Darjeeling: Backed by the BJP, villagers of Milanpalli started tilling the government land that had been marked to build a helipad at Gajoldoba in Jalpaiguri district.Incidentally, villagers of the area have been protesting against the government’s decision to construct a helipad on the earmarked plot. Under the influence of the saffron party, they tried to forcefully occupy the government land and have stayed away from discussions with the district administration despite being invited for talks. Also Read – City bids adieu to Goddess DurgaMany of the villagers alleged that they have been indulging in cultivation in the Milanpalli area for the past 40 years. They further stated that despite many of the farmers having Patta (land documents), the government is using the land for a helipad. On Friday, Tourism minister Goutam Deb had visited the area. He had assured that anyone who has valid Patta will not have to part with their land. “This area has 244 acres of government land. Out of this, Patta had been given to 44 acres for agriculture. Minus the Patta land, we still have around 200 acres. For the land where we have given Patta, there is no question of requisition. Out of the land the government has, we require 3.46 acres for the project. Out of this, 2.45 acres will be used for the helipad and the remaining 1 acre will be used for constructing quarters for the employees. Despite knowing all these details, some BJP leaders from outside are constantly provoking the villagers just to create unrest and disturb the peace and tranquility,” alleged Deb. Also Read – Centuries-old Durga Pujas continue to be hit among revellersOn Monday, villagers along with BJP leaders arrived at the plot along with tractors and oxen and started tilling the land. When neither the district administration nor the police resisted, they celebrated dubbing it as a victory. Nabbendu Sarkar, district secretary of the Kishan Morcha affiliated to the BJP, said: “Wherever the government will try to requisition land in North Bengal, we will put up a resistance.” On Saturday evening, the government board had been removed from the plot. Trinamool has alleged provocation by the BJP to create unrest in the region. “The government will not give into any sort of provocation. They are trying to create a Singur-like situation. Under no circumstances will we allow peace and tranquility to be disrupted. The local residents are being misled and provoked by the BJP,” stated Khageshwar Rai, MLA, Rajgunj.
TORONTO — Manulife Financial plans to acquire New York Life’s retirement plan services business, as the Toronto-based insurance company strives to expand its wealth management segment globally.Manulife says it will make the purchase through its U.S. division, John Hancock Financial, for an undisclosed amount.Meanwhile, New York Life will assume 60% of certain John Hancock life insurance policies, by way of reinsurance.The deal is expected to close in the first half of 2015, subject to regulatory approvals.Manulife says the deal will increase John Hancock’s RPS assets under administration by about 60%.Manulife Financial Corp chief says he won’t back down in face of calls for new guidanceSuccess of ‘Made in Canada’ deals bodes well for ManulifeThe combined RPS businesses will have around US$135 billion in assets under administration, 2.5 million retirement plan members and 55,000 retirement plans.“Manulife is a major player in the pensions business in Canada, the United States, Hong Kong and Indonesia,” Manulife president and CEO Donald Guloien said in a statement.“This transaction, similar to our recently announced acquisition of Standard Life’s Canadian operations, will significantly increase our retirement plans business overall. When completed, these transactions will each accelerate our strategy to grow our wealth and asset management businesses around the world.”