One lakh LED streetlights bid to cut down in Kolkata, Bidhannagar

In a bid to cut down on carbon emissions, the West Bengal government has decided to retrofit about one lakh smart LED streetlights in municipal corporation areas covering Kolkata and neighbouring Bidhannagar, a senior minister announced here on Thursday.

Minister of Urban Development and Municipal Affairs Firhad Hakim was speaking at a programme where he dedicated 56,000 LED streetlights, as part of the Green City Mission of the state government, to the people of Durgapur Municipal Corporation area in West Burdwan district and four municipal areas in Bankura, Murshidabad (Beldanga), North 24 Parganas (Kharda) and South 24 Parganas (Budge Budge) districts.

The LED streetlights are being installed by Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), a joint venture of PSUs under the Union Power Ministry.

“These 56,000 LED lights will reduce carbon emissions by 8,500 metric tonnes and save electricity of 12.2 million units, annually,” Hakim said.

Hakim urged EESL to ensure speedy replacement of the defective streetlights so as not to inconvenience the people.

“We have decided that approximately one lakh smart LED streetlights will be retrofitted in the areas under Kolkata Municipal Corporation and Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation, ” he said.

EESL is enhancing the benefits of affordable energy-efficient infrastructure with future-readiness, by connecting the lights to a web-based monitoring system that enables remote operations and additional operational savings, said the company”s Director (Projects & Business Development) Venkatesh Dwivedi.

The streetlights will help in reducing energy bills by 30-50 per cent for the urban local bodies and substantially reduce carbon emissions.

Centralised Control and Monitoring System (CCMS) with GIS mapping for remote control and monitoring of streetlights are also being installed. In Beldanga the work is already complete, said Dwivedi.

Out of approximately 7.5 lakh streetlights in the state, 3.5 lakh have already been converted to LEDs.



Stay away from ‘cut money’, Mamata warns party workers

 Lashing out at those leaders taking “cut money” or commissions from beneficiaries of government schemes, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee warned her Trinamool Congress workers not to indulge such practices, party sources said on Friday.

“During the review meeting with leaders of Nadia district, the party supremo said that public relations, which were adversely impacted, need to be improved. No one would be spared if one takes cut money from development works,” a party source said.

According to party sources, Banerjee also warned that MLAs and MPs would face consequences if their involvement in such corrupt practices was established.

Addressing party workers earlier this week, Banerjee had ordered Trinamool workers, who have taken a commission from beneficiaries of government schemes, to return the ill-gotten amount to the public.

Following Banerjee’s instructions, many people across districts laid siege on houses of many Trinamool leaders and members in panchayats and local municipalities, demanding return of the “cut-money”.

Actress-turned-politician and party’s Birbhum MP Satabdi Roy had said Banerjee should have initiated measures to stop the practice much earlier.

With the amount having reached somebody’s home already, it would be “difficult to get that money back”, she had said.

Senior leaders, during the review meeting, also held bickering among party leaders as responsible for the dismal performance in the recently-concluded Lok Sabha polls.



‘Mamata’s order on cut money may sow confusion in TMC’

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s instruction to Trinamool Congress functionaries to return to the public the cut money they have taken for delivery of government welfare schemes may sow confusion and trouble in the party, says Trinamool MP Satabdi Roy.

Speaking to the media in Delhi, the actress-turned-politician said Banerjee should have initiated measures to stop the practice much earlier.

“Didi has taken steps now, that’s fine. But there will be more chaos on returning cut money. Because a person who has taken it directly, he is only the front man. There are others who are behind the wings. They have also taken their share. So the money has to be returned according to this chain.

“This money should be returned. But the amount which has reached somebody’s home already, it is difficult to get that money back,” Roy said in explosive comments on the issue.

Addressing party workers earlier this week, Trinamool supremo Banerjee lashed out at those leaders taking cut money or commission from beneficiaries of government schemes, and ordered them to return the ill-gotten amount to the public from whom they had taken it in the first place.

Roy, however, cautioned that Banerjee should ensure that it should not lead to the situation where those who take small amounts of “one or two per cent” are reined in, but the shares of those taking higher percentages go up.

“Those who could not get the cut money earlier, will nag those who took it to return the money. There is chance of trouble. Didi (elder sister, as Banerjee is affectionately called) should look into this.

“It should not be the case that those who were taking one per cent or two per cent of the total amount of schemes are reined in, but simultaneously shares of those who now take bigger amounts go up. This will only sow confusion in the party.

“If there is a situation where only a handful gets the cut money, and the majority don’t, that is also not proper,” she said.



Rahat Indori shares ‘power cut’ pain with MP CM

Frustrated with long power cuts in Madhya Pradesh amid the ongoing heat wave, Urdu poet Rahat Indori on Sunday shared his pain with Chief Minister
Kamal Nath and state Power Minister Priyavrat Singh on Twitter.

“Electricity failures are a routine nowadays. There has been no power for three hours today. It’s Ramzan and hot, and noone’s picking the phone in Indore Power company (@mppkvvclindore). Please help,” Indori tweeted tagging the post to the office of the Chief Minister Kamal Nath and state Power Minister Priyavrat Singh.

Replying to the tweet, Higher Education Minister Jitu Patwari said: “The power supply has been affected due to the sandstorms over the past few days. But it has been rectified. Electricity staff should be rewarded for the hours they spent fixing the faults.”




Gita, Quran reference cut out of ‘India’s Most Wanted’

May 17  Upcoming Bollywood film “India’s Most Wanted” has been granted a U/A certificate by the censor board after directing omission of scenes making a reference to religious books Bhagavad Gita and Quran, said its director Raj Kumar Gupta.

The teaser of the Arjun Kapoor-starrer had created a stir with a terrorist citing the Bhagavad Gita. In a leaked teaser doing the rounds online, Arjun’s character is seen quoting the Quran.

Asked about the cuts suggested by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), Gupta told IANS: “It (the reference to the Quran) was there in the film and it was in the film’s teaser when it came for the first time. It was allowed in the teaser, but when we submitted the film for certification, they informed us that it is a little sensitive.

“They asked us can we remove the Gita and Quran from the film because it is sensitive, and because it is something sensitive in nature, we did it.”

Did he find it unfair?

“I don’t know if it’s unfair but we respect all religions, so we have to look at the sensitivity factor of it. That is why when the request came, we decided to remove it. Although it was there in the teaser, so the motivation was because it was allowed in the teaser, it would be allowed in the film. But because it was sensitive in nature and they requested us, we submitted the film without the Gita and Quran mention.”

Any more cuts in the film?

“This one is a major cut, rest are small things,” he said, adding that the movie has got a U/A certificate and will release on May 24.

The film is is inspired by a “true story” related to a terrorist. It is about a mission of five people to nab India’s most wanted terrorist — described in the movie as India’s Osama — without any weapon or support in just four days.

On speculation that the film is about the Indian Mujahideen militant group’s founder Yasin Bhatkal, Gupta told IANS: “I want people to come and watch the film, and then discuss. We want a discussion in the sense that the person whose life inspires this film was one of the wanted terrorists in India.

“Not only is the film inspired by that, but by how he was captured by these five unlikely men without firing any bullets or official support from authorities.”

Gupta’s motivation to make the film came from how it was an “incredible story” to tell.

“This is a film which is inspired by one of those incidents which is a landmark as far as human intelligence is concerned. It portrays the reality with which our forces, our intelligence agents or people working for the country go through with the danger of being in a job like that. Still they go out and protect us, keep us safe. This film is an attempt to say ‘thank you’ to them.”



IPL; KKR have task cut out against Sunrisers Hyderabad

Eyeing a third title which has eluded them for quite some time, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) will have their task cut out when they take on formidable Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in their Indian Premier League (IPL) clash at the Eden Gardens on Sunday.

Two-time champions KKR last won the IPL in 2014 under the captaincy of Gautam Gambhir. Since then, they have made it to the playoffs thrice in four years showing great consistency, but the team will want to finish off equally well this time round.

Last season, under the new leadership of seasoned campaigner Dinesh Karthik, KKR incidentally lost to Sunrisers Hyderabad by 14 runs in Qualifier-2. Stumper-batsman Karthik led from the front, amassing 498 runs and finishing as the team’s highest scorer.

KKR have traditionally boasted of having a superb spin line up and it won’t be different this year. With India’s leading tweaker Kuldeep Yadav leading the line, veteran Sunil Narine and experienced Piyush Chawla will look to make an impact along with young K.C. Cariappa who was brought in as replacement to the injured Shivam Mavi.

Last year, KKR’s weak link was their pace attack. But according to head coach Jacques Kallis, the purple brigade have more options this time in the fast bowling department.

KKR will miss the services of Mavi and fellow U-19 World Cup winner Kamlesh Nagarkoti who is also ruled out due to injury. But acquisitions such as New Zealand fast bowler Lockie Ferguson, left-arm Englishman Harry Gurney and West Indies all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite will add to their arsenal.

KKR received a blow few days back in the form of South Africa quick Anrich Nortje who was also ruled out after sustaining an injury. Among the Indians, Prasidh Krishna will look to continue the good work with the ball while Sandeep Warrier — replacement of Nagarkoti — will look to make the most of the opportunity.

KKR’s batting looks strong with no spare tyres in their top seven. The likes of Chris Lynn, Shubman Gill, Robin Uthappa, Andre Russell, Karthik and Brathwaite pack enough punch to rival any other side. According to assistant coach Simon Katich, they have the best batting line up in the tournament.

Coming to the visitors, SRH emerged runners-up in the previous edition after losing to Chennai Super Kings in the final by eight wickets.

The Kane Williamson-led side has been in cracking form for the past few seasons since winning the trophy in 2016 under the leadership of David Warner.

Williamson was comfortably the best batsman in the tournament hitting eight fifties and one century on the way to 735 runs in 17 matches.

All eyes will be on Warner this Sunday, as the southpaw continues his return to cricket after being banned for a year after the ball tampering incident.

According to team mentor VVS Laxman, Warner is looking as fit as ever and is raring to go.

Besides the explosive Warner and dependable Williamson, SRH have the likes of Martin Guptill, Manish Pandey and Yusuf Pathan who are likely to be their batting mainstays but the team will miss Shikhar Dhawan who went to Delhi Capitals. Dhawan hit 497 runs and was the team’s second highest run-scorer last year.

All-rounders Shakib Al Hasan, Mohammad Nabi and Vijay Shankar add variety to the team.

The bowling will be led by Rashid Khan who was the second highest wicket-taker in the tournament last year. Billy Stanlake will provide the X-factor with Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Khaleel Ahmed, Siddharth Kaul and Basil Thampi also there to strengthen the pace battery.

Squad KKR: Dinesh Karthik (captain), Sunil Narine, Andre Russell, Carlos Brathwaite, Joe Denly, Lockie Ferguson, Chris Lynn, Robin Uthappa, Harry Gurnley, Kuldeep Yadav, Piyush Chawla, Nitish Rana, Sandeep Warrier, KC Cariappa, Shubman Gill, Rinku Singh, Shrikant Mundhe, Nikhil Naik, Anrich Nortje, Prithvi Raj and Prasidh Krishna.

Squad SRH: Kane Williamson (captain), David Warner, Abhishek Sharma, Jonny Bairstow, Khaleel Ahmed, Ricky Bhui, Basil Thampi, Shreevats Goswami, Martin Guptill, Deepak Hooda, Siddharth Kaul, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammad Nabi, Shahbaz Nadeem, T Natarajan, Manish Pandey, Yusuf Pathan, Rashid Khan, Wriddhiman Saha, Sandeep Sharma, Vijay Shankar, Shakib Al Hasan and Billy Stanlake.


Business India

GST rate cut to spur Bengaluru realty market growth; Credai

The realty market in India’s tech hub is set to grow as lower Goods and Services Tax (GST) rates become effective from April 1, builders’ apex body Credai said on Thursday.

“GST rate cut to 5 per cent from 12 per cent on under-construction properties and to 1 per cent from 8 per cent on affordable housing projects from April 1 will spur the growth in the realty sector,” Credai (Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Association of India) President Ashish Puravankara said in a statement.

The sector is also betting on benefitting from the incentives given to the sector in the interim Budget for 2019-20 and anticipated higher investment in commercial and housing projects.

“Many potential home buyers are enquiring to book flats or duplex houses in gated communities and avail the GST rate cuts,” Puravankara said.

The GST Council cut the rates on February 24. It, however, did not accept the super carpet area concept as many developers have made it variable and flexible.

Cashing in on the GST relief and budgetary sops, Credai is holding its annual realty expo here on March 2-3 and March 9-10, where 30 developers will offer the properties with new indirect tax rates.

“Seven financial institutions will be at the expo to assist buyers in applying for home loans and benefits offered by them,” Puravankara said.

The state’s Stamps and Registration Department also witnessed 20 per cent increase in revenue from property registrations from May to December over the like period of 2017.

“Sales growth and higher revenue collection indicates property buyers are no longer in a wait mode, as developers have been offering houses at a better price,” Puravankara added.




BJP ruckus forces Karnataka Governor to cut short address

Ruckus by the BJP on Wednesday forced Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala to cut short his joint address to the state Assembly at the start of the 10-day Budget session.

Even as Vala was reading out his speech in Hindi, Bharatiya Janata Party members walked towards the Chair and raised slogans against the JD-S-Congress coalition government, causing pandemonium in which his voice could not be heard.

The address by the Governor ended in less than five minutes amid the ruckus.

Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, who also holds the Finance portfolio, will present the state Budget for fiscal 2019-20 in the Assembly on Friday.