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Railways asks West Bengal govt to take charge of all ongoing & new projects

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Railways has sent a letter to the West Bengal government stating that from now on the state has to take responsibilities of all ongoing and upcoming projects of the suburban system as well as Metro Railway.According to a highly-placed source at the state secretariat Nabanna, the letter addressed to the Chief Secretary, the Transport Secretary and the Urban Development Secretary, was sent last week from the Railways Works Planning Directorate.It stated that the Railways, in the last few years had incurred losses of around to Rs 15,000 crore due to delay in projects including Metro Rail projects, which were either delayed or stalled because of various hindrances.In the letter, the Railways has asked the state government to take responsibilities about removal and rehabilitation of encroaches on its land, feasibility study of any proposed project and so on, the officer said.It has also proposed the state can utilise funds meant for urban transport projects or can levy different forms of taxes and development fees to releasing project costs, he said.Incidentally, a couple of months back the Centre had verbally given similar proposals to the state government, which the latter had dismissed, the officer added.

Amidst demonetization row, Mamata Banerjee likely to meet Urjit Patel on Thursday

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who recently criticised RBI Governor Urjit Patel for being silent on people’s suffering due to Centre’s demonetization move, is likely to meet him in Kolkata on Thursday.Patel will arrive in the city on Wednesday for some official engagements and his meeting with Banerjee is likely to take place on Thursday afternoon, a top official of the Chief Minister’s Office told PTI today.State Chief Secretary Basudeb Banerjee will meet Patel and take him to the state secretariat ‘Nabanna’ where the meeting will be held, the official said. The meeting assumes significance as Banerjee had criticised Patel on December 8 questioning his ‘silence’ on the suffering of the common people following demonetization.It is a custom for the RBI Governor to meet the Chief Minister whenever he visits a state and there was a formal request from Patel’s office for an appointment of Banerjee. On being asked why Banerjee agreed to meet the RBI boss when she was critical of him, the official said this was an opportunity for the state government to place its views on issues related to demonetization directly before Patel.So, the problems faced by common people of the state would come up for discussion during the meeting, he said.Banerjee is one of the most vocal opposition leaders against demonetization since it was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 8. Patel will be here to attend the Central Board meeting of the RBI tomorrow. He will also meet bankers and industry leaders during the visit.

Manohar Parrikar writes to Mamata Banerjee, says her coup allegations ‘adversely impacting’ armed forces’ morale

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has written a letter to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, expressing pain over dragging of the army into controversy. In his letter, Parrikar said political parties and the politicians may have the luxury of making wild and unsubstantiated allegation against each other but one needs to be extremely careful while referring to the armed forces.”Your allegation, in this regard run the risk of adversely impacting the morale of the country’s armed forces and the same were not expected from a person of your standing and experience in public life,” he said.He further asserted that the army authorities were forces to put the record straight in the matter by presenting evidence of their communication with the concerned state agencies including rescheduling of the date collection, operation on their request.Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s letter to CM Mamata Banerjee:”I have been deeply pained by her allegation as reported in the media, if only you had enquired with the concerned agencies of the state government, you would have come to know of the extensive correspondence between the army and the state agencies including the joint inspection of sites carried out by them,” he added.He further said that such exercise is being carried out by all formation of the army throughout the country for many years as par the dates convenient to them in consultation with concerned agencies of the state governments. Banerjee had earlier demanded “withdrawal of the army” from the state, alleging it has been done by keeping her government “in the dark”.Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien said, “Letter has not reached the CM and it’s already leaked to media. We will give a befitting reply when it comes.”On December 2, presence of army personnel at toll plazas in West Bengal triggered a row with Banerjee remaining at the state secretariat overnight in protest, asking was it an “army coup”, drawing a stinging condemnation from the Centre which said the remark showed her “political frustration”.Accusing the central government of “deploying the army” along a highway toll plaza at the second Hooghly Bridge, about 500 metres from the secretariat ‘Nabanna’ in neighbouring Howrah district, Banerjee had said she would not leave the secretariat till the army was withdrawn from there. With inputs from ANI.

Routine army exercise in Kolkata derails Parliament session

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Opposition parties led by Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Friday raised the issue of the presence of Army personnel at toll plazas ‘in various parts’ of West Bengal in both Houses of Parliament. In Kolkata, a furious Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said army deployment was in “clear violation of the Constitution” and was a bid to “create a civil war like situation in the country”. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, however, rejected the allegation, describing it as a routine exercise which was earlier conducted in Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand. “It is done in different states with the consent of officials,” said Parrikar. Protesting Banerjee spent the night in the Secretariat in Kolkata dubbing it as a ‘military coup’.On Thursday, soldiers in fatigues were seen checking vehicles at the Vidyasagar Setu toll plaza in Howrah about 500 metres away from Nabanna, the state secretariat, which also houses the Chief Minister’s office. Banerjee tweeted, “Very unfortunate. Army stationed in front of Nabanna the Bengal State Secretariat in a high security zone, in spite of Police objection… I am waiting here at the Secretariat and watching, to guard our democracy.”The Opposition that saw a conspiracy in the emergency landing of her service flight in Kolkata on Wednesday evening despite pilot’s alarm over the fuel running short, whipped up a charge of attempt to throw her out of power with the Army’s help.There was a slanging match of allegations for over half an hour until Parrikar in the Lok Sabha and his MoS Subhash Bhamre in the Rajya Sabha were able to explain that it was a routine data collection exercise carried out by the army every year on availability of vehicles during any emergency. The Army also released letters to show that it was in communication with the WB police.

TMC dares Centre to show documents proving WB Govt gave permission for Army deployment

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Friday threw an open challenge to the Centre to come forth with the documents proving that the West Bengal Government gave the green signal for the deployment of Army troops in certain areas in the state. Speaking to ANI here, TMC spokesperson Derek O’Brien asserted that no such document existed, adding that he would hang his head in shame if the government could prove him otherwise.‘It’s on open challenge. Has the state government of West Bengal given permission to the government of India to deploy the Army’ There is no such letter of permission. In fact the MoS Defence has laid on the table of the Rajya Sabha that the Kolkata police refused to give permission. I challenge you to show me a document where the state government has given the permission,’ he said.He further thanked BSP Supremo Mayawati, Congress leader Digvijaya Singh and other political leaders who supported the TMC’s stand in the House over the matter. O’Brien further clarified that the only letter received in response is the Additional Police Commissioner of Kolkata on Monday morning. ‘When Mamata Banerjee takes up something, she does because she believes in it. Show us a document where the state government has given permission and I will hang my head in shame,’ he added.Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lashed out at Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for dragging the Indian armed forces into politics‘It’s very unfortunate, the kind of politics Mamata Banerjee has been doing after demonetisation. BJP is of the opinion that the issue of army deployment in Bengal has been politicised. We can understand you want to be the cheerleader of the anti-demonetisation group, you’re welcome to do that. But, you drag the Indian Army to prove your point, shows the lowest of the low that Mamata Banerjee in politics can get to,’ he said.Earlier today, Defence Minister Manohar Parikkar said that Mamata’s allegation that the state’s rights are being impinged upon by the Centre, was a clear sign of her political frustration, and added that it is saddening to see her and other opposition parties questioning the credibility of the Indian Army while it was performing a routine annual military exercise.Addressing the lower house of the Parliament, Parrkiar asserted that the deployment of army is a routine exercise being carried out since many years.‘It is army’s routine exercise being carried out since many years. It also took place on 19th and 21st November last year too. Saddening that a routine exercise has been made a controversy now,’ he said.‘Concerned officials were intimated by Army this year too. Original dates were 28, 29 and 30December but were changed to 1st and 2nd December later,’ he added.However, to prove that it had not made any deployment without informing the West Bengal Police and the state government about the routine exercises it is taking at some toll plazas, including the one off the second Hooghly Bridge near state secretariat Nabanna in Howrah, the Army on Friday released a series of letters. The Army letters show that it was in communication with the West Bengal police on the annual exercise to “gather statistical data about load carriers that could be made available to the army in case of a contingency.”Notwithstanding Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s allegations that army was deployed at two toll plazas on National Highway 2 in West Bengal without informing the state government “which is unprecedented and serious matter”, Acting General Officer Commanding (GOC), (Headquarters), Bengal Area, Major General Sunil Yadav said army formations in the Eastern Command at local levels are carrying out routine annual data collection exercises on availability of load carriers at all major entry points in various states in coordination with local police authorities.Hysteria gripped West Bengal Thursday night after chief minister Mamata Banerjee decided not to go home and instead stayed put at the state secretariat Nabanna to protest against the ‘sudden deployment’ of the army in the area. Banerjee camped overnight at her office in the secretariat in Kolkata, objecting to the presence of Army jawans at toll booths, one just 500 metres from where she was.”Is this a military coup’” the Banerjee asked, alleging that the state government had been had not been informed about what the Army said was a routine exercise that it was conducting across eastern states.

Parliament adjourned till December 5 amid uproar over army deployment in West Bengal

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Both houses of Parliament were adjourned till Monday, as the opposition continued to create a ruckus over the army’s deployment in West Bengal. The opposition raised the slogan “Tana Shahi nahi chalegi” on the floor of the house.Trinamool Congress and other opposition members raised the issue of the state government not being informed about the army’s presence. Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) Supremo Mayawati had earlier in the day dubbed the military deployment in West Bengal as a deliberate move by the Centre to humiliate Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.Condemning the act, Mayawati said that the ruling dispensation is targeting the West Bengal chief minister as she had raised her voice against the recently launched demonetization drive. “It seems out of the way. Army doesn’t collect toll? There is no law and order issue in West Bengal for Army to be deployed? The centre must clarify it, in fact PM must clarify as to why state’s rights are being impinged on,” Azad saidAfter Opposition allegation, MoS Defence Subhash Ramrao Bhamre said that the information that this House has is “factually incorrect.” “Army was in Bengal for a routine exercise,” adding that the Opposition raised a ruckus. Meanwhile, to prove that it had not made any deployment without informing the West Bengal Police and the state government about the routine exercises it is taking at some toll plazas, including the one off the second Hooghly Bridge near state secretariat Nabanna in Howrah, the Army released a series of letters. The Army letters show that it was in communication with the West Bengal police on the annual exercise to “gather statistical data about load carriers that could be made available to the army in case of a contingency.”

‘This is a military coup’: Mamata protests army deployment in state

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After a high drama over “deployment of army” at certain toll plazas in West Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee decided to stay put at the state secretariat ‘Nabanna’ on Thursday night, even after the force was removed from a toll plaza near it as per her demand. “I am the custodian of common people. So I can’t leave them insecured. I will stay put here for the whole night and observe the situation,” Banerjee told reporters at around 1.30 AM.About her demand that she would leave the office only when Armymen were removed from the second Hooghly bridge toll plaza near Nabanna, she said, “These people may have gone. But they are there in 18 other districts.” TMC will raise the issue in both the houses of the Parliament on Friday.BJP’s Siddharth Nath Singh responded to Mamata’s allegations saying, “Jo paisa unhone (WB CM) gavaaya hai, usse sadma unhe hua hai, uske baad wo apne maansik santulan mein nahin hain (She’s in mental distress about losing money). First WB CM had apprehensions about flight being low on fuel, then she related a regular army exercise to a coup.”Accusing the Centre of deploying the Army at toll plazas in West Bengal without informing the state government, Banerjee had refused to leave the office till the Armymen were withdrawn from the toll plaza at second Hooghly bridge. On Friday night, Mamata said, “This is a military coup. My officials checked with Odisha, Bihar, Kerala, Chattisgarh nowhere such a thing happened. This happened only in Bengal.”The army refuted allegations of conducting exercises without the permission, while the West Bengal police said, “In almost all areas of West Bengal army has been deployed without consent of the state government.” The Army said they were conducting routine exercise with full knowledge and coordination with West Bengal police. “Army conducting routine exercise with full knowledge & coord with WB Police. Speculation of army taking over toll plaza incorrect,” the Eastern command said on Twitter. “Routine exercise in all NE states. In [email protected] places, [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], Tripura & [email protected]″, it said.”The requisite data gathered and Army has been asked to withdraw from specific point, would be deployed elsewhere tomorrow,” Defence CPRO said.The Kolkata police, however, said they have raised objection to this Army exercise due to security reasons and traffic problem. “Army exercise at toll plaza was objected to in writing by Kolkata Police, citing security reasons & traffic inconvenience,” the city police said on Twitter. The drama unfolded on Thursday evening when Banerjee alleged that Army deployment was done in toll plazas without informing the state government and described it as “unprecedented” and “a very serious situation worse than Emergency”. She claimed that people got panicky due to deployment of Army at toll plazas.A Defence spokesperson said the Army conducts bi-annual exercise throughout the country with the aim to get statistical data about the load carriers that could be made available to the army in case of a contingency. “There is nothing alarming about this and it is carried out as per government orders”, Wing Commander SS Birdi said. The exercise gives an estimate about the number of vehicles passing through a certain area that could be tapped during operations, he said.The Chief Minister, however, said “The Secretariat is a sensitive zone and toll plaza is a sensitive place. Why is the Army here? Whatever reason they are giving is not correct. They are lying. They are changing their reasons from time to time. The MHA has the complete data of the vehicles moving in different states.” Banerjee said she has checked with other states but nothing such has happened in Maharashtra, Kerala, Odisha and Chattisgarh. “Why is that happening here? I fear that they can shoot. Either I will live or die but I will speak for the common people,” Banerjee said. “I do not have any problem if the Centre behaves like the central government. But they are repeatedly doing mistakes and now they are doing a blunder. It is an attack on the federal structure. We want to know the details,” she said.

Kolkata: Clashes, chaos abound as ATMs run dry and cash in banks run out

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Clashes and chaos marred the third day of currency exchange following demonetisation in Kolkata on Saturday, as ATMs ran dry and cash stocks in banks ran out. While people thought that the currency exchange initiative by the banks over the weekend might bring them relief, they were left waiting for hours in long queues. According to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, most of the ATMs remained closed. “People are facing a harrowing time following the demonetisation. As many as 2 lakh ATMs are not working. Those ATMs which are working do not have sufficient cash to dispense,” said Banerjee at the state secretariat – Nabanna. In West Bengal’s Asansol, bank account holders clashed with bank staffers after cash stocks ran out. In one of the districts of Bengal – Hooghly – an infuriated mob broke the window panes of a bank after it discontinued the currency exchange for the day. “The bank suddenly closed down operations for the day. They were supposed to continue operations till 5 pm, but the officials said that cash has been exhausted. We waited for five hours and now have to return home without the purpose being served,” said a resident, Biswanath Karmakar. The scene in Kolkata was no different, with some people having to miss office just to deposit and withdraw cash from the bank. On the other hand, bank officials had to face the heat of angry customers failing to carry out their transactions. Earlier in the day, Mamata Banerjee visited three banks in South Kolkata – Jawaharlal Nehru Road, Ashutosh Mukherjee Road and Sarat Bose Road and ATMs to take stock of the situation. She also spoke to distressed people waiting in line and advised them to ask bank officials to give them Rs 100 notes instead of the Rs 2,000 currency notes. Later, Banerjee even spoke to a bank official, who highlighted that the banks did not have sufficient cash to dispense following the demonetisation.

Kolkata ATMs run dry, Mamata says willing to even work with Left to attack Centre

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee upped the ante against the Centre’s move of demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes on Saturday and said that she was ready to work with all opposition parties, including the CPI(M), against the Centre. Serpentine queues were witnessed in front of banks as harassed people waited for hours to withdraw money, even as ATMs ran dry on the second day after ATM withdrawal was allowed following a two-day moratorium. Despite efforts by banks to ease the situation, people complained that ATMs were running dry within hours of re-opening and timely refilling was not being done in the metropolis or in the districts.“The Centre cannot scare us. We are not afraid of them. I appeal to all opposition parties to come together, including CPI(M) to put up a protest against the demonetisation of currency notes,” said Banerjee while addressing reporters at the state secretariat – Nabanna, adding “We thank the parties who have opposed the note ban. There should be more protests. Will Emergency be imposed next?” she asked. Banerjee lashed out at the Central government and termed it ‘anti-poor’. “This anti-people, anti-poor government has no moral right to continue in power. This is a dictatorship. People will teach the BJP a lesson in future elections. I don’t care if I am jailed for voicing my opinions. Are they going to get army to shoot us? I will speak for common people. I supported them on GST. But this is a disaster. There should be a judicial inquiry on the economic loss in the country due to note ban in the last few days. This is not a surgical strike on black money but complete financial surgical anarchy,” said Banerjee. Earlier in the day, Mamata visited some banks and ATMs in South Kolkata to take stock of the situation. She visited three banks at – Jawaharlal Nehru Road, Ashutosh Mukherjee Road and Sarat Bose Road and spoke to people who had been waiting in line for hours. She advised customers who had been waiting in the queue to exchange currency or withdraw cash to ask for Rs 100 notes instead of the Rs 2,000 notes. Later, Banerjee even spoke to a bank official, who highlighted that the banks did not have sufficient cash to dispense, following the demonetisation. (With Agency Inputs)

Suresh Prabhu stresses on Railways infrastructure development in West Bengal

Kolkata: Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on Thursday stressed on increasing Railways infrastructure in West Bengal and said his ministry has increased investment for that purpose.

Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu. AFPUnion Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu. AFP

Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu. AFP

“I had a detailed comprehensive discussion with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. She herself was a very successful railway minister. The state government has extended all cooperation. The idea is how to redevelop the existing infrastructure and increase it in the state. We have already increased the share of investment in the state,” Prabhu said.

“The idea is to create a Integrated transport system for the city of Kolkata,” he noted.

Banerjee who held a joint press conference with Suresh Prabhu at state secretariat Nabanna requested him to send a central team to expedite the on going railway projects in the state.

Banerjee said the state government will extend all help for the railway projects. “I would request Prabhuji to send a team to see the on going projects so that the work gets expedited.”

When asked about the status of the East West Metro project and Joka-BBD Bag project, a senior railway official accompanying Prabhu said the first one would be completed in two parts – one is sector 5 to Sealdah and the other is Howrah Maidan to Sealdah.

“The work of tunnelling under the river from the Howrah Maidan part has already started,” he added.

From Eden to Nabanna: Minister Laxmi Ratan Shukla ‘ready’ for 2nd innings

His cricket career had its share of regrets but Laxmi Ratan Shukla wants to forget all about it as he begins a new innings, albeit on the political pitch, by becoming one of the youngest ministers in Mamata Banerjee’s newly-sworn-in cabinet.Just three weeks after his 35th birthday, the former Bengal captain Shukla, who had played 3 ODIs for India in 1999, traded his white flannels for white kurta pyjama. Shukla, who had also played for Bengal this season, announced his retirement in not so happy circumstances, having relinquished his captaincy at the start of the season. He was, in fact, playing club cricket in CAB league when Banerjee told him that he has to fight the elections from Howrah, always a tricky area.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”From today, I want to forget the past. What led to my retirement and why could not play more than 3 matches for India, why I did not get a recall after 1999. I might have had some regrets on field but off it, in my second innings, I would like to start with a clean slate and make up by working for the development of people,” said Shukla.It was the hallowed turf of Eden Gardens that made Shukla a Bengal legend and as he settles down at ‘Nabanna’ (Government headquarters), Shukla is keen to do justice to the resounding mandate that people of North Howrah has given him.”It’s a different ‘pitch’ but as it has been the case with me, I am ready to slog it out. Earlier, for the cover drive, I had to ‘reach’ to the pitch of the delivery. Now I have to again ‘reach’ but it will be to the people of my constituency and the state. The people of Howrah (North) has blessed me as they had faith in Mamata Banerjee’s candidate,” Shukla told PTI while getting ready after the CM summoned a meeting of the new ministers.While the buzz is that he will be given the sports ministry, Shukla said he has not been told about the portfolio. “Didi’s (Banerjee) wish is my command. I am ready to do anything for the development of the people. You don’t get this kind of a mandate had there been no development in the state. My job is to be one of the soldiers, who will be the torch-bearer of that development,” said the former all-rounder, who scored 6217 first-class runs and took 172 wickets.At the centre, there has been instances of sportspersons getting ministerial berth during various regimes. It has not been the case in West Bengal, where professional sportspersons have been perceived as potential ministerial candidates because not many could win tough elections.Shukla’s rival was BJP’s actress-turned politician Roopa Ganguly but the former KKR and Delhi Daredevils all-rounder never had any doubts about his victory. “Self belief is something which I have always had in abundance. I had no doubts in my mind that my victory margin will be a big one,” said Shukla.

Poll panel removes Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar; replaces with Soumen Mitra

The poll panel on Tuesday removed the Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar and replaced him with Soumen Mitra.In a communication from the Election Commission of India to Nabanna – state secretariat, an official order said that the police chief had been removed.All opposition parties – BJP, Congress and the Left had levelled allegations of biasness towards the ruling party – Trinamool Congress.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Kumar had made it to the headlines for his role as the top cop, probing the multi-crore-rupee Saradha scam. Kumar has been replaced by Mitra, who is currently serving as the ADG CID.

Kolkata flyover tragedy: 10 IVRCL officials detained; death toll goes up to 24

A day after the collapse of a flyover portion in the city, police on Friday detained 10 officials of the construction company IVRCL for questioning while two state government engineers were suspended even as the toll rose to 24 with the recovery of three more bodies from the debris.The 10 IVRCL detainees include a few engineers, managers and vice-president of the construction company, a Kolkata police official said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We are questioning them to find out what went wrong before the flyover collapsed. Strict action will be taken against them,” the officer said, adding that a police team has reached Hyderabad to meet the top bosses of the company.The state government on Friday suspended two engineers of the Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority who were involved in the construction of the flyover.”The concerned chief engineer and the concerned executive engineer of KMDA have been placed under suspension pending completion of the probe,” a statement from the state secretariat ‘Nabanna’ said.It also ordered immediate inspection of the remaining portion of the flyover to ascertain its stability and safety.Police had yesterday registered a case against the construction firm under sections 304, 308 and 407 of the IPC and sealed its local office.Around 90 people were injured in the collapse and the condition of seven of them was stated to be “very critical”.Agencies engaged in rescue work said that there was a possibility of a person being trapped inside a truck which is still under a girder.Armymen along with police, disaster management team, NDRF and fire brigade personnel engaged in rescue work throughout the night, pulled out three more bodies from under the rubble of concrete, a police officer said today.”Nobody alive has been rescued… Two mangled autorickshaws apart from a few other vehicles have been pulled out. One lorry is still stuck inside… Whether there is anybody trapped inside cannot be certain,” he said.

Mamata Banerjee decides to allow 30 days child care leave to male govt employees

In a major policy decision, West Bengal Government has decided to allow paternity-cum-child care leave of 30 days for its male employees which can be availed either during child birth or until their children turn 18.Announcing this at the State Secretariat Nabanna, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said the decision was taken at a cabinet meeting to enable male employees to discharge their parental responsibilities. The state government had earlier allowed maternity leave for 180 days and child care leave for 730 days to female employees of the state government and Panchayat Raj, besides other local bodies, boards, corporations, undertakings, companies, state aided universities, sponsored and non-government aided schools and colleges, Banerjee said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The scheme would be implemented with immediate effect, she added.

Hoax bomb call to WB secretariat; culprit arrested

Police have arrested a 35-year-old man for making the phone call, which later turned out to be a hoax, claiming that a bomb had been planted inside the West Bengal secretariat ‘Nabanna’.The call was received at the PBX of ‘Nabanna’ when Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was present in her office on the 14th floor, Joint Commissioner Kolkata Police (Hq) Supratim Sarkar said adding police was immediately informed of about the phone call. Kolkata Police sleuths with sniffer dogs, bomb detection and disposal squad and personnel from the special branch immediately rushed to the secretariat but nothing was found during the hours-long thorough search in all the floors of the building.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The roof of the building was also checked thoroughly by the bomb and dog squads, besides the parking and other places around the building, which houses many important departments and offices of a number of ministers, Sarkar said. Within hours, the police sleuths arrested a computer repairer Biswajit Saha from Purba Putiary in Regent Park area of the city.A senior Kolkata Police officer said, “Why he made such a call is still unclear. We are looking into the matter and doing a background check of the person … As of now we have not come through any links (terror groups).” Security in and around the secretariat has been beefed up following the incident, he added.

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