QKolkata: Arson Near Amit Shah Rally Venue; Rajnath Dials Mamata

Your daily lowdown of all things Kolkata.

4 min read
 Vehicles parked near Amit Shah’s rally venue in West Bengal’s East Midnapore were vandalised on Tuesday, 29 January. 

1. Violence And Arson In Contai After Amit Shah's Rally

BJP and Trinamool supporters clashed in East Midnapore’s Contai on Tuesday, shortly after the rally by the national party’s chief Amit Shah had ended, triggering a burst of violence and arson that lasted several hours.

The rampage — that led to the ransack of a Trinamool office, left over a hundred vehicles damaged and at least 15 people injured — heightened concerns over the extent to which political violence could intensify in Bengal ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

The BJP has planned a rally blitzkrieg in the state and Trinamool has decided to hold meetings at the same places after a few days’ gap. On Tuesday, the BJP accused Trinamool of making the first move. “Envious of the success of our rally, the Trinamool Congress launched this brutal attack (on BJP supporters),” BJP leader Mukul Roy said.

(Source: The Telegraph)


2. Rajnath Singh Dials Mamata After Clash In Bengal's Contai

Clashes broke out between supporters of the BJP and the Trinamool Congress in Contai shortly after Amit Shah addressed a rally in the East Midnapore town on Tuesday, prompting the Union home minister to phone the chief minister.

At least 15 people were injured, over a hundred vehicles were damaged and a Trinamool office was ransacked in the vandalism and arson attack that lasted several hours.

Union home minister Rajnath Singh called up Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and “expressed serious concern over reports of large scale violence and arson against people who participated in the political rally of BJP President Amit Shah”, the home ministry said in a statement.

Rajnath told the chief minister that those who indulged in violence should be brought to book, the statement added.

(Source: The Telegraph)

3. Malda Welcomes Mausam Switch To Trinamool

Malda North MP Mausam Benazir Noor, who had joined the Trinamool Congress on Tuesday, was welcomed by hundreds of ruling party supporters and district leaders here on Wednesday afternoon.

As she arrived at the Malda Town station, the MP was mobbed by supporters, who greeted her with bouquets and shook hands with her.

“It is only Mamata Banerjee who has launched a tirade against the BJP. I wanted the Congress to join hands with Trinamool. But Congress leaders did not take any decision on the issue. That is why I decided to join Trinamool and work to remove the BJP from power,” said Mausam.

(Source: The Telegraph)


4. IIT Kgp To Use Biometrics To Keep Tabs On Students’ Minds

Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur (IIT Kgp) is set to introduce a biometric classroom attendance system as a part of its smart campus project.

The move, authorities hope, will alert them about students who frequently play truant, often a pointer to mental health issues. It will, of course, also solve the problem of having to manually take attendance, which eats up valuable class time, often by as much as 10-12 minutes.

Several tech school campuses are grappling with students’ mental health issues, where it has been found that a direct correlation exists between it and poor attendance. The IIT Kgp authorities believe timely alerts by the biometric attendance — uploaded real-time — would give them the opportunity to reach out to students and address whatever it is s/he is dealing with, whether it is performance pressure or a failed relationship.

(Source: The Times Of India)

5. Hawkers Gobble Up Carriageways As KMC Remains Busy With Sidewalks

The civic brass might be racking their brains to keep the sidewalks at several intersections free from encroachment but they have a mountain to climb as the hawker menace has transcended the pavement barrier and spilled onto the road at several busy places across the city. Prodded by the high court, the state government had framed stringent rules in 2012 to keep hawkers away from carriageways. The administration, however, failed miserably to implement them.

As you drive down Brabourne Road flyover, you can hardly miss hawkers squatting on the road with their wares spread in front of them. Not only do they slow down the traffic and trigger snarls, they even put the lives of thousands of pedestrians, who try to manoeuvre past moving vehicles, at risk. “Half of Brabourne Road is occupied by hawkers, who sell all sorts of wares sitting on the road. How can this happen on a major thoroughfare like Brabourne Road, which is a gateway to the city?” wondered a traffic constable on duty in the area.

(Source: The Times Of India)


6. High Court Stays Cable Switchover

The switchover of the cable TV subscription system from channel packages to à la carte was stayed till February 18 by the Calcutta High Court on Tuesday.

A Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) notification in March 2017 had mandated the change to the new system. Following a petition by 80 cable operators in Kolkata against the mandate, the court asked TRAI to submit a report on the matter on 13 February when the case will be heard next. Multi-system operators (MSOs) and cable operators in the city — who are struggling to get viewers to submit a list of their preferred pay channels that must now be subscribed to separately — heaved a sigh of relief and hoped that the extension will allow them to smoothly complete the switchover.

(Source: The Times Of India)

7. 2nd Snow Tryst For Darjeeling

Snow returned to Darjeeling town within a month on Tuesday, cheering tourists and residents alike.

Though the flakes came down for two-and-half hours, the intensity was less and so was the deposition of ice. However, some other locations in the district like Dhotrey, around 40km from Darjeeling, and Sandakphu turned white.

It had last snowed in Darjeeling on 28 December last year after a decade. The earlier snowfall was on 26 January 2008.

On Tuesday, the snowfall started around 11.30 am in the town and some other areas of the hills. It continued till 2 pm, prompting hundreds to pour into the streets.

(Source: The Telegraph)

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