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Kolkata bridge collapse: Rescue operations on, suo motu case lodged

Rescue operations continue on Wednesday after a portion of a 40-year-old bridge collapsed in south Kolkata a day earlier, even as a suo motu case has been lodged against the persons responsible for the accident. Two persons are still reported missing.

 
Kolkata bridge collapse: rescue efforts on
 
 
Rescue operations continue on Wednesday after a portion of a 40-year-old bridge collapsed in south Kolkata a day earlier, even as a suo motu case has been lodged against the persons responsible for the accident. Two persons are still reported missing.
 
A part of the Majherhat Bridge between Taratala and Mominpur collapsed around 4.30 p.m. on Tuesday in south Kolkata, crushing a person to death and injuring 19 others.
 
"Two persons are still missing and a suo motu case has been lodged under IPC 304 and 308 against responsible persons," police said.
 
Four teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), fire brigade and personnel of disaster management teams are at the spot.
 
Cranes have been deployed and gas cutters are being used for the rescue operation. Three columns of army personnel are also present at the spot.
 
"Our team is still working on the rescue. Overnight and this morning, we tried to dig holes in the concrete slab decks that caved in to find out whether anyone is still trapped underneath.
 
"Cameras are also being used to find out what remains below the debris. Removing the rubble would take more time," a member of the rescue team said on Wednesday.
 
The West Bengal government has initiated a probe into the incident. "Investigations are going on. At this point, we cannot come to any conclusion regarding the possible reasons behind the accident," a member of the forensic team said.
 
Pedestrians and commuters in buses and cars who were on the collapsed structure were rescued.
 
The bridge was the main connector between central and southwest part of the city. Due to the partial collapse of the bridge, traffic has been diverted. Tram services on some routes have been withdrawn, a Kolkata Traffic Control official said.
 
Goods vehicles' movement has been restricted on some of the arterial roads between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m.
 
State government will pay a compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the family of Soumen Bagh, who died in the accident.
 
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State Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim said on Tuesday that heavy construction work of the metro project beside the collapsed bridge could have weakened its pillars.
 
City metro railway authority, however, ruled out any such possibility.
 
Amid blame game over the partial collapse of the bridge, the Eastern Railway said it was not conducting any maintenance work at the accident site.
 
However, experts said the bridge was very old and as such structural defect or use of inferior quality material cannot be cited as the reason for the collapse.
 
They said the bridge has been withstanding heavy vehicles for more than 40 years and that the only reason that may have triggered the collapse could be "lack of maintenance".
 
According to a state official, the 40-year-old bridge was constructed by the Kolkata Port Trust and maintained by State Public Works Department.
 
However, a Kolkata Port Trust official said it does not have any records that show the bridge was constructed by it.
 
IANS
 

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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.
 
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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.
 
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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.
 
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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.
 
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Opposition to meet before winter session of Parliament: Naidu

 
Chandrababu Naidu meets Mamata Banerjee in Howrah
The much-talked about meeting of parties opposed to the BJP to strategise against the saffron party in the next Lok Sabha elections has been postponed and may now be held after the current Assembly elections and before the start of the winter session of Parliament, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu and his West Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee said after a meeting between them here.
 
Claiming that democracy in the country was in danger, Naidu, who is also the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief, said on Monday that there is a "democratic compulsion" for the senior opposition leaders to join hands to protect the nation. 
 
Echoing his views, Banerjee said the meeting of anti-BJP parties would be held after campaigning in the Assembly elections and before the start of the winter session of Parliament.
 
"The meeting to be held on November 22 has been postponed due to the ongoing election campaign. We want to meet before the next parliamentary session. We are in discussions about it. The date of the meeting will be announced soon," Naidu told reporters following the meeting at the state secretariat Nabanna here. 
 
"Democracy in the country is in danger. So there is a democratic compulsion for us to join together. It is the responsibility of us, the senior leaders to protect the nation. Those who are opposing BJP will join together, discuss everything and chalk out a programme to go forward," he said. 
 
Naidu, whose TDP was earlier an ally of the BJP, has met a spectrum of leaders including Congress president Rahul Gandhi, NCP's Sharad Pawar, DMK's M K Stalin, National Conference' Farooq Abdullah, former prime minister H D Deve Gowda and BSP chief Mayawati to forge a front against the ruling party and had proposed a meeting of opposition parties to be held in New Delhi on November 22. 
 
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Terming the meeting with Banerjee as successful, Naidu said fighting together has become necessary as all major institutions in the country including the CBI, the Income Tax Department, the RBI are under threat while the nation's economy is at a standstill. 
 
"We have to protect the institutions... you name any institution, they are under severe pressure and threat. Be it the CBI, Income Tax, RBI every institution is under threat. Even the petrol and diesel prices are increasing, there is inflation, the whole nation's economy is at a standstill," he said. 
 
Banerjee, the Trinamool Congress supremo, said she has invited Naidu for her proposed opposition party meeting here in January next year, which was confirmed by the TDP chief.
 
"We are grateful that he has come here. I invited him also for the January 19 meeting. We are discussing the matters for the country's interest and earlier, we also discussed so many things. Today, we discussed in detail about the next future plans. When the meeting will be decided, we will discuss the plan of action. We are working and speaking together," Banerjee said. 
 
When asked about the face of the proposed grand alliance of opposition parties, Banerjee said, "Everybody will be the face of this Mahagatbandhan (grand alliance)."
 
Naidu interjected to say that "all of us are senior to Modi".
 
IANS
 

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Anju Seth takes over as Director of IIM Calcutta

Anju Seth
Anju Seth
Prof. Anju Seth took over as the new Director of the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Calcutta here this morning -- the first woman to hold the coveted position.
 
An announcement to this effect was made by the Chairperson of the Board of Governors of IIM Calcutta, Mr. Shrikrishna Kulkarni.
 
“We are indeed delighted that Anju will be the first woman Director of IIMC. She was the unanimous choice of the Search Cum Selection Committee and the BOG. On behalf of the IIMC fraternity, it is my privilege to welcome her to the IIMC team," Mr. Kulkarni added.
 
Prof. Seth is an alumnus of IIMC and has most recently held the position of Pamplin Professor of Management at Virginia Tech in the United States.
 
She completed her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan and has a distinguished academic career spanning over 25 years.
 
Prior to joining Virginia Tech, Prof. Seth was Professor of Business Administration at University of Illinois. She has received numerous awards for her teaching and research.
 
She is on the editorial board of many scholarly journals. During the past several years she has maintained strong connections with academic and professional organizations in India such as Vedica Scholars Program and many others.
 
Speaking on her new responsibility, Prof. Seth said, “It is an honour and privilege to be appointed to serve IIM Calcutta in the position of Director. I look forward to working with faculty, staff, students, Governors and all other stakeholders to build on the Institute’s strong foundations and accomplish new heights of eminence.”
 
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Amitabh Bachchan has preserved most of his films: Expert

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Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan has successfully saved the prints of most of his films, an expert said on Thursday.
 
Founder and Director of Film Heritage Foundation Shivendra Singh Dungarpur said Bachchan used to ask the producers to give him the prints of his films.
 
"When we approached Bachchan, we found it interesting to note that he used to ask the film producers to give him a copy of a subtitled print and another print. In that process he maintained most of his films," Dungarpur said at the 4th Preservation and Restoration Workshop's opening at KIFF.
 
He said film restoration is the need of the hour. There has to be awareness about it, as there was a need for trained archivists.
 
"I am really glad with such concerted efforts for restoring great works of Bengali cinema. We are celebrating the centenary of Bengali cinema. So saving our work is of utmost importance," said KIFF chairman and leading Bengali actor Prasenjit Chatterjee.
 
Bachchan is the brand ambassador of the initiative. He shared a video message wishing it great success.
 
"West Bengal produced some of the greatest filmmakers of Indian cinema such as Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen, Ritwick Ghatak and so on. I would thank the government for supporting the initiative, so the future generations would be able to see these works," Bachchan said.
 
At least 100 Bengali classics have been identified for restoration.
 
IANS
 

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One coach of Dhauli Express derails near Panskura, no injuries reported

A coach of the 12821 Howrah-Puri Dhauli Express got derailed between Bhogpur and Panskura stations in the Purba Medinipur district of West Bengal this morning but none of the passengers was injured, official sources said
 
The derailment occurred at about 7.10 am when one wheel of the AC Chair Car (D3), sixth from the engine, got derailed on the middle line of the section in Kharagpur division of South Eastern Railway. The  Up and Down lines were unaffected and free, the sources said.
 
Panskura is located about  67 km from Howrah in West Bengal and 416 km from Puri in Odisha.
 
The guard of the train had reported that there were no injuries to any passengers, the sources said, adding that senior railway officials had left for the spot.
 
Arrangements were being made to detach the affected coach  and run the rest of the train soon, they said. Passengers of the derailed coach would be adjusted in other coaches.
 
"The front and rear portions of the train will be amalgamated at Panskura station very shortly. Passengers of D3 coach will be suitably adjusted in other coaches. Passengers will be served tea and snacks at Panskura. General Manager of South Eastern Railway P. S. Mishra is personally monitoring the situation from the control room," the  sources added.
 
The Railways have set up the following helplines: 
 
Howrah Station 03326377197
Kharagpur:  03222255897 & 03222255751
Balasore: 06782265767
 
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India drub West Indies by five wickets in first T20I

India's Kuldeep Yadav and Krunal Pandya during the first T20 International match between India and West Indies at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata, on November 4, 2018. (Photo: Kuntal Chakrabarty/IANS)
India's Kuldeep Yadav and Krunal Pandya during the first T20 International match between India and West Indies at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata, on November 4, 2018. (Photo: Kuntal Chakrabarty/IANS)
India pipped a fighting West Indies by five wickets, riding on chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav's venomous stuff backed up by some responsible middle order batting display after early hiccups in the first of the three T20 Internationals here on Sunday.
 
Yadav (3/13) and debutant left arm orthodox spinner Krunal Pandya (1/15) spun a web around the West Indies batsmen in a joint spell of eight overs as the visitors were restricted to 109/8 after Indian stand-in skipper Rohit Sharma opted to field first at the Eden Gardens.
 
The Indians lost early wickets, but Dinesh Karthik (31 not out; 34 b, 3x4, 1x6), Pandya (21 not out; 9b, 3x4) saw the home side through with 13 balls to spare in the low-scoring tie.
 
It was a memorable night for Yadav, who was not only adjudged man of the match, but also reached the landmark of 100 wickets in the T20 format when he got his third victim by getting West Indies skipper Carlos Brathwaite leg before.
 
The Indian reply began on a wrong note, with the big wicket of skipper Rohit Sharma (6) falling, only six balls into the innings.
 
Debutant pacer Oshane Thomas (2/21) sent down a delectable delivery and took Sharma's inside edge. Dinesh Ramdin took the diving catch to his left behind the stumps, much to the dismay of the 40 thousand-plus spectators, who had hoped to see another cracker of a knock from the Mumbaikar on his favourite ground.
 
There was high drama as the umpire initially remained unmoved by the vociferous appeal from the Caribbeans, but changed his decision after Brathwaite went for a review, that confirmed an inside edge.
 
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Thomas got another breakthrough in his next over. This time the victim was the other opener Shihar Dhawan (3), India were 16/2.
 
Brathwaite then saw the back of Rishabh Pant (1), as the youngster went for a slog, but only managed an inside edge staright to the Darren Bravo at point.
 
K. L. Rahul (16; 22b, 2x4)also returned to the hut in Brathwaite's next over. The Indian batsman perfectly executed a pull shot, but was devastated to find it finish in the hand of Bravo again at deep square leg.
 
Manish Pandey and Dinesh Karthik then retrieved the situation with a 45-ball 38, as they handled the pressure admirably after taking their side to 54/4 at the halfway stage.
 
But just when it seemed India were on course to wrapping up the game, left arm spinner Khari Pierre got rid of Pandey (19; 24b, 2x4) with a caught and bowled effort.
 
However, Karthik and Krunal Pandya (19 not out) took charge at the that stage. Pandya played a cameo, and the duo steered the side to victory in 17.5 overs.
 
Earlier, Yadav and Pandya spun a web around the West Indies batsmen in a joint spell of eight overs.
 
The Windies were reduced to 34/3 in seven overs when Pandya -- who had misfielded in only the second ball of the innings -- was brought in.
 
The elder brother of injured Hardik got rid of comeback man Kieron Pollard and gave away just 15 runs while senior pro Kuldeep scalped three wickets leaking 13 runs.
 
After 15 overs, the tourists had managed just 63 runs, losing 7 wickets.
 
Newcomer Fabien Allen top-scored for the Windies with a counter-attacking 27 off 20 balls (4x4) while Keemo Paul remained unbeaten on 15 along with Khari Pierre (9 not out).
 
IANS
 

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Kuldeep, Pandya restrict Windies to 109/8

India's Kuldeep Yadav and Krunal Pandya during the first T20 International match between India and West Indies at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata, on November 4, 2018. (Photo: Kuntal Chakrabarty/IANS)
India's Kuldeep Yadav and Krunal Pandya during the first T20 International match between India and West Indies at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata, on November 4, 2018. (Photo: Kuntal Chakrabarty/IANS)
Chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav and debutant Krunal Pandya spun a web around the West Indies batsmen in a joint spell of eight overs to restrict them to a paltry 109/8 in 20 overs in the first of the three T20 Internationals at the Eden Gardens here on Sunday.
 
The Windies were reduced to 34/3 in seven overs when Pandya -- who had misfielded in only the second ball of the innings -- was brought in.
 
The elder brother of injured Hardik got rid of comeback man Kieron Pollard and gave away just 15 runs while senior pro Kuldeep scalped three wickets leaking 13 runs.
 
After 15 overs, the tourists had managed just 63 runs, losing 7 wickets.
 
Fabien Allen topscored for the Windies with a counter-attacking 27 off 20 balls (4x4) while Keemo Paul remained unbeaten on 15 alongwith Khari Pierre (9 not out). 
 
West Indies crossed the 100-run mark riding a big 19th over which fetched 16 runs off Umesh Yadav (1/36).
 
Jasprit Bumrah (1/27) and debutant Khaleel Ahmed (1/16) also got a wicket apiece.
 
The tourists were off to the worst possible start, losing both openers inside the first four overs, and in ludicrous fashion.
 
First, Denesh Ramdin (2) poked tentatively at a Umesh delivery outside the off-stump that flew to Dinesh Karthik behind the stumps.
 
In the next over, a comical run out led to in-form Shai Hope (14) -- who replaced injured Andre Russell at the last minute in the squad -- making the long walk back to the pavilion.
 
After flicking Khaleel to midwicket, Hope called for a non-existent run but decided midway to backtrack on his decision and for some reason started running towards the non-striker's end. 
 
India nearly didn't get the run out, with KL Rahul lobbing a throw way over Karthik's head, but Manish Pandey at backward point collected, ran to the stumps and broke them.
 
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With Simron Hetmyer at the other end, there was confusion about who is the batsman out before it was checked that Hetmyer had made the crease before Hope. 
 
Khaleel returned with a maiden over as the Windies could never recover from the early setback. 
 
Hetmyer -- who scored 106 in the first ODI in Guwahati -- top edged Bumrah to short fine leg with Karthik sprinting from behind the stumps to complete the catch.
 
After six overs, the tourists were tottering at 31/3.
 
Pollard (14) -- back in the mix for the first time in a year -- hit the first six of the innings in the eighth over off debutant Krunal to raise hopes of a big one from the veteran.
 
But just before the halfway mark, Krunal got the back of his Mumbai Indians' teammate who holed out to Manish Pandey at long-on.
 
Kuldeep then removed Darren Bravo (5) and Rovman Powell (4) in quick succession as the hapless Windies found the fence after 39 balls when debutant Pierre hit Kuldeep for a four.
 
The Windies then managed some runs at the death to post 109/8 as Umesh bowled poorly in the 19th over.
 
Brief scores: West Indies 109/8 in 20 overs (Fabien Allen 27; Kuldeep Yadav 3/13) vs India
 
IANS
 

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Amitabh Bachchan to inaugurate Kolkata International Film Festival

Amitabh Bachchan (Photo: IANS)
Amitabh Bachchan (Photo: IANS)
Australia will be the focus country of the 24th Kolkata International Film Festival, slated to be inaugurated by Bollywood's living legend Amitabh Bachchan in the presence of a galaxy of superstars of Indian cinema including Shah Rukh Khan here on November 10, the organisers announced on Saturday.
 
A carousel of 171 feature films, 150 shorts and documentaries from 70 countries will be on show at 16 auditoria in the city and Howrah with the 1967 Bengali classic 'Antony Firingee' being the inaugural movie of the eight-day festival.
 
Besides Bachchan, venerable Iranian director Majid Majidi, and Australian directors Simon Baker, Jill Bilcock and Philip Noyce will grace the opening ceremony, to be presided over by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at the Netaji Indoor Stadium.
 
Actors Sanjay Dutt, Jaya Bachchan, Waheeda Rehman and Nandita Das would also be present at the opening ceremony, said state youth and sports minister and KIFF chief advisor Aroop Biswas.
 
The best film would be given an award of Rs 51 lakh, and the best director Rs 21 lakh, with both receiving a golden trophy christened "Royal Bengal Tiger".
 
He said Antony Firingee, with Uttam Kumar and Tanuja in the lead, was chosen as the inaugural film to mark the 100 years of Bengali cinema.
 
Twenty six films from Australia will be on show, with Philip Noyce being honoured with a retrospective.
 
Four popular works of Iranian film maker Majidi will also be screened.
 
A Bengali film directory giving details of the major celluloid ventures in the language will be published during the festival.
 
IANS
 

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India aim to continue dominance over Windies in T20 series

Rohit Sharma (File Photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)
Rohit Sharma (File Photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)
Sans the towering presence of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Rohit Sharma will lead an Indian team brimming with confidence against the West Indies in the first of the three T20 Internationals (T20Is) here at the Eden Gardens on Sunday.
 
Dhoni has been left out of India's T20 squad for the home series against the West Indies and, more significantly, India's tour of Australia.
 
Although according to regular skipper Virat Kohli, who has also opted out of the series, Dhoni remains an integral part of India's plans, it is widely believed that the 37-year old is being phased out owing to his poor run since the turn of the year.
 
Besides leading India to their maiden and only T20 World Cup triumph in 2007, Dhoni is also the most capped player in the shortest format, featuring in 93 of India's 104 matches.
 
In 2018, Dhoni, who has also captained India to 50-over World Cup glory in 2011, managed only 245 runs at 27.22 in 17 matches.
 
The emergence of young wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant has added to the problem with the 21-year old claiming a place in the side in all the three formats.
 
Coming to the T20 games, India will start as favourites after cantering to a 3-1 ODI series win and two test victories prior to that.
 
The Windies are a different team when it comes to T20s, with the likes of Keiron Pollard, Andre Russell, skipper Carlos Brathwaite, Dareen Bravo and latest sensation Shimron Hetmyer in their ranks.
 
It is a different matter that the current world champions have not had a great year even in this format. The Windies have won only twice -- the victory against ICC World XI included -- in 2018, losing two games to Bangladesh in their last couple of encounters.
 
In Tests, they were no match to India with the rubbers ending in three days, and while there was some hope in the ODIs, the tourists crumbled sensationally in the last two matches after posting an impressive win in the third game.
 
The Indian team has been on a roll at home for quite some time and against a weakened Windies have looked invincible for most parts of the series.
 
Keeping in mind the World T20 in 2020, India have picked three uncapped players (Krunal Pandya, S Nadeem and Khaleel Ahmed) for this and the Australia series, aside from bringing back the likes of Shreyas Iyer and Washington Sundar to the squad.
 
The hosts would want skipper Rohit to lead from the front and continue his purple patch with the bat. The seasoned Mumbai batsman was the second highest scorer behind Kohli, scoring 389 runs at 129.66, that included two hundreds.
 
Besides, Eden is also a happy hunting ground for Rohit. The 31-year old has a world record score of 264 in ODIs here in 2014, a Test ton (177) and two IPL titles won on this ground. The classy opener also made his first-class debut at Eden and got his first IPL ton here.
 
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The three matches will also give another opportunity to young pacer Khaleel Ahmed who drew a lot of praise from skipper Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri during the ODIs.
 
The tourists will depend on their famed T20 specialists who play in different leagues across the globe to come good.
 
While Darren Bravo is set to play for West Indies for the first time in two years, dashing all-rounder Pollard will don the national jersey for the first time in a year.
 
Hetmyer, 21, is also in superb form scoring 259 runs in the ODI series including the counter-attacking 106 in Guwahati.
 
Captain Brathwaite, who famously clubbed four consecutive sixes off Ben Stokes to win the World Cup here two years ago, will also be counted on as a match winner for the side missing the services of talisman Chris Gayle who declined selection. Mystery spinner Sunil Narine is also absent.
 
The Windies will also miss offie Ashley Nurse who picked up an injury during the ODIs and has been ruled out. The Eden track promises a run feast with a bit of grass on the surface affording even bounce and the ball expected to come on to the bat nicely.
 
West Indies lead India 5-2 in the eight matches they have played so far.
 
Squads:
 
India: Rohit Sharma (c), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Dinesh Karthik, Manish Pandey, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wk), Krunal Pandya, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Bumrah, Khaleel Ahmed, Umesh Yadav, Shahbaz Nadeem.
 
West Indies: Carlos Brathwaite (c), Fabian Allen, Darren Bravo, Shimron Hetmyer, Obed McCoy, Keemo Paul, Khary Pierre, Kieron Pollard, Rovman Powell, Denesh Ramdin (wk), Andre Russell, Sherfane Rutherford, Oshane Thomas
 
IANS
 

Rohit-led Indian team arrives in Kolkata for T20 series

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In the backdrop of Mahendra Singh Dhoni being dropped from the Twenty20 series against the West Indies and Australia, the Indian team led by Rohit Sharma arrived in the city on Friday morning ahead of their opener at the Eden Gardens here two days later.
 
According to regular captain Virat Kohli, who has also been rested for this series, Dhoni decided not to play as he wanted to make way for promising rookie Rishabh Pant.
 
But talk is that the former India captain, who led India to their maiden and only T20 World Cup win in 2007, is being phased out owing to his poor run since the turn of the year.
 
The 37-year-old veteran, who also led India to 50-over World cup glory in 2011, has eked out only 245 runs at 27.22 in 17 matches in 2018 so far.
 
Only Shoaib Malik and Shahid Afridi have appeared in more T20 international matches than Dhoni.
 
The team, meanwhile, arrived together with the Windies after pocketing the five-match One Day series 3-1. The second ODI was a tie.
 
In the fifth match at Thiruvananthapuram, Kohli and his men pummelled their hapless rivals by nine wickets, bundling them out for a paltry 104 and then reaching the target inside 15 overs.
 
Rohit, who recently led India to the Asia Cup title, will lead the side once again looking to whitewash the West Indies across formats. In the Tests, India won 2-0.
 
India chose to stay indoors with skipper Rohit attending the Jagmohan Dalmiya Annual Conclave (Chapter II).
 
For the Windies, dashing all-rounder Andre Russell missed the flight to Kolkata and is expected to arrive later on Friday.
 
The Carlos Brathwaite-led side practiced with seven players selected for T20s on Thursday and Friday.
 
T20 stalwart Kieron Pollard also sweated it out along with Darren Bravo, Khary Pierre, Nicholas Pooran, Denesh Ramdin and Sherfane Rutherford.
 
The squads:
 
India: Rohit Sharma (captain), Shikhar, KL Rahul, Dinesh Karthik, Manish Pandey, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, Krunal Pandya, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Bumrah, Khaleel Ahmed, Umesh Yadav, Shahbaz Nadeem
 
West Indies: Carlos Brathwaite (captain), Fabian Allen, Darren Bravo, Shimron Hetmyer, Evin Lewis, Obed McCoy, Keemo Paul, Khary Pierre, Kieron Pollard, Rovman Powell, Denesh Ramdin, Andre Russell, Sherfane Rutherford, Oshane Thomas
 
IANS
 

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Qatar Airways aircraft hit by water tanker at Kolkata, damaged

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A Qatar Airways aircraft preparing for take-off from Kolkata suffered damage on Thursday after it was hit by a water tanker "due to mishandling", an airport official said.
 
The accident occurred at around 2.30 a.m. at the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport. "The tanker was supplying water and due to mishandling, it hit the aircraft which was on the tarmac," an official said.
 
He said the aircraft suffered and its 100 passengers were safely evacuated. A probe has been initiated by the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
 
IANS
 
 
 
 

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ISL: Bengaluru rally to beat ATK 2-1 and remain unbeaten

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Bengaluru FC came from behind to beat ATK 2-1 and continue their unbeaten start to the Indian Super League (ISL) season at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan here on Wednesday.
 
A first-ever ISL goal for 18-year-old Komal Thatal (15th) had put ATK ahead but strikes either side of the half-time break from Miku (45+3') and Erik Paartalu (47th) ensured Carles Cuadrat's men held on to the third spot on the table. 
 
ATK, meanwhile, slumped to their third loss of the season and find themselves placed fifth with seven points from six matches. 
 
Both teams took time to get off the blocks before Thatal, who was part of India's U-17 World Cup team, underlined why he is rated so highly.
 
Everton Santos was the architect with a sumptuous through-ball from midfield which Thatal got to before holding off Nishu Kumar and sending an arrowing finish into the bottom corner past goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu.
 
After taking the lead, ATK sat deep and defended resolutely as Bengaluru strived for the equaliser. 
 
Miku should have restored parity five minutes later when Nishu picked him out with a cross from the left. 
 
However, the Venezuelan's thumping header was straight at Arindam Bhattacharya who parried it instinctively. 
 
Steve Coppell's side looked well organised in defence following that and were looking to counter-attack while Bengaluru saw most of their attacks break down in the final third. 
 
However, ATK were dealt a blow when striker Kalu Uche was forced to go off after picking up a groin injury. 
 
At the stroke of half-time, Gerson Vieira committed a foul on Miku right outside the penalty box. 
 
Miku rolled the free-kick to Dimas Delgado before finding the top corner of Bhattacharya's near post with a brilliant finish to pull the Blues level. 
 
Bengaluru continued their momentum into the second half and took the lead within two minutes. 
 
Delgado's free kick into the box was headed out by Ricky Lallawmawma. But it fell to Paartalu whose venomous half-volley could not be kept out by Bhattacharya. 
 
Bengaluru kept possession and frustrated the home team who lacked a focal point in attack. However, Manuel Lanzarote did fashion a couple of opportunities with his guile and passing ability but to no avail. 
 
In the final 10 minutes, ATK ramped up the pressure on Bengaluru and almost had an equaliser when Gerson Vieira hit the base of the post with a header from a corner kick. 
 
That was the closest the two-time champions came to another goal as the Blues saw off the late surge with relative ease.
 
IANS
 

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IWAI hands over its Kolkata Terminals to private company on supply, operate, maintain model

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The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) began its foray into Public Private Partnership (PPP) on Tuesday by handing over the operation and management of its terminals in Kolkata to Summit Alliance Port East Gateway (India) Pvt Ltd. (SAPEL) on a supply, operate and maintain (SOM) model.
 
The terminals GR Jetty-I & BISN and GR Jetty-II of Inland Water Transport (IWT) will be handed over to SAPEL for equipping, operating and managing on a revenue sharing model, an official press release said.
 
The operator will have the right to collect user fees from the users as per the tariff rates notified by IWAI. The contract will be valid for a period of 30 years, it said.
 
SAPEL was awarded the contract in August, 2017 under a revenue sharing arrangement of 61.70% to itself and 38.30 % to IWAI through a global tendering process for this work for the Garden Reach Terminal in Kolkata and Gaighat and Kalughat Terminal in Patna.  Being the first PPP project undertaken by IWAI under SOM model, the event paves the way for private investment in the development of IWT in India, the release said.
 
The IWT terminals GR Jetty-I & BISN and GR Jetty-II are spread over 30,409.64 square metres and 14,557 square metres, respectively, and have two permanent RCC jetties and one floating jetty besides a Roll on- Roll off terminal.
 
The transportation of trucks on vessels from BISN jetty to Sankrail on the bank and participation of private sector in operation and management of the facilities will improve the operational efficiency of the jetties, it said.
 
According to IWAI Chairman Shri Pravir Pandey, 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 cargo handling equipment, container handling equipment and warehousing.
 
The operator will also provide labour, professionals, supervisory, and managerial personnel for performance of operations and maintenance services. The proposed project will facilitate a modal shift of up to 55% of the potential cargo in the catchment area to IWT mode.
 
The existing potential of anchor cargo is of 56,000 TEUs (to/from catchment area) during the base year and expected to grow to 250,000 TEUs over next 15 years. The current handling capacity of terminal is 1.6 MT which includes bulk and break - bulk cargo. The operator is expected to increase this capacity by three times in next five years.
 
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The development of both Kolkata and Patna terminals is being undertaken with a view to tap the huge potential of Nepal-bound containerised cargo on NW-1. While the available cargo upstream (for Nepal) at present is 44,000 TEU, the cargo potential downstream stands at 12,000 TEU.
 
Barging from Kolkata to Patna will lead to cost saving by approximately 24% and 4 % as compared to road and rail, respectively, when return cargo is available. Barging from Kolkata to Kathmandu will lead to cost savings by approximately 13% and 26% as compared to road and rail, respectively, when return cargo is available from around Patna.
 
A periodic and reliable barge shuttle service between the two terminals will cater to freight movement between Kolkata and Patna. Hinterland catchment area of Bihar and Nepal will also be served through this route.
 
The barge shuttle will act as a cargo feeder/evacuation channel of Kolkata port to the hinterland. Patna (Kalughat) terminal when ready, could act as an extended gate of Kolkata Port. The shuttle service could also act as a feeder or evacuation channel to Dhamra Port in future.
 
The Kolkata terminals will also facilitate domestic bound and EXIM cargo for North Eastern Region and Bangladesh even as it will prove advantageous for shippers plying on the Indo-Bangladesh Protocol Route. On 25 October, 2018, India and Bangladesh signed agreements to deepen their maritime relationship.
 
Kolaghat (West Bengal, India) and Chilmari (Bangladesh) were declared as new Ports of Call (PoC). Besides this, an agreement for the use of Mongla and Chattogram port (Bangladesh) for transiting goods to and from India and passenger and cruise vessels from Kolkata to Dhaka and Guwahati through the protocol route were also agreed on, the release added.
 
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IWAI begins container movement on inland waterways

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The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) started transporting container cargo belonging to the food and beverage giant PepsiCo (India) from Kolkata to Varanasi for the first time on river Ganga (National Waterway-1) on Tuesday.
 
This marks post-independence India’s first container movement on an inland vessel and a milestone moment in the history IWT sector, an official press release said.
 
The 16 containers, equivalent to 16 truckloads, in the vessel MV RN Tagore will reach Varanasi in 9-10 days. MV RN Tagore will make its return journey with fertilizers belonging to IFFCO that will be procured from its Phulpur plant near Allahabad.
 
Secretary (Shipping), Gopal Krishna along with Chairman, IWAI, Pravir Pandey and other senior Government officials flagged off the vessel carrying the consignment in the presence of PepsiCo representatives.
 
The event coincided with another momentous day for IWT in India as IWAI’s first foray into Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model will become a reality with the handing over of operation and management of its terminals in Kolkata to Summit Alliance Port East Gateway (India) Pvt Ltd. (SAPEL) on a supply, operate and maintain (SOM) model.
 
"Container cargo transport comes with several inherent advantages. It reduces the handling cost, allows easier modal shift, reduces pilferages and damage, it also enables cargo owners to reduce their carbon footprints," the release said.
 
The government is developing NW-1 (River Ganga) under JMVP from Haldia to Varanasi (1390 Km) with the technical and financial assistance of the World Bank at an estimated cost of Rs 5369 crore. The project would enable commercial navigation of vessels with a capacity of 1500-2,000 DWT.
 
Union Minister for Shipping Nitin Gadkari had flagged off a consignment of Maruti cars from Varanasi to Haldia in August 2016. Since then pilot movements on National Waterways are currently being done on various stretches. More than 15 of them have already been successfully completed, including integrated movements through NW-1 (Ganga), Indo-Bangladesh Protocol Route and NW-2 (Brahmaputra), the release added.
 
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Two dead, 12 injured in stampede at Bengal railway foot overbridge

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Two persons died and a dozen others, including two children, injured in a stampede at a railway foot overbridge at Santragachhi station in Howrah on Tuesday, police said.
 
"Two persons have died and 12 others injured in the incident. One person is critical," West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said.
 
The stampede occurred around 6 p.m. when the commuters hurriedly tried to cross the foot overbridge between two platforms following an announcement of two trains coming simultaneously on two adjacent tracks, a senior South Eastern Railway official said.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 

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Ten injured in stampede at Bengal railway foot overbridge

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At least 10 people, including two children, suffered severe injuries on Tuesday in a stampede at a railway foot overbridge at Santragachhi station in Howrah, police said.
 
The stampede occurred around 6 p.m. when the commuters hurriedly tried to cross the foot overbridge between two platforms following an announcement of two trains coming simultaneously on two adjacent tracks. 
 
"10 people have been injured and they are being treated in the hospital," said a senior officer at the Santragachhi police station. 
 
IANS
 
 
 
 

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Five killed, 22 hurt in Bengal bus accident

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A bus accident in West Bengal's Hooghly district on Tuesday left five people dead and 22 injured, police said.
 
"The bus overturned and fell into the Dakatiya Khaal (a canal) on Haripal Road this morning. Around 22 injured were rushed to hospital," a police official said.
 
An eyewitness, who helped in the rescue operation, said: "We saw the bus hitting the cement fencing of the bridge, before toppling over and falling into the canal. We broke the window glasses and helped the injured come out of the bus."
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 
 

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CCEA approves closure of Biecco Lawrie Limited

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The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on Wednesday approved the proposal for closure of the public sector Biecco Lawrie Limited (BLL) including giving Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS)/ Voluntary Separation Scheme (VSS) to the employees of the company.
 
The idling assets of BLL will be subsequently put into productive use after meeting all the liabilities in accordance with the extant guidelines of the Government, an official press release said.
 
The release said the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas had taken various steps for the revival of the company from time to time. However, the company could not be revived and, further, there appeared no possibility of revival of the company considering the competitive business environment as well as huge capital requirement.
 
The continued loss has made further operations of the company not only unviable but also resulted in substantial distress to officials and staff due to an uncertain future, it said.
 
BLL is a Schedule ‘C’ Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE) with 67.33% and 32.33% equity share held by Oil Industry Development Board (OIDB) and Government of India, respectively. The remaining 0.44% shares are held by others.
 
The company, having its registered office and headquarters in Kolkata, West Bengal operates in four business segments: Switchgear Manufacturing, Electrical Repair, Projects Division and Lube blending & filling facility.
 
The company has consistently been under financial stress and has had performance-related issues. It has been making losses for the last several years. BLL’s accumulated losses had become more than the equity and the net worth had become negative.
 
The net worth of the company stood at Rs (-) 78.88 crore at the end of the FY 2017-18 and accumulated loss as on 31.03.2018 was Rs (-) 153.95 crore.
 
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ADB to provide $ 100m loan for expansion of sewerage, drainage coverage in Kolkata

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The Manila-based Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India signed a $100 million loan agreement here on Wednesday to continue to expand sewerage and drainage coverage, provide sewage treatment and strengthen the capacity of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) for resilient urban services.
 
The third and final tranche loan under the $400 million multi-tranche facility, Kolkata Environmental Improvement Investment Program, will target expansion of sewerage and drainage services in selected peripheral areas of KMC to at least 3,000 additional households and provide sewage treatment for at least 100,000 households, an official press release said.
 
The signatories to the tranche 3 loan agreement were Mr. Sameer Kumar Khare, Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, who signed for Government of India; and Mr. Kenichi Yokoyama, Country Director of ADB’s India Resident Mission, who signed for ADB.
 
Speaking on the occasion, Mr Khare said that the new project would supplement the efforts made in the previous phases that aim to provide affordable access to water supply, sewerage and drainage services in Kolkata, and enhance quality and sustainability of urban service delivery through institutional reforms and capacity building.
 
Mr. Yokoyama said that the financing under Tranche 3 will be used to construct 43 km of additional sewer drain pipes, four pumping stations, 13 km of pumping mains, and three sewage treatment plants to improve sanitation service quality and climate resilience in selected areas of KMC.
 
"The overall goal of the Kolkata Environmental Improvement Investment Program, approved in 2014, is to restore water production capacity to 1,478 million litres per day and ensure leaks on 700 kilometers of water pipes are repaired by 2023. It aims to install 170 kilometers of sewer-drain pipes and provide new sewerage connections to 27,000 homes, at least 15% of which will be vulnerable households or households headed by women. Installation of 40,000 water meters in pilot areas should help improve and sustain water management. Sub-projects under the previous two tranches are already helping achieve some of these outputs," the release added.
 
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Fire breaks out in pharmacy of Calcutta Medical College and Hospital

 
Fire breaks out at Kolkata Medical College and Hospital
 
 
A fire broke out in the pharmacy of the Calcutta Medical College and Hospital here this morning but no casualties were reported.
 
As many as ten fire tenders were rushed to the scene to douse the fire, which were noticed at around 8 am today.
 
About 250 patients and others were evacuated to safety, official sources said.
 
The cause of the fire and the extent of the damage could not be ascertained immediately.
 
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Rajnath chairs meeting of Eastern Zonal Council in Kolkata

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Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Monday that it had been the endeavour of the present Government to strengthen the institution of the Zonal Councils as well as the Inter-State Council in order to promote and maintain a good federal atmosphere of cooperation among the States and between the Centre and the States as well.
 
Chairing the  23rd meeting of the Eastern Zonal Council here, he said that, as a result, in the last four years, 13 Zonal Council meetings and 15 Standing Committee meetings had been held.  
 
In these meetings, about 700 issues had been discussed, out of which about 450 were resolved, he said.
 
The meeting was attended by the Chief Ministers of West Bengal, Jharkhand, Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar, and Ministers from the States of the Council including Odisha as well as senior officers from Central and State Governments.
 
The Council reviewed the progress of unresolved items of the last meeting relating to Phulbari Dam under the Agreement of 1978 between Bihar and West Bengal, and release of central share under post-matric and pre-matric scholarship schemes for SCs/STs/OBCs.
 
The scheme for modernization of state police forces, allocation of land for National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research at Kolkata and Hajipur, and maternal and child nutrition through Integrated Food Fortification Project also came up for review.
 
The measures for bringing green revolution to Eastern India,  issues relating to mining and coal mining in States of the Eastern Zone, issues arising out of the bifurcation of Bihar and Jharkhand, measures to curb Left Wing Extremism, and rail movement for socio-economic development of the Eastern zone came up for discussion.
 
Railway electrification, construction of dedicated freight corridor, road overbridges and road under bridges in lieu of level crossings, waiver of condition of advance payment for Central Armed Police Forces deployment by Ministry of Home Affairs, and release of balance funds to Bihar under Backward Region Grant Fund also came up at the meeting.
 
The Council also took up 15 new issues. These include development of allocated coal mines, implementation of various National Programs of Health, establishment of shelters for urban homeless under DAY-National Urban Livelihood Mission,  expeditious clearance for right of way for laying optical fibre cable, teachers education, land acquisition  for development of 11 airports in these States, and implementation of provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996.
 
Other issues like Statistical Strengthening Scheme, doing away with the systems of affidavits and attestation of certificates by gazette officers and by allowing self-attestation, compliance of the Guidelines for Indian Government Websites, e-Office, e-Governance  and Nodal Officer of public grievances portal also figured at the meeting.  Out of the total 30 items discussed,  26 were resolved in the meeting, an official press release said.
 
Earlier, the Standing Committee of the Council met on December 21, 2017, in which 7 items including curbing of drugs trafficking in these States were discussed along with issues relating to fisheries, productivity of livestock & poultry, model flood code for chronically flood affected areas, communal situation in these States, installation of Doppler radar at Ranchi, implementation of recommendations of 14th Finance Commission, rationalization of funding pattern under centrally sponsored schemes.
 
The five Zonal Councils (Western, Eastern, Northern, Southern and Central) were set up under the States Reorganization Act, 1956 to foster Inter-State co-operation and co-ordination among the States.
 
They are mandated to discuss and make recommendations on any matter of common interest in the field of economic and social planning, border disputes, linguistic minorities, inter-state transport, and so on.
 
They are regional fora of cooperative endeavor for States linked with each other economically, politically and culturally. Being compact high level bodies, specially meant for looking after the interests of respective Zones, they are capable of focusing attention on specific issues taking into account regional factors, while keeping the national perspective in view.
 
The deliberations of the Council were held in a warm and cordial atmosphere in the true spirit of cooperative federalism and ended with the decision to host the next meeting in Bihar.
 
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RBI withdraws permission to open new branches of Bandhan Bank

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Private-lender Bandhan Bank on Friday said the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has withdrawn its general permission to open new branches and frozen the remuneration of the lender's MD and CEO Chandra Shekhar Ghosh till further notice as it failed to comply with a licensing condition.
 
"RBI has communicated to us that since the bank was not able to bring down the shareholding of Non Operative Financial Holding Company (NOFHC) to 40 per cent, as required under the licensing condition, general permission to open new branches stands withdrawn and the Bank can open branches with prior approval of RBI and the remuneration of the MD & CEO of the Bank stands frozen at the existing level, till further notice," it said in a regulatory filing.
 
The bank is taking necessary steps to comply with the licensing condition to bring down the shareholding of NOFHC in the Bank to 40 per cent and shall continue to engage with the RBI in this regard, it added.
 
According to RBI's new banking licensing norms, any bank offering "universal" services will have to bring down the promoter holding to 40 per cent in three years from the date of commencement of business.
 
Kolkata-based Bandhan Bank, which was the first instance in the country of a microfinance entity transforming in to a universal bank, completed three years of operations this August.
 
Bandhan Financial Holdings Ltd (BFHL), the promoting entity of Bandhan Bank, is owned by Bandhan Financial Services Ltd (BFSL). The promoter holding in the bank currently stands at around 82 per cent after a successful Initial Public Offer (IPO) launched in March this year.
 
Before IPO, the promoter holding in the bank was nearly 89 per cent.
 
Significantly, the capital market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India's rules mandate one year's lock-in period for promoter holding after an IPO.
 
Ghosh was unavailable to comment on the RBI restrictions. Sources in the bank, however, said the restrictions imposed on the new branch expansion "will not impact its present operation".
 
According to information available in the bank's website, it has 937 branches and 2,764 doorstep service centres.
 
IANS
 

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SpiceJet launches flights from Kolkata to Pakyong in Sikkim

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Low-cost carrier SpiceJet has announced the launch of new daily direct flights from Kolkata to the newly opened Pakyong airport near Gangtok in Sikkim from October 4.
 
The airline also announced the launch of four other daily direct new flights from Kolkata.
 
Pakyong will be SpiceJet's ninth destination under UDAN, the government's regional connectivity scheme, a press release from the airline said. 
 
SpiceJet is the only airline to provide air connectivity to Sikkim and connecting it to the rest of the country, it said.
 
The airline is also the first and only airline to offer daily direct flights on the Kolkata-Kanpur-Kolkata route effective November 1.
 
Additionally, the airline is also set to operate flights connecting Varanasi with Kolkata effective October 4.
 
It has also introduced a third frequency on the Kolkata-Bagdogra-Kolkata and the Kolkata-Mumbai-Kolkata sectors starting November 1.
 
Shilpa Bhatia, Chief Sales and Revenue Officer, SpiceJet said, “SpiceJet is delighted to connect Kolkata, the country’s cultural capital, like never before. The city known for its food, literature and theatre has a unique tourism potential. Besides it is also the connecting gateway to key tourism hotspots like Darjeeling. We are confident that the enhanced air connectivity will boost the state’s growth prospects.”
 
The release said the airline would also introduce six new domestic flights, including new direct flights on the Delhi-Coimbatore-Delhi route on all days from October 8 and the Bengaluru-Madurai-Bengaluru sector on all days except Tuesdays. SpiceJet will become the first airline to introduce daily direct services on the Bengaluru-Udaipur-Bengaluru sector from November 7.
 
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