Monthly Archives: June 2016

Amrapali mango finding takers in Dubai, Hong Kong and Malaysia

Kolkata :

The little-known Amrapali mango grown in Bankura district of West Bengal has now found buyers in Dubai, Hong Kong and Malaysia.

Horticulture Department officials said mango producers in Bankura have received orders of exporting 8 metric tonnes of Amrapali to Dubai this season.

“They have started sending it after a quality test report from the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (Apeda) cleared the product,” department official Sanjoy Sengupta said.

He said the delectable taste of the mouth-watering variety has been gaining popularity gradually over the years.
Producers have been sending it to all over the country but this is the first time that any variety of mango from Bankura is getting export orders.

So far, mangoes from Malda and Murshidabad only were the famous ones in the state.

“Now we are trying to create Bankura as a brand in the world of mangoes. Our red laterite soil produces an unmatchable taste,” officials said.

Sengupta said that they were already receiving queries about the fruit from Hong Kong and Malaysia where Amrapali would be exported next year.

This year the district produced around 130 tonnes of Amrapalis in around 730 mango orchards.

The largest orchard of 84 bigha is in Damadorpur where the highest number of Amrapalis are produced.

Last year, Bankura’s Amrapali had bagged the first prize in the agri-horticulture fair in Kolkata.

At an ongoing mango festival in Delhi, where state horticulture department officials are present, Bankura is beating other districts.

“Bankura is getting more attention than any other district. The demand is so high that all our stocks are getting exhausted,” Sengupta said.

source: / The Times of India / News Home> City> Kolkata / PTI / June 28th, 2016

Swings & slides to attract students – School play plan prompts space query

Calcutta :

The Bengal government has decided to install swings, slides, sea-saws and other recreational equipment in state-aided primary schools to attract more students and prevent dropouts.

But the move has also prompted questions among many education department officials on the implementation of the plan in schools that don’t have playgrounds or ample empty space.

 Partha Chatterjee
Partha Chatterjee

“We want to make education more enjoyable for primary students…. Children are often deprived of games as the schools do not have the required facilities…. So we have planned to install swings, slides and other such equipment in the schools,” education minister Partha Chatterjee said in the Assembly lobby after announcing the decision in the House.

There are around 53,000 state-aided primary schools in Bengal.

In an attempt to prevent dropouts, the government has recently started distributing free shoes among students of Classes I to IV. Free textbooks and uniforms are also given to students up to Class VIII.

Minister Chatterjee also referred to the lack of space in many schools, saying the scheme would “take time” to be implemented in full.

Education department officials said scarcity of space was more acute in Calcutta schools. Although most schools in the districts have big grounds, few are equipped with recreational facilities such as swings, slides, merry-go-rounds and gyms.

“We want as many schools as possible to have such facilities…. These help in creating a conducive environment for the mental and physical development of children,” an education department official said.

Sources said the decision to set up recreational facilities in primary schools had been conveyed to authorities in most institutions.

Around 12,000 schools are said to have responded to the plan.

“The heads of many schools are still unaware of the decision. We expect a better response once the decision is communicated to all schools,” the official said.

Schools wanting to have recreational facilities on the campus have to apply to the district inspector of schools in their respective zones.

The district inspector will then conduct an inspection to ascertain what equipment can be installed. Once the district inspector approves the proposal, the government will install the facilities.

The heads of many Calcutta schools this newspaper spoke to said it was not possible for them to implement the education department’s plan.

“The move is welcome. But there is hardly any space to offer,” said the headmaster of a school in central Calcutta.

Separate panel

The government is planning to set up a separate commission to recruit non-teaching employees in state-aided schools.

The proposed commission will conduct a centralised test for recruiting the employees. But the managing committees of the schools will make the final appointments.

“We are planning to set up a central commission for recruiting non-teaching employees in state-aided schools. This will establish more transparency in the recruitment process,” education minister Chatterjee said.

At present, the West Bengal School Service Commission conducts the recruitment test for non-teaching employees.

source: / The Telegraph,Calcutta,India / Front Page> Bengal> Story / by Our Special Correspondent / Calcutta – June 27th / Pub June 28th, 2016

Archbishop Emeritus dead


Archbishop Emeritus Henry Sebastian D’Souza, who served the Archdiocese of Calcutta from 1986-2002, passed away on Monday afternoon at Vianney Home on Middleton Row. He was 90 years old.

Archbishop Henry was born on January 20, 1926, in Calcutta and ordained as the first Archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar on May 5, 1974. He became the seventh Archbishop of Calcutta on April 5, 1986.

He is known to have revolutionised the educational scenario in the Archdiocese of Calcutta through proper policies. He had a close association with Mother Teresa.

The Funeral Mass will take place at St. Thomas’ Church, Middleton Row, on Thursday at 10am.

His mortal remains will then be interred at the Lower Circular Road Cemetery.

source: / The Telegraph,Calcutta,India / Front Page> Calcutta> Story / June 29th, 2016

Workshop on folk dances of Bengal

State information and cultural affairs department (I&CA) organizes  a workshop
State information and cultural affairs department (I&CA) organizes a workshop

Kolkata :

The state information and cultural affairs department (I&CA) is organizing a workshop on Saturday involving folk dancers from different districts along with their dance groups in an initiative to revive the dying folk dance forms. The government will also distribute folk dance dresses, masks and music instruments to encourage the groups to revive the dance forms. About 70 folk dancers of five different folk dance forms will participate in the one day workshop.

According to I&CA department officials, there are a number of old folk dance forms having its origin in different districts that are slowly dying and are almost becoming obsolete. “These dance forms like Gajon, Bhandi, Chandi etc reflect the age long social, religious and cultural traditions of Bengal. However, these folk dance forms have now become dying art forms. The state government wants to revive and rejuvenate these dying dance art forms by promoting and encouraging the folk artists,” said an official.

The workshop will have dancers of five such folk dance forms – Chandi, Bhandi, Rabankata, Gajon and Swasan who will participate. Experts of such folk dance and its dresses along with researchers will also attend the workshop. The folk dancers who will participate in the workshop will also be encouraged with traditional folk dance dress, masks and instruments

source: / The Times of India / News Home> City> Kolkata / by Suman Chakraborti, TNN / June 24th, 2016

Quiz doyen Neil O’Brien passes away

Neil O'Brien (center)
Neil O’Brien (center)

Kolkata :

Neil Aloysius O’Brien, who pioneered quizzing in India and led the Anglo-Indian community for nearly two decades, passed away in Kolkata on Friday. He was 82.

A former member of Lok Sabha, O’Brien was a three-time nominated Anglo Indian MLA in West Bengal and an educationist. He was chairman of the Council for Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) and chairman and managing director of Oxford University Press.

But it was O’Brien the quizmaster that was the most popular. He hosted the prestigious Dalhousie Institute Invitational Quiz for more than four decades. “Extremely saddened to hear about the passing away of the very talented Neil O’Brien. He will be missed by lakhs of quiz fans across India,” CM Mamata Banerjee tweeted on hearing the news.

O’Brien is survived by his wife Joyce and sons Derek, Andy and Barry.

source: / The Times of India / News Home> India / TNN / June 25th, 2016