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Monday, December 27, 2010

KERALA: SCHOOL EDUCATION REGISTERS SHINING GAINS - M A BABY

THE vested interests in Kerala’s society have always tried to manufacture controversy in order to defame the Left initiatives and achievements. In 1996, apart from other things, the Nayanar government achieved energy self-sufficiency in the state of Kerala through systematic planning and implementation. In order to divert the attention from its achievement, however, the SNC Lavalin controversy was fabricated by the Congress led opposition in the state, with the help of the motivated media, without any shred of evidence of any malpractice. Similar efforts are discernable in other areas too, including education. Allegations of strangulation of the minorities and indoctrination of students through syllabus have been two pet themes repeated by the vested interests in order to divert attention from the unassailable achievements of the present LDF government. A brief survey of the significant achievements in the field of school education is attempted below.

SIGNIFICANT RECORD

Education has played a decisive role in shaping a democratic and secular society in Kerala. The state had to overcome numerous challenges at different periods for the development of a people-centred education system. The progressive forces have joined hands with academic establishments to bring about such a wholesome development. The Left Democratic Front (LDF) has always been instrumental in facilitating and coordinating the movements and forces that would work together for the promotion of access, equity and excellence in education. Following are some of the steps undertaken by the present LDF government for the improvement of general education in the State.

In terms of enrolment and retention of students, Kerala’s record, with about 100 per cent enrolment and minimal dropout rate, is remarkably significant in comparison with even developed countries. The thrust of the present government, therefore, was to tackle the problem of quality, which was perceived to be average. An initiative was therefore undertaken in 2006 to draw up a special scheme for the most backward schools and 104 schools were selected for the implementation of the scheme, on the basis of their poor performance in the SSLC examination. It was found that the majority of the children in these schools were underfed and under-nourished. The schools were largely neglected by the public as children of well-to-do and influential families never attended such schools. The new scheme aimed at addressing both these concerns with the help of local self-governments. Institution specific problems and solutions were identified by teams of teachers, parents and people’s representatives. Provisions were made for adequate supply of nutritious food for the children. Systematic academic enrichment programmes were also introduced. Local level committees monitored the implementation of the scheme on a daily basis. The changes were dramatic. Within a year, in more than 80 per cent out of the 104 schools, the result in the SSLC examination improved from zero per cent to more than 75 per cent. The improvement was sustained in the succeeding years as shown in Table I.

But the efforts for improvement of quality were not confined to these 104 selected schools alone. Similar efforts were made in almost all schools, with the result that the performance of the students in the SSLC examination showed a steady increase over the years. This is shown in Table II.

The improvement in the student performance was inclusive. The percentage of pass in the SSLC examination in respect of SC/ST students improved over the years. In case of SC students it improved from 37 per cent in 2005 to 80.52 per cent in 2010; in case of ST students the rise was from 33 to 90.70 per cent in the same period.

PEOPLE’S PARTICIPATION

One can be legitimately proud of the tremendous progress the state under the LDF dispensation has been able to achieve in the field of general education, both in terms of quantity and quality, as is evident from the above statistics. However, there is no scope for complacency. Still a lot more needs to be done to further improve the quality of school education. This can be achieved only by devoted and protracted efforts with the involvement of all sections of society.

An important feature of the reform undertaken during the period 2006-2010 was the large scale participation of people in educational programmes. A Kerala Curriculum Framework was drawn up by the people on the pattern of the National Curriculum Framework 2005. The exercise witnessed the participation of a large number of experts from within and outside the state, teachers, general public and organisations’ representatives. All school textbooks were revised in accordance with the new curriculum framework.

The next important step was to impart adequate training to all teachers in the nuances of the new curriculum. The training programmes were scheduled in such a way as not to disturb the regular academic work. About 1.80 lakh teachers were thus trained, spanned over more than 36 lakh mandays. The training sessions provided them enough opportunities to update their pedagogic skills, share their experiences and resolve their issues through consultation and consensus.

The implementation of such a massive training programme did not take place without any resistance. As a matter of fact, a section of the teachers raised the banner of revolt, with the blessings of the opposition parties. The protests took such an ugly turn in one instance that it led to the cold-blooded murder of a conscientious teacher. However, the government was able to contain all opposition and conduct the training programme with remarkable success, as it was always open to criticism and suggestions for improvement.

An important concern of the LDF government was to improve the infrastructure for education. A concerted effort was made to improve the quality of learning by introducing the information communication technologies. The IT@School project was implemented in all secondary schools. Internet facilities are now available in all high schools.

Yet another initiative was to introduce a number of schemes for the promotion of environmental awareness among the children. In 2007, children planted 25 lakhs of seedlings with the assistance of the forest department. A novel scheme named “My Tree Diary” was introduced. Children were required to note down their observations and experiences in tending the seedlings planted by them on day-to-day basis, with a view to creating in them greater awareness of nature through first hand observation and interaction.

FOR CHILDREN’S FITNESS & HEALTH

Along with improving academic performance and aesthetic sensitivity, attention was also given to the improvement of physical and mental health of the children. A survey conducted throughout the state showed that only less than 20 per cent of the students had the required physical fitness. A scheme was therefore implemented to improve the quality of mid-day meals, with the help of parent-teacher associations at the school level. All children up to the eighth standard --- 32 lakhs --- are being given milk twice a week and eggs once a week as a part of the scheme.

The cumulative impact of these schemes implemented by the government, with active participation of the people at the grassroots, level has been remarkable. The overall improvement of quality in the government and the government aided sector has arrested the exodus of children towards the private unaided institutions. Sustained efforts in the direction evolved by the government is very much expected to strengthen the public funded education system in the state, which alone can ensure inclusive development in education --- a precondition for inclusive social and economic development in the state.

TABLE I

Performance of Least Performing 104 schools from 2006 to 2010

Percentage of Students Who Secured Eligibility for Higher Education in SSLC Examination

Percentage

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

100 per cent

0

5

25

25

19

90 per cent and above

0

13

56

56

54

75 per cent and above

0

47

88

85

86

60 per cent and above

0

77

97

102

102

50 per cent and above

0

98

107

106

103

Below 50 per cent

0

6

0

1

4

Below 33 per cent

104

3

0

0

0

TABLE II

SSLC Results

Year

Percentage

2005

58.49

2006

68.00

2007

82.29

2008

92.09

2009

91.92

2010

90.72

Source: www.pd.cpim.org/

MUMBAI, MAHARASHTRA MUMBAI: SUBURBAN TRAIN COMMUTERS ON AGITATION PATH - Shailendra Kamble

LOCAL train commuters in Mumbai's western suburbs rallied in a big protest action on December 10 against the railway authorities’ continuing negligence towards miserable travelling conditions in the local suburban trains.

The Mumbai and Thane district committees of the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) jointly organised a ‘Rail Jatha’ from Dahanu Road to Churchgate. Several hundreds of protesters boarded the Dahanu Road-Virar shuttle train at 9.30 in the morning to reach Virar by 11 o'clock. At Virar, more protesters carrying DYFI flags joined and boarded a Churchgate bound suburban train. Still more volunteers boarded the same train at Nalasopara, Vasai Road, Bhayander, Mira Road, Borivali, Andheri and Dadar stations. The Rail Jatha banners were hung and DYFI flags fluttered from every window. The train was virtually 'taken over' by protestors with whole-hearted cooperation from regular commuters. This Rail Jatha had an electrifying effect all along the route, and the mainstream media could not ignore the protest action.

Once the protesters reached Churchgate, they were arrested and taken to Azad Maidan but the police officers agreed to arrange a meeting of DYFI delegation with the railway officials. DYFI state secretary Shailendra Kamble and other DYFI leaders, along with CPI(M) leaders Ashok Dhawale and Mahendra Singh, were then taken in a police van to the Western Railway general manager's office. But the Western Railway officials were not ready for a discussion. Nor was the general manager present there in spite of the fact that he was informed of the massive protest action well in advance. The leaders asked the officials present to talk over telephone to the general manager who was said to be out of station, to decide a date for discussion with the DYFI delegation on the question of suburban train travelling conditions. When the officials did not accede to this demand, the delegation including Dhawale and Mahendra Singh started a ‘sit-in’ in the corridor of the general manager's office which lasted for more than an hour. The sit-in was called off only after Mr Tripathi, head of the Western Railway's passenger services department talked to the general manager over phone and gave in writing that a meeting will be arranged on the general manager return to Mumbai to discuss the problems comprehensively.

Increase in the frequency of suburban trains, one Virar Local train every three minutes and start of suburban train services to Dahanu Road were the major demands raised by this agitation.

It is to be noted that the DYFI has led several massive protest actions of commuters in the past. Commuters have learned from their experience that railway authorities are least interested in providing decent travelling conditions in suburban trains. The promise of much publicised Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP) was to increase the number of available trains, resulting in a rapid increase in the number of suburban services. For nearly a decade now, crores of rupees have been taken from Mumbai commuters in the form of surcharges in order to raise raising funds for the MUTP. Yet it is most reprehensible that the railway authorities are least concerned about the plight of suburban train commuters. The administration wakes from its deep slumber only when there is sustained protest action from the people.

From 2004 onward, the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) and the Pravaas Adhikar Andolan Samiti have organised the commuters in the Mira Road-Virar belt for sustained protest actions which led to completion of Borivili-Virar track quadrupling project and introduction of a significant number of new services, giving much relief to the regularly harassed commuters.

However, there has been no improvement in suburban train services in the last two years. As a result of the skewed urban development process in Mumbai, the city is increasingly getting reserved for the ultra-rich. Not only the labouring poor but the middle classes too are being pushed in huge numbers to the far-off suburbs. The railway establishment is not ready to shoulder the responsibility of providing decent travelling facilities to this pushed-out population. Obviously, the railway authorities’ lack of concern for commuters has been reinforced with the ascent of Ms Mamata Banerjee to the position of the railway minister. Just 10 peak hour trips have been added to the existing services in the last two years and the promise of extending suburban services to Dahanu Road is being postponed shamelessly.

This was why the DYFI decided that the time for another wave of protest actions had come and that the movement must spread to the whole length of Western Railway’s suburban sector from Dahanu Road to Churchgate.

The Rail Jatha has served a firm warning to the railway authorities that the Mumbai commuters are not going to silently suffer the inhuman conditions in local trains. If the Western Railway administration does not arrange a comprehensive discussion with the DYFI leadership and improve the travelling conditions, the agitation may get intensified in the near future.

Source: www.pd.cpim.org/

Saturday, December 25, 2010

JAMMU & KASHMIR: CPI (M) FLAYS ERRATIC POWER SUPPLY, DEMANDS TARIFF HOLIDAY

EXPRESSING deep concern over the dissatisfactory power scenario in the Kashmir valley, CPI (M) state secretary Mohd Yousuf Tarigami has called for streamlining of the power supply with strict adherence to the schedule charted out by the power department. He also demanded for operationalisation, without any delay, of the Pampore gas turbine project with installed capacity of 175 MW to tide over the crisis.

In a statement issued from Srinagar on December 13, Tarigami said the department has failed to provide power supply regularly to the consumers despite having hiked the power tariffs. He said it was strange that the citizens of the state are deprived of this basic amenity in chilling winter, adding that extremely low voltage characterises even the scheduled power supply resulting in glowworm-like bulbs in the far-off and rural areas. Demanding tariff holiday for blackouts, the CPI (M) leader said the government can’t charge the consumers arbitrarily. The principle of ‘no power no tariff’ must be adopted, he said ruing that the erratic power supply not only tells upon consumers but also hits the industrial sector, which isn’t picking up in the state and especially in the valley.

Listing the lack of infrastructure as one of the important factors responsible for the worsening power scenario, Tarigami demanded timely completion of the grid and power stations and augmentation of the HT and LT lines. He rued that the Mirbazar grid station, taken up for execution in 2004, is still to be completed despite the availability of finance.

He said the chief minister’s announcement of creating a transformer bank in each district has not materialised either. People continue to suffer for scores of days following the damage to transformers in their localities.

Saying that streamlining the power supply is all the more important for safeguarding the students’ career, Tarigami said on the one hand the government seems to be conscious for the education of students and on the other hand it indirectly makes them suffer for want of power during evening times. “How can a student shape his career without being able to study in the evening time,” he questioned.

Source: www.pd.cpim.org/

CPI (M) DEMANDS: SEARCH OF INDIAN AMBASSADOR SHOULD HAVE RECIPROCITY

The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) issued the following statement on December 10, 2010.

THE Polit Bureau of the CPI (M) deplores the frisking of the Indian ambassador to the United States, Meera Shankar, by security personnel at an airport in the United States. More objectionably, the Indian ambassador was selected for an enhanced pat-down from amongst the passengers.

It is not enough for the Indian government to say that such frisking is unacceptable. Since the US authorities have stated that ambassadors are not exempt from security searches, what the government should do is to adopt a reciprocal approach. The US ambassador in India should be subjected to security searches on domestic flights in India.

Source: www.pd.cpim.org/

TAMILNADU: PALLAVADA VILLAGE POOR OCCUPY GOVT LAND

ADJACENT to the Andhra Pradesh border, Pallavada village is situated in Gummidipoondi taluka of Tiruvallur district in Tamilnadu. There is more than 750 acres of government land here, but it has so far been under the benami occupation of some Congress politicians like Thangabalu and other vested interests. The poor people of the village have been denied even one single acre of this land. In the past, the village poor --- the scheduled tribe, scheduled caste and backward class people, and others --- had to wage many a struggle since 2005 to press the demand that the rich people must be evicted from the government land and that the land must be given to the landless poor. On September 5, 2008, they conducted a Road Roko agitation, with a large participation by women, on the Kavaripettai National Highway, because they had earlier been detained by the police when they were going to meet the chief minister to hand him over a memorandum demanding land to the landless poor, as per the two-acre scheme announced by the chief minister. During the Road Roko agitation, the revenue officials and police officials approached the leaders and held a negotiation on their demand.

The assurance at the time was that the authorities would evict the rich people from the government land on October 5 and 6, 2008, and an agreement to this effect was signed. But the authorities cleared only a part of the encroachment. Demanding the clearance of the rest of land under encroachment and its allotment to the landless poor, the people of the village had to demonstrate before the taluka office at Gummidipoondi on December 1, 2008. Then the rest of the encroachment was also cleared.

Unnerved by this situation, the encroachers then came back to village, along with their henchmen, to forcibly grab the land. But the village people resisted them and drove them away. Agricultural workers of the village occupied the mango trees and harvested mangoes in a nearly 100 acres area. Some encroachers later approached the Madras High Court. But the All India Agricultural Workers Union (AIAWU) got itself impleaded in the case in order to defeat their attempt.

On January 20, 2009, the All India Agricultural Workers Union staged a dharna before the taluka office at Gummidipoondi, in which AIAWU state president G Veeraiyan and state treasurer G Mani also participated. The tehsildar of Gummidipoondi assured them that he would forward their petition to the collector of Tiruvallur district with the recommendation that the land under consideration must be allotted to the landless poor. The dharna was preceded by a big public meeting in Pallavada village.

However, the district administration did not heed the demand. So it was decided that the village people must first occupy the land and then demand pattas for the same.

On November 29, 2010, agricultural workers of the village were subdivided into 13 groups. The group leaders then held a meeting and decided the course of action.

On November 30, 2010, with the help of other villagers, the landless poor and their family members occupied the land by sowing seeds. They were led by AIAWU leaders A Lazer and S Thirunavukkarasu as well as CPI(M) district secretary K Selvaraj, CPI(M) state committee member B Sundararajam and district level leaders of the All India Kisan Sabha and AIAWU. The people occupied more than 400 acres of land in the early morning on the day.

At 10 o’clock, the revenue officials and police officials appeared on the spot. The villagers put forward the demand the issuance of pattas for the occupied lands and of the ‘B’ memo as an interim step to ensure the crops. The officials assured that necessary steps would be taken with the consent of the district collector.

Now that more than 400 acres of the government land is in the hands of the village people, the AIAWU has decided to continue the struggle till land pattas are allotted to the landless poor of the village.

Source: www.pd.cpim.org/

Friday, December 17, 2010

LIFE INSURANCE CORPORATION OF INDIA, KOLKATA: EMPLOYEES ORGANIZE BLOOD DONATION CAMP AT BB GANGULY STREET, KOLKATA

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SUNDERBAN HAZI DESARAT COLLEGE, SOUTH 24 PARGANAS: LEFT STUDENTS ORGANISATIONS WIN STUDENT UNION ELECTION

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BARASAT, NORTH 24 PARGANAS: CPI (M) LEADER MOHAMMAD ISRAEL BRUTALLY ASSAULTED BY BUTCHERS OF MAMATA BANERJEE

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BIDHAN NAGAR MUNICIPAL CORPORATION CONTROLLED BY MAMATA BANERJEE IN TOTAL MESS. PERFORMANCE NIL.

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PEOPLE'S COMMITTEE AGAINST POLICE ATROCITIES (PCAPA) IS THE FRONTAL ORGANISATION OF CPI (MAOIST) - WEST BENGAL GOVERNMENT

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RANI RASHMONI ROAD, KOLKATA: WEST BENGAL STATE GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION ORGANISES MASSIVE RALLY AT RANI RASHMONI ROAD

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ARAMBAG, HOOGHLY:PEOPLE TO PROTEST AGAINST ATTACK BY GOONS AND BUTCHERS OF MAMATA BANERJEE AND CPI (MAOIST)

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SUDIP CHONGDAR, CPI (MAOIST) LEADER, ADMITS THAT MAOIST BUTCHERS ARE CORNERED

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RAJARHAT: WB MINISTER GOUTAM DEB FURNISHES AUTHENTICATED DOCUMENTS. MAMATA BANERJEE UNABLE TO REPLY.

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SO-CALLED INTELLECTUALS WHO WERE VOCAL DURING NANDIGRAM & SINGUR EPISODES ARE SITTING IN GREEN ROOMS WHILE COUNTRY SUFFERS FROM SCAMS AND PRICE RISE

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UNMASK ANANDA BAZAR PATRIKA, BARTAMAN PATRIKA, PRATIDIN PATRIKA, STAR ANAND AND OTHER MEDIA PURCHASED BY FASCIST MAMATA BANERJEE AND HER ALLIES

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CHINNAMUL (1950) DIRECTED BY NIMAI GHOSH

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DR. MANMOHAN SINGH TRIES TO PROJECT CORRUPTION, SCAMS AND OTHER ECONOMIC OFFENCES AS GENERAL POLICIES OF UPA GOVERNMENT

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KOLKATA PORT TRUST: PEOPLE OF KARL MARX SARANI, HYDE ROAD, HUMAYUN AVENUE, COAL-BIRTH SUFFER FROM PROBLEMS IN EYES. KPT REMAINS SPECTATOR.

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KOLKATA MUNICIPAL CORPORATION DESTROYS KOLKATA IN THE NAME OF CONVERTING IT INTO LONDAN

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BISHNUPUR, SOUTH 24 PARGANAS: FUNERAL PROCESSION WITH THE DEAD BODY OF COMRADE KASHINATH ADAK

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BISHNUPUR, SOUTH 24 PARGANAS: COMRADE KASHINATH ADAK, FORMER MLA, PASSES AWAY. COMRADE SUJAN CHAKRABORTY, EX.MP & OTHERS PAY HOMAGE TO HIM.

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

BARASAT MUNICIPALITY ENGAGED IN ILLEGAL FILLING UP OF POND VIOLATING ALL RULES, NORMS AND PROVISIONS OF RELEVANT ACTS

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SOUTH 24 PARGANA ZILLA PARISHAD: MAMATA BANERJEE HAS NO SHAME FOR NON-PERFORMANCE OF ZILLA PARISHAD RUN BY HER PARTY


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MADRASSA EDUCATION: WEST BENGAL SPENDS 12 TIMES MORE THAN CENTRAL GOVERNMENT IN MADRASSA EDUCATION


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M.K. NARAYANAN, WB GOVERNOR, MEETS PRESIDENT PRATIVA PATIL AND PRIME MINISTER DR. MANMOHAN SINGH

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SALBONI-BINPUR, WEST MIDNAPUR: CPI (M) LEADER INJURED DUE TO EXPLOSION OF EXPLOSIVES PLANTED BY MAOIST BUTCHERS HIRED BY MAMATA BANERJEE.I

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KOLKATA: PROGRESSIVE CANDIDATES WIN MANAGING COMMITTEE ELECTIONS IN 11 MORE SCHOOLS OF WEST BENGAL

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BAHARAMPUR, MURSHIDABAD: MAOIST SQUAD MEMBER KALPANA DOLUI ARRESTED

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SANTOSHPUR RISHI ARAVINDA BALIKA VIDYAPITH, SANTOSHPUR: BUDDHADEB BHATTACHARJEE ATTENDS DIAMOND JUBILEE OF THE SCHOOL

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RAJARHAT: SWAPNA DEY, LEADER OF ALL INDIA DEMOCRATIC WOMENS ASSOCIATION, PASSES AWAY

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SAGAR MAHAVIDYALAYA, SAGAR, SOUTH 24 PARGANAS: GOONS OF MAMATA BANERJEE MOLEST 3 GIRL STUDENTS

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BARASAT, NORTH 24 PARGANAS: BUDDHADEB BHATTACHARJEE TO ADDRESS PUBLIC MEETING ON 19-12-2010

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KHARDAH, NORTH 24 PARGANAS: MAMATA BANERJEE WANTS TO BRING BACK TERROR DAYS OF SEVENTIES IN WEST BENGAL. PEOPLE WILL RESIST.

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HYDERABAD: NON-BJP AND NON-CONGRESS PARTIES TO ORGANISE RALLIES IN EVERY STATE AGAINST SCAMS OF UPA GOVERNMENT

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NEW DELHI: CENTRAL BUREAU OF INVETIGATION CONDUCTS RAIDS IN THE PREMISES OF NIRA RADIA AND OTHERS IN CONNECTION WITH 2G SPECTRUM SCAM

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MONGOLKOTE, BURDWAN: BUDDHADEB BHATTACHARJEE TO ADDRESS MASSIVE MASS MEETING AT NATUNHAT (MONGOLKOTE) ON 18-12-2010

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BARASAT, NORTH 24, PARGANAS: BUDDHADEB BHATTACHARJEE TO ADDRESS MASS MEETING AT THE GROUND OF DUTTAPUKUR NIBADUI HIGH SCHOOL ON 19-12-2010

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KRISHNANAGA, NADIA: SEVEN CONGRESS LEADER AND WORKERS GET LIFER FOR MURDERING LEADER OF ALL INDIA KISHAN SABHA

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ANISUR RAHAMAN, WB MINISTER, SEEKS INTERVENTION OF WB CHIEF MINISTER INTO ASSAULT OF NIRANJAN SIHI, OPPOSITION LEADER OF EAST MIDNPUR ZILL PARISAHD

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LALGARH, WEST MIDNAPUR: PEOPLE BRING NORMALCY BY DRIVING AWAY MAOIST BUTCHERS OF MAMATA BANERJEE

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MURSHIDABAD DISTRICT: STUDENTS FEDRATION OF INDIA WINS UNION ELECTIONS IN MOST OF THE COLLEGES OF MURSHIDABAD DISTRICT

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BALLY, HOWRAH: DONATION OF BLOOD BY SUBHANIL DASGUPTA, DYFI WORKER, SAVES A PATIENT

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