Monthly Archives: June 2014

Atletico de Kolkata is born


The city franchise of the Indian Super League will have Atletico de Kolkata as its name.

Atletico Madrid owner and CEO Miguel Angel Gil Marin unveiled the name on Wednesday at a plush city hotel, in the presence of four co-owners from the city, Sourav Ganguly, Harshavardhan Neotia, Sanjiv Goenka and Utsav Parekh.

On May 3, The Telegraph had reported that the city franchise was almost certain to be named Atletico de Kolkata.

The name of the company formed by the group was also announced. It’s Kolkata Games and Sports Private Limited. However, the jersey and the crest were not unveiled since it has to get the green light from the master franchise ISL.

Neotia revealed that there is a plan of bringing the Atletico Madrid team to play a friendly match in the city. “They are very upbeat about it. There is also a plan to send Atletico de Kolkata to Madrid for the pre-season.”

Everyone was in a happy mood. If the Atletico delegates were presented with scarfs designed by Sarbari Dutta, the four co-owners were presented with the official Atletico jersey No. 19 with their respective names embossed on the back of the shirt. For the record, Atletico star Diego Costa wears the No. 19 shirt.

“Atletico breathes football, lives around football. It’s a great idea to expand our brand and reach a new market. India and China are huge markets. Atletico also collaborates in different countries through Altetico de Madrid Foundation.

“We are trying two different ways… One through the academy and another through the franchise and play professional football,” Marin said.

Marin said the target is to build a competitive team and an excellent academy. “Some players from the academy can come to Madrid and my dream is to see someone from this academy playing in Spain,” he added.

Asked why they chose to invest in a country whose ranking hovers around 150, Atletico Madrid managing director (business development) Javier Martinez said: “You have a massive population and if you combine that with passion and discipline, you are bound to get results. We have seen that in many countries.”

Giving example of world champions Spain, he said: “They don’t have a huge population, but they have achieved everything with the right infrastructure and discipline. There is no reason why India can’t live up to its true potential. It’s the numbers game at the end of the day.”

Briefing about their discussions over the past two days, Neotia said the Atletico delegation was okay with the infrastructure at the Salt Lake Stadium and Barasat Stadium.

“They feel the foundation is appropriate. Yes we need to improve, but we should not have any difficulty in hosting any match in the present infrastructure. We hope to get state government support. But with elections on, we are yet to talk to the state government.”

Neotia said the Atletico de Kolkata’s desire is to have the main coach from Atletico. “But we need ISL’s approval. If they are okay, then there would be a second coach from India with working experience in our country. We have met some people, discussions are going on.”

Jose Ramirez Barreto, for instance, had a round of discussion with the delegates on Tuesday. And had another round of talks with the Atletico team on Wednesday.

“I am very keen to join the franchise. Let’s see how things unfold,” Barreto said.

There is a possibility that Barreto could be roped in as someone to whom the players can look up to. He can be the go-to man for the players, motivating them when the chips are down.

There is no clarity on the players though. As most of the players want to play for Atletico de Kolkata, the master franchise still hasn’t come with anything concrete. “We do not know whether there will be a pool of players or we will select it ourselves. Atletico Madrid are ready to provide players, but they need some clarifications from Fifa as well as ISL,” Neotia added.

Goenka hoped that Atletico de Kolkata will give the much needed push to the game. “We needed something like this. I am confident it will be a grand success,” he added.

source: / The Telegraph , Calcutta-India / Home> Front Page> Sport> Story / A Staff Reporter / Thursday – May 08th, 2014

National Library graveyard for rare books and newspapers

Kolkata :

National Library, which could have been a repository of priceless books and documents, has turned into a dumping ground.

The roof of the new section -built at a cost of Rs 148 crore just nine years ago -has started leaking forcing employees to cover treasured books with tarpaulin.

Sources in the museum told TOI that rare books are being ripped apart, page by page, in the name of digital scanning and the original copies dumped like waste material. The microfilmed copies are also out of focus, having been copied by unskilled staff. Rare and old newspapers, which are supposed to be preserved, are dumped carelessly .

The old building — dating back over 200 years — didn’t have the infrastructure to pre serve and maintain old and rare books so the central government decided to build a stateof-the-art facility for this. It was named `Bhasha Bhawan’ and became operational in 2005.

But in less than a decade, the building is in a mess and its treasures worse so. To think that National Library is the apex body of 65,000 libraries, public and private, in India.

“Many portions of the ceiling are broken. During monsoon, water seeps in and falls on the books and newspapers kept on the racks. In some areas it’s so bad that we have to cover the books with tarpaulin or else they will all be destroyed. The stock verification department is supposed to check the condition of books and make a log sheet so that brittle ones can be sent for binding and lamination. But the department has been non-functional for a long time because of shortage of staff,” an employee of library said.

Not only that, the back door of the library is broken and there is no security to check if anyone runs way with a book or a precious document.

Library director P Y Rajendra Kumar insists everything is in order. “As far as I know there is no such leakage in the library . There was one leak from an AC duct and drops of water were falling on the books. I have told the person concerned to take care of it and it will be repaired immediately . Apart from that there is no leakage”.

Sources say the condition of newspapers is even worse. The newspaper section, which was earlier in the reading room of the library at Esplanade, was transferred to Bhasha Bhawan in November 2013 for better maintenance.

But the nearly 18,000 precious newspapers -including historical Hindoo Patriot, Englishman, Anglo Indian Recorder, and Indian Mirror — are in deplorable condition, say insiders. “The newspapers are kept in small racks meant for books, which leaves part of them hanging out. As these papers are old and brittle should be preserved more carefully,” an officer looking after the stack said.

There are nearly 30 lakh books in the library. According to officials, 10-15% books and nearly 30% newspapers need to laminated and restored urgently. Costly machines like aging chamber incubator, temperaturehumidity data logger, ph meter, brightness tester, electronic tearing tester, electronic stiffness tester, abrasion tester and paper cutter -used for the restoration old and valuable books and documents -are lying unutilized since they were purchased in 2010-11.

Though director Rajendra Kumar confidently says that restoration of old and rare books is done in a “regular manner”, the library authorities in reply to an RTI query have admitted that these machines are “not for regular use because CPWD (civil) could not complete renovation of the old storage area of the laboratory in time”.

source: / The Times of India / Home> City> Kolkata / by Saibal Gupta, TNN / June 28th, 2014

Lending a gentle touch to elder care

Kolkata :

Till about a year ago, life was difficult for 84-year old Joyeeta Banerjee (name changed) and her elder sister Mita (91).

Their problem was not about money. Joyeeta’s son is a successful doctor in the US and takes adequate care of her financial needs.

The two elderly women, sharing a spacious apartment in an upmarket area in North Kolkata, were missing the human touch – someone to share the titbits in life.

The gap was filled by Tribeca Care Pvt Ltd, a Kolkata-based elder care startup. The Banerjees are provided with a care manager.

Always accessible, the smart and educated Sangeeta Pramanik takes the call on recruiting the Ayah (also offered by Tribeca) and training her on special needs of the client, giving a patient hearing to the sisters during her usual rounds to the family, consulting the doctor on their behalf, settling issues at the bank and so on and so forth.

Personal experience

“India has over 10 crore people aged over 60 years. Approximately 3.5 lakh of them live in Kolkata. As the younger generation is increasingly forced to move out from the city or the country for professional reasons, many of such elders are vulnerable to loneliness,” says Prateep Sen.

Sen (45) and co-Managing Director Tamojit Dutta had a personal brush with the problem. Both decided to quit their high-paying jobs as senior bankers in the UK last year to look after their ailing parents in Kolkata.

The choice of entering geriatric care business came naturally. Their anguish was shared by three other NRI friends – Shibaji Saha, Ritendra Roy and Elina Dutta.

While Saha, a consultant Intensivist at Queen’s University Hospital and Roy, an investment banker with JP Morgan, New York, partnered the initiative without quitting their existing responsibilities. Elina, a former advertisement professional, handles communications from Dubai.

Planning big

“We are planning to expand operations in at least two or three more metro cities by next year,” Sen said.

Having started with homecare and medical assistance, Tribeca forayed into recreational non-medical assistance for elders (like escorting them to a mall or temple).

“Right now our services are mostly suited for elders above the age of 75. In the future we will expand our non-medical services for the 60-75 years age-group, who are in relatively good health, financially well-off, and are keen to enjoy life before the turn too old.”

On the cards are offering services for overseas travels. “We will offer complete solution and assistance right from completing visa formalities to providing travel insurance,” Sen said.

Also in the pipeline are plans to open a number of old-age homes and dementia centres. “Patents suffering from dementia need special care. We are currently working out a model for such homes,” he said. The finance may be raised through private equity investments.

source: / Business Line / Home> News> National / by Pratim Ranjan Bose / Kolkata – June 26th, 2014

US university training Indian doctors in emergency medicine

Kolkata’s Peerless Hospital has tied up with a US—based university to train the doctors specialising in emergency medical care. The first batch of students who finished their three—year full—time Masters in Emergency Medicine Program offered in collaboration with The Ronald Reagan Institute of Emergency Medicine at the US’ George Washington University will pass out next month.

“The first batch had 16 students out of which 7 have got job offers in US hospitals while the rest will work in different parts of India,” Dilip Samadar, Managing Director of Peerless Hospital, told reporters here today. The course is equivalent to MD in India, he said adding that training of international standard was being provided and every month a specialist from the US flew down to Kolkata for sessions with the fellows. Around seven consultants in emergency medicine trained the doctors during the course. “Specialised doctors are needed to handle emergency and trauma cases and we have a dearth of such manpower. There are few such specialised training centres available in India,” Mr. Samadar said. The hospital during the day also launched the Peerless Institute of Emergency Medicine and Trauma Care where more than 50 doctors present at any given point of time. PTI

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Kolkata / by PTI / Kolkata – June 26th, 2014

Mamata govt’s fair price vegetable shop a big draw on first day

The State government's first fair price shop for vegetables making brisk business in Kolkata on Friday. PHOTO: SUSHANTA PATRONOBISH / The Hindu
The State government’s first fair price shop for vegetables making brisk business in Kolkata on Friday. PHOTO: SUSHANTA PATRONOBISH / The Hindu

Unavailability of potatoes and high price of capsicum disappoint customers

In a move to control the rising prices of vegetables, especially onions, the West Bengal government on Friday opened its first fair price shop at Kankurgachi-VIP market in the north-central part of the city. Although fair price shops had earlier been introduced in the State on a temporary basis, the State on Friday joined the likes of the Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu governments to start permanent shops selling vegetables at a subsidised rate.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had constituted a task force to look into the spiralling prices of vegetables and fix the prices for the fair price shops.

“The Chief Minister wanted to create a permanent solution in the wake of increasing prices of vegetables. After the task force’s meeting on June 23, we decided to set up 27 fair price vegetable shops spread across 46 municipality-owned markets in the city,” Rabindranath Koley, a member of the task force, said.

“We have tied up with farmers across the State in this initiative. The shops will be coming up in Salt Lake (Kolkata), Howrah, Barrackpore, Barasat, and other district towns,” Mr. Koley said. While the temporary shops had been set up by the State’s Horticulture Department, the permanent ones have been set up by the Agriculture Department.

The sole shop made brisk business during the day with the owner of the shop claiming to have sold majority of his stock of vegetables by 5.30 p.m.

Onions, whose prices shot up recently, were sold for Rs. 28 per kilo whereas elsewhere it was available for Rs. 35. Ginger is available for Rs. 14 per 100 gram while it is generally sold for Rs. 20 per 100 gram in the market. Customers were disappointed to see potatoes unavailable at the shop.

“There was no stock of potatoes today [Friday] which is why the shop could not stock up on the tubers. It should be available from tomorrow [Saturday],” Mr. Koley said.

However, while all other vegetables were selling at cheaper prices compared to other shops in the market, customers shied away from buying capsicum.

“The rate of capsicum is too high at the fair price shop. At other shops, capsicum is sold for Rs. 80 per kilo, but at the fair price shop, it is being sold for Rs. 100,” a customer said.

Asked how the task force planned to regulate the prices, Mr. Koley said, “Prices at the shop have been fixed with nominal profit margin. Prices are generally 20 per cent lower than the market rates. As for regulating prices, we have to rely on trust and keep a close eye on market prices to see if the vendors are selling at the rates fixed by us.”

Earlier, the State government had introduced fair price medicine shops.

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Kolkata / by Staff Reporter / Kolkata – June 28th, 2014

The friendship of two great minds

Kolkata :

The friendship of two legends — Dilipkumar Roy, musician and author, and Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy, who was the premier of Bengal in British India and the fifth prime minister of Pakistan — was celebrated in the city on Friday, with Sri Aurobindo Institute of Culture and Hari Krishna Mandir Trust, Pune, in collaboration with the Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture presenting the eighth ‘Dilipkumar Roy Memorial Lecture’.

Mofidul Hoque, trustee and member secretary of Liberation War Museum, Dhaka, was the keynote speaker. RMIC secretary Swami Suparnananda addressed the audience first, with high praise for Roy’s devotion and his musical genius.

Sankar Bandyopadhyay, HKMT secretary, recounted his experiences with Roy. “We called him ‘Dadaji’. Everything he did was guided by his spirituality. Though he travelled abroad, learned foreign music and brought new forms and innovations to India, his sole aim was ‘Bhagabat darshan’. There are several misconceptions about him, one of them being he was at odds with Rabindranath Tagore. But that is untrue. Tagore loved him like a son.”

Hoque narrated the journey of both Roy and Suhrawardy, both of whom travelled abroad in the early 20th century. “In 1919, Roy went to Cambridge for higher studies. Subhash Chandra Bose, too, was in England, but neck-deep into the freedom struggle. Bose had arranged for Roy’s accommodation, in between contacting the Irish rebels and travelling to Germany to scout for Indian fighters. Suhrawardy sailed to Paris in 1909. He went to Oxford and graduated in 1914,” Hoque said. He went on to describe how Suhrawardy befriended Jawaharlal Nehru while in Oxford and how Tagore’s Nobel win charged the entire Indian fraternity.

Educationist Sourindranath Bhattacharya and Ranjan Mitra, secretary at Sri Aurobindo Institute of Culture, too shared the stage.

source: / The Times of India / Home> City> Kolkata / TNN / June 28th, 2014

Bengal’s first IIIT in Kalyani to start from July

Kolkata :

Bengal’s first IIIT, a central university catering to IT engineering, will start functioning from July onwards, announced state IT minister Amit Mitra at the Assembly on Tuesday.

While it will start functioning from temporary premises this year, by the next academic session, the university will shift to its own campus spreading over 50 acres at Kalyani. The autonomous university will be run by the Union HRD ministry but will have partial state and private funding also.

The director of Bengal Engineering and Science University (Besu), that has just been upgraded to IIEST, will act as the mentor of IIIT for now. The university will start functioning with a B Tech course in IT this year. Next year, it will have B Tech courses in electronics and communication and computer science engineering. From 2016-17, M Tech courses will start here and from 2017-18, PhD will be introduced, Mitra said while detailing out plans for the IIIT.

“A total Rs 128 crore will be invested to set up the IIIT,” he said, adding that there are 10 such universities in the country, but it is the state’s first and should provide a lot of impetus to IT education.

Answering questions placed in the House over the progress that the IT sector has made in the state, Mitra said the exports in IT sector stood at

Rs 11200 crore has been exported in the IT sector in the last financial year. “At the time when Trinamool formed the government, this figure was at Rs 8335 crore and hence there has been a growth of 44%. A total of 1.30 lakh people are employed in the IT sector presently, a jump from 90,000 during the Left rule,” he added.

When asked if this growth was limited only to the BPO sector, Mitra said, “Apart from jobs that have been outsourced to us from foreign companies, there has been a lot of insourcing and indigenous growth too because of a boom in the e-governance.”

“The state government has taken a policy decision about focusing on companies that deal in animation, gaming and special effects. These companies are a mix of creativity and IT. Our children are immensely talented and creative when it comes to having a flair for animation. We need to tap that,” Mitra said. He said 13 IT parks are coming up across the state, in Durgapur, Asansol, Rajarhat, Siliguri, Purulia, Kharagpur, Bolpur, Haldia, Kalyani, Howrah, Malda, Krishnagar and Borjora.

source: / The Times of India / Home> City> Kolkata / TNN / June 25th, 2014

White Blue and Fish Fry for Biman

Mamata’s answer to Modi model

Tax waiver for houses in Didi’s colours

Calcutta :

The Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) today decided to waive a year’s property taxes for residential buildings painted in blue and white, probably making Lionel Messi and Mamata Banerjee happy but not those doing the math and visualising the skyline.

The CMC mayoral council’s decision to promote the favourite colours of the chief minister needs to be ratified by the state government and an amendment has to be passed in the Assembly before the waiver can come into force.

Mayor Sovan Chatterjee said the decision was taken to bring “uniformity in the colour of buildings in Calcutta” but added that it would not be binding on house owners. “It will make Calcutta beautiful,” said Chatterjee.

Commercial buildings will not be granted the waiver.

Sources in the civic body said that the waiver would be granted only if an entire building is painted in blue and white and not a portion of it. The civic body is calling it a tax incentive.

“If there is a 10-storey building, the property tax on all the flats will be waived. But the entire exterior of the building must be painted in blue and white,” said an official.

Former mayor and CPM leader Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharyya said the law did not allow the CMC to take such a decision.

A civic official conceded: “The CMC Act has no provision to waive the property tax. It will be sent to the state government that will then bring in the Assembly an amendment to the CMC Act.”

If there is no rethink, the Trinamul government, which has 195 members in the 294-member Assembly, has the numbers to get an amendment passed.

Usually, tax incentives are given to promote practices amenable to the environment or safety. Tax breaks to propagate arbitrary personal preferences are not common.

Soon after coming to power, Mamata had made known her fascination for blue and white. “Jaipur is called Pink City and from there I got the idea of having a uniform colour for our Calcutta…. I couldn’t choose red, nor could I opt for green. I chose blue and white,” she had said later.

Road dividers, some flyovers and police stations, the new sectratariat and the shamiana cloth used in government events have turned blue and white the past three years but there has never been any official circular from the state government to do so.

In the World Cup season, fans of Messi and Argentina might not mind houses being painted in their team’s signature colours but builders did not seem thrilled.

Harsh Patodia, the president of Credai Bengal, said the focus should be on sustainable development. “There should be incentives for eco-friendly buildings or if the builder has excelled in safety and security features. Today’s move, however, may encourage some property owners who have not painted their house for years to paint now.”

But a flat-owner in a G+4 building currently being painted in Kasba said: “I pay Rs 5,500 as property tax every year. There are eight flats in the building. So the total annual property tax is Rs 44,000 but the repainting is costing us Rs 2 lakh.”

Veteran artist K.G. Subramanyan said: “If you rebuilt the city and some areas were painted uniformly, it would give it an aesthetic neighbourhood feeling. But face paint cannot make an ugly person beautiful. If they want uniformity, white would be the best choice. Then it would look bright in sunshine like cities and towns in Spain and the Mediterranean…. Blue and white is not the best choice. It is ridiculous.”

source: / The Telegraph, Calcutta-India / Front Page> Story / by The Telegraph Bureau / Calcutta – Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

7 students from eastern India chosen for U.S. trip

Raring to go: The seven students from West Bengal and adjoining States with JJ Joria, Director of American Center, Kolkata on Monday. — photo: special arrangement / The Hindu
Raring to go: The seven students from West Bengal and adjoining States with JJ Joria, Director of American Center, Kolkata on Monday. — photo: special arrangement / The Hindu

Seven students from West Bengal and adjoining States in eastern India have been selected for the U.S. State Department-funded Community College Initiative Programme (CCIP) 2014 aimed at imparting practical skills through vocational and cultural studies.

“The participants of the programme can develop skills in their chosen sector. They may earn an academic certificate in their field of study and gain first-hand practical experience through professional internships, service learning, and community engagement,” said JJ Joria, Director of American Center, Kolkata, here on Monday.

While four of the seven students are from the city, a mass communication student from Guwahati, an aspirant lawyer from Ranchi, and an entrepreneur trying to make a mark in the footwear industry in Manipur, have been selected. The one-year certificate programme is open to students above 18 years, who have passed their class XII board exam, but have not completed their graduation. The applicants must have some work experience in the field they want to study.

Angela Bernadette Ryle had passed class XII from Loreto, Sealdah, and was working as a Childline team leader at Rainbow Home for Street Children. She is headed for Lakewood, Washington, where she will be studying Early Childhood Education at Pierce Community College. “I was a street child. I love small children and want to dedicate my life in helping street children. This programme will be a big push in that direction,” she said.

Exuberating similar confidence, Kh Anjalee Devi, a first-year student in Manipur, who runs her own footwear business, said the one-year programme would help her develop skills of an entrepreneur. She will be joining Houston Community College, Houston, Texas.

Two undergraduate students of commerce, Zeeshan Ali and Ashok Pal, are taking a break from their B. Com to study Businesses Management and Information and Technology at community colleges in the USA. This is the second year of the CCIP in eastern India and out of 22 students, who had applied from all over eastern India, seven were chosen for the 2014-2015 session.

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Kolkata / by Special Corrrespondent / Kolkata – June 24th, 2014

Alipurduar to be 20th district of West Bengal

Jalapiaguri district will be bifurcated on June 25, says Mamata

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said in the Assembly here on Friday that Jalpiaguri district would be bifurcated on June 25. While two subdivisions – Jalpaiguri Sadar and Mal – would comprise Jalpaiguri district, a district would be carved out of Alipurduar subdivision, which was part of erstwhile Jalpaiguri district. Ms. Banerjee said the bifurcation was the long-standing demand of the people of the district. Alipurduar would be the 20th district of the State.

The Chief Minister said the distance from Jalpaiguri district headquarters to Alipurduar subdivision is 101 kilometre. The distance from the district headquarters to Kumargram block is 143 km and to other blocks like Kalchini, Madarihat, and Birpara, the distance is over 100 km.

She said since certain areas are far from the district headquarters, people face delay in delivery of government services. The Chief Minister said the district has an area of 6,202 sq km and a population of 38.46 lakh as per 2011 census. There are 17 police stations in the district and after bifurcation nine will be in Jalpaiguri district and the remaining in Alipurduar district. The district with significant tribal population has several tea gardens and it shares border with Bhutan and Bangladesh. Senior Congress MLA from Alipurduar Assembly segment D P Roy welcomed the Chief Minister’s statement and said the decision to bifurcate the district would help the people.

Speaking to journalists later in the day, Mr. Roy said the move would help in the development of the State. The Chief Minister during her visit to north Bengal had said that the State government was waiting for the judicial consent before creating the new district.

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Kolkata / by Special Corrrespondent / Kolkata – June 24th, 2014