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The City Diary

Bleach on hunger strike for justice

Peter Bleach, serving a life sentence in the Purulia armsdrop case, is observing a hunger strike as a mark of “silent protest” against “the slow pace of the process” of his release. The British national has been on “tea and water” at Alipore Central Jail for the past week. British deputy high commissioner Andrew Hall and vice-consul John Hamilton visited Bleach on Wednesday and urged him to call off the hunger strike. But Bleach, who has not been granted remission of sentence despite repeated requests from the British government, refused to break his fast. “His condition is weakening, but he seems determined not to call it off. This is the longest protest observed by Bleach and we are worried for his health,” said a spokesperson for the British deputy high commission in Calcutta. Bleach is demanding equal treatment before law ever since the five Latvians were allowed to walk free despite being served identical sentences.

Petition over power bill

State Electricity Regulatory Commission on Wednesday filed a petition before the division bench of Justice Samaresh Bannerjee and Justice S.P. Talukdar seeking a clarification on their order passed on August 1. The court had directed the commission not to fix equal tariff for different classes of consumers, domestic and industrial. In Wednesday’s petition, the commission informed the court that transmission and distribution loss during supply of electricity to domestic consumers was higher than that to industrial consumers. But the existing practice puts the burden of the loss on industrial consumers. The commission wanted to know whether it had the liberty to transfer the cost from one consumer to the other.

Metro subway use

Metro Railway authorities and Regent Park police station officials held a meeting on Wednesday to force pedestrians to use the subway near the Tollygunge station. The subway has remained unused even during peak hours resulting in traffic congestion due to jaywalkers. The entire stretch would be fenced off for the subway to be used.

Study abroad

Bharati Ghosh, assistant commandant of State Armed Police, first battalion, who has received the Chevening Gurukul’s scholarship, will leave for London on September 27 to study globalisation and its impact on the economies of the world. Ghosh said she would study the course at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She will research violence against women and strategies to combat it.

Road mishap

A 31-year-old rickshaw-puller, Kinkar Dandapath, was run over on Wednesday morning. The accident occurred on Acharya Prafulla Chandra Road near the Rajabazar crossing in Amherst Street police station area. Police said Dandapath’s vehicle was hit by a goods van. He was taken to Nilratan Sirkar Medical College and Hospital where he was declared dead.

Rail reservation

All computerised reservation offices of Eastern Railway (ER) which operate in two shifts, will remain open for one shift only on October 3,4,9 and 24 on two days of Durga Puja, Lakshmi puja and Kali puja respectively. ER officials said instead of operating in two shifts—from 8 am to 8 pm — the offices will function from 8 am to 2 pm on the four days.

Dacoits held

Eight dacoits were arrested and three police officials, including the officer-in- charge of Rajarhat police station, injured in a crossfire on Tuesday night. Additional superintendent of police Ajay Nand said police intercepted the dacoits while they were stealing iron rods from a construction site. Following a tip-off, a team of cops reached the spot and found the dacoits fleeing in a car. They started firing at the police when they were challenged. Police returned the fire and nabbed the culprits.

Thieves caught

Sheikh Habu, 20, and Sheikh Karun, 28, were arrested on Wednesday near Sealdah station on charges of theft. Naseem Ali, officer in charge of Muchipara police station, said several bundles of cash were recovered from them.

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