The Telegraph
Thursday , January 1 , 2015
 
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CALCUTTA 2015: PICKS & PIQUES

- Metro peeps into the New Year to pick the potential milestones and pinpricks as Calcutta embarks on another journey of change and constants from January to December 

INFRASTRUCTURE

The trunk of the long-awaited Parama-Park Circus flyover should be ready by July, the deadline set by the high court. Once it is opened to traffic, vehicles can take the flyover from Park Circus to hit the Bypass near Spring Club, avoiding the notorious snarls below. A stretch that usually takes close to 30 minutes to cover will become a seven to 10-minute drive.Construction of the other arms of the flyover will continue through the year.

The VIP Road flyover, from Kestopur to Joramandir, is likely to be completed by February, said an official of infrastructure company L&T. The flyover will be a boon for traffic headed towards the airport, bypassing the busy crossings at Lake Town, Bangur, Dum Dum Park and Baguiati.

The NH-34 will be widened to four lanes from Birati till Barasat in 2015. Work has already started.

For those living on the southern fringe of the city, the Kamalgazi flyover that starts from near Shahid Khudiram Metro station (Garia Dhalai bridge) and runs over the chock-a-block Kamalgazi crossing will be an escape from everyday snarls. People headed towards Baruipur can take the flyover before hitting the Baruipur Bypass, running parallel to the main road.

The Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) along the Bypass is unlikely to be completed by the end of the year. Speculation is rife about the project being reduced to just widening the Bypass because of the uncertainty over central funding. If that happens, the state government might not be able to fund the project on its own, sources said.

Work on the 7.14km long flyover between Jinjirabazar, 3km west of the Taratala crossing, and Batanagar is expected to begin soon. Ditto for the Garden Reach flyover that will take off from the Ramnagar crossing and reach Majherhat station on Diamond Harbour Road. 

There is no official word on the fate of the Vivekananda Road flyover in north Calcutta yet. The flyover is already almost four years behind schedule.

Cleaning and strengthening of the underground sewer lines is expected to be ready by mid-2015. 

Residents of Anandapur, off the Bypass, are likely to enjoy water supply from the Dhapa treatment plant within a fortnight. Nearby areas like Patuli, Mukundapur and Ajoynagar will start getting treated water from the plant in April.

 

HEALTH CARE 

Several private hospitals in town are preparing to unveil their new units in 2015.

Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals will open a 120-bed Institute of Gastro Sciences within its campus in mid-2015. Work on the hospital’s private medical college and skill centre at Batanagar is also scheduled to start during the year with an investment of around Rs 400 crore. The hospital also intends to add 100 beds to its cancer unit.

The AMRI Group will start building its 500-bed multi-speciality hospital at Rajarhat-New Town in the New Year. The projected investment is Rs 500 crore. Work on the second tower of the group’s hospital in Mukundapur, off the Bypass, will begin during the year.

Belle Vue Clinic’s plans include a 400-bed multi-speciality hospital in New Town and an additional 70 beds for its daycare and dialysis unit on Loudon Street. Work on a nursing school in New Town will also start in 2015.

Ruby General Hospital will open a new cancer treatment unit with 100 beds during the year. 
lIn the state-run health care sector, construction of Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute’s second unit in Rajarhat is projected to start by March. The 250-bed hospital will treat cancer patients. 

The proposed AIIMS at Kalyani is likely to be commissioned this year.

AIRPORT & AVIATION 

The Category III-B Instrument Landing System (ILS) will be installed at the airport by next winter, enabling flights to operate up to a visibility of 50 metres. Flights currently need a minimum visibility of 350 metres at the city airport.

Bumpy take-offs and landings are set to end as well with the Airports Authority of India deciding to start resurfacing the main runway. The deadline for the Rs 122-crore project is December 2015. The last time the runway underwent resurfacing was in 2003-04 and an overhaul has been due since 2011.

The new integrated terminal will finally have the best of retail outlets with the airport authorities finalising the master concessionaire for retail. Pay-and-use lounges will be opened in the domestic and international departure areas.

The international wing will have an 800sq m duty-free area. The present one is spread across 150sq m and only stocks a selection of liquor and chocolates. 

Construction of the new air traffic control tower will start in the middle of the year. The 86m tower will also have an equipment room. 

Etihad Airways is due to start operations between Calcutta and Abu Dhabi in February. Fly Dubai and Turkish Airlines are on the radar.

METRO RAILWAY 

More air-conditioned rakes will join the Metro fleet in the New Year, replacing the seven rickety rakes that are long past their expiry dates.

Metro officials said security would be beefed up with more baggage scanners and doorframe and handheld metal detectors at all stations. Special RPF teams comprising only women will be deployed at all stations to handle issues and complaints regarding safety of women commuters. 

Four more Metro Railway stations will get lifts and escalators will be installed at five stations.

Lifts to the ticketing zone and from there to the platforms will be installed at Dum Dum, Shyambazar and Esplanade stations for senior citizens and the disabled. Tollygunge station will get lifts too. Escalators will be installed at Belgachhia, Maidan, Jatin Das Park, Kalighat and Rabindra Sarobar stations to link the ticketing zones with the entry/exit. 

The prospects for new Metro projects in the city like the East-West don’t look good, thanks to the state government’s recalcitrance.

 

TRAFFIC

Some of the major traffic signals are likely to be fitted with automatic red-light-violation sensors. These devices will automatically detect violations and capture an image of the vehicle that jumps a signal. “The photographs will be furnished as proof along with the citation challan sent to the owner,” said a senior officer of the traffic department. Such sensors are currently being tried out at a south Calcutta crossing.

Police are also doing a survey on road accidents in the city and have identified the 10 most accident-prone routes. “Recurrence of accidents on a stretch of road means it needs special attention. From extra deployment to signalling changes, we will do as required to prevent accidents,” an officer said. 

EDUCATION 

St. Xavier’s College will open the Educational Multimedia Research Centre, its communication hub on the Bypass, in the New Year along with a girls’ hostel on AJC Bose Road. Two new courses in political science and history will be introduced at St. Xavier’s Raghapur campus in South 24-Parganas. The BEd department and the library will shift to the new location. Work on the college’s Rajarhat campus will continue through the year. 

The West Bengal Council of Higher Secondary Education will introduce a mix of multiple-choice and short-answer questions along with project work in the 2015 Higher Secondary exams. 

Calcutta University will open three new departments, one for music and fine arts, another for comparative literature and a third for Buddhist studies. The university will also introduce a chair named after Ashutosh Mukherjee.

Four private universities will start functioning from the 2015 academic session. These are The Neotia University, JIS University, Amity University and University of Engineering and Management. Two state-aided universities will also open in the New Year, including one that will provide affiliation to all BEd colleges of Bengal. 

A new CBSE school — The Newtown School — will open in Action Area I of New Town with classes from nursery till VII.

HOT WHEELS 

Superbikers in the city are already spoilt for choice, the options including the iconic Harley-Davidson and the Triumph. Come February, Italian brand Benelli will come riding piggyback on its Indian partner, DSK Motowheels. DSK has entered into a technical collaboration with Benelli to assemble, market and sell their bikes in India. By mid-February, there will be a Benelli showroom in Calcutta, promises DSK chairman Shirish Kulkarni. 
Benelli, based in Pesaro, Italy, started operations in 1911, making it the oldest Italian motorcycle company. Its bikes have won many trophies in motorsport, winning over 1,000 races in the Italian, European and World racing championships since 1939. Born of this motorsport lineage are the TNT 302, TNT 600GT, TNT 600i, TNT 899 and TNT 1130R models, priced in the range of Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 12 lakh. 

With the Ambassador riding into the sunset, car manufacturers are now vying for the city’s taxi pie, offering the Calcutta commuter many comfortable choices, including the Swift Dzire, Tata Indigo, Tata Manza, Ford Figo, Toyota Etios, Mahindra Verito and the Fiat Linea.

Volvo cars, known for their safety features, will roll into Calcutta on January 10 with a dealership at Topsia. The Swedish brand had introduced the world to the three-point safety belt, laminated glass, airbags, child safety seats and a host of other safety features.

ENVIRONMENT

Little change is expected on the green front in terms of stricter norms because that might cause the ruling party discomfort. So, continue to bear with polluting commercial vehicles and illegal autos.

On the positive side, solar power may be the biggest gainer in 2015 with several projects lined up. Early in the year, Deshapriya Park will turn into a solar power-driven carbon neutral zone, said to be the first of its kind in India. The country’s first floating solar project will come up in Rajarhat. If power minister Manish Gupta keeps his word, a 40 per cent additional subsidy might be offered to Calcuttans as an incentive for the solar rooftop programme. The state pollution control board too has decided to help 100 schools and primary health centres utilise solar power.

According to PCB’s new chairman Kalyan Rudra, who is also a river researcher, cleaning of the Hooghly will be a priority.

The state disaster management department, with support from some non-profit organisations, has planned a workshop with international experts in the city in January to figure out ways to save the Sunderbans — and the city — from the impact of climate change. This workshop is the first instance of the government acknowledging the vulnerability of south Bengal to climate change. 

MALLS AND MULTIPLEXES

Acropolis, on the Rashbehari Connector, is set to open around April. Cinepolis, the multiplex, should open 15-20 days after the mall. 

While INOX has no expansion plans in Bengal in 2015, PVR Cinemas is looking to extend its footprint in Calcutta, Siliguri and Durgapur. In Calcutta, the plex chain aims to set up properties in Rajarhat and Behala, though that could spill over into 2016.

BARS AND RESTAURANTS

Expect a new bar and grill on Sarat Chatterjee Avenue (near Menoka) to keep foodies and tipplers happy. 

Fusion food lovers must drop by at the beautifully done Out of D’World on the third floor of The Myx on Park Street. A little birdie told us that a sports bar on the Park Circus connector is coming up at the beginning of the year. Beer fans in town also have reason to be happy with a certain microbrewery setting up shop for the first time in the city.

A branch of The Royal Indian Hotel is set to open near the Quest mall in the first quarter of 2015 while south Calcutta’s popular biryani-kebab place Oudh 1590 will start its second serve near City Centre Salt Lake by January-end.


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