QKolkata: Dengue No Big Deal Says Govt; Scrutiny On Bachchan’s Car

Your daily lowdown on all things Kolkata.

7 min read
Dengue has gripped Kolkata.

1. Dengue No Big Deal: Govt To HC

The death toll in the dengue outbreak in Bengal stood at 38 till 15 November, the government told Calcutta High Court on Thursday, before calling for those seeking judicial intervention to be penalised for "wasting the court’s time". In between submitting statistics that the two-judge bench found incomplete, and questioning the batch of seven petitions that took the dengue battle to court, advocate general Kishore Dutta sought time to find out how many people had been admitted to state-run and private hospitals with dengue fever.

The 38 deaths mentioned in his submission include 23 in government hospitals and 15 in private health care.

"A total of 40 dengue deaths were reported by private hospitals till 15 November. We have confirmed 15 of these. The cause of death in 22 other cases is being investigated," the advocate general said.

Source: The Telegraph

2. Bachchan BMW Faces Fitness Scan

Bachchan was in Kolkata for the inauguration of the 23rd Kolkata International Film Festival.
Bachchan was in Kolkata for the inauguration of the 23rd Kolkata International Film Festival.
(Photo: Reuters)

The BMW 7 Series that had wobbled while ferrying Amitabh Bachchan to the airport on the morning of 11 November allegedly does not have a valid fitness certificate to be on the road.

The fitness certificate of the five-year-old commercial vehicle — WB04F 2444 — expired on 29 March and has not been renewed since, transport officials said on Thursday, citing records available with the public vehicles department ( PVD).

The owner of the BMW is Jupiter Logistics, a car rental agency that supplied the vehicle to the star hotel that had hosted Bachchan, a state guest at the opening of the 23rd Kolkata International Film Festival.

The car carrying the star was going down Red Road last Saturday to take a turn towards the AJC Bose Road flyover when it wobbled and appeared to tilt to the left.

Sources said Bachchan, who was seated on the left side of the back seat, asked the chauffeur to stop, stepped out and stood on the road.

Panchayat minister Subrata Mukherjee, who was with Bachchan, offered him a ride in his car that was part of the convoy.

Source: The Telegraph

3. Lake Regulars To Get ID Cards, Nominal Entry Fee For Others

A day after the National Green Tribunal (NGT) ordered a slew of measures to restore the health of Rabindra Sarobar, Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA) held a meeting to chalk out measures to implement the order. On the list of proposals is the introduction of a nominal fees for visitors while exempting morning and evening walkers, who will be issued ID cards with photographs.

At the meeting on Thursday, KMDA officials discussed the order and its compliance that rests on its shoulders as the Lake’s custodian. “We have decided to set up a committee that will help steer KMDA through the implementation of the NGT order,” a source said.

It is the NGT that called for levy of entry fee like the Victoria Memorial Hall gardens to ensure proper maintenance. KMDA chairman Firhad Hakim though is not in favour of visitors being charged an entry fee. “People from all strata of society visit Rabindra Sarobar. Even the poor go there. Introducing a fee is against the government’s stated policy,” he said.

A source in KMDA said they would propose a nominal fee to the chairman and take it forward if he agreed to it. “We want to implement parts of the order, including access control, within next two months. Clubs will also be asked to ensure that no one can access the lake from its premises,” he said.

Source: The Times Of India

4. Water Puddles After Rain Spark Disease Fear

It didn’t rain on Thursday as much as it was expected, but that wasn’t enough for Kolkatans to rejoice. Intermittent spells of pitter patter and a cloudy sky throughout the day prevented the puddles of water, which were formed after Wednesday’s rain, from drying up. With the weather being ideal for the breeding of aedes aegypti mosquitoes, doctors and virologists feared another spurt in dengue in near future.

“The dengue scenario was getting a bit better with the mercury gradually going down. But the recent rain will renew mosquito breeding activities. But the breeding rate will be lesser than what it used to be during the monsoon,” said Shyamasis Badyopadhyay, senior consultant medicine at Apollo Gleneagles Hospital.

“Rain might trigger a spurt in mosquito breeding. We need to be cautious,” added Arindam Biswas, consultant medicine at Rabindranath Tagore International Institute of Cardiac Sciences.

School of Tropical Medicine, Calcutta, former director Dr Amiya Hati, however, felt that the showers will not make much of an impact on mosquito breeding. “Along with rain, aedes aegypti also requires a high temperature to breed. Now with the mercury dipping, this rain will not be able to enhance mosquito breeding activities much,” said Hati. According to virologists, breeding activities of aedes aegypti becomes almost negligible once the temperature touches 19°C.

Meanwhile, the Met office has ruled out the possibility of heavy rain.

Source: The Times Of India

5. Motorists Seek Petrol, Get Water At Fuel Station

A representational image of petrol and diesel.
A representational image of petrol and diesel.
(Photo: iStock)

Primary school teacher Biman Jana was surprised when his two-wheeler broke down on his way to work, at 7.20 am on Thursday. He was barely 400m away from a petrol pump – Murmu Service Centre, where he had filled up petrol worth Rs 100, on the Keshiary-Belda road in West Midnapore. “I returned to the service centre with a plastic bottle and asked a staffer to fill it. Most of what had been filled in the bottle was water,” said Jana, who teaches at Bhalkisole Primary School in Keshiary’s Katageria.

Soon, a large crowd gathered in front of the petrol pump, accusing its owner and staffers of selling petrol mixed with water. The pump had already served some 15-20 car and bike owners by then. When personnel from Keshiary police station reached the centre, some vehicle owners who had purchased petrol from there had poured the same in plastic bottles. They demonstrated alleging that the bottles clearly contained water as petrol was floating on the top. They blamed pump owner Kunwar Singh Murmu for their engines breaking down.

With police keeping the demonstrators at bay, Murmu admitted that there was water mixed with the fuel as the tank lid was kept open for the last one week by mistake. Thus, rainwater may have seeped into the tank. He assured the customers that he would supply them petrol worth the money they paid earlier and also pay for the repair cost of the damaged engines. The demonstrators then dispersed.

“Last week, I had engaged a contractor to install an automatic computerised filing system in my pump. The lid may have been open since then. I sold some 50l petrol to about 15-20 vehicle owners on Thursday morning. The tank has a capacity of 20,000l but it had 11,000l. It's not possible to say how much water had entered the tank. I’ve informed Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) and they will wash the tank. We’ve asked two motor repair garages nearby to repair engines, for which we’ll bear the costs, of the 15-20 vehicles that had been filled with water.”

IOC chief general manager (retail sales) AC Ghosh said there are clear procedures on preventing such mishaps. “Each fuel station is required to check the density and temperature of product; water content in the tank and quality of fuel being dispensed before commencing sales. It appears that the West Midnapore pump didn’t follow this,” he said.

Source: The Times Of India

6. Techie Lands In Controversy For Making IFFI Final Cut

Bengali techie Amartya Bhattacharyya has suddenly found himself amid a controversy as his film Khyanikaa – The Lost Idea has made the cut, after two films were dropped from the Indian Panorama section of the 48th International Film Festival of India (IFFI).

Bhattacharyya, who works in Infosys, said, “What I know is, there were 20 films, five mainstream films and a winner of National Film Awards. For these 20, the jury were asked to submit 22, two as standby. Mine was the 22nd.” This effectively means that if Nude and S Durga made the final cut, Bhattacharyya’s Odia film wouldn’t have been selected. Does this make him feel uneasy after the selection? “Not at all. It's not that my film is a random selection. The same committee chose it. But if a film as experimental and unique as Khyanikaa was kept out of the screening list, it would have been gross injustice to the IFFI theme — future of cinema,” he said.

Pointing at the prominence given to mainstream films in the Panorama section, the director said, “They have put only five films in the mainstream section, when there are many. Some are regional and national commercial successes. If a festival like IFFI celebrates the already celebrated films, then we, the alternate voices, are left with no platform. That makes me feel uneasy.

Also, the fact that mainstream filmmakers decide the fate of Indian cinema is a matter of concern. Even Adoor Gopalakrishnan and Buddhadeb Dasgupta’s films were ignored in 2016. So this mainstream trend is a concern. But I’m not uneasy for having my film selected. It should have been there, and it is there.”

Source: The Times Of India

7. Stalker Stabs Girl In Public

Rejected in love, a 28-year-old man stabbed an 18-year-old college girl in public on the northern fringes of the city on Wednesday night. The girl, who was stabbed at least thrice, is battling for life at RG Kar Medical College and Hospital. Locals, who looked on in horror as the youth stabbed the girl, chased the accused to catch him. But he managed to flee.

Police on Thursday arrested the accused, Kazi Sona alias Pappu. The incident took place at Vivekananda Sarani near Madhyamgram’s Chowmatha around 10.30 pm when the girl, a resident of Deganga and a BA first-year student of Madhyamgram APC College, was returning to her relative’s house at Madhyamgram along with her a classmate from tuitions.

Police suspect the accused was following her since she stepped out of the coaching class and stalked the girl before attacking her at a lonely place on Vivekananda Sarani.

Source: The Times Of India

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