Foetus found in baby boy
Imposter bags plot in Salt Lake on Basu quota
2 held in dawn swoop at Kasba
Countdown to the desi wonder drug
Radar map of water lines
Highrise boom linked to spurt in crime
Spotlight East for city Netizen
Varsity wary of college autonomy
Citu to ask hotel staff to soften job demand
Manipur minister files case

Calcutta, Nov.22: 
In a classic case of believe it or not, a malformed foetus was found in the lower abdomen of a 40-day-old baby boy in Howrah, on Wednesday. The child, Shiva, had been born at Calcutta Medical College and Hospital on October 9 to Dharma and Rezia Rao.

When the doctors first detected the lump in Shiva�s abdomen, they put it down to a �tumour�. Only after an operation was conducted on Wednesday afternoon � at Alpha Nursing Home and Child Care Centre, opposite Howrah AC Market � did the doctors realise that they were witnessing a medical marvel. From the infant�s abdomen emerged a foetus weighing 230 grams. Shiva weighs 3.8 kg.

�This is a one-in-a-million case. Something I have never seen in my entire career,� said Dr Biswajit Bhaduri, consultant paediatric and neonatal surgeon, who led the team of five experts in the operation.

Shiva is now in the intensive care unit at Alpha Nursing Home. He is on saline, oxygen and blood. His condition, according to the doctors, is �semi-critical�.

According to hospital records, the baby was admitted last Friday. He was vomiting constantly and his general condition was �very poor�. He was advised a CT scan by the doctors soon after admission. When the scan detected a lump which had started �calcifying�, the doctors decided to cut the infant�s abdomen open.

Shiva was operated upon by Dr Bhaduri, child specialist Dr Vijay Kejriwal, anaesthetist Dr Rajesh Keri, paediatricians Dr Suchandana and Dr Swastik Nandy.

According to the team, this rare occurrence is referred to as �Feto Infoetus�, a congenital abnormality. The doctors felt the embryo had developed over six weeks inside the baby�s abdomen, before it stopped growing.

�The external features of the foetus show streaks of hair follicles and external projections, which would have developed into limbs, ears and forehead,� explained Dr Kejriwal.

�It was a very critical operation,� he added. �The veins of the baby were very deep-seated under the epidermal layer and I was really worried about his post-operative condition.�

As are Shiva�s parents. Hailing from Ganjam district, in Orissa, Dharma is employed at Naskarpara Jute Mill in Howrah. He lives with his family in the staff quarters adjacent to the mill. Shiva was born to Rezia 13 years after their marriage.

On Wednesday, Rezia was more concerned about Shiva�s recovery than the �medical marvel� that had just occurred. �I cannot believe that Lord Jagannath would be so cruel to me,� she whispered, staring at her son on life-support systems. �Why should I think about a child who is yet to be born?� she demanded when asked what she felt about the foetus.

While the doctors could not explain the exact reason for the formation of a foetus in the baby boy�s abdomen, they suggested a number of probable causes

�We are just hoping that Shiva recovers and grows up to be a healthy boy, with just a 6-cm incision on his abdomen to show for the phenomenon,� said a nurse, watching over the infant, at the Alpha Nursing Home and Child Care Centre.    

Calcutta, Nov.22: 
City detectives on Tuesday arrested three conmen, including a former state government officer, on charges of manipulating the quota of former chief minister Jyoti Basu to appropriate a six-cottah plot in Salt Lake.

The accused were identified as Binoy Krishna Roy, former assistant registrar of the state co-operative department, Subhash Dey and Anath Upadhyay. While Roy and Upadhyay live in Salt Lake, Dey is a resident of Madyamgram, in North 24-Parganas. All the accused were produced before the city court on Wednesday and have been remanded in jail custody.

Deputy commissioner, detective department, Banibrata Basu, said the police might raid the houses of the accused in a day or two. �We are sure some others are involved in the racket and we have begun a hunt for them,� he added.

Preliminary investigations revealed that Pankaj Ghosh, a newspaper employee, and seven others had formed a cooperative, Saroj Mukherjee Memorial Society.

Ghosh, on behalf of the society, applied directly to the chief minister�s secretariat for a six-cottah plot in EE block of Salt Lake in 1992. He, however, did not get any response.

Four years later, in mid-1996, the urban development department wrote to Ghosh asking him to apply through the department concerned, that is itelf. But Ghosh did not bother to do so.

Then in 1998-end, a man claiming to be Pankaj Ghosh, introduced himself as chief promoter. The imposter subsequently forged the names of the seven other cooperative members, and as chief promoter, sent a fresh application for the plot to the urban development department.

In 1999-end, department allotted the plot in favour of the imposter and seven others, without checking whether they were genuine members of the original cooperative formed in 1992.

All eight then started construction on the plot allotted to them. The cheats renamed the cooperative Saroj Housing Society and Anath Upadhyay became its chief promoter.

The original applicant, Pankaj Ghosh, stumbled upon the fraud when he went to the department to find out if the plot he had asked for had been allotted.

To his dismay, Ghosh was told that the plot had already been allotted. Stunned, he lodged a complaint with the detective department, which started the probe.

Officers said Subhas Dey might have masterminded the operation without the urban development department�s knowledge. They said some department officers might be interrogated later. �Now, the three accused are being grilled,� said the police.

The urban development department, too, has started a probe on its own.

�We must find out how the officers allotted the plot to a cooperative without verifying its bona fides,� said an officer of the department.    

Calcutta, Nov.22: 
Forty-eight hours after Kaustuv Ghosh, 19, was gunned down by dacoits in his Uttar Purbachal home, the police managed to effect a breakthrough in the case. In an early morning swoop on Wednesday, they arrested Govinda Das, 24, and Sanatan Jadav, 32, from Sahid Smriti, 100 yards from where the dacoits had carried out a meticulously-planned operation on Monday. Five double-barrel guns and some other arms were recovered from them.

Another youth was picked up by night patrol officers of Kasba police station early on Wednesday morning. He was moving around �suspiciously� in Jamunanagar, very close to Uttar Purbachal. The youth, who lives in Canning, could not explain what he was doing in the area at that hour.

Investigations revealed that Jadav is from Hazaribagh. While Das hails from Canning, he had been on the run recently, shifting base from Bishnupur to Baruipur to Amtala. According to officers involved in their interrogation, the two had admitted they were involved in some dacoities in the Jadavpur and Regent Park areas. �It is too early to conclude they were involved in the Uttar Purbachal dacoity, but they definitely had shifted to the Sahid Smriti hideout about a fortnight before the incident,�� a senior police officer said.

Meanwhile, South 24-Parganas superintendent of police A.K. Maliwal announced that duty officers and officers on night patrol will be suspended and an explanation will be sought from officers-in-charge of police stations in case of another dacoity in the area.

But fear hung heavy over Uttar Purbachal. Police patrolled the area and local youth and party cadre kept a close watch on �outsiders�. The telephone connections in the area, which had been cut off by the gangsters, were being restored. �After a month, the police will go away. Who will protect us then?� asked a youth. �We have to form a vigilante group,� he added.

On Wednesday, chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee sent an eye-specialist to examine Shyamal Ghosh, who had been beaten up by the goons before they shot his son.    

Calcutta, Nov.22: 
The advance party is here. So, Viagra can�t be too far off.

Wednesday witnessed frenetic pre-launch, closed-door activity in Calcutta as a drug company, sure of Nirman Bhavan�s go-ahead in the near future, organised a day-long meeting with its medical representatives, briefing them about the product, its packing, dosage and side-effects.

At least eight national and multi-national pharmaceutical companies are waiting for the green signal to let loose in Calcutta, and other cities, what could well be the most popular drug in the country � sildenafil citrate, the basic ingredient of Viagra.

The drug lobby has all but cleared the official sanction by the Drug Controller of India for the production and marketing of the molecule first brought to the world in medicine form by Pfizer in March 1998.

Pharmacists said the drug would be introduced as therapeutic medicine and, to prevent misuse, it will be placed in Schedule-X. �This means that the manufacturers, as well as retailers, will have to apply for a licence to deal with the drug,� said Bipin Mehta, president of the Bengal Chemists and Druggists Association. �Stores will have to keep a photocopy of the prescription, the address of the patient and doctor and a complete record of the quantity stored and sold,� he added.

These restrictions notwithstanding, several companies are carrying out their own �research� and getting ready with their products, with names that rhyme with the original. For example, Sun Pharma will call it Edegra, Cadilla has gone for Penegra. Ranbaxy and Torrent have also developed their own brands.

One of these drug companies organised Wednesday�s meet, where representatives were told that the medicine was contra-indicatory for those on nitrates (like Sorbitrate) and should be used with caution by those having hypertension and heart disease.

�We�re all waiting for the permission, which we expect any day now,� said one of the med reps. The excitement � at the prospect of a steep sales curve � was palpable.

But mum�s the word as far as the pricing goes. Sildenafil citrate is usually available in three categories: 25, 50 and 100 mg. Viagra is available in the grey market for about $10 per tablet. But industry circles say that once indigenous production starts, it would be available for $1, or about Rs 46 per tablet. �And with several drug companies set to launch the desi version, the prices could fall further with the competition,� said a city doctor.

Applications with the Drug Controller of India have been pending for some months now. The companies say they have all conducted trials in India with �successful results�.

At a larger gathering for doctors, organised late last month by the city branch of the Indian Medical Association, sexologist Prakash Kothari had announced how he, too, had conducted a multicentric study on 120 patients to find the suitability of the drug in Indian conditions. �It is reasonably safe. Doctors have to be educated so that it is prescribed to those who actually need it and for those who would not suffer side-effects,� Kothari had concluded.    

Calcutta, Nov.22: 
India�s first-ever mapping of miles of underground water supply network, to be carried out by French experts, begins in Calcutta on Saturday.

According to mayor Subrata Mukherjee, chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee will flag off the 30-month French project, funded primarily by the French Protocol Fund at Tallah.

The novelty of the project is that mapping and detection of underground leaks will be done without digging up roads, by using ground-penetrating radar and pipe locators. Project manager of the French company Graham Johnson and technical manager Ian Rogers are already in the city and have set up office at the Tallah pumping station.

It is learnt that the French experts have procured satellite images of the city from a Delhi-based company. Details of all city roads having width not less than one metre are available in these remote-sensing maps.

The French experts have been assigned to work in the 100 wards (Ward 1-100) of the city. A similar survey in the other areas will be undertaken by the German firm AWE. Member, mayor-in-council (water supply) Sovan Chatterjee said the project will involve a cost of Rs 43 crore. Of this, Rs 32 crore will be provided by the French Water Club as a soft loan through the Central government and the CMC is to cough up the balance.

The rider to the French loan was that the project should be implemented by member-companies of French Water Club, he pointed out. Accordingly, Seureca and Schulmberger have been appointed for the CMC project.

�We don�t have any detail map of the underground water supply network of the city,� said chief engineer Dibyendu Roychaudhury. The city has more than 2,000 km of underground filtered water pipeline network. The map is expected to help the CMC manage its water supply better.

In the first phase, the French experts will prepare a workable drawing map on the basis of data obtained during the survey. The map will then be fed into a computer for ready reference.

In the second phase, they will instal pressure and flow-monitoring equipment at 100 specific points in the city like the Shyambazar five-point crossing, Deshbandhu Park, Maniktala, Rajabazar, Hazra and Kalighat.

These pressure points will send data to a central computer stationed at the water supply department in the CMC headquarters through telemetry at an interval of 30 minutes. It will then be possible to detect a leak at a particular place immediately.

With a view to step up revenue collection, French water meters will be installed, first for commercial users, and then for the domestic sector too.    

Calcutta, Nov.22: 
The clue to the spate of crime in Calcutta lies in the highrises mushrooming in the city�s eastern fringe and the added areas.

Agreeing with this theory being put forward by the police, mayor Subrata Mukherjee on Wednesday offered assistance to the law-keepers in providing details regarding the newly-built or under-construction highrises.

But for this, the state government should prepare a policy involving the police, the CMC, the municipalities and the panchayats, he said.

CPM leader of the Opposition in the CMC, Kanti Ganguly, corroborated the view.

�The CPM had submitted a proposal to the state government about eight years ago to make it mandatory for a landlord to inform the police when he lets out rooms to a new tenant. But that proposal was not given effect,� he said.

All promoters operating in the CMC, municipality and panchayat areas should disclose to their respective local police stations the names and addresses of the purchasers so that the police could check their antecedents, Ganguly said. The illegally-constructed apartments in these pockets are being used as shelters by anti-socials, he alleged.

Explaining the situation, senior officers in the city and state police said lack of information, the root cause of the police�s failure in containing crime, is linked to the construction boom.

The CMC has sanctioned more than 10,000 housing complexes in the city over the past 15 years. Most of these are on the Bypass and the added areas of Behala, Garden Reach and Jadavpur.

The police are in the dark about the identity of the buyers. Earlier, every police station had an idea about the inhabitants living in its jurisdiction.

The peculiar administrative division of the eastern fringes � the juxtaposition of areas under the jurisdiction of the CMC and the panchayat � is also encouraging criminals to concentrate their activities there, a former detective department officer said.

Information on the residents of these new townships would help the police combat crime, he said.    

Calcutta, Nov.22: 
Six months into the Bangalore operations of his B2B (business to business) site, it�s time for a Calcutta boy to set up shop at home.

�This region has tremendous potential in the infotech sector, besides being strong in traditional areas like jute or tea,� said Kunal R. Sachdev, chief executive-marketing, Asia Pacific, of �And the present state of gloom can witness a sea change with proactive marketing of the products of the region.�

That�s exactly what has brought the 35-year-old ex-student of La Martiniere and St Xavier�s College back to the city he grew up in. �Besides strengthening our India operations, we will expand operations in the Northeast and then neighbouring Bangladesh and Nepal by using Calcutta as the base,� he says.

The site aims to spread data on the economy and reach Indian products to a global clientele. �Quality has always been a concern for the overseas importer. So, we have tied up with SGS, a renowned Geneva-based quality assurance company,� announced Sachdeva.    

Calcutta, Nov.22: 
The CPM-controlled Calcutta University Syndicate on Tuesday refused to respond to the University Grants Commission (UGC) on granting autonomy to seven city colleges. The UGC recently asked Calcutta University for its views on granting autonomy to seven colleges.

Instead, the Syndicate has decided to write to the UGC, seeking its terms, conditions and guidelines for granting autonomy to the colleges, namely Presidency College, Moulana Azad, Bethune, Lady Brabourne, St. Xaviers, Belur Ramakrishna Mission College and Narendrapur College.

The Syndicate, the university�s highest decision-making body, met on Tuesday to discuss the issue, but its members did not seem keen on granting autonomy to any college in Calcutta or elsewhere in Bengal. Autonomy for Presidency College has been hanging fire from 1970-72.

A majority of the CPM academics believe that granting autonomy to any college will divide the student body.

�Once we grant autonomy to any college, its authorities will draft their own syllabus and conduct their own examinations. Students from such colleges will secure a certificate from the university, but the citation will bear the name of the college,� said a Syndicate member.

He added: �Now, students graduating from any college are awarded certificates from Calcutta University. The certificates do not specify which college the student has passed from. But with autonomy, this system will change and the names of autonomous colleges will be specified on the certificates. Naturally, the system will cause a cleft among students of other colleges. We want to avoid this,� the pro-CPM Syndicate member said.    

Calcutta, Nov.22: 
Much to the embarrassment of the CPM-led government, Citu�s Calcutta unit general secretary Rajdeo Goala on Wednesday justified the demand of the employees of Great Eastern Hotel for alternate government jobs, in the wake of the proposed privatisation of the hotel.

The government has planned to hand the hotel over to Accor Asia Pacific. Both Citu and Intuc employees� unions of the hotel have stepped up their demand. Members of the Citu and Intuc units claimed on Wednesday that they were government employees and deserved to be treated so, after the hotel is privatised.

�We can be provided with jobs in other government departments but will not accept any retirement package, as has been offered to us,� said an Intuc member.

Justifying the employees� demand, Goala told The Telegraph: �We will have to discuss this with the hotel�s Citu unit. I will personally convene a meeting with them to discuss the issue soon.�

The state Citu leadership is now in a tight corner. �It will be difficult for the government to accommodate all the 520 hotel employees in other government departments,� a state Citu leader said on Wednesday. It is, therefore, expected that the state Citu leadership will try to convince its hotel unit not to stick to the demand for alternate government jobs. Rather, it will offer a more attractive retirement package.

�A Rs 15-crore deal for 520 employees is nothing. We will urge the government to increase the amount,� the Citu leader added.    

Imphal, Nov. 22: 
Manipur horticulture minister Thangminlen Kipgen today filed a case at the principal seat of Gauhati High Court in Guwahati challenging his disqualification by Speaker Sapam Dhananjoy. The Speaker disqualified Kipgen on November 17 from Manipur Assembly for violating the anti-defection law.

The case will be heard before Justice A.K. Patnaik tomorrow. The minister had obtained permission from acting Chief Justice N.C. Jain to file his petition at Guwahati�s principal seat instead of the Imphal bench.

Congress legislator Kh. Amutombi Singh, who moved the disqualification notice to the Speaker against Kipgen, has also filed a caveat at the High Court. Kipgen has pleaded for an interim stay against the Speaker�s order till the finalisation of the case. Amutombi Singh in his caveat sought permission for the inclusion of his view while hearing the case.

The fate of other eight legislators facing disqualification cases and caught in the tussle between the Speaker and chief minister W. Nipamacha Singh, is still uncertain. Dhananjoy is now wielding his �weapon�, the anti-defection law, to topple the government. Of the eight legislators, Nipamacha Singh has already sent seven members to Calcutta to prevent them from joining the Speaker�s camp. Kipgen, who was elected on a Nationalist Congress Party ticket from Kangpokpi seat, had defected to the Manipur State Congress Party before taking oath in the Assembly.

The Opposition camp has questioned the morality of Kipgen continuing in office. Manipur People�s Party leader O. Joy Singh said it would not be correct for Kipgen to remain in the ministry when he has already been disqualified from the House by the Speaker. He was reacting to United Front of Manipur�s decision to allow Kipgen to remain in the ministry for the next six months. The MPP leader demanded that Governor Ved Marwah look into the matter seriously.

Congress leader Nimaichand Luwang told newsmen today that they have not sought the party high command�s permission to join the Speaker�s camp.

State Congress president O. Ibobi Singh yesterday said his party would never join hands with the BJP to form a new government. He said the Congress legislators have not informed the party high command about joining the Speaker�s camp. Luwang expressed hope that they would be able to defeat Nipamacha Singh in the Assembly during the no-confidence motion on December 1.    


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