Mangoes being sold in Siliguri. (Kundan Yolmo) Siliguri, June 1: Mangoes from Malda are ready to arrive in Siliguri. With jamaishashthi (a ceremony for sons-in-law) round the corner, people were disappointed when the produce from the nearby district eluded the town even in the last week of May. Traders of Siliguri Regulated Market, however, said the fruit will be in the shops in the next few days.

Lightning killed 11 persons in north Bengal as a Nor'wester raged through the region this afternoon. Ten of the victims, including a CPM panchayat poll candidate, were from Malda. Taking a break from a hectic campaign schedule, Habibur Rehman, 42, contesting from the Bhado gram panchayat, was sipping tea at a roadside stall, when a bolt from the sky struck him. He died on the spot. Jagannath Mandal, 55, was killed when lightning blew off the roof of his home in Kalichak, while a railway shed in Englishbazar collapsed on 17-year-old Prasenjit Saha.

The problem of chronic hunger that afflicts around 10 million rural people in West Bengal has largely been ignored. What is the Left Front government doing to alleviate the situation? May 3-9, 2008

Mr Goutam Chakraborty, who was elected as the sabhadhipati of Malda Zilla Parishad with the support of the Trinamul Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), finally completed his five-year tenure despite protests by a majority of the Opposition. He had to face problems to run the board, failing to prove majority for passing its annual budgets, on more than one occasion. There was also a misunderstanding among the associate members of the Zilla Parishad belonging to the Congress, Trinamul and the BJP.

The scorching sun has been beating down on parched farmlands in Malda, sucking the waterbodies dry and causing the groundwater level to plummet. Officials in the district agriculture department fear huge crop losses if it does not rain in the next few days. The four blocks of Old Malda, Bamungola, Gajole and Habibpur are already facing severe drinking water shortage. Standing boro paddy and jute stalks are wilting in the searing heat.

Four Calcutta High Court judges today heard appeals for damages by 1,550 victims of erosion by the Ganga, creating "history' for the Lok Adalat.

With the latest outbreak of bird flu in Jalpaiguri, a district of bordering Bangladesh, the Central government on Friday reviewed the situation at a high-level meeting here on Friday.

The Nano, whose projected Puja rollout is being greeted with a host of new showrooms Dealers of Tata Motors in the state are busy putting infrastructure in place for the Puja rollout of Nano. Lexus Motors, the largest Tata Motors dealer in West Bengal, has acquired land in Barasat, Chinsurah and Uluberia for opening outlets to showcase Nano, while RD Motors is preparing to launch showrooms in Baruipur and Chinsurah. The third dealer, KB Motors, is strengthening its network by opening outlets in Madhyamgram, Kalyani and Hooghly. Since Nano is expected to have a strong semi-urban and rural market, the company is looking to augment its distribution network in the districts. "We will add showrooms and also open dealerships in areas where we don't have a presence,' said a Tata Motors spokesperson from Mumbai. "The idea is to take Nano to the customer rather than make him come to Calcutta to buy the car,' said Anil Bagaria, the director of KB Motors. The new showrooms for Nano, as specified by Tata Motors, will be D-class outlets with floor space of about 1,000 sq ft. "These will be sales stores without workshops,' said Vinod Kumar Agarwal, the managing director of Lexus Motors. "The company is yet to give us an LoI (Letter of Intent) but is guiding us in opening the outlets. I am expecting the LoI within a couple of weeks,' added Agarwal. The company is laying a lot of stress on the rollout. "We are adding new dealerships every fortnight. Currently, we have 170 dealers across the country. We hope to appoint more distributors before the Nano arrives,' said the spokesperson. In addition to three distributors in Calcutta, Tata Motors has four others in the rest of the state, with eight showrooms in Siliguri, Malda, Kharagpur, Asansol and Haldia. "We are looking to add four to five showrooms through our existing distributors in Durgapur and Burdwan. We are also looking for a new distributor in Howrah,' added the spokesperson. The Lexus Motors Uluberia store will be for commercial vehicles but will also sell the Nano, said Agarwal. RD Motors opened a 1,000-sq-ft showroom in Krishnagar in November last year and is launching the two stores by April. "Yes, we are preparing for the Nano rollout,' said Pradip Jain, the proprietor. KB Motors is looking at a branch in Joka, said Bagaria. Tata Motors remained tightlipped about when bookings for Nano would start. Trial production is slated to start in June-July. The dealers expect bookings to open by August.

A pull of the neck and then a twist is all that is needed to bring silent death to a hen or a duck. In scientific terms, the bird

KOLKATA, Feb. 11: Experts from Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) today visited bird flu-affected areas of the state ahead of the review meeting to be held by the state government to discuss lifting the ban on chicken trading and transportation.