QKolkata: Ritabrata Praises Mamata; Bill to Bar Cattle Grazing?

Your daily lowdown on all things Kolkata.

5 min read
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. 

1. Expelled CPM MP Ritabrata Banerjee Takes To Twitter to Praise Mamata Banerjee

Expelled CPM MP Ritabrata Banerjee on Thursday flaunted his newly-acquired Independent MP status in the Rajya Sabha by endorsing the Mamata Banerjee government in Bengal.

Banerjee took to Twitter to write, “Now I am an Independent Rajya Sabha Member from Bengal. Will continue to raise issues concerning development of my state and issues of the people. Bengal progressing very well under @MamataOfficial (the chief minister’s official Twitter handle).” He also lauded the chief minister for “always fighting for rights of the common people”.

Banerjee’s praise came after the chief minister came down heavily on the Centre’s move to slash interest rates in PF and PPF. The chief minister wrote, also on Twitter, “All are suffering. Provident Fund interest rates were 8.82% when this government came to power. Now cut to 8.55%. PPF rates also cut. Big burden.”

(Source: The Times Of India)

2. It’s Back To Rope Age As Tech Snag Hits Drop Gate

Good old ropes were back at the Exide crossing on Thursday, after three days of trial with one of the most technologically advanced tools to control pedestrian crossover on the city roads. The city’s first pair of pedestrian boom barriers, installed at the Exide crossing around 10 days ago and which began its trial run last Monday, turned static since Thursday morning because of a signal glitch.

Engineers were called in and they got to work during peak hour, but the glitch could not be rectified till late evening. With the 5m-bar stuck in the vertical position, cops deployed civic volunteers with ropes, which the Kolkata Police has been successfully using across several key crossings in the city for several years to prevent unruly jaywalkers from spilling onto the carriageway.

(Source: The Times Of India)

3. KMC Finds Bacteria In 12 Of 15 Packaged Water Samples

As many as 12 out of 15 bottles of packaged water, three of these ostensibly from reputable brands, collected by Kolkata Municipal Corporation(KMC) and Kolkata Police Enforcement Branch (EB) teams have been found unfit for human consumption. Laboratory testing has found bacterial activity, including the enteric disease-causing coliform, in these samples.

KMC on Thursday said three of the 12 samples that had failed the test sported premium branding, including that of a state-owned brand. The samples had been collected from shops and markets around the city and sent for testing in a KMC laboratory. The civic body has deemed these samples “fakes”.

(Source: The Times Of India)

4. 21-Year-Old Gifts Life to 2 After Death

A 21-year-old engineering student whose life was cut short by an accident gifted life to two others before breathing her last on Wednesday. Kidneys retrieved from the Haldia girl were transplanted on two acute renal failure patients — Debashish Mondal (20) and Kalyani Jha (40) in a night-long operation at SSKM Hospital.

Coming after a disappointing 2017, when the state had only one organ donation in November, critical care experts are enthused about the early start to the year with Wednesday’s donation. The year-long drought had left Debashish, Kalyan and hundreds of others waiting in an endless queue for a deceased person’s organ.

Also, this is the first time that a patient has been declared brain dead in a government hospital. Till now, all the donors had been from private hospitals.

For Debashish, it was third-time lucky. He had been called to the hospital twice in 2016 for a possible deceased donated organ transplant. But they didn’t happen, the first time because the tissues didn’t match, and the second time because the kidney from the donor wasn’t in good condition.

(Source: The Times Of India)

5. Driver Swap On App Cabs Poses Risk

A tendency among app cab drivers to help each other complete their "weekly quota" has raised safety and security concerns for passengers.

Desperate to meet the trip limit to qualify for weekly incentives, drivers have tied up with colleagues with similar looks on the same platform to pitch in for one another.

The Uber target is 120 trips in a week and the incentive is Rs 5,000.

App cab operators say they don't want drivers to rush to meet the quota count.

"The target always hangs heavy. It's either 40 trips in three days or 120 a week. The number of rides keep varying," an Uber driver said.

"If you are short by one trip, you won't get the incentive. On weekdays, there are long hours of wait. In winters, it's even more difficult to meet the target because bookings are relatively low."

Long hours of wait means long stretches on the road, at times in the night, to make up for the time lost, according to many drivers.

(Source: The Telegraph)

6. Molestation Allegation On CU Campus

A Calcutta University student has accused an assistant professor of molesting her on Tuesday.

In her complaint with Sinthee police station, the first-year economics student alleged the teacher tried to drag her into his chamber around 3:30 pm when she was headed to her classroom on the Kantakol campus in north Calcutta.

Police said an investigation was on into her complaint.

"She was walking alone and the assistant professor was standing at the end of the corridor outside his chamber," a teacher whom the student had complained to immediately after the alleged molestation said on Thursday.

"While she was passing by him, he apparently grabbed her hand and asked her to come inside his chamber. When she protested, he tried to drag her inside. She managed to free herself and run away."

This teacher and others told her to alert the internal complaints committee, a cell that deals with sexual harassment complaints.

(Source: The Telegraph)

7. Bill to Bar Cattle Grazing In New Town

The Bengal government is bringing a law to bar livestock owners from letting loose their cattle to graze on vacant plots in New Town, where cows and goats straying onto the six-lane main road have caused some fatal accidents.

Stray cattle would be auctioned, if not claimed by their owners by paying a fine to the New Town Kolkata Development Authority (NKDA).

The New Town Kolkata Development Authority (Amendment) Bill 2018 is to be tabled at the ongoing budget session of the Assembly to incorporate provisions disallowing any premises in New Town from housing animals and birds without a licence.

The bill does not specify the penalty against seized cattle, only mentioning that the “cost of such seizure and impounding or removing and maintenance shall be recovered by selling such animals or birds or by auction”. Anyone claiming ownership of cattle within seven days of them being impounded would need to pay all the related expenditure incurred by the NKDA, an official said.

(Source: The Telegraph)

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