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Smart transport network on Salt Lake radar

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KOLKATA: The Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation is following the New Town model to build up a smart transport network.

The corporation, according to sources, is flooded with requests to develop a system that comprises electric-run buses, battery-run three wheelers, dedicated bicycle zones and a monorail. Currently, the civic authorities are working on feedbacks from residents and preparing the smart city plan. It will be submitted to the Union urban development ministry by this month for central funds.

Already, the state government has zeroed in on a monorail alignment that has been planned to run from Ultadanga to New Town via Salt Lake. It is expected to run along the main First Avenue of Salt Lake, cross Karunamoyee and Sector V before ending at New Town.

Civic authorities said the connectivity in the township could be improved only by developing a smart public transport system using e-rickshaws, electric buses in short routes that will connect all the blocks.

Residents are expecting things to improve. “We welcome the smart city move by the municipal corporation. The transport system will automatically be developed once the township gets developed as a smart city,” said Bidhannagar welfare association general secretary Kumar Shankar Sadhu.

There has been a long-standing demand by the residents of Salt Lake to improve the transport system. They complain public transport is yet to be up to mark in the area. There are areas in Sector II and Sector III where connectivity is pathetic, with hardly one or two public buses plying. Most residents rue that the transport system of the township mostly caters to Sector V and New Town %commuters, but offers little for those living here.

Even moving from one end to other end in the township after 8pm is a nightmare in certain pockets. Autos are the only option but they are inconsistent too.

In neighbouring New Town, the authorities are already working on developing such smart public transport systems, with the NKDA authorities introducing battery-driven vehicles and bicycle rides in Eco Park and also planning to have a dedicated bicycle zone on the service road stretch off the main arterial road.

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Source: TOI-Kol

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Seasoned criminals power TMC feuds

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KOLKATA: Several history sheeters are being hired to provide muscle to the warring Trinamool Congress factions at Shyampukur and New Town, investigation by police teams from Kolkata and the Bidhannagar commissionerate has revealed.

A case in point is the latest Shyampukur clash where at least three central Kolkata goons, who once worked under gangster Ullu Raja, were named by locals. Similarly, the brothers from Beliaghata – Raju and Ravi Naskar – are now being spotted increasingly at troubled spots in New Town-Salt Lake areas. The return of Cossipore to news after KMC elections – a third Trinamool faction is in formation here with help from strongman Anwar – points to this rising criminal-politician nexus in what was till recently a local fight over domination.

According to police sources, the clashes are likely to rise in the coming days given that the allocation of party funds for the upcoming assembly elections is likely to kick off in the next couple of weeks. “Everyone wishes to be on the winning side and this new fight for area domination is to decide which groups bag highest donations. Each party aspiring to win election will have to address the concerns of each group,” claimed a detective department sleuth.

Syndicates have also been set by political parties to fund the elections. “You will essentially keep what you raise is the mantra,” claimed a source, adding that this is what is adding to the tension.

“New Town was quiet all through the municipal polls. But it was also the breeding time for a whole new syndicate that was formally launched a few days ago. At the end of it, we now have a syndicate close to a local MLA now fighting off two other syndicates perceived close to two other MPs. With huge money at stake, criminals are often ending up in these syndicates. We were amazed to see Sk Vinod and his men staying back in Salt Lake even after the elections for Bidhannagar corporation drew to a close. Unless there is a greater economic gain, top names like him would not have been lurking around,” confided a top-level officer.

Talking to TOI, a top officer said they were keen on finding a solution to the problem. “We are meeting land owners and builders who are involved in construction activities in the area to instill confidence among them. They are free to buy supply materials from anyone they wish to. While every businessman has the right to form syndicate to further their business interests, we will not tolerate illegal activities being carried out or threat given to anyone by a member of some other syndicate,” said the officer.

Among other steps announced by Lalbazar is to set up temporary camps and arrange regular visits to trouble-prone areas by senior officers to ensure that there is confidence even among construction employees.

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Source: TOI-Kol

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Rare artefacts seized at airport

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KOLKATA: A brazen attempt to smuggle out antiques from the country was foiled at the airport on Tuesday when several metal statuettes and wooden artifacts were confiscated from a passenger.

Jitendra Gupta, 22, who hails from Gorakhpur in UP, was intercepted by the Customs intelligence wing at the departure concourse while on way to board a Bhutan Airlines flight to Bangkok. “There was prior knowledge that a young man would try to smuggle out antiques,” a source said.

On being searched, 16 wooden artifacts, 33 metal statuettes and a metal bowl were recovered from Gupta’s baggage. During interrogation, he revealed the name of a local contact. Among the seized artefacts are four heads of horses, long bowl-like structures, deer heads and a number of doll-like structures emulating tribal motifs.

Thereafter, Shribash Paul was rounded up. Both have been arrested and produced in court. The officials, interrogating Gupta and paul think that he was a mere agent or courier whose job was to take the artefacts from a seller’s source to any aide of the buyer. “Normally these antique chains involve a large number of people. We are looking for the gang,” said a Customs official.

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Source: TOI-Kol

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