QKolkata: Bengal Opts Out of ‘Modicare’; Mamata Meets Ex-Maoists
The iconic Victoria Memorial in Kolkata.
The iconic Victoria Memorial in Kolkata.(Photo Courtesy: Wikipedia)

QKolkata: Bengal Opts Out of ‘Modicare’; Mamata Meets Ex-Maoists

1. Bengal First to Opt Out of Modi’s Healthcare Plan

Bengal has become the first state to opt out of the ambitious National Health Protection Scheme unveiled in the Union Budget — and dubbed ‘Modicare’ — with chief minister Mamata Banerjee announcing on Tuesday that the state will not “waste” its hard-earned resources to contribute its share of 40% to the programme.

“The Centre has drawn up a health plan in which 40% of the fund has to come from state governments. But why should the state spend on another programme when it already has its own scheme? A state will have its own scheme if it has the resources,” the Bengal CM said, adding: “We have made hospitalisation and treatment free in Bengal. We have done it even after the Centre takes away Rs 48,000 crore a year for debt-servicing the loan liability left behind by the preceding CPM government.”

Banerjee, speaking at a public meeting in Krishnagar on Tuesday, pointed out that the Bengal government had already enrolled 50 lakh people under its own Swasthya Sathi programme.

(Source: The Times Of India)

Also Read: Centre to Hold State Health Secy’s Meeting to Discuss ‘Modicare’

2. KMC Rushes In Where Larvae Gushed Out Of Tap

Uttam Sardar was in for a surprise early on Tuesday. The resident of a slum along the Santoshpur canal, who made headlines for finding insect larvae in the water collected from a KMC pipeline, saw a team of civic officials at his door. It was barely past 7:30 am and Sardar had hardly managed to fill a couple of water containers from the tap inside his house when the team of four KMC water supply department officials arrived for inspection.

The KMC top brass decided to send the team of experts to Sardar’s house following a report in TOI on Tuesday, highlighting the plight of the Sardars who were being forced to drink water that had insects and larvae swimming it. The Sardars live in one of the pockets that have been reeling from the outbreak of enteric disease that has spread in parts of south Kolkata, especially along the Eastern Metropolitan Bypass.

(Source: The Times of India)

Also Read: KMC to Send Notice to Ganguly after Dengue Larvae Found in House

3. CM Mamata Banerjee Meets Ex-Maoists At Nabanna

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee summoned all the 365 surrendered Maoists, once active in West Midnapore, Purulia, Bankura, Jhargram and Birbhum, at Nabanna on Tuesday to tell them that they shouldn't pay heed to former police officers. The CM fears that some of them may be working hand-in-glove with the BJP-ruled neighbouring Jharkhand to rake up trouble in Jangalmahal.

This is the first time after their surrender since 2012 that former Maoists – Jagari Baske, Suchitra Mahato and their ilk – had direct interface with the CM, DGP, home secretary and the police top brass.

Those at the meeting had no difficulty in understanding that the CM's hint was at retired IPS officer Bharati Ghosh, accused in the cash-for-gold case. The state CID followed it by up by rounding up sub-inspector and Bharati loyalist Rajsekhar Pyne, accused in the same case on the same day. The agency took Pyne into custody after he fumbled during questioning based on inputs from arrested police officers Chitta Pal and Subhankar De.

The CM is calling the surrendered Maoists, now posted at the Midnapore Police Lines, to Nabanna two days ahead of her public meeting at the erstwhile Maoist badland Belpahari seems to be based on inputs from the West Midnapore SOG cell set up for gathering intelligence from the area.

(Source: The Times Of India)

Also Read: China Calls Mao’s Cultural Revolution a “Huge Disaster”

4. Charter of Dos & Don’ts For Catholic Schools

The education commission of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Calcutta has sent out advisories to as many as 85 schools in the city, including Don Bosco and St Xavier’s Collegiate School, to adopt all provisions mentioned in the POCSO Act, 2012. Several other instructions have been given out to the heads of schools, which includes guidelines like the formation of the sexual harassment committee and making the names of the members public.

The institutes will also have to take an undertaking from teachers to abide by the law. The commission has set a 31 March deadline for the institutions to implement the advices.

“We have CCTV cameras in place. Also, we have already set up the internal committee so that if and whenever a case of harassment comes up, it can come into action. The committee has representatives from both the teachers and the parents. The report from the committee will be tabled before the school managing committee, the highest decision-making body,” said Bikash Mondal, principal of Don Bosco School, Park Circus.

(Source: The Times Of India)

5. Merit Sermon From Minister

Education minister Partha Chatterjee on Tuesday asked private engineering colleges to admit students only on the basis of merit and not to compromise on merit and sell seats for "cash".

Students of several private engineering institutes are unable to find employment and end up accepting jobs for salaries as low as Rs 5,000 per month, the minister said.

"This is because many private institutes are compromising on merit. This has to stop. Students must be admitted on the basis of merit. Admissions must not be granted considering the students' financial condition. Students ultimately suffer if merit is compromised," Chatterjee said.

The government allows private engineering colleges to sell 10 percent of their seats from the management quota at a premium. Students figuring at the tail end of the state joint entrance merit list often buy the management quota seats.

(Source: The Telegraph)

6. 200 Turtles Seized On Train

More than 200 turtles were seized from two youths on the Amritsar Mail at Bandel last Wednesday.

The Indian soft-shelled turtles, listed under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, were found stuffed in gunny sacks and other bags.

The youths, who had boarded the train from Varanasi, had kept the bags under their seats in the general compartment, along with other luggage to avoid suspicion, an RPF officer said.

When the train neared Bandel, an RPF officer grew suspicious because of a smell. "When all the bags were brought out from under the seats, cops saw something moving in the bags," RPF officer Amaresh Kumar of the Howrah division said.

(Source: The Telegraph)

Also Read: 100 Olive Ridley Turtles Dead Along TN Coast & It May Get Worse

7. Airport Wakes Up to Automation

The number of self-service check-in kiosks at the airport is being doubled to cut queues at the counters, although fliers in Calcutta will still have only 10 to choose from unlike in Mumbai where the terminal has 99 of them.

Automated self-service is the gold standard in check-in convenience that airports across the world have long adopted. Bangalore has 40 kiosks, allowing as many passengers to check in at a time and print boarding passes. For baggage drop, there are separate counters.

The five kiosks currently in use at the city airport are not only inadequate for a terminal that handles about 18 million passengers annually, but also appear to be from a different era. The new ones will be better, officials promised.

"The new machines will be installed within a couple of months. We have got the approval from Delhi," airport director Atul Dixit said on Tuesday.

(Source: The Telegraph)