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Nostalgia, signature dishes & grit: How landmark CP eateries plan to survive Covid

It was founded in 1948 by two partners, P.N. Malhotra and G.K. Ghai, who came to Delhi from Karachi after Partition. The 72-year-old restaurant is now facing the brunt of the lockdown.

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Nostalgia signature dishes

New Delhi, May 30 : Famed Independence-era restaurants in Connaught Place, now Rajiv Chowk, which were once frequented by diplomats, politicians and film stars are now fighting a grim battle for survival.

The challenging times have pushed a large number of restaurants to their edge. But, not all are despondent: the owner of United Coffee House (UCH) is optimistic about the future.

“We are looking at the post-Covid era rather than sulking about it,” said Akash Kalra, a third-generation entrepreneur, who has been running the restaurant for over three decades.

There is a need to create an impulse in the mind of people to get motivated to come to the restaurant again, he said.

Pan to 1942. United Coffee House attracted an eclectic crowd, from painters, philanthropists, journalists, politicians, to film stars on premiere nights. The eatery is a witness to the city’s changing landscape and food culture.

“From the Gandhis, former Prime Minister V.P. Singh to the Who’s Who of that time, everyone used to come to the restaurant. Celebrated painter M.F. Hussain would visit it at least once a month,” said Kalra.

Celebutante like Guru Dutt, Dev Anand and Raj Kapoor were patrons. “Back in time, after the premiere in Connaught Place’s cinema halls, high-tea parties would be held in our restaurant,” said Kalra.

People used to come to the restaurant to find inspiration but yet used to remain in peace with their own company, he added.

The storied restaurant caught the fancy of many and became famous for its mouth-watering keema samosa, nargisi koftas and mutton curry.

Seventy-eight years later, who would have thought that such a restaurant would dawn a deserted look and the sound of energetic conversations would be replaced by silence.

The Covid-19 pandemic has cast its malefic shadow on other restaurants in the area. The Embassy, in D Block of Connaught Place, is another independence-era restaurant that is facing the brunt of the lockdown.

It was founded in 1948 by two partners, P.N. Malhotra and G.K. Ghai, who came to Delhi from Karachi after Partition. The 72-year-old restaurant is now facing the brunt of the lockdown.

It was once frequented by Raj Kapoor, Yash Chopra, Lord Mountbatten, Arun Jaitley and Sheila Dixit, among many others among India’s rich and powerful, stylish and famous � drawn by the reputation of mutton chops, the signature Embassy samosa, murgh musallam and dal meat.

Kumar Savar Malhotra, P.N. Malhotra’s grandson, who now runs the restaurant said, “Besides our restaurants, there are other three vintage restaurants, such as United Coffee House, Kwality and Host in the capital city. They are synonymous with Delhi and must be supported by the government during the challenging times.”

Malhotra has sought government’s intervention for an immediate relief and revival of the industry.

“There has been no support from the government as to how we are going to function after the lockdown or even any monetary support. It is said that there are seven million people employed in the food and beverages industry. They cannot be left to rot just like this,” he said.

Patrons say fear of infection from the Covid-19 virus in closed, crowded places can keep them away. The coming days will show whether things improve.

Cities

Delhi’s coronavirus cases cross one lakh mark

Earlier on Monday, an order was issued for all health care facilities to carry out compulsory rapid antigen detection testing of all individuals of high risk groups who visit their facility.

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Arvind Kejriwal Delhi

New Delhi, July 6 : With 1,379 fresh coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, the national capital on Monday surpassed the one lakh mark of patients to reach 1,00,823. There were 48 more deaths in this period.

The silver lining, however, is the recovery rate, which has exceeded 70 per cent. According to Delhi government”s daily bulletin, as many as 749 patients recovered in the last 24 hours.

Till now, 72,088 people have recovered, 25,620 are active cases and 3,115 patients have succumbed to the deadly disease. This means that the city has a case fatality rate of 3 per cent.

Testing numbers in the city have gone up since the commencement of rapid antigen tests last month. Over 5,327 RT-PCR and 8,552 rapid antigen Covid-19 tests were conducted on Monday.

In total, 6,57,383 tests have been conducted so far in the national capital. Delhi has a total of 455 containment zones.

Currently, 5,250 beds are occupied in the hospitals out of a total capacity of 15,301 beds, 1,714 in the dedicated Covid Care Centres out of 7,869 and 136 beds in the dedicated Covid Health Centres as against the availability of 544 total beds. Over 17,141 people are under home isolation.

Earlier on Monday, an order was issued for all health care facilities to carry out compulsory rapid antigen detection testing of all individuals of high risk groups who visit their facility.

Lt Governor Anil Baijal also chaired a meeting of Delhi Disaster Management Authority to review the Covid-19 situation in the city.

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Cities

Bengal CM launches indigenous ‘Self-Scan’ app

Banerjee said that the new app would help people to scan important documents and nothing will be saved on its server.

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Mamata Banerjee

Kolkata, July 6 : West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday launched an indigenously developed mobile application ”Self-Scan” to help people scan important documents and keep them stored on their mobile phones.

The application was developed by the state”s Information Technology Department amidst a call to boycott all Chinese goods in India. It comes in the wake of Centre”s ban on 59 Chinese mobile applications, including TikTok.

“It reflects patriotism. I would always want to use an app prepared in my country,” the CM said, reiterating that “what Bengal thinks today, the whole world thinks tomorrow”.

Banerjee said that the new app would help people to scan important documents and nothing will be saved on its server.

Besides this, she also announced that Beleghata ID Hospital would be upgraded to a centre of excellence for its outstanding work during the Covid-19 crisis. Kolkata Medical College and Hospital”s haematology section will also have a plasma bank soon.

She said that the state government has taken a project worth Rs 58 crore, namely Jal Swapno, to supply safe drinking water in the rural belts of Bengal over the next five years. “This scheme will benefit about 2 crore people across the state,” she said.

Talking about the Cyclone Amphan relief package, Banerjee said the relief funds were disbursed quite fast, though there were some reports of irregularities.

“We have taken note and are looking into the matter. Let us not do politics over this. We must serve the people who are in real crisis,” she added.

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India

Covid-19: Ex-state BJP Prez Suresh Amonkar dies; 8th death in Goa

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Suresh Amonkar

Panaji, July 6 : Former BJP state President and ex-Goa Health Minister Suresh Amonkar, who had tested positive for Covid-19 last week, died on Monday, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said.

Amonkar, 68, had been admitted to the state’s designated Covid hospital two weeks back. He is the eighth person to die in the state after testing positive for Covid-19.

“Deeply saddened by the passing away of Suresh Amonkar, former President of BJP Goa Pradesh and former cabinet minister of Goa. His contribution to the state of Goa is immense and will never be forgotten. I express my heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family,” Sawant tweeted.

Last week, Sawant had said that Amonkar, who was suffering from a comorbid condition, had stabilised after his health parameters had slipped into a critical condition.

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