Posts Tagged ‘Kolkata’
Kolkata, Dec 12 (IANS) Trinamool Congress legislator Sikha Mitra Wednesday admitted being apprehensive about attending the West Bengal assembly following fisticuffs between members of her ruling party and the opposition.
“I don’t know which party was involved, but whoever has done it is highly deplorable. It was a heinous act and should be condemned. After the incident, I am highly apprehensive about attending the assembly,” said Sikha Mitra, who is the wife of Trinamool Congress MP Somen Mitra.
Mitra’s comments come a day after the assembly witnessed a scuffle between ruling Trinamool Congress and opposition Left Front members that left three legislators hospitalised.
The legislator from Chowringhee constitency in Kolkata also refused to abide by the party’s diktat that important functionaries, ministers, parliament and assembly members seek permission in advance from the party before speaking to the media. She called the directive “a Talibani fatwa”.
“I do not live in a land where I will have to abide by a Talibani fatwa. I am not sorry for my comment and I stick to what I said. I stated the truth and have no qualms in saying what is true. There are many such truths to be said,” she said.
“Why should I be sorry? I am answerable only to the people who have elected me and no one else. If we the elected representatives indulge in fistfights, then how can we have the moral right to judge the wrongs committed by the common man? Who will judge our follies?” Mitra added.
“I have not received any official communication as of yet and can only comment after I get it,” Sikha said about media reports which claimed she was suspended from the party for her outburst.
The legislator earlier attracted the party’s wrath when she filed a defamation case against her party leader and state industries minister Partha Chatterjee.
Chatterjee allegedly had made defamatory remarks earlier this year against Sikha Mitra after she attended a programme at the rival Congress’ headquarters in the city.
Kolkata, Dec 12 (IANS) Coal India Ltd. (CIL) Wednesday said it would appoint an independent international agency to check the quality following a long brawl with India’s major power producer NTPC over its coal quality and signing the fuel supply agreement (FSA).
“We will appoint a third party for sampling and quality check of coal for the first time. The agency will be an alternative for joint-sampling, which we currently do with all of our customers,” CIL chairman and managing director S. Narsing Rao told reporters after the coal major’s board meeting here.
“This will not just be the case with NTPC but with all customers. Within the next two-three months we will invite bids to appoint the international agency in this regard,” Rao said.
Power major NTPC had earlier repeatedly raised its concern over various quality issues and “inflated prices” of the coal behemoth.
After a long tussle with Coal India, NTPC, however, two days ago decided to enter into FSA with the firm within a month.
The public sector power utility’s move came irrespective of any major breakthrough in the company’s demand for a revision in FSA terms. However, Rao maintained Wednesday that as far as the FSA was concerned, there would be no change in the draft.
Although the Prime Minister’s Office had set a deadline for power producers and the public sector CIL to sign the FSA by November, only 33 companies have signed the accord till now.
Meanwhile, Rao said Coal India was awaiting a green signal from the central cabinet to allow it to extract coal-bed methane (CBM) gas from its leasehold mining areas.
“There are a series of discussions in the ministries to entrust it (extraction of CBM) to CIL and we would be doing it. The process requires approval from cabinet,” he said.
On the extraction of CBM gas, the new area of operation that the CIL may soon venture into, the CMD said it has already suggested to the central government that the company was not in favour of allowing other firms to extract the gas from its own leasehold mining areas,” Rao said.
“While the marketing aspect would be regulated by government policy, for extraction we have suggested that there would be no other bidder. CIL authorities are already doing mining within their leasehold areas and there are practical problems and issues of safety if somebody else comes in,” he added.
Kolkata, Dec 12 (IANS) Describing Pandit Ravi Shankar as “full of life”, his family members here Wednesday said it was very difficult to believe that that the sitar maestro was no more.
“Ravi was like my friend, my brother. We spent together a lot of memorable days in childhood. I cannot believe that he is no more,” said Amala Shankar, wife of Ravi Shankar’s late elder brother and legendary dancer Uday Shankar.
Reminiscing times spent with Ravi Shankar, Amala said: “I remember a western dance performance at Monte Carlo. I was 12 years old then and Ravi was 11. It was so wonderful.”
Danseuse Tanushree Shankar, the maestro’s niece and widow of Ananda Shankar, Uday Shankar’s son, said: “At home he was not a musician but a family member who always indulged in mischief and made others laugh with his wit and humour. Even at that age he was so full of life. We had so much to learn from him.”
“He was more than a family member to us. He was like a friend, a guru who always guided us to the right path,” said Mamata Shankar, Ravi Shankar’s niece.
Pandit Ravi Shankar, 92, had been admitted to the Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, San Diego, US, last Thursday after he complained of breathing difficulties. He passed away at 4.30 p.m. Pacific Time Tuesday.
Kolkata, Dec 10 (IANS) Kolkata has more than 50,000 child labourers, out of which 80 percent are underage girls, says an NGO.
“EIghty percent of the 50,000 child labourers in the city are underage girls. Their families often send them away to earn money but it is seen that they are actually trafficked to other states,” said Samapt Maity of the Jayaprakash Institute of Social Change, a leading city-based NGO involved in social research, training and advocacy campaigns.
Statistics reveal that of 12 million girls born in India, one million do not live to see their first birthday and every sixth girl child’s death is due to gender discrimination.
Besides trafficking, child marriage and child sexual abuse is a burning topic that needs to be addressed, according to sociologist Ruchira Goswami.
“There are so many laws pertaining to marriage, child marriage and harassment but they need to be put on a single platform. People are aware of the laws but they do not follow them,” she said.
Every member of the society needs to pitch in and do their bit to collectively fight violence against women and the girl child, said social workers at the seminar to commemorate ‘SAARC Girl Child Week’ in the city.
“We can not do all the work by ourselves. Violence against women and the girl child is rampant. We want every member of the society to help us out in their own way,” said Sanlaap executive director Indrani Sinha.
According to social workers, one can’t simply blame the police and the government for not entirely solving problems regarding women and children in West Bengal, a state ranking seventh when it comes to child marriages.
“It is a collective effort. Each one of us has to contribute. Be it police, the government or the people. We can’t just blame the authorities for not being able to solve the problem completely,” said Sinha at the district-level seminar held as part of the commemoration.
The seminar, “Girl Child – Their Vulnerability and Our Action”, brought together all the stakeholders of society — the administration, police, civil society organizations, common people, students, academicians, celebrities and industry people who are fighting for the cause.
“It has not been a fair deal for women. We need to change and work against such gender discrimination. Empowerment of women should be made priority,” said Anurag Srivastava, additional district magistrate (development), South 24 Parganas district.
Kolkata, Dec 10 (IANS) The West Bengal government Monday announced it would not oppose the bail plea of ailing top Maoist leader Sushil Roy, who was involved in several cases.
Roy, in his mid-70s, is now being treated at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi.
“Considering his age, we won’t oppose his bail if an application is filed in court,” Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee told media persons at the state secretariat Writers’ Buildings.
The rebel leader was facing trial in various cases of violence, arson and murder in Jharkhand, West Bengal and Odisha.
On Nov 22, Roy was granted bail by the Jharkhand High Court.
A mass petition was given to the chief minister by Magsaysay award-winner writer Mahasweta Devi and a few others for his release.
Roy was arrested from West Midnapore May 21, 2005.
Banerjee also announced that 51 lifers, who have been languishing in jail for years, would also be released.
Kolkata, Dec 10 (IANS) Eight people were killed and four critically injured Monday when a truck collided eith another commercial vehicle in West Bengal, police said.
The incident took place at Ghateshwar on a highway in Nadia district. One of the vehicles was ferrying people returning from a marriage function.
Kolkata, Dec 9 (IANS) Cricket may be India’s passion, but soccer is still Kolkata’s religion.
While the final day’s play in the India-England Test at the Eden Garden drew only around 3,000 people, a whopping one lakh-plus fans packed the East Bengal ground to watch an exciting clash between East Bengal and Mohun Bagan.
“Once again soccer has scored over cricket in Kolkata. One may argue that the crowd at Eden was bound to be small as India were on the verge of defeat. But then, what about the previous four days when the crowd never crossed 30,000?” said an avid soccer fan, Kushal Chakraborty.
However, the soccer fans also had to return disappointed as the match had to called off after violence broke out and Mohun Bagan refused to play in the second half.
Kolkata, Dec 9 (IANS) Grandmaster-in waiting Vidit Gujarathi stayed ahead following a draw with local Grandmaster Deep Sengupta in the seventh round of Rose Valley Open International Chess tournament here at Gorky Sadan.
Taking his tally to 5.5 points out of a possible seven, the youngster maintained his slender half-point lead after a spate of draws on top board.
Ten players follow the leader half a point behind. They include GM Radoslaw Wojtaszek of Poland, GM Dzhumaev Marat of Uzbekistan and Indians Deep Sengupta and S.P. Sethuraman.
Top seed Wojtaszek was held again as he failed to capitalise on a slightly better middle game advantage against Sethuraman. The Indian defended well and earned a creditable draw at the Alekhine Chess Club.
In notable results for aspiring Indians, Debashish Das, and Swapnil Dhopade came close to earning their Grandmaster norms after another day of hard work. While Dhopade played out a draw with erstwhile leader Marat, Das snatched a half point from Ni Hua of China.
Local star Suryasekhar Ganguly had yet another draw with M. Shyam Sundar who is also on the verge of becoming a Grandmaster from this tournament. After Sunday’s result, Shyam Sundar is just one point shy of attaining the 2500 ELO rating barrier which takes him to the status of Grandmaster.
With just four rounds to come, the event is wild open and only the next two rounds may see a decisive turn around for the higher ranked players.
Anton Korobov – the other 2700 club member apart from Wojtaszek – is also within striking distance of the leaders having 4.5 points and giving him company in this score group are star players like Ganguly, Ni Hua, Sandipan Chanda and Italian champion Alberto David.
Kolkata, Dec 9 (IANS) The much-awaited derby match involving East Bengal and Mohun Bagan in the I-League was called off Sunday after Bagan refused to play the second half over lack of safety for players.
Bagan’s half-time decision to pull out of the match, which drew one lakh plus spectators at the Salt Lake Stadium, came after their player Syed Rahim Nabi suffered a head injury after being hit by a stone hurled from a gallery packed with Mohun Bagan supporters.
Nabi was admitted to a hospital where he needed multiple stitches.
Trouble started a little after East Bengal took a 1-0 lead through Harmanjot Kharbra in the 43rd minute.
Protesting against a foul given against his team, Bagan’s Nigerian striker Odafa Okoli charged towards referee Vishnu Chauhan. The forward got marching orders after his aggression.
Things flared up and missiles rained from the galleries. A stone hit Nabi, who bled profusely from near his right eye.
Police chased away the miscreants and emptied a stand. The match resumed after a 13-minute halt.
During the intermission, Bagan officials held a meeting and announced they would not play any further.
Bagan handed over a letter to the match commissioner citing players’ safety and law and order issues, said All India Football Federation (AIFF) Chief Executive Officer Sundano Dhar.
“The match commissioner went out of his way to persuade Bagan to change their stand and even went to the club dressing room. But the club did not relent,” said Dhar. The match had to be called off.
The violence then spread outside the stadium as Bagan officials burnt down some East Bengal flags. Police chased the mob.
Dhar later said a decision on the match would be taken based on the match commissioner’s report and I-League regulations.
However, he did some tough talking against Bagan and spoke about withdrawing a club from the competition if it pulls out midway into a match.
“In such a case, all matches played by the errant club will be cancelled and considered null and void and goals scored or conceded by other clubs against the said outfit will not be considered.”.
He also spoke about seeking compensation from the club and additional punitive measures.
An enraged Mohun Bagan finance secretary Debasish Dutta said Dhar had overstepped his brief.
“It was East Bengal’s home match. It was for them to arrange for fool-proof security. The basic thing in a football ground is player’s safety. Nabi’s injury is very serious. How could we have continued when players’ safety was not guaranteed?
“If the AIFF victimises us, we will move AFC and FIFA,” he said.
Kolkata, Dec 9 (IANS) Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar criticised the selection committee for making Harbhajan Singh and Yuvraj Singh scapegoats as the duo were omitted from the squad for the Nagpur Test against England.
India were crushed by seven wickets in Kolkata Sunday in the third Test and now trail England 1-2 in the four-match series.
“If you ask me, Zaheer’s exclusion was expected but I believe that Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh have been made scapegoats,” Gavaskar was quoted as saying by NDTV.
“If you look at Harbhajan’s performance in Mumbai, he got to bowl some 20-odd overs (21) and also got two wickets. If India lost in Mumbai, it was a collective failure. Yuvraj also got into 30s. If you want to drop them, then why not some of the others who have also not performed. Both Yuvraj and Harbhajan are soft targets,” Gavaskar said.
“I think a good idea would have been if chairman of selection committee (Sandip Patil) would have gone to the dressing room and spoken with the players who haven’t played some good shots to get out. Also with the bowlers. The defeat should hurt them. But sadly, I saw some of the players joking around and playing football as if nothing has happened. That’s not a good attitude.”
Gavaskar also backed Mahendra Singh Dhoni to continue as captain and said that there was no point in taking decisions hastily.
“A captain is as good as his team. I don’t think we have any alternative of Dhoni at the moment. If you want to change the captain for the heck of it, then it’s different,” he opined.
Talking about the selection of young and upcoming pacer Parvinder Awana for the fourth Test, Gavaskar said: “I don’t know his domestic performance but if he has done well in domestic cricket, I have no issues. But IPL can’t be a yardstick for selection in national team. India cap should be earned the hard way.”
Kolkata, Dec 9 (IANS) PSU power major NTPC Sunday said it is optimistic of finding a “middle path” solution to the stalled 1,600 MW project at Katwa in West Bengal’s Burdwan district as the state government is “keen” to see that the project takes off.
“We are optimistic that some solution will surely come out from our discussions with the West Bengal government,” National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) CMD Arup Roy Choudhury told reporters on the sidelines of PanIIT here.
The Rs.9,600-crore project has failed to take off as it would need about 1,030 acres, of which West Bengal Power Development Corporation (WBPDCL) has already acquired 575 acres.
But according to the state-run power firm, 550 acres is “not sufficient” for the 1,600 MW project as it needs land for the ash pond and the colony.
Earlier, NTPC had for the first time decided to buy land directly from farmers. However, owing to hurdles in the involvement of middlemen and the high prices quoted by farmers, the company decided against it.
Following this, the company urged the state power department to acquire land for it. The state government, however, did not respond to it as Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee took a decision to stay away from land acquisition for industrial projects.
Choudhury, who Saturday held talks with the state power department officials on the fiasco, said the company was now willing to look into different options to see that the project takes place but ruled out the possibility of shifting of the Katwa project.
“We are willing to look at our alignment, we are willing to re-look at the way we have done the layout of the plant. We are open to split locations for the project if we get separate land for ash pond and colony,” he said.
“There is also a possibility that we can do a smaller capacity plant if we can fit it into the given land (550 acre),” the CMD said.
On his meeting with the government, he said, “There were certain things that we had discussed in the meeting (on Saturday). Both sides have decided that they will closely look at this project.”
Initially, the project was scheduled to be set up by WBPDCL. However, after protests by the Trinamool Congress-backed ‘Krishak o Khet Majoor Bachao Committee’, an association of farmers who lost land to the project, it was handed over to NTPC in 2008.
Later, a memorandum of understanding for power purchase was signed with the then Left Front government in the state.
Kolkata, Dec 9 (IANS) A patients’ group Sunday appealed to West Bengal Governor M.K. Narayanan to initiate necessary steps so that the AMRI Hospital does not reopen until those responsible for the ghastly fire that killed 94 in the medical facility a year ago are brought to book.
Claiming that efforts were on to reopen the medical facility, People for Better Treatment (PBT) president Kunal Saha wrote to Narayanan on the first anniversary of the Dec 9, 2011, tragedy.
“I request you to take necessary steps to make sure the hospital cannot reopen and start making profit from the vulnerable patients until all pending cases against the hospital are concluded and those who were responsible for this horrendous human calamity are brought to equitable justice,” Saha said.
Ninety-four people were killed in the fire that ravaged the seven-storey centrally air-conditioned annexe at the premier private hospital in the city.
A spark started teh fire in the early hours of the morning of Dec 9 in the hospital’s basement and left behind death and devastation as the resulting flames and fumes spread to the upper storeys.
Most of the victims – seriously ill patients too infirm to move – died a slow and painful death inhaling toxic fumes.