Indian Voice

Your Opinions


Central disaster management team to review Bengal game plan

- No Comments -
KOLKATA: A team of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) under the Union home ministry has sent a letter to the state disaster management department, saying that a central team is scheduled to be in the city from November 17 to 19 to review the disaster management plans of the state, with special emphasis on earthquake-related disasters.

The team will hold a coordination conference with different state government agencies and senior government officers at Nabanna and will also have a table-top exercise in the state secretariat the next day. A mock exercise will take place on the third day to review the state’s preparation on earthquake-related disasters.

According to sources, the central team will evaluate the emergency response plan and standard operation procedures in the district level related to industrial chemical disaster on-site and off-site management. The role and responsibility of all stakeholders related to disaster management will be highlighted to enhance coordination among emergency support functions in the district and also to generate public awareness by involving the local government bodies, NGOs and communities. Much stress will be given in the mock exercise to bring coordination among all the stakeholders to be prepared to tackle an eventual earthquake disaster scenario.

The state’s disaster management system has been put to test several times during devastating fire incidents, as there has been concerns as to whether the state disaster management system would be able to tackle more serious natural disasters like earthquake if it occurs.

The state’s vulnerability to earthquakes will be discussed during the meetings and the disaster and medical response plan of the state will be reviewed. The concept of incident response system will be incorporated during the coordination meeting with the stakeholders. “The details of coordination among the related departments and agencies will be stressed and safety issues will be discussed in the table-top exercise to identify the gaps and to chalk out remedial measures to built up an effective earthquake disaster managing mechanism,” said an official.

Following the letter from NDMA, the state disaster management department has already sent letters to the regional meteorological centre, West Bengal Radio Club (Amateur Club), the Howrah and Sealdah divisional railway managers and other stakeholders to send their representatives to attend the coordination conference and the table-top exercise. The department has also listed some of the officers who are required to attend the coordination conference meeting including the Kolkata police commissioner, director of industrial safety and health, the director of fire services at the state level and several government officials from the district level as well.

Stay updated on the go with Times of India News App. Click here to download it for your device.

Source: TOI-Kol


Price no bar on drinks this party season

- No Comments -
KOLKATA: Your favourite poison is going to cost you much less at the nightclubs this party season. Several factors have compelled topline nightclubs and lounges in the city to either roll back liquor prices or extend attractive offers to lure the party people.

For example, Plush, the lounge in The Astor Hotel on Theatre Road, is selling liquor at maximum retail price between 4pm and 10pm every day. Palazzo, the new kid on the lounge block, is providing unlimited quantity of Indian liquor like Teacher’s, Smirnoff and Kingfisher for Rs 1099 on Friday nights. On Wednesday nights, it is offering one-is-to-one on Absolute and Chivas. Apart from this, throughout the week six bottles of beers are up for grabs at Rs 699 between 3pm and 9pm.

Nocturne, the hip spot on theatre Road, is offering a one-on-one offer on Chivas and Absolut brands on every Wednesday and Friday nights, the two busiest party days during a week. A one-is-to-one offer means a direct slash of 50% on your drink. (see box)

Party-goers have welcomed the good news with cheers of ‘hic hic hurray’. “In the past three years, the price of liquor at nightclubs had skyrocketed. It had become unaffordable so we shifted to house parties. But with prices coming down, we think it’s time to party,” said Randhir Mehrotra, a software professional in Sector V.

The nightspots in town have been forced to shift to competitive pricing either to bring in more people to sustain business or just about manage to stay afloat in a saturated market.

While it is not uncommon for the party points to extend discounts and attractive offers to their customers, those happen only during the ‘lean periods’. The period between Diwali and Valentine’s Day is the peak party season due to favourable weather and people’s tendency to spend. It is unprecedented that almost all topline nightclubs have come up with competitive pricing for the season. Bar sales is the main source of revenue for a nightclub.

“The market is very competitive and to break even is also becoming a struggle. Most people do not want to spend because liquor prices are very high. In order to attract more people, we have come up with several price formats that will suite the people,” said the owner of a nightclub in central Kolkata.

In the past one year, several exciting places have invaded the party space, driving up the competition. Their competitive pricing, the peppy-and-youthful feel and novelty have created a buzz amongst the existing party crowd. They have forced the veterans to go back to the drawing board and work out a competitive price list.

Palazzo, the lounge that opened its doors in June this year, is offering some unbelievable deals to its customers. The Great Booze Story on Sarat Bose Road that opened a few weeks ago has a separate drinks menu for day between 1pm and 7pm. The prices go up marginally at night.

“We are trying to attract more and more people to our place with the help of this competitive pricing. Several people step out to party on Fridays, so we want to make it worth their while by offering them a good offer. Several people want to chill out with a beer in the afternoons and evenings. For them, we have introduced happy hours,” said Nitish Saraf, owner of Palazzo on Burdwan Road.

But for several older players it is fast becoming a struggle to survive. “The competition is severe and people hardly want to spend. Moreover, the state government’s embargo to shut down at midnight has dealt a deadly blow to finish off the business. Reducing prices of alcohol is the last straw,” said a veteran of nightclub business who did not wish to be named.

But the young party hopper who had almost stopped purchasing alcohol at the nightclubs is not too bothered about the complexities of the mathematics. Tipplers who had started exploring other avenues for their quota of liquor before hitting the dance floor are happy that they will be able to afford drinks at their favourite night spots.

“We would either drink at a bar on Park Street or meet up at a friend’s place to drink before hitting the nightclubs. But we had to be careful because we would be driving. But with such attractive pricing at our nightclubs, we would not have to go elsewhere for our tipple,” said Amit Sidhvani, a young businessman on Lord Sinha Road.

The return of the consumers after the tweak in pricing has already started reflecting at several places.

“The response has been tremendous. We have a lot of young crowd coming in who are purchasing bottles to make the most of the offer,’ said Somnath Das, manager of Plush.

Stay updated on the go with Times of India News App. Click here to download it for your device.

Source: TOI-Kol


Lake turns into open-air gallery of rare bird clicks

- No Comments -
KOLKATA: Rabindra Sarobar has metamorphosed into the city’s largest open-air exhibition gallery with photographs of birds sighted at the lake being showcased along a 1-km stretch between Padmapukur (lotus pond) and Calcutta Rowing Club.

The 18X12 inch photographs taken by enthusiasts, who share the love for birds and are passionate about photography, from different professions have been mounted on cardboards and fixed on tree trunks. Altogether, 85 photographs of 49 bird species have been put up in the unique exhibition that created quite a buzz at the lake on Thursday, grabbing the attention of everyone — right from seven-year olds to septuagenarians.

Ironically, photography was prohibited at the lake till three years ago. In 2012, IT professional Sudip Ghosh and physician Sumit Sengupta, both ardent birders, were heckled for photographing. When they protested, the matter escalated to then Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority CEO Vivek Bharadwaj, who used common sense to strike off the archaic rule.

“Once photography was allowed at the lake, it became the most popular destination for birders. Kolkata Improvement Turst (KIT), the lake’s custodian, also did its bit by inviting photographers to an event at Rabindra Sarobar three years ago. Now, there are at least 10-15 passionate birders with proper camera doing the rounds of the lake on weekends,” said Ghosh.

A strong birders’ community evolved within months and birders began to post photographs on a Facebook page titled Birds of Rabindra Sarobar. Patherya, who received regular updates on the Facebook posts, felt the fascinating photographs deserved wider viewership and hit upon the idea of an exhibition at the lake.

“When I mooted the idea, everyone responded with enthusiasm. More than 210 high resolution photographs arrived. I selected 85 photographs for display. They have been captioned to inform the viewer about the birds,” said Patherya.

Mitali Das, who has been frequenting the lake with a camera for the past year and a half, is thrilled that several of her photographs have made the cut. “Very few are aware of the diverse and varied birds that are perched in the trees. The exhibition will evoke interest and also create awareness,” she said.

Patherya intends to keep the photographs at the current location for three months before shifting them to the section before Menoka Cinema while arranging for a photography exhibition on another theme related to the lake here.

Amit Bose, who lives in the UK and alternates between London and Kolkata, was all praise for the initiative. “Events like these can make the lake lively. It is is perfect edutainment for young and elderly alike,” he remarked.

Stay updated on the go with Times of India News App. Click here to download it for your device.

Source: TOI-Kol

Show MapHide Map