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Kolkata’s dancing cop who makes people smile



Kolkata, June 13: Commuters look out in surprise from windows of cars and buses. Some passersby occasionally stop to click pictures. The subject of their interest is a man who literally makes managing busy traffic on a bustling east Kolkata road a song and a dance.

Braving the heat, Ashok Gupta, 59, in a fluorescent orange jacket and helmet, shows off his innovative dance steps while directing vehicles near Gate No. 4 at Rajarhat’s Eco Tourism Park for 12 hours a day, six days a week — managing to draw a smile or two from passing commuters.

A resident of Hooghly district’s Dankuni, Gupta is not a traffic cop. He has been appointed by a private security company that has been outsourced the job of flagging through heavy vehicles supplying material for the ongoing Garia-Airport Metro railway project.

According to Gupta, people’s smiles keep him going, notwithstanding the hectic nature of his job against a meagre pay cheque.

“Some people ask me why I do it. In today’s busy life, people often don’t get enough time or reason to smile. So I’m trying to make people smile through my dance steps,” Gupta told IANS.

“The more I see people smiling and appreciating (what I do), the more I feel encouraged. While managing traffic under the scorching sun for so long, this music and dance steps leave me energised,” he said.

Gupta, an avid fan of Kishore Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar, constantly plays old Hindi numbers like “Chala jata hu… Kisi ke dhun pe” and “Ek larki peheli baar” on his cell phone.

“I face no issues in managing the traffic while dancing. I just connect the head phones of my mobile to my ears and get lost in the music,” he said.

He has been doing the task for seven years now. But such is Gupta’s passion for the work that he goes beyond his assigned responsibility.

While he is supposed to pass the heavy vehicles ferrying materials for the metro project, Gupta has proactively taken up the responsibility of managing the general traffic as well.

“All traffic sergeants in this area are happy with me. They’ve asked me to keep doing what I’m doing. They say I am doing a good job of managing traffic,” Gupta said, a sense of satisfaction and excitement manifest in his voice.

The traffic marshal claimed he has danced on the road before but never got any recognition. “It is the love of the people of Rajarhat that has really encouraged me in my dance,” he said.

“Some people, who frequently travel through this place, tell me they feel something is missing when I’m not there,” he continued.

Sharing Gupta’s enthusiasm, his young helper Biswajit Saha claimed that the amount of effort he puts into his work inspires others in the locality.

“We are proud of him. The way he works for 12 hours daily with a smile on his face motivates youngsters like us,” Saha said. But the road has been far from smooth for Gupta.

“My sons initially objected to my dancing and said I am ruining the family prestige. But after seeing the people’s response, they are happy now. They say ‘you are a great man’,” they said with a chuckle.

Locals simply adore Gupta. “I’ve seen him before. It is wonderful how he is spreading love and happiness with his dance. Whenever I pass through this point, my eyes automatically turn to him,” said IT employee Santanu Paul.

Posing with a bunch of school kids for a selfie, Gupta said a positive attitude to life and enjoying his work are his twin secrets.

“I want to tell today’s generation that whatever they do in life they should do it from the heart and enjoy it. There is nothing like getting pleasure and satisfaction out of your livelihood,” the dancing marshal added.


Two arrested in Bengal with 200 pieces of fake Rs 2000 notes



Kolkata, March 23: The West Bengal Criminal Investigation Department (CID) on Friday seized 200 pieces of Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICN) of Rs. 2000 denomination from the state’s Malda district and arrested two persons in this connection, a senior official said.

The seizure happened at a bus stand in Malda district’s Kaliachak on Friday

“Two persons named Mohibur Rahaman (19) and Amir Hossain (20) were arrested from Sujapur bus stand in Kaliachak and 200 pieces of fake Rs. 2000 notes were seized from them,” Nishad Parvez, Deputy Inspector General, West Bengal CID, said in a release.

The official said both the accused are residents of Kaliachak.

“The seized fake notes are said to be of very high quality,” he added.


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On way to Parliament, JNU protesters clash with police

In the melee, several demonstrators and media persons suffered injuries as the police initially used water cannons to stop their movement followed by a lathi charge.



JNU Protest

New Delhi, March 23 : The Delhi Police on Friday ordered a lathi charge here on thousands of JNU students and teachers, who were marching towards Parliament protesting against removal of several department heads and a coordinator for not complying with the universitys new attendance rules.

The police action took place this afternoon in south Delhi’s INA area when the demonstrators, belonging to the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students’ union and teachers’ association clashed with the police, who tried to stop their march, calling it violation of law.

In the melee, several demonstrators and media persons suffered injuries as the police initially used water cannons to stop their movement followed by a lathi charge.

According to the demonstrators, the police were stopping them from marching towards Parliament as they were not granted permission for the protest programme.

“As per schedule, we organised a ‘padyatra’ (walk) to Parliament. But the police stopped us at INA. They told us that we have permission to protest only at INA and that moving towards Parliament without prior permission is illegal,” a demonstrator said.

Senior Delhi Police officials could not be reached over phone for their comments on the clash.

The JNU teachers are protesting against the removal of several department heads and a coordinator for not complying with the university’s new attendance rules, and a number of them are on a hunger strike.

The association said the university’s administration has not reached out to the faculty members who have been on the hunger strike for the past three days. It has also demanded that the management withdraw its notification removing the department heads and other circulars issued without consulting relevant university authorities.

The association also criticised the JNU administration over what it called “selective inaction” by the university against a professor accused of sexual harassment.

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Haryana cancels 42 retail liquor licences



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Gurugram, March 23: The Excise and Taxation Department has cancelled the licences of 42 zones of retail liquor distributors in Gurugram and Faridabad in Haryana allotted for fiscal 2018-19, an official said on Friday.

The Excise and Taxation Commissioner (Finance Commissioner) issued the orders under section 36 A (11) of Haryana Liquor License Rule 1970 and the state excise policy 2018-19.

Earlier, licenses were allotted to these firms through e-tendering procedure for the upcoming financial year. The reasons behind the cancellation could not established immediately.

The department has rejected 27 and 15 allotment licenses from Gurugram (two zones) and Faridabad respectively.

The move came on the recommendations by concerned Deputy Excise and Taxation Commissioners.

“Concerned firms will be informed at least a week ahead of new financial year starting April 1 and Earnest Money Deposit (EMD) and security installment of liquor sellers will be refunded soon,” a senior excise officer told IANS.

Gurugram, the Millennium City, on an average, consumes over four lakh beer cans and nearly 1.24 lakh bottles of Indian-made foreign liquor (IMFL) and country liquor daily through authorised vends, according to Haryana government data.


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