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Latest News In and around Kolkata

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  • Re : Latest News In and around Kolkata

    Bengal extends industrial parks scheme by 5 years

    Debasish Konar & Saibal Gupta | TNN | Sep 10, 2020, 06:00 IST




    Kolkata: The Bengal government, at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, extended the existing incentive scheme for setting up industrial parks in collaboration with private partners for another five years. Land for these industrial parks needs to be organised by the private parties.

    Under the Scheme of Approved Industrial Parks (SAIP), the government offers private parties/cooperative societies/MSME associations incentives to set up and run greenfield industrial parks, state home secre-tary Alapan Bandyopadhyay said.

    “This scheme, launched by the Mamata Banerjee government in 2014, led to 14 private industrial parks being set up across 1,300 acres and more. Under the scheme, an industrial park can be set up by the private sector with various fiscal and non-fiscal incentives from the government,” Bandyopadhyay said.

    A minimum of 20 acres is required for every industrial park with at least 20 MSME units. The developer must set up basic and essential common infrastructure facilities for which back-end incentives through reimbursement mode are on offer, the home secretary maintained.

    Bandyopadhyay said keeping in mind the huge potential of employment generation, the scheme was being extended for five years. He said private industrial parks on 20-39 acres would receive an incentive of Rs 2 crore. “Similarly, parks planned on 40-59 acres will get Rs 4 crore; those on 60-79 acres will receive Rs 6 crore; those on 80-99 acres will get Rs 8 crore; and parks sprawling over 100 acres or more will receive Rs 10 crore as incentive,” he said.

    Setting up a common effluent treatment plant (CETP) will earn a private partner incentive at the rate of Rs 5 lakh per acre. As an additional sop, there will be reimbursement of stamp duty. “Companies purchasing land for setting up an industrial park will get a refund of stamp duty. Moreover, power substations will be set up for free by the state provided the developer arranges for land,” Bandyopadhyay said, adding that link roads would be built by the government.

    The cabinet on Wednesday also decided to appoint 642 medical technologists at various hospitals.














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    • Re : Latest News In and around Kolkata

      Segregate waste at source, replace old garbage trucks, says IIT prof

      Subhro Niyogi & Saikat Ray | TNN | Sep 20, 2020, 09:40 IST





      Kolkata: Segregation of waste at source will reduce pressure on landfill while replacement of old garbage trucks will improve efficiency of garbage transportation, an expert in integrated waste management told TOI.

      Over half of the 4,500 tonne municipal solid waste (MSW) that Kolkata generates is organic and can be used to create compost or manure. Similarly, nearly 80% of the hired truck fleet used to transport MSW to the dumping ground at Dhapa are over 10 years old and both inefficient and polluting. Modernising the fleet can help reduce KMC’s transportation cost that currently stands at 25%-30% of the allocation for MSW collection and disposal.

      Kolkata generates 35% residential waste, 6.5% waste from drains, 22.5% street sweeping waste and 36% commercial and market waste.

      Domestic municipal solid waste samples contain 45.1% fruit and vegetable waste and 8.8% paper. Waste from markets contains 32.4% leaves, hay and straw and 25.7% fruit and vegetable waste. Waste from commercial area contains about 51% recyclable waste. Recyclable waste in bulk (or mixed) MSW waste is about 25%. KMC SWM department officials said a segregation of waste at source was introduced at some of city’s select apartment buildings.

      Prof Brajesh Kumar Dubey, who teaches at Indian Institute of Technology-Kharagpur (IIT-Kgp) and has analysed Kolkata’s MSW generation, collection, transportation and disposal, including a survey of the dumpsite at Dhapa, felt that while the city had improved waste handling over the past decade, it could do even better.

      IIT-Kgp has launched a free online course on tackling challenges of waste management. This will be followed by overview on construction and demolition waste and electronic waste management issues. The course emphasises on integrated solid waste management aspects within the broad subject area of integrated waste management for a smart city. The topics will include generation rates and waste composition, integrated waste management issues, collection, recovery, reuse, recycling and energy-from-waste, among others.












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      • Re : Latest News In and around Kolkata

        West Bengal CM announces housing programme for tea workers

        Banerjee, in another announcement said that her government will regularise all refugee colonies in West Bengal, including those on land belonging to the state and the central governments.
        • PTI
        • September 30, 2020, 09:20 IST

        KOLKATA: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday announced a slew of measures for the people ahead of the 2021 state assembly polls and said that her government will build brick houses for at least 3,694 workers in seven sick tea gardens in Jalpaiguri and Alipurduar districts under the 'Chai Sundari' scheme.

        Banerjee, in another announcement said that her government will regularise all refugee colonies in West Bengal, including those on land belonging to the state and the central governments.

        From now on self attestation would be accepted in all government offices even for issuance of caste certificates, she said at an administrative review meeting with officials of the tea growing districts of Alipurduar and Jalpaiguri.

        Work for building houses for tea workers of sick gardens will start within two months and the government will incur an expenditure of Rs 500 crore.

        The project which has been named 'Chai Sundari' will be completed in three years, she said.

        "We have planned the Chai Sundari scheme to build homes for the tea garden workers who have no homes. We have tried our best to help them but the tea garden workers are still neglected. People talk about their welfare whenever the elections are around. The tea workers have been demanding brick houses for a long time. Those workers who have no homes will be covered under the scheme," she said.

        In the phase one, the state government will build houses for at least 3,694 for seven sick tea gardens in Jalpaiguri (1,053) and Alipurduar (2,641) districts, she said.

        "We will cover all the rest of the tea gardens in the state in the next three years," Banerjee said adding that the housing department will be building the house in an arrangement with the land and labour department.

        The chief minister said that all the refugee colonies in West Bengal including those on state and central government lands besides on private lands will be regularised soon. For private and central government lands, the state cabinet has approved a new format.

        Banerjee directed all senior officials, including district magistrates to put up signboards on such lands stating the governemnt's decision to regularise them.

        She also said, "I do not want any tribal and SC/ST people to face any problem to get their (caste) certificates. There is no need to run after the officials to get attestation, self attestation is enough.

        "We have decided to allow self declaration.. It's our policy to end the ploy to block development and we will not allow it. I ask the DMs to look into this," she said.

        The chief minister asked the police of the two north Bengal districts to be "more active" since the area has international and inter-state borders and people from outside frequently visit the region with various intentions.

        She also asked the police to build a strong social network to combat circulation of fake news.

        "Local people like the Rajbanshis and adivasis are very simple people. If there is a small fight, there are those who try to take advantage of it and create disturbances", she said and referred to incidences in North Dinajpur.

        In July BJP MLA Debendra Nath Ray was found hanging near his Hemtabad home in North Dinajpur district. Though the post mortem report had said that Ray had committed suicide, the party and the deceased's family members have demanded CBI probe into the death.

        "There was a big difference between what had actually happened and what was spread. We have to look into it. We have to keep a close eye on the social networking sites," she said.

        Banerjee also alleged that a WhatsApp group was created to spread fake news on a temple demolition in Malda though there was no such incident.

        "We have to strengthen our watch on the social networking platforms. We are planning to deploy two policemen in every block to counter such attempts ... We have to prove the fake as fake. Every IC and BDO will have to look into it," she said.

        The Trinamool Congress government of Mamata Banerjee will seek to return to power for the third consecutive time in the state assembly poll due in April-May in 2021.












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        • Re : Latest News In and around Kolkata

          Kolkata civic body's property tax-waive offer kicks off with Rs 1 crore collection

          Besides filling specified forms for the waiver, which will be available at the assessment collection department at the borough level, those interested can pay online through the KMC portal or civic app.
          KOLKATA: Two days after Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) launched the interest waiver scheme on property tax on October 1, the civic body on Saturday mopped up over Rs 1.1 crore from four major defaulters who made the payments.

          One of the four applicants on Saturday handed a cheque of Rs 50 lakh to KMC board of administrators chairman Firhad Hakim. Another defaulter paid Rs 22 lakh in demand draft.

          Besides filling specified forms for the waiver, which will be available at the assessment collection department at the borough level, those interested can pay online through the KMC portal or civic app. Those who will apply physically, specified format will have to be submitted at treasury counters, e-Kolkata citizen service centres or at the unit offices of KMC assessment collection department.

          According to the scheme, 100% interest and penalty on outstanding property tax will be waived if dues are cleared within February 28, next year. But if a property owner fails to apply within the date, he/she will be entitled to 60% interest and 99% penalty on outstanding amount. This facility will continue till May 31, 2021.

          The civic body will also offer instalment facility to applicants. However, for those who will apply for instalments will need to clear the entire dues within the scheme deadline of May 31, 2021.

          According to the rules, an applicant who wants to avail of the scheme, will need to visit the KMC assessment collection department offices to receive the demand notice. The applicant can then pay the outstanding amount and get the benefits. Hakim said the scheme was planned to offer relief to defaulters, who were so far not paying because of the huge rate of interest and penalty levied on the actual amount due to non-payment of taxes on time.

          “We may lose some revenue because of the cent percent waiver of interest but at the same time, we will bring more property owners within the tax net. This way, our revenue will get augmented,” Hakim said. A KMC revenue official said the civic body would get tough on a section of major defaulters, who would still not take advantage of the current waiver scheme and cough up the dues.















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          • Re : Latest News In and around Kolkata

            Kolkata: Tenants make beeline out of New Town, flat-owners feel the pandemic pinch

            While there is no survey or data available on the extent of the impact of the pandemic on real estate yet, conversations with resident welfare associations do not paint a very encouraging picture.
            KOLKATA: The pandemic has triggered an exodus from New Town, the fledgling township to Kolkata’s east, as young professionals, expats and students have returned home, leaving behind vacant apartments and horrified landlords.

            Several sprawling complexes — which were largely occupied by people from other states working in the IT companies in Sector V and New Town — lie half-deserted as tenants have returned to their hometowns, with many of them either laid off or instructed to work from home for the rest of this year and the beginning of 2021. Even professional institutes have shifted to online classes, making it unnecessary for students to stay in New Town.

            While there is no survey or data available on the extent of the impact of the pandemic on real estate yet, conversations with resident welfare associations do not paint a very encouraging picture.

            Shukhobrishti in Action Area III, with over 1,500 ready apartments, has always been a preferred choice for those wanting to rent an apartment in New Town, due to availability and affordability. It also spawned an ecosystem of its own, with bus and toto routes connecting the township with several IT clusters in New Town and Sector V.

            “Of all the apartments in the township on rent to young professionals from the IT sector and students, almost 50% are empty, as many of them have left for their hometowns in Odisha, Bihar, Jharkhand and the northeast,” said Mainak Kanrar, joint secretary of the association. “Many students who usually rent apartments in a group, have also left.” The scene is similar at other housing complexes like NBCC Vibgyor, DLF Heights, Rameshwara Waterview, where several tenants have left.

            Over the last few years, New Town has emerged as a favoured destination for young professionals and students who work in IT companies in the township or study in one of the several professional institutes. Decent infrastructure, sprawling malls, an under-construction Metro network and green neighbourhoods have also att-racted several families.

            The current situation of lesser demand — and the consequent sudden supply surge — has driven down rental costs across the city and forced landlords to offer generous concessions, such as rent reduction and sharing of maintenance costs. Iman Gazi, a property broker in New Town-Rajarhat, said the inventory of apartments would most likely increase in the next few months as several tenants, struggling financially, have decided not to renew their rent agreements.

            “Earlier, the rent for a 2-BHK apartment in the heart of the township was anything between Rs 14,000 and Rs 16,000. Today, the landlords are willing to accept 20% to 25% lower rent, but are finding no takers,” said Gazi.

            This exodus has also started showing its impact on the local economy. Food vendors outside IT offices and residential complexes mostly sit idle and totos and buses on these routes don’t have enough passengers. Local bars, retail stores and even malls have reported depressing sales.

            “It has also dealt a huge blow to the local economy, with so many people leaving. Many people who worked as domestic helps, other service providers, local eateries, malls and public transport are bound to feel the impact,” said Samir Gupta, joint convener of the New Town Residents’ Welfare Forum.














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            • Re : Latest News In and around Kolkata

              Kolkata civic body's property tax-waive offer kicks off with Rs 1 crore collection

              Besides filling specified forms for the waiver, which will be available at the assessment collection department at the borough level, those interested can pay online through the KMC portal or civic app.
              KOLKATA: Two days after Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) launched the interest waiver scheme on property tax on October 1, the civic body on Saturday mopped up over Rs 1.1 crore from four major defaulters who made the payments.

              One of the four applicants on Saturday handed a cheque of Rs 50 lakh to KMC board of administrators chairman Firhad Hakim. Another defaulter paid Rs 22 lakh in demand draft.

              Besides filling specified forms for the waiver, which will be available at the assessment collection department at the borough level, those interested can pay online through the KMC portal or civic app. Those who will apply physically, specified format will have to be submitted at treasury counters, e-Kolkata citizen service centres or at the unit offices of KMC assessment collection department.

              According to the scheme, 100% interest and penalty on outstanding property tax will be waived if dues are cleared within February 28, next year. But if a property owner fails to apply within the date, he/she will be entitled to 60% interest and 99% penalty on outstanding amount. This facility will continue till May 31, 2021.

              The civic body will also offer instalment facility to applicants. However, for those who will apply for instalments will need to clear the entire dues within the scheme deadline of May 31, 2021.

              According to the rules, an applicant who wants to avail of the scheme, will need to visit the KMC assessment collection department offices to receive the demand notice. The applicant can then pay the outstanding amount and get the benefits. Hakim said the scheme was planned to offer relief to defaulters, who were so far not paying because of the huge rate of interest and penalty levied on the actual amount due to non-payment of taxes on time.

              “We may lose some revenue because of the cent percent waiver of interest but at the same time, we will bring more property owners within the tax net. This way, our revenue will get augmented,” Hakim said. A KMC revenue official said the civic body would get tough on a section of major defaulters, who would still not take advantage of the current waiver scheme and cough up the dues.










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              • Re : Latest News In and around Kolkata

                Housing societies reserve pre-Puja weekend to finalize guidelines for safe celebration in Kolkata


                The pandal being constructed inside a housing complex


                KOLKATA: Food packets sent to residents’ homes, cultural programmes in empty community halls in front of a camera, just a handful of chairs at Puja mandaps and curbs on entry of outsiders — housing societies across Kolkata are planning a slew of measures to the Puja days safe.

                For members and residents of housing societies, the weekends leading up to the Puja that were usually reserved for planning how to make their festivities grand are now devoted to fixing the rules to prevent crowding and maintaining the pandemic protocol while keeping the festive spirit alive.

                “This year we are trying to keep the festivities as low key as possible as there is some report of Covid infection in our complex every day. At present, 16 people are still infected and we cannot risk making grand plans for the Puja in such a scenario,” said Debjani Mukherjee, director, Urbana Facility Maintenance and senior VP of Bengal NRI Complex Ltd Urbana, which usually has air-conditioned pandals, will have a smaller and open-air structure this year, she said.

                At South City, community lunch and dinners have been scrapped and only a handful of chairs will be kept at the pandals to ensure only a limited number of residents can sit around the area at a time.

                “We will allow people time slots and engage queue managers at the time of bhog distribution. But at other times, there will be volunteers and guards to ensure people don’t crowd around the pandal,” said Manak Daga, president of South City Welfare Association.

                Cultural performances on Puja nights are also going to see some change this year. Almost all housing societies will either scrap them or take the virtual route. Upohar condominium will screen the programmes on a giant LED screen set up near the pandal. The performances will be recorded and shown online at the same time. “Many of our flats have balconies overlooking the greens and residents will be able to watch the screen from there. Flats without balconies on this side will be able to watch the show on their smart gadgets on social media,” said Sudeep Ganguly, spokesperson of the Puja committee.

                At Silver Spring, online competitions have been slotted and residents have started registering. “We will have multiple virtual competitions, like antakshari, a selfie competition with the goddess in the background of the frame and a photography competition,” said Ashok Baid, a senior resident of the complex on EM Bypass.

                An 11-point guideline for Durga Puja was issued by the state last week specifying that the festival will be spaced out over eight days beginning Tritiya. Based on these, several puja organizers are also set to finalize their programmes by this week. Meetings have been slated at Ruchira Residency and Abhishikta apartments this weekend. “We have cut down drastically on the rest of the expenses and there is no question of allowing people to sit together and watch performances like in the previous years. However, Covid has taught us how to connect virtually and seamlessly. We will use that to our advantage instead,” said Kaushik Mitra of Ruchira Residency.

                At New Town, representatives of complexes have been meeting NKDA officials for a final blueprint of the protocol that will be followed across the township.










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                • Re : Latest News In and around Kolkata

                  Hsg complexes finalize plans for a safe festival in Kolkata

                  Tamaghna Banerjee | TNN | Updated: Oct 19, 2020, 05:56 IST


                  Durga Puja


                  KOLKATA: Puja organizing committees at high-rise complexes in the city spent the weekend brainstorming ways to curtail crowding at their pandals. While some made last-minute changes, scaling down the arrangements and cancelling most residents’ involvement, some even called off the entire Puja celebrations.

                  At Saptaparni Co-operative Housing Society in Ballygunge, where a majority of residents are in the senior citizens’ category, the residents’ association has decided to suspend the Puja this year. “We will conduct a small two-hour-long “ghot puja” on one of the festive days, but there will be no pandal or idol worship,” said Indrani Chowdhury, secretary of the board of society at the complex.

                  At Merlin Warden Lakeview in Ultadanga, the puja arrangements are underway, but a decision was taken to outsource all activities on the festive days. “Our committee representatives and residents will limit their engagements with the puja arrangements. Security guards, cooks and helps have been hired to take care of things and outsiders’ entry to the pandal has also been restricted,” said Deepak Jaiswal, president of the residents’ association.

                  Several complexes at Theatre Road, Southern Avenue and Prince Anwar Shah Road are scaling down the celebrations. “Unlike the large pandal with activity zones and food kiosks on previous years, we will have a very small pandal,” said Neeraj Kapoor, the residents’ association secretary at Dimple Court on Theatre Road.

                  Major complexes on and off Bypass, however, said they were going ahead with the arrangements while maintaining all precaution. “No gathering will be allowed at the pandal. As for activities, we will have multiple virtual competitions,” said Ashok Baid, a senior resident of a complex on EM Bypass.











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