Friday, February 22, 2013

Mamata's vindictive politics over patient care push Bengal people to poor health care

Norway may pull out of SSKM project

KOLKATA: Barely four months after the state health department shunted out Dr Arun Singh, the head of the neonatology department at the Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education and Research (IPGMER) in SSKM Hospital, the state's premier medical institute is set to lose a prestigious project funded by the Norway government.

The funding agency wants to pull out of the project because it has "lost confidence" after Dr Singh's transfer.

Dr Singh, as the head of the department, had been instrumental in developing a state-of-the-art neonatology wing at IPGMER. He was transferred to the College of Medicine and Sagar Dutta Hospital in October 2012, allegedly after a row with an influential health department official.
Dr Singh - for whom the city's medical fraternity vouches for his dedication, hard work and pioneering initiatives -

was transferred to a hospital which does not even have a neonatology department.

former neonatology head at Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education and Research (IPGMER) (SSKM), the state's premier medical institute is about to lose a prestigious project funded by the Norway government.

The neonatologist, who the medical fraternity vouch for his dedication, hard work and pioneering initiatives, was shunted to the North 24 Parganas hospital which does not even have a neonatology department.

The Norway funding would have been crucial for the hospital, as the country boasts one of the best healthcare facilities for the newborn in the world. With an infant mortality rate of 3 (number of deaths per 1,000 births), it ranks sixth amongst countries with the lowest infant mortality rates.

The corresponding figure for Bengal is 35.

Now, the funding agency has expressed a wish to discontinue the project, said sources.

The funding agency reportedly has expressed its desire to discontinue with the ongoing project. If the project is withdrawn it will give a major blow to the neonatology wing that has taken up many pioneering initiatives.

Therefore the collaborative project with Norway government at IPGMER would have served the state.

Some initiatives that would have materialized under the project was a breast milk bank at IPGMER, a training programme for doctors and nurses in Norway and collaborative efforts to reduce neonatal sepsis, nutrition of newborns and improving neurodevelopment.

An exchange programme with the Oslo University Hospital under the project would have meant clinical skill development for medical staff members of IPGMER's neonatology wing.

In fact, the first batch of two doctors and four nurses have been trained so far with full sponsorship from Norway.

The project was to run for five years. Now, a little more than a year into it, the funding agency wants to pull out.

"The project would have gone to AIIMS in Delhi. But Dr Singh had fought hard to win it," said a senior doctor at IPGMER. "This was a matter of pride not only for the state but also for the entire eastern and north-eastern regions."

According to sources the funding agency had confidence in Singh's efficiency and dedication. Therefore it did not want to continue with the project after he was shunted out. A communication on this was sent to IPGMER director Dr Pradip Mitra some weeks back.

"Now I hear that they (the Norwegian funding agency) do not wish to continue with the project. The reason is not clear," said Dr Mitra.

The fate of the Newborn Care Resource Centre at IPGMER, facilitated by the Norway India Partnership Initiative, also hangs in the balance. The resource centre - a first-of-its-kind initiative in India - owed its existence largely to the efforts of Dr IPGMER under NIPI was the first of its kind in India. While the other four centres - KEM Mumbai, Institute of Child Health Chennai, Lady Hardinge Medical College Delhi and PGI Chandigarh - that came up much later have been given extension for another five years, IPGMER has not been sanctioned the extension by NIPI. Singh was instrumental in impressing upon NIPI to start the centre.

Incidentally, even though the state has shunted Dr Singh to a hospital where he has very little work, it is yet to release him on a central Health Ministry deputation to work as a senior advisor to the National Child Health Project.

Even as the state shunted out the specialists doctor to a place where there was no work for his expertise, the central health ministry has requested the Mamata Banerjee government to depute him for two years to work as a senior advisor to the national child health project. The state however is yet to release Singh.

Read related news: 

Surprise transfer for SSKM doctor

After surprise transfer, probe shock for doctor

This is not the first time the uneducated and partisan politician Mamata put her egoistic politics over patient care, on 26 May 2011 she suspended an eminent neurosurgeon and The director of the Bangur Institute of Neurosciences Dr. Shyamaprasad Ghorai, without any reason. click on the link below to read details. 

Mamata and her ministers always go abroad for best treatment but Bengal people get deprived of right treatment by expert doctors for her uneducated and insensitive behavior towards best doctors. Some of the city's well known persons say that she drive away best doctors from Govt. run hospitals to give advantages to some of the private clinics of the city in which she has some interest.
Gyanpith award winner writer Mahasweta Devi, who is the closest associate of Mamata, surprisingly silent about this ordeal of Bengal people who has always been vocal about people's cause and despite her poor health take part in many political rallies of Mamata. Then is it true that her intellect only gets vocal where she has some personal interest, and not for all?
However, Gyanpith award winner writer Mahasweta Devi, who is the closest associate of Mamata, surprisingly silent about this ordeal of Bengal people who has always been vocal about people's cause and despite her poor health take part in many political rallies of Mamata. Then is it true that her intellect only gets vocal where she has some personal interest, and not for all?

Saturday, February 16, 2013

A glimpse of "Honest" Mamata

Mamata Banerjee who often described as single-handedly ended the over 3 decade rules of a democratically elected Left Government in West Bengal a state in the Union of India - is a damn lie. This is said to glorify her image which is never so glorious rather murkier by many counts.
Mamata's fake "doctorate" claim

*She filed in nomination for India's 10th Parliament(20 June 1991 - 10 May 1996) and claimed that she had done a "Doctorate" from East-Georgia University, USA which University later found never existed.

Mamata's Age
*She always lies about her age too. She often says that according to her school certificate she is only 6 months younger than her elder brother, Ajit Banerjee which is never true since 2005 voter list shows that her elder brother's age is 51 and she is 49 years old.

*In 1990 she made a hue and cry over an incident in which she alleged that CPM, the then ruling party of West Bengal, tried to kill her by engaging Lalu Alam but after six months it was found that Lalu Alam become her most trusted aid! Later it was found that duo was conspired to malign the then govt. and bring her into limelight.

Video of Mamata deeds 
*Similarly in 1993 August she led a rally to West Bengal State Secretariat for forcibly dislodge a democratically elected government. The rally, comprised of criminals and drunkard goons, soon turned violent and attacked police with bombs and guns. Police fired in self-defense in which 9 people died. She uses those people and pushed them in front of bullet to gain political mileage. After becoming CM of Bengal on 2011 she constituted an investigation commission again to take political revenge but now the minister for power Mr. Manish Gupta who was then home secretary then made an affidavit before court that it was Mamata who provoked the crowd to turn violent and attack police. In her political career  many a times she did this.
*After prolonged non-industrialisation of West Bengal when Mr. Budhdhadev Bhattarcharya tried to bring industry in Bengal and make Bengal an industrial state in 2007, Mamata sensed that if Mr.Bhattarcharya succeeded in his effort then she will never been able to come anywhere nearer the power in West Bengal. Mr.Bhattarcharya invited India's most respected business group TATA to build a small car factory and Mr. Ratan Tata India's most respected industrialist agreed and started small car Nano factory at Singur. But Mamata posed unrealistic demands against that industry and provoked villagers of that area to start a hostile agitation against Tata Motors' Nano factory over the issue of 'unwilling villagers' whose land was taken for stting up that factory. When almost 90% of the works of factory set up was completed being continuously harassed by hostile agitation Tata Motors decided to shift the factory to Gujrat. Mamata for her political mileage drove out industrialisation prospect of Bengal and Gujrat gained for the folly of Mamata. Now those villagers who were mislead by Mamata repent that it was their mistake to drove out Tata following Mamata's provocation which eventually made their life miserable. Mamata to gain herself power seat of Bengal played with innocent villagers sentiment without giving them any material gain but false promise that she will return them their land.
*Similarly she led another agitation on the back of it again inciting villagers and here she found an ally - the ultra leftist extremist group called Maoists. The outlawed band support her with their guns and create anarchy by digging roads, killing people and police which resulted govt to take action and in a violent incident on 14 Mar 2007 police had to open fire against the Maoists but they cunningly advanced the villagers. Police firing killed villagers and Mamata was happy that her plot worked. An all round condemnation of the police firing snowballed and created huge anti Budhdhadev sentiment which resulted his ouster from power in 2011.His sincere attempts to industrialise and create employment for Bengal people overshadowed by the much hyped and criticised event of  police firing in Nandigram. There too she created trouble with the help of Maoists just to dislodge Mr.Bhattarcharya's govt. and gain power. Bengal's opportunist 'intellectuals' who didn't have enough creativity for their own sustenance and couldn't able to extract enough govt-sponsored largesse flocked behind Mamata for gain themselves out-of-turn bounties. 
*Soon it brought windfall of success for Mamta in elections. Poor people who voted Mamata in the hope for getting their dues got none but those opportunist pseudo intellectuals gained a lot. Mamata misused railways fund and give them more than enough bounties they deserve.

Mamata's misdeeds are so many that even a 5000 pages book won't be enough to describe all. It's wonder to everyone that Bengal people are often described as intelligent, cultured and gentle still how they elect such a person who possess none of those qualities! Her on going regime is the burning example of her misrule. Keep an eye on this blog to get a glimpse of how a sober state and people is being destroyed by a greedy, power-hungry, untruthful, vindictive, arrogant, uneducated, whimsical, foul-mouthed, humbug leader.

A few links below showing Mamata's misdeeds and untruthfulness.

Mamata Banerjee's partymen flaunt dubious degrees

Sunday, February 10, 2013

How honest is Mamata? Central fund diverted for "Mati Utsav"

Mamata’s own book “My Unforgettable Memories” published in the 2012 Kolkata Book Fair. The English is horrible, but one must read this book to know her extreme love for “falsehood and dishonesty” under the cover of the propaganda for “truth and honesty”. Question after question under section 6(i) of The Right To Information Act, 2005 to the Govt. during the last 6 (six) 
months and personal and confidential letters to her, but always being stone-walled either by “refusing to answer the questions” or by “not sending any answer”. Each letter having been sent to both her party addresses (i) at the Trinamool Bhaban atTopsia and (ii) the one attached to her Kalighat residence, both having been built/expanded unlawfully.

She has claimed at page 21 of her book “MyUnforgettable Memories” that as per her School Final Examination Certificate she was only 6 months younger to her elder brother Ajit, as told by Ajit himself. This is untenable as per the Voters’ List of 2005 where Mamata at Sl. No. 873 is shown to be 49 years of age and Ajit at Sl.No. 882 is shown to be 51 years of age which means a clear gap of morethan 1 (one) year at least. The lady not only talks and writes too much, but also lies more often than not. The Deccan Hearld, a very popular newspaper of South India has raised a question on her age, claiming that she first became an M.P. in 1984when she was under-aged for Loksabha Election as per law of the land.

Central funds diverted for Mati Utsav

KOLKATA: Nothing seems to deter chief minister MamataBanerjee from having her way. Despite criticism that her debt-strapped government was squandering funds by organising fairs and festivals, the CM is said to have asked the agriculture department to generate funds for the MatiUtsav.

Accordingly, the department decided to allocate lakhs of rupees from the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojna (RKVY) - the central scheme that came into being during the Eleventh Plan for achieving a 4% growth rate in agriculture and allied sectors. Inquiries at Writers' Buildings revealed the agriculture department had to allocate funds under the plan heads to sponsor the earth festival.

In the last one week, nearly a crore of the Rs 2 crore spent on Mati Utsav came from RKVY funds. The money was sent to the account of Panagarh Panchayat Samity.

Officials in the state agriculture department revealed that the money was released from the contingency account for the RKVY scheme. Plan funds were being utilised by the state animal resource development (ARD) and water resource investigation departments under the RKVY scheme, they added.

Recently, the Left had accused the chief minister of fiscal indiscipline by diverting funds under plan head in organising events and doling out cash. Not very long ago, the CM had distributed Rs 40.09 crore to 2,395 clubs and promised to keep the handout "project" alive for five years. This disbursal, too, was routed through the plan head of the sports department.

Related Stories :
Real self of Mamata
Mamata Heading a Govt. by anti-socials?
Misuse of Govt. Money for self use

Mamata wants to slap journalists

I will slap you: Mamata Banerjee now threatens photo journalists

Mamata loses cool again, threatens journalists
Mamata loses cool again, threatens journalists (See video below)
KOLKATA: Mamata Banerjee lost her cool once again.

"You all are uncivilized. Why are you running all over the place? Just come out from there or I will give you a tight slap," Mamata Banerjee told a photojournalist, according to TV reports covering the Mati festival organized by her government.

Mamata recently blasted one of her security personnel and told him that he should be slapped for his careless attitude, as there was a little delay in arrival of her car.

Mamata loses cool again, threatens journalists- Video

Related video: Mamata wants to whip her personal security guard

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Is Mamata heading a govt. by anti-socials?

One year on, an outraged Bhadralok divests from Didi

 Smita Gupta
The Hindu
In the summer of 2001, it was evident as I travelled through West Bengal that fatigue had set in with the Left Front government. Earlier, in end-2000, anticipating the public mood, Communist Party of India (Marxist) veteran Jyoti Basu had stepped down as Chief Minister, paving the way for Buddhadeb Bhattacharya. This ensured the Left victories in 2001 and 2006.
The Left extended its life by a decade not merely because Mr. Bhattacharya gave it a new look but also because the only option before the people was Mamata Banerjee. Ms Banerjee leading her three-year-old Trinamool Congress, didn't seem capable of serious governance. I recall many conversations in Kolkata: yes, Bengal needs a change, but Didi simply can't be trusted to govern the State. If her trajectory as an opposition leader is clearly the stuff legends are made of, her forays into government — as Minister of State for Youth and Sports in the P.V. Narasimha Rao government (1991-93) and as Union Minister for Railways in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government (1999-2001) — had been less than inspiring.
That scepticism turned into burning impatience with the Left government a year after it returned to power in 2006. If the anti-land acquisition agitations in Nandigram and Singur saw a rural uprising against the Left Front, the latter's inability to contain the situation and the human rights violations ensured that Kolkata's vocal middle class, from club-going boxwallas to jhola-carrying intellectuals, all signed up for poriborton.
Censorship, arrest
But today, a month short of celebrating a year in power, Ms Banerjee's honeymoon with the opinion-making middle class is over, the shroud of censorship she has flung across the State proving to be the last straw. The watershed moment was the arrest of a Jadavpur University chemistry professor Ambikesh Mahapatra on charges of violating the modesty of a woman, spreading social ill will and disrupting social harmony, merely for sharing a cartoon online. Later, it transpired that Dr. Mahapatra, as assistant secretary of the New Garia Development Cooperative Housing Society — where he lives — had blocked the Trinamool-backed syndicate's contracts to supply building materials, earning the wrath of the party's goon squads.
This episode has galvanised the middle class, especially the intellectuals who had jumped the Left Front ship for the Trinamool. Result: a Twitter campaign, “Arrest me if you dare, Mamata Bannerjee,” and an online petition on Facebook mobilising support against the government's actions. R.K. Laxman's “The Common Man,” mouth sealed with two strips of bandage, and a graphic of a male face, hands covering the eyes and mouth, adorn these accounts. Unfazed, the State CID has asked Facebook to delete morphed images of Ms Banerjee, after a Trinamool supporter complained that “objectionable comments” were flooding social networking sites. Since then, a group of intellectuals has written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh condemning the Mahapatra episode that came on the heels of another arrest — that of molecular biologist Partha Sarathi Ray who had in April joined a protest against the eviction of slum dwellers in east Kolkata. The signatories include Noam Chomsky, Mriganka Sur and Abha Sur of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, top scientists from the IITs and institutions in Denmark, Singapore and Sweden, as well as activists like Aruna Roy and Nikhil Dey.
But Ms Banerjee remains unperturbed: for her, in an odd reversal of the State's politics, these are her “class enemies” — the elitist English speaking middle class, whom she referred to in an interview she gave last month to NDTV; those who, she said, have contempt for her humble origins.
As Chief Minister, she has made it clear she will not tolerate a differing view, much less dissent, within her party or government — or, indeed, far more troubling, in the State. If Mr. Dinesh Trivedi was unceremoniously sacked as Union Railway Minister for not toeing her line on the Union Railway budget, Damayanti Sen, the feisty, young Joint Commissioner of Police, Kolkata, who cracked the Park Street rape case, was shunted out to an obscure job for proving Ms Banerjee wrong: her first response to the rape charge and, indeed, news of infant cradle deaths, was that they had been “manufactured to malign her government.”
Newspaper issue
Now that intolerance has spread to the wider world: last month, government libraries were told to purchase only eight newspapers — those taken off the list were those critical of her actions and policies, as they prevented “freethinking” among readers. In future, she said, she might even ask people to stop buying certain newspapers “because a conspiracy is going on against us.” The newspapers that offended her included the top-selling Ananda Bazaar Patrika, The Telegraph and Bartaman: interestingly, Bartaman, whose strident anti-Left stance played a leading role in bringing the Trinamool to power, is now running stories highly critical of Ms Banerjee. Later, under pressure, five newspapers — a Nepali daily, two Bengali dailies, and The Times of India — were restored to the “government” list. An embarrassed Library Services Minister Abdul Karim Chowdhary said the government had not imposed censorship or banned the big papers, it only wished to promote small newspapers.
But to the “freethinking” reading public, it is more than apparent that those that made the cut in the first list were all pro-government: one such Bengali newspaper is owned by a Trinamool Rajya Sabha MP, whose associate editor, Kunal Ghosh, is among the three journalists recently elected to the upper house of Parliament on the party ticket. For Ms Banerjee, the switch from goddess-status to a daily scrutiny of her actions has been a rude shock, as all through her opposition years, she depended heavily on media support. Today, it's well-known in Kolkata's political circles that she looks to a chosen group of journalists, including the new Rajya Sabha MPs, rather than her political colleagues, for advice on all issues.
Unfortunately, for her, some of these “advisers” are now coming under the scanner as one of them works for a chain of media outfits backed by a chit fund, the subject of an ongoing controversy. Last September, Trinamool MP Somen Mitra wrote to Dr. Singh, urging action against chit funds channelling money into real estate, film production, the hotel business — and the media. He also alleged that these chit funds were prospering, thanks to political patronage, with some owners even in Parliament. Last month, Congress MP A.H. Khan Chowdhury wrote a similar letter to Dr. Singh, asking for an investigation into the activities of these chit funds. Indeed, the link between hot money and media organisations backing Ms Banerjee's government is now an open secret in Kolkata.
In the dying days of the Left Front government in West Bengal, the CPI (M)'s harmad sena, or goon squads rampaging through its villages, came to symbolise its 34 years. Today, those goon squads have switched political allegiance to her Trinamool. If the violence continues unabated — with the Left now at the receiving end — intolerance of any criticism of the new government has added a fresh dimension to the State's politics. “Harmad theke unmad (from unmitigated violence to untempered madness”) is the despairing phrase most used on Kolkata's streets to describe the prevailing situation in Bengal.
The middle class that turned the tide of public opinion in the Trinamool's favour is angry.
Writer Mahasweta Devi, among those who had backed Ms Banerjee, recently said: “Dictatorship has never worked. It has neither worked in Hitler's Germany nor did it work in Mussolini's Italy.” Ms Banerjee needs to heed those words: for even if her popularity is still intact in rural Bengal, recent events represent the thin end of the wedge. 

Is Mamata the CM (material) of Bengal

Please, someone tell Mamatadi she is Chief Minister

Smita Gupta
DETERMINATION IN HIGH GEAR: Mamata Banerjee leading a procession in Kolkata recently “to protest against the false propaganda” of her political rival. Photo: Sushanta Patronobish
The Hindu: DETERMINATION IN HIGH GEAR: Mamata Banerjee leading a procession in Kolkata recently “to protest against the false propaganda” of her political rival. Photo: Sushanta Patronobish

Ten months after her massive mandate, the West Bengal Chief Minister continues to be in election mode, obstructing difficult decisions by the Centre and rejecting unpopular advice from State officials.
On March 19, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee swept imperiously into Parliament House to “persuade” Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to appoint Mukul Roy as railway minister, and roll back much of the increase in rail passenger fares, just hours after she had forced Dinesh Trivedi to put in his papers. That accomplished, she pressured the Congress to withdraw its candidate for a Rajya Sabha seat from West  Bengal, enabling her to push four instead of three of her nominees into the Upper House, before flying back to Kolkata. What did the Congress receive in return? Yes, the Trinamool Congress didn't back the Bharatiya  Janata Party (BJP)'s amendments to the President's Address on the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC), but its MPs, ministers included, only embarrassed the UPA government by walking out of both houses of Parliament.
Embarrassing the UPA
It was all part of a familiar pattern. Last year, Ms Banerjee torpedoed the Teesta Waters Agreement with Bangladesh, embarrassing the Prime Minister; halted the government's efforts to introduce FDI in retail; and after backing the Lokpal Bill in the Lok Sabha, opposed it in the Rajya Sabha. This year, she joined opposition Chief Ministers to railroad the NCTC and, for good measure, got MP Ratna De to shred the general budget proposals in the Lok Sabha. “It's called compulsive populism,” an exasperated State official told The Hindu.
If the Trinamool out-opposes the real opposition in Delhi, Ms Banerjee plays Chief Minister and Leader of the Opposition, by turn, in Bengal.
On March 3, four days after Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee led a procession through Kolkata in an open jeep, she followed suit, bringing the city to a halt, accusing the Left of maligning her government.
In the State
Ten months after she won a massive mandate, ending 34 years of Left rule in the State, she remains in election mode, as determined to prevent the Centre from taking difficult decisions, as she is to reject unpopular, if pragmatic, advice from her officials. Instead, she has focused on the optics: after being anointed Chief Minister at Raj Bhavan last year, she walked to Writers' Building through a kilometre-long surging sea of humanity. Eight months later, Ms Banerjee, en route to attend Republic Day celebrations, alighted from her car at one end of Red Road — along which the parade passes — and walked to the Maidan, where she was to receive Governor M.K. Narayanan. She ambled down, waving to the cheering crowds: when she arrived, the Governor — in a reversal of traditional protocol — was waiting for her.
Today, Ms Banerjee still believes she only has to wave her wand, and Jangalmahal will be magically transformed into a rural paradise, Darjeeling into a land of smiling Gorkhas, Kolkata into London, and West Bengal into India's industrial giant. But the jackboots she wears beneath that fairy godmother costume peep out each time she cracks her whip to make civil servants and industrialists — like her Trinamool colleagues — jump through the hoops. In January, she forced a sheepish Chief Secretary and Director General of Police (DGP) to repeat her claims on developmental works in front of an audience in Maoist-affected Jhargram. A few days earlier, she reduced sharp-suited captains of industry and foreign diplomats to schoolboy status: naming them individually from her vantage point on stage at the “Bengal Leads 2012” business summit in Kolkata, she asked them “what their problem” was — why were they not investing in Bengal?
That script went awry on March 14: in full TV glare, Mr. Trivedi refused to reverse the hike in passenger fares, spotlighting not just disaffection in the Trinamool, but also Ms Banerjee's unwillingness — as demonstrated in this year's State budget proposals — to frontally address Bengal's economic crisis, the key challenge to her government. Currently, as she struggles to pay government salaries, a burden enhanced by 2,75,000 new jobs, State officials despair. “In her first few months,” said one official, “she should have increased resources through higher taxes and raised electricity tariffs. She was so popular she would have got away with it. The longer she waits, the tougher it will get.” This is, especially as Delhi has ruled out an economic bailout for Bengal.
Credibility at stake
She's also unwilling to admit that anyone in her party or government can err. Last year, she raised eyebrows when she marched into a police station to bail out Trinamool hoodlums; this year, her unsympathetic response to a young woman who was raped after leaving a nightclub on Kolkata's fashionable Park Street has become a watershed for the city's middle class, even as growing incidents of rape and political violence in rural Bengal in recent days have become grist for the Left mill.
As Ms Banerjee's personal credibility begins to take a beating, and there is little on the credit side as far as governance goes, her party colleagues are staining at the leash. Trinamool sources told The Hindu that Mr. Trivedi's demotion is fuelling discontent among its MPs, with Mr. Roy's elevation angering them further: they believe his unsavoury past will catch up with him and embarrass the party again. Of the party's 19 Lok Sabha MPs, Mr. Trivedi and poet Kabir Suman (who'd already gone public with his unhappiness), apart, Sudip Bandopadhyay, Kalyan Banerjee, Saugata Roy, Suvendu Adhikari, Sisir Kumar Adhikari, Sucharu Ranjan Haldar and Somen Mitra reportedly figure in the list of the disenchanted.
Ms Banerjee needs to stem the rot, keeping a sharp eye on the Muslim vote, before the panchayat polls next year when she will face her first electoral test after she came to power. In last year's Assembly elections, she broke the Left's hold over the 27 per cent strong Muslim population, pushing the latter's vote percentage in the State down to 41 per cent.
Not surprisingly, Rs.570 crore has been set aside for minority welfare in this year's State budget.
So, has the girl who clawed her way up from the slums of Kolkata to the seat of power done anything right? “Her inability to take no for an answer can work well occasionally,” a police officer admits. “Last year, when she wanted to recruit home guards from Jangalmahal, she was told the rules forbade recruitment from a specific region. When she remained adamant, a way out was found.” That's the flip side of her total disregard for rules, procedures, or indeed the law, if it comes in her way. But can she leverage her inclination to cut through red tape to remain a force in Bengal politics? For that will determine her ability to successfully scare Delhi about her imminent departure from the UPA — and extract what she wants.

Mamata dictates Bengal people which TV channel to watch

Didispeak: watch entertainment channels

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee addresses the media after a meeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) in New Delhi on Wednesday. Photo: PTI
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee addresses the media after a meeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) in New Delhi on Wednesday. Photo: PTI
After her caution last month that a time may come when she will dictate to the public which newspapers they should read, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday advised people on what television channels they should watch.
Addressing a gathering at Basirhat in North 24 Parganas district, she asked the congregation to desist from watching “two, three television news channels,” alleging that they were sponsored by the Communist Party of India (Marxist), and suggested that the people, instead, watch entertainment channels.
“There are two-three television channels of the CPI(M) you should not watch. Listen to songs on other channels,” she said, referring to names of certain channels which people should watch.
While certain steps by her government led to criticism in a section of the media, Ms. Banerjee remained unperturbed.
“Nothing will be achieved by spreading canards and making false propaganda against me,” she told the gathering.
Ms. Banerjee said she did not want to hang on to power, adding the day the maa, mati, manus (mother, land and people) of the State wanted her to go, she would leave.
Earlier, on several occasions, Ms. Banerjee criticised a section of the media for being biased and presenting her government in a bad light.
Last month, the government restricted the subscription of newspapers to a prescribed list in the government-run, aided and sponsored libraries. The initiative, which, the State government claimed, was to promote small newspapers and spread free thinking, was widely criticised as an attack on the right of the freedom of speech and expression.

What is the duty of a CM?

From Chief Minister to Chief Censor

 A. G. Noorani
Mamata Banerjee's edict on selection of newspapers is a violation of the citizens' right to know and is an insult to libraries.

Around 1967, Warren Unna of The Washington Post asked Shiv Sena boss Bal Thackeray whether he read any books. He received a stunning reply: “I don't want to mix my thinking with that of others”. The same arrogance, bred by insecurity, explains the order of March 14 made by the West Bengal government headed by Mamata Banerjee: “In public interest the government will not buy newspapers published or purported to be published by any political party, either national or regional, as a measure to develop free thinking among the readers”. The affinities between the two leaders are striking — populism and intolerance of dissent.
However, Mr. Thackeray's preference concerned him alone. Mamata's affects 2,463 government-aided libraries, 12 government libraries, 7 government sponsored ones and the State Central Library. All English language dailies were barred. Initially, a mere eight survived — Sangbad PratidinSakalbelaDainik StatesmanEkdin, and Khabar 365 Din in Bengali; Sanmarg (Hindi) and Akhbar-e-Mashriq and Azad Hind (Urdu).
Two of the Bengali dailies are headed by two Trinamool Congress MPs of the Rajya Sabha. The Hindi and an Urdu daily are headed by Rajya Sabha MPs of the same party. Sangbad Pratidin, for example, is owned by Srinjoy Bose, a party MP. Its associate editor Kunal Ghosh was elected recently to the Rajya Sabha on the Trinamool ticket to give the owner company. After an uproar, five more papers were added on March 28; namely, Himalaya Darpan (Nepali), Sarsagar (Santhali periodical), The Times of India, and two others.

‘First instance'

There is another aspect, besides. The right to select papers belongs to the management of each library depending on the demand among the readers in that particular area. A central edict is an insult to them. Ms Banerjee's order also flagrantly violates the citizens' right to know. It is not for any Minister to prescribe a select bibliography to the Indian citizen. An official acknowledged on March 28: “This is the first instance of such a circular. The management boards of libraries have so far been the final authority on deciding which newspapers and periodicals to offer, on the basis of readers' demands”. Now the readers are asked to read what Kolkata deems fit for their minds; “in public interest”, of course.
Arbitrary orders are invariably defended by absurd and contradictory explanations. On March 29, Mamata Banerjee and her Sancho Panza, Abdul Karim, Mass Education and Library Services Minister, explained: “We will promote local and small newspapers”. Some dailies on her approved list will not be flattered by this decision apart from the impropriety of State funding of the press.
There is a judicial ruling directly on point by a judge of eminence, Lord Justice Watkins, in the Queen's Bench Division on November 5, 1986 (R. vs. Ealing Borough Council, ex. p. Times Newspapers Ltd. (1987) 85 L.G.R. 316). He quashed decisions by some borough councils in the U.K. to ban from public libraries within their areas newspapers and periodicals published by Times Newspapers and News Group Newspapers for the duration of an industrial dispute between them and their employees. This was done as a gesture of support to the employees. The court ruled that the authorities had taken into account an irrelevant factor and abused their powers as library authorities under the Public Libraries and Museums Act, 1964. In India, the Constitution itself will render such an act invalid as being an abuse of state power.
The petitioners, represented by Anthony Lester, Q.C., relied on Section 7 of the Public Libraries and Museums Act, 1964, which reads thus: “(1) It shall be the duty of every library authority to provide a comprehensive and efficient library service for all persons desiring to make use thereof; (2) In fulfilling its duty under the preceding subsection, a library authority shall in particular have regard to the desirability — (a) of securing … that facilities are available for the borrowing of, of reference to, books and other printed materials, sufficient in number, range and quality to meet the general requirements and any special requirements of both adults and children …”
The abuse of power was blatant. The councils had but one purpose, namely to punish Rupert Murdoch for his stand in the industrial dispute. The ban was clearly for a purpose ulterior to Section 7. The violation of Section 7 was deliberate and wilful.
India's written Constitution repairs the omission of any such statute. As H.M. Seervai pointed out in his work Constitutional Law of India, Article 294 vests the assets and properties in the Union or the State Governments, respectively, for the purpose of the Union or the State, in short, for a public purpose.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1884 that “the United States does not and cannot hold property, as a monarch may, for private or personal purposes. All the property and revenues of the United States must be held and applied, as all taxes, duties, imposts and excises must be laid and collected, to pay the debts and provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States” (Van Brocklin vs Anderson; (1884-85 U.S. 117 U*S.151 at 158). Arbitrary expenditure unrelated to public purpose also violates the fundamental right to equality (Art. 14).

Landmark ruling

The Supreme Court of India's landmark ruling in the International Airport Authorities Case in 1979 opened another avenue of challenge. Justice P.N. Bhagwati held: “The Government cannot be permitted to say that it will give jobs or enter into contracts or issue quotas or licences only in favour of those having grey hair or belonging to a particular political party or professing a particular religious faith. The Government is still the Government when it acts in the matter of granting largesse and it cannot act arbitrarily. It does not stand in the same position as a private individual...
“It must, therefore, be taken to be the law that where the Government is dealing with the public, whether by way of giving jobs or entering into contracts or issuing quotas or licences or granting other forms of largesse, the Government cannot act arbitrarily at its sweet will and, like a private individual, deal with any person it pleases, but its action must be in conformity with standard or norms which are not arbitrary, irrational or irrelevant.”
These tests render the order of March 14 a nullity on the very face of it. The Courts can strike it down suo moto or on the petition of any citizen.
They will render high service if they did so. For, it will provide a speedy and effective cure to a mindset which is completely out of sync with constitutional values and curbs. Ads have been stopped to “small” papers which depended on them for sheer survival. On Fools' Day, it was disclosed that the list of Banga Bibhushan awardees, who received Rs. 2 lakh each, included artistes, poets and writers who had campaigned for the Trinamool. Didi looks after her own, albeit at public expense. An Urdu saying casts her in a different light — “Halvai ki dukan par nanaji ki fateha (Prayers for the soul of grandpa at the sweet maker's shop, at his cost).

Friday, February 8, 2013

Mamata's Self-Propaganda Using Public Money

Follow the leader

Jug Suraiya
07 February 2013, 10:06 PM IST

How Didi has made herself Kolkata's most prominent landmark
During a recent visit there, i discovered that Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee — known to all and sundry, particularly sundry, as Didi — has brought about wondrous 'poriborton' (change) to Bengal, or at least to the city of Kolkata in the two years since her Trinamool Congress assumed office after dislodging the Marxists from a power they'd held on to for more years than most cared to remember. One of the problems with Indian cities, all Indian cities, including Kolkata, is that they are difficult places in which to find your way, particularly if you happen to be a visitor and not a local resident.

One of the reasons is that — thanks to mass urban migration from rural areas where there are no jobs, and few if any other sources of livelihood — Indian cities have a tendency to grow like mammoth brick-and-mortar mushrooms. As the construction boom continues unabated, sweeping away established landmarks in a tsunami of concrete, newcomers are often at a loss to find their bearings. I find this to be particularly true of Kolkata, a city i lived in for many years before moving to Delhi.

On my periodic visits there it was brought home to me that the city that was once as familiar to me as the palm of my hand had become a mysterious and misleading maze, thanks to flyovers and other construction projects that have transformed its topography. How do people find their way round, how do they not get lost? i asked a resident on one of my previous visits.

And the answer to that was the State Bank of India, or SBI. The SBI is to the Indian urban dweller what the North Star was to ancient mariners: it is an unfailing point of reference from which to get your bearings and figure out where you are and where you ought to be.

In Indian cities, all Indian cities, the SBI has long fulfilled the function of the North Star by being a navigational aid for people seeking or giving directions. That has traditionally been the primary role of the SBI, the business of receiving and giving out money being an ancillary activity.

A host giving directions to a guest might say something to this effect: Go straight down the road till you come to an SBI, take the first left after that and continue for half a kilometre and then turn right after the SBI there, and my place is three doors down from the second SBI you'll pass on your left — got it?

The SBI remains an infallible city guide all over India. Except in Kolkata. Here it has, literally and metaphorically, been overshadowed by a direction-finder even more ubiquitous than the SBI: Didi. Not Didi in person, of course, but Didi on great big huge hoardings and posters and other forms of public display. Wherever you look there's a larger-than-life Didi, hands joined together in a nomoskar (the Bengali pronunciation of namaskar), welcoming the visitor to her city.

Now, a Kolkata host giving directions to a guest might go something like this: After the 139th hoarding of Didi, go around the roundabout then count off another 17 Didis, turn right, and my place is bang opposite the 10th Didi on the left hand side — got it?

Didi's vote-catching slogan was 'Maa, maati, manoosh'. Ever since she's won, she's cut out all the frills — be it manoosh, maa, or maati — so her new slogan is just plain Mamata: Mamata, ad infinitum. If that ain't poriborton, i don't know what is.

20 Crore rupees for Soil Fest? Who benefitted?

Farmers of West Bengal questions for whose sake Mamata Banerjee Govt. spends crores of public money to organise "SOIL FEST" at Panagarh, Burdwan Dist. West Bengal from 09.02.2013 to 16.02.2013 when farmers don't get enough water from canals or submersible pumps -(which has become dysfunctional for last two years - for farming. Mamata self-declared honest only using public money for benefit of whom?

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Mamata minister threat people to murder

HC orders probe against Trinamool minister

KOLKATA: The Calcutta high court on Wednesday directed the Murshidabad police super to investigate a complaint against Trinamool minister Humayun Kabir for allegedly threatening to bump off a former colleague.
Justice Dipanka Dutta, who was hearing a petition filed by Santu Singh alleging police inaction on his complaint against Kabir, also asked the SP to provide security to the petitioner saying the officer would be held responsible if anything happened to him.
Kabir, a former Adhir Chowdhury (MoS Railways) loyalist, quit Congress and joined Trinamool last November and was immediately made the minister of state for animal resources development. He is now seeking re-election from Murshidabad's Rezinagar where Assembly bypolls are slated on February 23.
Singh is a cashier in a Berhampore-based company, Aroma Enterprises, in which Kabir worked as a supervisor till mid-2012. Adhir Chowdhury is the patron of the firm. Sinha claims Kabir was furious with him for filing a police complaint against him for financial irregularities during his tenure as supervisor. On December 23, the minister allegedly called up to pressurize him into withdrawing the complaint. The call was recorded.
Singh filed a complaint with Berhampore police station the same day. In January, he moved the high court seeking an impartial probe by the CBI into his complaint. The court then directed him to provide adequate proof to corroborate his charges. On Wednesday, Singh produced in court call details and CDs with voice recordings of the conversation.
Speaking to ToI earlier, Kabir had admitted calling up Sinha but only to ask him to pay Rs 5 lakh to a brick-kiln owner. The minister had also claimed that Aroma owed him Rs 1.03 crore as remuneration for his services, but had cleared only Rs 20 lakh. He also alleged that on November 1, Sinha had threatened him. But unlike Sinha, he hadn't recorded the conversation.

Fascist soul and vitriolic mind of Mamta is exposed

Angry over car delay, Mamata says guards must be ‘whipped’

Angry over car delay, Mamata says guards must be ‘whipped’
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee's public outburst against her security officer "apnakay chabkano uchit" (you should be whipped) on Wednesday night at the Kolkata Book Fair for being made to wait for her car, has made APDR move the West Bengal Human Rights Commission. 
KOLKATA: Chief minister MamataBanerjee's public outburst against her security officer "apnakaychabkanouchit" (you should be whipped) on Wednesday night at the Kolkata Book Fair for being made to wait for her car, has made the Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR) move the West Bengal Human Rights Commission. Ironically, the officer, Kusum Kumar Dwivedi, was awarded a seva medal by Mamata only a month back, in December last year.

APDR's branch secretary Ranjit Sur wrote to West Bengal Human Rights Commission chairperson Justice (retired) Asok Kumar Ganguly on Thursday. "Police personnel are government employees. No one has the right to misbehave with them in that manner and thus destroy their dignity and social prestige. Moreover, they are not in a position their service condition may not allow them to lodge complaint against the chief minister. So, we as a human rights defender organization appeal to you to intervene and do the needful to protect the dignity of the policemen on VIP duty."

APDR also pointed out the case of suicide by an officer of Park Street police station few months ago after his superiors allegedly misbehaved acted inhumanly with him.

"We have urged the commission to protect the rights of policemen humiliated by the chief minister and also other police personnel in general. If such incident is not checked now, this will percolate further to all layers of administration. And the worst sufferers will be those in the lower strata of the administration," said Sur.

Union minister But it was Deepa Das Munshi was also vocal. who pointed the disconnect.

"What wrong did the officer do? Wasn't he the one whom the chief minister had awarded only a month back? All these, for a few minutes for which she was made to wait.

Is this the culture of Bengal? Or is this the frustration over something else?" she quipped.

Opposition leader Surjya Kanta Mishra, now in Tripura, told reporters: "The chief minister should keep her cool. She isn't in the opposition anymore.", but the head of the state government. She should behave like one. If this continues, I wonder how they are going to continue for their complete five years. This might trigger a constitutional crisis." BJP leader Tathagata Roy termed this as a dangerous precedent..

 State misses molest law lead

Mamata Govt Sat On Rights Body Prod To Make Molestation Non-Bailable

Saibal Sen TNN 07.02.2013

Kolkata: The Centre has marked molestation as a non-bailable offence following the recommendations of the Justice Verma Commission but very few know that the West Bengal Human Rights Commission had mooted the proposal a year back.
    The Mamata Banerjee government had been sitting on the committee’s recommendations, missing out in the process a rare opportunity to showcase that Bengal can lead from the front in areas that really matter.
    On April 20, 2012, former Supreme Court judge and WBHRC chairman Asoke Ganguly had made the same recommendation to the Mamata Banerjee government to curb incidents of molestation in Bengal. But the government did not pay heed.
    Now, the same proposals figure in the Justice Verma Commission report and have been icorporated in the Criminal Law Amendment (Ordinance), 2013.
    Justice Ganguly’s proposals to the Mamata Banerjee government had
been specific on two counts — to make molestation a non-bailable offence and increase the minimum sentence to five years with a maximum term of seven years. The proposal also sought to impress that should a court impose any lesser sentence, the reasons have to be specified in the judgment.
    “I am happy that the spirit of our proposals have found reflection in amendments,” Justice Ganguly told
    Justice Ganguly’s proposals had been based on the National Crime Records Bureau’s data till 2011, which pointed out that molestation cases in Bengal had increased almost tenfold since 1990 — from 357 cases to 3320. Earlier, Section 354 IPC (that dealt with molestation) defined the offence as a cognisable but bailable offence. The rights body chairman, while mak
ing the recommendations to the government a year ago, had cited the instances of two states — Madhya Pradesh and Odisha — that amended the IPC section and also the criminal procedure code, redefining molestation as a non-bailable offence.
    That wasn’t all. The commission chairman also felt the need to redefine rape because in some cases it is difficult to prove a rape charge in court though persons accused of molestation are convicted. The courts then had no alternative but to give minor imprisonment to the accused, leading to “social imbalance and injustice”.
    The state government didn’t set aside the recommendation but didn’t accept it either. Instead, it left the issue pending on grounds that it was “considering” the proposals. But then, it was last year.
    “It only shows how the state government is apathetic to human rights. Though the commission’s recommendations are not binding on the government, in this case it could have at least taken a lead,” Justice Ganguly said from New Delhi.


Make molestation non-bailable
Increase minimum sentence to five years and maximum to seven years
Should a court impose a lesser sentence, the reasons have to be specified in the judgment.
Need to redefine rape because in some cases it is difficult to prove a rape charge in court 
Related Stories:

Inept Governance of Mamata made West Bengal the State of Horror

Man stabbed for defending sister

Goon Attacks Victim On Main Road, But No One Responds To Cries For Help

Monotosh Chakraborty TNN 07.02.2013

Mathurapur: A 32-year-old man is fighting for his life after being stabbed repeatedly while trying to protect his sister from a molester in South 24-Parganas’ Mathurapur on Tuesday evening. The attack took place at an auto stand on the main road during peak traffic hour but no one dared challenge the molester because he is a history-sheeter who roams around freely although he us branded an absconder.
    The vicious attack brought back memories of the murder of schoolboy Rajib Das, who was stabbed to death for defending her sister from a gang of molesters in Barasat in February 2011.
    The victim of Tuesday’s molestation is a 28-year-old woman, married for three years. Her brother, a farmer, is admitted to Diamond Harbour subdivisional hospital with multiple stab wounds on his chest and back. Doctors say he is in a critical condition.
    The woman had come to visit her brother in Killa village on Tuesday and was on her way back in the evening. He accompanied her to the auto
stand, as he always does, and a woman neighbour joined them for the short walk.
    Around 7pm, local rowdy Nityananda Bar was passing by when he saw her and started passing lewd remarks. The group ignored him because the locality is terrified of him. But he stepped closer and kept making
filthy gestures. The others waiting at the auto stand started running away but the 28-year-old woman’s brother stood up to him.
    “This only angered Nityananda, who grabbed the young woman and started molesting her. Her brother resisted and a scuffle ensued. Suddenly Nityananda whipped out a chopper

    on stabbing and kicking him even after he had collapsed on the road. She and I shouted for help but no one came forward, fearing for their lives,” said the neighbour.
    The goon left after threatening to kill anyone who went to the police. The two women took the injured farmer to Mathurapur hospital, where the doctors patched him up as best as they could and asked them to take him to Diamond Harbour Hospital because he was sinking.
    Nityananda is accused in several cases, including dacoity, gun-running, extortion and selling stolen goods.

The attack took place at an auto stand during peak traffic hour but no one dared challenge the molester because he is a history-sheeter 

Spate of molestations makes it a horror day for city


Kolkata: The city may have hit the streets time and again to protest against attack on women, but a series of molestations on Wednesday proved that the city is yet to practice what it preaches. The recent spate of molestations established the fact that Kolkata is not at all a safe place for women, as hinted by a national survey a few months back.
    In Bonhooghly, a 36-yearold woman was harassed by a fellow passenger on a bus of route 34B on Wednesday. The accused allegedly harassed the complainant for some time. When the woman tried to protest, the youth brought out his mobile phone and tried to take her photograph.
However, he was stopped by other passengers. The youth was then handed over to cops in Cossipore police station. He was later identified as Rabin Singha, a 29-year-old resident of Baranagar. According to cops, Thakur was in an inebriated state. Police initiated a case under sections 354 (criminal force) and 509 (molestation).
    In Shyambazar, a 28-year
old woman from Sovabazar Street lodged a complaint against her 27-year-old neighbour Surojit Roy. She complained that Roy had passed lewd comments and when she protested, the accused had assaulted her. Police have started a case under section 509.
    In another incident, a student of Class III was allegedly molested by one of her teachers at Tarun Tirtha Primary School. On the basis of her parents’ complaint, police have initiated a case and started interrogating the teachers of the school. This comes days after a student of a primary school in south
Kolkata was molested by a mason engaged in the renovation of the school building.
    This apart, a 55-year-old man was picked from the Watgunj for allegedly molesting his own daughter. He was arrested on the basis of the complaint filed by the girl.
    According to cops, prompt action against molesters has instilled courage in victims. “They now come forward and file complaints as they believe police will punish their tormentors. Earlier, many such cases used to go unrecorded,” said a police officer.


Teen gang-raped at Joynagar


Kolkata: As the city grimly marked the first year of the Park Street rape cases on Tuesday, about 50km away, in South 24-Parganas’ Joynagar, a Class IX girl was dragged to the side of the road, beaten up and gangraped. A boy who was escorting her home was also beaten up when he tried to protect her.
    Police have filed a case of gang rape and sent the girl for medical tests. According to the complaint, the attack took place around 7pm at Vidyarai Mor at Nimpith. Earlier in the evening, the 15-year-old girl had insisted on visiting her grandparents in Naloa, some 3km away, and her parents asked one of close friends to accompany her. They were on their way back on the boy’s bicycle when four men stopped them at a deserted area near a school in Doshora Bhaga
    The boy sensed the danger and pedaled furiously to get away, but the gang chased them down and pushed them off the cycle. Two of the goons beat the boy and held him down as
the other two dragged the girl into some bushes and raped her. They returned to pin down the boy so that the other two could take turns to rape the girl, says the complaint.
    She was barely conscious when they decided to dump her where she lay and walked away. The boy, who was himself injured, brought her home. The horrified parents immediately went to Joynagar police station and lodged a complaint. All the rapists were between 20 and 22 years of age, says the victim.


Howrah girls nab molesters


Howrah: Two girls, who were harassed by three youths on Church Road on Wednesday afternoon, fought back valiantly and managed to hold on to two of their tormentors. With the help of the passers-by, the duo was handed over to police while the third managed to escape.
    The arrested youths were later identified as 19-year-old Md Nadim and 20-year-old Md Shamim.
    It is learnt that the girls, one a student of Class X and the other of Class VIII in a Hindi-medium school in Howrah, were returning home from school around 11am on Wednesday. When they reached Church Road, the youths started stalking them. Soon, the trio started passing lewd comments. Sha
mim then approached the Class X student and proposed her. He also tried to hand her a letter.
    However, the girl rejected his proposal and refused to take the letter. In the meantime, Shamim’s friends stopped the girls when they tried to move forward and abused them. The girl then slapped Shamim and began running. The youths too ran after them.
    Sensing trouble, the girls screamed for help. As the pas
sers-by rushed for help, two youths started hurling stones at them while the third ran for his life. Confident of support at hand, the girls made a dash towards the youths and managed to cling on to them till the crowd reached them and nabbed the duo.
    Just then, a patrol jeep of Howrah Police’s Radio Flying Squad was passing by the area. It stopped at the spot and took away the rowdies to the police station. The girls later lodged a formal complaint at the Howrah police station.
    “The youths have been arrested on the basis of the girls’ complaint. They have been charged under section 509A of the Indian Penal Code,” said Rakesh Singh, assistant commissioner of Howrah City Police. “We are investigating the duo to nab the third culprit,” he added.

Major scam and misuse of public money by Mamta party run Kolkata Municipal Corporation

Nothing fair about Kolkata Municipal Corporation trident ‘fair rate’

Saikat Ray, TNN Oct 4, 2012, 01.26AM IST
KOLKATA: Trident lamps have muddied the civic waters further. It has been revealed that the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) fixed Rs 17,690 as "fair rate" for installation of trident lamps - a few notches above market rates.
The rate on offer for a medium pole with lamp at the KMC's Entally workshop is Rs 9,600 - at least Rs 5,000 above the existing market rate. A TOI team probing the KMC rate came to know about it from suppliers at Muktaram Babu Street. According to market estimates, the medium pole costs Rs 3,500 while the KMC put it at Rs 5,800. A solite (decorative lamp) distributor at Shibnarayan Das Lane, off Bidhan Sarani in north Kolkata, put the price of each lamp at a maximum of Rs 2,000 while the KMC fair price rate is Rs 2,965.
Worse, the KMC lighting department fixed the rates after taking quotations from two small-time shops in the sanitary and fittings trade — one at Nirmal Chandra Street and the other at Shibnarayan Das Lane. The arbitrary price fixing has raised eyebrows even among officials in the state urban development department.
Heads rolled in the lighting department with director general (electrical) Gautam Patnaik being transferred to the Kolkata Environment Improvement Project. But the controversy refuses to die down even if mayor Sovan Chatterjee is desperate to sweep it under the carpet. Like Patnaik, other senior officers namely Monobrata Bose, now acting DG (electrical), was also a signatory to the fair rate decision as officer on special duty. Even an executive engineer of the lighting department had signed the rate, though they remain where they were.
Even as Patnaik in his reply to the show-cause said whatever he did was after consultation with his political bosses, the mayor refuses to probe the muddle further. "We have no role in fair rate fixing. The lighting department officials did it on their own," Chatterjee said. On the contrary, the mayor refused to take sides when asked how the lighting department could fix rates for the entire state except Salt Lake by consulting two shops only. "It is up to the lighting department to choose the process," the mayor said. Chatterjee was also non-committal to the Opposition demand for a probe.
Surprisingly, the TOI team that spotted the two shops based on corporation documents found that the owners didn't ever speak to corporation officials. "Yes, we are in touch with KMC-enlisted contractors to whom we supply materials," said the decorative lamp distributor at Shibnarayan Lane. But the one at Nirmal Chandra Street expressed dismay over his shop being mentioned in the KMC papers. "I am not into it," the shop owner said. However, he hinted at a shop on Muktaram Babu Street that has been supplying medium poles to KMC contractors.
The mismatch between KMC records and the reality over fair rates has come as a shot in the arm to the Opposition in the KMC. "We have already demanded a probe. The mayor has turned it down. But the recent revelations indicate that the trident lamp controversy is turning out to be a major scam," said KMC opposition leader Rupa Bagchi.

Trident main accused in HC, says mayor signed file

Saikat Ray TNN 07.02.2013

Kolkata:Mayor Sovan Chatterjee once again finds himself in the dock in the trident light scam.
    A former civic official indicted by the KMC as the prime accused in the scam has moved the Calcutta high court, alleging in his petition the file on installation of the lights —integral to beautification drives undertaken to realize the CM’s vision of turning Kolkata into London — was signed by Chatterjee.
    Gautam Pattanayak, former director general of the KMC’s electrical department, retired on December 31 last year, but was shunted out months before that to the Kolkata Environment Improvement Project. In paragraph VIII of his petition, Pattanayak has said the mayor signed the file on January 1, 2012. Since the file recommended emergency installation, the KMC’s electrical department finished the work within two months, the petition adds. Pattanayak has said he has documents to back his claims and will produce them before the court. His petition will come up for hearing at Justice Jayanta Biswas’ court on Friday.
    The official has also accused the KMC of holding back his retirement benefits that include provident fund, gratuity and pension.
 Didn’t approve breaking of rules: Mayor As the KMC brass went into a huddle with senior lawyers on Wednesday to discuss its reponse after receiving a notice, the mayor rubbished the charges and said he had cleared a file that was routed through proper channels and hadn’t approved breaking of rules. He said the KMC’s lawyers will contest the case.Pattanayak’s claims have, however, added to the simmering discontent in the KMC ranks over officials being made scapegoats for councillors’ faults. A delegation of KMC directors-general (DGs) have already taken up the issue with the mayor, requesting him not to take harsh steps against officials since they had only carried out instructions from political bosses
    An internal audit report submitted by chief municipal auditor Biplab Guha Roy just over a week ago found the entire process of installing trident lights-—right from tendering to fixing
the ‘fair’ price — to be lacking transparency. The auditor also pointed to "extraneous circumstances" that compelled civic officials to bypass rules.
    While officials believe that Pattanayak, who was in charge of the electrical department, was responsible for impropriety, they also want ‘political’ forces that influenced his actions to be exposed. Apart from Pattanayak, officer-on-special duty (electrical) Monobrata Chaudhuri was showcaused. Like Pattanayak, he was also transferred to the Kolkata Environment Improvement Project.