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32 lakh out of 33 lakh consumers have power restored. So only 1 lakh consumers still in the dark. But 1 lakh means at least 4 lakh people still without power. Very tough situtaion for the people. In many countries (advanced ones too) power restoration can take weeks and months depending on damage. So while CESC is doing good compared to its peers, still lakhs of people are powerless and frustrated.

 

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Only one flight and one train connection between South and North Bengal

Flight operations resumed at Bagdogra airport on Thursday, but there would be just one trip to connect Calcutta during four days of operations till May 31. According to the schedule, there would be eight flights which will connect Bagdogra with five destinations — New Delhi, Guwahati, Bangalore, Chennai and Calcutta.
“The schedule shows that there will be regular flights to Delhi, Chennai and Bangalore all these days. In fact, multiple flights would be available for Delhi from Bagdogra. However, only one flight would be available for Calcutta, that too, for one day (May 31).


North Bengal residents pointed out that railways had announced 100 pairs of long distance passenger trains from June 1 and of them, only one pair would run between north Bengal and Calcutta.
 

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Unlock 1.0 day 1 - traffic gridlock; public transport shortage


Ferry services resume partially


More cars than expected; Traffic lights not functional in some places

 

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Social distancing? What's that?

176909




 

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Kolkata likely to have dedicated cycle tracks
Kolkata: As people are choosing bicycles more and more as their preferred mode of transportation to avoid COVID-19 infection, Trinamool Congress-led West Bengal's largest civic body Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) is gearing up to introduce dedicated cycle tracks on the city roads in the wake of the pandemic.
"We have held a meeting on the issue. Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA) has given the task to a Delhi-based firm to prepare a Detailed Project Report (DPR) on the matter to introduce dedicated bicycle tracks in Kolkata," KMC administrator and West Bengal Urban Development and Municipal Affairs Minister Firhad Hakim said.
The Minister said that the DPR will be submitted to the KMDA within next six months.
"The agency will look into all the aspects on how to facilitate people in riding bicycles on various busy Kolkata roads," he said, adding that it is the most cost-effective and environment-friendly transport which will protect people from getting infected by the virus.
KMDA is the statutory planning and development authority for the Kolkata Metropolitan Area (KMA) in the state of West Bengal.
Hakim said already a 29-km long dedicated bicycle track is there in New Town-Rajarhat satellite township located on the north-eastern fringes of Kolkata.
"We are looking into the aspect of introducing similar things in Kolkata as well," he said.
Earlier, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had encouraged people to ride bicycles as one of the safest modes of transport. In a bid to adjust with the new normal situation, many people in the city have already hit the roads with bicycles, a cost-effective and environment-friendly mode of transport for daily commuters in the testing time COVID-19 crisis.
 

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Telangana’s saviour machine goes to Kolkata
The Central government has swooped in and snatched away Telangana’s chance to increase its Covid-19 testing capacity by more than 4,000 tests per day in order to benefit Kolkata. The move comes at a time when the number of cases in the State are rising and it desperately needs to ramp up its testing capacity.
A machine named Cobas-8800, manufactured by Roche Diagnostics, was meant to be installed in Hyderabad at the Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS) for conducting Covid-19 tests. This would have even made Telangana the first state in the country to be in possession of the powerful testing machine, which can test as many as 4,032 samples in 24 hours, according to the company’s website. This was made possible as the State government negotiated and secured the machine through the Ramky Group from its CSR funds.
Health Minister Eatala Rajender had raised the issue on Sunday as he attacked BJP president JP Nadda for his negative remarks on the Telangana government’s response to the Covid-19 outbreak. The Telangana government made public two letters related to the issue on Monday.
As per one letter written by a senior official of Roche Diagnostics to the Telangana State Medical Services and Infrastructure Corporation (TSMIDC), the machine had arrived on June 8 in Chennai, and was to be shipped to Hyderabad.The letter says that in the meantime, ICMR directed the company to ‘immediately’ divert the instrument to National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases (NICED) in Kolkata. As per another letter written by the ICMR to Roche Diagnostics, the instructions from ICMR to install the machine, which was located in Berlin, at NICED in Kolkata, was based on directions from the Prime Minister’s Office and an empowered group of the Central government.
Twitter storm over TS’s revelations

As the Telangana government released the controversial letters highlighting the Centre’s role in the State not getting its first Cobas-8800 Covid testing machine, many people, including some affiliated to the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi, took to Twitter and started criticising Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the ICMR
 

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The bookworms’ bid to resuscitate their paradise, the boipara

He has missed coming to Calcutta with his Kolkata Knight Riders contingent, but has his fingers crossed on a season full of innovations. Venky Mysore, CEO — Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) & Red Chillies Entertainment, chatted with The Telegraph on Wednesday on contributing for Tata Steel Kolkata Literary Meet for Kolkata’s Literary Street, in association with Mitra and Ghosh publishers on the Milaap fundraising platform
Have you had the chance to visit College Street ever?
I have to admit that I have been guilty of not spending enough time that it deserves. During the season, we come in there and we are on the run, all the time....
College Street is unique. What do you make of the spirit?

It’s amazing and only in a city like Calcutta... that’s the uniqueness of the city, it’s own tradition and rich history, of culture and of people who got that habit of reading. It’s fascinating to hear about it and at the same time, painful to hear about the damage inflicted upon it because of the cyclone. Once again, as human beings, we are all very resilient. There is a certain commitment and spirit that comes out, particularly during adverse situations.

When they reached out to us, Malavika was doing what she is doing. We said, listen, whatever we can do to help, we should step up, inspite of the fact that there are so many things to take care of. During Covid, we did a lot of things.... One of our office buildings ... owned by Shah Rukh and Gauri (Khan), we gave it to the municipal corporation to be converted into a quarantine facility....
We don’t like to talk about amounts... it is more important in terms of our gesture. Juhi (Chawla, KKR co-owner) is a big champion of environmental initiatives... planting trees has been an ongoing thing in Calcutta during IPL. When we heard that almost 5,000 trees have fallen, Juhi was like... we should do something... if that is the estimate, we will plant 5,000 trees... over a period of time....
Winning tournaments is fantastic; these are the type of things that give us a lot of satisfaction... the kind of relationship we have built with the city and the state.... Now when they keep showing some of these replays (of KKR matches at Eden Gardens), I am myself like... wow.
Moving on to IPL... you must have missed coming to Eden Gardens as much as we have missed seeing the team in action...
Of course, it is a very unusual experience. I have now been associated with KKR for 10 years and every year it is like a pilgrimage. April and May... the IPL season is on and then you go to the hallowed Eden Gardens, come to the beautiful City of Joy... it is such a wonderful experience. Now this year, unusually, we are sitting here and trying to make sure that we are able to deal with this unknown and invisible enemy... it is very strange. My colleague Jovita... she enters all the games and everything on my calendar and there were days when I would wake up, during April and May and would say: ‘Oh! Today we were supposed to be playing Sunrisers (Hyderabad) and today we were supposed to be playing Mumbai Indians’.... Having said that this is for the safety of people and it has affected worldwide, which is the most important thing... everything else becomes insignificant in that regard... let’s see, fingers crossed right now.
You’ve been in touch with the players...
Yes, yes... all of them. Luckily, we have a wonderful support staff, our head coach Brendon McCullum and our entire support staff... the strength and conditioning coaches, assistant coaches... thanks to technology, we have all tried to remain productive. KKR is always like a family... all our players love staying in touch. We had a virtual birthday celebration for Dinesh Karthik... asked his wife (squash champ Dipika Pallikal) to smash some cake on his face. We are doing everything that we would do normally. In that sense staying in touch with the players and making sure that we are aware of their well-being and how they are preparing in terms of their fitness and cricket practice and all that... wherever it is allowed....
Malavika Banerjee, Tata Steel Kolkata Literary Meet director, on the hows and whys of the initiative...
When did you think of the boipara initiative? What is the plan?
The sight of floating books made team Tata Steel Kalam resolve to help the booksellers and publishers of College Street and also those off Gol Park. We announced our plans during our Zoom session with Amitav Ghosh.
Subsequently, Shashi Tharoor, Ruskin Bond and Yann Martel all made a pitch for funds.
Mr Bond has promised to do a session on College Street next time he’s here!
What has the experience been like?
The post-Amphan experience has been an intense one personally. Between the devastation wrought on weavers and craft communities working with Byloom in the state’s southern districts and the boipara deluge, it was hard for me to just post on social media and move on.
When images of College Street went around the world, the army of support that closed ranks to protect this unique locality showed that people want to help and often simply don’t know how to. Seeing students pay Rs 500 or 10 dollars from their limited kitty was really quite moving. If you go to the fundraising site, the messages, the goodwill and the positivity from young donors made me feel optimistic about the next generation and their priorities —- there’s hope amid this Covid gloom.
KKR coming on board is a huge plus...
Kolkata Knight Riders is now a Calcutta fixture! They were very prompt in reaching out after Amphan to the government as well as fundraisers like ours. SRK loves this city and Venky, being a reader, was so happy to be part of this endeavour.
Our target has almost been achieved, and now we hope to work on more projects that will help this area become a unique one-of-a-kind locality. KKR will be remembered for their contribution in a special way when that happens.
How much funds have you managed to raise?
We have raised almost Rs 23 lakhs. And this is pretty adequate for the mandate. Both Kalam and our partners Mitra and Ghosh Publishers have agreed to help approx 200 publishers and bookstore owners.
We are now looking at creating phase two for more permanent support for people who work out of that area. College Street has a strong emotional connection with Calcuttans and indeed book lovers across the globe.
What more will go into making the initiative a success?
Sustaining the momentum. Amphan was a dark moment for the city and College Street in particular. Amitav Ghosh said that a storm is an opportunity of regeneration. We are looking at a welfare society that has Kunal Basu at the helm to sustain a more long-term engagement with the boipara.
 

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Kolkata likely to have dedicated cycle tracks
Kolkata: As people are choosing bicycles more and more as their preferred mode of transportation to avoid COVID-19 infection, Trinamool Congress-led West Bengal's largest civic body Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) is gearing up to introduce dedicated cycle tracks on the city roads in the wake of the pandemic.
"We have held a meeting on the issue. Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA) has given the task to a Delhi-based firm to prepare a Detailed Project Report (DPR) on the matter to introduce dedicated bicycle tracks in Kolkata," KMC administrator and West Bengal Urban Development and Municipal Affairs Minister Firhad Hakim said.
The Minister said that the DPR will be submitted to the KMDA within next six months.
"The agency will look into all the aspects on how to facilitate people in riding bicycles on various busy Kolkata roads," he said, adding that it is the most cost-effective and environment-friendly transport which will protect people from getting infected by the virus.
KMDA is the statutory planning and development authority for the Kolkata Metropolitan Area (KMA) in the state of West Bengal.
Hakim said already a 29-km long dedicated bicycle track is there in New Town-Rajarhat satellite township located on the north-eastern fringes of Kolkata.
"We are looking into the aspect of introducing similar things in Kolkata as well," he said.
Earlier, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had encouraged people to ride bicycles as one of the safest modes of transport. In a bid to adjust with the new normal situation, many people in the city have already hit the roads with bicycles, a cost-effective and environment-friendly mode of transport for daily commuters in the testing time COVID-19 crisis.
Get the encroachments off the footpaths and roads. That in itself will make a big difference.
 

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Kolkata Diary: All that is happening in the 'City of Joy'
Amphan aftermath: Forest department to plant trees

The forest department will plant trees along some of the Kolkata’s arterial thoroughfares where the city’s greenery was ravaged by cyclone Amphan last month. Though it is the Kolkata Municipal Corporation’s responsibility for plantation in the state capital, this time the forest department has been asked to do the job, said an official of forest department. The roads where the forest department will plants trees include Southern Avenue, Ballygunge Circular Road, Park Street, Gariahat Road, Syed Amir Ali Avenue, EM Bypass and Rashbehari Avenue-Ruby connector.

NUJS raise funds to send migrants back home

The students of the National University of Juridical Sciences (NUJS), Kolkata, raised fund and sent 180 migrant workers stranded in Mumbai because of the lockdown to Dehradun in a chartered aircraft. The students started a fundraiser and collected Rs 15 lakh within four days, a said a member of Students' Juridical Association, the students’ body of the NUJS.

To enable workers to reach home from the airport, transport was organised by the students in coordination with the local administration and NGOs. Arrangements were made to transport them to Mumbai airport. A section of NUJS students had started planning to help the workers after they learn their plight. When the lockdown was relaxed, the students got in touch with three NGOs in Mumbai to help identify the workers.

KMC to work on building additional electric pyres

The Kolkata Municipal Corporation has started work on building two additional electric pyres at the Dhapa crematorium where people dying from COVID-19 are being cremated. The crematorium has two pyres but the civic body’s officials said they were working on the capacity to ensure there was no delay in cremation. After cyclone Amphan hit the state capital, a queue of Covid-19 bodies had formed as power supply to the crematorium had snapped. The crematorium was earlier used to cremate unclaimed bodies.

Archdiocese-run schools to waive fees

Eight unaided ICSE schools run directly by the archdiocese of Kolkata will waive half of their annual fees. 50 per cent waiver on annual fees will be granted to all students. Though there is no waiver on monthly tuition fees, relaxation will be given to students.

Five of the archdiocese-run schools in Kolkata are St Aloysius Orphanage Day School, Loyola High School, St Mary’s School, Meghamala Roy Education Centre and Marian Day Centre. The rests three in Kharagpur in West Midnapore are Sacred Heart High School, St Joseph’s High School and Christopher Day School.
 

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Web of digitisation catches up with India''s nomads

It is not just the small and medium-sized businesses that have scaled up their digital presence in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The nomads selling bohemian furniture and vintage home decor items at the aptly named Banjara Market in Sector 56 of Gurugram could soon be selling their products online, thanks to the unprecedented changes brought about by the COVID-19 restrictions.

Be it the ''distressed'' wooden furniture, or the metal containers for your home plants or the wire baskets -- people will be able to buy online almost everything that the nomads sell, according to the Instagram account of the market.

Bikash Agarwal, who started Apni Roti, a mobile van that dishes out hot freshly made rotis to people in need across West Bengal, is now a big fan of the WhatsApp Business app which has helped him streamline operations even during the pandemic.

"This year has seen a lot of setbacks. The pandemic has crippled our economy and has left so many people struggling. As we continue to reach out to our community and provide meals to people in need, we have relied on WhatsApp for all aspects of coordination and delivery," said Agarwal, who also leads a successful construction company.

"We have a team of over 1,500 volunteers, so the live location feature is one that we use extensively. Since March we have provided four lakh meals to people across West Bengal. We plan to continue using this platform and aid people with our services," he said.

Digital presence in the current situation has also become all the more important as the influence of digital mediums have gone up significantly in the consumer''s path to purchase, according to a recent report from Facebook India and the Boston Consulting Group.

Especially in urban consumers, digital influence in the path to purchase has increased by up to 70 per cent for mobiles, 55-60 per cent for apparel, and up to 20-25 per cent for the non-food consumer packaged goods categories, said the reports.
WhatsApp''s India head, Abhijit Bose, said that the platform remains "deeply committed" to driving lasting economic value for small businesses across the country.
 

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A push for women entrepreneurship in India

With an aim to fulfil Indian women''s aspirations of embarking on an entrepreneurial journey and gaining financial independence, the biscuit manufacturer, in 2019 initiated the "Britannia Marie Gold My Startup" project where 10 homemakers with entrepreneurial ideas are awarded seed capital of Rs 10 lakh each to kick-start their business ventures. It recently held a virtual press conference to announce the winners of the second edition of the competition.

"Brands like Britannia Marie Gold have the stature to rally around a large cause and make that its purpose. Keeping in mind its core TG of homemakers, the Britannia Marie Gold My Startup campaign was launched in 2019 with the intent of playing a catalyst role in boosting women entrepreneurship in the country and hence positively impacting the participation of women in the country''s economy," Subramanyam tells IANSlife.

The current edition of the initiative also provides 10,000 homemakers access to customized online skill development program, in partnership with National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC).

"In a report on Women Entrepreneurship that we commissioned in 2018, skill development emerged as a crucial need along with finance. We found the perfect partner in NSDC) to develop and deliver the requisite skilling to 10,000 homemakers through an online, certified skill development programme," he adds.

The edition saw over 1.5 million applications from across the country within a span of three months, out of which only 50 finalists were chosen.
Who were the winners?

Zarina MV, from Hyderabad in Telangana, who plans to use the winning amount to start her very own line of Linen Baby Clothing. Shahnaz Tabussum from Patna in Bihar, planning to start a Reflexology Self Treatment and Training Centre. Narmatha Vasanthan from Thankavur in Tamil Nadu, will start a Computer Training Centre. Ragini Kumari from Jamshedpur, Jharkhand hopes to start a Flower Plantation along with the production of other eco-friendly products. Shikha Dey of Durgapur, West Bengal will be utilising the seed capital to start a Bioflock Fish Farm to name just a few of the entrepreneurs of the future.
 
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