QKolkata: Amit Shah Rally in Malda; Reforms After Gariahat Fire

Your daily lowdown of all things Kolkata.

4 min read
Malda: BJP chief Amit Shah addresses a party rally in Malda, West Bengal on 22 January 2019. 

1. Opposition's Brigade Rally Was a Tie-up of Greed: BJP Chief Shah

Amit Shah sounded the Lok Sabha poll bugle for the BJP in Bengal on Tuesday, 22 January, at a rally in Malda, dubbing the Brigade Parade rally of the Opposition as one of “greed and lust with many prime ministerial aspirants.”

“Out of the 23 (leaders) who addressed the Brigade rally, nine are potential prime ministerial candidates. But we have only one. The rock, Narendra Modi,” the BJP chief told the audience of 1.5 lakh, less than a week after the Brigade meet convened by Bengal chief minister Mamata drew several lakhs.

In his speech peppered with polarising issues like the citizen bill and cows, Shah urged supporters to ensure the BJP wins 23 of Bengal’s 42 Lok Sabha seats, up from 22 he had mentioned last year.

(Source: The Telegraph)


2. After Fire, Calcutta Mayor Draws Hawker Line at 50 ft From Crossings

Hawkers will not be allowed to do business within 50ft of “important crossings” anywhere in the city and, wherever it is legal to set up stalls, tarpaulin or plastic cannot be used as a roof or partition, mayor Firhad Hakim said on Tuesday after a meeting with the unions.

“I have told the unions that all hawkers have to pull down their tarpaulin covers,” Hakim said of the eyesore tents that line pavements in Gariahat and other hawker havens in town.

The impact of the diktat was immediately visible along a stretch of Hatibagan in north Calcutta, where a delighted trader said that daylight entered his shop for the first time after the hawkers sitting in front pulled down their tarpaulin walls.

(Source: The Telegraph)

3. Remove All Plastics Within 7 Days: Mayor

In an effort to make major hawking zones plastic-free by next week, mayor Firhad Hakim has asked superintendents of all municipal markets to ensure that hawkers don’t use plastic sheets. The mayor has also requested police commissioner Rajeev Kumar to instruct all police stations to keep vigil on the use of plastics by hawkers.

On Tuesday, the KMC authorities decided to enforce ban on hawking in 58 identified spots, which were declared as ‘no-hawking zones’ in 2014. Some of the ‘no-hawking zones’ include hospital premises, academic institutes and heritage buildings. Though an effort was taken to drive the hawkers out of these premises five years ago, they returned gradually over the past three years, conceded a civic official.

(Source: The Times of India)


4. Blaze Sheds Light on Illegal Power Tapping

The fire at Gariahat market has exposed the city’s most common daylight street crime – the illegal hooking and tapping of electricity by roadside hawkers. They source the power from meter boxes of other establishments or electrical poles to light up their stalls.

Forensic officials pointed at hooking and tapping as the primary reason for the Gariahat fire that gutted 11 shops, including two landmark sari stores and rendered 26 families homeless on Sunday.

A day after the theory surfaced, The Times of India surveyed other major markets in the city to find that the problem was not only limited to Gariahat, but also rampant across Kolkata.

(Source: The Times of India)

5. Rashbehari Avenue Shuts Down as Bus Drivers Protest ‘Slap’ By Sergeant Over Fine

A long stretch of Rashbehari Avenue virtually shut down around Tuesday afternoon, when 80 drivers and conductors of 3C/1 route, plying between Nagarbazar and Anandapur, staged a demonstration and parked 20 buses along the road, alleging that a sergeant from the southeast traffic guard had slapped one of them. The protest left scores of commuters towards Kasba and Ruby stranded.

The sergeant reportedly stopped the driver at Deshapriya Park and told him he had 20 traffic-violation cases against him. The police reportedly insisted that the driver should settle the entire fine amount, which came to around Rs 2,000. The sergeant apparently wanted the driver to pay the fine under the second phase of the one-time traffic fine waiver scheme, under which, an offender has to pay only 50 percent of the amount. The first phase, which ended on 13 January, offered a 65 percent discount. When the 3C/1 driver agreed to settle only 10 of the 20 cases, the sergeant, alleged the driver and some passengers, forced him down from his seat and slapped him.

(Source: The Times of India)


6. River Traffic Police to Plant 20k Saplings in 60 Seconds Along Hooghly

This Sunday, the River Traffic Police plans to plant 20,000 saplings along the Hooghly river banks in 60 seconds. That’s not all, under the ‘Clean City – Green City’ initiative, Kolkata Police has made 17-point programme to make the city greener and cleaner.

The project will include cleaning the banks of Hooghly, keeping area under each police station cleaner and removal of old banners and posters.

The event is likely to kickstart a sustained campaign to restore the ecology around the 90-kilometre-stretch of river banks extending till Konnagar-Panihati and Budge Budge on either side.

(Source: The Times of India)

7. Haldia Port Back on Stream as Staff Return

Commercial activities resumed at the Haldia port on Tuesday with “marine hands” rejoining work following a meeting with authorities earlier in the day.

Sixty “marine hands” who fasten and unfasten vessels’ chains had started the cease-work on Sunday evening alleging that they were overworked because of staff shortage. The strike had halted the movement of shops.

Trade unions did not make it clear what had prompted the workers to rejoin the work.

Sources said normalcy could be restored after the port authorities and the unions reached a consensus that no legal action would be initiated against the agitating workers.

(Source: The Telegraph)

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