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Latest News In and around Kolkata

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  • Re : Latest News In and around Kolkata

    Kolkata civic body allows more time to switch over to new property tax system

    Earlier, the KMC authorities had fixed a December 31 deadline for conversion from a rent-based valuation method to the area-wise (UAA) system and announced an annual 5% penalty for those who won’t convert to UAA.
    KOLKATA: Desperate to bring more tax-payers under the Unit Area Assessment (UAA) system for determination of property tax, the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) assessment department has decided to extend the deadline for switchover to the new system.

    Though the civic brass doesn’t want an official announcement, the process for the tax conversion will continue, said a KMC revenue department senior official. Earlier, the KMC authorities had fixed a December 31 deadline for conversion from a rent-based valuation method to the area-wise (UAA) system and announced an annual 5% penalty for those who won’t convert to UAA.

    Having noticed willingness among a section of the property taxpayers to accept the conversion, the KMC revenue department has decided to extend the deadline to accommodate lakhs of property owners into the UAA fold. According to a civic revenue department official, though the KMC brass has decided to expedite the conversion system from time to time since 2017, the response from the taxpayers had been slow till last year.

    Now, after witnessing a response and out of desperation to augment revenue, the civic bosses have adopted a two-pronged strategy.

    First, the KMC assessment department inspectors will meet the existing assesses personally and arrange for the conversion along with conducting camps at housing complexes for the switchover and second, follow a ‘forced conversion’ method.

    This means whenever a flat owner or owner of a standalone building visits the KMC assessment department with an appeal for the mutation of his/her property, the civic body will automatically bring the property under the UAA valuation method.

    In fact, the KMC revenue department officials have asked the assessment department inspectors to stop mutation of those assesses who have not applied for UAA.

    “We made conversion to UAA mandatory in case of issuing a mutation certificate. This strategy has, so far, worked for us especially in the added areas and some south Kolkata localities. The number of assesses who were converted to UAA rose when the civic brass decided to send assessment department inspectors to households and conducted a drive to bring more assesses into the UAA fold. The inspectors knocked on the doors of assesses of Dhakuria, Gariahat Road, Kasba, Jadavpur, Baghajatin, Netaji Nagar, Jodhpur Park, Tollygunge, Behala and some areas off EM Bypass,” said a KMC revenue department official.









    Kmc Allows More Time To Switch Over To New Property Tax System, Real Estate News, ET RealEstate (indiatimes.com)

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    • Re : Latest News In and around Kolkata

      Hidco plans another pedestrian subway near Eco Park

      Suman Chakraborti / TNN / Updated: Jan 18, 2023, 09:18 IST


      KOLKATA: The Housing Infrastructure Development Corporation (Hidco) has planned to set up a pedestrian subway at Nawabpur junction near Eco Park gate number 4 on the main arterial road in New Town.

      Hidco officials said that it has been lately noticed that many cross the main arterial road at the junction for visiting Eco Park and returning. “There is a growing need for a proper pedestrian traffic dispersal system at the place. A subway for bypassing pedestrian traffic is being explored,” said a Hidco official. The authorities are planning to engage an agency for exploring the plan and come up with detail project reports for implementation.

      A preliminary estimate of about Rs 4.8 crore has been fixed to construct a subway at the place. Hidco is also in the last leg of work of setting up a tunnel vehicular underpass for vehicles coming up at Narkelbagan crossing which is planned to be opened soon. The tunnel will have a length of 320 meter and will move 4.2 meters below ground level.











      Hidco Plans Another Pedestrian Subway Near Eco Park | Kolkata News - Times of India (indiatimes.com)
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      • Re : Latest News In and around Kolkata

        Open, dirty secret behind greenest zone having poorest AQI in Kolkata: Burning grass, leaves

        Krishnendu Bandyopadhyay / TNN / Updated: Jan 19, 2023, 07:12 IST



        A burning patch of grass on the Maidan

        KOLKATA: The air quality around Victoria Memorial, among the best in the city, has taken a sharp turn from generally good to generally very bad, with the culprit appearing to be the indiscriminate burning of biomass in and around the Maidan, the prohibited activity choking up the green patch that is known as Kolkata's lungs.

        Situated at the southern end of the Maidan, the air quality monitoring station at the Victoria Memorial Hall (VMH) usually clocks the best ambient air data in the city, according to data available with TOI.

        Last month, however, there were as many as 20 "very poor" days (AQI between 301 and 400), the most among the seven monitoring stations in the city.

        There was just one day with "satisfactory" AQI (51-100) recorded at the VMH station, and no recorded "moderate" (101-200) day.

        The situation has not improved much in January, even when other stations have become better because of weather changes. In the 18 days of January so far, there were as many as 11 days of 'poor' AQI and four of "very poor".

        The AQI recorded at VMH usually is mostly within the satisfactory to moderate range. The burning of leaves, twigs and dry grass has contributed to this sudden turn for the worse, experts feared.

        The area is a favourite for morning walkers and sports enthusiasts, primarily because of the usually good air. Now, outdoor pursuits in the area might actually be dangerous, as it would be exposing participants to toxic fumes, experts feared.

        'Regularly see smoke on Maidan'

        An inspection was enough to uncover several instances of biomass burning on the city's green patch, both in the morning and the evening. Some put fire to piles of dry grass, leaving patches completely charred; others were setting fire to foliage, shrubs and weeds, leaving wide areas completely bereft of turf.

        "I regularly see smoke rising from distant piles," said Arobindo Ghosh Dastidar, who coaches young kho-kho players on the western end of the Race Course. "It is so sad that people are polluting even this place," he added.

        Paul Walsh, the founder of Khelo Rugby and Jungle Crows, which promotes the sport among the underprivileged, and has a rugby ground on the Maidan, said the pollution was palpable.

        "My boys are practising hard for a national tournament later this month. It is a pity the way we are polluting our Maidan. Apart from biomass burning, the construction works all around is choking the air. But we don't have any option. It is next to impossible to find a suitable alternative to the Maidan," he added. Kalyan Rudra, chairman, state pollution control board, termed the burning of biomass a serious threat. "Biomass burning is strictly prohibited anywhere in the city by order of the National Green Tribunal and the pollution control board. I will look into the matter," he said.

        An officer of the recreational forestry wing of the forest department said it was sad to see saplings and plants being burnt down.

        "We need a much higher number of trees on the Maidan to justify its function as the lungs of the city," he added.

        A Kolkata Police officer gave verbal assurance that he would activate the Maidan police station, which oversees law and order in the area, against biomass burning.










        Open, dirty secret behind greenest zone having poorest AQI in Kolkata: Burning grass, leaves | Kolkata News - Times of India (indiatimes.com)
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        • Re : Latest News In and around Kolkata

          Lalbazar to send special teams to check on Kolkata choke points

          Dwaipayan Ghosh / TNN / Updated: Jan 21, 2023, 07:05 IST



          The scene at the Shambhunath Pandit Street-Harish Mukherjee Road crossing on Friday evening

          KOLKATA: Senior officers from the Kolkata Police headquarters at Lalbazar have asked the Bhowanipore and South Traffic Guards to coordinate with local police at night to ensure that no major roads get choked due to illegal parking after 8pm. If required, Special Raid teams from Lalbazar will be deployed to clear illegal parking, officers have warned.

          TOI had on Friday highlighted how some roads, including Shambhunath Pandit Street-Harish Mukherjee Road and two sections of JL Nehru Road witness traffic snarls after 8pm due to multi-lane parking by vehicles, leaving those returning home late in a gridlock.

          At a meeting convened by the traffic brass at Lalbazar on Friday that was attended by several OCs, the officers asked the traffic guard OCs of the concerned spots to meet the owners of eateries and other commercial establishments to thrash out a solution. The OCs were asked to ensure that special raids are carried out at regular intervals.

          "If the local cops fail to address the issue, we will deploy the Special Raid section. Parking attendants cannot be allowed to run the show. We are accessing the ground situation," said an officer.
          DC (traffic) Sunil Yadav said they would study the night track minutely and carry out real time monitoring of adjoining roads. "The best practices will be followed to decongest the area," he said.

          The South Traffic Guard took several additional steps on Friday to ensure that weekend evening traffic kept moving smoothly. This included removing a major parking lot opposite the Grand Hotel in the New Market area and slapping fines on those parking near the Park Street flyover.

          Additionally, no app cab, private car or taxi was allowed to halt for a long duration anywhere near Lindsay Street entry. "We created a special channel at the New Market entry point from where cabs and app cabs had to come, pick up passengers and leave. Two sergeants were deployed to ensure that traffic on JL Nehru Road kept moving all through the evening," stated an officer.












          Lalbazar to send special teams to check on Kolkata choke points | Kolkata News - Times of India (indiatimes.com)
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          • Re : Latest News In and around Kolkata

            West Bengal allows government land lessees to opt for ownership, at a price

            Read more at:
            https://realty.economictimes.indiati...price/97159304



            The move - allowing outright sale of government-leased land - is expected to boost state coffers and give a fillip to ease of doing business.


            KOLKATA: Lessees of plots from government agencies in a section of Kolkata (New Town, Salt Lake and some areas off the EM Bypass), apart from other pockets in the state, can now opt to switch the nature of their plots to freehold by paying a fee that ranges between 7.5% and 20% of the land value.

            The move - allowing outright sale of government-leased land - is expected to boost state coffers and give a fillip to ease of doing business.

            The West Bengal Land Conversion (Leasehold Land to Freehold) Scheme, 2022, introduced by the urban development and municipal affairs department through a notification on Tuesday, is meant for residential and commercial plots alike. It is applicable to plots that government agencies, such as Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA), New Town Kolkata Development Authority (NKDA) and West Bengal Housing Infrastructure Development Corporation (WBHIDCO), leased out for 99 years or more.

            Owners of plots leased by the Sriniketan Santiniketan Development Authority, Asansol Durgapur Development Authority and Siliguri Jalpaiguri Development Authority will also benefit from the scheme.

            In New Town, the leasehold-to freehold conversion marks a return to the freehold policy that was in place till 2011, when the first Mamata Banerjee government introduced leasehold.

            Individual housing plots in Salt Lake that were sold by the urban development department will not come under the purview of this scheme.

            While allowing societies in apartment buildings to apply for conversion, the notification also has the provision for individual flat-owners to convert just their apartment into freehold in case other flat-owners do not want to change their status.

            The scheme comes about a week after the Bengal cabinet had decided to give freehold land for commercial and industrial use, a major policy decision with similar aims: boosting state revenue as well as economic activity.

            Various chambers of commerce and developers' platforms had been urging the government to allow sale of freehold land. Sushil Mohta, the president of Confederation of Real Estate Developers' Association of India (Credai), West Bengal, said the move would "significantly improve ease of doing business and help create an investor-friendly image of the government.

            Leasehold land is problematic for developers and individual owners. The former face hurdles and delays in mortgaging or marketing projects, with clearances required from the leasing agency at each step; the latter have to approach the agency for permission to sell or purchase.

            "We feel it's a positive step by the government, both for ease of doing business and ease of living," said Credai Bengal president Siddharth Pansari. "Thousands of homeowners and small and medium enterprises will benefit."
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            • Re : Latest News In and around Kolkata

              Hidco to auction 7.4-acre plot in South Kolkata

              Read more at:
              https://realty.economictimes.indiati...lkata/97159368



              The starting bid price for the plot has been kept at Rs 125 crore, standing at around Rs 17 crore for each acre. The auction process will be conducted by the Housing Infrastructure Development Corporation (Hidco).


              KOLKATA: In yet another e-auction of land, a 7.4-acre plot at BL Saha Road will go under the hammer on Friday for developing a residential housing project on 99 years’ lease.

              The starting bid price for the plot has been kept at Rs 125 crore, standing at around Rs 17 crore for each acre.

              The auction process will be conducted by the Housing Infrastructure Development Corporation (Hidco).

              The plot falls in a prime location on BL Saha Road under Behala police station in KMC Ward 117 with both Tollygunge Metro station and Royal Calcutta Golf Course (RCGC) just about two kilometres far. Bangur Hospital, too, is just about 1.5 kilometres far from the place.

              Sources said that a number of developers has shown interest.
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              • Re : Latest News In and around Kolkata

                Fall in line and get power lines, KMC plans to tell Kolkata hawkers


                Subhro Niyogi & Saikat Ray / TNN / Updated: Jan 24, 2023, 08:29 IST





                KOLKATA: In a bid to recognize hawkers who are adhering to ‘lawful hawking’, Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) is planning to offer them an incentive in the form of allowing CESC lines to their stalls.

                According to a member of the town-vending committee that has been assigned by the court to decide the hawker policy, after a recent survey and subsequent pushback drive by a KMC-KP joint team, a section of hawkers has fallen in line and is following vending rules.

                TimesView

                Incentivising good behaviour may work where other routes have failed. But this carrot should be accompanied by the stick for those who go on flouting rules brazenly.


                “We want to recognize this section of hawkers who want to adhere to rules. As part of our recognition, first we will distribute identity cards and then we will help them get the CESC electricity connection,” said Debashis Kumar, the mayor-in-council member and co-chairman of the town-vending committee.

                According to a KMC official who has been part of a hawker drive, after installation of tin shades at Gariahat pavements, the space for pedestrians has widened. According to him, a section of hawkers in Gariahat, including some food vendors, now want to apply for CESC lines.

                “According to vending rules, a hawker must leave two-thirds of the pavement for pedestrians. After our renewed hawker drive and installation of tin shades, the movement of pedestrians has become somewhat smooth in select stretches of Gariahat. Now, the law-abiding hawkers want us to mediate with CESC officials so that they can apply for a meter,” said a KMC official.

                In Kolkata, many hawkers already use CESC connection, either individually or from a common meter. These are usually installed in buildings adjacent to them where meters of other commercial establishments are located. In a few cases, the meter is provided to the local hawker union office.

                The hawkers use electricity primarily for illumination. Hardly any food vendor does the cooking on induction cooker. There are some vendors who use electric grills for sandwiches or make tea on induction cookers but food stalls still use either coal-fired chullah or gas oven.

                “We are coordinating with KMC on how to provide supply to eateries so that they make a switch to cleaner options. We don’t have a problem in providing the supply. Since induction cookers can operate on 5amp plug points, there should be no problem in making the transition. The vendor or hawker has to simply apply for the load, either individually or collectively, against an address where the meter will be installed. We will carry out a physical inspection and then provide the supply,” said a CESC official.










                Fall In Line And Get Power Lines, Kmc Plans To Tell City Hawkers | Kolkata News - Times of India (indiatimes.com)
                Last edited 3 days ago.
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                • Re : Latest News In and around Kolkata

                  Cough, cold, fever: Air pollution hits Kolkatans hard


                  Ruman Ganguly / TNN / Jan 23, 2023, 11:09 IST




                  For most Kolkata residents, the new year began with viral infections and respiratory issues, thanks to the fluctuating temperature and poor air quality. According to various reports and doctors we spoke to, a large population in the city, including kids, is down with viral fever, accompanied by prolonged cough and runny noses and respiratory issues.

                  Poor AQI leading to dry cough, fever among people

                  According to Dr Soutik Panda, a senior consultant, critical care medicine, at a city nursing home, COPD patients and patients suffering from bronchial asthma are getting admitted because of severe respiratory problems. “The air is extremely poor in the city. The suspended particles and the pollutants in the air irritate the respiratory tract, causing inflammation in the airways that lead to bouts of dry cough and at times, fever.”

                  “To prevent chronic cough and cold during this season, one can have tulsi leaves mixed with one tablespoon of honey early in the morning. Herbal tea like ginger tea also helps to prevent cough and cold. Have lemon water, citrus fruits, turmeric, ginger, and garlic as they have the property to fight against cold and cough. Avoid having sugar and alcohol. Take steam, as that helps to feel better in such conditions. But don’t take random medicines without consulting a doctor."

                  — Koyel Pal Chowdhury, research dietitian at a government hospital

                  “An intractable cough that’s resistant to *********** is the most common problem now. Viral infections and nasal issues are also common. Moreover, recurrent exacerbations of chronic problems like asthma and COPD are being noticed. Many patients are now admitted to hospitals because of respiratory issues and pneumonia. While paracetamol, anti-allergy meds and decongestants can help, when taken by consulting a doctor, wearing N95 masks can be help prevent respiratory problems. Children who attend school in the morning must wear masks while travelling. Elderly patients must take flu and pneumonia shots. For cough and cold, inhaling steam can also help to a large extent.”

                  – Dr Arup Halder, consultant pulmonologist at a city nursing home








                  Kolkata Air Pollution: Cough, cold, fever as Air pollution hits Kolkatans hard | Kolkata News - Times of India (indiatimes.com)
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                  • Re : Latest News In and around Kolkata

                    Deadline to sanction houses under PMAY(G) now January 31

                    TNN / Updated: Jan 26, 2023, 14:04 IST



                    Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana-Gramin.

                    KOLKATA: The Centre’s rural development ministry has informed states that the final date to sanction houses under PMAY (Gramin) scheme stands extended to January 31 from the earlier January 16. The Centre has set a nationwide target of 2.37 crore houses by March 31.

                    The rural development ministry wrote to the states: “It is a time-bound scheme and the states and UTs are required to ensure the sanctioning of the houses against the targets, to avoid the withdrawal of targets. I would like to inform that the deadline for the sanctioning of the houses against targets allocated has been extended to January 31, 2023.”

                    Panchayat secretaries will monitor the sanctioning of remaining targets within the deadline. “This is the last opportunity for the state governments to sanction pending houses to avoid withdrawal of targets,” the letter said. Landless beneficiaries under PMAY (G) are also included, the letter said. It further said houses which received the first instalment of the fund transfer are to be completed within March 31. The beneficiaries get a direct bank transfer under this scheme.











                    Deadline To Sanction Houses Under Pmay(g) Now Jan 31 | Kolkata News - Times of India (indiatimes.com)
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                    • Re : Latest News In and around Kolkata

                      Double to 10 times fee hike at Kolkata Municipal Corporation parking lots from April

                      Saikat Ray / TNN / Updated: Jan 26, 2023, 07:07 IST


                      Motorists said the new fee structure not only legitimises the amount, but has gone beyond that to make parking unaffordable.

                      KOLKATA: The graded parking fee hike, two-to-10 times the current rates, is set to be implemented from April 2023.

                      After keeping mum on the revised fee structure for cars and two-wheelers for the past three months - after the proposal was first passed in a mayor-in-council meeting on October 18 - the Kolkata Municipal Corporation car parking department passed the proposal in the KMC House on December 18. It has thereafter been sent to the KMC finance department to incorporate the changes in the budget proposal to give it legal validity.

                      The civic brass had been silent on this issue following criticism from various quarters. In the meantime, it started trials of the app-based parking system that includes digital payment of parking fees.

                      Anticipating the huge hike in rates within the next three months, most parking attendants have stopped demanding more than the current rate of Rs 10 per hour for cars and Rs 5 per hour for two-wheelers.

                      The proposal placed and approved at the House doubled the initial parking rate for the first two hours from Rs 10 per hour to Rs 20 per hour for cars and from Rs 5 per hour to Rs 10 per hour for two-wheelers. Thereafter, from the third to the fifth hour, the rate jumps four times to Rs 40 per hour for cars and Rs 20 per hour for two-wheelers. Beyond five hours, the hike is 10-times, to Rs 100 per hour for cars and Rs 50 per hour for two-wheelers.

                      Motorists said the new fee structure legitimises the amount parking attendants used to demand, and has gone beyond that to make parking unaffordable.

                      KMC officials argued that the fee hike was long overdue as the existing structure had been in vogue for many years. Civic authorities said besides mopping up revenue, the move could also discourage citizens from purchasing new personal vehicles and encourage use of public transport, thereby reducing congestion and air pollution.

                      In shopping zones, the average time of parking a vehicle is between two and three hours. A shopper who arrives in a car will have to cough up Rs 80 against Rs 30 at present. For those who add a meal to shopping, the time spent could be up to four hours and parking fee will be Rs 120 instead of Rs 40. Those who combine a meal with cinema and spend up to five hours will see the parking fee increase from Rs 50 to Rs 160.

                      However, it will hit office-goers the hardest. Parking for 10 hours, which sets motorists back by Rs 100, will now cost Rs 660. The new rate chart does not have a monthly fee that enables office-goers to take a discounted rate by paying upfront for the whole month.











                      Double to 10 times fee hike at Kolkata Municipal Corporation parking lots from April | Kolkata News - Times of India (indiatimes.com)
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