16 dead, 63 injured as under-construction flyover collapses in Kolkata

At least 16 persons died and 63 others suffered injuries when an under-construction flyover, which has been more than six years in the making, collapsed in the busy and congested Bura Bazaar area of north Kolkata on Thursday.

Kolkata: 10 dead in under-construction bridge collapse
At least 16 persons died and 63 others suffered injuries when an under-construction flyover, which has been more than six years in the making, collapsed in the busy and congested Bura Bazaar area of north Kolkata today.
Police sources told NetIndian that the 16 dead included 14 men and two women, all of whom were crushed under the tonnes of concrete and steel that came crashing on them around 1215 pm today without any warning.
They said nearly 60 others had been taken to various hospitals in the city for treatment of injuries.
Officials feared the number of casualties could increase as search and rescue teams made their way through the mangled steel and concrete through the night.
Army personnel and teams from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) joined the local police, the fire brigade, other agencies and hundreds of volunteers in a massive rescue effort with specialised equipment, sniffer dogs and so on.
Several people were feared trapped below the debris of the bridge and frantic efforts were being made to reach them without loss of time. As people dug through the rubble, they found cars, taxis and other vehicles trapped under the concrete.
Hundreds of people of the locality and passers-by rushed to the spot and began trying to remove the debris with their bare hands, using whatever equipment they could lay their hands on, even as the authorities made arrangements to rush cranes, gas cutters and other machinery as well as ambulancesto the scene. 
Scores of witnesses told journalists at the scene that they heard a loud rumble and then a massive thud as the huge bridge suddenly came down without any warning.
Footage from a closed circuit television (CCTV) camera in the area showed people going about their normal business and traffic moving as usual under the flyover when it suddenly came crashing down.
Traffic in the entire area came to a total standstill and there were traffic snarls in several nearby areas as a consequence.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who was campaigning for the state assembly elections outside Kolkata, rushed back to the state capital and visited the scene of the tragedy.
She said stringent action would be taken against officials of the construction company, the Hyderabad-based IVRCL Limited, or any others found guilty of negligence.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is currently in the United States on an official visit, took stock of the situation and expressed shock and grief over the incident.
“Shocked and saddened by collapse of under construction flyover in Kolkata. Took stock of the situation and rescue operations. 
"My thoughts are with the families of those who lost their lives in Kolkata. May the injured recover at the earliest," he said on micro-blogging site Twitter.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who was touring West Bengal as part of the BJP's election campaign, asked the Director General, NDRF, Mr. O.P.Singh, to rush rescue teams to the spot.
An official press release said seven NDRF teams had been deputed to the site and two more teams were being mobilized for the rescue operations.
"I am deeply saddened to know that precious lives have been lost in the Kolkata accident," he added.

Modi invokes spirit of Team India; says Centre, states must work together

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday described the Central government and the 29 state governments in the country as "30 pillars of Team India" which would together take the country forward.

Delhi alone will not run nation: Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today described the Central government and the 29 state governments in the country as "30 pillars of Team India" which would together take the country forward.
Addressing a public meeting after dedicating to the nation the 2.5 million tonne modernised and expanded IISCO steel plant at Burnpur in West Bengal, he mentioned various instances of cooperative federalism of recent months, including the setting up of the NITI Aayog, and the devolution of additional revenues to the States through acceptance of the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission. 
He also mentioned that the decades-old land boundary issue between India and Bangladesh had been successfully resolved through the same spirit of Team India, with all state governments concerned and political parties coming together to support a solution of the problem.
He said the nation would move ahead faster when the Centre and the states worked together.
"Sadly Centre-State relations were tensed for a long time. I have been Chief Minister for a long time and I know that such behaviour will not be good. We have brought in a change, we focused on co-operative federalism. Delhi alone will not run the nation," he said.
"India will not change without a 'Team India'. The Prime Minister and Chief Ministers are one team that will take India ahead. The nation is bigger than any party," he said.
Mr Modi said the time had now come for India to address the issue of "geographical imbalance" along with the economic and social imbalances. He said that eastern India, too, should develop as fast as western India is developing, and for that, development of West Bengal is essential. 
"The eastern part of India has immense potential. The people are also skilled," he said.
He said District Mineral Foundations would be set up to help speed up progress and welfare of the poor in mineral-rich districts. He said that, within a year, the atmosphere of gloom in the country had lifted, and all global rating agencies were now agreed that India is among the world's fastest growing economies.
"A year ago the world had a different perception about India. Now the world says in one voice that India is a fast growing economy," he added.

See News Videos

42 dead, 9 injured as bus crashes off bridge into canal in West Bengal

42 dead as bus falls into canal in West Bengal
At least 42 people died and nine others suffered injuries when a speeding bus crashed through the railing of a bridge and plunged into the Gogra Canal at Balirghat in Murshidabad district of West Bengal, about 230 km north from here, on Monday morning.
Search and rescue teams, including personnel of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) had recovered 36 bodies and rescued nine people from the wreckage of the bus and the water in day-long efforts yesterday.
Six more bodies were recovered after rescue operations, which were suspended at nightfall yesterday, resumed early this morning, they said. The search operations were again suspended this evening and the district authorities will take a decision about continuing them or not tomorrow.
The deceased passengers included 11 women and two children, official sources said. The injured were admitted to the hospital for treatment, they said.
The bodies of the victims were kept in the morgue at the Murshidabad Medical College and Hospital, pending identification by relatives. 
The accident occurred at around 6 am yesterday when the North Bengal State Transport Corporation (NBSTC) bus was on its way from Karimpur in Nadia district to Malda.
There was no clarity on the number of passengers in the bus, but it was more than 50, the sources said. 
District Magistrate P. Ulaganathan and senior administration and police officials were at the scene supervising the search and rescue efforts, in which local people joined in.
NDRF teams and others had to work hours before they were able to lift the bus out of the deep water with  the help of five hydraulic cranes.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has announced a compensation of Rs. 5 lakh to the next of kin of those who lost their lives in the mishap, Rs. 1 lakh for the critically injured and Rs. 50,000 for those with minor injuries.
Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.

Celebrations begin to mark 125th birth anniversary of eminent physicist S.N .Bose

Our scientists make lives easier by giving out of box solutions: Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday set the ball rolling for a year-long celebration to mark the 125th birth anniversary of eminent physicist Satyendra Nath Bose who was born on this day in 1884. The celebrations are being spearheaded by S.N.Bose National Centre for Basic Sciences (SNBNCBS), Kolkata.
A theoretical physicist, Bose is known for his path breaking work on foundations of Quantum Statistics, laying the basis for the modern atomic theory. His name is immortalized in the history of science by concepts and terms like Bose Statistics and Bose Einstein Condensation. 
Einstein’s biographer, Abraham Pace, had considered Bose’s work as one of the last revolutionary papers on Old Quantum Theory. Bose was also a crusader for teaching of science in vernacular languages, besides being an accomplished musician.
Paying tributes to Bose, the Prime Minister noted that the country had a lot to learn from his life and works. “He was a self-taught scholar. He succeeded despite many constraints. These included lack of formal research education and little connectivity with the global scientific community,” he observed in his speech via video conferencing.
Urging the Indian scientific community to emulate Bose, he called for efforts to promote science communication in a big way to promote understanding and love of science in the youth. “Language should not be a barrier but a facilitator in this task”. He further called upon the scientific community to not work in silos and to strive to collaborate with fellow scientists from other institutions and laboratories.
“To reach our true potential and to take Indian science to its rightful glory, we should be like a quantum particle that escapes its confinement. This is even more important today as science becomes hugely multidisciplinary and requires concerted efforts," he said.
The Prime Minister noted that Indian science and technology has grown with great speed in recent decades, helping the country make a mark for itself in the world in IT, space technology and missile technology and expressed confidence that scientists would continue to work and come out with creative technology solutions for the benefit of the common man.
Referring to an effort by scientific departments to develop a portal for sharing of scientific infrastructure and resources as well as promoting collaboration, he urged all laboratories and institutions to participate to make it a success. He said scientists must keep pace with emerging technologies and innovations such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data analytics, cyber-physical systems, genomics and electric vehicles. “For various reasons, we missed the first industrial revolution. We cannot miss similar opportunities today."
Mr. Modi recalled that the government had launched a plan to help 20 institutions in the country to become world class centres with financial assistance of Rs. 1,000 crore and said laws and rules are being amended to make this happen. “I request S.N.Bose National Centre for Basic Sciences and other such institutions in the country to draw up plans to become top ranking institutions and work in that direction.”
He called upon scientists to adopt at least one student each and motivate them to take up a career in research.
As parts of the celebrations, SNBNCBS has planned to organize over 100 outreach lectures in schools and colleges, hold national and international conferences on various themes of national importance and conduct competitions on solutions to 125 scientifically challenging problems.
(India Science Wire)
Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.

Karnataka only state to provide facilities for regional branch of National School of Drama

Karnataka is the only state to provide space for setting up a regional centre of the National School of Drama (NSD), the Lok Sabha was informed yesterday.
Minister of State for Culture Dr Mahesh Sharma said in a written reply during Question Hour that the Broad-Based Committee (Vision Committee) set up by the National School of Drama (NSD) Society in February 2005, inter-alia, had recommended opening of five regional centres of the NSD across the country.
On the basis of these recommendations, a decision was taken to establish Five Regional Centres during the 11th Five Year Plan period (2007-2012), one each at Kolkata, Mumbai/Goa, Jammu & Kashmir, and North-East besides upgrading the existing Regional Resource cum Research Centre, Bengaluru to a full-fledged regional centre.
These regional centres were to be established in consultation with concerned State Governments, who were required to provide land and accommodation for the purpose.
Karnataka had provided space in 2013 at Bengaluru for the purpose where a training course is being organized by NSD. Currently, the Bengaluru centre is running a one-year course on dramatic arts, he said.
Jammu & Kashmir and Assam governments have been reminded about providing the accommodation for the purpose of opening of NSD’s regional centre but there has been no response from them so far, he added.
As far as the opening of NSD’s centre at Mumbai is concerned, the requisite space has yet not been located in spite of an advertisement issued in 2016 in the leading newspapers. An effort is also being made with Maharashtra’s Department of Culture to provide the requisite space.
In so far as the opening of a new centre of NSD at Kolkata is concerned, as per the observations made by the Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture, the Ministry of Culture had taken up the matter with various organizations under its control at Kolkata for providing accommodation for a new centre.
NSD had also requested them to intimate if they could provide a suitable accommodation to the NSD for the purpose. However, the organizations have shown their inability to provide any accommodation, the Minister said.

Border Protection Grid to be set up in border States, says Rajnath Singh

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh yesterday said that a Border Protection Grid (BPG) would be set up in border States as a multi-pronged and foolproof mechanism to secure the country's border.
Chairing a meeting with Chief Minnisters of the Indo-Bangladesh Border (IBB) States here, he said the grid would comprise various elements such as physical barriers, non-physical barriers, surveillance system, Intelligence agencies, State Police, Border Security Force (BSF) and other State and Central agencies.
He said BPG would be supervised by a State-level Standing Committee under the chairmanship of respective Chief Secretaries. BPG will ensure greater help for the States in the overall border security, he said, and sought the active participation of all stakeholders, including State Governments.
Mr. Rajnath Singh had earlier conducted border-specific review meetings for India-China, India-Myanmar and India-Pakistan borders.
In yesterday meeting, the Home Minister underlined the need for securing the country’s borders and putting in place systems to facilitate legitimate trade and commerce. He said India has friendly relations with Bangladesh and all these measures will facilitate genuine trade and legitimate cross-border movement of people while curbing radicalization, illegal migration, and smuggling of cattle, fake Indian currency notes and drugs, and so on.
Mr. Rajnath Singh stressed the need to prevent entry, at international borders, of illegal migrants, some of whom have links with extremist groups for furthering anti-national activities with ulterior motives and posing threat to internal security. 
He emphasized the need to fast track border infrastructure development and to strengthen border security. 
The Indo-Bangladesh Border covering five States -- Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Tripura and West Bengal --  is 4096 km long. So far, in 3006 km border security infrastructure of fence, roads, floodlights and border out posts (BOPs) are in place and works in the remaining 1090 km are yet to be started. Out of this, 684 km will be secured with fence and related infrastructure, and the balance 406 km with non-physical barriers. 
Although bulk of the infrastructure is in place or under construction, construction in some parts is yet to commence, mainly due to land acquisition issues. The Home Minister urged the Chief Ministers to take personal interest to expedite land acquisition in the interest of national security. They promised to make land available at the earliest. 
The areas to be covered by non-physical barriers are those where fencing is not feasible like rivers or nullahs. In these areas technological solutions of a networked combination of electronic gadgets like radar, day-night cameras and various types of sensors, all integrated in a command and control architecture, will be used. 
The Home Minister said that the people living in the border areas are a strategic asset and need to be provided with all the infrastructure and socio-economic development facilities. He emphasized the importance and necessity of improved infrastructure such as roads, railways, health and education and also boosting border economy in the border areas in a holistic and comprehensive manner. He said the State Governments must pay greater attention to these areas while the Home Ministry was working to supplement their efforts.
Appreciating the role of BSF for their unshakeable courage, skills, determination and dedication in securing the border, Mr. Rajnath Singh reiterated that they should be more vigilant. He expressed satisfaction over the active participation and assurance of all cooperation given by the states. 
The meeting was attended by Union Minister of State (Home Affairs) Kiren Rijiju, Chief Ministers of West Bengal, Assam and Mizoram, Union Home Secretary, Secretary (Border Management), MHA, DG BSF, Chief Secretary Meghalaya, Secretary, Home, Tripura. 
Senior officers of MHA and other Ministries of Government of India besides State Governments also attended the meeting, an official press release said.

Bengal has great history, ensure that it also has a great future, says Kovind

President Ram Nath Kovind today said while Bengal has a great history, it is for each one of the people to ensure that the state, which was an early industrial and manufacturing centre in India, also has a great future.
“Its economy must sing again in this age of digital and robotic technologies. Its green fields and hard-working farmers must be equipped with the latest agricultural knowledge to allow them to realise their potential,” Mr Kovind said in his address during a civic reception hosted in his honour.
“In 2022, India will be celebrating 75 years as a free country. This will be an occasion to reach certain developmental milestones for our people and to create a better India. For this, we need to invoke the same idealism and fervour that contributed to our freedom movement. Bengal was one of the leaders of our freedom movement. It must lead this effort for a better India by 2022,” he added.
Referring to the Union Government’s ambitious Act East Policy, he said this involves building connectivity projects and taking economic initiatives. The people of Bengal are crucial to this programme that will be of mutual benefit to the eastern and Northeastern states as well as to neighbouring countries.
The President said, being a border state, Bengal has certain advantages. It also gives it certain responsibilities. “Forces of radicalism and extremism, some of them with cross-border linkages, seek to take advantage of our democratic spaces. We must guard against this,” he added.
Mr Kovind said though this was his first visit to the city as President, he was not a stranger to Bengal. “I have been visiting the state and I have been coming to Kolkata for decades now. I would say I have long been an admirer of Bengal and its culture and its history.
“In fact, there are few people anywhere in our country who have not been touched by Bengal or by some creation of Bengal. Somehow, in some manner, this state has touched every Indian and enriched the lives of every Indian. Every Indian child has grown up on stories about Bengal or written in Bengal,” he added.
"Bengal has been central to our national identity. The national anthem, Jana Gana Mana, was written on the soil of Bengal by the Nobel Laureate Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore. The national song, Vande Mataram, a rallying cry for our freedom fighters, was composed by Maharishi Bankim Chandra Chatterjee as early as the 19th century. And our beloved slogan Jai Hind was given to us by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, a great son of Bengal and a leader who is cherished, remembered and missed to this day in all parts of our country,” he added.
“A few days ago, I had the honour of visiting the Indian National Army Memorial in Moirang in Manipur. This is where freedom fighters of the INA, inspired by Netaji, raised the national flag for the first time on Indian soil. It was a very moving moment for me.
“ These three – Gurudev Rabindranath, Maharishi Bankim and Netaji Subhas – were instrumental in defining our nationalism. Our freedom came faster because of the energy they gave our people,” Mr Kovind said.
During his visit, he will also be travelling to Belur to pay his respects to Ramakrishna Paramhansa and his finest disciple, Swami Vivekananda.
"In their own manner, they rediscovered our ancient Indian ethos not only for us in India – but for the world. Swamiji was among our earliest modern cultural ambassadors. His work lives on through the Ramakrishna Mission. This institution has been instrumental in our nation-building process,” he added.
“Our nation-building owes so much to Bengal and the sacrifices and achievements of the people of this land. A galaxy of revolutionary heroes from Bengal helped us get Independence, each doing his or her little bit, quietly, without seeking any reward.
“Young Khudiram Bose went to the gallows with a smile and with the dream of a free India in his eyes. The elderly but determined Matangini Hazra was shot by the colonial police. She died with Vande Mataram on her lips and the hopes of our motherland in her heart,” the President said.
“A number of our pioneering women leaders were from Bengal – perhaps the most famous of them being Sarojini Chattopadhyay, who became Sarojini Naidu after her marriage. So many of our foundational social reform movements began here – from the times of Raja Ram Mohan Roy and later Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, who set up among the first institutions for women’s education,” he added.
“And in education, we cannot forget the contribution of that remarkable father and son, Ashutosh Mukherjee and Shyamaprasad Mukherjee. Or in the field of law, the humanism of that upholder of justice, the jurist Radha Binod Pal. He is still recalled with affection in Japan for his sympathy for ordinary men, women and children who had suffered the horrors of two nuclear bombs,” Mr Kovind said.

Modi, Sheikh Hasina, Mamata flag off new train between India, Bangladesh

India, Bangladesh launch connectivity projects
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh  Hasina and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today jointly inaugurated a series of connectivity projects between the two countries and flagged off the inaugural run of the Bandhan Express between Kolkata and Khulna through video conference from Kolkata railway station.
The projects include the second Bhairab and Titas Railway Bridges; and the International Rail Passenger Terminus at Chitpur in Kolkata. 
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj also joined the event from New Delhi. Mr. Sudip Bandyopadhya, Member of Parliament & Chairman, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Railways, Ms. Mala Saha, MLA, Mr. Harindra Rao, General Manager, Eastern Railway and Mr. Toufique Hassan, Deputy High Commissioner, Bangladesh Deputy High Commission, Kolkata were also present on the occasion at Kolkata station. 
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Modi said that the close connection and understanding between two countries required connectivity between the people across the border and the Maitree Express and the Bandhan Express trains would help strengthen the bonding between  the two countries.
He said India had emerged as the most trusted partner of Bangladesh by undertaking and completing a series of developmental projects in Bangladesh.
Ms. Hasina lauded the initiative and expressed hope that there would be more such initiatives for increasing rail links and connectivity between the two countries. She also highlighted the fact that the introduction of International Passenger Rail Terminus with End-to-End Immigration and Customs Clearance Facilities would help reduce the journey time for rail passengers between the two countries.
Ms. Banerjee said the new train would strengthen ties between the two countries.
The Bandhan Express train is the second train to be flagged off after the introduction of Maitree Express’ between Kolkata and Dhaka Cantonment stations in April, 2008. It covers the distance between Kolkata and Khulna through Petrapole and Benapole route.
The Bandhan Express will be a weekly service on every Thursday. The Kolkata - Khulna Bandhan Express (13129 Up) will depart from Kolkata at 07.10 hrs.(IST) and arrives at Khulna at 12:30 hrs.(BST). On the return journey the Khulna-Kolkata Bandhan Express ( 13130 Down) will depart from Khulna at 13.30 hrs. (BST) and arrive at Kolkata at 18.10 hrs.(IST) on the same day. The immigration and customs checks will take place at Kolkata International Passenger Terminal for the Indian side and at Benapol border station for Bangladesh side.
The one kilometer long second Bhairab Railway Bridge was built over the Meghna river at a cost of around $ 75 millions by Indian contractors and consultants. Similarly, the Titas bridge over river Titas in Eastern Bangladesh was built with a cost of around $ 25 million. Both these bridges are on the main Chittagong to Dhaka Trunk Rail Line which will help in faster movement of both passenger and freight trains of Bangladesh, the release added.

Renowned singer Girija Devi passes away

Girija Devi
Girija Devi
Renowned classical vocalist Girija Devi, whose renditions of thumris, khyal and tappa won her millions of admirers, passed away at a hospital here tonight after suffering a cardiac arrest, sources said.
She was 88. She is survived by a daughter.
Girija Devi was taken to the B M Birla Heart Research Centre this afternoon for treatment of cardiovascular ailments and was put on life support, the sources said.
Hospital sources said she was admitted to the Cardiac Care Unit and kept under continous watch. The end came at around 8.45 pm, they said.
"Saddened by demise of Girija Devi ji. Indian classical music has lost one of its most melodious voices. My thoughts are with her admirers," Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on micro-blogging site Twitter. 
"Girija Devi ji's music appealed across generations. Her pioneering efforts to popularise Indian classical music will always be remembered," he added.
Girija Devi was born on May 8, 1929 to Ramdeo Rai, a zamindar. Her father played the harmonium and taught music, and he made Girija Devi take lessons in singing khyal and tappa from vocalist and sarangi player Sarju Prasad Misra from the age of five.
She made her public debut in 1949 on All India Radio, Allahabad and sang at her first concert in Bihar in 1951. She continued to study with Sri Chand Misra for some more years, until his death. She worked as a member of the faculty at the ITC Sangeet Research Academy in Kolkata in the 1980s and at the Banaras Hindu University during the early 1990s. She also toured and continued to perform and taught several students to preserve her musical heritage.
Girija Devi sang in the Banaras gharana and performed the purabi ang thumri style, typical of the tradition, whose status she helped elevate. Her repertoire included the semi-classical genres kajri, chaiti, and holi and she sang khyal, Indian folk music, and tappa.
The Government had honoured her with the Padma Vibhushan, the country's second highest civilian honour, in 2016. She had been awarded the Padma Shri in 1972 and the Padma Bhushan in 1989.
She was awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1977 and the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship in 2010.

Scientists develop natural material for faster blood clotting

Excessive blood loss due to injury may result in serious medical complications and, in extreme situations, even death. The problem could be severe in case of patients with impaired blood clotting capacity such as in hemophilia. To address this challenge, Indian scientists have developed a nature-inspired biomaterial with enhanced blood clotting efficiency to treat injuries.
The new material has been developed by scientists at Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Kolkata (IISERK) and Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics, Kolkata. Researchers have modified natural biomaterials, peptides, to develop sealants with improved strength, stability and clotting properties.
"We have engineered fibrin-inspired peptide-based sealants which have demonstrated superior blood clotting ability than natural fibrin,” explained Dr Rituparna Sinha Roy, a member of the research team.
The study has been published in the journal Scientific Reports.
Computer based analyses was employed, using various approaches, to generate sealant structures with desired properties, explained Prof Dhananjay Bhattacharyya, a senior researcher of the study. These structures were then synthesized and evaluated under laboratory conditions.
These tests revealed that the engineered sealant was able to self-assemble, much like the human body’s natural clotting mechanism, to form an interwoven structure resembling a clot but in nearly half the time. This enhanced clotting rate can play an extremely crucial role in treating injuries sustained during accidents or military combat, researchers pointed out.
The natural material of the engineered sealant will ensure that it is tolerated by the body with minimal inflammatory response. It is also bio-degradable, similar to the natural clotting factor. “Such sealants might be potentially translated into clinics for handling traumatic coagulopathy and for treating patients suffering from impaired blood clotting", felt Sinha Roy.
The researchers claim that the sealant may also find use in treating injuries where surrounding healthy skin tissue is absent and the body is incapable of closing its own wounds. The study also proposes the use of the engineered sealants in suture-free wound closing, such as in deep cuts or after surgical procedure.
The research team included Snehasish Ghosh, Sanchita Mukherjee, Chiranjit Dutta, Kasturee Chakraborty, Paramita Gayen, Somnath Jan, Dhananjay Bhattacharyya and Rituparna Sinha Roy. 
(India Science Wire)

Kolkata East-West Metro Corridor's underwater tunnel by December 2019

The underwater tunnel in Kolkata East-West Metro corridor, an Indian Railways project, is expected to be completed by December 2019, the Lok Sabha was informed yesterday.
The twin tunnel, being constructed below the Hooghly river, between Howrah and Mahakaran stations, is the first underwater transportation tunnel in the country, Minister of State for Railways Rajen Gohain said in a written reply during Question Hour.
The length of the river crossing is 520 meters and the internal diameter of each tunnel is 5.55 meters, he added.
The total estimated cost of the Kolkata East West Metro Corridor Project is Rs 8996.96 crore. Construction of the underwater tunnel below is completed. The work of construction of tunnel (total 10.81 Km) in this project is targeted for completion by December 2019, he added.

Scientists develop new method to identify pests with precision

Scientists have developed a new method to precisely identify a class of plant sucking pests which affect several commercially important crops.
Thrips are tiny plant sucking insects, one to three millimeters in length that cause damage to crops by direct feeding and by transmitting plant viruses. At present, these insects are identified based on their physical features like colour and body architecture. A major obstacle in correct identification is their small size and high degree of similarity at some stages of their life cycle. Identifying these insects correctly is important for designing appropriate pest management strategies.
Now scientists at the Centre for DNA Taxonomy, Zoological Survey of India in Kolkata, have developed a DNA barcoding technique to identify thrips insect species in India and found that this technique is effective. It could be of immense value as thrips cause huge losses to crops such as onion, chilli, brinjal, capsicum, watermelon and tomato. Identifying thrips correctly can help design relevant pest management strategies to prevent these losses.
Researchers collected 336 insect samples from 78 locations in India. The sample collection was done for four years between 2011 and 2015. In three years, they have made a library of 370 DNA sequences that can be used for precisely identifying these plant pests. DNA analysis was done to analyze the sequence of the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase gene, said Kaomud Tyagi, who is the first author on the study. The results have been published in a recent issue of the journal Scientific Reports.
“We have standardized and confirmed DNA barcoding method to be used for identifying thrips species correctly. Our study has also revealed that similar looking insects can belong to different species. Identifying species of thrips is now possible at the larval stage or even from a small portion of the body,” Dr. Vikas Kumar, a member of the research team, told India Science Wire.
Thrips also leave white streaky trails after feeding on fruits that makes them unfit for exports. In the long run, using DNA barcoding for identifying thrips could help increase income from exports, believes Dr. Kumar. The study will help design appropriate pest management strategies as different species respond to different pesticides and doses.
Sharad Mohan, a scientist at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi, who is not connected to the study agrees that, “barcoding is of immense value in validating the diversity of pests in different agro-climatic zone of India. Instead of using conventional taxonomic ways that may take months, barcoding helps in identifying pests that helps recommend and implement specific management protocols without wasting much time,” he says.
Kailash Chandra, Director of ZSI, said, “We are starting a new project on large scale barcoding of insect pests and vectors of agricultural and veterinary importance soon."
The research team included Kaomud Tyagi, Vikas Kumar, Devkant Singha, Kailash Chandra, Boni Amin Laskar, Shantanu Kundu, Rajasree Chakraborty, and Sumantika Chatterjee. 
(India Science Wire)

Mukherjee inaugurates Satya Bharti School in Kanidighi, West Bengal

President Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated a new school of the Satya Bharti Foundation at Kanidighi in Murshidabad district of West Bengal yesterday.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Mukherjee said that Satya Bharti schools are providing quality education to students with main focus on girls belonging to weaker sections of society. He appreciated the Satya Bharti Foundation for establishing schools in rural areas to cater to educational needs of local children. 
On the occasion, the President also launched a special compendium capturing the dreams and aspirations of an ideal schooling experience as expressed by the students under various education programs being run by the Bharti Foundation across the country. 
Mr. Abhijit Mukherjee, MP (Lok Sabha), Mr. Subrata Saha, MLA, Sagardighi, Mr. Rakesh Bharti Mittal, Co-Chairman, Bharti Foundation and Mr. Vijay Chadda, CEO, Bharti Foundation were also present on the occasion. 
The school is the tenth in West Bengal under Bharti Foundation's flagship "Satya Bharti School" programme, which currently provides quality education to more than 1900 students across 10 schools in the State, 57% of them girls. Bharti Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Bharti Enterprises.
"With this new school at Kanidighi, we aim to continue delivering on our promise of quality education to every underprivileged child in the school’s vicinity. The new school marks the beginning of a new chapter for us and further strengthens our resolve to continue our journey in the State," Mr. Mittal said.
The Kanidighi School is proposed to be an elementary school with classes from Pre-Primary up to Class VIII. Currently, the school has classes up to Class II, with one class to be added every subsequent year. In addition to local students, this school will also cater to students from neighbouring Satya Bharti Schools.
The Satya Bharti School program currently operates 249 primary / elementary schools and five senior secondary schools across six states ( Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal) reaching out to 43,664 children employing 1,667 teachers. With a focus on the girl child [49% girl students] and the weaker sections of society [75% of children from SC/ST/OBC communities], the program is one of the largest end-to-end education initiatives by a corporate in the country. 
It also enhances the schooling experience in Government Schools under its Satya Bharti Quality Support Program and Satya Bharti Learning Centre Program. Overall, Bharti Foundation’s education initiatives are reaching out to close to 2,00,000 underprivileged children in 13 states, the release added.

CBI registers case against Principal Commissioner of IT, Ranchi, recovers Rs. 3.5 crore in cash, 5 kgs of gold

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) today said it had registered a case against the Principal Commissioner of Income Tax, Ranchi and others on the allegations of criminal conspiracy, illegal gratification and criminal misconduct.
Sleuths of the agency conducted searches at the premises of the accused persons at 23 locations, including 18 in Kolkata and five at Ranchi, today, a press release from the CBI said.
During the search at the residence of Principal Commissioner at Kolkata, cash of approximately Rs. 3.5 crore and about five kg of gold, along with some incriminating documents, were recovered, it said.
Searches at various locations are in progress and further investigations are continuing, it said.
Apart from the Principal Commissioner of Income Tax, the case has also been filed against the Additional CIT, Ranchi; ITO (Tech), Ranchi; another officer of Income Tax, Ranchi; six private persons and other unknown public servants/private persons/companies under sections 120-B of Indian Penal Code (IPC), read with sections 7, 12, 13(2) r/w 13 (1)(d) of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
It was alleged that the Principal Commissioner of Income Tax, Ranchi, while functioning as such during the years 2016 and 2017, had entered into a criminal conspiracy with Additional CIT, Ranchi, ITO (Tech.), another officer, Income Tax Department and five private persons, all Kolkata based businessmen and entry operators and a CA of Kolkata for getting Income Tax assessment files of their different assessee companies transferred from Kolkata/ Hazaribagh to Ranchi for providing undue favour to those assesses, who have been charged with heavy tax liability, in lieu of huge bribe. 
It was further alleged that the Principal Commissioner of Income Tax, Ranchi had already issued favourable orders in the case of private companies, who already paid huge bribe, which has allegedly been stashed with a private person, the release added.

Mukherjee to pay two-day visit to West Bengal on May 18-19

President Pranab Mukherjee will pay a two-day visit to West Bengal on May 18-19, during which he will inaugurate the Indian Institute of Liver and Digestive Sciences at Sonarpur, South 24 Parganas, tomorrow.
Also tomorrow, he will receive the first copy of the book 'Metaphysics, Morals and Politics’ from Prof. Amal Kumar Mukhopadhyay in Kolkata, an official press release said.
On May 19, the President will pay floral tributes to late Neelam Sanjiva Reddy, former President of India, on his birth snniversary at Raj Bhavan, Kolkata. Later in the day, he will present Dr. Malati Allen Noble Award, Dr. Sarkar Allen Mahatma Hahnemann Award and Dr. Sankar Allen Swamiji Award instituted by the Dr. Malati Allen Charitable Trust in Kolkata and inaugurate the Integrated Renewable Energy Smart Microgrid Centre and Centre for Water and Environmental Research at the Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology at Shibpur, Howrah.  
Before returning to Delhi, he will also receive the books ‘Jnan, A-Jnan O Bijnan’ and ‘Samudra Banijjer Prekshite Sthala Banijjya, Bharat Mahasagar Anchal, 1500-1800’ from Dr. Sushil Chaudhury and Dr. Mahasweta Chaudhury in Kolkata, the release added.

SpiceJet launches direct flight between Kolkata and Surat

Low-cost carrier SpiceJet today announced the launch of a daily direct flight between Kolkata in West Bengal and Surat in Gujarat from July 1.
SpiceJet is the first airline to offer direct flights on the route, a press release from the airline said.
SpiceJet’s Boeing 737 aircraft - SG 876, operating on the Patna – Kolkata – Surat route, will depart from Kolkata for Surat at 10.50 AM. The schedule will be operational for the period 1st July 2017 to 31st August 2017. Starting 1st September 2017, the same aircraft will start from Kolkata at 10.20 AM. The flight from Surat - SG 877, will take off from the city at 2.15 PM.
Surat is one of India's key textile hubs and a major centre for the diamond industry in the country.
SpiceJet already operates multiple non-stop flights from Surat to key metro and non-metro cities such as Delhi, Hyderabad and Jaipur. The city is also connected to a host of other Indian cities through SpiceJet’s pan India onward connections, the release said.

Mukherjee says there could be debate, disagreement, dissension but not intolerance

President Pranab Mukherjee has said that India is a land of tolerance and that there could be debate, disagreement and dissension but not intolerance.
"We adopt, embrace and absorb but never reject," he said in his address at the 52nd annual convocation of the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta (IIMC) here yesterday.
Mr. Mukherjee said he had been repeatedly emphasizing that institutions of higher learning in the country should find hteir place in the top global rankings as per rating agencies. He said he was happy that now a couple of institutions were finding their rightful place in this regard.
He said he was glad to observe that the IIMC had retained its distinctive charm. "Yet, the initiatives underway to expand the facilities and enhance the infrastructure of the campus are visible," he said.
Mr. Mukherjee recalled that IIM Calcutta was established on November 14, 1961 to give shape to the vision of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. He said the IITs and IIMs were envisaged by Nehru as national institutions of excellence in engineering and management education that would mould high calibre of human capital. Over the years, IIM Calcutta has endeavoured to walk this path of excellence, he said.
The President said that the atmosphere in institutions should be free from both physical as well as mental violence. 
"Indians could be described as argumentative but never intolerant.  In ancient India, seats of higher learning such as Nalanda, Vikramshila and Taxila attracted mighty minds from all over the world and truly became a confluence of civilizational thoughts and ideas. 
He quoted Gandhiji and said “I do not want my house to be walled in on all sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any”.  
"If our feet are firmly on the ground, we will not be blown off by ideas from outside," Mr. Mukherjee added.
The President also laid the foundation stone of Rabindra Bhawan and Haj House in Ranchi, Jharkhand today.
"It is indeed a matter of pleasure that Gurudev (Rabindranath Tagore) and his family who left a long lasting impression in the state will be commemorated through the construction of Rabindra Bhavan," he said.
He said his association with Jharkhand, as indeed the entire Eastern region, goes back many a decades with the neighbouring West Bengal being his home state. Indeed Bihar, undivided Bengal, Jharkhand, Orissa and Assam were part of the same Bengal Presidency for a long period in the earlier part of the last century. The area has a shared past and heritage and its shaping in the post Independence era has also been similar. 
The President said that for Muslims a travel to Mecca for Haj is a lifetime dream. It is indeed commendable that the Government of Jharkhand has come up with the project of establishing a “Haj House” to facilitate Haj pilgrimage, he said, expressing confidence that this would provide much needed relief to the pilgrims from the State and the area. 
Mr. Mukherjee also inaugurated the 44 km Deoghar - Basukinath Solar Street Light Project and laid the foundation stone of Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) Centre; Employees State Insurance Corporation Hospital and Driver's Training Centres at Deoghar, Jharkhand today.
He said that Jharkhand played a key role in India’s freedom struggle. The pain and sacrifices of Sidho Murmu, Kanho Murmu, Tilka Manjhi and Birsa Munda are always remembered. The state has made progress on many fronts since attaining statehood in 2000. Its rich deposits of mineral resources, forests and industrial infrastructure have laid down the foundation for all-round development. 
The President said that the problem of job creation cannot be solved unless people are imparted skills to increase their employability. India has a huge workforce and skill development can help in economic development of this vast country. 
The President said that he believed that the initiatives launched today would transform the employment landscape of the region.

Ernakulam-Howrah Antyodaya Express, Sri Ganganagar-Tiruchirappalli Humsafar Express flagged off

Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu today flagged off two trains -- the first Antyodaya Express between Ernakulam in Kerala and Howrah in West Bengal and the fourth Humsafar Express between Sri Ganganagar in Rajasthan and Tiruchirappalli in Tamil Nadu.
Antyodaya Express is a long-distance, fully unreserved, superfast train service, for the common man to be operated on dense routes. It will have facilities like  cushioned luggage racks which can serve as seats additional hand holds in doorway area, J-Hook near longitudinal luggage racks, multiple unit cables at both ends of the coach, vestibuled ends for internal movement of the passengers, drinking water dispenser, mobile phone charging points, fire extinguisher with anti-theft lock, FRP (Fibre Reinforced Plastic) modular toilets, toilet occupation indication display board, LED lights, anti-graffiti coating for exterior painting, and so on.
Humsafar Express is a fully air-conditioned 3-AC service with facilities like GPS-based Passenger Information System, Passenger announcement System, fire and smoke detection and suppression system, CCTVs, comfortable seats, mobile and laptop charging points, integrated Braille display, LCD display above compartment doors in the aisle, fire retardant curtains, and so on.
Mr. Prabhu said the Railways would soon launch Tejas and Uday Express trains also.

SpiceJet to launch flight from Kolkata to Dhaka, its seventh international destination

Low-cost carrier Spicejet today announced that it would launch a direct flight on the Kolkata-Dhaka-Kolkata sector from March 23.
Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, will be SpiceJet's seventh international destination, a press release from the airline said.
To celebrate the launch of the new route, the airline has also announced an introductory promotional fare of Rs. 3549 (all inclusive) for Kolkata-Dhaka and BDT 4325 (all inclusive) for Dhaka-Kolkata. 
Dhaka is the second international destination after Bangkok that the airline will be serving with a direct daily flight from Kolkata. 
As per the schedule starting March 23, the flight SG 71 will depart from Kolkata at 6.10 am to arrive at Dhaka at 7:30 am. The return flight SG 72 will depart from Dhaka at 8:15 am to reach Kolkata at 8:30 am. With the commencement of the summer schedule from the 26th of March 2017, the flight SG 71 will depart from Kolkata at 7:10 am to arrive at Dhaka at 8:35 am. The return flight SG 72 will depart from Dhaka at 9:20 am to reach Kolkata at 9:40 am.   
Mr. Ajay Singh, Chairman and Managing Director, SpiceJet Ltd. said, “We believe that international markets have a huge potential and hence expanding our global footprint has always been a prerogative. With our much awaited mega Boeing deal finally concluded the time is now ripe for SpiceJet to eye new markets and boost connectivity. As we work towards placing more aircraft into our fleet; we will aggressively look at newer and enhanced connections in both the regional and international markets."  
“The new daily flight on the Kolkata – Dhaka route will help increase the connectivity with Bangladesh from India. Travellers coming for medical and business purposes will benefit from this new flight,” he added.
The new flight will provide convenient onward connections to cities such as Bangkok, Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore, Mumbai, Guwahati, Bagdogra, Aizawl and Silchar via Kolkata to Dhaka, the release said.

Netaji great son of motherland, says Mukherjee

President Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated here yesterday the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Netaji Research Bureau founded by Dr. Sisir Kumar Bose in 1957 at Kolkata, West Bengal.
He also unveiled and sat in the restored Wanderer car used by Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose on his ‘Mahanishkraman’ in January 1941.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Mukherjee described Dr. Sisir Kumar Bose as a close personal friend of many years. He remembered how Netaji had asked Dr. Bose in December 1940: “Amaar ekta kaj korte parbe?” (Can you do some work for me?) 
The President said Dr Bose never stopped doing Netaji’s work until he passed away. He built the Netaji Research Bureau with singular determination and devoted his entire life to the work of Netaji. 
The President pointed out that Netaji's birthday falls a few days from now, on January 23 and paid homage to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose as a great son of the motherland who dedicated his life to the nation and the people. 
He congratulated the Netaji Research Bureau for having refurbished the 'Wanderer' which was a mute witness to the 'Great Escape' of this extraordinary personality serving the nation over the last 60 years. He called upon the Research Bureau to continue its important work in the days to come. 

Mukherjee to unveil Netaji's restored Wanderer car in Kolkata

President Pranab Mukherjee will pay a three-day visit to Jharkhand and West Bengal from tomorrow during which he will, among other engagements, inaugurate the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Netaji Research Bureau in Kolkata.
He will also unveil the restored Wanderer car used by Netaji Subash Chandra Bose on his "Mahanishkraman" in January 1941.
Also tomorrow, Mr. Mukherjee will inaugurate the centenary Year Celebrations of Jhalda Satyabhama Vidyapith at Jhalda, Purulia, an official press release said. 
On January 19, the President will inaugurate the 28th Dantan Gramin Mela-2017 at Dantan, Paschim Medinipur. He will also attend the 35th Anniversary celebrations of Aajkaal at Kolkata on the same day.
On January 20, the President will inaugurate the Bengal Global Business Summit-2017. On the same day, he will inaugurate the Bicentenary Celebrations of the Hindu School. The President will also inaugurate the Bicentenary Celebrations of Presidency University at Kolkata before returning to Delhi, the release added.

Six women die in stampede during Ganga Sagar Mela in West Bengal

Six women dead in stampede during Ganga Sagar Mela in West Bengal
As many as six elderly women died when they were caught in a rush of pilgrims at Kochuberia in South Parganas district of West Bengal on Sunday evening during the annual Ganga Sagar Mela, a religious fair held during the Makar Sankranti festival.
The incident occurred near a jetty when a part of the crowd surged forward to get on to a boat.
The victims were rushed to a nearby hospital but could not be revived, sources said.
There were conflicting versions about details of the tragedy but some sources said people had been waiting for a long time for a boat and had become restless, leading to a stampede-like situation.
The West Bengal government announced compensation of Rs 5 lakh for the next-of-kin of those killed in the incident.

Mukherjee inaugurates Berhampore Military Station

President Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated the Behrampore Military Station in West Bengal today.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Mukherjee said the station had great importance because it was the only such station between Siliguri and Kolkata which is very near to Bangladesh border.
He appreciated the sacrifices of the soldiers and said that they had shown exemplary courage in every battle field. He saluted the bravehearts whose sacrifices are unparalleled. 
The foundation stone of the Berhampore Military Station was laid by Mr. Mukherjee in February 2014.
Members of Parliament Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and Abhijit Mukherjee, West Bengal Labour Minister Zakir Hussain and Lt. Gen. Praveen Bakshi, GoC-in-C, Eastern Command were among those present on the occasion. 

Inland water transport terminal to come up in Kolkata, Patna

Inland water transport terminals will come up in Kolkata and Patna under the public-private partnership (PPP) model with the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) having identified development and operation of Kolkata Terminal’s GR Jetty -I, GR Jetty-II & BISN and Patna Terminal’s Gaighat & Kalughat on the river Ganga.
After invitation of bids, nine firms have expressed their interest in taking up the project and the work is expected to be awarded by November, an official press release said.
These are the first PPP projects undertaken by the IWAI. Under the transactional structure worked out by International Finance Corporation (IFC), the operator will undertake the operations and maintenance services at both Kolkata and Patna clusters and invest in equipment handling mechanism, goods, items, container loading and unloading equipment and warehousing. The operator will also provide labour, professionals, supervisory, and managerial personnel for performance of operations and maintenance services.
The operator will have the right to demand and collect user fees from the users. Service charges would be revised from time to time so as to suitably reflect variation in the market conditions. 
The operator will be responsible for the payment of revenue share to IWAI for the period commencing from the third anniversary of the appointment date until the duration of the concession. 
The release said the operator is expected to handle 10,000 TEU or 15,000 tonnes at both the terminals within five years of signing the contract.
IWAI will finalise the Front End Design (FEED) of the Kalughat Terminal and construct it with the technical assistance of the World Bank under Jal Marg Vikas Project. IWAI will initially invest Rs. 80 crore for the estimated cost construction of the Kalughat Terminal and Rs. 10 crore as the cost of land acquisition of about 2-3 hectares for the container cargo Terminal. 
IWAI has taken land on lease for thirty years for GR Jetty I & II, and BISN Terminal in Kolkata.

Cabinet okays closure of Hindustan Cables Limited, Kolkata

The Union Cabinet today gave its approval for closure of Hindustan Cables Limited (HCL), Kolkata as per the provisions of the Companies Act, 1956/2013, Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 and other relevant Acts. 
The employees will be offered VRS/ VSS Package at notional 2007 pay scales and other employees’ related liabilities including payment of salary and wages from April 2015 till they are separated from the company on VRS/VSS will be settled as well, an official press release said.
The disposal of assets of company will be in terms of the guidelines of Department of Public Enterprises on time bound closure of sick/loss making Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) and disposal of movable and immovable assets, itsaid.
Total cash infusion for closure of company will be Rs. 1309.90 crore and non-cash infusion of Rs. 3467.15 crore in the form of conversion into equity of Government of India's loan (including interest) outstanding as on 30.09.2016. 
"Secured creditors of HCL, Kolkata, led by State Bank of India (SBI) as consortium lenders to the company, have been generous in their support. The One Time Settlement (OTS) terms include complete waiver of interest and settle on principal amount of Rs. 305.63 crore in settlement of all pari-passu collateral held by them," the release said.
According to the release, there is no production activity in the company since January 2003. 
The employees of the company are in 1997 pay scales. Due to non-payment of salary & wages, it is very difficult for the employees to survive and meet their immediate financial obligations. With the VRS/VSS package and clearance of other outstanding liabilities, the employees will come out of their present financial crisis. It will also help the employees in their post retirement rehabilitation, the release said.
"With the present time bound closure of the company, the valuable assets of the company will be available for other optimum utilization," it said.
HCL was established in the year 1952. It had four manufacturing units at Rupnarainpur (West Bengal), Hyderabad (Telengana), Naini (Uttar Pradesh) and Narendrapur (West Bengal). The registered office of HCL is located in Kolkata. 
The company was set up to cater to the needs of Government-owned telecom companies BSNL and MTNL for manufacture of telecom cables. Due to rapid change in telecommunication technology (wire-line to wireless), the demand for telecom cables has been drastically reduced. Several attempts were made by Department of Heavy Industries for revival of the company but they failed. Attempts to transfer HCL units to Ministry of Defence/Department of Defence Production also did not yield results. 
The proposal for closure of the company has been made as per the recommendations of BIFR, BRPSE and the roadmap approved by CCEA on 29.12.2014 for phasing out non-plan budgetary support to sick CPSEs. 
The company is a BIFR referred company since 2002. Government of India's decision for closure of the company will be conveyed to BIFR for seeking their approval, the release added.
Syndicate content
© Copyright 2012 NetIndian. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of NetIndian content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of NetIndian Media Corporation. Write to info[AT]netindian[DOT]in for permission to use content. Read detailed Terms of Use.