Sadly, there is little to look forward to in a city where more things change more they remain the same. Calcuttans this year will continue to go through the motions of filling up shops, restaurants and, yes, hospital beds...
The Rs 2,300-crore integrated terminal, with walkalators, check-in islands, food courts and a large duty-free area,
will open on January 23. However, domestic operations won’t shift to the new facility for several weeks.
A flyover on VIP Road will allow passengers to avoid traffic congestion near the airport. A second flyover, a few feet away from the first, will take passengers to the first-floor departure area of the new terminal. The arrival area is on the ground floor.
Several airlines have plans to add routes and increase frequency. On the radar are daily IndiGo flights to Singapore and Kathmandu, a second Jet Airways flight to Dhaka, and Air India flights to Bangkok and Dhaka as well as Patna and Ranchi.
Calcutta’s first mall, Forum, will celebrate its ninth birthday with a big fat renovation. International brands will increase food court options from February. A Mexican restaurant will open where the gaming zone is now located. Forever New Accessories and Guess Accessories are two of the brands headed for the mall. Forum Courtyard will welcome Clarks, the UK-based shoe brand.
Mom & Me and Puma will open at City Centre New Town. Several stores will open at City Centre Salt Lake with terms of the current ones expiring during the year. The brands that might open shop include US Polo, French Connection, Ed Hardy, Helios, MAC, Lacoste, Satya Paul, Jack & Jones, Marks & Spencer and Samsonite.
Avani Riverside Mall in Howrah is set to usher in Fooba Wooba, Satya Paul Accessories, Carry 4 and Verita.
Mani Square is looking forward to a 7D theatre, Thai Spa and stores Ethnicity and Estillo.
Food and beverage
Two 6 Ballygunge Place “Thali restaurants” will open in Behala and central Calcutta in the first quarter. A continental and vegetarian south Indian restaurant each from the same group are also on the anvil.
Chef Harpal Singh Sokhi, known for the TV series Turban Tadka, will be the man behind The Funjabi Tadka, set to open in south Calcutta and Salt Lake. Jai Hind Dhaba will open at Kalighat in June. Gujarati and Rajasthani thali speciality restaurant Rajdhani is planning two more restaurants before March 31 and another in the first quarter of the next financial year.
Speciality Restaurants will open at least five new outlets, four of them in upcoming malls, Acropolis on the Rashbehari Connector and RPG Mall in Beckbagan. One of them will be Mizuna, Speciality’s latest foray into Mediterranean cuisine. Also in the offing is a standalone Mainland China in south Calcutta or its fringes.
Pan India Food Solutions is planning to open two more outlets of The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf and one of Bombay Blue, a multi-cuisine eatery.
There will also be 20 more Donut Baker kiosks in the city by the end of the first quarter and two more outlets of Coffee World.
Oriental Cuisines will open more outlets of The French Loaf and Chinese QSR (quick service restaurant) Wang’s Kitchen. Ambuja Realty will open a southeast Asian cuisine restaurant, The Orient, at City Centre New Town.
|Protesters at the march against the Delhi rape on December 22
WHAT THE SYSTEM CAN DO
● A 24-hour police helpline that works.
● A women’s grievance cell on Facebook and Twitter for Calcutta police to act fast.
● Taking a cue from the green police, a similar ring of volunteers in uniform focused solely on women’s protection.
● Counselling helplines for victims to reach out.
WHAT WE CAN DO
● Make self-defence classes for girls compulsory in school.
● Stand up to harassers and aggressors everywhere, from streets to offices. With a stare or a shout, a kick or a slap, a formal complaint to police or to the harassment cell at the workplace.
● Keep your cell phones handy. To call or click.
● Form women’s networks or clubs in every para.
● Keep telephone numbers of the local police station, police helplines, emergency services and neighbours handy for immediate help.
● Install an alarm system at home.
● Always keep a pepper spray, cologne or deodorant handy as safety props. Or even a mini-fire extinguisher.
● Plan your route and stay alert. At night, avoid dark places or short-cut alleys.
Metro will run more trains at five-minute intervals this year. The number of trains on a weekday will go up from 270 to 320 by March. The passenger count is expected to go up by 50,000 daily. Two AC rakes are expected to join the fleet in the first half of the year, taking the number of AC rakes to 13 and the total number of rakes to 31.
The Noapara terminal, which will become the main Metro hub after operations start on the Barrackpore, Dakshineswar and Barasat routes, will be inaugurated this year. Noapara will have four platforms.
Presidency University will get a second campus on a 10-acre plot in Rajarhat. St. Xavier’s College will expand “physically and geographically”, says an official of the institution. It also expects university status this year.
According to Calcutta University vice-chancellor Suranjan Das, the university will offer multi-disciplinary courses and the option of collaborative research, jointly with Visva-Bharati and IIM Calcutta, under a central scheme. The university will also start a documentation project on the history of medicine in eastern India, a Rs 70-lakh project funded by Wellcome Trust, England.
Jadavpur University will offer opportunities for advanced multi-disciplinary research in applied engineering under the Technical Education Quality Improvement Programme (Tequip) of the World Bank.
The joint entrance board will introduce online filling of application forms. For admission to the state’s medical colleges, students will have to take the all-India entrance test.
The Techno India group will open a private university, Techno India University, and offer undergraduate and postgraduate courses in science, arts, commerce and engineering.
Come March, the city will have its first Porsche showroom. The Topsia address will showcase all Porsche models, including the Boxster (Rs 47 lakh plus), Cayenne (Rs 61 lakh plus), Cayman (Rs 71 lakh plus) and the 911 (Rs 94 lakh plus). Calcutta’s will be the sixth Porsche showroom in the country.
Paucity of state government and civic funds is one of the main reasons urban infrastructure is languishing. And the funds crunch will continue to trip projects this year. The list of projects to be taken up is unimpressive and those supposed to be completed this year, such as the test run of Dhapa waterworks by Puja, are likely to miss deadlines.
The authorities have promised to complete:
● The 1.65km flyover between Keshtopur and Joramandir on VIP Road
● Installation of environment-friendly wooden pyres at Keoratala
● The foot overbridge at Ballygunge Phari
● lExpansion of the Barrackpore-Kalyani-Dum Dum Expressway Road
● Phase I of the Vivekananda Road flyover from Howrah bridge to CR Avenue
● Construction of elevated road between Jinjira Bazaar and Batanagar on Budge Budge Trunk Road
● Construction of the suspension bridge over railway tracks below Bridge No. 4
According to senior government officials, completing even 60 per cent of these projects is a tall order.
The number of security cameras installed on city roads will go up from 36 to 100. Calcutta police also propose to increase the width of the carriageway on several stretches where the footpath is “wider than necessary”. A survey to identify such stretches is underway. More bus bays, like the ones on CR Avenue and JL Nehru Road, will be created in the city to improve traffic management. Commuters and pedestrians might be able to pay fines for traffic violation on the road by swiping their credit or debit cards.
|The facade of Great Eastern Hotel
The return of the iconic Great Eastern Hotel is likely to be the hospitality high point in the first half. The 244-room heritage property in the heart of the city has been under renovation for nearly seven years.
The Taj Gateway off the Ruby roundabout on the EM Bypass is expected to open in April.
The 100-room Radisson Blu at Hastings could also open doors during the year.
Some of the premium hotels under construction in and around New Town are Starwood’s 300-room Westin, JW Marriot’s 250-room Courtyard, Accor’s 300-room Novotel and Best Western’s 150-room Dream. Construction of ITC’s second property, beside the Sonar, has begun. The Park plans to start constructing a star hotel and branded service apartments on the EM Bypass by the middle of the year.
With Infosys keeping its proposed campus on hold and the government in no mood to change its anti-SEZ stance, the jury is out on whether the project will see the light of day this year. ITC Infotech, which has received statutory clearances for its 15-acre campus at Rajarhat, is the only hope.
Major private and government hospitals will add beds and units this year.
Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals will have 250 more beds at its existing facility off the EM Bypass. The new institute for gastro-sciences will get 120 of the beds while 80 and 50 beds will be added to the oncology and intensive care units, respectively.
Medica Superspeciality Hospital at Mukundapur plans to start admitting patients to a new building with 200 beds by Puja.
Construction of the Tata Medical Center’s second unit on the New Town campus will start this year. Most of the 250 beds in the unit will be low cost, says an official.
The government-run Chittaranjan National Cancer Research Institute will start construction of its second campus at Rajarhat this year. The Rs 550-crore project, expected to add 500 beds, has remained stuck for several years.
Fortis Hospital at Anandapur off the EM Bypass will add 65 beds taking the total number of beds to 200 by the end of the year.
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