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The City Diary

Anti-smoking law put off again

The state health department has once again delayed implementation of the West Bengal Prohibition of Smoking and Spitting and Protection of Health of Non-smokers and Minors Act. The Act, which prevents smoking and spitting in public places, will not be implemented in the state from June 1, the date fixed earlier by the state government. Director of health services Prabhakar Chatterjee said on Wednesday that the health department is now occupied with the sub-national immunisation programme of polio, starting on June 1 in 16 districts. Moreover, the health department will first have to create awareness among the public on the issue, and discuss the matter with state and city police authorities on how offenders will be nabbed. “We also have to demarcate some smoking zones,” Chatterjee said. Earlier, the state health department had delayed implementation of the Act as it was busy tackling suspected Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome cases. Next on its priority list was the panchayat elections.

Youth thwarts kidnap bid

Tension ran high at Bijolipara, in Khardah, in the city suburbs after a youth was beaten up by miscreants when he tried to rescue a girl from being abducted. According to local sources, trouble started on Tuesday evening when a group of teenagers came to the locality to kidnap the girl. A local youth came forward and resisted the abduction bid, driving the miscreants away. The miscreants came back at 2.30 am. They threw stones at his house and warned him of dire consequences if he did not come out. They hurled a bomb at his house. Police refused to comment on the incident.

Quake-control meet

The state government on Wednesday met to prepare for the visit of a team from the Centre which will discuss safety measures to be adopted for earthquakes in the city. Chief secretary S.N. Roy met the secretaries of public works department, relief, municipal affairs and representatives of the Calcutta Municipal Corporation and the Calcutta Metropolitan Development Authority. The discussion focused on how the city would tackle disasters during earthquakes, and how differently buildings, especially multi-storeyed ones, could be constructed to minimise the impact of the disaster. A committee was formed in the state immediately after the Gujarat earthquake, after which it had also submitted a report. The report was discussed in Wednesday’s meeting. The state government has gathered that the city has become more earthquake-prone than it was in the past, though it does not pose any impending danger, an official present at the meeting said.

Train timings

The Howrah-Patna Shatabdi Express (2023) was cancelled on Wednesday, Eastern Railway authorities announced. It was cancelled because the corresponding Down Shatabdi Express (2024) did not arrive from Patna. The departure of the Up Gorakhpur Express, too, was rescheduled to leave at 6.45 pm instead of 1 pm due to the delay in the arrival of the corresponding Down Gorakhpur Express.

Bins on pavements

The civic authorities are placing lightweight trash bins in the market and the business areas of the city for use of pedestrians. Initially, 400 trash bins have been procured from a manufacturer of Delhi at a cost of Rs 10 lakh. Three vehicles have also been bought, each costing Rs 9.3 lakh.

Woman kills self

Mira Dutta, 70, was found dead in her residence at Northern Avenue on Wednesday morning. The Chitpore police said she was found hanging from a ceiling fan. She was suffering from depression.

Management game

Indian Oil Corporation and Larsen & Toubro have been adjudged champions and runners-up of the eastern regional round of the 12th National Management Game. It was organised by the All India Management Association on the campus of Eastern Institute for Integrated Learning in Management on Waterloo Street. Thirteen teams had participated. The national winner will participate at the RMG-Regional Management Game at Macau on October 25 and 26, 2003.

Thumbs Up

TO Akhil Bharat Vivekananda Yuva Mahamandal for organising a camp to infuse a sense of discipline and self-reliance in the youth of South 24-Parganas
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