowledge society: Mukherjee

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Stressing the need for research and innovation, President Pranab Mukherjee today said progress would not be possible without a knowledge society.
 
Knowledge leads to technology and technology to prosperity, Mr Mukherjee said in his address at the first convocation of the  Management Development Institute (MDI) at Murshidabad in West Bengal.
 
He recalled that he had taken the initiative for establishment of the institute when he was representing the area in Parliament.
 
As the first batch of students received their management degrees today, he was happy to share this significant moment in their life, he said.
 
The President said technology was the key to advancement. “Despite the fact we have created good infrastructure in our higher educational system, hardly any of the Indian Universities find place in the top global rankings,” he said.
 
After his continuous exhortation to institutions to take the ranking process seriously, the situation has started improving. Two institutions of higher learning have come within the top 100 in the world in the year 2015. Mr Mukherjee said he expected more institutions to figure high in the rankings in the future.
 
West Bengal Governor Kesari Nath Tripathi and Union Minister for Food Processing Industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal were among those present on the occasion.
 
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Earthquake of magnitude 6.7 jolts Myanmar, tremors felt in eastern, NE India

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An earthquake of magnitude 6.7 jolted Myanmar this afternoon and the tremors were felt in several parts of eastern and north-eastern India.
 
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 21.0 N and longitude 94.4 E, near Chauk town on the Irrawaddy river, occurred at 1604 hours IST at a focal depth of 58 km.
 
Reports reaching here said the tremors were felt in Kolkata and other parts of West Bengal, Patna in Bihar, Guwahati in Assam and Tripura, among other places. They were also felt in Bangladesh and Thailand.
 
Residents of the affected areas ran out of their homes and offices as a precautionary measure.
 
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Mukherjee inaugurates new office building of Bharat Chamber of Commerce in Kolkata

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President Pranab Mukherjee said industrialists in eastern India and the North-East had a special challenge and responsibility on their shoulders.
 
Inaugurating the new office building of the Bharat Chamber of Commerce here, he exhorted them to avail of opportunities and drive the engines of growth and also impressed upon them that the growth models and techniques that they use should essentially take into account ways and means that ensure equitable growth. 
 
He noted that the Bharat Chamber of Commerce was one of India's oldest chambers with a history going back to the year 1900 when it was formed as an Association of Merchants belonging to a particular community. 
 
The President stated that the land of Eastern India comprising Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar, Assam, Odisha and the other states of North East have since centuries been the land of India’s renaissance and reformation. Apart from being the breeding ground of various cultures and religions, it is this land that witnessed excellence in indigenous handlooms, setting up of nascent industries around jute and tea, iron ore, coal and petroleum, he said.
 
Mr. Mukherjee also attended the first Foundation Day of Bandhan Bank here today. He said that, in October 2010, in his village Kirnahar, he first got an opportunity to know Bandhan and its founder Chandrashekhar Ghosh at a function for rural borrowers. He was interested in learning the story of Mr. Ghosh of organizing self - help groups and its working effectively to provide micro-finance to poor people. 
 
The President said that he had closely watched the development of the banking sector over the years as Minister of Banking and Revenue, Finance Minister and Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission. He said that in 2010 it was decided that the Reserve Bank of India would soon open up the banking sector for financial inclusion. It gave him satisfaction that three years later, when Reserve Bank asked for applications seeking bank licenses, Bandhan bank was one of those, who applied for it and got it successfully. The first year's performance of Bandhan Bank is encouraging. It was important to provide facilities and reach out to those people who did not have access to them. 
 
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Mr. Mukherjee also addressed the 125th anniversary celebrations of Bangiya Sahitya Parisad in Kolkata today.
 
Speaking on the occasion, the President said that he had been a member of the Board of Trustees of Bangiya Sahitya Parisad which had luminaries like Ramesh Chandra Dutta, Rabindranath Tagore and Ramendrasundar Trivedi at its helm. 
 
He stated that the Parisad had played an important role in promoting literature and preserving numerous valuable literary manuscripts since its inception in 1893. The 13,000 manuscripts housed in the institute’s library are rare treasures which must be preserved at any cost and for that, all necessary arrangements must be made. The Parishad is associated with the history of Bengali literature. 
 
Mr. Mukherjee said that literature not only pertained to creative work, but was also an ample reflection of society and its people at large. Hence, world literature that is a reflection of the geography, history, society and daily life of people must be preserved for being handed over and studied by future generations, he said.
 
The President also said that Bangiya Sahitya Parishad had received a corpus fund of Rs 10 crore from the Union Ministry of Culture. He stated that this and other similar grants could be well utilised towards preservation of the priceless manuscripts available in this institution. 
 
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Akashvani Maitree Channel to promote, preserve Bengali cultural heritage: Mukherjee

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President Pranab Mukherjee today launched Akashvani’s Maitree Channel, saying it could  play a significant role in promoting and preserving the composite Bengali cultural heritage, the proud inheritance of all Bengali speaking people, irrespective of their geographical location.
 
Mr Mukherjee said he was sure that the blending of content from both India and Bangladesh in the fields of art, culture, literature, music, sports and also on shared socio-economic issues would make the channel a unique one and establish it in the hearts of millions of radio loving people both in India and Bangladesh as well as outside.
 
“India and Bangladesh are not just neighbours but are bound by an umbilical connection of ethnicity and kinship. India always attaches highest importance to bilateral relations with Bangladesh because of our shared history, heritage, culture, language, physical proximity and also the role which the two nations can play together for the development and prosperity of the entire subcontinent and beyond,” he said.
 
The bedrock on which the edifice of this unique relationship stands is the unwavering faith of both the countries in democratic values, principles of liberalism, egalitarianism, secularism and respect for each other’s sovereignty and integrity, the President said.
 
With the launch of Akashvani Maitree, a new chapter is being added in the annals of India- Bangladesh relations. Akashvani Maitree and its multimedia website is a unique venture and this initiative of All India Radio was not only for the Bengali listeners in West Bengal, Bangladesh and the adjoining areas but the entire Bengali speaking Diaspora in different parts of the globe, he added.
 
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Mukherjee to visit West Bengal from August 22-24

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President Pranab Mukherjee will pay a three-day visit to West Bengal from August 22-24, during which he will inaugurate a CII-IIEST Conference on the theme ‘Enabling Make in India through Industry Academia Innovation Platform’ in Kolkata tomorrow.
 
He will also attend a function ‘The Legacy to Humanity: Celebrating 150 years of Homeopathy’ organized by the Dr. Prasanta Banerji Homeopathic Research Foundation in Kolkata as Chief Guest on the same day, an official press release said.
 
On August 23, Mr. Mukherjee will launch Akashvani’s Moitree Service in Bangla for listeners in Bangladesh in Kolkata. He will also attend the 125th anniversary celebrations of Bangiya Sahitya Parisad, inaugurate a new building of Bharat Chamber of Commerce and address the first foundation day of Bandhan Bank in Kolkata on the same day. 
 
On August 24, the President will inaugurate a Mega Food Park at Jangipur, Murshidabad. He will also attend the convocation of Management Development Institute-Murshidabad at Jangipur before returning to New Delhi, the release added.
 
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BHEL bags Rs.169 crore order for 30 MW solar photovoltaic power plants

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The public sector Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) today said it had secured an order valued at Rs. 169 crore for setting up  30 MW (3x10 MW) of solar photovoltaic (SPV) power plants on engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) basis.
 
A press release from the company said the letter of intent (LoI) had been placed on it by West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Corporation Limited (WBSEDCL).
 
The SPV plants of 10 MW each are to be set up at Mejia (Bankura), Santaldih (Purulia) and Chharrah (Purulia) in West Bengal.
 
Earlier this year, BHEL bagged EPC orders from Neyveli Lignite Corporation and Bharat Electronics Limited for setting up of a 65 MW SPV Power plant at Neyveli (Tamil Nadu) and a 15 MW SPV Power Plant at Ordinance Factory Premises, Medak (Telangana),
respectively, which are currently under execution. In the previous year also, BHEL bagged EPC orders from NTPC for 50 MW Solar Power plants each at Ananthpur (AP) and Mandsaur (MP).
 
While the Ananthpur project has been commissioned, the Mandsaur project is currently under execution, the release added.
 
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IAFs Hawk trainer aircraft crashes at Kalaikunda in West Bengal

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A Hawk trainer aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) crashed at the Kalaikunda air base in West Bengal today, but both pilots managed to eject safely, official sources said.
 
A press release from the Ministry of Defence said the aircraft got airborne from Kalaikunda at 1030 hours for a routine training mission.
 
"After take off, the aircraft developed unserviceability, resulting into a crash. Both pilots of the aircraft ejected safely. There is no reported damage on the ground," it said.
 
A Court of Inquiry has been ordered to ascertain the cause of the accident, the release added.
 
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Eminent writer and social activist Mahasweta Devi passes away

Mahasweta Devi
Mahasweta Devi
Well-known writer and social activisit Mahasweta Devi, who championed the cause of India's nomadic and tribal groups and the oppressed classes, who face discrimination at every step of their lives, died at a private hospital here today of multi-organ failure.
 
She was 90.
 
Mahasweta was admitted to the Belle Vue nursing home here on May 22 and breathed her last at around 3.15 pm today, when she suffered a cardiac arrest.
 
Hospital sources said her condition took a turn for the worse suddenly around 3 pm and doctors tried their best to save her, but she passed away.
 
During an illustrious career, which spanned a period of tumultuous change in India, from British rule, independence and the turmoil that the country faced in the first few decades after independence, Mahasweta's writing inspired whole generations of readers, writers, journalists and filmmakers.
 
Born on January 14, 1926 into a family of writers and social workers in Dhaka, East Bengal, which is modern-day Bangladesh, Mahasweta's family moved to West Bengal after partition. She completed her schooling and graduation in English at Visvabharati, Santiniketan and later earned an M. A. in English Literature from the University of Calcutta.
 
In Kolkata, she came into contact with Gananatya, a group which worked to take social and political theatre to the rural parts of the state in the 1930s and the 1940s.
 
She completed M.A. in English Literature from the University of Calcutta and started out as a tacher and journalist. She published her first book, Jhansir Rani, in 1956, and never quite stopped after that as she launched into a prolific literary career, publishing scores of novels and several collections of short stories, mainly in Bengali.
 
She also contributed regularly to literary magazines such as Bortika, which was dedicated to the cause of the oppressed communities. She took retirement from her job as a lecturer in English at the University of Calcutta in 1984 to focus on writing.
 
Her father Manish Ghatak was a well-known poet and novelist, while her uncle was noted filmmaker Ritwik Ghatat. Her mother, Dharitri Devi, was also a writer and social worker whose brothers were very distinguished in various fields, such as the noted sculptor Sankha Chaudhury and the founder-editor of the Economic and Political Weekly of India, Sachin Chaudhury. 
 
After finshing her studies, Mahasweta had got married to well-known playwright Bijon Bhattacharya, one of the founders of the IPTA movement. Their son Nabarun Bhattacharya was also a renowned poet and novelist in his own right and had won the Sahitya Akademi award. She was divorced from her husband in 1959.
 
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Mahasweta won the Jnanpith Award, India's highest literary honour, in 1995 and was conferred with the Magsaysay Award in 1996.
 
"I have always believed that the real history is made by ordinary people. I constantly come across the reappearance, in various forms, of folklore, ballads, myths and legends, carried by ordinary people across generations. ... The reason and inspiration for my writing are those people who are exploited and used, and yet do not accept defeat. For me, the endless source of ingredients for writing is in these amazingly noble, suffering human beings. Why should I look for my raw material elsewhere, once I have started knowing them? Sometimes it seems to me that my writing is really their doing," Mahasweta had once said about her work.
 
In recent years, she had launched a campaign against the industrial policies of the West Bengal government, especially with regard to acquisition of land from farmers in areas such as Singur and Nandigram.
 
Some of her works were made into acclaimed films such as Sunghursh (1968), Rudaali (1993), Hazaar Chaurasi Ki Maa (1998) and Maati Maay (2006).
 
Mahasweta received the Sahitya Akademi award for Aranyer Adhikar in Bengali in 1979.
 
She was honoured by the Government with the Padma Vibhushan, the nation's second highest civilian honour in 2006. In 2011, she received the Bangabibhushan, the highest civilian award from the Government of West Bengal.
 
Vice-President M. Hamid Ansari condoled the passing away of Mahasweta, saying that she would always be remembered for her popular stories that sought to raise awareness about social injustice, discrimination, poverty in the country. 
 
“I am deeply grieved to hear about the passing away of acclaimed writer and activist Ms. Mahasweta Devi. 
 
'I offer my heartfelt condolences to her family members and pray for eternal peace for the departed soul," he said.
 
"Mahashweta Devi wonderfully illustrated the might of the pen. A voice of compassion, equality & justice, she leaves us deeply saddened. RIP," Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on micro-blogging site Twitter.
 
"India has lost a great writer. Bengal has lost a glorious mother. I have lost a personal guide. Mahashweta Di rest in peace," West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on Twitter.
 
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BHEL commissions 40 MW hydel plant in West Bengal

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The public sector Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) today said it had successfully commissioned the third unit of the 4x40 MW Teesta Low Dam Hydro Electric Project (HEP) Stage-IV in West Bengal.
 
A run-of-the-river greenfield project located in Darjeeling district of West Bengal, Teesta HEP is being set up by National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC), on River Teesta. 
 
The fourth and final unit of the project is also in advanced stages of execution, a press release from the company said.
 
Power generation from the Teesta project will result in reduction of green-house gas emissions and will help in achieving a low carbon development path for the state as well as the nation, it said.
 
The order for electrical and mechanical (E&M) works for four units of 40 MW each was placed on BHEL by NHPC. BHEL’s scope of work in the project comprised design, manufacture, supply, installation and commissioning of complete E&M works including vertical shaft Kaplan Turbines and matching generators. 
 
The equipment has been supplied by BHEL units at Bhopal, Jhansi, Rudrapur and Bengaluru and the execution of work on site is being carried out by the company’s Power Sector Eastern Region.
 
BHEL is presently executing hydro electric projects of around 3,300 MW in the country which are under various stage of implementation. Other projects of NHPC currently under execution by BHEL are the 4x200 MW Parbati HEP Stage – II and 3x110 MW Kishanganga HEP. In West Bengal, BHEL is also executing the 3x40 MW Rammam Stage-III hydro-electric project of NTPC.
 
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Mukherjee compliments Darjeeling Tea Association for upholding brand name

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President Pranab Mukherjee today complimented Darjeeling Tea Association for upholding the ‘Darjeeling Tea’ brand name.
 
Addressing the annual general meeting of the Darjeeling Tea Association here, the President said ‘Darjeeling Tea’ was a welcome item on the breakfast tables of people in a large number of countries.
 
Tea is an important export commodity of India and promotion of tea exports a major element of the country's planned economic development. India ranks second in the world in tea production next only to China, he added.
 
Mr Mukherjee said Darjeeling Tea has a unique place among all varieties of tea, especially for connoisseurs.
 
He congratulated the Darjeeling Tea Association and Gorkha Territorial Administration for having worked in association with Central and State Government as well as the Tea Board to register the Darjeeling Tea as the country’s first geographical indication under the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act 1999.
 
Darjeeling Tea is India’s first product recognized by the European Commission as a Protected Geographical Indication.
 
Now, Darjeeling Tea has become synonymous with one of the best brands of tea in the world, originating from one of the most beautiful tourist destinations of India, he added.
 
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