Agartala, July 10 (IANS) The Gauhati High Court's bench here Tuesday stopped the counselling of students for admission to medical and engineering courses on a plea alleging irregularities in the Tripura Joint Entrance Board (TJEB) exam, a lawyer said. The court directed police to seize all the answer scripts of the TJEB exam held in April for medical, engineering and other technical courses. The result was declared last month. Justice Subhashish Talapatra of the Agartala bench of the high court also directed a scrutiny of the answer sheets by hand-writing experts following allegations of alteration of answers, the lawyer said. The court directions came on a plea by 11 engineering and medical courses aspirants, who appeared in the TJEB exam. They alleged modifications in their answer scripts, obtained under the Right to Information Act, he said. Nearly 2,000 students appeared in the exam which helps students get admission in institutions in Tripura and other states. The case would next be heard July 17. The main opposition Congress Tuesday demanded a judicial probe by a sitting high court judge to unearth the wrong doings in the TJEB exam. The irregularities in the TJEB exam were the biggest scam in the education sector in India, opposition leader Ratan Lal Nath told reporters. The Congress and its frontal organisations have launched agitations across the Left Front ruled state in support of their demands that include dissolution of the TJEB, dismissal of its chairman besides a judicial probe into the alleged irregularities.
Agartala, July 9 (IANS) The first unit of ONGC-Tripura Power Coorporation's 726 MW gas-based power plant at Palatana in southern Tripura will start generation by September, officials said here Monday. ONGC Monday started supplying natural gas to the plant through a 54 km-long pipeline. Before the commercial generation of electricity from the unit, trial runs would be conducted during this month-end, ONGC Tripura Power Company Limited (OTPC) Managing Director Sudhindra Kumar Dube told reporters. The full generation of power from the power plant, set up at an investment of Rs.9,000 crore, in March next year will resolve the power crisis of Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Nagaland, Mizoram and Tripura to a large extent, he said. The plant will help ONGC to monetise its gas assets in Tripura. Also, the project is a hallmark of cooperation between India and Bangladesh, which ensured smooth passage of the heavy project equipment to Palatana through its territory. The Bangladesh government has sought electricity from the project, a Tripura government official said. --IndoAsian News Service sc/srj/vm
Guwahati, July 8 (IANS) India's landlocked northeast may soon have rail connectivity with the neighbouring countries of Bhutan, Myanmar and Bangladesh courtesy an initiative to boost bilateral trade, usher development and tourism in the region. The Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) has submitted a field survey report to the Railway Board which envisages connecting the northeastern states, Bihar and West Bengal with neighbouring countries, including Nepal. "We have already sent the report to the Railway Board and waiting for them to reply back to us, he added. There has been a long standing demand from the northeastern states for expanding the railway links to the neighbouring countries," said a senior NFR official. The proposed rail lines include Jagboni in Bihar to Biratnagar in Nepal, New Jalpaiguri in West Bengal to Kakrabita in Nepal, Hasimara in West Bengal to Phuentsholing in Bhutan and Pathsala in Assam to Namlang in Bhutan. The other proposed rail links are Rangiya in Assam to Samdrupjonkhar in Bhutan, Banarhat in West Bengal to Samtse in Bhutan, Agartala in Tripura to Akhaura in Bangladesh and Kokrajhar in Assam to Geleka in Bhutan, the official said. There are also plan to connect Myanmar through Jiribam and Moreh in Manipur. "We are going to carry out the survey regarding the connectivity with Myanmar very soon," he said. "The central government had already sanctioned an amount of Rs.493.52 crore for the rail connectivity projects between Jagboni to Biratnagar and Agartala to Akhaura. We have also started the works regarding the Agartala to Akhaura project, he said. The proposed railway lines will not only boost the bilateral trade, particularly between the northeastern states and its countries that are located in its borders-Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Mynamar but also increase connectivity between the northeastern states and these countries and particularly to some of the region's remote border areas. The establishment of rail links to these counties will also boost the tourism industry in the region, said the official.
Agartala, July 7 (IANS) UPA presidential candidate Pranab Mukherjee has won the support of all key regional parties in the northeast, Congress leader Luizinho Faleiro said here. Of the eight northeastern states, Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur are ruled by the Congress. The CPI-M rules Tripura, the Naga Peoples Front (NPF)-led Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN) governs Nagaland while the Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) is in power in Sikkim. Faleiro, who is accompanying Mukherjee in his election campaign, told reporters: "(Mukherjee) met most Congress chief ministers, senior party leaders and leaders of the important regional parties."
Agartala, July 6 (IANS) A Bangladeshi trooper and a civilian captured by villagers in Tripura while trying to abduct an Indian farmer from the border area, were handed over to the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) Friday, an official here said. A Bangladeshi Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) trooper and a civilian were held by some villagers while the duo was trying to kidnap an Indian farmer late Thursday in western Tripura's Champahaur area, around 120 km from here, a Border Security Force (BSF) spokesman here said. The RAB trooper, Mohammad Safiqul, and Bangladeshi national Subrata Tanti were later handed over by the villagers to the BSF. According to villagers, Krishna Narayan Kar was working in his paddy fields outside the border fencing when Safiqul and Tanti tried to abduct him. "As a goodwill gesture, we (BSF) handed over both the men to BGB officials and have asked them to take legal action against the intruders." The trooper belongs to the 9th battalion of the RAB. Earlier on January 21 this year, the BSF had handed over to the Bangladeshi forces BGB personnel Lutfar Rahman, who was caught by some villagers for killing an Indian farmer. Tripura shares a total of 856-km of border with Bangladesh, some of it unfenced and running through dense forests, making it difficult for Indian security forces to check infiltration. According to a government official, about 8,750 families comprising over 50,000 people in the state have been affected by the ongoing construction of the barbed wire fencing along the border with Bangladesh. Properties, including fields and ponds of many, have fallen outside the fence. India is erecting the fence along the 4,095-km India-Bangladesh border in West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya and Mizoram to check trans-border movement of militants and to prevent infiltration and border crimes.
Agartala, July 5 (IANS) Ahead of the assembly polls, scheduled for February next year, the Left Front government in Tripura has decided to provide land with housing facilities to people living below the poverty line (BPL), a minister said here Thursday. "The Left Front government would provide 0.4 acre of land to rural and 0.2 acre to urban BPL families and construct houses at government cost," Tripura Finance Minister Badal Choudhury told reporters. He said the state government has decided to rehabilitate landless poor families of the northeastern state. According to the Tripura government's assessment, 67 percent of the state's 3.7 million people are BPL, while the central government estimates the figure to be 40.6 percent. The Tripura government, however, has disagreed with the central government's criteria to determine the BPL percentage. For construction of fencing along the India-Bangladesh international border, thousands of families in Tripura were affected as their farmlands, ponds and other properties had fallen outside the barbed wire fencing. "Paddy fields, lands and various farms of thousands of farmers had fallen outside the fence, putting them in an awkward position. The state government had long back sent a Rs.93 crore project to the centre to rehabilitate the affected families but it has yet to respond," the minister said. Choudhury said that of the 7,774 affected families whose houses have fallen outside the fencing, 4,651 families were so far sanctioned houses under the Indira Awas Yojana (IAY). According to a senior state government official, over 8,750 families comprising over 50,000 people in the state have been affected by the ongoing construction of the barbed wire fencing. India is erecting the fence all along the 4,095-km India-Bangladesh border in West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya and Mizoram to check trans-border movement of militants, and to prevent infiltration and border crimes.
Agartala, July 4 (IANS) Three militants of a banned separatist outfit have surrendered to the Indian security forces in Tripura after a crackdown on their training camp in Bangladesh, police said here Wednesday. The three top leaders of the National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) - Kashirai Reang, Debadanta Reang and Brikhu Reang - surrendered to the para-military Assam Rifles at Khedachara in northern part of the state late Tuesday. The guerrillas surrendered an AK-56 rifle and some China-made arms and ammunition. "The Bangladesh security forces flushed out the insurgents from their camps in Chittagong Hill tracks of that country. They crossed over to Tripura before surrendering," a police official said. So far, around 85 militants of the banned NLFT and All Tripura Tiger Force (ATTF) have surrendered with arms this year. Demanding a sovereign status for Tripura, the ATTF and NLFT have set up their bases in Bangladesh and are supported by other separatist outfits in the northeast.
Guwahati, July 3 (IANS) United Progressive Alliance presidential candidate Pranab Mukherjee is likely to begin the northeast segment of his campaign from Assam July 6. President of the Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) Bhubneswar Kalita said this Tuesday and added that Mukherjee will meet all the Congress leaders of the northeastern states, baring Tripura in Guwahati. "Mukherjee will meet the state chief ministers, the PCC chiefs and all the MLAs and MPs of the Congress and its allies at Pragjyoti ITA centre in Guwahati's Machkhowa area on July 6 at different meetings," said Kalita. Mukherjee will leave for Tripura capital Agartala July 7 to meet the Congress leaders of the state, he said. The Assam PCC chief also expressed concern over the flood situation in the state and said that he has demanded the central government to declare the flood problem of Assam as a national calamity. The PCC chief, who is also a Rajya Sabha member, said that he had also donated Rs.2 crore from his Member of Parliament Local Area Development (MPLAD) fund for relief of the flood-hit people of Assam.
Agartala, July 3 (IANS) Tripura will set up an Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) in Bodhjungnagar, one of northeastern region's biggest industrial zones, a state official said Tuesday. "State-owned ONGC (Oil and Natural Gas Corporation), NEEPCO (Northeastern Electric Power Corporation) and six private industrial houses from West Bengal have expressed willingness to be a partner of the Tripura IIIT," Tripura's Higher Education Department Secretary Kishore Ambuly told reporters here. He said the state government had identified a piece of land for the proposed institute in Bodhjungnagar, some 25 km from state capital Agartala. Besides Tripura, the union government has given its nod to set up IIITs in Assam and Rajasthan. "The ministry of human resource development has planned to establish 20 IIITs on a not-for-profit public-private partnership (N-PPP) basis," he said. The funding will be borne by the central government 50 percent, state government 35 percent, and industry/private partnership 15 percent. "In the northeastern states, industry participation for capital expenditure would be kept at 7.5 percent instead of 15 percent. The central government participation will be at 57.50 percent (instead of 50 percent) while state governments' at 35 percent," Ambuly said.
Agartala/Silchar, July 2 (IANS) Owing to enormous track damage, it would take at least a month more to restore train services between some northeastern states and the rest of India, an official said Monday. Railway services were suspended in the region June 25 following heavy rain and landslides that damaged large stretches of railway track in southern Assam's Dima Hasao district. "We are trying to resume both passenger and goods train services between Tripura, Manipur, Mizoram and southern Assam and the rest of India at the earliest. As the damage to tracks, bridges and adjoining areas is colossal it would not be possible to restore railway services within a month," an official of the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) told media persons at Silchar. "Engineers and railway workers led by senior officials of NFR's Lumding division are working round-the-clock to clear the debris at many places in southern Assam's Dima Hasao district. Huge mudslides covering more than 150 metres of rail track are being cleared." Tripura transport department secretary Kishore Ambuly told IANS: "Due to intermittent and torrential rains restoration works are getting delayed and fresh landslides are taking place in and around mountainous areas." The landslides at about 90 places following incessant rains, have in some places washed away or damaged nearby surface roads in Dima Hasao District about 300 km from Assam's main city Guwahati. Over 3,500 passengers in four trains, who were stranded for four days at three places on a single metre-gauge rail line in the region, have been rescued by railway and district administration personnel and sent onwards to their destinations. The broad-gauge railway line from Guwahati passes through Dima Hasao district, which connects Tripura capital Agartala and parts of Manipur, Mizoram and southern Assam with the rest of India by a single metre-gauge railway track. The suspension of train services has severely hit supply of essential commodities and food grains, sending prices soaring. "The Tripura food and civil supplies department has in separate letters requested the Food Corporation of India and the union ministry of food and civil supplies to ensure immediate stocks of essentials, specially rice," an official of the Tripura government told IANS. In June-July 2010, railway traffic was disrupted for 34 days after a 300-metre track between Harangajao and Mailongdisa, 78 km from southern Assam's main city, Silchar, was washed away by heavy landslides.