QKolkata: Mamata, Chamling Meet in Siliguri; Twin Blow for Gurung

Your daily lowdown of all things Kolkata.

5 min read
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. 

1. Mamata, Chamling Meet in Siliguri, to Walk Together on Hills Issues

Heads met – Mamata Banerjee and Pawan Kumar Chamling – at Uttarkanya on Friday, 16 March, putting behind the “misunderstanding” between the two states – West Bengal and Sikkim – over a host of issues, including the two government’s opposing stands over the demand for Gorkhaland in the Hills, to carve out a hand-holding plan for development of Sikkim, Darjeeling and north Bengal.

“From now, we will move together for the development of Sikkim, Darjeeling and Bengal. Whatever misunderstanding was there is past. We will move together,” the Sikkim CM said. Taking the cue, the Bengal CM stressed on the cooperation between Sikkim and Bengal in areas such as tourism, transport.

(Source: The Times of India)

2. Twin Blows for Bimal Gurung as SC Nixes Plea, Allows Action

Holding that vandalism and destruction of property cannot be allowed in the name of protests, the Supreme Court on Friday, 16 March, expressed concern over law and order problems created by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha(GJM) in Bengal during its agitation for a separate state and allowed the state government to take action against its leader Bimal Gurung who has been booked in 58 cases.

The apex court, which had earlier restrained the state from taking any coercive action against Gurung, allowed the state police to proceed against him and dismissed his plea, seeking transfer of probe in all cases to the CBI. It said the freedom to air one’s view is the lifeline of democracy, which it is well-protected and guaranteed under the Constitution, but creating nuisance and disturbances while holding demonstrations are not permitted.

(Source: The Times of India)

3. Deferred Admission Helps Presidency University Get More Applications

With Presidency University postponing the admission tests for undergraduate and postgraduate courses from April to 12 and 13 May this year, the number of applicants have increased by more than 25 percent compared to 2017 figures. The university authorities were prodded into changing the dates by the state which was concerned over the large number of vacant seats in 2017.

Last year, the university held the UG admission test on 30 April, before the end of the HS exams. Because of that, many candidates could not take the test since they were preparing for the boards. On Friday, 16 March, the West Bengal Joint Entrance Examination Board authorities, who conduct Presidency University Bachelor’s Degree Entrance Test (PUBDET) and Presidency University Master’s Degree Entrance Test (PUMDET), revealed that the applicants have increased from 13,588 to more than 19,400 for UG and PG candidates have increased from 5,852 to over 7,100.

(Source: The Times of India)

4. Civic Services Hit as Mayor Skips Office

At a time when Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) officials are trying to meet the revenue target at the fag end of the financial year, the absence of Mayor Sovan Chatterjee and other functionaries on Friday, 16 March, cast a shadow on the civic body’s future.

According to revenue department sources, property tax collection from the treasury counters at the civic body’s headquarters on Thursday dipped to Rs 47 lakh, an all-time low. Generally, the KMC treasury at the headquarters records a revenue collection Rs 3 crore to 4 crore every day. According to Revenue Department officials, considering the year-end, the net collection should have widened.

The ‘poor performance’ on part of the assessment department kept the Finance Department officials on tenterhooks since the latter have to arrange for payment to various departments based on the day-today income of the civic body.

(Source: The Times of India)

5. Health Panel Fines Clinic

The state Health Regulatory Commission on Friday, 16 March, directed a Bansdroni clinic to pay a man Rs 20,000 as compensation for failing to detect his kidney stones through a USG.

Rajnish Kumar, originally from Bihar, got the stones detected through a USG in a clinic in Patna a few days later.

"The first USG was done at the Apollo Clinic in Bansdroni on 23 June 2017, and a second was done in Patna on 7 July. The stones were of 5.3mm, 3.3mm and 1.8mm," Ashim Kumar Roy, chairman of the West Bengal Clinical Establishment Regulatory Commission, said.

"The doctors in the commission were convinced that the stones were there when the first USG was done and the doctor in question, Anindita Mukherjee, had failed to detect them," Roy said. "The delay in the detection of the stones led to a delay in treatment and the patient had to suffer."

(Source: The Telegraph)

6. 'King' of Makaibari to Shed Crown

The "Rajah" of Darjeeling tea has given up his crown.

Swaraj Kumar Banerjee, more famous as Rajah Banerjee who was as big a brand as his Makaibari tea, on Friday, 16 March, said he we would sell his remaining stake in the marquee garden.

The decision to hang up his planter's boots and bring wrap up a four-generation legacy came exactly a year after Banerjee's ancestral bungalow in the nearly 1,600-acre garden, a veritable treasure trove, was gutted in a fire.

"Today, exactly a year after my ancestral bungalow was gutted, I have decided to exit Makaibari," the 70-year-old told The Telegraph in his Siliguri office.

Rajah had parted with much of his stake in Makaibari Tea and Trade Company under a strategic partnership forged with the Calcutta-based Luxmi Group in 2013, retaining only 12 per cent that he will now give up.

(Source: The Telegraph)

7. Teen Killed in Cracker Explosion

A teenager was killed and four men were injured in an explosion in an illegal cracker factory in Mograhat, South 24-Parganas, on Friday, 16 March.

Mriganka Naskar,17, was declared dead at a healthcare unit in the area.

The injured are being treated at Diamond Harbour Sub-Divisional Hospital.

Around 9am, Naskar, along with the men, were making crackers for an upcoming religious festival when the explosion occurred, an officer of Moghrahat police station said.

People living in the Dhanpota area rushed to the spot on hearing the explosion.

“The makeshift unit was reduced to rubble," the officer said.

A preliminary investigation revealed the unit had been set up two years ago. "After the Puja last year, the unit stopped making crackers. It resumed operations after bagging contracts of supplying crackers to retailers," another officer said.

At least 20kg of raw material was stored in the unit, the police claimed.

(Source: The Telegraph)

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