QKolkata: Mamata Gets D Litt; Panel Formed To Fight Pollution

Your daily lowdown of all things Kolkata.

5 min read
West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee. 

1. Mamata Talks About 'Disrespect' At CU Event

Mamata Banerjee had considered skipping Thursday 's convocation in Calcutta University, where she was awarded an honorary DLitt, because of the "humiliation" and "disrespect" she was subjected to, the chief minister said at the programme.

She said she shook off her reservation following a prod from education minister Partha Chatterjee.

The chief minister seems to have been referring to a case in the high court challenging CU’s decision to give her the honour on the ground that she is "undeserving" of it. The hearing in the case, filed by a former vice- chancellor of North Bengal University, is on.

CU has bestowed the honour on the chief minister for her “literary and social work.’’ “My life is full of struggles...I have been subjected to insult and disrespect and humiliation many times in my life…just see the way I am being subjected to such insult and disrespect again when you (Calcutta University) took the decision to honour me by conferring the honorary DLitt degree," the chief minister said while delivering the convocation address at Nazrul Mancha.

(Source: The Telegraph)

2. City Real Estate Becomes Most Affordable In 7 yrs

For home buyers waiting for a great deal, now’s the time. For the first time in seven years, the real estate industry is witnessing a price correction with a substantial drop in actual purchase price courtesy discounts from developers.

“After refusing to budge for years, developers in Kolkata have finally blinked. The weighted average price that the developers used to quote would remain constant, even in adverse conditions. But around 50 percent developers used to offer discounts on the effective price that is arrived on negotiation

across the table. Now, more than 80 percent developers are offering discounts. This, with the constant price despite the 4.5 percent inflation and actual rise in construction costs, takes the effective discount to 12 percent and makes homes in Kolkata the most affordable in years,” said Samantak Das, chief economist and national director (research) at Knight Frank, an international residential and commercial property consultant.

(Source: The Times Of India)

3. 7 Kids Injured In School Bus Crash On Rajarhat E-Way

Seven primary school children of Sri Aurobindo Institute of Education in Salt Lake were injured after a private bus collided with their school bus on Rajarhat Expressway near Now Town bus stop on Thursday evening.

The school bus had just turned left after dropping a student near Balaka Abasan when it was hit by a Nayabad-Dhulagarh bus. Witnesses said the school bus was moving at a moderate speed, but the Dhulagarh bus had jumped a signal.

Most of the students were thrown off their seats in the impact. Some of them bumped their heads against the windows and seat bars. Glass shards fell on three of the students.

“We were playing inside the bus when there was a sudden jerk and our driver screamed out. The next moment, I fell down. My forehead and chin started bleeding and a piece of glass barely missed my right eye,” a Class II student said.

The school bus driver sustained severe injuries on his right leg and the driver of the private bus fled. He, however, was arrested later.

(Source: The Times Of India)

4. Govt Forms Panel To Fight Rising Air Pollution In City

The state government has set up an inter-departmental committee, under the chairmanship of environment minister Sovon Chatterjee, for a concerted effort to combat air pollution. The committee will come up with a detailed road map — short-term and long-term — to maintain ambient air.

Kolkata has hit theheadlines in recent times for being the second worst polluted city in India after Delhi. US Consulate air quality monitoring station’s report indicates that the city’s air quality is declining at an alarming rate. West Bengal Pollution Control Board, however, has disputed the relevance of one station’s report to represent the air quality of the entire city. But, environmentalists argued that the US consulate station only analyses the air quality of a place where vehicular movement is restricted. The picture will be far worse if the air quality in other regions are checked.

(Source: The Times Of India)

5. Get Ready for Dry Spell As Govt Plans Booze Wholesale Takeover

Getting the tipple of your choice from retail liquor outlets may get increasingly difficult over the next one week as many distributors have stopped buying fresh stock in anticipation of a change in how the trade runs.

The liquor trade is waiting for the West Bengal State Beverages Corporation (Bevco) to take over the distribution part of the business from 18 January.

All districts expect Kolkata have already switched over to the new system, in which this state-run corporation has replaced private distributors.

There is no official word from the state excise department but a large section of the liquor trade in Kolkata says excise officials have “told them to be ready for this change”. “We have been told that 18 January might be the switch-over date when the state-run agency takes over distribution of liquor,” a prominent city distributor said. “So most of us have stopped buying fresh stock as we do not want to be saddled with bottles that we cannot sell,” he added.

(Source: The Times Of India)

6. Wires To Go Underground

All overhead cables tied to lamp posts, trees and hoardings in Salt Lake will go underground, if the Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation manages to implement its plan.

The civic body has decided to construct an underground conduit system using micro tunnelling to take the wires underground.

"The decision was taken at the last board meeting. We will start shifting the cables underground soon," said Sabyasachi Dutta, the mayor of the corporation.

Urban development minister Firhad Hakim announced a few days ago that the state government would build dedicated roadside conduits in municipal areas under the Green City Mission.

Salt Lake has a maze of overhead cables — strung to lamp posts, trees lining median dividers and even wrapped around park benches. Metro had earlier highlighted the dangers that cable and broadband wires pose to pedestrians and motorists besides being an eyesore.

On 1 January, a youth riding a motorbike died after his two- wheeler was entangled in a heap of cables on the east-bound flank of the Park Circus bridge.

(Source: The Telegraph)

7. Film Rings Green Alarm Bell

The city is sinking.

Or so it might in 50 years if action is not taken collectively as well as individually by citizens.

This is the message that Soumitra Chatterjee is taking to a cross-section of Calcuttans he speaks to in a documentary film titled Kolkata 2070 , directed by Suman Mukhopadhyay, produced by the Centre for Contemporary Communication ( CCC) and funded by the German consulate general.

The storyline and the script of the documentary, the makers say, are based on established scientific evidences and documents like the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change ( IPCC) and the World Bank ' s report on climate change for Calcutta. The choice of 2070 as the year in which the imaginary scene of inundation is shown to take place is based on predictions in such documents.

(Source: The Telegraph)

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