FOLLOWING a decision to develop unused real estates with private parties, the Indian Postal department has now identified 1,800 locations including land that may either be sold off to private parties or commercially developed in joint venture with them. To this effect, the department is also mulling a separate company

The Tea Board of India has decided to extend financial help in the form of subsidies to self-help groups (SHG) of small growers to encourage the formation of these clusters. The highest ceiling of such assistance has been fixed at Rs 5 lakh for each SHG, which must have at least 50 growers as members. The total area of plantation should not be less than 50 acres, or 20 hectares.

Civic authorities here are mulling approaching the Siliguri Municipal Corporation (SMC) for permission to use its open dump yard behind Don Bosco School on Eastern Bypass, as garbage accumulates on the streets of the hill town. Although the proposal looks impractical to implement given the distance of 65km between the two towns, what it does suggest is that the civic officials are desperate to find a solution to the garbage crisis that has been lingering for long. The row has also put at risk the health of thousands of people.

The Siliguri Municipal Corporation (SMC) will launch a health insurance scheme for 29,000 BPL families living in the civic area. Two thousand residents of the category will benefit in the first phase. "The insurance will be of Rs 30,000 for which the SMC will pay a yearly premium of Rs 148 and the beneficiary Rs 100,' mayor Bikash Ghosh said. Ghosh also announced free vocational training and a monthly stipend for former sportspersons and artistes from poor families

GANGTOK, June 30

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.

The WHO and the Union health ministry will launch a pilot project in Cooch Behar and Murshidabad districts of Bengal as part of their nationwide programme to curb the use of tobacco. The plan under the National Tobacco Control Programme involves the setting up of counselling centres at the district level, where experts will advise people on how to kick the habit of smoking. These centres will be located at the district hospitals, from where teams of experts will fan out to various blocks.

Backed up by strategic location and emerging infrastructure, Siliguri is ready to claim its position as the next economic hub of North Bengal

The state government is doing all it can to reshape the Siliguri-Jalpaiguri belt into an industrial hub WEST Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has good news to share with his prospective Indian and foreign investors: 'It's ready - come to Siliguri to set up new industries and business. There will be no scarcity of land and power.'

Siliguri: A five-member team from the Calcutta-based Institute of Cost & Works Accountants of India (ICWAI) is in north Bengal now to assess the cost involved in the cultivation of tealeaves and the production of made tea. "Assessing the costs incurred by the stakeholders of tea industry is essential while deciding on policies and schemes,' said Amal Roy Choudhury, the deputy director (plantations) of the Tea Board of India. "The team is here to determine separately the costs of production in the Terai, Dooars, and Darjeeling.'