Attendants strike fear in patients
Masood trail in Tiljala kidnap
Rate rise at Book Fair
Select sellers for CalTel cells
The City Diary
Bitter battle over litter zone
Sudden transfer stuns CU
Bhog samples thrown away before lab tests
Fort William site for old cannon
BBC radio on cable television

Calcutta, Nov. 21: 
Ruchika Banerjee�s (name changed on request) parents are in a fix. The girl from Be hala is scheduled to be admit ted next week for renal sur gery at SSKM Hospital. Her fa ther met the doctors on Mon day and told them he wanted his wife to look after their daughter in the private cabin. But they, allegedly, insisted that he engage a specialduty attendant .to avoid trouble..

After Tuesday night�s inci dent . when the niece of a pa tient admitted to the Woodburn Ward of SSKM Hospital was ter rorised and assaulted by a group of 15 anubratis, or specialduty attendants . the Banerjees don.t know what to do.

From 7 pm on Wednesday night, the police patrolled the compound of SSKM Hospital to prevent the attendants, now deemed outsiders, from creating trouble. .This tight security after the previous night�s incident will make them understand that the government means business,. said hospital surgeon superinten dent Debdwaipayan Chatterjee.

But for the Banerjees of Beha la and so many more, Tuesday night�s trouble is the culmination of a string of similar incidents at staterun hospitals ever since the ban on attendants was im posed on November 1:

Within 10 days of the ban com ing into force, the son of a patient admitted to the Queen�s Ward at SSKM Hospital lodged a com plaint with the superintendent . that the special attendants were preventing his people from tend ing to his mother.Within an hour, he returned and withdrew the complaint

About 12 days ago, the relatives of a female patient admitted to the NRS emergency ward was forced to engage a specialduty attendant. Doctors of the ward got to know, and the attendants were admon ished. But the attendant continued

When a patient in the NRS orth opaedic ward refused an atten dant being forced on him, he faced continuous harassment from the staff

Last week, a resident of Salt Lake, whose wife had been admit ted to SSKM Hospital, had taken a help from home to look after the patient. She was literally dragged out of the hospital by the anubratis

Three nights ago, special atten dants forced the husband of a pa tient at Howrah General Hospital to hire one of them, for Rs 90, even though a family member wanted to tend to the patient. He has sought help from the Howrah Ganatantrik Nagarik Samiti

Health minister Surya Kanta Mishra said on Wednesday that he would enquire into Tuesday�s in cident at SSKM on his return from Burdwan. .Those responsible will be punished,. he promised.

A solution, however, seems dis tant. .We are against this system, as it will lead to misuse,. said Madan Mitra, chairman of the PG Hospital Bachao Committee. .We condemn incidents against pa tients and their relatives. But the government is responsible for cre ating such a situation..

In the name of reforms, the government appears to be creating another Frankenstein, observed an official of the Indian Medical Association�s Calcutta branch.

As a social welfare officer pointed out: .It is tough for these personnel to come down heavily on the attendants, who have been allowed to grow into the govern ment hospital system over the past 21 years. Without providing rehabilitation, how do the author ities expect the 4,000odd special attendants to sit quiet?.


Calcutta, Nov. 21: 
The CID has traced the origins of shoe magnate Parthapratim Roy Burman�s kidnap to Pakistani ter rorist Maulana Masood Azhar, who was released from an Indian jail in exchange for the hostages on the Indian Airlines flight to Kandahar in 1999.

IG, CID, Partha Bhattacharya, said on Wednesday that the Dubai based kidnap mastermind Aftab Ansari, alias Farhan Malik, had shared a cell with Masood in Delhi�s Tihar jail .in the mid90s. where .abduction as a tool for raising funds. was discussed. Bhattacharya said Masood had been shifted to Tihar jail for secu rity reasons .around 1995., before being taken back to a Jammu jail.

.Masood, along with some other JaisheMohammad activ ists, shared a cell with Malik and Rajan, incharge of Malik�s kid nap operations in India,. Bhat tacharya said. .Later, after Ma sood�s release and when Malik jumped bail and fled the country, he received training at the Jaish headquarters in Pakistan..

Rajan, or Asif Reza Khan, was arrested by the Delhi police a fort night ago and brought to the city on November 14 with Arshad Khan.He hails from Mafizul Islam Lane, in the Beniapukur police station area, and had apparently confessed to links with Masood. .Rajan was in the city at the time of Roy Burman�s abduction and he was the one who treated the injured Khadim�s vicechairman,. Bhattacharya said. .It was also Rajan who accompanied Roy Bur man to a taxi at the time of his re lease.. Malik, still at large, has en gineered at least .half a dozen kid nappings in the country and main tained contacts with Masood..

The CID boss said .all eight criminals.who had kidnapped Roy Burman belonged to the Lashkare Toiba and had been trained in Pak istan. Three of them, including Aslam who had shot Roy Burman, have been arrested.

.We are now on the lookout for three Pakistani militants who had played a part in the kidnap,. Bhat tacharya said. He named two asso ciates of Chunnu, Sheikh Naushad and Sheikh Sona, as local facilitators of the gang, along with Roy Burman�s driver, Naba Kumar Mondal. It was also disclosed that Swati Pal had iden tified Malik�s voice from a tape recording and put the sleuths on the right track.


Calcutta, Nov. 21: 
Booklovers will have to pay more to browse and buy at Calcutta Book Fair 2002. The stall rent has been hiked from Rs 200 to Rs 250 per square metre,while the rise in ticket tag is yet to be finalised. Scheduled to begin on January 29, the 27th Calcutta Book Fair will boast 500 pavilions and bookstalls.

Kalyan Shah, general secre tary of the Publishers and Book sellers Guild, promised to offer visitors .better facilities. this time. Shah said on Wednesday that the Netherlands had been chosen as the focal theme for the fair. Bordering the Netherlands pavilion will be a complex of the European Union countries.

.This is the first time we will be participating in any book fair out side Frankfurt,. said Dr A.R. Aarsse, secretary, culture and press, Netherlands embassy. Five Dutch authors . Anil Ramdas, Moses Isegawa,Abdul Kader Bena mi,Arnon Grunberg and Rita Rah man . will attend the Book Fair.

The 12day fair on the Maidan, spread over 8.35 lakh sq ft, will also host an artists. village and a sculptors. complex. Delegates from 14 countries have been con tacted, but participation details are yet to be worked out. Among the highlights, Shah mentioned a Bangladesh Day, a Netherlands Day and a walk for books.


Calcutta, Nov. 21: 
Dial M for Money? Even before Calcutta Telephones. mobile service has gone on air, the .lucrative. policy adopted to recruit agents for marketing the product has raised a stink in the utility�s headquarters.

No advertisement was put out inviting proposals, admitted senior officials. Instead, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) .invited. agencies .successful. in marketing an earlier product which had, in cidentally, failed to create a splash.

CalTel general manager (marketing) S.N.Roychowdhury admit ted there was no advertisement or tender. .We called up agents who have been marketing India Telephone Cards successfully,. he said.

The result: Around 10 entities have bagged most of the 80odd agencies .recruited. by BSNL. In the BehalaBarisha belt, all six agencies have gone to one Bhaskar Ganguly, with one agency shar ing its address with a ladies. tailoring shop.

In Hooghly, six of the 10 agencies have been cornered by Biswarup Chakraborty. Documents reveal he has agencies at Serampore, Hind motor,Konnagar, Uttarpara and Mahesh.Three of the four remain ing agencies in the district have gone to Rajesh Agarwal,who has also bagged three of the four agencies in Tollygunge,way down south.

Pradip Chakraborty will sell the service, expected to give Spice and Command a run for their money, in Jadavpur, Patuli, Kasba Haltu and Bijoygarh.Murarilal Changoiwala has two agencies in two adjoining buildings (26/3 and 26/4 Armenian Street) on the first floor of Jhagra Kothi.

No BSNL official could explain the necessity of having two agencies in two neighbouring buildings. Chakraborty has another agency in the Burrabazar belt,which operates from a cloth merchant�s officecumstore.

There are quite a few others . some operating from photocopy ing outlets . who have bagged multiple agencies.Raj Kumar Jhawar, who has one agency, operates from an address . 5A,Murlidhar Sen Lane . that is next to the state BJP headquarters. BJP MP from Dum Dum Tapan Sikdar is minister of state for communication.

Senior BSNL officials said there was .no transparency. in .select ing. the marketing agents. Marketing agents of all BSNL services . like that of any other government agency . are selected only after putting out advertisements or floating tenders, they explained.

In this case, however, .selected. agents who were marketing the India Telephone Cards were .invited. and .offered. the lucrative deal. The card scheme had flopped for .a combination of factors.. .


Calcutta, Nov. 21: 

Swati plea for bail relaxation rejected

Alipore subdivisional judicial magistrate Prabhu Narayan Sinha on Wednesday rejected the plea of Swati Pal, arrested for her alleged involvement in Parthapratim Roy Burman�s abduc tion, seeking relaxation in the conditions imposed by the court while granting her bail prayer last Sunday. The court allowed Pal�s bail prayer on three conditions: She would have to furnish a bail bond of Rs 10,000, with a local surety of more than Rs 10,000 having landed property in the Calcutta Municipal Corporation area. The court also said that she would have to meet the investigating officer twice a week.

Police to probe elopement case

Police will start a depart mental inquiry into the elope ment charge that a former Congress councillor has brought against a sergeant of Alipore police station.Soumen Mitra, deputy commissioner, detective department, said on Wednesday that if the ser geant,who is married and has a 10yearold daughter,was found guilty, action would be taken against him.

Father killed

A 24yearold youth killed his father, Sattar Mollar, at Habra, in North 24Parganas, early on Wednesday. Sattar was hit on his head with a heavy log. Police said a prop erty dispute had triggered the incident. The youth is ab sconding.

Runover death

A middleaged, unidentified man was run over on A.P.C. Road early on Wednesday. He was taken to R.G. Kar Hospi tal,where he was declared .brought dead., police said.

Civic boycott

Opposition parties in the Calcutta Municipal Corpora tion boycotted the monthly meeting on Wednesday, de manding an election to the chairman�s post.CPM chief whip Amal Mitra said the matter was verbally informed to the mayor,who had assured them of looking into the matter.

Trains stalled

Passengers and hawkers demonstrated at Sonarpur station, on Sealdah South sec tion of Eastern Railway, on Wednesday, to demand more trains. Swapan Bharati,who led the passengers, said their plan of stalling trains was abandoned in view of the on going Madhyamik and High er Secondary tests.

Downsize protest

Central government em ployees, led by the Coordina tion Committee, organised fourhour demonstrations at their offices from Wednesday noon to protest the govern ment�s decision to downsize staff strength.

Four beaten up

Four youth were beaten up at Bisharpara, in North 24 Parganas, on Tuesday night after a dacoity bid. Three oth ers escaped, police said.

Vidyasagar Mela

The 8th Vidyasagar Mela will be inaugurated by Gover nor Viren J. Shah on Decem ber 21. One of the highlights will be a Renaissance Park within the Millennium Park, where the Renaissance period of Bengal will be depicted through models. The fair will continue till January 1, 2002.    

Calcutta, Nov. 21: 
Parimal Bardhan has extended his mor ningwalk timings to suit the needs of his locality in Ramchandrapur, Sodepur. He is one among the gang of 80odd senior citizens who are .on duty. from 6 am to 11 am every weekday. They head back home only after the 200plus housewives in the area have completed their house hold chores to take over from them.

The objective of the roundtheclock vigil: To block the Swami Baag Road that leads to the Panihati municipality tren ching ground. For the past three months, Bardhan and the rest have been following this routine to prevent garbageladen vans from dumping waste there.

Spread over seven bighas, this trench ing ground is .a menace to safe living. asserts Sadhana Dutta, a volunteer. .The overwhelming stench is a serious health hazard. With the pumping station less than a stone�s throw away, the water here is no longer safe to drink. There was an outbreak of gastroenteritis a few months ago,. adds P. Pal, another volunteer.

The people�s movement to shift the trenching ground began way back in 1974. .But as it was not a coordinated ef fort, it yielded nothing but empty promis es and plans on paper, none of which was implemented,. complains Shyamal Ban erjee, convener, Bhagar Uchhed Commit tee (BUC), a 33member forum compris ing presidents and secretaries of all the clubs in the area.

The sight of plastic piles and the stench of rotting carcasses had, appar ently, .shocked. Biswanath Nandi, in spector, Pollution Control Board. But the municipality has gone ahead and sanc tioned construction of residential hous es bordering the area and has also con structed a homoeopathic research insti tute and hospital adjacent nearby.

.Even though the Barasat sessions court had given explicit orders to shift the dumping ground to Mohishpota,Khardah, the move, for some reason, was nipped in the bud. The construction of an eightfoot high wall surrounding the ground and the installation of wire netting to check vul tures has also been stalled,. complains Biswajit Banerjee, club secretary.

The adjoining municipalities have also begun dumping waste in the trench ing ground. .Not only is the Dhapa not modernised, the workers don.t even disin fect the area with bleaching powder regu larly,. alleges Chhobi Ghosh, a resident.

.What is most appalling,. adds Biswajit Biswas, .is that the plot actually belongs to Sadhana Dutta, Gopal Krish na Das and Sital Das, all three of whom have been contacted, as they live else where.On the other hand, the land at Mo hishpota, that had been bought, devel oped and connected by roads for access by garbagedisposal trucks, continues to lie vacant for no apparent reason..

With plaintive cries falling on deaf ears and court orders being ignored, the residents of Ramchandrapur have taken it upon themselves to prevent entry of mu nicipal vehicles and stop fresh dumping.

Things have started improving slow ly.For one, the stench that once carried as far as Simultala and Mandela Park, is now much less, thanks to disinfectants being sprayed by the locals.

.The popular initiative can no longer be ignored. We won.t give up the fight until the dumping ground is shifted to a place where it does not cause harm to human life,. they chorus.


Calcutta, Nov. 21: 
The sudden transfer of Calcutta University�s (CU) pro vicechan cellor, academic, to the statecon trolled Netaji Subhas Open Uni versity has led to a stalemate.

Surabhi Banerjee, CU pro vicechancellor, quit her post last week to join the open university. Her CU post is still vacant.

The job of a pro vicechancel lor, academic, entails looking after academics at the university. Some of the key activities are ad mission of students, holding ex aminations and publication of results of undergraduate and postgraduate examinations.

Students and teachers of Cal cutta University are unhappy with the manner in which the au thorities took the decision to re lease Banerjee at such a crucial time, when a host of major undergraduate and postgradu ate examinations are pending.

Students, specially, are peeved as results of some major examinations, like B.A. and B.Sc Part I (honours), B.A. and B.Sc Part I general and the old B.A., B.Sc (twoyear) pass, are pending publication. The results have been delayed by the acute short age of examiners and answer scripts of many students are yet to be corrected, though the tests were written four months ago. The controller of examinations department is having a trying time tackling the situation.

.The presence of the pro vice chancellor, academic, is vital at this time. We are surprised that the authorities accepted Baner jee�s resignation before finding a suitable candidate to succeed her,. said the students. Banerjee was appointed CU pro vicechancellor, academic, on March 5, 1999. She would have completed her term of office on March 5, 2003.


Calcutta, Nov. 21: 
Civic officials have failed to deter mine the cause of food poisoning in Behala�s Kalabagan, as the sam ples of khichdi turned stale even before they could be tested.

Civic food inspectors had col lected samples of the cooking medium and khichdi for a labora tory test on Friday, said officeron special duty (health) Atanu Mukherjee. On Monday, no sam ple of khichdi was, however, hand ed over to the public analyst.

A medical officer in the civic health department said the sam ples had to be thrown away as they had turned stale before the test. Since the civic body office was closed till Sunday, the samples could not be kept in a refrigerator. Moreover, the civic laboratory was not equipped to test the quality of fish used in the khichdi microbio logically, the official said.

An officer in the civic food lab oratory said discarding of stale samples before handing them over to the public analyst is a regular affair. Tests of water samples col lected from two hand tubewells and a standpipe have yielded un satisfactory results. .Though the coliform count in them was high, it does not imply that the outbreak of diarrhoea was caused by it,. said chief engineer (water supply) Dibyendu Roychaudhury.


Calcutta, Nov. 21: 
The centuryold cannon, lying desolate and dirty in a corner of the Esplanade depot of Calcutta Tramways Company (CTC), looks set to find an .honourable place. in Eastern Command�s headquarters at Fort William.

.We have been requested offi cially to hand over the cannon to the army, so that it can be pre served as a showpiece,. CTC managing directorcumchair man Sudhir Kumar De said on Wednesday. He told Metro that the government had okayed the move during the day and asked the CTC to expedite the transfer.

The 10ftlong cannon, report edly used by Nawab Sirajud Daulah against the British, caught the public eye after Metro carried a report on November 13 highlighting the neglect meted out to such .a rare piece of history..

De regretted the fact that the cannon had escaped the notice of CTC officials for years. But, he said, steps have already been taken to dig it out and clean it.

Reacting to the manner in which the cannon lay dumped in a bush for years at Esplanade, former Justice K.M. Yusuf, presently chairman of the West Bengal Minorities Commission, shot off a onepage letter to Lt. General A.S. Kalkat on Novem ber 15, requesting him to ensure proper upkeep of this .historic piece. without delay.

He said thorough research was required to ascertain whether the cannon was used by the Dutch or Siraj or by Robert Clive, then GovernorGeneral of Bengal.

.I was overwhelmed on re ceiving a reply from Arvind Kumar, chief of staff, headquar ters, Eastern Command, during the day, promising me that the matter would be addressed,. Yusuf said on Wednesday after noon. He said armymen had al ready contacted CTC officials to expedite the handing over of the cannon.

Officials of Fort William also confirmed during the day that the army would take possession of the cannon within a week or two..We shall place it along with other cannons in Fort William for preservation,. they added.

Syllabus workshop: The West Bengal Board of Secondary Edu cation will organise a threeday workshop at Paschimbanga Bangla Akademi from December 29, before the announcement of new syllabus for Classes VI to X. Prodyut Kumar Haldar, board secretary, said the last change was made in 198586. For the syl labus changes, drafts have al ready been made.


Calcutta, Nov. 21: 
Calcuttans pining for BBC World Service, but not having shortwave radio, can now catch their favourite programmes broadcast live from London on cable televi sion via satellite.

RPG Netcom, the multisystem operator controlling almost 75 per cent market share in Calcutta, has entered into an alliance with BBC World Service .to rebroadcast BBC World Service programmes. on its cable radio station, Radio Snap.

.This is the first time in India that BBC World Service has en tered into a marriage with a local partner for radio broadcast and it�s a significant tieup, which should pave the way for similar al liances elsewhere in the country,. said Sam Miller, managing direc tor, South Asia, BBC Online, Lon don, after inaugurating the serv ice in the city on Wednesday.

RPG Netcom CEO Probir Bose said: .This city, as I know it, has had a traditional bias towards the BBC. The launch of BBC World Service programmes will add con siderably to the alreadyrich repertoire of radio programmes for broadcasting under Radio Snap, adding value to our cable service.

. The BBC radio programmes, .in all the clarity of FM., will run from 2.30 pm to 6.30 am the next day. In addition to the English pro gramming, Radio Snap listeners can also listen to BBC�s Bengali morning transmission, Biswasambad, from 6 to 6.30 am.

At present, Radio Snap�s for mat is spread over 49 hours every week, from 7 am to 2 pm everyday, in Bengali, Hindi and English.

.Our aim is to reach out more to the urban audience, in addition to the rural areas, where we al ready have considerable presence. This will provide cable homes an other option to access our output,. said Diana Pogson, business de velopment manager for Asia and Pacific Region, BBC World Ser vice, London.

The bestknown and most re spected voice in international broadcasting, BBC World Service currently reaches out to 153 mil lion people in 43 languages, in cluding English.

Asked if the radio through tel evision model would work in this era of roundtheclock satellite tel evision, Miller stressed on the speed advantage of radio over tel evision. .The gestation period of a radio programme is much shorter and we can break news faster, since we don.t need to shoot video pictures. Besides, radio program ming is often more indepth and analytical than TV,. he said.


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