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Kolkata tramcar reinvents itself to offer a culinary ride

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Trams in Kolkata

Kolkata, Oct 12 : The trams in the City of Joy may not have kept up with the fast pace of the metropolis, but they refuse to quietly roll off into the sunset. A newly refurbished tramcar, designed as a fine-dining 28-seater restaurant, will trundle out from October 13, offering a culinary ride to customers.

Named “Victoria on Wheels”, the service, an innovative way to keep the tram service alive, will run from Shahid Minar to Kidderpore, offering non-vegetarian and vegetarian meals and some sightseeing on the way.

Aimed at generating revenue for the loss-making Calcutta Tramways Company (CTC), the restaurant on wheels — decked up with artwork depicting various famous tourist spots in the city — is also equipped with air-conditioning, a music system and bio-toilets to attract tourists who seek the unique experience of dining in a moving tramcar.

The Victoria, a catering chain, which has bagged the contract for 10 years through a tender, will pay Rs 1.6 lakh per month to CTC.

“We are adopting various innovative approaches to generate revenue for the tram company as our fare collection has gone down over the years,” a senior CTC official told IANS.

Patronage of the tram service, considered one of the oldest modes of public transport, has fallen drastically because of the onslaught of taxis, private buses and India’s first Metro service – and its routes have also been reduced to less than 30 from more than 50 earlier.

Once upon a time the tram service was the main mode of transport in the city, but not any more – even though the tram fare is still at the lowest at Rs 6 and Rs 7.

“From a mode of transport it has become a ‘mode of experiment’,” said J.P. Mishra, a CTC employee. Somnath Das, another employee, said though various factors have led to the tram service being curtailed, attempts are being made to continue its operation.

“Besides allowing two tramcars to become a restuarant,” Mishra said, “We also offer exclusive tram rides on popular routes during Durga Puja at special rates.”

Victorial on Wheels will make two rides each covering the lunch and dinner hours, and during Durga Puja there will be three rides in the evening.

The package offer is Rs 999 for a non-vegetarian meal and Rs 799 for vegetarian food, including a welcome drink, starters, main course and dessert during a 90-minute ride from Shahid Minar to Kidderpore and back.

(Arun Kumar Das can be contacted at [email protected])

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Gurugram musical show attracts protest

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Protest Gurugram musical show
Protest during Gurugram musical show (Picture Credit : @DailyWorldChd )

Gurugram, Feb 16 (IANS) Over 500 members of different Hindu organisations held protests at the Leisure Valley Park where a private company had organised a musical show on Saturday.

The protesters claimed it was wrong for the company to organise a musical show for enjoyment and raising funds when the entire country was mourning the death of 49 CRPF troopers, killed in a terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Thursday.

Protesters threatened to disrupt the event if the organisers did not cancel the programme.

“We have written to the Police Commissioner and the Deputy Commissioner of Gurugram to initiate the process of cancelling the event. Musical shows are meant for celebration, not when there is sadness across the country. This is not acceptable,” said Pramod Goyal, the convener the of Bharat Tibet Sahyog Manch.

“We have objections over celebration, not against any private company. The time they have chosen for organising the event is wrong. Even if preparations for the event began before Thursday’s terror attack, the organisers should have postponed it and stood with the country to show solidarity,” said Kulbhushan Bhardwaj, senior Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader, who led the protest along with members of Bajrang Dal, Hindu Kranti Dal, Hindu Jagran Manch, Hindu Sena and Shiv Sena.

Subhash Bokan, PRO of Gurugram Police, said: “We are aware of the protest and have deployed extra security personnel at the venue to maintain law and order and prevent loss of property. We are waiting for organisers to take a decision.”

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57 hotels shut for violating fire safety norms

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Delhi Fire

New Delhi, Feb 16L: The Delhi government has cancelled the fire safety licences of 57 hotels for various violations after inspecting 80 such establishment in the city, said Delhi Home Minister Satyendar Jain on Saturday.

In a tweet, Jain said: “In all, NoC of 57 hotels out of 80 inspected are cancelled. All of them will be closed.”

The action comes within a week of a massive fire at a hotel in Karol Bagh, which claimed 17 lives and injured many others.

The Minister said the fire department will intensify drive across the city to locate illegal constructions and hotels violating fire safety norms to prevent recurrence of any more incident.

According to Jain, municipal corporations and police have been asked to take necessary action to seal these establishments.

As many as 17 people were killed when a fire engulfed a five-storey hotel here on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, the fire department inspected 23 hotels and 13 found them violating fire safety norms.

On Thursday, of the 22 hotels inspected 17 were found to were violating rules.

On Friday, 35 hotels were inspected by the fire department and 27 were found violating fire safety norms.

IANS

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POCSO court orders CBI to probe Nitish in shelter home case

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Nitish Kumar

Patna, Feb 16 (IANS) A court in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur has directed the CBI to conduct an inquiry into the involvement of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and two senior officials in the infamous shelter home sexual exploitation case, officials said on Saturday.

Besides the Chief Minister, special POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) court judge Manoj Kumar on Friday ordered the Central Bureau of Investigation to probe the role of Muzaffarpur District Magistrate Dharmendra Singh and Principal Secretary, Social Welfare Atul Prasad.

The court’s order came as it heard a petition filed by accused Ashwani, a self-claimed medical practitioner, demanding an investigation into the role of the three.

According to a charge sheet filed in the case, Ashwani used to visit the shelter home to allegedly administer sedative-laced injections to the inmates before they were subjected to sexual abuse.

The Muzaffarpur horror came to light in May 2018 when the Bihar Social Welfare Department filed an FIR based on a social audit of the shelter home conducted by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai.

Brajesh Thakur, a journalist-turned-social activist heading the NGO which ran the shelter home, and other accused were arrested. The matter was handed over to the CBI in July last year.

State Social Welfare Minister Manju Verma was forced to resign after the opposition protests over reports that her husband and former Janata Dal-United legislator Chandreshwar Verma allegedly had close links with Thakur.

Thakur has been shifted to a jail in high-security Patiala following a Supreme Court order while other accused, including his close aides and some government officials, are lodged in jails at Patna and Muzaffarpur.

The trial of the case was this month shifted to Delhi.

The apex court had recently also directed the CBI to take over the probe into allegations of sexual abuse at all such shelter homes across the state.

Rashtriya Janata Dal spokesperson Bhai Virender demanded resignation of Nitish Kumar following the court order. “Nitish Kumar was involved in the case and was protecting the accused and trying to suppress the facts since the beginning,” he said.

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