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Delhi eyes 10 Bengal IAS officers
Calcutta: The appointment committee of the Union cabinet on Thursday empanelled a total of 10 IAS officers from the Bengal cadre for the posts of secretary and additional secretary or equivalent positions at the Centre.
The IAS officers need a clearance from the state government to switch to the central deputation posts.
"Now, the question is whether the Bengal government will release 10 officers given its stand against parting with IAS officials for the central deputation, citing their shortage in Bengal," said a senior government official.

Among the empanelled officers are R.S. Shukla, Atri Bhattacharya and Vivek Kumar.
Shukla, the higher education secretary, has been empanelled for the secretary post, while Bhattacharya, the home secretary and Vivek Kumar, the information and cultural affairs secretary, were picked as additional secretaries.
Sources said following the empanelment of so many officers in Delhi, chief minister Mamata Banerjee would find it difficult to shoot down their request for permission.
The IAS officers consider central deputation as a career advancement.

The Telegraph

Mamata Banerjee
Calcutta: Mamata Banerjee on Saturday spelt out a 2019 dream for her supporters from her party's biggest annual event in Calcutta.
As the dream was woven a day after the Narendra Modi government's 325-126 rout of a no-confidence motion in the Lok Sabha, the Bengal chief minister reeled off a list of nine big states - with a total of 315 Lok Sabha seats between them, where the BJP had won 176 in 2014 - and an alternative arithmetic to convince her audience about the credibility of her vision.
Mamata urged the supporters to believe that the math of the 2019 general elections would be quite different from that of 2014.
"The BJP managed somehow to pass the floor test on the basis of the 2014 arithmetic, that too not on its own.... They had the numbers in the House but not the people," said Mamata.
"They will be reduced to 100. The maximum they can get is 150.... Ami bajey kotha boli na. Miliye neben (I do not make baseless statements. Mark my words)," she added.

The Telegraph takes a look at the states she named and her forecast for each.
Tamil Nadu: 39 seats
2014 tally for BJP: 1

Mamata's forecast: "Vital to the floor test victory was the support of the likes of AIADMK. Had Jayalalithaaji been alive, they would not even have got that. In 2019, (M.K.) Stalin (DMK working president) will get all the seats."

Uttar Pradesh: 80 seats
2014 tally for BJP: 71

Mamata's forecast: "If Mayawatiji (BSP chief) and (SP chief) Akhilesh (Yadav) come together, they will win at least 50."
Madhya Pradesh: 29 seats
2014 tally for BJP: 26

Mamata's forecast: "They (the BJP) will not even get 8"
Rajasthan: 25

The Telegraph

clear sky in the blazing sun near Siliguri
Siliguri: The mercury has shot up to a high of 33 degrees Celsius in Tadong near Gangtok and 30 degrees in Kalimpong in a dry monsoon interlude that has replaced showers with a summer-like swelter.
Many hotels in Gangtok and Kalimpong do not have ceiling fans or air-conditioners but some are worried now because of the spell that has seen the temperature in Darjeeling hit an unusual 26 degrees.
"Some hotels started putting up fans and ACs. But many properties lack these facilities. The way the temperature has soared these days, it seems we have to consider this factor for tourists," said Samrat Sanyal, a veteran in travel trade.
The picture is worse in the plains. From Cooch Behar to Malda, the temperature is hovering around 40 degrees. But it is in the hills where the brows are furrowed deeper.

Sanyal pointed out that tourists visit the hills to enjoy the chill. "If the chill goes missing and day temperatures rise to such levels that people start feeling uncomfortable, it is a matter of concern for us."
In Gangtok, the maximum on Friday was 27.4 degrees - six degrees above normal and the highest in 15 years at this time of the year, Met officials said. It was 33 degrees in Tadong, a few kilometres downhill from Gangtok.
"Forget the chill feeling, people are moving around in T-shirts through the day and even in the evenings. Such a rise in temperature is very unusual, particularly during the monsoon," said a Darjeeling resident.
For substantial rain in north Bengal, the monsoon trough needs to be closer to the region. The shift is likely from Saturday, a weather official said.
"Clouds are moving south. Also, moisture-laden winds are not entering north Bengal and Sikkim. This has led to clear skies in the region. Unless a depression from Bay of Bengal moves in, the situation is likely to remain same," said an official of the India Meteorological Department (IMD).
According to the IMD, rain deficiency this season has ranged from 30 per cent to 50 per cent in Darjeeling, North Dinajpur and Cooch Behar. In Malda and South Dinajpur, it is over 60 per cent.
In Malda, where the mercury rose to around 40 degrees, 19 girls fell ill at a school in Manikchak on Friday and had to be taken to hospital. "A report has been sought from the school," said Tapash Biswas, the inspector of schools.

The Telegraph

Darjeeling Rising Star final on July 28,29
Darjeeling: Thousands were auditioned and judged by celebrities over a period of four months and the wait for the rising stars of Darjeeling hills is finally over.
Darjeeling police has decided to hold the finals of the biggest talent hunt contest next week. "The finals of Darjeeling Rising Star will be held on July 28 and 29. Chowrasta has been selected as the venue of the finals," said a police source.
The biggest talent hunt contest in Darjeeling included three categories, singing, dance and instrumental music. While 5000-odd participants had lined up for the singing and dance competitions, nearly 200 artists turned up for the instrumental round, which was organised through this month.
The event, which carries a total prize of more than Rs 25 lakh is conducted by the police as part of their initiative to strengthen bonds with citizens. The contest, which started from April 1, had two categories - one for the age-group of 10-17 and the other for 18-31 years in singing and dance competitions.
Instrumental was an open category. Ten finalists from each category have already been selected for the finals. The winners of the senior category will be taking home a cash award of Rs 2.5 lakh, while those winning the junior category will win Rs 1.5 lakh apart from gift vouchers.

"A similar prize amount will be given to the winners of the instrumental competition ," said the source.
The finals were initially scheduled to be held in mid-May. However, the event was postponed due to panchayat elections. In the meantime, the instrumental category was also introduced.
Over 5000 participants had participated in the dance and singing competition, while nearly 200 participants had turned up for the instrumental category.
The event is being supported by celebrities from India and Nepal.
Adrian Pradhan, a household name in Nepali music and Kaviraj Ghataraj, a well-known choreographer from Nepal's film industry, judged the semi-finals rounds.
Darjeeling Police plans to bring in celebrity artists for the finals. The contest also has the support of Bollywood big names like John Abraham, singer Mohit Chauhan, TV star Karanvir Bohra, hair stylist Aalim Hakim and Yogeshwor Amatya, a singer from Kathmandu, among several others.

The Telegraph

Housing scheme by Siliguri Jalpaiguri Development Authority (SJDA)
Siliguri: The Siliguri Jalpaiguri Development Authority (SJDA) will build flats for people of medium and lower income groups near North Bengal Medical College and Hospital (NBMCH), the SJDA chairman Sourav Chakraborty said here on Thursday.
The houses are part of a plan to expand Siliguri town. NBMCH is located on the outskirts of the town.
"We will build a housing complex near the NBMCH. In total, there will be 60 MIG flats and 40 LIG flats. Population is on the rise on the outskirts of Siliguri and to provide accommodation to some of them, these flats would be built and sold," said Chakraborty.

"The SJDA will also take up projects of around Rs 46 crore which will include, construction of roads, drainage and beautification, in many wards of Siliguri and its surrounding areas," he added.
He also mentioned about his recent visits to different areas of Siliguri sub-division and adjoining areas of Jalpaiguri.
"Based on our visits, we have decided to illuminate all major junctions which are outside the civic area (in Siliguri Mahakuma Parishad area and under Jalpaiguri). High mast lights will be installed in these locations. Also, on the new Hindi college campus at Hatighisha (in Naxalbari block), we will develop the ground and built more classrooms by spending Rs 50 lakh," the SJDA chairman said.

The Telegraph

Bathing in Dooars rivers baned
Jalpaiguri: The Jalpaiguri district police have imposed a ban on bathing in rivers and streams which flow through tourist destinations in the Dooars after a youth was feared drowned in the Murti early this month.
On July 10, a 34-year-old youth of Jalpaiguri had feared drowned in the Murti river. He had visited the tourist spot with his friends.
Superintendent of Jalpaiguri police Amitabha Maiti said: "We have imposed a ban on bathing in the Murti and some other rivers and streams which descend from the hills and move through tourist spots in the Dooars. During monsoons, water level rises in these rivers and it is unsafe for the people to bathe in it."
"All the police stations have been informed about the decision and have been asked to keep a check on whether the people are bathing at any of these water bodies," the SP added.
Sources said Bappa Saha, who drowned in Murti on July 10, is yet to be traced.

At Murti, Ramsai and Dhupjhora, common tourist spots in Western Dooars on the bank of Murti river, the police have decide to post civic volunteers and also start patrolling using motorcycles.
"Those visiting the tourists spots will be alerted by civic volunteers. They will be informed about the sudden rise in water levels due to rainfall that makes the rivers precarious. Local people will also be stopped from getting into the rivers. Our men will be moving around these areas in motorcycles to keep a tab of the situation," said Debasish Chakraborty, the subdivisional police officer of Malbazar.
The Murti flows through the Gorumara National Park.
On Thursday, a team of policemen and civil defence volunteers, including Chakraborty, moved along the river in a raft to find out the missing youth. "We will continue the search. The restrictions have been made to prevent such incidents," the Chakraborty said.
The incident has also put stakeholders of the tourism industry on alert.

The Telegraph

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