The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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The City Diary

Apex court case on Lake squatters

The fate of about 5,000 families of squatters on railway land in and around Calcutta’s second largest lake, Rabindra Sarobar, hangs in ‘judicial balance’ as the Supreme Court on Tuesday reserved its judgment on the matter. A division bench of Justices N. Santosh Hegde and B.P. Singh said the issue of their rehabilitation and “right to shelter” would be taken up separately and posted the matter for hearing after four weeks. The petitioner, Howrah Ganatantrik Nagarik Samiti, sought a direction from the apex court to the state government and the Centre that the Calcutta High Court eviction order be implemented by them. The bench, while reserving judgment, clearly indicated that the squatters would be evicted and their rehabilitation would be separately heard under Article 21 of the Constitution, guaranteeing ‘right to life’ as a fundamental right. The West Bengal government went unrepresented in the case for the second consecutive hearing as advocate-general Balai Ray was absent.

NAAC grade for Xaviers

The National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) has awarded an ‘A’ grade to St Xavier’s College. The institution is the first under-graduate college in the state to have been awarded the status. It has bagged the highest points among the few colleges that have been assessed by NAAC so far. The two colleges in Calcutta and a few in the districts assessed so far were graded by a star system. The new system of grades was introduced in 2002. According to officials of the college, apart from awarding St Xavier’s the ‘A’ grade, the NAAC peer team has also recommended that the institution be granted the status of ‘deemed university’. The NAAC report also recommended that the college is fit to be granted the status of “an autonomous college with or without affiliation”.

Club dues

The legal battle between Royal Calcutta Turf Club (RCTC) and Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) took a significant turn in Calcutta High Court as the civic authorities declined to accept Rs 23,900 as tax dues from the RCTC. The CMC demanded that the club would have to pay more than Rs 27 lakh as licence fee for 390 horses, Rs 80,000 for the RCTC office at Russell Street and amusement tax for the year 2001-2002. Justice D.P. Kundu had directed the club to deposit the sum to the registrar of the court.

Schoolbus order

In accordance with a ruling of the Supreme Court, the Regional Transport Authority (RTA) has issued a notification stating that schoolbuses under the RTA, Calcutta, should be navy blue with a foot-wide band below the window level on which the name of the school with address and telephone number is to be written. In case of a schoolbus with contract carriage permit, the name, address and telephone number of the permit-holder are to be written on the back of the vehicle. The RTA office has sent a copy of the decision to the deputy commissioner of police (traffic) for information and necessary action.

Area added

The state Cabinet on Tuesday approved the government’s decision to increase the Calcutta Metropolitan Area by including 36 mouzas of Hooghly district to develop the areas around the proposed township at Dankuni. The 36 mouzas will be taken from the Serampore, Chanditala and Singur police station areas.

Hospital agency

The government on Tuesday decided to withdraw the contractor’s workers and general duty attendants of a private agency, engaged in cleaning and providing other services to patients at SSKM Hospital. The workers will be replaced by government employees. The decision follows an agitation by the contractor’s workers, controlled by the Trinamul Congress-led union in the hospital since Monday. Health minister Surjya Kanta Mishra okayed the switch after a meeting on Tuesday.

VCD haul

In a major raid, police seized more than 400 pornographic video cassettes and CDs from four shops in Bangur, in the Rajarhat police station area, on Tuesday. The shop-owners as well as two others were arrested.

Thumbs Up

O social-legal aid research and training centre for distributing household articles among elderly citizens in an Adopt-a-Granny programme
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