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Latest News In and around Kolkata

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  • Re : Latest News In and around Kolkata

    Business scope for central Kolkata hotels after cave-ins

    Zeeshan Javed / TNN / Updated: Nov 13, 2022, 07:56 IST



    Two of the hotels in central Kolkata where families displaced due to the subsidences in Bowbazar have been staying for a long time

    KOLKATA: Two incidents of subsidence within six months at the East West Metro site in Bowbazar have increased demand for hotel rooms in central Kolkata, where displaced families have been staying long-term. Several hotels in central Kolkata have been full for the past 21 days since the third subsidence in three years.

    Most hotels have been grappling with losses during the pandemic, during which flow of tourists had dried up. However, close to 200 people were shifted to hotel rooms after the latest cave-in in the area, while several of the 160 people shifted to hotel rooms after the incident in May are still there.

    "The bulk of our rooms are occupied by displaced families from Bowbazar. In 2019, as well as in May this year, several families stayed with us for long periods of time," said a representative of Green Inn on Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Road.

    Many families have spent Kali Puja, Diwali and Chhath in hotel rooms. "We have been staying in a hotel for the past three weeks. We don't know how long we will have to stay here," said Sourav Shaw, who is staying in Green Inn.

    Some of the hotels that have been taken up this time are Beeu Hotel on BB Ganguly Street, Minerva and Broadway on Ganesh Chandra Avenue, Central Hotel in Chandni, and Green Inn on Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Road.

    Additionally, most families have been eating in the hotels, prompting them to adapt their menu according to the patrons' tastes. "There are many children and elderly people staying here who have different dietary requirements. Many of them requested us to change a few things, which we have done," said the manager at Minerva Hotel on Ganesh Chandra Avenue.









    Business scope for central Kolkata hotels after cave-ins | Kolkata News - Times of India (indiatimes.com)
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    • Re : Latest News In and around Kolkata

      Streetwise Kolkata: Old China Bazar Street, a colonial marketplace that is witnessing rapid change

      One of the earliest written records of this street can be found in British lithographer Mark Wood’s 1784 ‘Map of Calcutta’. In the Bengal Agra Directory of 1850, the street is also called ‘poorahnah cheenabazar’, with ‘cheenabazar’ being the Hindi pronunciation of China Bazar, one that is continued to be used today.

      Historian P Thankappan Nair, author of A History of Calcutta’s Streets, writes that the street may have gotten its name because of the Chinese goods that were sold there. In the early years of British colonial rule, merchant ships would operate between Calcutta and China’s Canton province, and the business of trading thrived between the two regions.

      In his travelogue titled The Good Old Days of Honourable John Company, author W H Carey gives a vivid description of Old China Bazar Street, referenced as Old China Bazar in his writings.



      Express Photo by Neha Banka

      “The “Old China” Bazar is far more extensive than the new one….but the shops are smaller, the European wares exposed for sale are fewer in quantity, less novel, therefore less esteemed. This however, is the best place to procure country-made furniture and many other articles, amongst which may be reckoned books, second-hand or new, purchased by natives who drive a trade by attending auctions for this purpose. They are more profound bibliopolists than a stranger would suppose, being not only acquainted with the names of the best authors in the different European languages, and of the standard works, but they can likewise distinguish the most valuable editions of each. In passing through this crowded mart your palkee is closely beset by a swarm of skirmishers from the shops on each side, all of them bawling and chattering in broken English and Bengalee, and almost distracting you by their importunities to enter their shops,” Carey writes.

      Carey goes on to give descriptive details of the experiences he had with his companions in Old China Bazar, adding that the collection of goods did not impress him much because he was accustomed to viewing and purchasing goods of superior quality in London. Still, Carey mentions that the shops of Old China Bazar did manage to entice his companions to the extent that they purchased goods worth 100 rupees.

      Express Photo by Neha Banka

      A name commonly pops up across shop fronts while walking down this street today: Nanda Lal Paul & Bros, sometimes with an alternative spelling ‘Nundolall Paul & Co.’ The company continues to occupy and operate several shops on this street, with the most striking being a large shop that operates out of a building that was built in 1890, according to inscriptions on its wall.

      While most old structures on this street are now gone and have been replaced with newer construction, some a few decades old, the building that houses Nanda Lal Paul & Bros’ shop has remained standing, and remarkably well, as its exteriors show. The shop front too mentions that Nanda Lal Paul & Bros was established in 1890, and is in operation even today, indicating that the establishment of the building and the year the company started operations coincided.

      The Paul family that owns these shops and properties appears to have diversified its business, which appears to be managed by the family members themselves, although it was difficult to verify this independently.

      One of the interesting businesses that Nanda Lal Paul & Bros operates is that of manufacturing umbrellas but local shopkeepers on this street told indianexpress.com that during the winter months, post-October, the company also serves as local dealers for fireworks that they bring in from southern states like Tamil Nadu.

      Express Photo by Neha Banka

      Locals say that the company’s decision was likely rooted in simple economics. With the end of the monsoon season in West Bengal after October, the umbrella manufacturers found a decline in the demand for umbrellas, requiring them to search for alternative sources of income, like selling fireworks which were popular during the string of festivals that occur in autumn, necessary to keep the shops running and to make timely payments to employees.

      The large old building on this street was likely fully owned by Nanda Lal Paul & Bros, but today, several other shops and offices have opened up here, occupying parts of the old building, possibly on rental agreements.

      Within Old China Bazar Street, a local marketplace called BK Shaw Market operates from inside a corner-side old building, selling office supplies and other objects required in the city’s business district. However, on the day that indianexpress.com visited, this marketplace was closed.

      Like most of the city’s older neighbourhoods, Old China Bazar Street is also witnessing change. No Chinese-run businesses operate here anymore, and the street’s name is the neighbourhood’s only indication of its association with the city’s Chinese community and its trade links with China.











      Streetwise Kolkata: Old China Bazar Street, a colonial marketplace that is witnessing rapid change | Cities News,The Indian Express

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      • Re : Latest News In and around Kolkata

        How the old houses of Kolkata are learning to stand on their own feet

        Read more at:
        https://realty.economictimes.indiati...-feet/95486987



        Architects say these old houses reflect Kolkata’s distinctive architectural legacy and reimagining them in the contemporary context is the need of the hour.


        Old Kolkata houses that are neither heritage buildings nor supported by conservation grants are finding novel ways to raise money for their upkeep. Some with picturesque interiors are rented out for photo and film shoots, or have been turned into cafes and heritage homestays.

        At the 200-year-old Barrister Babur Bari in Beleghata, a pillared courtyard, arched corridors, red-oxide floors and slatted French windows transport you to a bygone age. While developers have had their eyes on it for years, 79-year-old Nandita Basu is determined to keep the house intact.

        “This house is an emotion for us. We have many memories connected with it,” says her daughter Krishnakali. When her father passed away in 2017, developers approached them with offers to buy. Their co-owners were also eager to sell, but mother and daughter had other ideas. “We decided to open an Instagram page and rent out the house for photo, film and web-series shoots. We now have a healthy number of bookings,” says Krishnakali.

        They had to go through two difficult years to get here. During the pandemic they dug into their savings to repair and maintain the house. Krishnakali says they are now ready to collaborate with people interested in converting the house into a homestay.

        Big Financial Commitment

        “This is like preserving a white elephant,” says Sayan Bhanja, who has renovated his mother’s ancestral house at Gopal Bose Lane in one of Kolkata’s oldest neighbourhoods. Owners of old houses know that feeling well because they are constantly spending on repairs – repainting walls, plugging leaks in ceilings, and fixing broken plumbing.

        With its green-shuttered windows, pillared courtyards, long, red-floored verandahs, Bhanja’s house “encapsulates time and defines a neighbourhood,” he says, adding, “these houses have a legacy that needs to be retained. ” He rents out the lawns, verandahs and two rooms of the more than 150 years old house for photoshoots, and plans to open a heritage-themed cafe in it.


        Finding A Business Plan

        A five-minute walk from Bhanja’shouse brings you to a colourful cafe named Baithak Khana at a 200-year-old house near Vidyasagar College in North Kolkata. With graffitied walls and wooden seats, this dimly-lit joint has become a favourite of college-goers.

        “My sister Archita and I started the cafe in 2019. Then the pandemic hit us and we had to remain closed until December last year,” says Banibrata Nath Khan, coowner. They started the cafe to make use of the ground floor in a sustainable way. “Since there are a few schools and colleges nearby, we thought of opening a cafe where people could have pocket friendly food as well as space for ‘adda’,” explains Banibrata.

        The Olde House Eatery in a narrow alley off Southern Avenue also evokes nostalgia. The restaurant occupies the ground floor of a 90-year-old three-storey house. “Most people nowadays give old houses to promoters, but I did not want to do that. I love feeding people so I thought of turning the house into an eatery,” says owner Manju Datta. She has restored and reused all the old furniture, and retained the house’s green-shuttered windows. The second floor is rented out for private parties and get-togethers.

        Then there’s Zs’ Precinct on Dover Lane, a museum-cum-art space inside a three-storey art deco building from the 1930s. The collection includes contemporary saris, jewellery, showpieces. Italso has a kitchen serving ‘heritage recipes’ of now-closed restaurants. Curator Rajesh Sen says the owners were finding it hard to maintain but did not want it to make way for a multistorey building. “They rented it out to me since my idea excited them. I wanted to restore the house without erasing its age or character. The red-oxide flooring, light fittings, furniture, doors, windows, air vents and even the old wooden letter box have been kept intact. ”

        Rooms With A View

        A few kilometres outside the city, ‘Nihar on the Ganges’ is a sprawling century-old house with a garden on the riverbank. Diyali Biswas inherited the property from her grandparents and turned it into a popular destination for day-outs after restoration.

        “The house and the garden bore the brunt of Amphan (cyclone in May 2020), and we had to renovate it. So we thought of using it as a day-out destination,” says Biswas. “Since it is on the banks of the Ganges, guests canenjoy a magnificent sunset from here. We have also started an inhouse travel cafe and it has become popular. ” Likewise, Rashbari Garden House in Belur has been converted into a heritage homestay with facilities for picnics and day-outs. Atanu Daw, a member of the famous Shibkrishna Daw family, took the initiative to restore the neglected Rashbari. “The revenue from Rashbari Garden House is utilised for its maintenance,” he says.

        Need Of The Hour

        Architects say these old houses reflect Kolkata’s distinctive architectural legacy and reimagining them in the contemporary context is the need of the hour. “Cafes and homestays in such properties can evoke an old-world charm and attract lots of people, if done properly,” says G M Kapur, state convenor of heritage body Intach.

        Architect Gopa Sen also hailed such initiatives and said there is nothing like reutilising old buildings and earning money from them, instead of razing them.
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        • Re : Latest News In and around Kolkata

          After pavements, hawkers spread ware web on roads in central Kolkata’s business hub

          Zeeshan Javed / TNN / Updated: Nov 15, 2022, 10:21 IST



          A part of Canning Street blocked by hawkers

          KOLKATA: Hawkers have grabbed more space on pavements and carriageways in central business district over the past few weeks, businessmen and administrative officials have alleged. Some broad roads and lanes have become off limits to motorists and other public vehicles as huge portions of carriageways have also been encroached.

          Market committees said they had written to their respective police stations about the increase in encroachment but no action had been taken. In many pockets, two files of hawkers have come up, blocking shops and showrooms that pay lakhs in rents and other overhead costs but have to incur losses due to squatters.

          Kolkata Municipal Corporation, cops and hawkers’ representatives are jointly conducting a hawker survey at the city’s three major hawking zones — Gariahat, New Market and Hatibagan.

          Some of the pockets in the central business district where fresh encroachments have been reported are Canning Street, Pollock Street, Ezra Street, Burrabazar Street, Old China Bazar Street, Armenian Street, Cotton Street, New CIT Road, Maulana Shaukat Ali Street and Rabindra Sarani, among others.

          “There has been an increase in the number of hawkers for the last few months. Earlier, the entire pavement was encroached upon but now they have even started occupying the carriageway. In many pockets, there are two files of hawkers on the same stretch. Food hawkers fire up huge ovens and have utensils filled with boiling oil, which can be very risky for the pedestrians,” said the secretary of a popular market on Canning Street who did not wish to be named.

          Several shopkeepers alleged that they were paying very high rent along with GST, power bills, property tax and other overhead costs but their business was suffering due to the hawkers.

          Traders and shop owners either have to park their vehicles far from their establishments or take public vehicle to work. “There is no parking space anywhere near the markets. All the stretches have been encroached upon,” said another trader.











          After Pavements, Hawkers Spread Ware Web On Roads In Central Kolkata’s Business Hub | Kolkata News - Times of India (indiatimes.com)


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          • Re : Latest News In and around Kolkata

            After pavements, hawkers spread ware web on roads in central Kolkata’s business hub

            Zeeshan Javed / TNN / Updated: Nov 15, 2022, 10:21 IST



            A part of Canning Street blocked by hawkers

            KOLKATA: Hawkers have grabbed more space on pavements and carriageways in central business district over the past few weeks, businessmen and administrative officials have alleged.

            Some broad roads and lanes have become off limits to motorists and other public vehicles as huge portions of carriageways have also been encroached.

            Market committees said they had written to their respective police stations about the increase in encroachment but no action had been taken. In many pockets, two files of hawkers have come up, blocking shops and showrooms that pay lakhs in rents and other overhead costs but have to incur losses due to squatters.

            Kolkata Municipal Corporation, cops and hawkers’ representatives are jointly conducting a hawker survey at the city’s three major hawking zones — Gariahat, New Market and Hatibagan.
            Some of the pockets in the central business district where fresh encroachments have been reported are Canning Street, Pollock Street, Ezra Street, Burrabazar Street, Old China Bazar Street, Armenian Street, Cotton Street, New CIT Road, Maulana Shaukat Ali Street and Rabindra Sarani, among others.

            “There has been an increase in the number of hawkers for the last few months. Earlier, the entire pavement was encroached upon but now they have even started occupying the carriageway. In many pockets, there are two files of hawkers on the same stretch. Food hawkers fire up huge ovens and have utensils filled with boiling oil, which can be very risky for the pedestrians,” said the secretary of a popular market on Canning Street who did not wish to be named.

            Several shopkeepers alleged that they were paying very high rent along with GST, power bills, property tax and other overhead costs but their business was suffering due to the hawkers.
            Traders and shop owners either have to park their vehicles far from their establishments or take public vehicle to work. “There is no parking space anywhere near the markets. All the stretches have been encroached upon,” said another trader.










            After Pavements, Hawkers Spread Ware Web On Roads In Central Kolkata’s Business Hub | Kolkata News - Times of India (indiatimes.com)
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            • Re : Latest News In and around Kolkata

              Segregation of waste across Kolkata from December 1

              Saikat Ray / TNN / Updated: Nov 19, 2022, 06:18 IST



              While the blue bins will be used to collect non- biodegradable or recycled waste, the green ones will be given to collect biodegradable waste

              KOLKATA: From next month, citizens across all 144 wards in Kolkata will have to segregate their waste into bio-degradable and non-degradable before handing it to waste collectors in the morning. Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) has set a December 1 deadline for introduction of waste segregation in the city. At present, the segregated waste is collected in 27 city wards.

              The move follows a diktat from the National Green Tribunal (NGT) that had imposed a heavy fine on the state for failing to act on its earlier order on segregating and managing waste. "We are gearing up to introduce waste segregation across the city from December 1. This will not only help in enhancing the cleanliness of our city but also reduce the burden on the landfill site," said mayor Firhad Hakim.

              According to a KMC solid waste management department official, KMC has decided to procure 31 lakh waste bins that will be distributed to homes. "We have already received the lion's share of the bins. We will get the rest before we introduce the waste segregation for the entire city," said a KMC SWM department official.

              The civic body has appealed to the Centre and the state for grants to purchase the bins that will be handed to households. Each household will get two bins, one for compostable kitchen waste and other dry waste. An official said they needed to act fast as the NGT would review the city's waste management system after six months.

              Besides deciding on buying waste bins in large numbers, the civic brass has also invited a tender for procurement of battery operated hydraulic dumpers for effective and fast removal of collected wastes from city's lakhs of households after introduction of the waste segregation system. These dumpers will collect segregated wastes from households and transport the same to the compactor stations. The segregated wastes will finally be taken to Dhapa dumping ground.

              But, some KMC SWM department officials felt the civic body needed to hire more waste collectors to make the segregation policy a success.

              "After this, we will need to include added areas under the scheme," said an official, adding that managing wastes in added areas like Behala, Garden Reach, parts of Tollygunge-Jadavpur and neighbourhoods off Bypass was difficult for want of manpower.

              Besides handing two waste bins each to the households for the segregation of domestic wastes, the civic body will need to procure special large shaped bins for carrying segregated wastes to compactor stations. The wastes thus collected from households will finally be transported to Dhapa. KMC officials will keep a vigil on households that will not hand over the wastes in segregation.

              The KMC solid waste management department has planned several processing units for segregated waste. It will set up a plant to produce compressed natural gas from household waste once the scheme is made functional across all wards.










              Segregation of waste across Kolkata from December 1 | Kolkata News - Times of India (indiatimes.com)
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              • Re : Latest News In and around Kolkata

                Kolkata civic body seeks law change, jail for owners of unclean plots

                Read more at:
                https://realty.economictimes.indiati...plots/95584570



                If the owners do not comply with the order, the civic body’s solid waste management department will take up the responsibility of cleaning the plots but will add the expenditure to their property tax bills.


                KOLKATA: The KMC has decided to seek imprisonment of owners if their vacant plots and unattended premises turn into dumping grounds, which in turn, become the breeding spots of mosquitoes.

                Mayor Firhad Hakim on Wednesday said he had written to the state government. asking for an amendment to the existing civic law that would enable officials concerned to book owners, who would fail to comply with the KMC health department’s repeated orders to clean their plots and premises. The civic body has come up with the step to check dengue.

                As a first warning, the KMC health department will issue notices to residents, asking them to clean out the debris and water. If the owners do not comply with the order, the civic body’s solid waste management department will take up the responsibility of cleaning the plots but will add the expenditure to their property tax bills. If garbage is again found to pile up or water accumulate there, the civic authorities will lodge a complaint at the court, seeking a heavy penalty or imprisonment for erring owners.

                Hakim said the civic body had been struggling to fight dengue in large parts of south Kolkata, especially due to vacant plots lying uncleaned. “Around 75% dengue cases have been taking place in Tollygunge, Jadavpur, Baghajatin, Santoshpur, Kalikapur, Kasba, Garfa Haltu, Patuli and neighbourhoods off EM Bypass. Since the number of vacant plots in north Kolkata is fewer, dengue cases there have been under control,” said a KMC health department official. Water bodies and canals in Behala, Jadavpur and along Bypass were also contributing to dengue cases, he said.
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                • Re : Latest News In and around Kolkata

                  Kolkata: No parking zone below Gariahat flyover puts motorists in a fix

                  Saikat Ray / TNN / Updated: Nov 20, 2022, 05:30 IST



                  Car parking temporarily shut under the flyover

                  KOLKATA: The space below the Gariahat flyover, where 200-250 cars and as many two-wheelers could park in a day, has been cordoned off, leaving motorists flummoxed.

                  Those who drove down Syed Amir Ali Avenue and Gariahat Road South used to park their vehicles under the flyover while they went shopping. There were also some regulars - guardians of children who study in schools around the area - who parked their cars around the time schools got over to pick them up.

                  They have to now either turn left or right into Rashbehari Avenue and find a parking slot there. This is particularly challenging during busy hours like early afternoon when schools disperse for the day or evening when shoppers converge in the area.

                  Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) parking department officials said the disruption was temporary and that motorists would have to bear with the inconvenience as the agency that controlled the lots at the two sections of the flyover had surrendered their contract citing losses.

                  "The money that we are supposed to shell out to KMC is proving non-remunerative at the current parking rate. Once the new rate that has been approved is implemented, it will be viable again," said an official of the agency.

                  A KMC official said talks were underway with another agency that took part in tender process. "We hope to reach an agreement soon," he said.

                  "Since it may take days, weeks and months for KMC to finalise a new agency and it won't be making any money till then from the parking lots under Gariahat flyover, what would have been the harm to allow citizens to continue parking their cars?" wondered Moon Moon Roychowdhury of Jadavpur.

                  Meanwhile, the revenue of a mechanical parking operated by KMC under the flyover that charges Rs 35 per hour, several times more than the Rs 10 regular parking rate, has seen occupancy go up three-four times due to paucity of parking space elsewhere.











                  Kolkata: No parking zone below Gariahat flyover puts motorists in a fix | Kolkata News - Times of India (indiatimes.com)
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                  • Re : Latest News In and around Kolkata

                    300 students write to West Bengal govt for clean air

                    TNN / Updated: Nov 23, 2022, 06:15 IST



                    Image used for representational purpose only

                    KOLKATA: Around 300 school students from Bengal wrote an open letter to the government for its active intervention to ensure their "right to breathe clean air."

                    The students took part in an open letter drive organized by NGOs working on child rights along with SwitchON Foundation. The drive is a part of an effort to bring attention to the apocalyptic future of the children inheriting an atmosphere where there is no fresh air to breathe.

                    In the letter, the students sought an immediate intervention of the government to prevent the rising air pollution in eastern India and across the Indo-Gangetic plain. A student's letter read: "I have seen my friends suffer from breathlessness. I have constant cough and cold and can't play outside. I don't like the pollution we are creating and request our leaders to reduce the number of polluting cars and factories."









                    300 students write to West Bengal govt for clean air | Kolkata News - Times of India (indiatimes.com)
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                    • Re : Latest News In and around Kolkata

                      Kolkata Municipal Corporation cleans Prinsep Ghat after CM Mamata Banerjee rebuke

                      TNN / Updated: Nov 23, 2022, 10:52 IST



                      Work to remove tree logs, uprooted during Amphan, was taken up on Tuesday

                      KOLKATA: Kolkata Municipal Corporation swung into action on Tuesday to clean the mess around Prinsep Ghat, a day after CM Mamata Banerjee expressed her displeasure over the lack of upkeep in and around the ghat. Officials from KMC civil engineering and parks and gardens departments rushed to Prinsep Ghat and supervised a cleaning operation that lasted for hours.

                      According to a senior official, the work to remove the logs of large trees that had been uprooted by Amphan was taken up as directed by mayor Firhad Hakim.

                      Cleaning of the pathway along the ghat was also taken up. “Though we do cleaning of the ghat and the pathway regularly, sometimes these are left littered due to a section of the visitors who throw plastic wastes,” said a KMC official. He added that Prinsep Ghat is also used for performing religious rituals but the citizens leave behind materials for them to clean.

                      TOI on Monday carried out a reality check at the ghat. It revealed that things had deteriorated compared to what they were only a couple of years ago. The ghats had accumulated garbage, and the battery-operated carts used by cops for patrolling the entire length were lying defunct.

                      KMC officials also inspected Babughat to explore the possibilities of introducing a Ganga aarti as desired by the CM. According to a KMC official, the place could be utilized once Babughat was cleaned up.












                      Kmc Cleans Prinsep Ghat After Cm Rebuke | Kolkata News - Times of India (indiatimes.com)
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