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Latest News In and around Kolkata

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  • Re : Latest News In and around Kolkata

    NGT seeks status report on wetlands

    Suman Chakraborti | Dec 25, 2020, 04:57 IST



    Kolkata: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has sought a status report from the state environment department, Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) and East Kolkata Wetland Management Authority (EKWMA) on the compliance of it’s previous orders on unauthorized constructions in the wetlands, fencing the entire area and coming up with an integrated management plan for its upkeep.

    The East Kolkata Wetlands is a Ramsar Site. The updated status report will have to be submitted before the bench when the matter comes up for hearing next on February 3, 2021.

    The NGT has also sought a report from the Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation on the status of fencing off the Mollar Bheri dumping ground and assessment of the environmental damage caused due to disposal of solid waste in the area.

    Green activist Subhas Datta, the petitioner in this matter, submitted that unauthorized encroachment has occurred on over 25% of the wetlands. “Only 4-5 of the unauthorized constructions have been demolished, but nothing has been done for the rest,” he said.

    Bidhannagar civic officials said that they had stopped dumping waste at Mollar Bheri last year and were disposing off waste at Dhapa.











    NGT seeks status report on wetlands | Kolkata News - Times of India (indiatimes.com)



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    • Re : Latest News In and around Kolkata

      Land row: Intellectuals protest against treatment meted out to Amartya Sen by Visva-Bharati

      PTI | Updated: Dec 27, 2020, 23:10 IST

      Amartya Sen (File photo)

      KOLKATA: Intellectuals of various fields on Sunday took part in a protest to express their support to Nobel laureate Amartya Sen on the row over his family being in "illegal" possession of land at Visva-Bharati, and denounced the "dictatorial and autocratic" conduct of the Central university towards him.

      Poets Joy Goswami and Subodh Sarkar, singer Kabir Suman, painters Jogen Chowdhury and Suvaprasanna, theatre personality-turned-minister Bratya Basu and others assembled at the compound of the Academy of Fine Arts here to raise their voice on the issue.

      They were holding placards saying "Will not accept BJP's insult to Bengalis", "Insult to Amartya Sen is insult to Bengalis".

      Visva-Bharati has recently written to the West Bengal government claiming that dozens of land parcels owned by it were wrongfully recorded in the names of private parties including Sen. The economist said that the entire land occupied by him on the campus was registered on a long term lease that was nowhere close to expiry.

      "I protest the dictatorial and autocratic conduct of Visva-Bharati with a personality like Amartya Sen. We are here to register our protest and opposition to the treatment meted out to Sen and express our solidarity with him, Goswami said.

      The vice-chancellor of Visva-Bharati was appointed by the BJP-led government at the Centre which is targeting Sen as he had never been afraid to air his views, Suman alleged.

      Basu said, "The BJP has always been opposed to free thinkers. We have assembled here to voice our protest. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has already pledged her solidarity to Amartya Sen."

      Banerjee, also the Trinamool Congress supremo, had claimed that the world renowned economist has been subjected to such attack by the present authorities of the university because of his ideological anti-BJP stance.

      The US-based economist, an icon of Bengali achievement on world stage, has often been critical of the Narendra Modi government's economic policies.

      Reacting to the protests, BJP state president Dilip Ghosh said, "Those intellectuals should keep in mind that the Trinamool Congress is fast losing the support of people of the state. They must remember that the TMC uses intellectuals only when it faces imminent defeat."

      At an event held on a different issue, senior CPI(M) leader and Left Front chairman Biman Bose said that the way Sen is being treated by Visva-Bharati authorities is most unfortunate.

      He said that the West Bengal government should hold discussions with the university authorities so that they stop treating the economist in this way.

      Sen was born in 1933 at Santiniketan, which is home to Visva-Bharati, the university founded by Rabindranath Tagore, another Nobel prize recipient and a Bengali icon.

      Visva-Bharati authorities had never complained to him or his family about any irregularity in holding the land, the economist said in a statement on the land controversy on Friday.












      Land row: Intellectuals protest against treatment meted out to Amartya Sen by Visva-Bharati | Kolkata News - Times of India (indiatimes.com)

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      • Re : Latest News In and around Kolkata

        Kolkata: NGT seeks status report on unauthorized constructions in wetlands

        The East Kolkata Wetlands is a Ramsar Site. The updated status report will have to be submitted before the bench when the matter comes up for hearing next on February 3, 2021.

        KOLKATA: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has sought a status report from the state environment department, Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) and East Kolkata Wetland Management Authority (EKWMA) on the compliance of it’s previous orders on unauthorized constructions in the wetlands, fencing the entire area and coming up with an integrated management plan for its upkeep.

        The East Kolkata Wetlands is a Ramsar Site. The updated status report will have to be submitted before the bench when the matter comes up for hearing next on February 3, 2021.

        The NGT has also sought a report from the Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation on the status of fencing off the Mollar Bheri dumping ground and assessment of the environmental damage caused due to disposal of solid waste in the area.

        Green activist Subhas Datta, the petitioner in this matter, submitted that unauthorized encroachment has occurred on over 25% of the wetlands. “Only 4-5 of the unauthorized constructions have been demolished, but nothing has been done for the rest,” he said.

        Bidhannagar civic officials said that they had stopped dumping waste at Mollar Bheri last year and were disposing off waste at Dhapa.











        Kolkata: NGT seeks status report on unauthorized constructions in wetlands, Real Estate News, ET RealEstate (indiatimes.com)










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        • Re : Latest News In and around Kolkata

          Ambuja Neotia, Satyaa Homes to jointly develop 72-acre township in Kolkata

          Ambuja Neotia Group is the development management partner, while Satyaa Group will bring in its land parcel into the alliance. HDFC Capital Advisors will be the finance partner of the project.
          Realty developer Ambuja Neotia Group has entered into an agreement with Satyaa Homes to jointly develop a 72-acre land parcel in Kolkata's Rajarhat locality in the first ever mega land transaction in the New Year.

          Ambuja Neotia Group is the development management partner, while Satyaa Group will bring in its land parcel into the alliance.

          HDFC Capital Advisors will be the finance partner of the project.

          The joint project will entail an integrated township with villas, apartments and large plotted development to be completed in five years.

          Total development potential of the project, at a floor space index (FSI) of 2.5 times, would be in the range of around 8 million sq ft.

          "Today, customers are looking forward to a small home of their own on a freehold property where they can have a private patch of green” said Harshavardhan Neotia, Chairman - Ambuja Neotia Group. “This is more so in the post-pandemic world."

          The transaction was facilitated by Anarock Property Consultants' Land Services division.

          "The deal is well-timed, aligning with the renewed aspirations in Kolkata for quality homes in superlative settings. Rajarhat's residential sector offers options across all budget segments but the affordable segment is predominant, accounting for nearly 54% of the housing supply here. Mid-end segment housing accounts for only around 29% of the region's residential supply," said Soumendu Chatterjee, Director & City Head - Kolkata, ANAROCK Property Consultants.

          This is also one of the largest project alliances formed in eastern India in recent times.

          The last major township project in Rajarhat was a 100-acre residential project by Unitech called Uniworld.

          It was completed around 10 years ago and is situated next to the Unitech SEZ, which was later acquired by Brookfield and is now known as Candor Tech Park.

          A prominent micro-market in the north-eastern side of Kolkata, Rajarhat is home to major IT-ITeS companies like Cognizant Technology Solutions, Tech Mahindra, Tata Consultancy Services, and Ericsson India Global Services, among others.

          According to local brokers, residential property prices in the vicinity are around Rs 1,400 to Rs 1,500 sq ft.

          Large property developers with established market positions, strong balance sheets and adequate liquidity have weathered the ongoing uncertain business environment caused by Covid-19 pandemic better than smaller entities.

          Consequently, the ongoing consolidation of the sector is expected to accelerate further, with larger and more established players gaining increased market share.













          Ambuja Neotia, Satyaa Homes to jointly develop 72-acre township in Kolkata, Real Estate News, ET RealEstate (indiatimes.com)


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          • Re : Latest News In and around Kolkata

            Kolkata: NDITA plans to introduce UAA in Sector V

            “We have placed our recommendation to the West Bengal Valuation Board to introduce the UAA tax structure for Sector V. They will formally issue the notification,” said a senior NDITA official.
            KOLKATA: The Nabadiganta Industrial Township Authority (NDITA) is planning to introduce unit area assessment (UAA) system of property tax collection in Sector V. Under the UAA system, tax payers will have to submit an online self-assessment form and pay the tax accordingly for each quarters.

            “We have placed our recommendation to the West Bengal Valuation Board to introduce the UAA tax structure for Sector V. They will formally issue the notification,” said a senior NDITA official.

            Currently, all establishments in Sector V pay their property tax following the old system based on rental value calculation system. “There are about 1,200 holdings in Sector V, including all office complexes and IT companies,” the official added. NDITA has been collecting around Rs 60 crore or Rs 70 crore property tax in every financial year till date. “Last year we had collected about Rs 66 crore,” said the official.

            Once the UAA system of property tax is introduced, the amount of tax would not increase manifold. “It has been considered to see that the tax burden does not increase. There might be only a 5% to 10% of difference in the tax structure,” said an official.












            Kolkata: NDITA plans to introduce UAA in Sector V, Real Estate News, ET RealEstate (indiatimes.com)

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            • Re : Latest News In and around Kolkata

              Clean environment invites birds and butterflies back to city this winter

              Bishwabijoy Mitra | TNN | Jan 13, 2021, 03:57 IST

              Cyclone Amphan wreaked havoc on the city’s biodiversity by uprooting hundreds of trees. People thought that it would take years for Kolkata to overcome the loss. However, according to city environmentalists, the lockdown and the consequent decrease in human activity led nature to recover faster than anticipated.

              Migratory butterflies make their presence felt

              Environmentalists, especially the butterfly enthusiasts in the city have noticed that compared to previous years, the pollution level is much lower now and because of that, many rare butterflies have started nesting in their gardens. “Though the pollution level increased in October and November, it is still lower than usual. A few migratory butterflies like Gowdy baron have also appeared in my garden. You can also find other varieties, like lesser grass blue, common blue Apollo, common mime, common Mormon and common baron,” said Somenath Pal Das, adding that butterflies, being extremely sensitive to climate change, are markers of a good environment.



              Bird sighting gone up

              Meanwhile the birders are also excited about the number of sightings taking place in and around the city. On Sunday, a group of birders, lead by senior birder Shubhankar Patra, conducted a preliminary census of migratory birds that appeared this year at Santragachi Lake and the result was quite surprising. “Despite the rising temperature, we have counted 6431 birds at the lake. Though it was a preliminary count, the number was no less than that for sure. I think that’s a significant rise as the average number of birds at the lake usually varies between 3000 and 4000,” Shubhankar added.

              Birders have also spotted several rare species of birds in Rajarhat and Rabindra Sarovar area, including violet cuckoo and spotted crake.



              Lockdown, monsoon and no firecrackers helped birds breed

              According to ornithologist Sumit Sen, if the birds are appearing it means they are getting good food and shelter. “By the first week of January, about 40% of the green cover destroyed by Amphan was back. Also, trees have been replanted and existing trees have also grown in the last eight months,” he said.

              Environmentalist Subhash Dutta informed that after May 20, south Bengal has seen a good monsoon and that prompted a good growth of trees. Besides, due to the lockdown and the ongoing pandemic, Kolkata Municipal Corporation skipped the pre-Puja pruning which helped a lot. “The parks and lakes have not been cleaned for several months and there has been massive undergrowth. Muted Durga Puja and Kali Puja celebrations was also another reason. Without firecrackers and lights, the birds and insects could breed peacefully,” added Sumit.










              Clean environment invites birds and butterflies back to city this winter | Kolkata News - Times of India (indiatimes.com)
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              • Re : Latest News In and around Kolkata

                Rebuild gutted homes: West Bengal CM to KMC

                Saikat Ray & Dwaipayan Ghosh | TNN | Updated: Jan 15, 2021, 07:33 IST

                The gutted area

                KOLKATA: Chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday asked KMC Board of Administrators (BoA) chairman Firhad Hakim to take care of the housing needs of over 1,500 slum dwellers at Hazar Basti in Bagbazar whose shanties were gutted in a devastating fire on Wednesday. After surveying the charred homes on Thursday morning, Banerjee assured the residents that KMC would do everything in its capacity to ensure they could return home at the earliest. At present, the homeless are temporarily housed in the adjoining Bagbazar Women’s College, a community hall and two under-construction buildings in the locality.

                “All the shanties will be rebuilt by KMC within 48 hours of the debris being cleared,” the CM said.



                Banerjee’s visit soothed tempers in the area. An hour before her visit, irate locals had blocked Kshirode Vidyavinode Avenue to protest against the barricading of the gutted site by police. “We have lost everything in the fire. Now, we are being stopped from retrieving whatever little is left,” a youth said.

                Police, however, denied the allegation and said they were only trying to ensure that the residents entered the hazardous site in an orderly manner.

                A section of the slum inhabitants later demanded the government build permanent dwelling units for them. Bapi Ghosh, the local KMC ward coordinator, said that since construction of brick-and-mortar homes was time consuming, the 135 affected families — 1,500-odd people — of Hazar Basti would be provided makeshift dwelling units for now.

                However, it wasn’t just KMC that lent a helping hand to the homeless. Since early morning, civic volunteers and members of several NGOs provided meals to those affected. The civic body, too, distributed rice, pulses, vegetables, eggs and milk. Clothes and blankets were also distributed among the slum residents.

                “Everything has been reduced to ashes. I am lucky to have escaped with my children unhurt,” said Arati Das while surveying her charred shanty. She has taken shelter at the college.

                Most slum-dwellers are struggling with not just the loss of belongings but also their identities since all documents — Aadhaar cards, ration cards and voter ID cards — have gone up in smoke.

                Suraj Thakur, whose wife, two children and mother survived the fire, displayed his driving licence, saying, “This is the only document my family now has. I was carrying it while driving. Everything else is gone.”

                “My husband is a labourer and I work as a domestic help. With everything gone, I do not know how I will get ration now,” said Sagarika Bhuniya.

                It wasn’t just slum dwellers who were affected though. Residents of a four-storey building that was singed and subsequently developed cracks are also facing uncertainty.

                On Thursday evening, a two-member forensic team accompanied Shyampukur police to the site. The sleuths spent nearly two hours collecting samples and inspecting craters left behind by LPG cylinders that had exploded during the fire. The team also spent considerable time near the local meter box. Sources in the forensic department said they will not speculate on the case. “We will wait for laboratory reports and specific footage that police will provide on the fire,” said an expert.










                Rebuild gutted homes: West Bengal CM to KMC | Kolkata News - Times of India (indiatimes.com)

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                • Re : Latest News In and around Kolkata

                  Kolkata: Rough rides on Salt Lake cratered roads


                  Suman Chakraborti | TNN | Updated: Jan 17, 2021, 08:12 IST

                  Potholes on road near Tank number 5

                  KOLKATA: Roads in many parts of Salt Lake are in poor state with no major repair work taking place last year. Motorists often have to manoeuvre the potholed or cratered spots while riding.

                  There are a number of such places across Salt Lake where potholes or craters have developed and are yet to be repaired with new bitumen layer. A portion of the road at Baisakhi crossing that was earlier dug up had been covered up with bricks and the surface has remained uneven making motorists to carefully bypass the spot while passing through.

                  TimesView

                  It would help if repairs can start early and be completed well before monsoon. Election-related disruption, too, should be taken into account.

                  Each year, condition of roads in the township deteriorates, particularly during the monsoon. The Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation authorities had carried a pre-Puja patchwork last year after the urban development department sanctioned about Rs 10 crore in two phases but no thorough repairs took place due to the Covid pandemic.


                  Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation officials said that a Rs 140 crore road repair proposal for all its 41 wards across Salt Lake and Rajarhat has been placed to the urban development department and they are waiting for a clearance.

                  Only a few stretches in Salt Lake that were in most terrible condition, like the 200-metre Anindita More-bound stretch from Tank 13, were repaired but in quite a few places, potholes and craters have resurfaced, including on the main and avenue roads. Motorists often complain that they need to constantly remain alert.

                  "It is really a problem while riding bikes. Craters and potholes make a ride very risky," said Avik Ray Chaudhuri, a resident of GD Block.

                  Four-wheeler drivers also face the same problem. "The condition of roads in many places, specially inside the blocks, is terrible. In some places the road seems to have caved in," said Anamika Poira Paul, a resident of CE Block.

                  Civic officials said patchwork is done as and when there's requirement. "We are awaiting the government's funding for thorough repair," said an official.











                  Kolkata: Rough rides on Salt Lake cratered roads | Kolkata News - Times of India (indiatimes.com)
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                  • Re : Latest News In and around Kolkata

                    Larger apartment, study: WFH impact on home space requirement

                    TNN | Jan 22, 2021, 04:00 IST






                    Kolkata: Post lockdown, home buyers are looking for larger apartments and are willing to shell out more for the additional space.

                    “Buyers are seeking larger living rooms and balconies, and an additional study if budget permits. They are willing to spend 10%-15% more for a house that fits their specifications,” said Belani group managing director Nandu Belani, who is also chairman of the Bengal chapter of Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India.

                    A study by Anarock Property Consultants, a real estate services company, revealed that the average home size had increased from 1,000sqft in 2019 to 1,100sqft in 2020.

                    Anarock chairman Anuj Puri said, “The two main reasons for apartment sizes reducing in previous years were affordability and millennials’ preference for low-maintenance homes. Keen to generate more buyer interest with smaller price tags, developers whittled down their flat sizes. Last year saw an almost immediate reversal of buyer preferences.

                    With the accent suddenly being on accommodating the work-from-home (WFH) and learn-from-home (LFH) culture, flat sizes began increasing for the first time in four years.”

                    Merlin group managing director Sushil Mohta said the demand for a larger apartment size had been witnessed across categories. “Those looking for budget apartments want a slightly larger living space to get a corner for a table to do office work. Those with a slightly bigger budget want an additional room to convert into a study,” said Mohta, who is also the chairman of the West Bengal chapter of Credai.

                    The demand for additional workspace, realtors said, is a reflection of the experience people had during the lockdown when they realized the true worth of a home. Even after unlock, IT professionals, teachers, students and many more continue to work, teach or study from home.

                    NK Realtors had, in June-July, discovered that 30% of customers wanted to purchase larger homes. Developers in Kolkata said that figure has shot up with 70%-80% now keen on additional space and are redrafting the plans of projects that are yet to be launched.

                    Mohta said while sale of homes may be static, there is also a shift in preference to credible developers. “Real estate firms that have a good reputation are getting more business. Some of them have even been able to increase the price by 10% after several years,” he said.












                    Larger apartment, study: WFH impact on home space requirement | Kolkata News - Times of India (indiatimes.com)
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